James Morrison ft. Jessie J – Up (Listen)
I remember when I first heard James’ duet with Nelly Furtado, Broken Strings, I presumed it was only chosen as a single because it featured a famous popstar. In fact it was, as we now know, by far his best work and one of the best things songwriter Fraser T Smith has ever done too. So when I heard that Jessie J was featured on James’ new album, I hoped to be presented with the new Broken Strings. Unfortunately I should have known this was too optimistic, especially as the singles from the new album so far have been remarkably dull, even for James. Up is inoffensive and probably will get a fair bit of radio play thanks to the involvement of two of the UK’s most radio friendly artists, but it’s really just a moody ballad with no particular hook. I’ll be surprised if it troubles the top ten.
The Pipettes – Boo Shuffle (Live)
The first Pipettes album is one of my faves of all time and when I saw them perform songs from the follow up in June 2008 I was convinced it would be great. Boo Shuffle was the song I expected to be the big single and perhaps even the group’s breakthrough hit. Ridiculously, it wasn’t even included on album two, let alone released as a single. In fact, the studio version of Boo Shuffle has not emerged at all in the time since I first heard it, although the song has been performed quite often. With the disappointing response to the band’s second album, Earth vs. The Pipettes, the chances of Boo Shuffle taking the girls to the top of the charts seem pretty slim, but I hope at least it will put them back on the radar for their once very dedicated fanbase. And if nothing else, I get to put it on my iPod at last!
VV Brown ft. Chiddy – Children (Listen)
Poor VV Brown seems to be most famous these days for trying every possible way to become famous and still failing. Wherever you looked in 2009, she would be there… apart from the charts. She only had one top 40 hit in fact, with her best single by far Shark in the Water, which reached the dizzy heights of no.34. However, her debut album was actually rather good and she built up a small following in the US and France. The internet seems unsure as to whether VV is still signed to Island, her UK label, but new single Children is being released by US label Capitol. It features Chiddy, half of the rap duo Chiddy Bang, and is a strong, punchy track with a catchy chant-along chorus. VV’s lack of success despite endless attempts suggests nothing she does will ever achieve what she wants in the UK, but this track is enough to keep me interested for now.