Pick of the Year: 2010


  1. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind (part 2)
  2. Owl City – Fireflies
  3. Rihanna – Rude Boy
  4. Florence & The Machine & Dizzee Rascal – You Got The Dirtee Love (Live At The BRIT Awards 2010)
  5. Leona Lewis – I Got You
  6. Jason Derulo – In My Head
  7. Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed
  8. Tinie Tempah – Pass Out
  9. Usher featuring Will.I.Am – OMG
  10. Scouting For Girls – This Ain’t A Love Song
  11. Plan B – She Said
  12. Professor Green – I Need You Tonight
  13. Adam Lambert – For Your Entertainment
  14. Train – Hey Soul Sister
  15. Aggro Santos – Candy
  16. Christina Aguilera – Not Myself Tonight
  17. BoB featuring Bruno Mars – Nothin’ On You
  18. Eminem – Not Afraid
  19. Tinie Tempah featuring Labrinth – Frisky
  20. Example – Kickstarts
  21. Kylie Minogue – All The Lovers
  22. Robyn – Dancing On My Own
  23. Kelly Rowland – Commander
  24. Katy Perry – California Gurls
  25. Eminem featuring Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie
  26. Yolanda Be Cool – We No Speak Americano
  27. Usher – DJ Got Us Falling In Love
  28. Travie Mccoy featuring Bruno Mars – Billionaire
  29. Flo Rida – Club Can’t Handle Me
  30. Roll Deep – Green Light
  31. Taio Cruz – Dynamite
  32. Kesha – Take It Off
  33. Shontelle – Impossible
  34. Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are
  35. Cee Lo Green – Forget You
  36. Take That – The Flood
  37. Pink – Raise Your Glass
  38. Far East Movement – Like A G6
  39. Jessie J – Do It Like A Dude
  40. Usher – More
  41. Matt Cardle – When We Collide

Review: Sway – Verses from the Vault 1&2

‘Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness’ – Maya Angelou

Music is undeniably one of my biggest passions which I don’t get chance to wrote about nearly enough. That’s my own fault really because I don’t listen to as much new stuff as I used to. I’m in my mid 30s now whilst I still listen to radio 1 to keep up with what the kids are into these days I pretty much know what I like and stick with it. I’m nothing if not loyal

Every now and then an artist comes along who changes the way you listen to music. For me, UK rapper Sway is one of those people. I’d been of fan of the track Saturday Night Hustle he did with Lemar in 2008 and then the song Level Up released in 2012 which still remains on my running playlist to this day.


His 2015 Album Deliverance very quickly earned a spot on my top ten albums of all time so needless to say I’ve been itching to hear some new material.

Praise be to the rap gods that Sway released Verses from the Vault volumes 1 and 2 and as the name suggests; whilst not strictly an album of new material,  it’s actually 2 albums of previously unreleased material. So, new to me, and that’s all that counts.


One of the things I love most about Sway, and artists like him (namely Childish Gambino) is that their content isn’t your stereotypical ‘money cash hoes’ that you might expect from someone from a rap/grime artist from North London. It’s much, much deeper than that. In fact, the only thing Sway really boasts about, is his work ethic. And in a country of zero hours contracts and ‘discouraged workers’ being at an all time high, is that something we should really be criticizing someone for?

Had I not known (and it not being glaringly obvious from the title) that this was a collection of previously unreleased songs of yore, I would have firmly and happily believed that Verses from the Vaults was a brand new album as it stands up valiantly next to Deliverance. The albums are split between Sway’s two heritages; volume 1 a tribute to his Ghanaian roots and volume 2 a nod to his London upbringing.

Stand out tracks for me are King, a beautifully articulated dedication to Michael Jackson,  Mirror, a dedication to his daughter (I’m guessing) which in these times of misogynistic american presidents and clubs of elitist British aristocrats perving over waitresses, is refreshing to hear and Topboy, partly because it’s mostly clever lyrics against a very simple beat but mostly because he references Rugrats. Which is my all time favourite cartoon. Ever.

If you haven’t heard Sway before it’s hard to describe his style because he’s not really anyone who can be pigeonholed. Some tracks like Still Speedin from Deliverance and Prince from Verses from the Vault 2 wouldn’t be out of place in Chase & Status set (or on the A list on Radio 1 in my opinion) yet there are songs like Never Enough (from Verses from the Vault 1) which are so lyrically intricate that you have to stop everything you’re doing to take it all in. For me Sway has always been the perfect gym or sun lounger album. And by that I don’t by any means that it’s throwaway music. What I mean is it’s music you want to listen to when you can really devote your time to the poetry with no distractions

Honorable mention has to go to instrumental track Letter which, even as one of life’s lyrics girls, even I can see that this piece of music should be on a film soundtrack without delay.


