“Let’s Do It For Queen Victoria!”


Review:

Example Live @ The Royal Albert Hall For Teenage Cancer Trust

Friday 30th March 2012

Support from Fenech-Soler & Baller B

It’s fair to say I’ve seen a few Example sets – last night happened to be my 6th, and as much of a cliché as it will undoubtedly sound, each one gets better and better. Last time it was at Radio 1’s Student Tour at Hertfordshire Uni, so this time promised to be very very different. I’d never been to the iconic Royal Albert Hall, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I did laugh before I even got in, however. Greeted by the ticket woman, who whilst processing mine, asked, “Is this Example guy from America?” I took my wristband and replied, “Er, nah, Hammersmith.” But as you take the steps up into the standing area, you can’t help but strain your neck to see the unbelievably high galleries towering over you. This was going to be special.

With Fenech-Soler opening, they showcased just why they’re picking up a lot of attention. It may have just been me, but I couldn’t helped but think of them a turbo charged, darkened, electric Coldplay. If you hate Coldplay, then you’ll despise that comparison, but well, that’s what came to mind. Anyway, the ridiculously catchy hooks, mixed with the brilliantly produced, occasionally dark, beats, and proper energy exerted from the band, made for a great start to the night. You could really tell they were enjoying it, and there were emotional ties with the charity for them, after what happened in 2011. If you don’t know much about them, make sure you do soon, their second album will definitely be one to watch!

With it being Teenage Cancer Trust’s week of entertainment at The Royal Albert Hall, the evening took a few moments to watch a very moving video on the sort of people the amazing charity can, and does help. Then followed by another moving moment, this time from a live speech on stage from another person who thanked everyone for donating, and explained all the brilliant work Teenage Cancer Trust did for her and others.

Then on came Baller B, Example’s tour DJ, who played a pretty amazing mix of tracks, from Knife Party, to Jay Z and Kanye, to Flux Pavilion. To be honest, the longer I think about it, the more amazing tracks I remember him playing. Without saying a word, just hand and hair movements, he got everyone, let’s just say a little excited to see the main man himself, Example.

As Sheldrake, Johnny Drum Machine and David Stewart all took to The Albert Hall stage, amid a more post-puberty One Direction screaming environment, then opening track began playing out, ‘Skies Don’t Lie‘. Elliot ventured onto the stage, a stage which had only the night before, hosted Paul McCartney, and un-surprisingly began giving everything, as always.

Through a mix of the old tracks like the mentally ravey ‘See The Sea‘ and ‘Hooligans‘, including the Spor remix of that classic track, and the newer tracks like ‘Never Had A Day‘, ‘Midnight Run‘, and ‘Playing In The Shadows‘, Example and the band got the typically  bouncy crowd response to whatever was heard. All but two people near me, who offered very occasional muscle movement, but who cares about them.

I don’t need to go through each song in the set, and tell you why it was amazing in its own way. Because it’d take ages, and you’d get bored, and or, jealous for not being there. But that was the one of the best atmospheres I’ve seen at an Example gig, closely behind his huge one at V Festival in the summer just gone. The atmosphere was obviously helped by all the energy put in by the 4 guys on stage, added to Example’s unique way to get everyone lightened up, at one point shouting, “Let’s do this for Queen Victoria!” Cue massive bouncing from everyone in the standing to the very top of the galleries.

At one stage, Elliot brought up The Sun’s comments about how he should be worried, with being in the shadows of Paul McCartney’s performance from the night before, they said “You wouldn’t want to be in Example’s trainers at London’s Royal Albert Hall tonight…” He noted that Paul is an undisputed legend, but said he thought we as a crowd could do better. Clearly I wasn’t at McCartney’s show, but I can’t imagine that at any point there was a crowd reaction like there was with ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me‘.

The whole atmosphere of the night was what made it so unique. You could tell it meant a lot for all of them to be on that famous stage, giving off such a positive vibe, which suited the charities evening very well. It wasn’t a ‘guilt trip’ like Comic and Sport Relief can be on occasion. Obviously there  were moving mentions of the brilliant work they do, but it felt just like a proper uplifting gig! The charity is a fully meaningful one, and the more the money they make, the more lives of people around my age that suffer from cancer, will be improved, without comparison. It was made clear how effective their work is, so much so that I ended up emptying my pockets into the donation buckets at the end.

To Capital FM, NME, American Airlines and all the other companies involved in supporting the shows Teenage Cancer Trust are throwing on at The Albert Hall, well done. So, yeah, everything about last night was pretty much perfect, and if you’re off to see Example on his upcoming huge arena tour, then seriously, you’re in for such a treat. It really is “opera at its finest.”

