shelleyhanveywriter

'Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences'

Posts Tagged ‘Will.I.Am

The Queen and the King of the superlatives; Britney Jean has arrived

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Last week saw the UK release (December 2nd, 2013) of Britney Spears’ eighth studio album, ‘Britney Jean’.

It wouldn’t be a hugely intuitive leap to say that Britney has probably reached that level of celebrity whereby she doesn’t have to outsell her peers, or impress every critic, or even every fan. I think it is clear for all to see that she is content in her personal life; more visibly so, some might say, post-Trawick break up…hmm, well we’ve all heard ‘Perfume’ haven’t we?! (or I have, and I like to read into things, so…) I think this record echoes that sense of security in herself – she made it clear from the start which writers and producers (Sia, William Orbit) she wanted to work with, she chose an Executive Producer (Will.i.am) that she considers a friend and she produced a collection of tracks that she was proud of.

Britney likened the writing process for this record to therapy – a sentiment shared by Katy Perry in her latest offering, ‘Prism’. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone had the opportunity to write and record an album after a break up…i’m guessing the death metal genre would have a serious influx of talent if this were the case! Less zen, more venom.

 

The standard edition of the album features ten tracks, with the deluxe version offering fourteen including the rather brilliant, ‘Now That I Found You’. Will.i.am, David Guetta and Danny O’Donoghue (The Script) share writing credits on this one and it is electro-dance Britney at her finest. Guetta’s influence is clear; the track immediately reminded me of ‘Without You’ (ft. Usher), which is another of his collaborations that I love. My favourite tracks from the album so far include ‘Alien’, ‘Perfume’, ‘It Should Be Easy’ and ‘Tik Tik Boom’. I love Will.i.am, the king of the superlatives; particularly his lyrics with the line, “If there was a scale from 1 to 10, then my love for you is a million, billion…” (‘It Should Be Easy’). A million, billion…I do appreciate the over-dramatics.

 

In celebration of Britney’s return to the charts, the Official Charts Company ( @OfficialCharts ) and Amazepop webzine (@AMAZEPOP ) have been counting down her top 10 biggest selling singles in the UK and her top 50 tracks, as voted for by the fans. Topping the official best selling singles chart in the UK was ‘…Baby One More Time’. Britney’s iconic debut track was released in 1999 and went on to sell 1.5 million copies. It was also the first of seven consecutive top 10 hits for the Britster. Fun fact: the track is still a download favourite, with 11,000 people doing so in 2012. To date, the music video has been viewed over 88 million times on You Tube.

 

Regularly-cited critic and fan favourite, ‘Toxic’, was voted the winner of Britney’s top 50 tracks by readers of Amazepop webzine (www.amazepop.co.uk). The 2004 track topped charts across Europe and Britney herself has named the Bloodshy & Avant written and produced hit as her personal favourite of her career to date.

 

Readers were asked to pick up to 10 of their favourite Britney tracks, from a list of 123 of her singles, album tracks and B-sides. My personal favourite is ‘Everytime’ and I’d be surprised if anything to come ever topped this for me. I also voted for ‘…Baby One More Time’, ‘I’m A Slave 4 U’, ‘Boys’, ‘Stronger’, ‘Sometimes’, ‘Work Bitch’, ‘Piece of Me’ and ‘I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman’. It was a tough elimination process though, much soul-searching and re-evaluating of values ensued before the final decision was made.

I do enjoy a good poll.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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Written by shelleyhanveywriter

December 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm

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Ballads and mid-air fist clenches; my favourite car song

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Whilst driving to work today and performing my usual routine of ballads and mid-air fist clenches, I got to thinking about songs that people truly believe they are brilliant at singing. To the casual observer or passing motorist, those songs tend to not be the easiest to master; they might feature more highs and lows than your average week in Emmerdale and they might be performed by artists that the world pretty much considers to be the epitome of vocal talent.

This song for me is ‘Without You’ by Mariah Carey.

 

In my head, I am so impressive at singing this song that I actually equal the great Mariah and imagine myself provoking the following reaction should I audition for The Voice UK:

Me: “I can’t liiiiiiivvvvveee, I can’t give anymoreeeeee, I can’t liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive…!”

Tom Jones: “WOW. I think we’ve heard enough love. That was bloody incredible. Whatever IT is, you’ve got IT!”

