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Kenan Dogulu "Aska Turlu Seyler" (2012)

In most Europe, Kenan Doğulu is known for his contagious Shake It Up Şekerim. However, those who expect to find a new Shake It Up Şekerim in Aşka Türlü Şeyler  will waste their time. In 2009, when Doğulu released his first album after Eurovision, Patron, eurovisionontop.com introduced him as The Turkish Timberlake in a good mix of pop and world music. However, anyone who hopes to find something like Timbarlake in Aşka Türlü Şeyler will waste their time. Excluding the tracks on which Doğulu Kenan takes the help of İskender Paydaş - Doktor-and Ozan Doğulu - Bunlar Da Geçe and Kalp Kalbe Karşı -, this is an album strongly supported by ballads, something that is well mirrored in the singles Bal Gibi, Güle Güle, or even in the latest promotional release, Şeytan Tuyú. On the interpretative side, we find out a Kenan Doğulu far superior to his performance in Helsinki, with an emotive delivery quite evident, as is the case in the opening track, Aşka Türlü Şeyler. In the instrumental field, and even in the most rhythmic tracks, the execution is of high quality and Zevk Alalım reveals itself as one of the highlights from this new record. For those who are not very familiar with the Turkish sounds may be tempted to swear finding French influences in Tencere Kapak or Brazilians and Russians inflows in Bisiklet. Interestingly, İstanbul is the track that sounds less Turkish in this new record, happening the same with the songs Hayırdır İnşallah and Şans Meleğim. Aşka Türlü Şeyler shows us a matured and grown artist where Kenan Doğulu  writes and composes 15 out of the 16 new tracks. **** Carlos Carvalho

Maria Teresa (Sabrina) "Faltam-me as palavras" (2012)

While Espacial (record company) is promoting Maria Teresa as the female voice revelation of the end of 2012, for the eurofans Falta-me as Palavras is the turning of the page in the career of Sabrina and the full activation of the artistic potential of Maria Teresa - real name of the Portuguese representative at the Eurovision Song Contest 2007. Faltam-me as Palavras is a really rupture with the past and a startling surprise, where the folk pop ballads play the key role, and  instruments like pedal steel, harmonica and violin welcomes the country music at its most pop and crossover side. Vocally, Maria Teresa is far from the natural strength of a country or a folk singer, but her interpretations, much richer in the emotional field than in the technical side, give the album a consistency and a safe bet in the (re) born of this new career which, in many instances, lead us to the musical universe of the Brazilian superstar Paula Fernandes, although Maria Teresa holds no writing credits to any of the tracks. The first single, the song that gives title to the album, it mirrors the musical soul of Maria Teresa perfectly, which aims to be understood in an universal scale through the bilingual track After Summer. Faltam-me as Palavras, produced by Ricardo Landum, probably the best known Portuguese music producer, contains many highlights, such as E Eu só Penso em Ti; Detalhes de Mim and Não Consigo. The ballads sequence is broken by one of the weakest moments of the album, A Nossa Canção de Amor and the record finishes with São Saudades, a beautiful and sad song, not being necessary to understand Portuguese to feel the emotions of this track. Faltam-me as Palavras is a serious contender to transform Maria Teresa in one of the most successful eurovision portuguese artists from the last 20 years. **** Carlos Carvalho

Daniel Diges "Donde estabas tu en los 70?" (2012)

The 70's from the twentieth century were a decade filled with important historical events with irreversible social changes, ain't no doubt about it. So, naturally, the musical booty of the 70's is rich and therefore there ain't any need of explanations to pay tribute to this cultural richness. However, if we decide to make an album of covers, especially doing songs that somehow helped to build certain aspects of the collective memory of a country, you have to bring something new to those songs, otherwise we easily have the feeling that we are attending at a Karaoke event, and excluding the vocal excellence of Daniel Diges, unfortunately ¿Dónde estabas tu en los 70? leads us to that feeling. Daniel Diges is one of Spain's most talented artists of his generation, having in its curriculum several achievements with his work. However, in the music business, Daniel Diges is still looking for his identity. Thus, with this new album it seems that Diges is trying to seize all the opportunities to remind us that he is also a singer and that he wants to pursue a recording career seriously. However it seems to us that Daniel will face serious difficulties to achieve his dream with such a record. The singer of Algo pequeñito deserves something bigger and it will probably be just a matter of time for him to find the right team. While this doesn't happens and if are unable to attend at the Teatro Calderon in Valladolid to see his performance in La bella y la Bestia, we may recall some classic Spanish songs as the first single, Help! (Ayudame), Hoy tengo ganas de ti and  Eres tú, the song immortalized by Mocedades that represented Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest 1973. ** Carlos Carvalho

Mandinga "Club de Mandinga" (2012)

Placing 12th at the Eurovision final would be a great achievement for many artists who try their luck at this event, however for Mandiga this result turned out to be a little disappointing. Willing to fire the Land of Fire with their mix between latin and dance rhythms, and also between the Spanish and English languages, the truth is that the result was a bit cold. Still, Mandiga are now trying to spread their dance fire through their new album, Club of Mandiga, although we believe that the flame will be very harmless, because this album has, undoubtedly, more negative aspects than positive ones. We begin by the titles of the songs. Along the toggle between Spanish and English, among the 13 songs featured in Club de Mandiga there are a lot of them using the verb "to give" in its titles, for example, Tú me das; Gimme some more; Dáme dáme or even Dáme calor. If the lack of inspiration is pathological when it comes to the choice of titles, in musical terms the group reinforces this gap. It is true that it is a dance album, but being the overwhelming majority of the tracks grounded in a marriage between dance beats and Latin rhythms with powerless chorus and highly repetitive - see the case of the new single, Papichulo - this Club of Mandiga  threatens to win the prize for the most boring dance album of all time. To save us from the monotony we have, oddly, a ballad: Sufletul zâmbea and the reggae inspiration in Gimme Some More. So, If we want go to a club one of these weekends, the club Mandiga will certainly not be the best choice. However, one thing we cannot complain: Mandiga took to Eurovision the best they had to offer, Zaleilah, and as a bonus we can listen to a remix of it as the closing track of the album: Zaleilah (Quentin Remix). * Carlos Carvalho

Loreen "Heal" (2012)

The eurovision fans never had expected so much for a record to be released as they did for the long-awaited debut album of Loreen, Heal. Regardless of individual tastes, the victory of Euphoria, in Baku, manage the general consensus that it was, both in music and in the performer, a first place stamped with the symbol of quality for the masses. Thus, the expectation increased until that the long awaited moment has arrived: Heal. The debut album of Loreen is a dance record, but miles away from the abundant and disposable projects of this kind of music. Heal reveals itself, at each and every song, as an extremely planned album where the main elements are always the songs and the voice of Loreen, and despite the rich, modern and quality production, each track is strong enough to be "undressed" and to be reduce to the vocals and a piano, and - just like the big songs and the great artists - even in this stripped state, these songs would / will be able to transmit a range of emotions widely varied. With a production signed by a large team, which includes on its majority the names of Tortuga, SeventyEight and Moh Denebi, Heal is an album that seems that it was inspired by big names. Thus, the track In my head may remind us Everything But The Girl; If she's the one, Kosheen, or even more impressive, Everytime, Massive Attack and the brilliant Sidewalk, Björk. The singles released prior to Euphoria - My Heart Is Refusing Me and Sober - have benefited from new productions, especially the first one and if we search for weak links, we find out the less inspired pop moments of Breaking Robot and See you again. However, the intensity, the intimate nature and the obscure and dark strenght of songs such as Do we even Matter, Heal and Crying out your name will convert this record in a timeless debut. Over the past 10 years, the most significant stars in the music industry were female artists: Amy Winehouse and Adele. Loreen is strong enough and has the x factor to be the next one. ***** Carlos Carvalho