If this is the quality of stuff that Sway just has in his back pocket that he was saving for a rainy day then it makes me so excited to hear brand new material. Perhaps he might even be inspired to write a song about the palest and blondest girl in England being his biggest fan? Or at the very least let me to sing the hook to Level Up when does the live shows he’s promised me later this year…..

You can download Verses from the Vault from Apple Music and Spotify now – do it!


Pick of the Year: 2008


  1. Britney Spears – Piece of Me
  2. Alphabeat – Fascination
  3. Mika – Relax
  4. Lupe Fiasco – Superstar
  5. Adele – Chasing Pavements
  6. David Jordan – Sun Goes Down
  7. OneRepublic – Stand and Stare
  8. Flo Rida – Low
  9. Taio Cruz – Come On Girl
  10. Estelle – American Boy
  11. Madonna – 4 Minutes
  12. Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me
  13. Sam Sparro – Black and Gold
  14. Usher – Love In This Club
  15. James Blunt – Carry You Home
  16. T-Pain – Church
  17. September – Cry For You
  18. Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
  19. Kanye West – Flashing Lights
  20. Ne-Yo – Closer
  21. Chris Brown – Forever
  22. Ting Tings – Shut Up and Let Me Go
  23. Elbow – One Day Like This
  24. Dizzee Rascal – Dance Wiv Me
  25. Kid Rock – All Summer Long
  26. Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl
  27. Verve – Love Is Noise
  28. Madcon – Beggin
  29. Little Jackie – The World Should Revolve Around Me
  30. Keane – Spiralling
  31. Biffy Clyro – Mountains
  32. Gym Glass Heroes – Cookie Jar
  33. New Kids on the Block – Summertime
  34. Flobots – Handlebars
  35. MIA – Paper Planes
  36. Pink – So What
  37. Saturdays – Up
  38. Britney Spears – Womanizer
  39. Leona Lewis – Forgive Me
  40. Beyonce – Single Ladies
  41. Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah


Pick of the Year: 2007


  1. Jojo – Too Little, Too Late
  2. Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good
  3. Mika – Grace Kelly
  4. Fray – How to Save a Life
  5. Keane – A Bad Dream
  6. Take That – Shine
  7. Bowling for Soup – High School Never Ends
  8. Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around Comes Around
  9. Fergie – Glamorous
  10. Pink – Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)
  11. Hilary Duff – With Love
  12. Ciara – Like A Boy
  13. Timbaland – Give It To Me
  14. Linkin Park – What I’ve Done
  15. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
  16. Hellogoodbye – Here (In Your Arms)
  17. Jojo – Anything
  18. Rihanna – Umbrella
  19. Twang – Either Way
  20. Kelly Rowland – Like This
  21. Fray – Over My Head
  22. Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry
  23. Kate Nash – Foundations
  24. Timbaland – The Way I Are
  25. Robyn – With Every Heartbeat
  26. Kanye West – Stronger
  27. Gym Class Heroes – Clothes Off
  28. Matchbox 20 – How Far We’ve Come
  29. 50 Cent – Ayo Technology
  30. Shayne Ward – If That’s Ok With You
  31. Enrique Iglesias – Tired of Being Sorry
  32. Britney Spears – Gimme More
  33. Take That – Rule The World
  34. Backstreet Boys – Inconsolable
  35. Robyn – Handle Me
  36. Craig David – Hot Stuff
  37. Chris Brown – Kiss Kiss
  38. Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music
  39. Leon Jackson – When You Believe
  40. Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup
  41. Bowling for Soup – When We Die