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Emeli Sande: The New Role Model.


Every so often you get to hear a new album which you’ll be completely absorbed in. You won’t be able to leave it alone. But last Monday, we had Maverick Sabre’s ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ come out, so surely we’d have to wait a fair bit for another album of that quality, right? Well, a week is a long time in music, I guess.

As this Monday, just one week after Mav’s debut, we’re treated to the incredible Emeli Sande’s – ‘Our Version Of Events’.

With her number 2 single, ‘Heaven’, and the incredible feature on Professor Green’s ‘Read All About It’, Emeli began to attract a lot of attention, which peaked when she was announced as the BRITS Critics Choice Award Winner, following in the footsteps of Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Jessie J, oh, and Adele!

But if you were more aware, you’ll know that Emeli has been showing her talents for a bit now. Writing for and with, what seems, every fairly successful X-Factor candidate, but also with Wiley, Tinie Tempah, Tinchy Stryder and Wretch 32, plus featuring on great tracks with the likes of Chipmunk (Diamond Rings) and Wiley (Never Be Your Woman) and Tinie Tempah (Let Go). She’s also be described as, the Dark Lord himself, Simon Cowell’s ‘favourite songwriter’! Oh, 1 more then, she’s recently finished touring with none other than Coldplay… Things going well then?

You could possibly be forgiven for thinking the hype may have outdone the talents she has. But, well, you’d be wrong. Because, ‘Our Version Of Events’ showcases, arguably, the best UK talent out there right now. And, well Adele’s still out there isn’t she. I mean, I know that’s a big thing to say, but well, I certainly stand by it.

Kicking off her debut LP, is her number 2 single, that I mentioned earlier – ‘Heaven’. Sublime production which brings out the strong, majestic vocals of Sande. Pitched by Emeli as a confession that she’s changed so much since she was younger – but that it’s because “of everything that comes with living.” Just one of the many examples of how down to earth she is.

Originally, this post was planned as a track-by-track review of ‘Our Version Of Events’, but then I just thought, who’s really going to go out and buy it purely because of a review of mine? you’re going to buy it anyway. So I thought I’d try and show anyone reading, why Emeli Sande is the perfect role-model to aspire for – not even just for becoming a musician, but an all-round person too.

There are a lot of talented musicians. No doubt. But how many would you describe as intelligent? How many would you describe as humble? How many would you actually describe as a ‘nice person’? I certainly can’t think of that many. But after watching a mini documentary on Emeli, entitled, ‘Her Version Of Events’, you realise you can firmly include Emeli Sande in those previous categories.

She’s always shown the musical promise – learning the piano at the age of 10, and writing at 11, but she was once on course to becoming a neurologist – brain surgery for those who don’t recognise! Her link to this can be seen in her second single, ‘Daddy’. “Everyone is essentially addicted to something.” She says, adding, “I think that’s why I loved studying neurology… We’re all flawed in some way.” She also, when speaking to Q Magazine, said, “I’m really fascinated by mental breakdown.”

Despite being just 16, Emeli won Trevor Nelson’s BBC Urban Music Competition – which, fairly obviously, brought in label interest. In the same Q Magazine article, she said, “I’d sit and play to a line of men behind a glass shield talking about where the music should go… I could feel my control slipping.” This is when she chose to follow the science road for a while, but still maintaining the musical side – in playing as a background jazz pianist in Glasgow – for £40 a night! I think it takes a lot of commitment and loyalty to your talents to turn down record label interest. But if, and when, it pays off, it pays off big – as seen with that guy Ed Sheeran!

You could really pin down why Emeli is doing as well as she is now, by her mum’s actions. Obviously Emeli could have reached this stage at some point, but it was her mum who sent off a sample CD over to BBC Radio 1xtra, which eventually found its way through to Naughty Boy – which formed a very strong musical relationship between the two of them – creating ‘Daddy’ on their first session just over 3 years ago. She seemed blown away by his love of music. “I loved how passionate he was… purely about the music!” And it was in 2010, when she finally got a deal with EMI and Virgin.

What I find most incredible about Emeli is her humbleness. She’s speaks so highly of so many highly deserving artists that she’s worked with, especially the already mentioned Naughty Boy and Tinie Tempah… “He was so on point.” It’s something you don’t often see too much nowadays, artists giving other artists proper heartfelt credit and applause.

Despite this not being a track-by-track review, I thought I had to write a bit about my favourite track on the album. ‘Hope’. Obviouslty every track offers so much, in terms of raw emotion expressed through Sande’s brilliantly worked lyrics, which can sum up the most complicated of feelings into one sentence. ‘My Kind Of Love’, ‘Maybe’, ‘River’, and especially ‘Read All About It (Part III) – [below] all showcase this.