Ruslana "ЕЙ-форі-Я!" (EY-fori-Ja!)" (2012)

We all know that Euphoria is the title track of the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, but perhaps we don’t Know that Euphoria is also the title of the new album by the winner of Eurovision 2004, Ruslana, and we also don’t know that this Euphoria has the signature of the composer of the winning song of Eurovision 2011, Stefan Örn. Facts and eurovision curiosities aside,  ЕЙ-форі-Я (EY-fori-Ja!) is the latest studio album from Ruslana, the first since Амазонка / Wild Energy, 2008. And what to say about this new record? Ruslana's fans will love it. Who dislike her, will hate it and who will listen to Ruslana for the first time may have a good surprise. Well, this new album is not exactly a novelty in Ruslana's world: the long-time collaborators, Vlad DeBriansky and Oleksandr Ksenofontov, are present, and even the characteristics words of Ruslana also mark the point, since the "Go Go Gos" to  the "Na na nas" , not forgetting the "La la las." However, an Americanized touch on some of the tracks, especially in the first and fourth singles, Вау! (Vau!) and Мій Брат! "(Miya Brat), respectively, allows to give it a breath of fresh air and with the help of good videos through which those songs are visualized, Ruslana can win many new fans. Other highlights in this new album are Рахманінов (Rakhmaninov), a sort of cross between Euro-pop and classical music - interesting! -; Край (Kray), a composition of Serbian musician Goran Bregovich, and the track that gives its name to album, ЕЙ-форі-Я! (EY-fori-Ja!). Just like her two last records, Дикі Танці (Dyki Tantsi) and Амазонка (Amazonka), the release of this new album, ЕЙ-форі-Я (EY-fori-Ja !), in English is expected in the near future. **** Carlos Carvalho

Rui Bandeira "Chegou a hora" (2012)

From the distant year of 1999 in Jerusalem, until now in 2012, Rui Bandeira held a rich path in portuguese music and in addition to Rita Guerra, he is the only portuguese eurovision singer from the last fifteen years with commercial success. Since 1999 he has released ten studio albums, two live albums, one of them (2011) recorded in one of the most emblematic portuguese concert halls: Coliseu do Porto. Rui Bandeira continues to rely on the collaboration of the same team of Como tudo começou, Jorge do Carmo Andrade and Tó Andrade, but his melodic line is far away from soft pop-rock presented ​​in Israel. How can we classify his new album, Chegou a hora? We are tempted to classify it as schlager or pop, but schlager hasn't got a correct translation in portuguese and pop is almost a forbidden word in the portuguese music. However, we insist and we classify it as a strong schlager / pop record with some latin influences. Recorded with respected musicians, such as Mário Rui Teixeira, this new record presents an emotionally rejuvenated Rui Bandeira with a range of songs strong enough to be in the coming months a constant presence on the radio, TV programs and at summer shows. Não me abandones agora and Chegou a hora (a song with a country felling) are the tracks chosen for promotional singles. But the Latin rhythms and the ballads are other strong points from the record, where Dona do meu coração and Agora estou com ela stand out. In the field of ballads, we have to listen to the brilliant duet between Rui and his 10 year old daughter, Barbara Bandeira, in És parte de mim. Now it's time to Rui Bandeira continue to shine. *** Carlos Carvalho

Zdob si Zdub "Basta Mafia" (2012)

A top band in Moldova, Romania and Russia; the first Moldovan representatives in the Eurovision Song Contest (2005), appearing again in 2011; owners of the best placement for Moldova at the Eurovision (6th in 2005); a band with long, acclaimed and successive international tours; a group with albums available on websites of various and disparate territories such as Portugal and Sweden, are just some of the Zdob şi Zdub's achievements. Artistically, Basta Mafia is not just an album, Basta Mafia is the album of Zdob şi Zdub . Presented by the press as Ethno Rock, Folk-punk, with several incursions in electronic (Running), alternative rock (Eternal Kiss), drum'n'bass, Rapcore (Trece vremea omului) gypsy punk (The holy fuel) not forgetting the strong metal section featured, for example, in the hallucinated So Lucky, Basta Mafia embraces the past, the present and gives us a glimpse of the future of this living legends of the Moldovan rock. The opening track, which is the song that gives title to the album, is not the most interesting of this new range of songs, but is the one which best reflects the various genres expressed above. This is an album that witness a band that grew up on the road, it's a record with attitude, charisma, instrumentally rich, in which we can enjoy a musical cocktail based on acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, sitar, piano, organ, keyboards, bass guitar, percussion, flute, trombone, trumpet, tuba, tenor horn and drums. Zdob şi Zdub tend to be compared to Red Hot Chili Peppers. Obviously that this comparison is a compliment but at the same time is very limited: hearing is believing. ***** Carlos Carvalho

Pastora Soler "Una mujer como yo" (2012)

Can the Eurovision Song Contest bring some benefit to a big national star? Pastora Soler has believed in those potential profits and accepted the proposal of RTVE to be the Spanish representative in Baku. But the best was yet to come and Quédate conmigo turns out to be a turning point in the career of Pastora Soler, a positive turning point, receiving enthusiastic reviews throughout Europe, resulting, after the contest, in the recording of its English version called Stay with me. That said, it is no surprise that her latest album Una mujer yo, originally released on October 2011, now has a new version, the Eurovision edition. This new edition features the twelve tracks from the original release, being added the songs with which Pastora Soler has presented as candidates to win the ticket to Azerbaijan: Tu vida es tu vida, Ahora o nunca and obviously the winning song. Una mujer yo as an album is strongly supported in ballads, where through the lofty vocal skills of Pastora Soler, love is sung, the joy of love is celebrated , the separation is dramatized and the desire to be with the person who completes us is evocated constantly. The first two singles from the album, Demasiado amor and No me da miedo are the perfect reflections of those states of mind. The track Una mujer yo is the emotional statement of a woman who is not afraid to love, and Vamos is a belief in second chances in a love relationship. The tracks Cantare and Soy de ti remind us of the early work of Pastora Soler, where flamenco influences were the cornerstone. Una mujer como yo is an album that will please all those who worshiped her eurovision performance, although it is a bit far from the international appeal of Quédate conmigo, which is a perfect contemporary love song. *** Carlos Carvalho

Edyta Gorniak "My" (2012)

