Tag Archives: X Factor

SINGLE PREMIERE: Fifth Harmony – “Miss Movin’ On” (+ Lyrics)

Don't "Miss" this new track.

Don’t “Miss” this new track.

They were one of the last groups standing on Simon Cowell’s team last season on the U.S. version of The X Factor. Now, quintet Fifth Harmony are out with their very first single, “Miss Movin’ On”. The fierce five ladies that are Ally, Camila, Dinah, Lauren and Normani have been putting up a number of cover videos on YouTube lately, but this is their first original song, a great and catchy pop single that sounds a bit like Demi Lovato‘s latest material and that’s sure to have a lot of support from Cowell’s Syco Music. Enjoy!

Listen to the premiere of “Miss Movin’ On”.

“MISS MOVIN’ ON”

[Verse 1]
I’m breaking down, gonna start from scratch
Shake it off like an Etch A Sketch
My lips are saying goodbye
My eyes are finally dry
I’m not the way that I used to be
I took the record off the page
You killed me but I survived
And now I’m coming alive

[Bridge]
I’ll never be that girl again
No oh oh
I’ll never be that girl again
No oh oh

[Chorus]
My innocence is wearing thin
But my heart is growing strong
So call me, call me, call me
Miss Movin’ On
Oh oh oh
Miss Movin’ On
Oh oh oh

[Verse 2]
I broke the glass that surrounded me
I ain’t the way you remember me
I was such a good girl
So fragile but no more
I jumped the fence to the other side
My whole world was electrified
Now I’m no longer afraid
It’s Independence Day
(Independence Day)

[Bridge]
I’ll never be that girl again
No oh oh
I’ll never be that girl again
No oh oh

[Chorus]
My innocence is wearing thin
But my heart is growing strong
So call me, call me, call me
Miss Movin’ On

[Middle 8]
Everything is changing and I never wanna go back to the way it was
I’m finding who I am and who I am from here on out is gonna be enough
It’s gonna be enough

[Bridge]
I’ll never be that girl again
No oh oh
I’ll never be that girl again
Oh oh oh

[Chorus]
My innocence is wearing thin
But my heart is growing strong
So call me, call me, call me
Miss Movin’ On
Oh oh oh
Miss Movin’ On (On and on and on and on)
Oh oh oh
Miss Movin’ On (On and on and on and on…)
Oh oh oh
Miss Movin’ On
Oh oh oh (Hey yeah yeah…)
I’m movin’ on

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PROFILE: James Arthur’s Nearly “Impossible” Trek To America

He's got the hit Factor.

He’s got the hit Factor.

James Arthur‘s life has changed significantly in the past few months. The 25-year-old born in Middlesbrough, England was in and out of bands and projects for most of his teens before deciding to tryout for the U.K. version of The X Factor. He was picked up by mentor Nicole Scherzinger, formerly of Eden’s Crush and the Pussycat Dolls, and he won the competition, beating another member of Scherzinger’s team, Jahméne Douglas. This was back on December 9 of last year. It was only just the beginning.

As in any singing competition, Arthur had a winning single to record, which for that season of the show was a remake of Shontelle‘s “Impossible”, which made her a hit in the U.S. for a hot minute before disappearing off the radar. It just missed the top ten on the Hot 100, though it crept in there on the Singles Chart in the United Kingdom, so it was already recognizable to most people before this new cover came out. Arthur’s version of the song was made for download almost immediately after his win on the show. No surprise there. It shot straight to #1 in countries like Ireland and Scotland, and spent three non-consecutive weeks at #1 in the United Kingdom with first week sales of 490,000 copies. It has since become the largest-selling winner’s single in the history of the show, with download sales over 1.3 million copies in that country alone. “Impossible” is also currently a Platinum-certified hit in Australia, where it recently peaked at #2 on the ARIA Singles Chart. (It’s top 5 on iTunes there currently.) It’s been great for the franchise, but it’s also been great for the singer himself. He’ll be putting out a followup single in Europe in May, no title determined yet. However, he’s not quite done with his first smash… yet.

