Friday, 4 October 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Jessica Mauboy - Beautiful

Jessica Mauboy since her explosive catapult to the spotlight from being the ‘quiet Darwin girl’ has evolved to a global superstar, boasting an array of achievements recognised all over the world. Her recent success with comedy musical film The Sapphires has firmly cemented Jessica as Australia’s sweetheart. After a  whirlwind of success for the past three years, Jessica Mauboy is back with her brand new album Beautiful which serves as her 3rd studio album, following from her Gold-Certified album Get ‘Em Girls which featured the hits ‘Inescapable’, ‘Saturday Night (Feat. Ludacris)’ and ‘Galaxy (Feat. Stan Walker)’.

After her break from music, Jessica catapulted back onto the scene with first single ‘To The End Of The Earth’ which premiered during the NRL State of Origin Decider match in July and had an accompanying video that captured beautiful landscapes of the Northern Territory, Jessica’s homeland. The song itself however presented a new direction for Jessica, an energetic and emotive yet melodic sound, proving her malleability as an artist (which requires true talent). The song scored a Top 25 hit, peaking at Number 21 in the ARIA Charts giving Jessica another hit to her name. Some considered this as a lukewarm hit and not enough to lead into an album so the next single ‘Pop A Bottle (Fill Me Up)’ was revealed as the second and lead single through Jessica’s well utilised Instagram account.

After a number of teasers, ‘Pop A Bottle (Fill Me Up)’ was released on 27th September 2013. As a complete pop stomper of a song, it has won over many Australians, bringing Jessica back into leading the charts, peaking on iTunes at the top spot. ‘Pop A Bottle’ is a fun yet simple song that celebrates the love of celebrating life. Jessica since releasing the lead single has performed it on the X-Factor to a bemused crowd filled with cheer.

Beautiful showcases Jessica’s evolution as a prominent artist and one of very few successful female artists in Australia. Sonically, the album is a departure from her previous R&B route but still intricately features elements of her earlier sound throughout the album. Jessica is credited on the album as a co-producer and vocal producer, which shows her growth as an artist and her determination to have her mark on her work. Jessica herself has stated that she is a big fan of the 90’s sound and refers to dance acts like La Bouche, Corona & Real McCoy as an inspiration to the overall sound of this album. The 90’s throwback is an underlining element in every song on this modern album that makes this  feel sentimental but still evoking a very fresh sound.

As soon as the album starts with the title track ‘Beautiful’, you can hear an established singer welcoming listeners to the singer’s new journey and in this case, it’s Jessica introducing her new sound and musical direction. It is an up-tempo track that sustains a level of mellowness which makes the track an electric foot-tapper. This formula is also demonstrated in ‘I Believe’ which is on the first third of the album.

It wouldn’t be a Jessica Mauboy album without beautiful yet dramatic songs with a pumping beat. ‘Never Be The Same’ showcases as a mid-tempo track with a level of oomph in the chorus, taking the song to another level of meaning. A highlight of this kind of sound is on the track ‘Go (I Don’t Need You)’, which serves as the albums fiercest song. ‘Go (I Don’t Need You)’ is perhaps the most urban track on the album and in the song demands that she be left without the person who is trying to hold on to her.

‘In Love Again’ is the ballad of the album. The song and melody sparks from the 90’s ballad sound and you could almost hear a 90’s songstress on the track like Monica, Brandy or Mariah. This track is the beautiful song on the album that listeners would play if they were simply starting to fall in love again and Jessica makes it that much easier with her soothing voice and powerful adlibs on the track.

Fans of Jessica’s debut album will love tracks like ‘Honest’, ‘Kiss Me Hello’ and ‘Barriers’ which are reminiscent of her early days as a pop star but the difference being her established flair for song writing and vocals on the tracks. ‘Honest’ in particular stands out from these tracks as it has an ever-changing flow throughout the song accompanied by Jessica’s vocals which also change styles throughout the track.

The two pop highlights would definitely be ‘Heartbreak Party’ & the surprise collaboration with international star Pitbull on the song ‘Kick Up Your Heels’. ‘Heartbreak Party’ plays as the best pop song on the album, following from ‘Maze’ which was a fan favourite from her last album Get ‘Em Girls and unfortunately it doesn’t seem like it will be a single. The song is an up-tempo melodic song about having moved on from an ex boyfriend/girlfriend with them wanting to be back together. Essentially it is an amazing break-up pop song, telling the ex to simply ‘move on’.

The Pitbull featured song, ‘Kick Up Your Heels’ serves as the last song on the album and is a very incredible surprise. It definitely is the winner for the stand out song as it sounds completely different from everything on the album and in the charts. Pitbull delivers an iconic introduction which pays homage to Australia, himself and of course Jessica. It’s a throwback to the 60’s up-tempo swinging pop sound with an almost vaudevillian touch to it. If released as a single it will completely reshape what you ever expected from both of them.