Some artists are known mainly by their vocal abilities, others build a career based on their provocative attitude, something really common in the pop universe. However, there are a few artists who are gifted by both features. One of those artistic rarities comes from Poland and her name is Edyta Górniak. Her performance at the Eurovision Song Contest 1994, a blend between an innocent provocation and a spontaneous vocal grandeur, captured the attention of everybody, paving the way for the recording of an album made for the international market. The album Edyta Gorniak, released in 1997, achieved some remarkable success in countries such as Finland and Portugal. But consequently, something went wrong and, little by little, we saw Edyta disappearing from the international limelight and even from the public Polish eye. After some artistic indecisions and a few not so successful experiences, finally Edyta released her much anticipated new album, My. This new record is a perfect marriage between the outstanding Edyta's vocal habilities, a luxury pop production, strong melodic lines with a contemporary sound assisted with a touch of class. There are few adjectives to describe this pop perfection, but we cannot forget the production of Kondracki who seemed to be inspired by the work of Mark Bell (Björk) and contributed to Edyta presents us some of her best songs like (Let's) Save the World and the second single from the album, On the Run, which is promoted by Edyta's best video to date. This new album offers us some moments of contemporary dance music, as Consequences, and  the digital version of the record includes the amazing ballad Oj... kotkudo, taken from the movie Pokaż kotku, co masz w środku. Edyta Górniak could be the biggest pop star of all time and My could be a reference pop album. ***** Carlos Carvalho

Natasha St. Pier "Bonne nouvelle" (2012)

There is an ancient Greek thought which says that "nothing is constant except change." Natasha St-Pier seems to agree with that reasoning and presents us "Bonne Nouvelle", an album that breaks up with her musical past, which is strongly marked by far-reaching ballads such as "Je n'ai que mon âme", “Tu Trouveras”, "Alors on se raccroche" or "L'instant T". "Bonne Nouvelle" almost sounds like a californian record, but in french. This new record, as the previous works of Natasha, sings love, but it is far away from the drama that St-Pier had accustomed us, opting this time for lighter sounds, basically acoustic, reminding us sometimes Colbie Caillat. The best examples for this comparison are probably the first two singles from the record "Bonne Nouvelle" and the duet with Mickaël Miro, "Comme ca". The other tracks seem to follow the same spirit of the singles, showing us a new Natasha St-Pier, musically happier. The other highlights in "Bonne Nouvelle" are the songs that have arrangements with some slight reggae elements, such as "Meme pas peur", "Une petite fille" and "Pour ne never t'oublier." The song "J'aime ca," one of the most interesting offers from the album leads us to the environment of Carla Bruni, but with a piano, instead of an acoustic guitar. Overall, "Bonne Nouvelle" is the artistic irreverence of Natasha St-Pier. As the title suggest, having Natasha St-Pier back is undoubtedly a good new but it seems that this album will have some difficulty to have the same impact as its predecessors. *** Carlos Carvalho

Kristina "Na slnecnej strane sveta" (2012)

If we are minimally aware of the phenomena of the music industry we easily realize that sometimes just a single is enough to make an album a huge success. The opposite case also happens, a wrong choice of a first promotional single can compromise the reception of a whole album. The latter situation may be the case of Na slnečnej strane sveta, the last studio album of Kristína. So let's forget the first single - Jabĺčko - and let's concentrate on the excellent set of songs that this young Slovak singer has to offer us. Na slnečnej strane sveta ("On the sunny side of the world") is a pop album, but far from the bubblegum pop, as it presents a rich and careful production. Besides that the album is quite diversified, not giving the feeling, at the first

hearing that we're listening to the same song over and over again. In Na slnečnej Strane sveta, as its name indicates, Kristína celebrates the bright side of life and like she says "(...) is a unique album, full of emotion." The album opens up with the sunny second single Viem lebo viem, a song supported by an addictive riff of a harmonica. We still have mid-tempo rock songs as Prepadám. And you can believe that we don't need to speak slovak to be able to sing the chorus of Prepadám. The record also features the rhythmic electronic beat of Kam (a future single?) and a rich variety of ballads. Of the ballads, the highlights are the solemn and beautiful moment of Ľudskosť /Modlitba za ľudskosť ("Humanity / Prayer for Mankind") and the closing track, Tak ešte dajme si, which could also be the closing track of a great movie. But Na slnečnej Strane sveta has more, much more. **** Carlos Carvalho

Dan Ar Braz "Celebration" (2012)

There are artists who before arriving at the Eurovision Song Contest already have a long and rich artistic path able to make many international stars jealous of it.  After Eurovision these same artists manage to continue their brilliant career but for some reason they are almost ignored by the large majority of Eurovision fans. One such case is, without a doubt, Dan Ar Braz who along with extinct Héritage des Celtes represented France in Eurovision Song Contest, back in 1996. The contribution of Dan Ar Braz to the  french music, in general, and to celtic music, in particular, is undeniable. From his long discography, in addition to the records together with Héritage des Celtes, we have timeless works such as

"Douar Nevez", released in 1977 or "The Earth's Lament" from 1979. The new record, "Celebration" (the first since 2009), continues the committed to honor the celtic music and evoke all the feelings and dreams that this kind of music allows to transmit us. Once more, Dan Ar Braz is   accompanied with exceptional musicians and this time is also supported by two female voices on some tracks, which recalls the year 1996. However, "Celebration," as an album is melodically unbalanced. If the first part of the album is excels in this field, as from "Cornwall attitude" the album loses some of its beauty, returning to reacquire it in just a couple of tracks, such as "Amazing Grace" or "J'avais cinq enfants.".Also the fact that some of the songs are sung in English, as "Goodnight God", it seems to be misplaced. However and overall, "Celebration" is a delightful album with some beautiful tracks to listen to, such as "Belong": magnifique. *** Carlos Carvalho

Nicole "Jetzt komm ich" (2012)

When a seventeen year old girl, named Nicole, won the Eurovision Song Contest 30 years ago for Germany with the song "Ein bißchen Frieden," no one could guess what would happen 30 years later to this young girl. The fact is that it was a long-awaited victory for Germany - note that Germany was in the contest since its inception; and also it’s a fact that the song has achieved the number one in several charts across Europe, so these facts allows us to say that the dice were rolled for Nicole to remain in the collective memory of the german people for a long long time. And so it went. Since then, Nicole has built a solid career, away from the scandals of private life. It is true that she never managed to get another commercial success at the same level

as"Ein bißchen Frieden," but a solid fan base has at least enabled her to get moderate chart succes over the years and, above all, hugely successful tours. As for "Jetzt komm ich", it is true that this is a schlager record, but it is a schlager sound   that got stuck in the 80s of the last century, without the slightest sign of modernity. If it was supposed to feature pop melodies, "Jetzt komm ich" shows a serious lack of hooks for a pop album, being necessary to hear the songs a few times before it allows us to sing-a-long. On the positive side, we have three points to mention: the sweet voice of Nicole; the video for the opener track, "Jetz Ich Komm ', which presents a beautiful image and, finally, the version of" You're the voice ", originally recorded by John Fernham in1986. Maybe an album of covers would not be a bad idea for a next record. Nicole is back. As a former winner of Eurovision, she deserves our respect, but "Jetzt komm isch" does not seem to be an album that can attract new fans. * Carlos Carvalho

Regina "Kad poludimo" (2012)