But ‘Hope’ really stood out to me – due it’s message.

So many artists can write perfect songs based on various, let’s face it, depressing emotions. Even some of my favourite artists can’t really get the effect Emeli has managed to achieve with this track. ‘Hope’ is the most inspiring, uplifting track I’ve heard in a very long time. You can see the opportunity the London riots have offered musicians, alongside youth unemployment rates, and just the general decline in views of young people, it’s a topic which can create some great music. But Sande has captured that whole picture, but also included other moments of desperation from far away from the UK – “I have a link to Zambia and places with standards of living that are just horrible.” Written with Alicia Keys, on a rainy day in New York just after the aforementioned riots, they came up with the first line: “I hope that the world stops raining, stops turning its back on the young” – she described it as a “prayer”. It’s 3 minutes of beautiful crafted music, inspiring lyrics, soulfully sung vocals with the brilliant production that is a constant throughout the album.

Emeli Sande is intelligent, talented, and just perfectly humble. A proper winning combination in life – not just music. If you don’t get lost in this album, I feel sorry for you.

Enjoy this cover of Blur’s classic, ‘Country House’, from her recent trip to Radio 1’s Live Lounge below. Really is something!

Top 50 Singles of 2011!


This opening is effectively a disclaimer. These are my Top 50 Singles, I didn’t get any outside opinions, as I really couldn’t be bothered to spend time putting a poll together. Also, the shortlist was put together in a couple of hours, so I may have made a big mistakes in leaving a couple of great singles out. But I’m pretty pleased with the 50, and I could reorder them tomorrow, and they’d probably come out in a different order – so keep that in mind. Right, on with the countdown.

50. Chris Brown ft. Benni Benassi – Beautiful People.

Released: 11th March 2011/Charted: #4Image

I’d like to state for the record, that I thoroughly despise Chris Brown, especially as a person. He’s nicked one of my favourite all-time tracks, ‘I’m Not Alone’, and used it in one of his ‘own’ songs. And the obvious reason, of being a woman-beater. But to be fair to him, this is a belter (all puns intended). Even Calvin admitted he loved it, despite Brown earlier taking parts of his track – apparently they’re ‘best mates’ now?

49. Katy B – Broken Record.

Released: 25th March 2011/Charted: #8Image

There’s been a lot of hype around Katy B this year, and for good reason too. NNE, The Guardian and lots of other critics loved her album. Which, if I’m honest, I found strange. I mean, I liked the album, not loved, just liked. But I thought it would have been an album critics would’ve slated? Anyway, ‘Katy On A Mission’ is by far her most recognised, and my favourite, track – but it was released in 2010. So, this is my second choice, and it’s a very good second choice. I could’ve also picked ‘Lights On’ or ‘Easy Please Me’, which shows the multi-genred singer’s consistency to produce great singles.

48. Jai Paul – BTSTU.

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Released: 21st April 2011/Charted: #139

This track went absolutely massive in late 2010/early 2011, with seemingly every Radio 1 DJ expressing their love for it. Zane Lowe had it as his ‘Hottest Track In The World’, and I’m pretty sure Fearne Cotton had it as her ‘Record Of The Week’ too. Annie Mac also include it on her ‘Annie Mac Presents 2011’ compilation album. And perhaps most impresively of all, Drake and Beyonce have sampled it on their own tracks.

47.  The Vaccines – Norgaard.

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Released: 19th August 2011/ Charted: #84

The surprisingly short single release (1:39) off their brilliant album, ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines’, features, in my view, one of the best hooks of the year: “Her mind’s made up/ She don’t wanna go steady/ She’s only 17/ So she’s probably not ready.” It’s not the most intellectually challenging hook – but since when did that matter. I see it as a great song to sing, especially when drunk.

Image46.  Fenech-Soler – Stop And Stare.

Released: 15th April 2011/ Charted: ?

It’s been a right up-and-down year for the amazingly talented Fenech-Soler. In March, Ben Duffy, was diagnosed with testicular cancer – which luckily, he fully recovered from. But it did result in the cancellation of their planned 9 date UK tour – but obviously on the wider scale of the things, it didn’t really matter. All proceeds of ‘Stop And Stare’ were donated to ‘The Teenage Cancer Trust’ – which I think is just amazingly thoughtful. The band would have been forgiven for slowing down, but they came back in the summer, and remarkably played at 23 festivals, including V Festival and Glasto.

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45. Kasabian – Re-Wired.

