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CARTOON ENTERTAINMENT ICON – Kylie Minogue

January 30th, 2012

POPULAR touring performer and the biggest selling solo artist in Australian chart history, singer, recording artist, songwriter and actress who shot to fame portraying tomboy mechanic “Charlene” on popular TV soap Neighbours winning her multiple Logie Awards, her first single LOCO-MOTION spent seven weeks at number one on the Australian charts and was the highest selling single of the 1980′s, spectacularly performed at the closing ceremony of 2000 Sydney Olympics, sensationally headlined the 1994 Sydney gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, is a celebrated breast cancer survivor, winner of multiple ARIA & Brit Awards, winner of the 2004 Best Dance Recording Grammy Award for COME INTO MY WORLD, received an OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2008 and in 2011 was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard… KYLIE MINOGUE!

FUN FACTS: Kylie is regarded as a gay icon, which she encourages with comments such as “I am not a traditional gay icon. There’s been no tragedy in my life, only tragic outfits…”

KYLIE MINOGUE Limited Edition Print available at TOONARAMA – The Exhibition @ ArtBoy Gallery January 12 – 29

www.BrettWillisCartoons.com

Alexandra Burke Has Overcome Her Biggest Fears

August 5th, 2010

Alexandra Burke is a stunning 21 year old from London who shot to fame after appearing on X Factor in 2009. Her intensely versatile voice and infectious music style has seen her shoot up beyond heights she ever imagined.

Her album Overcome is one of the best compilations of music that I’ve heard in a long long time.

Energetic, fun, revitalizing and spirit building, Overcome is the type of album you’d pop on while you have friends around for drinks before you head out to an event to get you in the mood! But like most albums, you’d probably need to skip 2 or 3 songs as they are the slower love/emo songs.

I find it hard to choose favourites on this album as most of the songs make me want to get up and move. When I’m cleaning, cooking, running or at the gym, Alexandra is there with me.

As I write this review, I’m not listening to Alexandra. I’m listening to a women who reminds me so much of Alexandra – Deborah Cox. I would go as far as saying that Alexandra Burke is the Deborah Cox of our generation. Rich and designer lyrics, vocal ranges that make you feel envious because no matter how hard you try in the car or shower, it just doesn’t compare.

There are two other singers, both Australian that I could compare this talent to – Ricki-Lee Coulter for the style of music and vocal range, and Jessica Mauboy, again for the style of music, but also for the ability to make every single song a hit.

To start Overcome off, “Bad Boys” featuring Flo Rida bounces on a bassy and catchy tune with a chorus you’ll start singing after the second time you’ve heard it. It was the first track Alexandra released and it was this track that shot her high in the sky, 5 months before the release of the album.

“Good Night, Good Morning” featuring Ne-Yo is track two, again another song that is completely catchy and finds you doing little dance moves around the kitchen without even knowing you’re doing it. The collaboration of these two performers create a great, pure voiced track with a soulful edge. It reminds me a little of the dance remix of “All Cried Out” by Allure with 112.

Track three, “The Silence” is one of those power ballads that send a shiver through your spine. The extreme vocal ability of Alexandra is showcased to it’s fullest. In this track, she gets to bring out her inner Celine Dion. The 2nd half of the song is phenomenal. Such power and liberation… You’d imagine white doves being set free and all of life’s issues diminishing. How very profound Adrian!

Track four is “All Night Long” featuring PitBull. This is her most recent single from the album. A great song that has wonderful influences taken from the unique and now unknown Toya, who funnily enough sang the song “Party All Night Long”.

One of my favourite tracks is “Broken Heels”, the danciest, the loudest, the bass heavy, lyric friendly track with Ricki-Lee influences. It’s a song of girls being girls and beating guys – showing them what they’re made of! It’s a sexy song and will definately get you dancing. After a few champanges, everything can be done better in ‘broken heels’ – unless you’re a guy of course.

The standout song for the album is “Overcome”. A song of defeating pain, after running away from life issues, facing them head on, Alexandra sings her blessed little heart out and sings this fabulous song, which gives you tingles of liberation and defeat. She has OVERCOME. This track is the stand out – much like Delta Goodrem had “Believe Again”. The power, the freedom and the ability to cross those barriers, you will overcome and believe again.

Now I know it seems I am descibing every song on the album, but every song is just so God damn good! I promise I’m almost done!