If there is a rock band that despite doesn’t singing in English should be international, this band must be without a doubt Regina. If we listen to "Kad Poludimo", especially the first single, "Ptico mala", unfortunately we come to the conclusion that the economic and cultural lobbies can prevent music from fulfilling its major purpose: to be an universal language. Regina have been around now for quite a long time – their first record was released back in 1990 – but they still manage, creatively and emotionally, to bring something new with every single release – definitely a rare case in the rock industry. The main forces of the band still are the compositions of Aleksandar Čović and interpretative excellence of Davor Ebner. “Kad Pludinio” shows us especially the most

elegant and sophisticated side of rock music and songs like "In Balkanu" and "Kad poludimo" presents a more mature and musically enriched Regina, far from their first hits such as "Ljubav nije za in" and "Sama". The melodious and interpretive beauty of "Šve sto imam" gives us the chills down our spine even without understanding a single word of what is being sung. This new record, the first since "Vrijame je", 2009, despite being mostly a quiet album, presents us a lot of outstanding moments. Besides the songs mentioned above, we have, as a big surprise, “Oslobodi me", a retro song with a structure and arrangements inspired by the slight pop of the 70s, and the epic rock feeling of "Proći će”. Closing up this excellent set of songs, we can listen to "In Đurdjevdan," a song based on the composition patterns of the great Balkans ballads. With "Kad Poludimo" the four guys of Regina have outdone themselves. ***** Carlos Carvalho

Ott Lepland "Laulan ma sind" (2012)

When we think of Pop, and because we are influenced by the media, we automatically think of cheesy songs, with class B singers, without any kind of message to be transmitted. When we listen to Ott Lepland, we are forced to abandon this prejudice. Lepland, probably the best male voice of Eurovision Song Contest 2012, despite his young age, has rich interpretations, with a clear and unmistakable timbre, which doesn’t need any use of auto-tune. All these features are materialized in "Kuula" and without a big surprise Ott Lepland  managed a creditable sixth place at the final with a ballad sung in a language understood just by a minority of viewers and voters.

 The bad news is that "Laulan ma sind" doesn’t has anything close to the power and beauty of “Kuula”. The entire album is filled with songs that are really close to triviality, ranging from songs composed to sing-along, as it’s the case of “Öö", to melodies that bring some summer lightning, as it’s the example of "Imede öö". The truth is "Laulan ma sind" does not showcase the vocal greatness of Ott Lepland and even the production is not doing the songs any favours. However, the voice, as the focal point, raises some songs up, like "Tunnen Elus end", "Sa tead ju" and the duet with Lenna Kuurmaa, "Sinuni." This is not the album that will immortalize Lepland Ott. We'll be waiting for the next record, in which besides the technical brightness, also show us an authentic and grown artistic identity. ** Carlos Carvalho

maNga "E-akustik" (2012)

Long before the Eurovision Song Contest 2010, maNga was already a household name in Turkey with some international achievements, being the most notable one the winning of the award for “Best European Act” at the MTV Music Awards 2009. Then when maNga decided to take part at Eurovision in the following year with their debut english single – “We could be the same” - it meant they were ready for their ultimate international conquest. This glimpse was reinforced by a second english single, "Fly to Stay Alive" in 2011. In 2012, when we were awaiting the first international album, once more the band surprises all of us by the release of their most turkish album to date "e-akustic", which visits their past. Essentially this new record features songs from their previous studio albums, "manga", 2004, and "Sehr-i Hüzün", 2009, adding "We Could Be

 

 The Same", "Fly to stay awake" and some original tracks. However, "e-akustik" is not a "Best of" and should not be regarded as an inert past, but as a new perspective to understand their musical past, where all the songs acquire a new life, conveying the sensation that we are listening to a record of originals tracks. The instrumental performance is masterful and here the annulment of musical boundaries is done to perfection, and besides the rock, nu metal, rap, and hip hop, "e-aKustik" exalts the anatolian soul of maNga like an assertion of their turkish pride. This Turkish pride is present in the sound of the entire album and is sublimely reflected in "Hani Biz", the first single, an astonishing duet with the turkish pop folk authority, Yıldız Tilbe. The folk presence is also heard on the opening track, "Geldin Hill Hospital" which welcomes the avant-garde artist Arto Tunçboyacıyan. It's because of bands like maNga and albums like "e-akustik" that make the Eurovision Song Contest a must for all the lovers of good music. ***** Carlos Carvalho

Tom Dice "Heart for sale" (2012)

And now? After the successful experience in the flemish "X Factor" in 2008; after the huge success at the Eurovision Song Contest 2010; after an album that hit the top spot of Belgian charts; what's next? Tom Dice worked again with the same team of writers, composers and producers behind his first album and released "Love for Sale". This new record has got international potential but at the same time it seems that Tom Dice played too safe. The fact that the singer is supported again by the same team, this makes him returning with a similar sounding type of songs already heard in “Teardrops”, which can work out as a disadvantage for those who were expecting an artistically evolved Tom Dice.

This fact can prevent "Heart for Sale" from replicating Tom’s success with his debut. However, this is a very good album with a lot of pleasant songs with some potential singles, not having a single bad song. "Utopia," the first single - it is also worth seeing the video - is an elegant radiofrendly track, "Love for sale" is the most catchy song, showing caliber to become one of the greatest hits of Tom Dice and an excellent way to end up their concerts. " Wonderful" may not meet the record label’s requirements to be released as a single but, besides being one of the most intimate and beautiful tracks from the album, it will become a big fan favorite. The other interesting point but also working out as a disadvantage, is that Tom Dice is presented as singer-songwriter, however, if we look at his singles credits, we come to the conclusion that his involvement is minimal or null, which can lead us to question the merit of such a title.

**** Carlos Carvalho

Kate Ryan "Electroshock" (2012)

The lady from the french covers is back, but this time entirely in English and with no covers. Well, at least that’s what it seems when we read the album’s tracklist. Nevertheless the opening track - and the first single from the album, "Lovelife" - seems to be strangely familiar. No, it is not a cover but has a sample of "Narcotic" by Liquido. "Robots," the third single, it's based on the riff of the song Living on Video by Trans-X  and "Little braveheart", a duet with Charlotte Perrelli, contains some French lyrics. Covers, riffs and language aside, Kate Ryan embraces an 100% pop universe of international standards where competition is fierce, the sound updates are made to the speed of light, the videos are a centerpiece and tailored to MTV and other  

major tv music channels. So the music and voice are often reduced to mere props, and cannot therefore be taken very seriously.  "Electroshock," the new record album, fulfills all the requirements of it’s musical universe. "Lovelife" would be an international smash hit if it belonged to Kylie Minogue; "Believer" would give a new impetus to Madonna’s "MDNA"; "Everytime" reduces Katy Perry from an international star to a national one; "Walk to the beat" would make Britney Spears sigh for it and the video of "Robots" - the third single - could be an inspiration for Lady Gaga. Kate Ryan, one of the few truly international eurovision stars from the last twenty years, is back and stronger than ever. We hope the lobbies from the music industry do not choke "Electroshock". Nous adore Kate Ryan and she promises to regain the international charts.

