Single Review: Miguel – Shockandawe

Miguel drops ‘Shockandawe’, his second new track within a week! Continue reading

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The best pop singles of 2015

2015 has been a great year for popular music! We saw a lot of amazing artists come back and new talents making their way to the top. It’s that time of the year again where we decide what were the best pop moments in 2015. This is A Bit of Pop Music’s Top 50 of Best Singles of the Year where we go from The Weeknd to Jess Glynne and Adele to Justin Bieber! Continue reading

The Best Pop Albums of 2015

2015 has been a great year for popular music! We saw a lot of amazing artists come back and new talents making their way to the top. It’s that time of the year again where we decide what were the … Continue reading

Album Review: Disclosure – Caracal

Disclosure Caracal cover

Disclosure brings enjoyable, but risk free second album
DJ duo Disclosure had their big break in 2012 when their remix of Jessie Ware’s ‘Runnin” caught a lot of buzz online. They followed this up with single ‘Latch’, a collaboration with Sam Smith, and from that moment on there was no turning back. ‘White Noise’ with AlunaGeorge and ‘You & Me’ featuring Eliza Doolittle became even bigger hits and their debut album Settle, released in 2013, became a worldwide hit. It’s always hard to follow up such a huge success, but with the release of their sophomore record, Caracal, they prove their popularity did not decline as it entered the UK album charts at the first spot. But is it a success in terms of artistic progression as well?

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Album Review: Miguel – Wildheart

Miguel Wildheart cover

Miguel sounds progressive on eclectic third album Wildheart
Miguel released a debut album in 2010 that did quite well in the US, but did not give him a proper push internationally. In 2012 however, he shot to fame and stardom with the release of his second record, Kaleidoscope Dream. The contemporary R&B did well and his single ‘Adorn’ became a sleeper hit. Although he gave his R&B style a slightly alternative edge with a smooth but original production, he takes things a bit further on the third album called Wildheart. The productions are quirkier, the songs are harder, the lyrics are more explicit and the whole body of work is more adventurous and eclectic.

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Album Review: Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady

theelectriclady

Janelle Monáe delivers another flawless record

When Janelle Monáe released her first full record, The ArchAndroid, in 2010, she received huge praise from the music critics. They almost unanimously declared the album as one of the best of that year. Monáe took three years to come back with her second album. The singer released The Electric Lady in September this year, once again receiving raving reviews everywhere, and rightfully so.

The Electric Lady continues the story she was telling on The ArchAndroid and her debut EP Metropolis. Just like The ArchAndroid, The Electric Lady is divided in two parts, Suites 4 and 5, following the 3 suites found on her previous material. The story about the android Cindi Mayweather also returns on this record. The album starts with a great collaboration with Prince, on which she sings she is ‘giving ‘em what they love’. She continues to give us what we love on basically every track.

Other than superstar Prince, there are lots of other featuring artists on this album. We already heard Erykah Badu on the banging female power anthem ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’, full raps and hip hop influences, which was released as the first single. On the catchy title track ‘Electric Lady’, soul, R&B and pop singer Solange adds some (backing) vocals and her voice works perfectly well together with Monáe’s sound. Janelle duets with jazz musician Esperanza Spalding on ‘Dorothy Dandridge Eyes’. The best collaboration however, is the third single ‘PrimeTime’ with Miguel (who had a big hit with ‘Adorn’ and worked with Mariah Carey on her comeback single ‘#Beautiful’ earlier this year). ‘PrimeTime’ is definitely one of the most romantic, sweet, smooth and sensual duets released in quite some time. Both Miguel and Janelle sound completely gorgeous and convincing in their solo parts and together, their voices blend together like they were basically meant for each other.

Suite 4, the first half of the album, consists mainly of up tempo tracks, like the carefree, catchy and contagious second single ‘Dance Apocalyptic’ and the beautiful and straightforward ‘We Were Rock & Roll’. The first part ends with the sweet little song ‘Look Into My Eyes’ and this sets the mood for Suite 5. The majority of this part is more down tempo, consisting of a few beautiful and romantic ballads. On the lovely ‘Cant Live Without Your Love’, Janelle describes the intensity of going through a heartbreak and on ‘It’s Code’ she begs someone to ‘hold me, and love me until I want no more, and need me until I need no more’, in some truly emotional passages.