The hardcore dance track, the one that reminds me most of Deborah Cox and her super greatness and super talent is most certainly “Nothing But The Girl”. This song is HOT! I can run at 9km per hour on the cross trainer to this song, on level 8 and still keep to the beat!

“They Don’t Know”, a track written from her heart about her family and the search for the answer to life – love. The track ignites Christina Aguilera‘s “I’m Ok” from Stripped in my mind for the style, lyrics and voice. This is a beautiful song.

Finally, the bonus track on the album is the one song that has been covered by more artists then any other on this planet – “Hallelujah”. A song that has been remade so many time you could only roll your eyes at right? Wrong – her rendition of it is absolutely phenomenal. I wish I had half the talent this girl has.

This album is a 9 out of 10 for me. It’s up there with my favourite album of the year so far – Kelis‘ Flesh Tone.

Alexandra Burke’s Overcome… GET IT!

The Goddess Of Beauty, Fertility & Sexual Love. Kylie Minogue.

July 26th, 2010

Aphrodite; The Goddess of beauty, fertility & sexual love. Now could that dictionary meaning describe Kylie Minogue any better? I think not.

Aphrodite is the newest musical compilation of festivity and an injection of the Kylie Minogue we all know and love.

Now picture this. European Summer 2010. Mykonos. Beach parties. White flowing linen outfits. Your best friends. Mojitos. White walls and floors. Blue doors and windows. Cushioned day beds with white flowing silk in the sea breeze. Euro trunks. Tanned skin. Early afternoon, leading into the night where the party will begin. Mediterranean sexuality. This is Kylie’s perfect setting for Aphrodite.

When I hear the sounds of this UK-crap-pop X Euro-trashy-pop, I’m instantly taken back to the fruitiest times of my life in a small island called Mykonos. I don’t know if it’s the album cover, the name of the album, or the way the music makes me feel, but I sure as hell like the feeling.

I’ve never really been a fan of Kylie Minogue, but I have now found a new appreciation for the ‘Princess of Pop”. Yes I will admit, I have most of her albums from the past 10-12 years and have loved them, till it gets to about 2 months of listening to them, then I can never hear it again. They almost make me cringe.

At this stage, I’ve owned the album now for nearly 2 weeks and I still really like it. It hasn’t driven me mad yet. I enjoy each and every song as I go to work, for a run, driving in the car or just chilling at home as it has the ability to transform me to a place I once enjoyed in the peak of Summer – Mykonos. It also makes me forget the depression that comes along with a Sydney Winter.

Energetic songs, fun and boppy lyrics and tunes that you remember long after you’ve turned it off. But it is missing something. It is missing the cutting edge style and catchiness of everything that was on her 2001 multi-award winning album Fever. Aphrodite is seriously lacking individuality. To be honest, it’s like listening to the SugaBabes, but mixing it with a little electronica and then throwing in a few Anthemnic (yes that’s my new word) choruses to get the crowds pumping in dingy discotheques.

The first track released from the album is “All The Lovers”. A song that suprisingly brings out memories of past love and emotions once buried. The words and the video are a statement of global acceptance on a number of topics including sexuality. But this could also be for the sake of lifting her profile in the gay audience. Kylie’s fans are predominately gay, so the film clip really shows another side of life through music and profile.

The next track due for release is “Can’t Beat That Feeling”. A little bit of fun, again with a catchy tune which I guarantee you will sing in your head once it’s over. But it’s just so old Kylie. Nothing ground-breaking and unique.

If there is one song that is freaky in a good way, it is the Goddess-esque, Tina Cousins style “Closer”. Probably the standout track on the album for me, it’s got a little bit of sexuality and individuality to it which makes you want to dance inappropriately.

“Too Much”, one of the gayest songs on the album (could be a toss-up with “Cupid Boy”?) has an airy and bouncy feeling to it. It’s a fun song, but again I’m not sure if it will stand the test of time and trends. It will be here and gone very quickly.

One of the songs, and I have to admit it could be my favourite, “Cupid Boy”. It is bringing forward a little bit of Lady Gaga‘s track “Monster” with the electronic/robotic voice “he ate my heart, he a-a-ate my heart”. The most ‘underground’ sounding song on the album, with heavy instrumental and many variations in vocal capabilities really show many of Kylie’s abilities.

There is one song that I can’t stand, “Better Than Today”, it’s a little bit childish and immature. Almost a silly addition. I am hoping it will never be released.

