We all knew last week would be a success, in fact, we made sure of it. Echo sold over 160,000 copies in its first week, to debut at number 1, but that's about half of what her last album sold in the same period. Now, we're not suggesting that the wheels are falling off Leona's career per se, but what she lacks that a lot of other pop stars have is a definite personality. Songs like 'Happy' don't help matters. Speaking of personalities, Will Young's best of crashed in at, er, no. 9, which is hardly the work of a TV talent show alumnus, but we're pretty sure that's all he can hope for now. The Arctic Monkeys single seems to be missing from the top 40, which must be some kind of blip, right?
Fuzzo by Brigadier Ambrose
OK, confession time, this band are friends of the blog. Not just, "oh yeah, we met them at a party, they seem like nice guys" kind of friends, but proper "we went to school together" type friends. We feel the need to make this clear from the outset given the fact that we love this album so much it's going to seem like nepotism either way. You'll assume we're friends even if we weren't when we say that Fuzzo is one of the best debuts of 2009. Influenced by surrealist British comedy just as much as they are by bands like Blur, Belle & Sebastian and Pavement, they've crafted an album that keeps one eye on the everyday and the other turned skywards. It also features this lyric; "Silences don't really mean a great deal anymore/ One minute for footballers and two minutes for war / Three for terrorist atrocities / Four for the death of Morrissey". Kind of says it all really.
BUY THESE MONOCHROME BEAUTIES
Rated R by Rihanna
The Fame Monster by Lady GaGa
Two of pop's biggest characters return with albums on the same day, one trying to build a new image after some well-publicised personal problems and the other cementing her status as 2009's best megastar. Rated R is a darker, denser affair than Rihanna's previous efforts, featuring far more aggressive, almost sadomasochistic imagery. Guns are licked, fired and drawn on skin (she has a tattoo of one on her hip), whilst love is variously depicted as dead, deadly or, er, Spanish ('Te Amo'). WARNING: This album features will.i.am. Lady GaGa's The Fame Monster on the other hand should be subtitled "what this? Oh I knocked this up in my lunch break", such is the run of form she seems to be on. Eight brand new songs, four potential singles, Beyoncé drops by for a brief cameo and somewhere Madonna dies a little inside.
Fall Be Kind EP by Animal Collective
This 5-track EP is a little bit darker, a little bit denser than their last album...oh, have we written that before today? Erm, it's their equivalent of Rihanna's Rated R album, only with longer songs and slightly more droning. Very good as ever, in other words.