My 7 Favourite R&B/Pop Singles of 2008

7. Alesha Dixon/The Boy Does Nothing

Uploaded by Jay230288. This was the Children in Need performance.

Alesha’s career seems rejuvenated by Strictly Come Dancing, which she won last year. The Boy Does Nothing peaked at #5 in the UK Chart, which was Alesha’s highest ever solo standing in the chart.

Brilliant chart position and it sticks two fingers up to Javine Hylton and Harvey, the latter who was Alesha’s ex husband. The reason it does this (in my view) is because it was co-written by Xenomania, the songwriting group who write Girls Aloud’s songs. Javine missed the cut to be part of Girls Aloud years ago as part of the reality show, Popstars. How sweet is revenge? Go Alesha!

It’s a poppy, fresh and energetic song that makes me want to exercise, so it must be doing something right.

6. Rihanna/Rehab

rihanna_rehabph2072, I cannot believe there is a Rihanna song from GGGB that she has released that I actually like. I was always an SOS/Dem Haters girl. Rihanna has improved a lot. I still don’t buy this image change at all, but vocally, she has improved on this song, ph2072.

The endless beats peppering the album version of this song are trademark Timbaland production. The song was written by Justin Timberlake and he also stars in the video.

It’s bizarre sounding song meshed with the lyrics in a way, because the actual instrumental music in the background sounds like a melancholic serenading song, almost like music that would accompany a paean.

I think her voice suits songs that are slower and that have more of a chunkier sound to them. This song is not a ballad but it is more contemplative. So yes, ph2072, your girl is growing on me. Maybe b/c Rehab is mirroring my own life lol.

Rehab entered the UK chart at #24.

5. Madonna/Give it 2 Me

madonnaGive it to me, Madonna purrs or commands? Her tone of voice is vague and ambiguous on this song, almost like one is unsure whether she is energetic or commenting.

You’re only here to win, ‘fget what they say, Madge insists. The song has a lot of attitude and is one of the first times I think that Madonna actually sounds comfortable on a song.

 I loved this song the first time I heard it. It has this almost snarky tone to it, encased in Pharrell’s heavy drum beats.

Thumbs up from me Madge, all the way in North London. I posted the music video a while ago when the song came out and for some reason, I even loved the song more with the video lol!

Many people on YT where saying that she was too old etc. So what? She is 50 and looks absolutely mindblowing with her figure.

Just look at this still from video:

madonna-2

[Image found here]

Give it 2 Me, I’d be singing that too if my thighs looked like hers. The song peaked at #7.

4. Leona Lewis/Forgive Me

leona-lewis-2

[image found here @ wikipedia]

The song peaked at #5 in the UK Chart. I actually really didn’t like it when I first heard it. Learning it was Akon’s brainchild didn’t help either. In fact, it is grower of a song. And Leona singing an uptempo song and not a ballad? It was refreshing to hear such a powerful voice sound playful especially when she belts:

And I need a man

Those cute injections of spunk and personality sound good on Leona, whose goodhearted nature sees her singing ballads only. She sounds good on this song, as always!

3. Keri Hilson/Return the Favour

keri-2

[image from Keri Hilson Fan]

…Feelin’ alright boy, I feel just fine!

I loved this song the moment I heard it first. Again, Timbaland’s production is really good here, matching her vocalisation’s nicely but it was more how the lyrics were phrased that I liked:

–Think with your body, let it out!

I don’t even know why I like that line, but I just do 😉 Maybe because the lyrics of the song are very ambiguous. Is she talking about under the belt favours or does she mean emotionally?

2. Britney Spears/Womaniser

britney_spears_womanizer

[Image found here @ wikipedia]

The comeback single for Britney and what a song it is. The female issues it touches on could be a whole other post for me but I will leave it at that. It was a great choice for a song, sounded like an epic Britney song.  The song peaked at #3 in the UK chart.

1. Beyonce Knowles/Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)

beyoncesingleladies

[image found here @ wikipedia]

If you like, if you like, then you shouldda…..

Bee steps back into the ring, except she will not be chewing opponents ears of like Mike Tyson. Audacious lyrics backed by a repetitive, almost chant like instrumental makes this song memorable not forgetting the dance moves, even when does a Kongolese style Ndombolo gyration at 0.50seconds in the video.

Conclusion: That concludes my 7 favourite songs of the year. I hope 2009 will bring more memorable songs for us all. Which songs did you like?

Black Female Singers in the 2008 UK Charts

2008 is wrapping up so I thought it would be interesting to see how black/mixed-race/ethnic/singers have done in the UK chart. This is in no particular order and I would be interested to hear your thoughts about how they have done.

Figures Overview:

  • 4 Black female singers took the #1 on top of the UK chart
  • 9 weeks = total of how long all the #1s of the singers added together stayed on the top of the charts
  • 100,000 albums sold of the album Shine in the UK in 2008. It is certified gold by  British Phonographic Institute [BPI].

