Loick Essien – Me Without You (Listen)
Loick Essien’s career started so well with the brilliant Love Drunk. I thought I’d finally found a Tinie Tempah type that I actually liked. Labrinth-produced Love Drunk was the perfect mix of cool, catchy and confusing. Its unusual structure kept it interesting for many listens. This new single isn’t interesting even for one listen. Loick’s second single Stuttering was pretty average, his third How We Roll was a grower and unexpectedly became his breakthrough hit, and I really hoped Love Drunk would be re-released next to make Loick exciting and relevant again. It seems in fact that Love Drunk was just a blip and this insipid Lemar-esque music is what he’s really about. I have to give in and believe it now. It’s a sad day but I’m afraid Me Without You will send Loick swiftly on his way to being a one hit wonder.
Keke Palmer – Show Me (Listen)
Keke is a US teen star who’s never really made her mark outside the world of Nickelodeon, but she did have a fantastic hidden gem of a song called Bottoms Up on her debut album in 2007. She was dropped when that album flopped but was re-signed last year and Show Me will be the lead single from album two. It’s a very generic R&B-pop song, but a well constructed one – the work of super-talented pop writers Lucas Secon (who I interviewed here) and Wayne Hector. The problem is whether Show Me is distinctive enough to get Keke the attention she needs to stand out from all the other teen stars wanting to break into the mainstream. It’s very pleasant and radio friendly but not interesting enough to get people talking about it, so its success really depends on how persuasive Keke’s radio pluggers are. I like Show Me and Keke herself but she’s going to need more than one good song on the new album for me to call myself a fan.