ANTHONEY WRIGHT: Reset To Zero. A joy of this job – an undiscovered gem. A warm, Motown-sounding soul classic inspired by the likes of Al Green and Teddy Prendergrass.
THE RIFLES: Great Escape. Quietly confident rock rumble that’s embellished with a natural spirit of spontaneity and a charming chug.
LADYTRON: Runaway. This dancefloor-shuffling electronica never shakes free from its 80s shackles and endless repetition – you can sense the mascara sliding down through tears of boredom.
LITTLE MAN TATE: Hey Little Sweetie. Buoyant and bouncy fun skit about an emotionally-deluded girl whose sole pursuit in life is pleasure. Not your usual love song then.
MILOSH: Remember The Good Things. Sublime sci-fi lullaby of rippling beats that are somehow soothing and unsettling at the same time.
RIHANNA: Disturbia. The style icon has gone all 80s glitterball glide on us here. She now has her own charity, Believe, which provides medical services, school supplies and toys to children in need and is the face of the Unicef campaign sponsored by fashion giants Gucci.
KATY PERRY: One Of The Boys. The 23-year-old Californian’s fast becoming the singer of the moment with her 50s girly image at odds with the rocky pop sound and feisty confessional songs. The chart-topping I Kissed A Girl is one of those ultimate pop ditties, but she has a darker side that seeps out on the sinister ballad I’m Still Breathing. Then there’s a mix of glitterball disco, pouting teen pop and power ballads. Katy (below) reckons: “Usually I find it funny to say I’m like a skinnier version of Lily Allen and a fatter version of Amy Winehouse.’’ As if they haven’t got enough problems already.
THE STREETS: Everything Is Borrowed. Street poet Mike Skinner has slipped into a trademark sound that’s as comfortable as slippers – he’d hate that. He still comes up with some killer lines such as “just when you discover the meaning of life they change it” as he muses on the end of the world, suicide, sheer bad luck and doomed relationships. You’ve got to get into the happy soul’s psyche and sound otherwise it quickly becomes annoying. Street rap with one or two great melodies weaved in.
METALLICA: Death Magnetic. Straight in at number one in the album charts, powered there by the band’s over-loyal fans. For the rest of us it’s musically akin to being pummelled by Ricky Hatton in a rare bad mood. They’ve sold 100 million albums in a career spanning well over a quarter of a century and this, their 10th studio album and first since 2003, is another blood, thunder and gore outpouring as they kick song structures and rhythms all over the place. Tracks such as Cyanide, Suicide And Redemption, My Apocalypse and All Nightmare Long hardly look on the bright side of life.