Will.I.Am: “Hey Shell, I’m well jell, cos I can tell, that you’re swell, forget Pharrell, cos you’re gettin’ lucky as hell, bang, bang, pow, pow, pow!”

I like to dream big.

But I probably sound like this…

 

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

August 20, 2013 at 12:32 pm

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Britney is the treble baby/Will.I.Am’s the bass; The Voice UK judge confirmed for Britney’s next album

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In my capacity as top Britney fan of the Western Hemisphere (self-awarded), I am rather gleeful this week as the rumours have finally been confirmed; The Voice UK judge and all round king of the quirks Will.I.Am , will executive produce Britney‘s forthcoming eighth studio album.

My favourite track from Britney’s last album, Femme Fatale (2011), was the Will.I.Am penned homage to old-school house music, ‘Big Fat Bass’. Spears’ vocals are heavily processed on the track, as she states “I can be the treble, baby/You can be the bass” and Will.I.Am infuses keys with – unsurprisingly, given the title – a killer bassline that is addiction personified. I couldn’t get enough of this track on the first listen and it is still the first that I flick to when listening to the record. ‘Big Fat Bass’ gave us a taster of what was possible when these two artists collaborate; if this was the amuse-bouche, then ‘Scream & Shout’ was definitely the appetiser and a veritable plethora of delights await us for the main course with this next album.

 

This is the news that most Britney fans have been waiting for, as we have long been of the opinion that high-energy electropop and dance is the direction that Britney should continue to follow, after the brilliance that was 2007’s Blackout (‘Gimme More’, ‘Piece of Me’, ‘Radar’). Will.I.Am hopes that the forthcoming album will reflect who Spears is as a person rather than
an artist:

We need to talk about what she’s excited about in life. I gotta talk about the things that hurt her. I gotta talk about the things that make her concerned – she’s a mother. I gotta talk to her about all the things that her fans want to talk to her about…

I like this approach. My favourite Britney track, ‘Everytime’, gives the listener an insight in to Spears’ narrative voice and stream of consciousness and makes a seemingly untouchable celebrity entity, endearingly relatable. The track packs more of a punch because of the insinuation that it is rooted in the deep, painful truth of a real-life break up…and we can all relate to that! One of the most powerful live performances of the track that I’ve seen was during Britney’s 2004 Onyx Hotel Tour, where she spoke to the audience beforehand about the meaning behind the lyrics and expressed how difficult that part of her life had been. I think it was in that moment that I began to see Spears not as the world-famous star that she is, but as a normal girl who wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable in front of thousands of people and who wears her heart very much on her album sleeve.

I’d love to experience more of those moments and hope that this forthcoming album will provide just such an opportunity.

www.britneyspears.com / www.will-i-am.com

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

May 3, 2013 at 2:24 pm

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Heartfelt, full of heat and hedonism; Tyler James’s new single ‘Single Tear’

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Tyler James, finalist of The Voice UK and dubbed the UK’s answer to Justin Timberlake, is set to release the lead single from his upcoming second album, ‘A Place I Go’ on October 14th, 2012. The track entitled, ‘Single Tear’ was co-written by James and Guy Chambers and is a heartfelt R&B ballad, full of heat and hedonism. The accompanying music video is every bit as sleek as the artist himself and similarly, it isn’t exactly unpleasant to look at.

 

The album is set for release on October 22nd 2012, via a joint recording deal between original label home Island Records and Universal Music Group. James released his debut album, ‘The Unlikely Lad’ on Island Records back in 2005 and has said that:

it’s great to be back with a team that I know get me, my sound and where I’m going.

I think this track is the perfect choice to launch James in to – what I am sure will be – a long and successful career to come. The Timberlake comparisons are understandable but I actually prefer James’s vocals and think that he could be a much more diverse artist. James comes across as genuinely humble and appreciative for the support and blessings he has enjoyed so far, however justified they might be, and I like that quality in a person. There is a lot to be said for humble these days.

www.tylerjames.co.uk

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

September 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm

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From Bombay to Louisiana, via Manchester; my top music picks of the week

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In honour of my favourite season: that of the summer holiday,  I have compiled a selection of hot and hazy tracks worthy of inclusion in any First Class music lounge…so sit back,  put on your fuzzy felt eye mask and allow yourself to be whisked away from Bombay to Louisiana, via Manchester.