There are now signs that James Arthur‘s hit overseas may be impacting North America this summer. The song is already being pushed to adult contemporary radio in Canada. It’s been added to four stations in Montreal and one in Ottawa in the past few weeks. Weekly detections currently put it just below the top 50 on Canada’s AC format chart with about 40 spins in the past seven days. This is small compared to the dozens of other current songs that are played on radio there every week. However, it’s a start, and an important one at that. A lot of Canadian releases that originate from overseas tend to make their way into the United States at some point or another. What I’m saying is, prepare yourselves. We may have another round of “Impossible” playing on our airwaves here in the next few months.

Should he successfully make it over here, he would only be the third X Factor winner to break the American market. We had Leona Lewis several years ago of “Bleeding Love” fame, a number-one hit back in 2008, but she’s been long gone from our shores after her second album was a dud. We now have Little Mix‘s “Wings” at our CHR format and it’s picking up a bit of steam, so perhaps they’ll be able to go ever higher. These two are, of course, in addition to the many finalists from that show who have come the United States. Some became big, like Cher Lloyd, Olly Murs and One Direction. Others faltered, like JLS and Rebecca Ferguson. Point is, it can go either way with these kinds of artists, but with the hype he currently has from the U.K., I’m guessing his label thinks that he could do pretty well here. I agree.

While it’s odd to hear an already popular and commercial song switch perspectives from female to male, Arthur has a good take on the song. His raspy and rough vocal make it an emotional experience, which is dramatized just enough without being too sappy. The arrangement itself is also augmented into a pop/rock feel, which does well against Arthur’s more soulful tone. It’s not dated in any particular way, it’s just pleasant. There will likely better songs on his album, but Arthur does all he can with his version of the song to turn it into a full-fledged power ballad that is honest and pure to the core. With slower songs doing well at the moment, it’s best to strike when the iron’s hot, and James Arthur is still boiling at the moment. Hopefully that’s the one thing that will make this trip to America a little less “impossible” and a lot more plausible.

Buy the music video for “Impossible”. (U.S. only – only the video is available here.)

Who will be the next X Factor finalist or winner from the United Kingdom to make it across the pond? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Clash Of The Tourmates: Olly vs. Robbie

It takes "Two" to make a thing go right.

It takes “Two” to make a thing go right.

They both have millions of fans on social media, combined to do a tour together, but now, the heat is on as both Olly Murs and Robbie Williams release their newest singles on the same day. Drama! On March 10, both “Army Of Two” by Murs from Right Place, Right Time and “Be A Boy” by Williams from Take The Crown will be out on iTunes in the United Kingdom with new digital EPs. So, let’s put them to the test in a bit of a battle. Which single knocks the other one out of the ring? Jolly Olly or Wreck-It Robbie? Somebody ring the bell…

ROUND ONE: WHO HAS THE BETTER COVER ART?
Alright, this one’s fairly easy for me. Though I appreciate the creativity that went into building the “Army of Two” title out of the smaller “army of two” bits, I’m not a fan of the salmon-colored background and Murs, himself, just looks like a combination of bored and upset. Was that an outtake shot? I mean, would it hurt to give him a marching band leader outfit? This is supposed to be fun! I love the Williams cover, however. Yes, it’s a white base, but the paint oozing down his face and onto his neck is an awesome effect and pops really well. Oh, and he’s smiling too. At least, I think he is. It has a boyish charm about it. Even if I didn’t know who he was or what he sang, I would totally stare at it in a record shop. Good times.

Verdict: This one for sure goes to Robbie. That puts him up 1-0.

