Mika – Billy Brown/Relax Take It Easy
I have to jump on Gaypop‘s bandwagon here and proclaim the brilliance of new male solo singer Mika. He’s just released a double a-side download single (is it possible for a download single to have 2 sides?) which combines the jolly Scissor Sisters-esque Relax Take It Easy, which is apparently a response to the events in London last July, and a slightly less pitched but no less jolly tale of Billy Brown, who lived an “ordinary life” until he “fell in love with another man”. I’ve only seen a few photos and heard 3 songs but I’m already head over heels in love with this new singer and definitely going to be buying his album. Relax Take It Easy will be available on various sized records (but not CDs) from the 18th of this month, so pop down to your local HMV and join the Mika fan club before everyone else does.
Jamelia – Beware of the Dog
I’m a big fan of Jamelia as a pop star and a person, but I do wonder if the current crazy loving of her new songs may be a little overboard. This is indeed a great single but from the excitement it has caused in many other listeners, I had expected something truly extraordinary and that I didn’t get. There is nothing at all to dislike, but real brilliance has something extra that on first listen is a complete shock to the system and makes you want to listen to it over and over again, even though you fear you’ll wear it out if you do. I had that feeling with I Said Never Again, Biology and Hung Up and I was hoping to have it with this so I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t. Still, it did have high praise to live up to and I still love Jamelia and this song – she’ll just have to go one step further before she finds herself in my top 10 of 2006.
Nelly Furtado – No Hay Igual
It was an interesting tactic of Nelly’s to effectively release 3 singles at once, as she released Maneater in the UK while releasing Promiscuous in the USA as well as this track No Hay Igual, presumably to appeal to yet another demographic. Whether this tactic is the reason for her new album’s huge success I don’t know, but I’m sure it contributed and it will be interesting to see if other large-scale artists try the same with future releases. I’m not sure when she plans to release No Hay Igual as she already has a single on the go in the UK and the USA, but a video has been made so I guess it will be the 3rd release from the album in all the countries she’s popular, which seems to be pretty much the entire world! This isn’t as poptastic as Maneater or Promiscuous (my surprise fave of the two, considering it’s more r’n’b – must be the JT video appearance!) but it definitely gets stuck in my brain, even if I can never remember more than the title line and “what it is”, which is of course the only bit in English. It’s great that she’s likely to have a big hit in Spanish, it’s not something we see often and I love to see foreign-language tracks doing well in the UK where record-buyers do tend to stick to what they know. Go Nelly for representing her cultural identity, even if she has sold out to be cool these days!