Ok, so after reading this, you have got the impression that I don’t like the album… with a few contradictions thrown in there. But believe it or not, I REALLY like this album. She looks absolutely stunning, her elegance, class and charisma is still as wonderful as ever.

I would totally give it 7 our of 10. Go on an buy it… You can’t go wrong, but you’ll know what I mean when you hear it for yourself.

Regina Spektor Is Far From Mainstream

June 3rd, 2010

A distinct voice, with a strong New York accent, you find it easy to warm to the Russian born Regina Spektor.

She sings about weird things, but whatever she sings about, you can visualise. There is an instant image of everything she sings, like “when we drove a hearse, right through that screaming crowd” or “A little bag of cocaine, so who’s the girl wearing my dress, I figured out her number, inside a paper napkin”.

She is kooky and kitsch, but oh so cool.

Regina Spektor’s most current album Far which was released mid-2009, but is still worth the mention now because it is excellent. The women is a genius when it comes to combining music, her experiences, instruments, piano, strange vocals, and weird noises – this makes her all the more distinct, fun and captivating.

As mentioned, her voice is distinct, but it is also uplifting, happy and at times, slightly crazy. She seems to be a little manic, but this is why I love her. But don’t worry, she mixes it up with songs that can almost make you cry, or that make you feel so inspired, where you feel like you can do anything. Such raw emotion and depth. She uses incredible describing words so you can get full feeling of the songs. Regina can also pull the big notes, she is simply incredible!

“The Calculation” starts off the album, it’s a cute and fun song. You’ll immediately start bopping away and enjoying the vocals. Oooooooh high and low, you will begin oooooooooooh ooooh oohing with her too, against the predictable tune.

The second track on Far is called “Eet”, this was also the second track that was released. It can be interpreted in different ways, but I think it’s about losing things that were once so familiar to you, like singing the words to your favourite song. A powerful song, which almost makes you re-evaluate your life. Again, you get into the song and learn the chorus quickly – “Ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-Eet eet eet”.

The first track that Regina released off this album was “Laughing With”, track 5. my favourite song on the album. It’s the 2000′s version of Joan Osbourne’s “One Of Us”. “No one laughs at God in a hospital, no one laughs at God in a war, No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor…”, Regina sings about little life situations that change peoples lives, for better or worse. She acknowledges how ironic life can, which in actual fact, you could compare the story to that of Alanis Morrissette’s “Ironic”. A beautiful folk-ballad, with a great range of pitches and honest clarity.

I could talk about each song, but I think it’s something you need to hear for yourself and interpret your own way.

The type of album you can listen to while driving alone, belting out the words, pretending you have an amazing voice. Or a wet Winter Sunday morning, with breakfast in bed and the paper – a time you can appreciate the talent of this incredible artist. You also can’t go past her last album either, Begin to Hope – phenomenal.

I give Far an 8 out of 10.

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The Album Of 2010 – Kelis Kills It With Flesh Tone

May 25th, 2010

It’s been a long time since an album has engaged me completely, from beginning to end. It’s also been 4 years since Kelis released anything.

From track one through to nine, every single song on Flesh Tone is incredible. This album is simply incredible.

With the typical Kelis husky and sexy voice, she uses it to her advantage creating songs that not only make you want to dance like you are in Ibiza, but her voice oozes sexuality, almost making you frisky, while dancing.

If there were someone to compare Kelis’ voice to, I wouldn’t be able to because Kelis is unique in her own right. But if there were an album style similar, that I could compare to, I’d be mentioning Madonna’s Confessions On A Dancefloor with a touch of Tiësto and a slither of The Presets. A weird mix I know, but when you hear it, you’ll know what I mean.

The deep bass, dirty underground electronic beats, synthesizers which make your ears bleed and your speakers start smoking, also with the personal feeling of being in a war torn discotheque in Berlin, Flesh Tone will transform you into a world not known.

With only 9 tracks, you think that’s not many, but believe me – it’s such a strange feeling, it feels like there are 15 tracks on it. The tracks continue on from eachother, turning it into one story, but no song sounding the same. This is clearly an album of quality, not quantity.

Press play, first up is “Intro”. A 3:30 minute intro, which immediately sets the R&B base layer, before the dance layers come. Her stunning raw and flawless vocals give you goosebumps, from this very moment you know this is going to be good. But good is an understatement…

As the “Intro” fades, Kelis speaks in an almost robotic voice. “We control the dancefloor”, repeating this a couple of times… Then BAM! The party begins. As I type this I have goosebumps, the brilliant dance anthem begins, “22nd Century”. This track resonates with you on a sub-concious level, it’s in tune with your brain-wave, like you’ve been listening to it for weeks.

