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Who needs guitars anyway?

Best Bits
Thursday, September 30, 2004

A-Z Of Reality TV Pop Ctd


Who? The UK's first taste of reality TV pop, consisting of Danny, Kym, Noel, Suzanne and Myleene.
From: Popstars (UK)
Best song: Everybody

Heinz Winckler

Who? Handsome singer of Don't Wanna Miss A Thing on World Idol.
From: Idol (S. Africa)
Best song: Angel

Jamai Loman

Who? Winner of the highly popular Dutch version of Idol, best known singles being Step Right Up and When You Walk Into The Room, which I once heard in British Home Stores!
From: Idol (Holland)
Best song: Step Right Up


Who? Just missed out on Girls Aloud but went on to release the poptastic hits Real Things, Surrender and Best Of My Love (and some pointless covers).
From: Popstars: The Rivals (UK)
Best song: Surrender (Your Love)

Jessica Garlick

Who? Lovely Welsh girl who came 9th in Pop Idol 1 and went on to compete in Eurovision with Come Back.
From: Pop Idol (UK)
Best song: Come Back

Jim Bakkum

Who? Jamai's teenage runner-up in Dutch Idol.
From: Idol (Holland)
Best song: Tell Her
Sunday, September 26, 2004

A-Z of Reality TV Pop Ctd.


Who? Original Popstars clown who with a bit of luck (or he might have just bought Rik Waller a doughnut, who knows?) and a makeover found himself in the Pop Idol final 3 and soon topping the charts.
From: Popstars/Pop Idol (UK)
Best song: Kinda Love

David Sneddon

Who? 'Cheeky' Scottish Fame Academy winner, who charmed the public with his songwriting skills and the looks of a 12-year-old.
From: Fame Academy (UK)
Best song: All My Life


Who? Swedish Popstars group, the origin of Ana Johnsson.
From: Popstars (Sweden)
Best song: We Can Dance


Who? Fabulous yet slightly Minnie Mouse-esque winner of American Idol 3.
From: American Idol 3
Best song: Summertime

Girls Aloud

Who? Popstars winners who went on to become the best girl group of the 00s so far!
From: Popstars: The Rivals
Best song: No Good Advice

Guy Sebastian

Who? High-pitched Oz Idol whose version of What A Wonderful World was loved by the judges but not the viewers.
From: So Oz As Idol
Best song: Crazy In Love
Saturday, September 25, 2004

A-Z Of Reality TV Pop

Since I enjoyed the Europop A-Z so much, I thought it would be fun to do an A-Z of another area of the pop world I know a lot about. So to celebrate the return of reality TV pop to our screens, even if it's in the form of Matt OTV and some of Six auditioning for X Factor, here is the A-Z Of Reality TV Pop:


Alex Janosz

Who? The crazy little blonde girl from World Idol who told her own judge "I HATE you!"
From: Polish Idol
Best song: I'm Still Alive

Alex Parks

Who? The FA-winning teenage lesbian with the big voice.
From: Fame Academy (UK)
Best song: Tainted Love

Alistair Griffin

Who? The lovely Granny-pleaser beaten to the FA title by the above.
From: Fame Academy (UK)
Best song: Painkiller


Who? Member of girlband Excellence gone solo, thanking Spiderman for her minor success in the UK.
From: Popstars (Sweden)
Best song: Cuz I Can


Who? Girl group from one the first Popstars shows, released one flop single, Poison, in the UK. 'Borrowed' Jennifer Paige's These Days and Kelle Bryan's Higher Than Heaven for their album.
From: Popstars (Australia)
Best song: These Days


Who? Very ace winner of 2 series of the hugely popular Idol show in Holland.
From: Idol (Netherlands)
Best song: When You Think Of Me


Who? Girls Aloud's dull leftovers desperate to be the new All Saints or Sugababes. Now down to 3 as their only interesting member has left.
From: Popstars: The Rivals
Best song: Sprung
Friday, September 24, 2004

Video Killed The Radio Star

V - You Stood Up
Finally the 4th best single of 2004 gets a video! And it's a very good video too - the bit where one of them appears to be about to castrate himself with a sword is highly amusing and the fact that I managed to forget Kevin even existed until the final shot is not a bad thing. However, despite both video and song being very good, I'm a bit unsure of them together. They don't really seem to match as the mood of the video is far too jolly for the song. It is a bit sad with Antony being in love with a girl and getting teased, but then she cuts his face with a sword which, unless I'm missing something vital, is rather random. The video didn't really make me go "Wow! Best video ever!" as it should have, but it did keep me watching intently throughout (apart from when I was wondering what happened to a) Kevin or b) Aaron's hair), they're still the best boyband of the moment and the song is the best boyband ballad in many years, so it has to get a high scoe of poptasticness.
96% Poptastic!

