Shontelle – Perfect Nightmare (Listen)
Shontelle Layne had a top 10 hit with a catchy Irreplaceable-esque song called T-Shirt two years ago but she’s so far been a one hit wonder, with her follow-up singles reaching 23 and 61. However, she’s back for another go and she’s doing pretty well in the US with the powerful R&B ballad Impossible. The next single Perfect Nightmare is up on YouTube, and it’s much more fun and upbeat. It starts off very serious but turns into a feisty disco number. Shontelle is always stylistically a bit behind other similar acts – she’s not innovative like Rihanna or Beyoncé, but isn’t given songs the same calibre of other non-innovators like Leona and Jordin. Perfect Nightmare could be a Pussycat Dolls song from a few years ago, but nonetheless I appreciate the disco influences and the catchy chorus. It’s a thumbs up from me but I’m not convinced it’ll give her a second UK hit. Impossible might, though.
The Ting Tings – Hands (Listen)
Considering how quickly I got fed up with The Ting Tings the first time around, I didn’t have high expectations for their new album. In fact I’d hardly thought about it at all. Until now! I knew from the first few seconds of Hands that it was a huge step up for them. They’ve turned into a poppier version of Le Tigre! The chorus is a bit repetitive, but I love the full electro sound and the bouncy, synthy beat. Another very surprising aspect is that Hands is produced by Calvin Harris. Despite his popularity with quite a few pop fans, I have never liked even one of Calvin’s own songs and haven’t been particularly impressed with his work for other artists either. Is this the beginning of a new improved era for The Ting Tings and for Calvin, or is it just a fluke?