Released: 20th October 2011/Charted: #96

Re-Wired is the second single off of Kasabian’s album ‘Velociraptor!’ Obviously, the decline in guitar/band based music has meant it didn’t achieve anywhere near what their previous albums did, which is an actual shame. But chart positions aren’t everything, and to be honest, it was just great to see Kasabian back. Especially in this track, as it beautifully features Noel Fielding on a bike.

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44. James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream.

Released: 3rd March 2011/ Charted: #136

It was always going to be tough for James Blake to follow up ‘Limit To Your Love’ – which drew in large amounts of people, and it seemed to split people down the middle. Some loved, some hated. Well, I loved it – and the album, which is one of the best from 2011. It didn’t have the success it deserved, probably as it was available on the album before the single release date, but it just didn’t get the same hype that his previous single had rightly got.

Image43. Jamie Woon – Lady Luck. 

Released: 21st February 2011/Charted: #76

‘Mirrorwriting’ is Jamie Woon’s debut album received a great reception, and it backed up the 4th place in the BBC’s Sound Of 2011 poll. It’s so obvious he’s talented, and Lady Luck has always been my favourite from him. If you haven’t heard or listened to Jamie, then please buy ‘Mirrorwriting’ – you really cannot go wrong.

Image42. Arctic Monkeys – Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair.

Released: (digitally) 16th April 2011/Charted: #28

This, I’m sure would have been a contender for number one. But it was released the day/day after of it’s first ever radio play, and only digitally. This meant there was very little promo time, and they were limited in how many people could buy it. But it’s Arctic Monkeys, anything they do is right in my view. It was the lead single to their ‘Suck It And See’ album, which again for me, doesn’t do what the Arctic Monkeys do best. But as I said, it’s the Arctic Monkeys, they can’t be bad – ever.

Image41.  – Aloe Blacc – Loving You Is Killing Me.

Released: 7th March 2011/ Charted: # ?

Much like James Blake, how Aloe Blacc could ever match the success of ‘I Need A Dollar’, I don’t know. But this track gives it a fairly good go at matching it musically anyway. It’s one of the many great songs off Aloe’s album ‘Good Things’ – a much recommended album to buy.

Image40. Hard-Fi – Good For Nothing.

Released: 17th June 2011/Charted: #51

Similarly to Kasabian, we saw a return from the brilliant Hard-Fi in 2011, with their album ‘Killer Sounds’. I was lucky enough to catch them at V Festival where they put in a great set on a small little stage. But I can’t help imagining the size of stage they would’ve been on off the back of their debut album ‘Stars Of CCTV’ though. However, the sinlge is great and so is the album, so check out both if you haven’t already!

Image39. Olly Murs ft.Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips A Beat.

Released: 19th August 2011/Charted: #1

This is the first UK Charting #1 in my Top 50, but if this was a year ago, an Olly Murs song would’ve been no-where near my Top 50. But his 2011 campaign has converted me some-what. I find him so lovable, so hard to dislike now. Even Example realised how nice he was this summer at V Festival, after hating him for so long. Also, the way he added to Rizzle Kicks’ budding success in summer was a great touch.

Image38. Avicii – Levels.

Released: 28th October 2011/Charted: #4

Got to admit, didn’t know anything about this track, or where it came from. All I know is, it’s such a great summer anthem. Just a shame it’s been released in late October really. But I really look forward to what the Swedish house producer has to offer next!

Image37. Yasmin – Finish Line.

Released: 8th May 2011/Charted: #13

I’ve been a big fan of Yasmin ever since she was announced as a support act for Example on one of his earlier tours – and there’s no doubt of her immense talent! If she doesn’t have a very successful 2012, I’d be very surprised!

Image36. Chase & Status ft. Delilah – Time.

Released: 29th April 2011/Charted: #21

Truly brilliant track this. But what more could you expect from Chase & Status and Delilah. Time is just one of the great collaboration on one of the biggest album of the year, ‘No More Idols’! Oh, and it’s not the only time (this time there was not pun intended) Chase & Status or Delilah feature on this Top 50!

Image35. Magnetic Man ft. P Money – Anthemic.

Released: 22nd July 2011/Charted: #50

Originally released on Magnetic Man’s self-titled album, Anthemic was then released as a single, but this time incorporating P Money. It’s really worked a treat, possibly an unexpected successful collaboration. It still keeps the, funnily enough, anthemic sound from the Magnetic Man trio, but also then added a grime edge to it – which worked brilliantly.

Image34. Coldplay – Paradise.

Released: 12th September 2011/Charted: #2

Like ‘Don’t Sit Down…’, ‘Paradise’ didn’t get the immediate chart success, as it was available for free when pre-ordering Coldplay’s newest album, ‘Mylo Xlyoto’. But since is chart eligible date, it’s had great success, and is currently riding high in the iTunes charts still – when I last looked it was above Little Mix. Thank God. It is a really addictive track, which has to be one of my favourite Coldplay tracks, just after ‘Fix You’.