As a whole, Jessica’s third album Beautiful is full of hits and a new sound, demonstrating her force and strength in the pop music industry. The album tracks alone are of such high quality which should ensure a very successful era for the beautiful Jessica Mauboy.

Beautiful is out in stores now and on iTunes.

Blayke Tatafu Web Developer

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Monday, 8 July 2013

Mutya Keisha Siobhan - Flatline

It has been almost a year since fans and public have heard the announcement that the iconic, original Sugababes were getting back together known as Mutya Keisha Siobhan. The knowledge of their return has blown up headlines letting the United Kingdom and the rest of the world know that these girls are back, with a promise to restore faith and perfection in Pop Music.

During the arduously long wait, we have been gifted with some treats that have tided us over until we heard their first single. All diverse and possibly showcasing their talent of creative diversity, an a capella of 'Boys', a feature on a remix of Phoenix's 'Entertainment' and the iconic interpolation of Kendrick Lemar's 'Swimming Pools', 'Lay Down in Swimming Pools' were 'released' on the net to show everyone what to expect from the legendary original Sugababes; each with many articles, posts and tweets of praise. The public were ready to have Mutya Keisha Siobhan in full force.

On July 4th at 2PM (BST), the girls unleashed their highly anticipated first single 'Flatline' to eager fans and a very excited public on their Soundcloud which has exploded everywhere online since. Multiple blogs, websites and artists have shared their admiration for their triumphant return with 'Flatline'.

Flatline is written by Mutya Keisha Siobhan and produced by the unique, cool Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange) who has recently been praised for his work with Solange Knowles on her latest release 'True'. Flatline is a beautiful pop song that describes a relationship that is slowly but surely dying and the hope that their 'flatline' in love will be repaired by a 'wave'.

The production itself provides a slick, fresh sound and from its originality, does not sound like anything that's in the charts. You can hear the vibe of an 80's pop influence and a beat that creates the framework for an anthem and their vocals are incredibly immense.

Like an nod to their first single 'Overload' as Sugbabes back in 2000, Siobhan starts the song off, catapulting herself and the legendary girls back to the 'scene and in just a line of lyrics sung, reclaiming back the throne as the UK's best girl group of all time. In each of their own way, Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan lay down some serious vocals on this song which showcases their individual, unique voices that fans have been in love with for over a decade now.

Lyrically, the song is one of the best any incarnation of the Sugababes has ever been able to conjure, and shows that Mutya Keisha Siobhan are completely in control of their music and choose to bring a sound that represents themselves in this decade which has once again, will be completely different to anything we have heard from the girls in the past.

This week, the girls will be collaborating with the creative likes of KT Auleta in Los Angeles & New York to film the music video. Judging from the song and work of KT Auleta, this single is looking to be the biggest of 2013 and the biggest 'comeback' we have ever seen.

Flatline will definitely see a blast of Mutya Keisha Siobhan in all music markets and reaffirm their grip on blessing the world in releasing captivating, fresh and exciting music. Do yourself a favour and introduce yourself to the future of pop music and embrace Mutya Keisha Siobhan's first single, Flatline.

For more of the almighty Mutya Keisha Siobhan:

Twitter: @MKSOfficial

Mutya Buena: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Keisha Buchanan: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Siobhan Donaghy: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Blayke Tatafu Web Developer

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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Mutya Keisha Siobhan

The Sacred Three (L-R): Siobhan Donaghy, Mutya Buena & Keisha Buchanan

It’s been a while since I have written a blog post, or even looked at my blog for that matter. What made me decide to re-visit writing again was my first love of music; Mutya Keisha Siobhan. If you’re reading this from either my Facebook or Twitter – you would know that I at least talk about this trio every week about how incredible/talented/beautiful they are. Well I wanted to write down my personal thoughts about them, which will hopefully answer some ambiguity around why I like them so much.
Fresh Faced in 2000 as 'Sugababes'

I have been a fan of Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan since I was eight years old in 2000, a time when they were establishing their careers under the name of Sugababes to which these girls brought about critical/credible acclaim, international success and securing the legacy for forever being known as; the original Sugababes. Considering the lack of access to music and music videos thirteen years ago, I always was very aware of what music I liked listening to. Growing up with Reggae, 80’s Rock and R&B had it quite set that Pop was not naturally a choice of mine. However, these ladies (at the time – fresh faced girls in their early teens) changed my whole life (musically of course).

I am now twenty years old and still to this day; I still love this group – now under the name Mutya Keisha Siobhan. Over the years (with huge reference to the history of ‘Sugababes’), I have had three big, bad breakups with ‘Sugababes’ (or at least it felt like it) when each of the original members left or were no longer in the group. Siobhan left Sugababes when I was nine, in 2001. I did not have the means like I have today to learn everything as it happens so the effect was shocking in a very odd way.