ROUND TWO: WHO HAS THE BETTER SINGLE?
Let’s start off with Williams this time around and his third single, “Be A Boy”. Williams wrote the single with Tim Metcalfe and Flynn Francis and it was produced by Jackknife Lee; that combination is pretty much responsible for much of the album. Metcalfe and Francis are relative newcomers, both from Australia, while Lee has produced for acts like R.E.M. and U2, among others. “Boy” is an 80’s-inspired effort and yes, I am a sucker for a sassy saxophone solo, so that’s a plus. The message of it is what you probably expect it to be: the dreams of youth and the “magic” that goes away when you grow older. As Williams sings, “They said it was leaving/They said it with joy/Now I can make this last forever/And be a boy.” Yet, there is also a desire to find comfort in knowing that you can still find the boy in yourself as you age: “I’m half your age and lived twice your life/Now I don’t sleep alone at night/Your time did come but it’s long gone/Takes a big man to be someone.” It’s a relatable tune, and you can still dance to it with all those fluffy pop synths and chants.

On the other side of the ring, we have the second single from Murs, “Army Of Two”. He penned the song with Wayne Hector, Iyiola Babalola and Darren Lewis while it was produced by Future Cut. Hector’s worked with a number of pop acts over the years and previously hooked up with Murs on his 2010 single, “Thinking Of Me”, which went top 5 in the U.K. in November. Babalola and Lewis are both a part of Future Cut, who previously worked with Lily Allen on hit singles “LDN” and “Smile”. It begins with a lush crescendo of strings, the tap of a drum, and, oh, hey, let this pop confection take over. The song itself is a dedication to his fans, with lyrics about staying together as a troop (“we’ll be swimming in the same direction/and we’ll never lose this connection”), the goals and standards of the mission (“Oh, faith is the bullet/Hope is the gun/Love is all we need”) and perseverance in the battle (“Now, march with the band/Raise your right hand/We’ve only just begun.”) Yes, it’s a tad cheesy, but I think the sentiment works, plus the arrangement is a nice fusion of the traditional and modern-day popular sounds. I think you’ll want to join the gang too. Those snare drums are pretty hot.

Verdict: I do like both, but I’ll give the edge to Olly; it’s a strong song and it’s already on my personal chart. Each is tied at 1.

ROUND THREE: WHO’S MORE LIKELY TO GET A HIT?
This is a hard one. Both Murs and Williams started off their respective eras with a #1 single that spent two frames at the top; “Troublemaker” and “Candy”, respectively. Williams went onto release “Different” during the Christmas Week, but it wasn’t promoted well and ended up missing the top 40. I would hope his label would rethink their strategy for this release. Murs, on the other hand, would be coming off that #1 single. Now, you may assume that this would give him the upper hand, but, he’s waited months to release a second single and he’s currently on a radio tour with some additional television performances in the States. Since his album is out here in April, he may be spending some additional time here rather than focusing his efforts across the pond. In short, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess as to how both of these releases will actually chart. (I’m rooting for both, but one has to top the other one, you know?)

Verdict: Gonna leave this one at a tie. Too tough to decide.

Let’s add up all the points… jeez, I was never good at math. Oh, you say they both have two points a piece? Well, well. I guess that means you’ll have to help me out. Which one do you like better: “Army Of Two” or “Be A Boy”? Or, are you stuck like me and enjoy both? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Going For Gold: The Justice Collective Bring In “Heavy” Sales

A #1 single isn't "impossible."

A #1 single isn’t “impossible.”

Once again, the year flew by and the end of it is here again, which means there’s a massive competition brewing for the #1 single in the United Kingdom this week, traditionally dubbed The Christmas Chart as it falls just before the national holiday on Tuesday. Of course, that country’s Singles Chart is fully determined by sales, whereas our Billboard Hot 100 takes in multiple aspects (airplay, sales, streaming), so a digital release won’t always rise to the top; thus, artists lead big campaigns in order to secure the title. This year, however, isn’t looking as crazy overall as in many past years. Last week, X Factor winner James Arthur sold nearly 500,000 copies of his debut single, a cover of Shontelle‘s “Impossible”, which easily gave him the #1 spot. It is now the fastest selling single of the year. Proceeds from Arthur’s single are going to Together For Short Lives, a U.K.-based children’s charity for young ones with life-threatening conditions. However, another charity single has emerged with a slight lead over Arthur and may just deny him of a second week at the top of the charts.