Image33. Nero – Promises.

Released: 5th August 2011/Charted: #1

The track which took Dubstep to number 1. It’s a massive song, and not just in terms of it being a great single – it’s effectively a landmark for Dubstep, in a year which has seen it take of massively. Partly down to Nero. Number 1 album and single really showed doubters that Dubstep can be properly commercially successful.

Image32. Nero – Guilt.

Released: 22nd April 2011/Charted: #8

A Nero double here. I imagine if I reordered some time in the near future, I would’ve placed ‘Guilt’ and ‘Promises’ a bit higher, but ah well. 32 and 33 isn’t too bad really. ‘Guilt’ is, well, just massive. There’s not really a better way to describe it. Nero at their best for me! (They will also feature as the producers of a single later on, ant guesses?)

Image31. Ed Sheeran – Lego House.

Released: 11th November/Charted: #5

This single is the first entry from the immensely talented Ed Sheeran! (Read here about his ground-braking 2011: https://willackrillmusic.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/who-does-2011-belong-to-ed-sheeran/) It may seem low, but he has 2 other singles in my Top 50 so, it’s not too bad. This one will probably be remembered for it’s video. Staring Rupert Grint as a weird stalker of Ed Sheeran. It’s just an instant classic!

Image30. Emeli Sande – Daddy.

Released: 27th November 2011/Charted: #21

Emeli is by far one of the most talented singers in the world. That’s a big statement I know. But watch her this year, and you’ll be agreeing very soon! Her album will put so many other artists to shame early next year. But for now, we have to make do with ‘Heaven’, and her latest single, ‘Daddy’. I was unsure which to put in here, but went for ‘Daddy’ as it shows her amazing consistency. (Again, she’ll be back on this list, as a featured artists this time.)

Image29. Wiley – Numbers In Action.

Released: 5th April 2011/Charted: # ?

A single release from Wiley’s 7th (yes, 7th!) album. And he kept the standards we expect from one of the most influencial grime artists -if not raised them! Great beat, and ever greater lyrics. Oh, and the video’s great. Just generally great really.

Image28. Jay Z and Kanye West – Otis.

Released: 20th July 2011/Charted: #28

The lead single from the massive ‘Watch The Throne’ collaboration album. And surprisingly, the single was massive as well. Jay and Kanye at, if not their best, very close to it! Get ready for more collabing between these two in 2012! (https://willackrillmusic.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/jay-z-and-kanye-to-release-solo-albums-oh-and-a-second-watch-the-throne-all-in-2012/)

Image27. Delilah – Go.

Released: 6th September/Charted: #17

An amazing debut single from the beautifully talented Delilah. Obviously known from her collab with Chase & Status with ‘Time’ featured at Number 36 earlier. This time it’s her track which enters the Top 50. It really is a stunningly soulful track from her! Much like Emeli Sande, watch out for her in 2012! (again, not the last time you’ll see Delilah in this post!)

Image26. SBTRKT – Wildfire.

Released: 23rd May 2011/Charted: # ?

One of the hottest producers out there right now, already with a brilliant, and critically acclaimed studio album out! If you haven;t bought it, I now urge you to! Wildfire was released as a single, and luckily it also happens to be my favourite from the self-titled album.

Image25. Sway – Still Speedin’

Released: 4th December 2011/Charted: #19

Another showcase of the diversity of British music in 2011. I can’t really think of anything similar to ‘Still Speedin” really. Which again shows the originality, which can often be ignored when pummelled with X-Factor finalists. Wish it charted higher to be fair, 19’s great, but it deserved more!

Image24. Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do The Hump.

Released: 16th December/Charted: #18 (so far!)

This is the first of two individual entries from the hottest duo in music right now. Their rise of success has been failry sudden. In the last 6 months, it’s really taken off for them, and right so! I’ve met them, and they are so down to earth, and exactly how they seem in the cheeky, yet great, videos and songs – and Mama Do The Hump epitomizes that!

Image23. Lewi White ft. Ed Sheeran, Devlin, Griminal and Yasmin – Young Guns.

Released: 8th July 2011/Charted: # 86

A fairly unknown track, unless you’re big fans of these artists. But it’s a track all of you should learn about! Premièred on Mistajam’s show a while back in summer, it showcases UK at it’s finest. Ed was still fairly unknown at this point, so it was even more underground than you might have thought.

Image22. Maverick Sabre – Let Me Go.