[Sources for statistics: Official Charts Company and British Phonographic Institute]

In descending order by letter, these 4 singers are…

1. Rihanna: The Barbadian singer scored another UK #1 with ‘Take a Bow’. The song stayed at #1 for 2 weeks. I’m interested to see what will happen for her next album. I know I am tough on her but that’s only because I am still sitting on the fence about her b/c sometimes she’s cool and then other times, it’s like@ wtf. 2009 should be release of her next album so we’ll see.

leona-lewis-1

2. Leona Lewis: In January 2008, Leona’s debut album ‘Spirit’ was certified six times Platinum which meant…

1,800,000 albums sold in the United Kingdom alone.

Phenomenal numbers for a debut but this girl deserves it. She can sing her arse off and that is not an overstatement.

Leona scored another #1 this year with ‘Run’, her cover of the Snow Patrol song which is #1 for 2 weeks as I type.

estelle

3.Estelle:

West London girl scored a #1 hit with ‘American Boy’ with Kanye West.

So ironic that she got no love and now she is a transatlantic criticically acclaimed sensation.

Love Estelle and what a beauty too. She really is stunning. She has very striking African features.

Her song ‘American Boy’ was #1 between March and April for 4 weeks. Her album, Shine, as mentioned above went Gold with 100K sales.

 

bee-los-principales

4. Beyonce

Bee released her 3rd album ‘I Am…Sasha Fierce’ in the UK on 18 November 2008.

She debuted with around 38,000 sales of the album, charting at #10.

While this wasn’t what I expected to be honest, she sold 34,000 of B’Day in its first week in the UK so it is an improvement!

Her song ‘If I were a Boy’ charted at #2 first and then fought its way to #1 and stayed there for one week.

One of Bee’s singles that did really well in the UK was ‘Beautiful Liar’ with Shakira, a song I barely listen to lol. It was certified silver with sales of 200,000.

 All in all, 2008 has been a good year for black women in the UK chart. I’m excited to see where 2009 will take black female singers in the UK.

Pursuit of Longevity: The Business Behind [X] Factor

Alexandra Burke, the 20 year old girl from Islington, north London won the competition last week. This competition created the force that is Leona Lewis, who has had sales of circa 4.5million CDs of her first album ‘Spirit’ and its’ rerelease.

Give me the numbers: What’s even more fascinating than her actual win from a business perspective is that Burke’s rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen is the fastest selling download ever in the UK, usurping Leona of that record which Lewis held for a few weeks.

More than 105,000 downloads were done of the song were done fewer than two hours since the show ended.

All that shines…: Simon Cowell has created a media empire. And before I get accused of bias, I think he is a very clever businessman who has worked for every pound that he earns. So, I will not be slagging him off. The Metro has revealed the following concerning the X Factor and how much can be earned by the winner, which is Ms Burke:

  • £150,000 advance, rest of £1m prize to be used on recording and promotion costs
  • 15% [potentially] earned from single and album sales
  • 15% of merchandise sales
  • 7.5% of a headline tour as profit

[Source: Metro Newspaper]

But why is everyone in the media surprised about this?! I wasn’t. I am no expert in the music industry but it is obvious first-time artists will not be laden with dosh with the likes of say Madonna who have been around since the Stone Age or people like Babyface who write everything under the sun.

Staying relevant: In a hip hop dvd called ‘BEEF’, I remember seeing a different looking Saigon saying how record labels can be ‘pimps’ and if you are not making enough money, they basically blank you. Unfortunately, that is what has happened to Steve Brookstein, the first winner of the X Factor in 2004. He was dropped by SONY BMG soon after. Many people who have been on the show and on Pop Idol have not been as successful as Leona Lewis or Rhydian Roberts. What’s more is that Rhydian, an operatic style singer from Wales, who lost the 2007 X Factor final, actually sold more albums than the winner, Leon Jackson, who has struggled to find form.

Marketing is Key: I think Alexandra Burke can only be successful if she is marketed properly. She is a beautiful black woman and Leona is also a beautiful mixed-race/black woman. However, people are already comparing the two saying that ‘we already have Leona’ etc. I don’t believe this for a minute. There is room for great music. Both of these black females should be able to make it irrespective of each other because they are so different. Leona has a magical quality to her voice, that sounds almost seraphic – it is grand and distinguished. Yet, Alex’s voice is gutsy, gritty and you can her the passion in her voice too.

I think the question for Alex and all future winners of the X Factor is what can they do constantly step up their game? Alex’s debut album is getting released in 2009 so we’ll have to wait and see. All I know is the media can turn against winners very quickly and make them into losers, when they have just had bad luck.

Black Girls in Magazines: Leona in Glamour (UK)

All images are from Leona-Lewis.net

Leona is doing a lot of promo for Spirit’s rerelease. I may get that rerelease seeing that I never got the first alb, but I love ‘Bleeding’.