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” is a remake of the old The Hollies tune which became a top ten hit here in the States back in 1970. It was also a #3 hit on the other side of the pond. This version is done by The Justice Collective, benefitting charities associated with the Hillsborough Disaster, a 1989 tragedy in which 96 people were killed in a giant stampede in order to gain entrance to Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. Back in September, an independent panel reviewing the incident stated that nearly half of the victims that lost their lives on that day could have been saved had the police presence not neglected to calm the crowd, who toppled over one another when a barrier broke loose. This charity effort was intended to help cover the legal costs of those families who wanted justice from losing a family member or members during the event. Quite a few musicians were recruited for the effort, including a few we know here in the U.S., like Melanie C of the Spice Girls, Paloma Faith, Paul McCartney (who also plays electric guitar), Rebecca Ferguson, Robbie Williams and several members of The Hollies themselves. It was recorded in October and a music video featuring the recording sessions was premiered two weeks ago. Instrumentally, it stays pretty faithful to the original sound of it; it’s even in the same key. However, the addition of a full orchestra definitely opens things up and combined with the soulful vocals provided by the participants, makes it a very emotional song. It truly is a great rendition of it all going towards a good cause.

Here’s the situation: both songs have sold over 100,000 copies a piece since the tracking week began on Sunday. Both are available as digital and physical CD singles, which complicates estimations a bit seeing as iTunes freely displays a chart on their front page while brick-and-mortar retailers don’t. As of now, The Justice Crew are ahead by about 3,000 copies combined, and anything could happen in what could be one of the closest Christmas Chart races in history. (As of Thursday, there’s now a 13,000 copy separation.) Both support worthwhile organizations, but there’s a certain glory in achieving that coveted #1 spot on such a notable week. Though the X Factor contestants traditionally released their winning single on the Week for several years, it was changed last year when winners Little Mix debuted at #1 on the chart before the Christmas Week, giving the Military Wives and Gareth Malone a huge sales week and the #1 Christmas Chart record of last year, “Wherever You Are”, which spent just one week there. I would say that gives a group charity single like “Brother” the advantage in this race, but you never know what Arthur has up his sleeve. With book and CD signings, he may just be able to come back and take the top spot by a few thousand or even hundred copies. Plus, he was just on one of most watched television shows over here. Everything is up in the air.

So, it’s up to you over in the United Kingdom to buy up what you think is worthy enough to grab the #1 spot of the week. We’ll be able to view the final result on Sunday. Arthur has already had his turn at the peak of the pop survey. If there’s any justice out there, take a minute to download The Justice Collective to help them provide a sense of justice to the 96 lives lost on that spring day back in 1989.

Buy “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” on AmazonMP3.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Matt Cardle – “Anyone Else”

Matt Cardle; he didn't start the fire, did he?

He didn’t start The Fire.

It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, 27-year-old Matt Cardle went from skateboarder to superstar, winning the U.K. version of The X Factor in 2010, beating out Cher Lloyd, One Direction and Rebecca Ferguson. Though he was part of several bands during the better half of the last decade, like Darwyn and Seven Summers, he is best known for wowing viewers on the show, taking the most votes each week since Week 2 of the ginals. He was on top of the world when his debut single, “When We Collide”, spent nearly a month at #1 on the U.K. Singles Chart, and to date, has sold over 1 million copies. His album, Letters, was also a success, entering at #2 on the Album Chart in 2011. However, during that era, it was clear that something just wasn’t clicking with the artist or his audience. Lead single “Run For Your Life” managed a modest #6, but declined pretty rapidly with no certification whatsoever. The next two singles, despite some promotional push, couldn’t even bust through the top 75. He was an obvious candidate for a contract cancellation, but that didn’t stop his passion for making music recording.