Released: 22nd July 2011/Charted: #16

The debut single release from the versatile and massively talented Maverick Sabre. A release which drew large amounts of new fans in, especially the Chris Moyles Breakfast Show Team, who’ve had him on the show a couple of times – most recently to perform a cover of ‘Fairytale Of New York’ – which was stunningly beautiful. Again, another one to expect big things from!

Image21. Wretch 32 ft. Etta Bond – Forgiveness.

Released: 11th December/Charted: #49

The first of 4 entries from Wretch 32 in my Top 50! In my view, despite the shunning from the MOBO Awards, he’s had a massively successful year. Forgiveness has the added brilliance of Etta Bond! (who’s singed to Labrinth’s record – so you know she’s good!)

Image20. Ed Sheeran – The A Team.

Released: 12th June 2011/Charted: #3

Some of you may be surprised to see this single at 20, amybe it should be higher? But I see it as released in 2010, on the ‘Loose Change’ EP – so to me, it’s already been there for ages. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, and it’s the song that got Ed to where he is now, so it’s obviously important!

Image19. True Tiger ft. Professor Green and Maverick Sabre – In The Air.

Released: 12th June 2011/Charted: #52

True Tiger deserve all the accolade they will rightly get in 2012! I’m certain things will really take off for them, and I really hope I’m right! This track sees them collaborate with Pro Green and Mverick Sabre again, after the success of Pro’s single, ‘Jungle’. It was performed live on Radio 1 from the Olympic Stadium – and I think they boys managed to get a cheeky 100m race in too! The video’s also worth watching, showing a mad mass of pigeons chasing someone. Yeah, it really does.

Image18. Calvin Harris – Feel So Close.

Released: 19th August 2011/Charted: #2

This was the last song I saw performed at V Festival in the summer, so I have a real connection to this song. It was the perfect set from the Scottish producer, and ‘Feel So Close’ was the perfect way to round off an amazing weekend. Calvin is featured again in the Top 50 again, so keep looking!

Image17. Example – Stay Awake.

Released: 28th August 2011/Charted: #1

This is the first entry from Example – an artist who has had an incredible 2011, with a number 1 album, and two number 1 singles – ‘Stay Awake’ being one of them! It’s produced by the immensely talented Nero, so you couldn’t really have a better combination. Another track which was a real highlight of the summer just gone!

Image16. Delilah – Love You So.

Released: 18th December 2011/Charted: (charts on 25th I think?)

The third inclusion of the supremely talented vocalist. ‘Love You So’ is my personal favourite of her ever growing collection of tracks, and I’m really looking forward to see what her album in the new year will be like! (I bet it’s probably pretty good?!)

Image15. DJ Fresh ft. Sian Evans – Louder.

Released: 3rd July 2011/Charted: #1

Probably helped by it’s inclusion in the Lucozade adverts, DJ Fresh’s track, ‘Louder’ went down an absolute storm! Played all over radios, watched all over TV, played everywhere by DJs! It was definitely another massive summer track!

Image14. Rizzle Kicks – Down With The Trumpets.

Released: 10th June 2011/Charted: #8

This was their second single, but their first to get properly noticed. I remember not being to sure of the newly produced version of ‘Down With…’, (yes, there is an older version…) but it really grew on me, and I was so glad they were finally, and deservedly, noticed for their talent – especially after Fearne Cotton had it as her ‘Record Of The Week’.

Image13. Example – Midnight Run.

Released: 4th December 2011/Charter: #30

My favourite album track (until it was then released as a single off the back of the ‘Playing IN The Shadows’ album obviously). The EP features some amazing remixes of ‘Midnight Run’ by the way – especially courtesy of Example’s bassist, Sheldrake! The production from Feed Me (who’s on the Deadmau5 label!) is unbelievable too!

Image12. Calvin Harris ft. Kelis – Bounce.

Released: 12th June 2011/Charted: #2

This is the second time Calvin has featured in the Top 50. It’s also the second no.2 hit he’s had this year. Both times I think he was beaten by Example, with his two number 1 singles. But despite that, ‘Bounce’ was heard everywhere over summer, a properly addictive track!

Image11. Jay Z and Kanye West – N***as In Paris.

Released: 13th September 2011/Charted: #6 (US Billboard)

An unbelievable record from my two favourite Hip-Hop artists of all time. The beat is just indescribably good! Apparently Jay and Kayne performed it about 8 times in 1 set – got to say, I really wouldn’t mind that, at all! My favourite off the ‘Watch The Throne’ album by a mile!

NOW WE’RE GETTING INTO IT! TOP 10:

Image10. Labrinth ft. Tinie Tempah – Earthquake.

