Single Reviews: Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood, Oh Land, Selah Sue

Carrie Underwood Something in the Water

There have been a lot of new single releases over the past few weeks and days, so time to keep up with some fresh reviews.

Gwen Stefani – Baby Don’t Lie
Gwen Stefani is back! The No Doubt singer released her most recent solo material in 2006, but decided to record another album on her own, which will see the light of day at the end of this year. Her solo output, with singles like ‘What You Waiting For’, ‘Hollaback Girl’, ‘Wind It Up’ and ‘The Sweet Escape’ was continuously brilliant so my expectations for ‘Baby Don’t Lie’ were quite high. With the album Push And Shove, No Doubt did not make the impression we hoped back in 2012, but Gwen solo has to be good, right? Right! Now I have to be completely honest and admit I was not really sold after the first listen. ‘Baby Don’t Lie’ sounded nice, but a bit bland and definitely not as innovative as we were used to when it comes to Stefani. Well, I was wrong. After I gave the song a few more chances, it turns out this is actually a very smart and fun pop track. An anthem so to say. The chorus is huge and the production is very comtemporary, but suits Gwen perfectly. Although she might not really bring something new to the table here, she still sounds fresh. For a moment I doubted queen Gwen, but now I am back on board and I literally can’t wait to hear the rest of the record.

Carrie Underwood – Something In The Water
When your career has been successful for over ten years with a long string of hits, you have earned the right to release your first compilation album. It’s that time now for Carrie Underwood. Luckily for us, these best of albums are never released without a few new songs and that is why we got ‘Something In The Water’, her new single. The song was premiered a few weeks ago and I think it is fair to call this track typically Carrie. ‘Something In The Water’ could be described as a lovely mix of country and pop. The song is quite an anthem with an impressive chorus and big vocals, like we expect from Underwood. It might not be as amazing as her song ‘Blown Away’, but that is hardly a fair comparison to make, as that might be the biggest song of her career so far. ‘Something In The Water’ raised discussions on social media about the religious theme of the song. Some argued that this is not relatable content for everyone and others said that atheists did not give it a chance. I for one don’t think this discussion is relevant, as you do not have to be a devoted christian to enjoy this beautiful track and Carrie’s amazing pipes. I am all for another decade of hits by this amazing vocalist.

Oh Land – Head Up High
Danish singer and songwriter Oh Land surprised her fans earlier this year with a short, brown hair cut and the news that she was about to record a new album, crowdfunded via PledgeMusic. She even announced that part of the money made would be donated to Greenpeace. Last year, she launched her third album Wish Bone, which was a strong collection of songs, but did not contain great peaks that could have worked well as big singles. Oh Land changed that with new single ‘Head Up High’, which could be best described as a euphoric piece of European electronic pop, driven by banging percussion. The uplifting vibe of the track is contagious and that chorus will not leave your head for the rest of the day. The style of this track is somewhat more in line with her selftitled second studio album, but at the same time she shows growth as a songwriter. ‘Head Up High’ might be her best chance at a big international radio hit so far and I really hope this will happen for her, as she keeps putting out great songs and albums. This talent still needs more recognition.

Selah Sue – Alone
Selah Sue, the phenomenal Belgian singer who released a brilliant debut album in 2011, is back with a new track. The singer worked on a few EP’s before her first LP was released and she took quite some time again to record the follow up. The first song of her upcoming sophomore album was released earlier this week and is called ‘Alone’. The track does not mark a huge change to the sound of her first record. Her voice is still lovely and unique and the track has a laidback vibe and a nice and funky guitar melody. The chorus is slightly repetitive, but this only strengthens the catchiness of the song. Although ‘Alone’ would have fitted nicely on her debut, it also shows a somewhat lighter and fresh vibe that sounds really pleasant to these ears. Glad she is back and hope we can expect an album announcement soon!

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