Bombay Bicycle Club, Shuffle

A Different Kind of Fix‘ is the upcoming third album from London-based alternative folk-rock band Bombay Bicycle Club. ‘Shuffle is the first track to be released from the album, which follows on August 29th, 2011. Following the acoustic and accolade-laden offering of second album, ‘Flaws‘, the four-piece have returned to their electric-stringed roots, whilst never straying too far from their trademark blissful electronic- folk leanings. The soaring and atmospheric synth sounds of ‘Shuffle‘ are the perfect soundtrack to a lazy day on a sundrenched beach, or indeed a lazy afternoon indoors after getting drenched down your local high street…this is the ‘great British summer’ after all.

Michelle Branch, Loud Music

My love for Michelle Branch all started in Season 6, Episode 8 of one of my favourite TV series, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘. Branch makes an appearance at the end of the highly emotive episode, to perform her track ‘Goodbye to You‘ as Giles leaves for England, Tara leaves Willow and Buffy leaves her senses, embarking on a doomed affair with resident badboy vamp Spike. I loved the track and Branch’s raspy and powerful country-tinged vocals, so I set about researching the artist and have never looked back. After two top selling albums, ‘The Spirit Room‘ and ‘Hotel Paper‘, Branch moved in a more defined country direction to form a duo with friend and fellow musician, Jessica Harp; The Wreckers. But now, fresh from putting down roots both family and home, she is back with the perfect summertime roadtrip track ‘Loud Music.’

The track documents the history of a relationship, starting with the first meeting and going through all of the highs and occasional lows, all the while using artists such as Hendrix and Zeppelin as flags or pinpoints throughout the narrative. Branch has always managed to successfully translate her great love of music through her own lyrics and regularly cites her influences through this medium. So if a destination only reachable via a trip down a few dusty highways is more your idea of a perfect holiday, then be sure to wind the windows down and blast out this perfect slice of American pop-rock.

The Travelling Band, Sundial

I recently reviewed Friends of Mine Festival for eFestivals.co.uk and had the pleasure of catching a performance by The Travelling Band whilst I was there. Cited as the best folk band to emerge from Manchester, the five-piece performed their upcoming single ‘Sundial‘ which was definitely a hit with the somewhat windswept and watery crowd. The orchestral splendour of this track cannot be underestimated and is truly addictive; I think this band will be filling headline slots on the folk circuit very soon. It’s nice to see some local folkies flying the flag for the genre up North.

Patrick Wolf, House

Patrick Wolf intrigues me; he is an intriguing character, one that you could listen to and watch for hours almost as if in a daze. His vocals intrigue me; the depth of his tone commands that you listen and his lyrics command that you hear. He cites poets and speaks romantic declarations and all of this set against an epic and enticing melody. I’ve said enough, I implore you listen and you start with ‘House.’

Friendly Fires, Hawaiian Air

Pala‘ is the recently released second album from alternative dance trio, Friendly Fires. ‘Hawaiian Air‘ is the second track to be released from the album. This band just keep going from strength to strength and have just this week released more dates on their biggest headlining tour of the UK, coming in the autumn. With its holiday flight-inspired music video, ‘Hawaiian Air‘ is all set to be the scorching hit of the summer radio waves. The rest of the album is just as good I might add, so I’d definitely recommend that it feature on your holiday pool-side playlist.

Britney Spears, I Wanna Go

Ah, Britney. Where do I start…well, I’m a huge fan and have loved every track that the Louisiana popstrel has ever released so I’m just putting it out there – if you’re looking for an unbiased review of the artist, scroll up and scroll out! ‘I Wanna Go‘ is genuinely one of my favourites off Spears’ new album ‘Femme Fatale‘, my other pop pick being the Will.I.Am penned track ‘Big Fat Bass.’ The video to accompany this track has just been released on Spears’ official website and on YouTube/Vevo and is a lot of fun. I think Spears has reached the point – perhaps understandably – were she just wants to enjoy herself in her career and this translates in her work; the videos aren’t meant to be groundbreaking, they’re meant to highlight the light-hearted, cheeky and self-depracating character of the performer and that they do. The new album is a dancer’s dream, filled with huge basslines, biting beats and catchy choruses. I’ve just secured myself tickets to see Spears in Manchester on her upcoming UK Tour…needless to say, I am just a little excited!

That’s all for now, happy holidays! 🙂

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