Released: 23rd October 2011/Charted: #2

Labrinth is without doubt, on of the biggest producers out there, so it’s no surprise that the beat he created to his single, ‘Earthquake’ was unreal! Tinie also showed us that he will never forget his roots and the people who helped him – obviously Lab produced and collabed with Tinie on his debut album. Labrinth’s going to be huge in the upcoming year, I’m sure of it! It was the highest selling number 2 single of the year, losing out only to…

Image9. Professor Green ft. Emeli Sande – Read All About It.

Released: 23rd October 2011/Charted: #1

…to this single. The incredibly emotional ‘Read All About It’. Which features the chillingly talented vocals of Emeli Sande, whilst Professor Green spills his heart out on one of the deepest records he’s ever made! Rightly his first massive number 1 hit – and rightfully in the top 10 on here too! (It was also the first track I reviewed, ever!)

Image8. Ed Sheeran – You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.

Released: 28th August 2011/Charted: #4

Despite charting one place lower than ‘The A Team’, it sold more copies in it’s first week, and helped promote the number 1 smash album, ‘+’. This sing has so many different versions, and it was great to finally see it get some rightful accolade. My favourite Sheeran song? Well, maybe. But definitely my favourite Sheeran single.

Image7. Wretch 32 ft. Josh Kumra – Don’t Go.

Released: 14th August 2011/Charted: #1

This is Wretch 32’s second entry into this Top 50. And it was his first number 1, at the third attempt, he’d finally done it! Helped by the little known Josh Kumra. Little known, but hopefully not for much longer – his beautiful soulful voice really added to the single! (Expect to see Wretch again in the next few tracks…)

Image6. Maverick Sabre ft. Chipmunk and Benny Banks (New Machines Remix) – I Need.

Released: 4th November 2011/Charted: #18 (Official Single Version)

Right, this is technically a remix. Technically. I wanted to include ‘I Need’ in the Top 20 or so, but I though the New Machines remix deserved a Top 10 place, so there you go! This is by a long way, one of the best remixes of the year! It’s hard to improve an already beaut of a track, but these guys managed it! (Look out for a New Machines feature on the ‘Soundhall‘ blog soon!)

NOW FOR THE TOP 5!

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5. Flux Pavilion and Doctor P – Superbad.

Released: 9th December 2011 /Charted: #61

As I’m writing about this track, I can’t help but listen to it on repeat, and just sing it to myself. It’s the most addictive track I have ever heard! I mean, the lyrics are simple, but that’s good – as I can actually remember them. But the beat created by these two amazing producers is incredible! Can’t wait to see what they come up with in 2012!

Image4. Wretch 32 ft. L – Traktor.

Released: 16th January 2011/Charted: #5

This was Wretch’s first big hit. Right back in January, before touring with Example, a tour of his own, and many massive festival performances. At all of these, ‘Traktor’ was live! Famously featured on Jamal Edward’s Google Chrome advert as well! The beat, incredible. L’s vocals, incredible. Wretch’s lyrics, incredible. It was the start of a roll which saw him rise and rise in popularity!

RIGHT, FINALLY, THE TOP 3!

Image3. Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me.

Released: 5th June 2011/Charted: #1

Example’s anthem. Everyone knows or has heard this track somewhere. Whether on radio, TV, or at the typically ravey end to an Example set! It’s by far one of the biggest tracks of the year, and was a proper contender for my number 1! It really was the start of the fame for Elliot Gleave, but it wasn’t a sudden rise to fame – he’d worked for this, and got the number 1 album spot, which he considered more important – correctly so!

Image2. Wretch 32 ft. Example – Unorthodox.

Released: 17th April 2011/Charted: #2

Yeah, so that wasn’t the last time Example features on the Top 50. His epically catchy chorus on Wretch’s second single – the follow up to ‘Traktor’ enhanced the brilliance! Sampling the ‘Fools Gold’ track from the Stone Roses was such a good idea, and it really didn’t harm the orginal in my view – Ian Brown even said he liked Wretch’s version!

SO, NUMBER 1?

Image1. Chase & Status ft. Tinie Tempah – Hitz.

Released: 15th July 2011/Charted: #39

The perfect combination between underground and commercial. The Chase & Status production, in my view, at it’s best, and also Tinie at his hardest too! I didn’t really want a number 1 track, which already would have massive attention being my number 1 as well, and this was my favourite track off ‘No More Idols’. Also, no joke here, it was the highlight of my life, seeing this track performed live TWICE with Tinie Tempah there as well! A full deserved winner in my view!

WELL, YEAH, THAT’S THAT THEN…

Well 2011 has been a mentally good year for music, especially for the UK scene – partly down to Jamal Edwards and SBTV. We’ve seen rises from great arists this year, and small rises from even newer artists, who will have stunning 2012’s. Click here to read further about the biggest stars of 2011!