It was by 2003, being 11 years of age that I had found my favourite member of the group, Mutya – who has gone on to be my favourite singer ever. I got two years of focusing on only her verses in songs; awaiting her responses in interviews and having my early teenage life revolve around her. She eventually left Sugababes in 2005. It was the beginning of the rise of Social Media and my involvement with online pop music forums, where I frequented reading the Official Sugababes Forum. Finding out that way and reading the management-written message ‘from Mutya’ absolutely devastated me. As a selfish, devoted fan I would write on my MySpace and Bebo about how upset I was, welling up every time I listened to ‘Ugly’ – her last single with the group.

The group continued with Keisha remaining as the sole surviving original member of the group. Looking back at it now, I am so glad this happened because I got to understand and respect Keisha in a way I never had before. She was holding the force behind the group and the only reason I still held on, paying attention. I began to realise that Keisha was an amazing songwriter, pouring her heart and soul into her lyrics, delivering them with incredible conviction. By September 2009, Keisha was no longer a member of the Sugababes and with her exit, my loyalties to the Sugababes.

This year, Mutya Keisha Siobhan are releasing their first single and album together in thirteen years! 

With their return, there shall be a filling of a void that plagued the pop music industry when credibility, creative control and excellence was considered 'second priority' - with the implosion of 'throwaway' electronic-dance hits. I could not be any more excited (or I’ll seriously burst!). I have grown up listening to the many variations of Sugababes; also, Siobhan and Mutya in their solo careers, identifying their individual styles and techniques in their vocals. I am going to write about the girls individually:

There’s too much to say and not enough time to even consider how to put into words about how much I adore Mutya. I have to say she is definitely the best singer I have ever heard and the only celebrity I have ever ‘idolised’. She has such a smooth, soulful voice to a point where I feel like melting. You would absolutely understand if you knew her voice! Her voice is one that major names in the United Kingdom are all aware of and want – Mutya’s debut solo album, correctly titled ‘Real Girl’ boasted collaborations with George Michael, Amy Winehouse and Groove Armada. It goes without saying her personality shines through everything she does (i.e. her Twitter page), keeping it real and never letting her talent and fame take over who she is; who she always has been. I admire that about a celebrity – identifying with them as a person. I am also beyond humbled that Mutya has also recognised my loyalty to her career and has taken the time to get to know who I am and even to consider me as an ‘amazing friend'.

I have so much respect for Keisha. She is definitely what I would call the ‘Ultimate Sugababe’. Keisha managed to persevere with two of her childhood friends leaving a group that they created together. Conscious of her arduous efforts throughout the years, I see her to be the business-savvy one, standing out with her distinctive and versatile voice. Like I mentioned before, her song writing skills and eagerness to have that creative control is just incredible – not many singers in groups usually want to have creative control, or are able to effectively deliver that ‘control’. She is the only one of the three who has not yet released any solo material, despite recording and writing since her being a solo artist.

Siobhan could be characterised as a mythical creature – magical, mysterious and majestic. Her solo career knocked out all conceptions of what a ‘pop singer’ should sound like and really made it hard for me not to take notice of her. I will reference her 2007 opus, ‘Ghosts’ in saying this, which is an album that all of her fans will know and understand why it is cherished. ‘Halcyon Days’, one of the songs on the album is the sole reason for the name of my blog. The album has ‘that’ effect on me, it is truly so special. Not even the dreamy songstress Enya has been able to take me away to ‘that place’ far from reality (in its dreamy indescribable existence) like Siobhan has.

Being a massive fan of Mutya Keisha Siobhan has been like a rollercoaster. Anticipating on any news of their first single has become a daily (sometimes hourly) ritual for me, frequenting all the major pop music sites to find out if ANYTHING has been mentioned which at this point, nothing has been confirmed. Since finding out their reunion as a group in July 2012 (which was the worst-kept-secret), there’s been no indication of what their musical output will sound like, which is irritating and fine in its own way because I have complete faith that with each of these girls heavily committed to the group – will the music be incredible and yet another defining moment in Pop Music/History and my life.

I could almost prove my statement just before this by the reception of the song that Mutya Keisha Siobhan have recorded ‘for a bit of fun’ at the end of their recording sessions with Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange). It was uploaded by Dev Hynes himself on his SoundCloud account and has been garnering attention from every media outlet in the UK and many blogs/websites/forums on the internet. Like the talent that these girls individually and collectively muster, it cannot be read; but heard:

I would be stating the obvious in saying that my dream is to meet them, hear them sing live and have them tour Australia… right?! Well it’s my only dream that has always stayed the same.

I implore you to do a little searching yourself familiarising yourself with the girls, the almighty Mutya Keisha Siobhan:

Mutya Buena: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Keisha Buchanan: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Siobhan Donaghy: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Thank you if you have managed to read all of this and a big thank you to Mutya Keisha Siobhan for making a long-time wish come true.
Blayke Tatafu Web Developer

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