Marketed and distributed by Universal Music SA

While the Backstreet Boys have become monotonous and *NSYNC seems unlikely to reunite, it’s good to see that there is still an ongoing supply of what we like to call “boy bands”. The brothers Jonas became famous in the teen-market and are regulars on Disney’s radio and film channels. However, they are slowly but surely moving across to the top 40 charts, which isn’t surprising. Lyrically there are still numerous teen influences, but instead of being overly cheesy, their material reminds me of the kind of stuff people listened to in the ‘60s – simple, honest songs about love and relationships. However, if you’re thinking Beach Boys, stop right there – the album leans towards the rock & roll side of pop, with an energy that is almost exhausting. It is however what makes it a winner: S.O.S, Hold On and That’s Just The Way We Roll are excellent examples of what they’re capable of, while a slower ballad like When You Look Me In The Eyes rivals the best of the Backstreet Boys. Lyrically there is ample room for growth, which makes it exciting to keep an eye on them. Honest and enjoyable, Jonas Brothers are bound to become big names in entertainment.


Marketed and distributed by Universal Music SA

Compared to her sister Jessica, Ashlee is the bad seed of the Simpson family. Her publicity is usually much more scandalous, and instead of marrying a clean-cut young man like Nick Lachey, Ashley married the hot rock bad boy Pete Wentz. Her music, while still considered pop, has dramatic rock, punk and emo influences and is definitely sassy and memorable. Bitter Sweet World is no exception. It opens with Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya), one of my favourite songs of 2008: its ridiculously funky, retro beat fuses with Ashley’s cheeky, almost husky voice to create a song that sticks in your head for days on end. The cheeky theme continues on Rule Breaker – the beefed up vocals and funky melody make for an interesting combination. Boys is an attempt at radio pop that did nothing for me in the context of the other songs. Little Miss Obsessive deserves a mention as it breaks from the recipe ever-so-slightly. The additional male vocals add depth to what is essentially a power ballad, albeit in a twisted way. Bitter Sweet World is by no means perfect, but it achieves what it sets out to do. It’s a different kind of follow-up that doesn’t attempt to break any musical moulds but it does show a different side of Ashlee Simpson: I enjoyed it more than I expected.


Marketed and distributed by EMI Music SA

I have only really ever liked one Coldplay song. Of course I know every one of their song ever released on radio but nothing has ever really compelled me to go out and buy an entire album. Viva La Vida, the band’s latest offering, is therefore a surprise. It’s quite understandable though as it’s a significant departure from what we’re used to. Part of the new(ish) sound can be credited to the legendary Bryan Eno, but a producer can only do so much. What we have is a considerably more mature sound for the band with more mature lyrics and lush instrumentation, a combination that works well with Chris Martin’s voice, which in itself is not bad. The first single, Violet Hill, is a highlight, as well as Lost (which makes excellent use of percussion and the organ), Lovers in Japan / Reign of Love (which reminds most of their previous work) and Death And All His Friends (with its almost retro-rock feel). Viva La Vida doesn’t sound like any of Coldplay’s previous work. That’s the very reason why I like it. It’s a much less manufactured, much more honest sound that works wonders.


Marketed and distributed by Universal Music SA

I had never heard of Cut//Copy until their latest CD, In Ghost Colours, arrived on my desk. My immediate curiosity paid off however as the Australian’s band’s ‘80s-inspired electropop was a breath of fresh air. Feel The Love, the album’s opening track, is a light and breezy song that reminds me of carefree summers, and undoubtedly one of the highlights of the album. The electro influences continue throughout all 15 tracks, occasionally throwing in a few unexpected sounds while retaining a retro-disco authenticity. I particularly liked Out There On The Ice with its awesome ‘80s feel and the early-‘90s dance feel of Hearts On Fire. In Ghost Colours may be Cut//Copy’s second international album, but it is probably the one that will make them better known amongst electronica-lovers. It’s highly enjoyable and well put together, with endless remix possibilities. It refines existing sounds into a fusion that sounds new and fresh, striking the perfect balance between rock and electronica. In Ghost Colours is must-have for fans of the electropop genre.


Marketed and distributed by Warner Music Gallo Africa

Peter Cincotti has been significant airplay on local radio with Goodbye Philadelphia, a soaring pop song from his third album, East of Angel Town. While the song reminds me of Robbie Williams and Maroon5, Peter is in fact a jazz artist, with most of his chart successes and numerous awards coming from that genre. As such, he falls into that awful “crossover” category with Michael Buble, although there is a lot more rock, pop and funk in his work than Michael Buble’s straightforward jazz-crooner-influences. East of Angel Town features mostly piano-based material and was produced by David Foster and Humberto Gattica, the men responsible for Celine Dion and, unsurprisingly, Michael Buble’s successes. Goodbye Philadelphia has a cinematic feel due to its highly descriptive lyrics, a theme that continues on Cinderella Beautiful. Angel Town’s jazz and blues over the piano-melody works well and continues on songs like Careful. However, just when the album starts feeling monotonous, something new pops up. It’s easy to listen to and highly enjoyable. A brilliant new voice; East of Angel Town impressed me immensely.


Marketed and distributed by Universal Music SA

At one stage it seemed as if every second female singer that released an album was striving to be the next Diana Krall, Norah Jones or Katie Melua. Thankfully that trend didn’t last too long in mainstream pop, with true lovers of jazz having to return to their old ways of discovering new talent. To describe Melody Gardot as talented is an understatement; her new album, Worrisome Heart, being one of the biggest surprises this year. Firstly, Melody doesn’t try to hide a pop song under the jazz banner – this is honest, husky, soul-stirring jazz. She has a gorgeous voice that is not comparable to any of the big pop/jazz names, which is also a plus. The

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