MIA - Galang
For months I thought MIA were the initials of some indie band, and I'm still not sure who I was confusing her with, but MIA is in fact a young Asian girl who is releasing this strange but very ace song next month. Her last single Sunshowers was equally unusual but grew on me quickly and surprisingly (her 'urban'-ness put me off at first), so I think this will be the same. Both videos are extremely ace as well. Galang has MIA in various fab outfits in front of several different very colourful backgrounds.
78% Poptastic!

Jay Sean - Stolen
I couldn't stand Jay Sean or his last, ridiculously crap single Eyes On You, but I have a newfound respect for him for letting himself be made so uncool. He seems to be being marketed as the Asian Craig David and I may not be a big Craig fan but I'd have cheesy r'n'b ballads over *insert whatever Eyes On You was supposed to be* any day. He's also had a bit of a makeover (ie. hair cut and posh suit), which has revealed his true Darius likeness. The video stars him and his Beyoncé lookalike (how original!) girlfriend, who is clearly far more popular than him (just like real life, where Beyoncé IS far more popular than Darius!) which seems to mean he needs to go and snog someone else in an airing cupboard. Hmm...
45% Poptastic!

Scissor Sisters - Mary
When I bought their album earlier this year, the Sisters quickly became one of my favourite bands of the moment and the album was my favourite of the year for a long time. This is a lovely song, but the video is a bit strange to say the least! It involves a lady, presumably Mary herself, going about her daily routine - waking up going to work, looking frazzled around the office. As odd as this is, it is when she looks into the photocopier that it gets really strange. Inside the photocopier seems to be a whole cartoon fairtale world, with a Rapunzel-esque character about to be saved by her prince charming, until he is suddenly knocked out of the tower window by some evil green creature, and both end up swinging from her endlessly long blonde hair. Very odd!
86% Poptastic!
Saturday, September 18, 2004

Top 10 CDs I Want NOW But Can't Afford

1. Annie - Anniemal

2. Rufus Wainwright - Want (One)

3. Melody Club - Face The Music

4. Sahlene - It's Been A While

5. Har Mar Superstar - The Handler

6. Beverly Knight - Affirmation

7. Joss Stone - Mind, Body And Soul

8. Britney Spears - Greatest Hits

9. Ana - The Way I Am

10. Phoenix - Alphabetical

Dirrrty Pop Review: Darren Hayes - The Tension And The Spark

So if you thought I was going to let Darren Hayes release a new album without me making a massive fuss, even if it did come out on one of the most hectic weeks of my life, then you are highly mistaken. Here is my track-by-track review:

This is rumoured to be the 2nd single from the album and although it makes a good opening track/introduction to the record, I'm not sure how it'll work as a single. However, it is a great songs so it could still do really well. It starts quite slowly but really picks up and gets more emotional after "It doesn't really matter where it all began".

I Like The Way
This song definitely explains the comparison to Depeche Mode and Madonna, but also reminds me of early Savage Garden, particularly a few songs near the end of their self-titled debut album. The lyrics in this song are great, and the album title is actually taken from the line "I like the way you move in the dark, the tension, the tension and the spark".

One of my favourites, this is beautiful and uplifting. It is a light at the end of the dark tunnel created by the two songs before it. It is still electrotastic, but more accessible. Any song which uses the word 'glitter' more than once gets an obligatory thumbs up from me.

Unsurprisingly, the most fun song on the album. It's stand out for changing the subject, but it's sound fits in perfectly, just showing a different side of Darren. It deserves to be there because this celebrity culture is as much a part of Darren's life as all the other highs and lows he tells us about in the other songs.

Dublin Sky
There are plenty "howowowhoo"s in this so it'll be pop!ular with fans of the ballads on the Spin album. Again it's quite uplifting and pretty but actually the lyrics are sad.

This is one of the poppiest songs after Pop!ular itself, and it's the song I can't get out of my head at the moment. I love the tenuous rhyme pof "bother" and "another" and the line "ladies and gentleman listne up please" which begins the chorus. This is probably my favourite song on TTATS.

This is another of my favourites, as it has all the ingerdients of a great song in my opinion. It is angry and emotional whilst overdosing on squelches, high bits and fast talky bits. This looks like it will be the third single, but I personally think it would make a better follow-up to Pop!ular than Darkness.

Begins with a heavy electro intro, making it one of the toucher songs on the album. The lyrics describe how sleeping around, desperately trying to find "the one" makes true love impossible to detect. The "doesn't anyone" repeats hark back to the "I believe"s of one Savage Garden's most well known singles, Affirmation, but this time it's far more urgent and affecting.

I Forgive You
This is the track produced by Marius De Vries, who has worked with everyone from the Sugababes to Rufus Wainwright. Again this reminds me of some of the early Savage Garden songs. The final line "feel good letting go" cleverly leads into the song named Feel itself.