The highlight of the second part is ‘Victory’. Janelle turned a simple, but true message like ‘to be victorious, you must find glory in the little things’, in an amazing track. The lyrics are on point and her voice sounds incredible in the chorus. The last track describes the feeling after hearing this album; ‘What An Experience’ indeed! It is a worthy closer to a perfectly cohesive album that at the same time manages to experiment with many different sounds and styles. The Electric Lady mixes soul, pop, R&B, hip hop and jazz effortlessly. Janelle’s crystal clear vocals, in combination with her impressive song writing make this album into one of the best things released this year.

Must Listen: PrimeTime (feat. Miguel), Victory, Electric Lady (feat. Solange), We Were Rock & Roll, What An Experience, It’s Code.

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Album Recensie: Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady

Janelle Monáe maakt indruk met ijzersterk tweede album

Toen Janelle Monáe in 2010 haar eerste volledige album, The ArchAndroid, uitbracht, werd ze de hemel in geprezen door bijna elke recensent. Bijna unaniem werd het album als één van de besten van dat jaar beschouwd. Monáe nam drie jaar de tijd om met een waardige opvolger te komen. In september dit jaar bracht ze The Electric Lady uit, waarmee ze wederom op lovende kritieken kon rekenen, en volledig terecht.

The Electric Lady gaat verder waar Janelle met The ArchAndroid en haar debuut-EP Metropolis was gebleven. Net als The ArchAndroid, is The Electric Lady verdeeld in twee delen, Suites 4 en 5. Deze suites volgen de eerste drie delen op, die waren verdeeld over haar eerste EP en album. Het verhaal over de android Cindi Mayweather keert ook terug op het nieuwe album. The Electric Lady begint met een sterke samenwerking met Prince waarop Janelle zingt dat ze ons zal geven waar we van houden. Daar is geen woord aan gelogen, want dit doet ze gedurende het hele album.

Superster Prince is niet de enige waarmee Monáe samenwerkt op dit album. Zo hoorden we Erykah Badu al voorbij komen op het knallende vrouwenpower-lied ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’, vol raps en invloeden uit hip-hop, dat fungeerde als de eerste single. Op de pakkende titeltrack ‘Electric Lady’, verzorgt soul, pop en R&B-zangeres Solange wat (achtergrond)zang en haar stem past perfect bij de stijl van Monáe. Met jazzmuzikante Esperanza Spelding werkte ze aan ‘Dorothy Dandridge Eyes’. De beste samenwerking van de plaat is echter ‘PrimeTime’ met Miguel (bekend van zijn hit ‘Adorn’ en ‘#Beautiful’, zijn duet met Mariah Carey), dat als derde single werd uitgebracht. ‘PrimeTime’ is absoluut één van de meest lieve, romantische, sensuele en zwoele duetten van de afgelopen jaren. Zowel Janelle als Miguel klinkt prachtig en overtuigend in hun solo’s en in de refreinen komen hun stemmen zo mooi samen dat het haast lijkt alsof ze bestemd zijn voor elkaar.

Suite 4, de eerste helft van het album, bestaat voornamelijk uit uptempo liedjes zoals de zorgeloze, pakkende en aanstekelijke tweede single ‘Dance Apocalyptic’ en het mooie, eenvoudige ‘We Were Rock & Roll’. Het eerste gedeelte wordt afgesloten met het lieve en kleine liedje ‘Look Into My Eyes’ wat alvast de sfeer maakt voor Suite 5. Het grootste gedeelte hiervan is wat rustiger en bestaat uit een aantal mooie en romantische ballades. Op het aandoenlijke ‘Can’t Live Without Your Love’ beschrijft Monáe de intensiteit van een break-up en op ‘It’s Code’ smeekt ze iemand: ‘hold me, and love me until I want no more, and need me until I need no more’ op een emotionele manier.

Het beste nummer van het tweede gedeelte is ‘Victory’. Janelle verpakt de simpele maar doeltreffende boodschap ‘to be victorious, you must find glory in the little things’ in een prachtig liedje. De lyrics zijn sterk en Janelle’s stem is in topvorm in het krachtige refrein. Het laatste liedje vat het luisteren van het album goed samen: ‘What An Experience’. Het is een waardige afsluiter van een perfect samenhangend album dat tegelijkertijd vele verschillende geluiden en stijlen combineert. The Electric Lady mixt soul met R&B, pop, jazz en hip-hop ogenschijnlijk zonder moeite. Janelle’s kraakheldere stem in combinatie met haar indrukwekkende schrijverstalent, maakt dit album tot één van de beste releases van dit jaar.

Dit moet je gehoord hebben: PrimeTime (feat. Miguel), Victory, Electric Lady (feat. Solange), We Were Rock & Roll, What An Experience, It’s Code.