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|Written by Mike Cullen|
|Wednesday, 02 February 2011 17:44|
Taio Cruz and Kylie Minogue - "Higher"
The United Kingdom had a good number of new acts emerge in 2010, and from a variety of genres. Taio Cruz seems to be the one who has managed to cross over into the American market with a rather predictable blend of pop/R&B. "Dynamite" was a pretty decent track, all things considered, but, if you have read my reviews before, you can only imagine how excited I got when I heard that Cruz was going to do a duet with Kylie Minogue. Excited actually isn't the right term; I nearly had a stroke when the duet was announced.
And then their lackluster duet, "Higher", was released. All things considered it's a pretty safe track for Cruz. It will gain him another charting hit, it will help push a few more copies of his re-issued album Rokstarr, but at the end of the day the song does little to help either his career or Minogue's in the long-run. Worse yet, it feels like Minogue is jumping on a bandwagon with this song, and while the song is catchy enough, her vocals actually get a little grating after a couple listens (yes, I just made a negative comment about Kylie Minogue, the apocalypse is pretty much nigh).
All in all though, this song is passable; great if you enjoy either artist and must have all their music, but in six months time this song will be completely forgotten. As a side note, UK, European, and Canadian markets will have the version featuring Kylie Minogue available, while the US market gets a version featuring Travie McCoy (which honestly isn't any better).
Britney Spears - "Hold it Against Me"
It is a big time of the year for pop with both Lady Gaga and Britney Spears releasing new albums this week (my money is on Gaga wiping the floor with Spears). "Hold it Against me" is Spears' first single from her new album, and it doesn't do much for Britney. It's not a bad track, reminiscent in some ways of the material from the Circus album, but it doesn't actually push her into any new territory. The Circus album pushed her to a new level, and that was followed up well with the release of "3", yet with the release of "Hold it Against Me", it seems like Britney's not exactly sure where she wants to go next.
The bridge sounds almost like a pumped-up ballad, the chorus is catchy, yet easily forgotten, and musically the styles are all over the map. I saw another reviewer refer to it as electro-pop-dance-dubstep. That's way too much; simplify Britney, or at least get a good sense of which one or two music genres you want to tackle and stick with them. Thankfully, this song isn't a mess, but I doubt it'll be remembered to the extent that "Toxic", "Gimme More" or "Womanizer" have been.
Two Door Cinema Club
I went to see Tokyo Police Club perform mid-January. They opening act was this little-known band from Ireland called Two Door Cinema Club. Or rather, I thought they were little-known as I hadn't heard of them. Turns out they have quite a following in Canada. It turns out that they have also found a new fan in me.
I largely find opening acts to be a waste of time, filler until the main attraction decides to grace us with their presence. But with Two Door Cinema Club, I found myself not wanting them to leave the stage. They put on an excellent hour-long opening set that effectively showed off not only their musicianship but also their ability to capture an audience. I've heard enough indie bands in my time, and while Two Door Cinema Club doesn't really add anything new to the genre, what they do extremely well is perform for a live audience. Another fan in the audience told me this was an off night for them. If that was an off night, I'd kill to see them when they're at the top of their game!
Some of their material (first singles and debut album) are available on iTunes, and based on the live performance I'll definitely be buying their stuff, and highly recommend that you do too!
Tags: britney spears, exile, february, kylie minoque, music reviews, ottawa, rocking the mike, taio cruz, two door cinema club