**** Carlos Carvalho

Nina Zilli "L'amore è femmina" (2012)

Sometimes we have easy questions to answer; other times we are faced with extremely difficult questions to answer and there are still questions for which we'll never get the answers. An example of this latter group of questions could be: what would be the final result for Italy at Eurovision 2012 if “Per sempre” had taken part in this year’s contest instead of “L’amore è femmina”? We will never know that.  What we know is that Nina Zilli has a new album which, as it was too evident in "L'amore è femmina", is heavily inspired by the soul music from the 50s, 60s and 70s, making inevitable comparisons to Amy Winehouse. However, in terms of sound, and because Nina worked with several producers,

the album has a musical elasticity. The opener "Per le Strade", is the poppiest song but does not showcase Nina’s vocal ability. "Anna" has an intriguing orchestration that leads us to the world of Dick Tracy. "Non chi" shows us the emotional side Nina’s voice and "L'amore è feminna" is probably the song with the biggest international appeal. However, the remarkable moments of the album are undoubtedly "Per sempre" - a serious contender to become an italian’s classic - and "L’inverno all’improvviso". The haters of Nina Zilli will compare “L’inverno all’improvviso” to the evergreen “Stand by me” by Ben E. King. However, the similarity is only the structure of the song and "L’inverno all’improvviso" is certainly one of the most engaging and interesting tracks from this new record. "L'amore è femmina" will probably fail to establish Nina as an international artist but this is an elegant record with a touch of class.

**** Carlos Carvalho

Nucha "Num instante tudo muda" (2012)

“Num instante tudo muda” (in english “In an instant everything changes”) is the 8th album by portuguese singer Nucha. It’s mainly an acoustic and soft rock album and it possesses an extremely strong and personal meaning as it was recorded whilst Nucha was facing a battle against cancer. Probably for this reason, "Num instante tudo muda" seems to be lyrically and vocally much stronger than it’s melodies. Besides, if you listen to this record stripped of any information on possible choices from the record company to promote it, the following question can easily be put: "where is the hit"? "Sempre me dei a quem não me convém” is definitely a wrong choice for an opening track as it is one of the weakest links from the album. 

On the other hand, “Vou dançando ao luar" - one of the most promoted songs on tv shows - is undoubtedly a pleasant moment, where the sound of harmonic gives it an extra touch. When we hear the tracks number 8 and number 9 - "Não me esqueço" and “Só por ti (à tua espera) - we are convinced that the best was saved for the last but the biggest surprises are yet to come.“Vai ser diferente” besides being one of the strongest tracks of the album, is the most unexpected moment for the eurovision fans, especially for the diehard fans of Melodifestivalen, since "Vai ser diferente” is a version of " Empty room ", originally performed by Sanna Nielsen and runner-up in Melodifestivalen 2008.The sublime moment on this record, and one of the greatest of Nucha’s long career, is "11/11/11." A heartfelt interpretation about someone who is seriously ill and is asking not to be abandoned: creepy. Overall, "Num instante tudo muda” is a consistent album with a positive message.           *** Carlos Carvalho

Charlotte Perrelli "The girl" (2012)

This girl got lost at Melodifestivalen 2012, but this girl knows how to make good pop records. If we look back at Charlotte Perrelli’s discography, we find out, for example, through the albums "Miss Jealousy" (2001) and "Hero” (2008) that Charlotte had already proved that she could make extremely updated records in terms of production. With this new record, “The Girl”, Charlotte Perrelli did it again. “The Girl” is what we can call Power Pop. The greatest highlights of this power pop album are - besides the biggest injustice at this year’s Melodifestivalen,  “The Girl” - the strong and beautiful melodic lines on the tracks "Not just tonight" and "In the Sun"; the electronic farewell to sadness "No more black and blue" and the fresh and pleasant

beat of "Any love that is love."But the biggest surprise for the Eurovision fans is undoubtedly the duet between Charlotte and Kate Ryan (Belgium, 2006) - "Little brave heart." If "Little brave heart" is released as a single and if it is accompanied by a music video that reflects the spirit of the song, it can become a strong contender to be a smash hit at the charts, clubs, and airplays and it can even take Charlotte Perrelli to the level of the biggest names in pop 2012. But that’s not all: “Little brave heart” offers another big extra: at this track we can hear Charlotte Perrelli welcoming the contemporary dubstep. People use to say “Everybody loves a winner” and Abba sang “The winner takes it all”. Charlotte Perrelli was not the winner of Melodifestivalen 2012, but hopefully this will not affect the success that this album deserves. Charlotte Perrelli is one of the best pop singers and "The Girl" proves it. This album is a must have for any lover of good pop music.            **** Carlos Carvalho

Lovebugs "Life is today" (2012)

Three years after the critical and commercial success of the last studio album "The Highest Heights", Lovebugs are back with a new record that reaffirms the band not only as one of the best Swiss groups but also - when it comes to the spectrum of alternative rock / Britpop - as one of the greatest bands in the world. The new album - "Life is Today" - firstly known by the track "The Letting Go", a duet with Sarah Bettens (K's Choice), offers three minutes of an introspective beauty. The first official single, "Truth is," besides having all the necessary requirements to present a new album by a rock band, offers the best video of the band to date - which should have been shown in high rotation on every music channel.

The second official single, "Litltle boy," featuring the guest voice of Søren Huss, denounces the “sound mark” of "Life is Today", the Piano Rock, where, as the name suggests, the piano is used as the lead instrument instead of guitars. We listen to this "new sound" not only in "Little Boy", but also in "Cry your heart out" (feat. Rykka) and "60 FT. Napoleon." "Beautiful One", "Faint afterglow" and "Fortuna" reveal a prominent bass guitar which is reminiscent of the heyday of The Cure. "45 RPM (my whole life story)" and “Shaking the tree " smell like summer and one of the most best surprises is the ballad “Come to the end " by introducing a slight but striking and pleasant atmosphere created by the synths. Adrian Sieber and the whole band are in great shape and "Life is Today" promises to continue the successful story of one of the greatest swiss bands of all time.

***** Carlos Carvalho

Jill Johnson "Flirting with disaster" (2011)

 

What are the reasons for listening to the new album of Jill Johnson, "Flirting with Disaster"? We present you several reasons to do that: 1st) When "Flirting with Disaster" was released in Sweden in late 2011, it debuted at #1 at the Swedish album chart; 2nd) “Flirting with Disaster” became her tenth consecutive top-five album on the Swedish Albums Chart.; 3rd) and most important of all, "Flirting with Disaster" belongs to Jill Johnson, one of the best singers ever to attend at the eurovision song contest. In fact, Jill Johnson is one of those rare cases where it can find a consensus between critics and commercial success. Holder of a vast discography, full of  gold and platinum, "Flirting with Disaster" remains faithful to the country crossover and

country rock sound of Jill, but also respects other principle of Jill Johnson: have a different focus in each record. And the focus of this album is undoubtedly the ballads. "In One Piece" and "While You're Sleeping" are two examples where the voice of Jill Johnson inspires talent and expires emotions. In terms of production, the sound is 100% organic. "The sound of Leaving" and "Dreaming me away" transport us into an introspective setting and the songs "Flirting with Disaster" and "What's a little rain" can help this record becoming a unique case in terms of charts success. The production is led by Amir who had already collaborated on the album that made Jill Johnson an unprecedented success in Sweden. We're talking about "Roots and Wings", released back in 2003.For those who have not heard the album, it is important not to be intimidated by the title of it, because the only disaster on this record is just the title.