Pick of the Year: 2006


  1. Hard-fi – Cash Machine
  2. Richard Ashcroft – Break The Night with Colour
  3. Notorious BIG – Nasty Girl
  4. Starsailor This Time
  5. Madonna – Sorry
  6. Simon Webbe – After All This Time
  7. Pussycat Dolls – Beep
  8. Keisha White – The Weakness in Me
  9. Sugababes – Red Dress
  10. Ne-Yo – So Sick
  11. Kelly Clarkson – Walk Away
  12. Embrace – Natures Law
  13. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
  14. Mary J Blige & U2 – One
  15. Rihanna – SOS
  16. Will Young – Who Am I
  17. LL Cool J – Control Myself
  18. Pink – Who Knew
  19. Paul Oakenfold – Faster Kill Pussycat
  20. Nelly Furtado – Maneater
  21. Sugababes – Follow Me Home
  22. Muse – Supermassive Black Hole
  23. Zutons – Valerie
  24. Pussycat Dolls – Buttonz
  25. All American Rejects – Dirty Little Secret
  26. Lupe Fiasco – Kick Push
  27. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
  28. Justin Timberlake – Sexyback
  29. Pink – U & UR Hand
  30. My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade
  31. James Morrison – Wonderful World
  32. Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Oooh
  33. Beyonce – Irreplaceable
  34. Amy Winehouse – Rehab
  35. McFly – Star Girl
  36. All Saints – Rock Steady
  37. Keane – Nothing In My Way
  38. Justin Timberlake – My Love
  39. Take That – Patience
  40. Jamelia – Beware of the Dog
  41. Matt Willis – Don’t Let It Go To Waste
  42. Leona Lewis – A Moment Like This

JustSO release debut album

‘All music is escapism for me, but I like the way that, on a good night, that sense of escapism can be shared’ – Jamie xx

One of the best parts of my job is being able to talk passionately about things I love and discovering new music has always been a great love of mine. Writing this blog has given me many amazing opportunities, and none more amazing than being offered the opportunity to work as press officer for local North East rock band The Longsands after they read a review I wrote of one of their gigs. It helped that I was mates with them at school of course; having an already established relationship made the job so much easier and it was a dream come true for me.

Guitarist from The Longsands Stan had always had a side project in JustSO, a more laid back acoustic offering with vocalist Olivia Morley which he managed concurrently with The Longsands but when the boys decided to call it a day in 2017, Stan moved forward with JustSO and started recording their own material rather than just relying on a popular wedding band repertoire.


They’ve now just released their first self titled album full of original material and although it couldn’t be more different from The Longsands back catalogue, on just first listen it sounds like a perfect laid back pop album.

The change in direction (for Stan at least) is a refreshing change of pace and his distinctive voice shines through as he shares 50% of the vocals. As soon I heard his guitar kick in I instantly thought ‘there’s Stan’. His voice melts like butter with Olivia’s who although may vocally lack the power of Beyonce or Adele, she certainly more than makes up for it in soul and reminds me of some of my favourite female singers from the 90s like Paula Cole and Jewel.

The album is track after track of polished classy radio friendly hits with a distinct modern americana vibe. Stand out track from me is Stay, which could have been pulled straight off the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack and believe me when I say I hold the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack in very high esteem!

History hasn’t been too kind to male/female bands however I think JustSO manage to pull off the musical credibility of Fleetwood Mac (without being too mumsy) and the energy of The Beautiful South (without being a bit rubbish). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you heard them on radio 2 in the very near future!

Download the album from amazon and find out more about the band on their Facebook page.

Pick of the Year: 2004

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  1. Kelis – Milkshake
  2. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
  3. Maroon 5 – Harder to Breathe
  4. Snow Patrol – Run
  5. Blazin Sqaud – Here 4 One
  6. Busted – 3am
  7. Keane – Somewhere Only We Know
  8. Luther Vandross – Dance With My Father
  9. Lemar – Another Day
  10. Britney Spears – Toxic
  11. Kylie Minogue – Red Blooded Woman
  12. Blink 182 – I Miss You
  13. Enrique Iglesias – Not In Love
  14. B2K – Badaboom
  15. Usher – Yeah
  16. Will Young – Your Game
  17. JC Chavez – Blowin Me Up
  18. Streets – Fit But You Know It
  19. Natasha Bedingfield – Single
  20. Jay-Z – 99 Problems
  21. 411 – On My Knees
  22. Gabrielle – Stay The Same
  23. Kristian Leontiou – Story Of My Life
  24. Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done
  25. Mario Winans – I Don’t Wanna Know
  26. Brandy – Talk About Our Love
  27. Freestylers – Push Up
  28. Black Eyed Peas – Let’s Get It Started
  29. Shaznay Lewis – Never Felt Like This Before
  30. J-Kwon – Tipsy
  31. Ananstacia – Sick and Tired
  32. Mousse T – Is It Cos I’m Cool
  33. Kanye West – Jesus Walks
  34. Girls Aloud – Love Machine
  35. Beverley Knight – Not Too Late for Love
  36. Lucie Silvas – What You’re Made Of
  37. Bowling for Soup – 1985
  38. Destiny’s Child – Lose My Breath
  39. Steriogram – Walkie Talkie Man
  40. Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For
  41. Band Aid 20 – Do They Know It’s Christmas