There is more than a faint whiff of classic disco about the record. The accompanying video accentuates the feel of diva-centered disco. Kelly Rowland and her vocals are the total focus with glimpses of David Guetta to the side putting together all of the supporting elements for the song.
A tremendous achievement of this recording of "Wild Horses" is it takes Susan Boyle's already familiar vocal approach out of the realm of show tunes and pop standards into material emerging out of rock. This effort is undertaken without compromise and the results are impressive.
The intimate production takes listeners back to the singer-songwriter and California-based light rock of the early 70's and possibly even further back to folk-pop of the 60's. The melody is instantly memorable and feels a bit like a warm quilt wrapped around on a cool fall night. "Who Says" is a reminder that a well-written song, simple arrangement and quiet delivery can create some of the most powerful pop music.
Ryan Tedder and the band seem to have an endless inventory of sounds to use and layer as the song progresses. This structure prevents any possible boredom from the repetitive nature of the chorus. "All the Right Moves" is a recording lovingly structured by an expert at work. Tedder has spent much of the past year creating hit recordings for other artists as songwriter and/or producer. Here he shows that he did save some exciting "moves" for his own band.
This record demonstrates again that one of the primary keys to the success of Kris Allen as a performer and now recording artist is almost uncanny skill at selecting material to sing that maximizes the presentation of his talents. It's very easy here to envision Kris Allen giving an energetic and engaging live performance.
"Russian Roulette" will never be the crowd-pleaser that Rihanna's mega-hit "Umbrella" is. However, it is a work of gorgeous melancholy and dread. Frequent collaborator Ne-Yo helps take Rihanna into uncompromisingly adult territory in the wake of the domestic violence in her relationship with Chris Brown. "Russian Roulette" is dark, but there is beauty here as well.
The powerful irony contained in "Already Gone" is that its stately backing track and slow, but steady beat would make it perfect for a slow dance. However, the tone and sentiment of the song would make it the most heartbreaking of songs for sharing a dance with a lover. This irony alone would put "Already Gone" on the short list of great breakup songs.
This is Cobra Starship's big pop breakthrough. Gabe Saporta's vocals are engaging, and look for crowds to be having a great time with this on the dance floor. The lyrics are silly but they really aren't much more than a draw to the song and then add to the sound collage. Leighton Meester has a slightly tough edge to her voice that draws us in as well.
Many fans and critics saw Sean Kingston's rise as little more than a novelty, but "Fire Burning" is a strong statement for sticking around. Due to his unique voice, there is no mistaking this is a Sean Kingston record. However, this is a move forward and no hint of sameness with his first album.