***** Carlos Carvalho

Adelaide Ferreira "Esqueço-me de te esquecer" (2011)

Adelaide Ferreira - the most important female voice in the history of Portuguese rock - is back six years after the last studio album "Mais Forte Que a Paixão." In 1998, at the launch of "Só Baladas", Adelaide Ferreira abandons the ubiquitous electric guitars on previous albums and begins to release albums that, despite achieving some success, sounded too harmless, failing to make a timeless impact as her former works. "Esqueço-me de te esquecer" press again the absence of electric guitars but recovers all attitude, all the strength of past masterpieces such as "Amantes Imortais" (1990) or "O Realizador Está Louco" (1996). The first track and single from

the album "Esqueço-me de te esquecer" portrays really well the soul of it: well composed and extremely strong ballads, supported by a modern production of high level, where the soulful interpretations of  Adelaide Ferreira reminds us why she still remains one of the best voices in Portugal. However, the album has many other outstanding trumps: the blues sound in "Adeus" and "Dezembro em mim”; the engaging, mysterious and esoteric electronic beat in "O Caminho P’ra Casa" (track written and composed by Adelaide Ferreira herself) and the English ballad "The Truth". Another key piece of this album is Paulo Martins – author and composer of “Deixa-me Sonhar” (Portugal, ESC, 2003) - because Martins is the producer and the main author and composer of the album. Adelaide Ferreira, after more than 30 years after her debut, is back and gives us one of her best works. It’s urgent to discover! *****   CarlosCarvalho 

The Ark "Arkeology (the complete singles collection)" (2011)

Owners of alternative ideologies and powerful performances, a cult band in Sweden but relatively unknown beyond the swedish borders, The Ark split up in December 2011 but left for posterity “Arkeology – the Complete Singles Collection”. This album serves two purposes: 1st) It is a fundamental piece for all the fans of Ola Salo’s band; 2nd) it is an excellent way to introduce The Ark’s music to all distracted music lovers who didn’t realize at the right time that The Ark was one of the most important bands in the Swedish territory at the beginning of this new millennium. Filled with perfect pop songs, resulting from five albums with

 

distinct productions, with lyrics that are light years away from the usual cliches, this compilation reminds us of some of the amazing moments from their androgynous debut "We Are The Ark" (2000); some great tracks from the alternative pop rock album “In Lust in Trust” (2000); not forgetting the fusion between the 70’s rock (twentieth century) and this new century in "The State of the Ark (2004); as well as the electro-pop sound contained in “Prayer for the Weekend” (2007) and the singles from their indie pop/rock album “In Full Regalia” (2010). Besides that “Arkeology” offers two brand new songs - "Breaking up with God" and "The Apocalypse is Over."

 This is musical archeology, and this record will make history. For the most inattentive and skeptics, the choice is wide and of high quality but we recommend the unsettling "It takes a fool to remain sane", the reminiscent ballad of David Bowie "Joy Surrender", the pop rock song of epic dimensions "Calleth you, cometh I", the addictive "Little dysfunk you" and of course the song we all know - "The worrying kind". “Arkeology" is above all, the certification of a rare creative geniality from an unique collective.

*****   CarlosCarvalho 

Secret Garden "Winter poem"


 

 ***

This is the first album from Secret Garden since 2007 and if u want a chill-out album to relax to after a busy day at work , then this is it. Winter poem is exactly what we would expect from Secret Garden. Stand out tracks include the  bouncy celtic influenced "Fionnuala s cookie jar", and the Christmas ballad "Mary s lament".  'Powered by Nature" stands out as the only track with a male lead vocal (Espen Grjotheim , who appeared on norwegian  idol in 2003). All in all a solid mood album to unwind to. Michael Williams

Sergio Dalma " Via Dalma II"


 

  ***

The 2011 album from Sergio Dalma shows that the spanish eurovision 1991 entrant still has that amazing rasping powerful voice 20 years after his appearance in Rome. This album "Via Dalma II" was number 1 in spain following on from the platinum success of 2010 album "Via Dalma I"
for me this album, however good, is a little ballad heavy and a lot of the songs are a little too similar. Having said that there are some stand outs , such as the anthemic , "El Mundo" . nice cover versions of "Te amo", and the Paul Young song "Senza una Donna". I also like "Yo no te pido la Luna" with a chorus that sounds very similar to  "Insieme 1992" the 1990 eurovision winner from Toto Cotugno. Michael Williams

Sofia Mestari "A la croisée des chemins"

 

*****

 

Stockholm, year 2000, a young girl and unknown singer went on stage to perform "On aura le ciel". Probably only the real fans will remember the big injustice that placed Sofia Mestari in a bad place that year. 11 years after, the french singer with moroccan origins released her 4th album! The first seconds we listened to it we noticed a very mature artist singing very nice ballads from the old french school. Her voice is stronger now and the songs are in the line of the singers of the moment like Adele. By listening again you will feel all the songs sound more or less the same but if we put atention we will notice a setof  very good compositions with some subtile arabic influences. You will think this CD is indispensable in the end. En toi, the first single is a very nice song and probably the song with more rythm, but we hardly recommend  the song Je suis - so fragile, so beautiful, such a good and simple melody. Its funny that her Eurovision song could be in this CD, proving that Sofia is faithful to her style. Thinking a bit more about it we can see now how modern and good was her song in ESC! The album includes a beautiful duet with Jean François- Berbardini from the corsican band I Muvrini. A piece of art!

Fabrizio Faniello "No Surrender"

*****

It’s been a long time that we dont listen an album like this. Full of good pop songs and ballads in which Fabrizio shows himself as a mature artist. In songs like “The hardest thing” or “Human” we can see a grown Fabrizio that play with different vocal registers. The quality of the songs are great or they were not signed by Gary Barlow, Johan Bejerholm (Arash) or Johan Stentorp (Michael Learns to Rock). All the songs can be CD Singles.

The album includes 3 number ones in the chart of Eurovision on Top. "I no can do", "My heart is asking you" and the song from this years maltese National Final "No surrender". So it is a great opportunity to have all this songs in an only CD. Its not very usual to listen songs in maltese. For all those that like languages, in the CD Fabrizio offered to us the chance to listen one of the songs in maltese “Jekk Hemm Tama” and it sounds very well. Claudia Faniello, his sister, also colaborates in this track. Songs like “Let me in” or “Iconic” seem to be perfect for Live Shows. This can be the soundtrack of your Summer for you to dance, dream but above all “No Surrender"!