Track one turns into track two, “4th of July (Fireworks)” which starts off similar to a Madonna track from Confessions On A Dancefloor, but then turns into the sound of a talented performer.

The first track to be released from Flesh Tone is called “Acapella”. Again, it’s hardcore beat and smashing sounds start off immediately. Again, the vocals are mesmerising. Again, this is just musical perfection to my ears.

As “Acapella” ends with a beautiful instrumental, it doesn’t decrease the tempo of the album, what it actually does is leads you into the next track “Scream” which is produced by David Guetta. I feel like breaking out into my famous Robot Dance, it is full on hardcore dance, again mixed with unbelievable vocals.

Kelis has never really been a gay icon like Kylie Minogue or Madonna, but with Flesh Tone, I would imagine she has just hit hard, by far passing her competition. You can include Lady Gaga, Britney and also Beyonce in this calibre, especially with Kelis’ song, “Emancipate”.

Flesh Tone is an absolute, hands down 10/10 for me. It’s raw and honest, if you’re after a good time with quality, the this is your best bet!

Below is the video for “Acapella”.

Enjoy.

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Cheryl Cole Has The X Factor!

May 18th, 2010

She is stunning, she dresses immaculately, hair is always perfect, great tan, amazing body and also a judge on X Factor UK, she is the ultimate pop star. Looking great and speaking well on television might be all well and good, but can she sing?

Cheryl Cole has released her solo album 3 Words which she has worked on closely with Will.i.am.

Will.i.am features on four tracks on the album, with the most recently released track being 3 Words, which is probably the most played song on my iPhone to date. This song is so amazing! The first time I heard it, in the first 25 seconds I was unsure about it and thought it was crap, until the bassy beats started and completely transformed the song. It is amazing!

When I listen to the album as a whole, I think of a few different people. It’s a little bit of Tina Cousins, mixed with Geri Halliwell sound and style (including the album cover pictured, from Geri’s Look At Me single). I tend to get a little bit of the tackiness of Paris Hilton’s album, but in a weird way, Cheryl can pull it off. Her tackiness is fun and fresh. But her tackiness is nothing like Katie Price.

If you are after an album with deep and meaningful lyrics, spine chilling vocals and unique sounds, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. If you are after something that is just a little bit of fun, to sing along to in the car with friends, or dance along to while cleaning the house, then this one is for you!

The song Heartbreaker with Will.i.am is also another cool song. It’s not great, it’s just cool. It’s a very end of high school sounding song… like it’s something you’d expect to be the theme song for the movie Mean Girls.

Stand Up is one of the slower songs on 3 Words, which has a great feeling to it. It makes you feel happy in a mellowed way.

Look, I like the album, I don’t love it. There’s only one real stand out song 3 Words, the rest are just simple songs. There is nothing spectacular or serious about the vocals, the music and beats have all been heard before, that’s about as deep as I think I can get when I hear this album.

As much as this review seems like a contradiction, I really enjoyed the album. As I mentioned, it’s fun and fresh and doesn’t have anything serious to it. It’s simple.

What do I rate it? Tough one… but out of 10, I give it 6.5.

www.cherylcole.com

Florence + The Machine’s Big Lungs

May 10th, 2010

Florence Welch is the voice behind Florence and the Machine, a very unusual sound and unusual collaboration of music.

Harps, pianos, tambourines, claps and tempos thrown around unwillingly have created the album Lungs which is a little uncomfortable to listen to for the first time.

There is too much going on when you first put it on, unrelated beats and uneven tempos throw some of the songs off the track, making you wonder what you’re listening to. Florence’s gospel-like voice sounds much like Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries. You feel like you are listening to a slow-drawn out war, with anguish and hatred.

That’s what I thought the first time I heard it. But I gave it another go, I begin to understand all the things I thought were a negative. The tempos and beats begin to work together and have a purpose for running the way they run. I begin to recognise musical similarities to Beth Orton, in both sound and story. Removing herself more-so from the war sounds of The Cranberries, I realise Lungs is actually sounding pretty good!

It’s taking too much time for me to like it though. After the second listen of an album, I can usually tell straight away if I’m a fan or not, but this time I’m still undecided – ever after the 3rd and 4th time listening to it. I guess you can’t make yourself love something.

