Sounds From Nowheresville
With their 2008 debut, We Started Nothing, Manchester duo The Ting Tings reassured listeners that pop music could be cool. This long-awaited follow-up shows it can have depth, too, being rich in variety, production nous and songwriting savvy. Bookended by the swelling opener, “Silence”, and melancholic finale “In Your Life”, the album blends feisty hip-hop beats, surly rock’n’roll riffs, a touch of reggae and catchy choruses to create pop perfection.
Our Version of Events
If the artist of last year was Adele and the brightest new star of 2010 was Janelle Monáe, it seems fitting that this year’s next big thing blends the classy soulfulness of the former with the hip-hop thrust (and gravity-defying quiff) of the latter – and adds her own special something to boot. Scotland’s Emeli Sandé has the soaring, passionate voice, but that would barely matter if she didn’t have the songs, too. Our Version Of Events isn’t an instant classic, but it’s a pretty attractive introduction.Getting better with age
Back after a long hiatus, Kiwi singer/songwriter Bic Runga is older, a mother and, it seems, “this girl’s prepared for war” – as the title to one of the tracks from her new pop/folk album, Belle, attests. At 36, she’s bagged a string of awards, including an APRA Silver Scroll Songwriting Award and several Tuis (New Zealand Music Awards). Unfazed by a youth-obsessed industry, real artistry for Runga is staying true to her core beliefs. “Know who you are at all times,” she asserts. “It’s not about reinventing yourself, it’s about becoming more yourself.”
Belle (Sony) is out now.