Album reviews

Hera Bjork - "Je ne sais quoi" - Fans of Hera will have been waiting for this album and they wont be dissapointed. The album obviously includes the brilliant "someday" and " je ne sais quoi" which fans will be most familiar with. The rest of the album is made up of really good dance/pop tracks as we would expect from Hera. Outstanding tracks for me are the anthemic "Because you can " which is a fantatsic track, " Lovetrap" which is a great modern pop song. Others to look out for are "Waiting for the night" , " Natural high" " My heart" and " Falling again". This album is a must have ! Michael Williams   *****

Didrik Solli-Tangen- "Guilty Pleasures" - After two number ones in our chart, the host in Eurovision this year release is first album. Full of nice and good ballads Guiltu Pleasures is definitely not a pleasure to feel guilty while listening to it. This young singer is very talented and for a first work we can consider it very good. Sometimes we can find different vocal registers like the ones in Your song or in Nighthawk dinner, the best song in this album in our opinion. Nuno Valério *****

Lior Narkis - "Erev Tov" - If you like the kind of israeli music that Lior Narkis or Sarit Hadad do you will love this one. In this context we can say that this album is very fresh with new sounds or influences without loosing the elements that characterize this style. If you don’t like this music all songs will sound the same and if you don’t like hebrew language you will hate it! But hebrew is very melodic and some songs are really nice like Brit Ahava or Bishvileh .Nuno Valério *****  

Cliff Richard“Bold as Brass" realises Cliff Richard’s lifelong ambition to record a selection of timeless classics from the Great American Songbook with a band of Nashville’s best swing musicians, a crew of collaborators that the Rat Pack themselves would have loved”. (BBC) Cliff Richard doesn’t need any presentation. He is probably the best and more popular solo artist that went to Eurovision. This CD includes covers of well known songs like Love or leave me, I’ve got you under my skin or Night and Day. We can say that this entrance from Cliff in the world of Jazz is not a surprise in a time that young artists like Michael Bublé or Jamie Cullum are doing the same. “In retrospect it seems a shame that Sir Cliff has waited so long to record this. He clearly loves these songs and his interpretations, endearing if not enduring, will pleasantly surprise those who might not have expected him to take up the challenge. (BBC)”. Nuno Valério *****

Album reviews

Elena Paparizou- "Gyro apo t oneiro" - Another excellent album from Helena, this album, all in greek is a nice mix of modern pop songs that we have come to expect from her. Ranging from great ethno pop " thalassa" , to the modern uptempo " san ka i sena" and " den allazo" to the ethereal and brilliant "pothoi (siga psithirista) , my personal favourite on this album. If you prefer a more rock sound , then "tha mai allios " provides that . Helenas voice is still as magnificent as ever. I'm sure her fans will not be dissapointed. Michael Williams   *****

Soraya - "Dreamer" - After working with Antoine Clamaran and Kate Ryan and enter several european charts, Soraya is back with "Dreamer". It is his fifth work, which takes the concept Dance to the limit, opening the door to the best and most cutting edge DJs and producers worldwide. Dreamer is an album that she had in mind for some time with the lucky factor of working with DJs and producers like Roger Sanchez or Wally Lopez, bringing art, sound and professionalism to this true Dance record. Soraya is being very involved in the most conceptual and famous dance night clubs in Spain and she gained the Diva title progressively. Having a bad position in ESC is not synonymous of a bad career, Soraya is the proof since she is right now one of the most popular artists from Eurovision ’09. “Dreamer”, the newest single is a very energetic song and is only an example of the other good tracks such as “Twilight” or “In my Blood”. The entire album is in english.Nuno Valério *****

Patrick Fiori - "L'instant Masculin" - After a succesfull immersion into the world of cinema with his album “Les Choses de la vie” in 2008, Patrick Fiori returns with a new album “L’instinct masculin” supported by a first single “Peut être que peut être" which was Top 5 in the Airplay adult list since mid June in France. Of the 11 tracks that compose this album, there are 6 songs composed by Patrick Fiori and 5 songs written & composed by his friend Jean Jacques Goldman. It includes also a duet with Johnny Halliday. The album is very personal and allows Patrick to open up a little more through the text and music for his friends. The album pretends to be the picture of a modern man who navigates in life with happiness and serenity. Unfortnally this is not the best album of Fiori and some songs seems to be very old fashion and nothing is new on it. Of course Patrick have a big community of fa ns that will adore these new songs.Nuno Valério*****

Album reviews

Alexander Rybak - "No boundaries" - A solid follow up album from Alexander. It´s a mix of soft ballads and uptempo crowd pleasers . It´s a very theatrical album in parts but his voice is unmistakable in most tracks. Stand out tracks for me are , " Suomi" , " Europes skies" , "First kiss  " and " I'm in love". Michael Williams   *****

 

Tom Dice - "Teardrops" - From runner up in flemish X Factor to top 6 in Eurovision, Tom Dice has come a long way. This is his first album and is pretty good. It includes his ESC entry of course but the highlight of the album for me is " Murderer" which is truly  brilliant. Follow up single to  "Me and my guitar " is "Lucy" which is also nice , and "Carry our burden " also shows the quality in Toms voice. " A soldier for his country" is a memorably haunting track.The album is a showcase for his vocal talents, which are quite impressive. I'm sure its the first of many. Michael Williams*****

Daniel Diges - "Daniel Diges" - Daniel Diges presents his new album including his 2010 esc entry "Algo pequeñito". For me that is the outstanding song on a dissapointingly bland album. A mixture of jazzy/theatrical , mostly slow tracks that really dont stand out at all for me. Only "Algo pequeñito" lifts the doom Michael Williams *****

 

Malcolm Lincoln - "Loaded with zoul" - In the Eurovision Song Contest we can expect for everything and even a space for the music of Malcolm Lincoln. The duo formed by Robin Juhkental and Madis Kubu perform a very alternative music that can sometimes remind the 80's. Their music is not very commercial and can take us some time till we like it. This first album of the band is very original and includes some good tracks like "Uu Monica" or "Found a way". Always with a funny style the voice of Robin is remarkable and recognizable. The story of the name of the band is very interesting since its inspired in the answer of a woman in the Estonian version of the TV contest "Who wants to be millionaire". Incorrectly, she answered Malcolm Lincoln instead of Abraham Lincoln. Nuno Valério  ***** 

Sertab Erener - "Rengarenk" - The 8th Studio Album of Eurovision winner Sertab Erener is full of magic and good melodies.Twelve new tracks and some remixes and acustic versions made Rengarek one of the best albums of her career. Maybe Sertab is searching for a more mature audience, closer to world music. The CD includes some pop songs with a taste of traditional music but some of the songs are very nostalgic and intense specially the balads. We already heard some songs from this CD in our TOP 20, Bu Boyle and Rengarenk already reached the number one, but we highly recommend the beautiful ballad Bir damla gozlerimde. Nuno Valerio *****

 

Album reviews

My Cassette PlayerLena - "My cassette player" - What can i say about an album that includes the track "I like to bang my head" ? Well, this album is very Lily Allen in style. Lena's voice can be a little annoying to some english speakers, the accents shes tries to create are quite quirky and distracting ( listen to how she pronounces "Caterpillar"). Having said that there are some pretty good tracks here , "Satellite" , of course, but also, "My cassette player",  "Not following", and "Mr Curiosity". Its certainly fresh and young and I'm sure Lena will have plenty of fans. Michael Williams  ***** 