Now, being from the United States, I’ve seen some of his televised performances on YouTube and heard most of his single releases, but I don’t know a lot about the guy, although he does look like a cleaned-up version of Marcus Mumford if he wanted to go on the tribute band circuit. In all seriousness, he seems genuinely nice, though, and I’m sure he must have been disappointed and frustrated going from a major record label to no label and then to an independent one. There was much behind-the-scenes drama that I don’t need to go into (though you can view it in the comments below.) That being said, a lot of his stuff on his first album was glossy; overused strings was the main culprit, though vocally, it’s also a little bit overdramatic. His latest release, The Fire, finds Cardle in a most comfortable zone. It skews in a more alternative direction, which is probably what he wanted to do in the first place, and the use of less co-writers and producers makes it a more cohesive effort. It’s more real, more personal, more himself.

“Anyone Else”, Cardle’s latest single at an experienced 29-years-old, was written by he and Jeff Halatrax, who has produced for acts like Kevin Rudolf and Selena Gomez & The Scene in the past. It’s the followup to his leadoff single of a few months ago, “It’s Only Love”. With those names in mind, I’m guessing that maybe you thought he had gone for an electro-pop twist this time around. After all, it’s all the rage nowadays. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you if you’re we’re thinking that was the correct route. It’s not. “Only” treaded back into the more familiar territory of Cardle’s first album, though a little more restrained, but now, he provides a good balance of edgy vocals and pop/rock instrumentation in his latest release.

Right from the start, the guitar kicks in and you know this isn’t going to be a slow and sleepy ballad. No, this is a funky and a sassy number. Cardle shows a lot of growth particularly with this track over his last era; it’s a stomper with a pinch of an R&B throwback vibe, probably the closest that he flirts with the genre.  Speaking of flirting, how about those lyrics? That’s probably the biggest change if you’re a big fan of his and perhaps the focus of my draw to the song. To begin, “Get up, I’m ready, baby / For a little more if you’re feeling it / On top, go steady, baby / are you ready? are you ready?” There is far too much to dissect in just those few lines, but this no, “So, run for your life / Don’t leave me behind,” etc. This is a different kind of marathon, if you know what I mean. Let’s just say, I think that someone wasn’t satisfied with his other half at the time and decided that “the other woman” was an appropriate option to go to: “To make a little love to you was all I ever really needed.” Also, the intentional pause between “I don’t wanna” and “girls” in the next line… I see what you did there. Then, by the second verse, he’s already kicking out the girl and saying that he wants to go back to his girlfriend and rekindle the relationship. What gives? I mean, at least you could afford to pay for the taxi, maybe feed her something before she goes? She wasn’t good in bed, was she? Oh, I get it. Everybody has their standards, and writing about it is one way of dealing with the pain. I think that these days this is affectionately known as the Taylor Swift Method of writing. He, however, doesn’t need to sing about it in a immature manner to get across his point.

Cardle states that he wrote the song in Los Angeles and woke up one morning with a different take on some “stuff” that had gone on at the time. Much of the album, including “Anyone”, was inspired by a relationship with dancer Sarah Robinson.  (He’s now separated from her.) It would seem that she is the girlfriend/old lover figure in this story, but who is the other lady? We don’t know who Cardle actually chooses in the end, but I guess you can make your own mind up about that. He may tell his new lover to leave, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she won’t seduce him again. Hey, the girlfriend might not even want him back for breaking it off in the first time. All this time, he doesn’t seem upset in whatever decision he’s been making, so maybe he just wants to live the single life and fool around a bit. I don’t know, which means I’m reading too much into this song. It’s no “You’re So Vain”. However, this is absolutely his best single to date. From the harmonically on-point background vocalists to Cardle’s sweet (though sometimes strained) delivery and the solid group in his backing band, it’s an enjoyable whodunit of sorts. “Anyone” gets a single release in the U.K. on December 31. Don’t except this one to go soaring up the charts as it is an indie release, but if you’re looking for a quality single with a little bit of a punch, this may be the right choice before you starting looking for a similar track by “anyone else”. –AFS

Buy “Anyone Else” on AmazonMP3 (U.K. only.)

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