This ballad starts very simply, with squelches of course. The chorus is hard to find but it turns into a very beautiful song. I do keep thinking he says "whereby" at the "way up high" bit, though.

Love And Attraction
The Bad Touch-esque intro makes this Darren's All Day Long I Dream About Sex, but playing with sexuality and love as well as sex itself. Another good bit is the "everybody wants..." middle 8.

Sense Of Humour
I particularly like the lyrics of this song. I love the rhyme of "wit" and "hit". It employs Crush (1980 Me)'s clever two songs at once trick about 2/3 of the way through, to more the song more interesting and as per usual it works.

The final track on TTATS begins slightly Oasis-y, or John Lennon-y to the oldies among you. There is an amusing couplet about "personal pronouns" which you must listen out for. This is probably the biggest departure from Darren's past work and his voice sounds most different on this track. You certainly wouldn't guess this was by the singer of "I Miss You".
Sunday, September 12, 2004

Video Killed The Radio Star

Darius - Kinda Love
This is actually rather catchy and would be reasonably likeable was it not sung by Darius. I won't bother saying what is wrong with Darius cos a) it would take forever and b) you can work it out, if you have any taste at all. The other problem with this song is the lyrics, which are terrible.
30% Poptastic!

Rachel Stevens - More, More, More
I have no idea why Rachel is releasing this. It's not the worst song I've ever heard but it's not LA Ex or Some Girls either. Yes it's the Sky football theme tune but that doesn't mean it has to be released. You would think after the disaster of the single Funky Dory, Rachel would know that a strong single needs to be followed by something equally as good. This may not be quite as big a flop but it certainly won't be next year's Popjustice Prize winner. Perhaps Worst Video Of 2004...
56% Poptastic!
Monday, September 06, 2004

If you liked the A-Z of Europop...

then you will love Chris' new site Sounds Of Sweden, where you will soon find an A-Z of Swedish pop acts (about 200 in total!) with mp3s included.
Sunday, September 05, 2004

Holiday-y! Celebra-yte!

Almost 2 weeks ago now I went on holiday to the pop Mecca known as Sweden and as you may have noticed I haven't written about it here. Until now! While I was there I wrote down a short diary to post when I got back, so here, along with lots of pictures from the week, it is!

Click here to read Jessica's Adventures In Sveden!
Friday, September 03, 2004

Guess who's going to see Darren Hayes?

ME! Yay! That is all.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Video Killed The Radio Star

Beverley Knight - Not Too Late For Love
The chorus to this song is gorgeous and the song is nice enough overall but the verses lack the top secret ingredient needed for a big hit ballad. It should do reasonably well as it'll sound good on the radio and it's a nice "love can save us" sentiment. The video has a few different scenes, one with Bev sitting on some steps, then she's lying in some hay in a skimpy dress (why??) and then she is in a busy town on a windy day with lots of people rushing around, perhaps to illustrate the world going crazy, as the song says. I want it to do well cos the chorus is so ace and I really like Beverley, plus Keep This Fire Burning really must be released.
78% Poptastic!

Razorlight - Vice
If I heard this song and didn't know who it was I'd never guess it was Razorlight - the singer, who I believe is called Johnny, sounds oddly like Justin Hawkins. Golden Touch was alright as far as indie goes but this is totally rubbish. The trick to making a good indie single is being as pop as you possibly can whilst still being cool enough to appear in NME, yet Vice proves that Razorlight have not yet realised this. The video is mainly Mr Razorlight in a telephone box singing this rubbish song as random people walk past. In the phone box are lots of flyers including one for a gig by the band and when they focus on the photo of the band on the flyer you can see them playing Vice - just like in Harry Potter!
26% Poptastic!

VS - Make It Hot
I started out hating VS due to the undeniably terrible Love You Like Mad, but then their second single Call U Sexy turned out to be rather good. Sadly this is just a typical, boring r'n'b song which I can't imagine being a big hit, which is a shame since I'd like to hear this planned 4th single that is earning so much praise. The video is quite cheap-looking as it's just them having a party in some wilderness type of place with a few extra dancers, but there's something about them that seems a little more polished. It's probably just that they're a bit more experienced now and don't look half as amateurish as in their first video.
53% Poptastic!

Brandy - Afrodisiac
I know from experience (ie. her previous album) that Brandy is best in small doses, so I am quite enjoying this on first listen. It's an unusual song and nicely Kanye-free. The video is quite simple with no storyline (remindsm e slightly of Thank You by Jamelia) but I love how it jerks from one scene to the next as the song makes a sort of jerking sound. It's much classier than the almost aggressive r'n'b that's around right now, and just about the only type r'n'b I'd voluntarily listen to.
70% Poptastic!

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