Jessy Matador - "Electro Soukouss" - Since "Buraka Sound System", started to mix Kuduro sounds with electronic and rapp, several artists were very influenced by that. MIA is just an example. Now Jessy Matador! This is a perfect CD for this period. Maybe it sounds a bit all the same but when you listen to it continuisly you will notice it is a very energetic work. if you like African rythms we recomend "Kariyimha" and "Encore une histoire". "Bomba" is the new single. ***** 

Paolo Meneguzzi - "Mi ami" - Excellent album from Paolo which shows what a great and emotional voice he has, which is a far cry from his nervous performance at ESC 2008. There are many great tracks on this album , particularly the title track "Mi ami", "Federica", "imprevedibile" and "noi". Its a mix of uptempo pop songs and typically italian power ballads, "La voglia" and "Mia missione" are fantastic. Highly recommended. *****

Safura - "It's my war" - This CD is very actual and the ESC song is only a small example of this good production. Some of this songs would be perfect Smash Hits by the hand of Rihanna or Beyoncé. The second single "March on" is probably not the best choice after Drip Drop. It is a good choice for this summer if you like R'n'B. *****

Flor de Lis - "Signo Solar" - Signo solar is the first studio album from 2009 portuguese entrants flor-de-lis. Crystal clear vocals from Daniela Varela shine thru on this album , which  you dont have to be a fan of folk music to enjoy. Stand out tracks for me are, the title track "signo solar" , "preludio maria" and "ritmo do mundo". *****

Zeljko Joksimovic - "Ljubavj" - The 5th album from Zeljko  (esc 05,06,08 ), is  just what fans of his ESC entries would expect, great ballads with powerful vocals and great atmospheric  backing tracks. The title track "Ljubavj" is the stand-out track on the album. Others to look out for include, "nepoznat broj" , a great ethno-pop track,  " idu dani, a mellow ballad , and the 2nd single from the album , "zena za sva vremena". *****

Album reviews

Rosa - "Propriedad de nadie" - Rosa is back with a mellow collection of  mostly slow ballads, soft and subtle . A must for ballad lovers.

*****

Martin Stenmarck - "Septemberland" - Martin stenmark returns with a stunning 5th album . The 2005 swedish representative shows off his fantastic voice with a collection of great new tracks . Look out for the stand-out track "exlposionen" . A superb album.    *****

Laura - "Ultra" - The 2nd album from Laura Poldvere (Suntribe ,ESC semi final, Estonia 2005) is a great mix of electro/ethereal melodies, accompanied by distinctive vocals. Great album to chillout to. Very atmospheric , and very different. Highly recommended.
*****

David Civera - Podemos elegir - 10 th album from david civera ( esc spain 2001) . Mostly mid tempo ballads with few surprises. The voice is still as distinctive as ever, but the album is a little predictable.*****

 

Album reviews

Cliff Richard & The Shadows (Reunited) - "A perfect CD to remember a great carreer"

*****

Dulce Pontes (Momentos) - "A set of 2 CDs with the best from the Portuguese Diva!"

*****

Francine Jordi (Meine kleine grosse welt) - "A very nice and relax work from Francine"

*****

Hari Mata Hari (Sréca) - "Always good to listen this great singer"

*****

 

Jan Johansen (Minnen) - "All the best from the best Pop Rock singer from Sweden. A very complete album"

*****

Intars Busulis (Kino) - "A very nice and funny work full of jazz, funk, pop and rock sounds"

*****

Jill Johnson (Music Row II) - "Just a very good swedish singer singing rock and american country  songs again "

*****

Album reviews

Carola (Christmas in Bethlehem) - "Definitely recommended"

*****

Kate Ryan (French Connection) – “Kate Ryan returns to the spotlights with a french language album that compiles some hits of her successful career”.

*****

Malena Ernman (La voix du Nord) – "Owner of an exceptional voice, the mezzo-soprano Malena Ernman did a perfect fusion between opera and other musical genres, namely pop music”.

*****

Benny Andersson Band (Story of a heart) – “This album mixes a variety of musical styles, with a strong influence of the Swedish folk. ‘Story of a heart’ track reminds ABBA’s sound!”.

*****

Dmitry Koldun (Koldun) – “This is a long-awaited album by Dmitry’s fans! In his debut album, Koldun sings in Russian and English, with a pop-rock sound”.

*****

Mumiy Troll (Conrade Ambassador) – “A very peculiar musical style, or you like it a lot or nothing!”.

*****

Sarit Hadad (Life as a race) – “A quality album that doesn’t deny the strong influence of the rhythms of the Middle East”.

*****

Jalisse (Siedi e ascolta) – “Two beautiful voices that present a work of great quality, brightened by the beauty of the Italian language”.

*****

Hadise (Kahraman) – “This is the first Turkish-language album of the singer that mixes R&B and Electropop with the Turkish rhythms”.

*****

Sertab Erener & Demir Demirkan (Painted on water) – “With this album Sertab breaks her pop style and presents a quality work with jazzy sonority”.

*****

 

Album reviews

Franco Battiato (Inneres Auge – Il tutto è più della somma delle sue parti )- "the return of a great man in Italian Music"

*****

Roger Cicero (Art Gerecht) - "this is a very professional work"

*****

 

Jeroen van der Boom (Verder) - "This work will definitely please all Jeroen’s fans and will conquer some more."

*****

No Angels (Welcome to the dance) - "They really deserves a better recognition."

*****

Jari Sillanpaa (Kuin Elokuvissa) - "this is one of the best works from Jari"

*****

 

José Cid (Coisas do amor e do mar) - "With 67 years old and a legacy of more than 20 records, José Cid is only beginning a new phase of her big career"

*****

 

Album reviews

Boaz Mauda (Boaz) - "He is probably the male version of Ofra Haza"

*****

 

Kasia Kowalska (Antepenultimate) - "The sweet girl we saw in Eurovision is now a great pop-rock star"

*****

Kenan Dogulu (Patron) - "The turkish Timberlake in a good mix of pop and world music"

*****

Rui Bandeira (O nosso amor) - "A nice latin album. The best of it are the ballads"

 *****

 

Les fatals picards (Le sens de la gravité) - "they are always funny and original"

*****

Album reviews

Andrezj Piaseczny (Spis rzeczy ulubionych) - "a very good voice in perfect interpretations"

*****

Sara Tavares (Xinti) - "she's now a good musician and bring the best of Africa into Europe"

*****

Regina (Vrijeme je) - "all songs in this album can be a hit"

*****

 

Waldo's People (Paranoid) - "good songs if you like this type of music and want to hear the same sound in a CD"

*****

Justina Stechkosvka (To moj czas) - "Justina is unique. Only she can sing like that and transform simple songs in wonderful things"

*****

Album reviews

Gus Gus (24/7) - "Thin Ice or Add this song are the perfect themes for this Autumn"

*****

Patricia Kaas (Kabaret) - "a perfect gift full of sensuality"

*****

Alexander Rybak (Fairytales) - " he really knows how to play violin"

*****

Arash (Donya) - "Arash can make us dancing"

*****

Brinck (Repack) - "good pop songs from Denmark"

*****

Lara Fabian (Toutes les femmes en moi) - "always our sweet Lara"

*****

Love Bugs (Heighest Heights) - "They are getting better everiday. This album should be more popular around the world"

*****