Who Does 2011 Belong To?


2011 has been one of the best years for music in a very long time. With so many artists finally ‘making it’, how can you say who has had the better year? Do you base it purely on chart positions? If so, it counts out some artists. Do you base it purely on breaking through? Again, that counts some artists out. So you have to try find that middle ground. This post is effectively like a ‘BBC Sound Of’ post, but for the year just gone. So often we’re caught just looking forward, rightly so on occasions, to the new, fairly unknown, exciting artists. However, we need to hand out some credit to the people responsible for the music that shaped 2011. Shaped it in the good way, by the way. (Don’t expect to see a section on LMFAO.)

In terms of charts, it’s hard to look past Adele. ‘Someone Like You’, off of her ’21’ album took the worldwide charts by storm – number 1 in 24 separate countries! ’21’ also overtook Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’, as the highest selling album of the, funnily enough, 21st century. I mean, that’s quite a good year, I guess.

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But so many artists have had a really good 2011. Calvin Harris, with the massive summer anthems, ‘Bounce’ and ‘Feel So Close’, not forgetting his Rihanna earworm collaboration, ‘We Found Love’. Also, Chase & Status, with the massive singles, like, ‘Let You Go’ and ‘Blind Faith’, off one of the biggest albums of the year, ‘No More Idols’. This list is endless! (Obviously it isn’t endless, but yeah, you get the idea.) There’s just been so much great music in 2011! Image It did seem to be some of my favourite music was finally getting recognised, Professor Green finally getting a massive number 1, with ‘Read All About’, Example smashing the summers festivals, with 2 number 1s, ‘Stay Awake’, and possibly many peoples’ favourite single of the year, ‘Changed The Way You Kiss Me’ – not to mention the number 1 album spot, with ‘Playing In The Shadows’. Image Rizzle Kicks have really grown in the past 6 months. Their rise to success was fairly sudden. I met them outside the Barfly in Camden ahead of their gig. This was in July – just 5/6 months ago. This was around the time ‘Down With The Trumpets’ took off, not long after this, ‘When I Was A Youngster’ was released, and also their feature on Olly Murs’ number 1 single, ‘Heart Skips A Beat’. Their newest single, ‘Mama Do The Hump’, off the back of their brilliant album, ‘Stereo Typical’, features James Corden in the video. Just another example of their progression. They’re now one of the hottest duos out there. Image An album which went fairly, and annoyingly, unrecognised, in terms of acclaim, was ‘Black And White’, from the supremely talented Wretch 32. For me, it’s one of the albums of the year. It flows together better than any other album I’ve heard in a long time, let alone 2011. ‘Traktor’ hit number 5, bringing in a wide range of new fans, as well as touring with Example in early 2011 – it set out where Wretch was going. The second single release followed – ‘Unorthodox’ feat. Example. In my eyes, this is one of the best tracks of the year. (Oh, and Adele agrees with me.) Unfortunately though, it only charted at number 2. I remember the first set I saw at V Festival, was Wretch 32’s. It was also the weekend that the beautiful ‘Don’t Go’ feat. Josh Kumra, charted at number 1, and you could tell from the performance he gave that he was enjoying all this success so very much. Soon after the album followed, but for some reason, it didn’t have the success that other artists were rightly getting around that time, and even more strangely, Wretch didn’t receive any MOBO Awards. But even so, he’s definitely had one of the best years imaginable. Image As I’ve mentioned, many artists have broken through in 2011. But Nero have been influential in the break through of a whole genre. A year ago now, Nero were included in the BBC’s Sound Of 2011 longlist. But no-one could really have imagined how they’d progress. They brought Dubstep to number 1. Single charts with, ‘Promises’, and album charts, with ‘Welcome To Reality’. Even Lupe Fiasco featured a couple of Nero’s tracks on his latest mixtape! Image There’s almost too much choice! Jessie J was the eventual winner of the ‘Sound Of 2011’, giving her much deserved acclaim. ‘Do It Like A Dude’ was released in 2010, but Price Tag’ was one of the biggest singles of the 2011! In fact, it was the biggest collaboration single of 2011, with B.o.B. As well as that, her album, ‘Who You Are’ is the biggest selling debut album of the year! Image Obviously, you’ve got the likes of The Vaccines, Katy B, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Jay Z + Kanye, who have all had good years as well – and I’ve probably left a few out, but there really has been so much success this year in music! Image

Tell you what though, 2012, will be even bigger! Maverick Sabre, Emeli Sande and Delilah are definitely three to watch out for. But you should probably know that by now.

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But there’s one artist I’ve significantly left out of this review so far. Ed Sheeran…

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