There’s a few random songs in there, different moods splashed all over it. The most familiar song on the album is “You’ve Got The Love”, as featured on Sex & The City. It’s definately one of the best songs on this album and not because of the fact it is so well known. Another song on the album which I like is “Rabbit Heart”, which has actually been released too.

I’m still unsure about this album. No matter how much I listen to it, I’m still deciding whether I like it or not. It’s bearable, but not fantastic. It’s not terrible either. It’s just OK.

I recommend you have a listen to it and decide for yourself… If you are into music like Beth Orton, Angus & Julia Stone or The Dresden Dolls, then I think you will like this.

I give it a 5 out of 10 because I’m sitting on the fence.

www.florenceandthemachine.net

Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah Part Two

April 22nd, 2010

Erykah Badu, a voice you could mistaken for Macy Gray or even Amy Winehouse. Husky, but sensual. Bohemian, yet pop.

She is back with a new sound for us – New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh. A mouthful of a title, but  when I put it on, I was instantly involved. I’d never really heard her music before and haven’t ever really been into R&B-funky-soul meets reggae-pop, but I thought I would give it a go.

I popped the CD in the car and listened to it driving home. After a long tiring day, this album really put me in a mood – relaxed, chillin’ and mellow.

Deep bass, with a Janet Jackson styles. Listening to the words sweep you into the spiritual life of Erykah, where she sings of love, emotions, life and soul.

About half way through the album is my favourite song “Love,” an electronic female voice speaks with dated background sounds. ”There are only two emotions that human beings experience: fear and love”. The voice continues on to define this. Interesting and thought provoking.

A unique sound, a pleasant sound and a great album. Instrumentals with different instruments, like the harp. I really enjoyed this and have now listened to it several times.

It would be ideal for when you are at home and working on the computer, or when you have people over for dinner and want something different to the usual Café Del Mar styled music – it’s a little more upbeat.

Erykah has really opened me up to her music, and her style of music – I’m open to engage myself in more.

I give this album 7 out of 10.

Pop Music At It’s Best With Simon Curtis

April 13th, 2010

I stumbled apon this AMAZING talent only a few days ago. His name is Simon Curtis.

I got the album 8Bit Heart and put on the first song which is the introduction, BoyRobot. Second song, Don’t Wanna Be Alone sets you in a mood. After the introduction drops you in Simon’s electronic world, my initial thought was he sounded very much like Darren Hayes when he went solo after Savage Garden. The voice, the sound, the tempo and everything about it is very similiar to This Delicate Thing We’ve Made. This is most certainly not a bad thing, as Darren created one of the best stories ever told on this album.

But back to Simon, his voice is clear, pure and cheeky. The American singer has so much fun throughout the album. He is so real and oozes cool. He talks and relaxes through it, like he was in the room, and it’s not dramatic – it’s real. The sounds are very electronic and very familiar. Sounds that you hear in day to day life pop up at the most unexpected times, but blend in almost perfectly.

His unique style and presence is almost that of Sam Sparro, but better. He is charasmatic and you can hear it through the speakers.

I could rave on and on about this album, but I suggest you go to his website and download it for free. Go on, I promise you’ll thank me. Stand-out tracks for me being 8Bit Heart, Diablo and The Dark featuring Jay-Z.

www.simon-curtis.com

Album of the Week – Soldier of Love

March 17th, 2010

When I say the name Sade, you will automatically think of the song Smooth Operator. She created in 1985 the video for Smooth Operator, a vision and sound of chilling purity, with tears running down her queenly face, and the feeling of angst as her heart breaks in a stunning white Chanel-like outfit sets a benchmark for all future music Sade releases.

Eight albums and twenty five years later, Soldier of Love is born.

Ten tracks raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Goosebumps up your arms. This is a collection of perfection.

Soldier of Love is flawless and virginal, with a standout track for me being “Long Hard Road”. I understand what she s saying, the message she is sending, she breaths her emotions into the microphone.

The track that has been released is “Soldier of Love”. A regimented and strict collaboration of instruments, sounds and vocals. You almost sense abit of Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us. It is angry and aggressive – you can interpret this song in so many ways. Is she angry? Perhaps she is pleased? I’ll leave that for you to work out for yourself.

If there is one album you need to purchase this Autumn, it’s Soldier of Love by Sade. You will thank me.

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