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Who needs guitars anyway?

Best Bits
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I Wanna Dance The Night Away

Here are my favourite dance singles of summer 2005 so far:

Tina Cousins - It's A Wonderful Life
Louise lookalike Tina is back and in case you hadn't worked it out yet, this is brilliant news! She released some great singles in the late 90s such as Killing Time and Angel and most famously worked with Sash on his hits Mysterious Times and Just Around The Hill. Her new single is a cover of Wonderful Life by Black and it is my favourite of her singles so far. It's currently doing fairly well in her home country of Australia and a UK release is promised soon. I can't wait!

Uniting Nations - You & Me
Or "Untying Nations" as I seem to prefer to call them. This is even better than Out Of Touch which is one of my favourite recent dance singles. It is supposed to be an original composition but anyone who knows the song Learning To Fly by Tom Petty will certainly agree with me on their huge similarity. I also recently learned that Uniting Nations is a pseudonym for pop's Jack of all trades, Daz (from Rikki and Daz, also behind basically every cheesy dance or novelty single of the 00s).

Dancing DJs vs. Roxette - Fading Like A Flower 2005
There have been a few mixes of this around in the past year but this is the one that looks set for success and it is a really great remix. So many of these remixes of old songs that are around at the moment do absolutely nothing for me but there have been a few fabulous ones and this is one of them. It's very fun and cheerful-sounding and you can sing along - what more could you ask for!

?? - The Riddle 2005
I don't even know who is releasing this - it may even be Nik Kershaw himself but the vocals sound different. I haven't been able to get hold of an mp3 so if you have it and could send it to me I would love you quite a lot!

Alcazar - Start The Fire
My joint favourite Swedish group of all time (joint with their pals BWO of course!) are still releasing singles from last year's sort-of-greatest hits, Dancefloor Deluxe, but who cares because this song is one the very best things on it and very much deserves to be a hit single. Apparently Alcazar are taking a break after this single, so lets hope they are back soon and on top form (I don't think we'll have to worry about that!).

September - Satellites
Female Swedish pop singer September has been a favourite of mine since I discovered her a year or so ago. She released 3 excellent singles last year and now she's back with a brand new release and it is definitely my favourite yet. This should be huge. Her voice is just perfect for it and makes the song just that extra bit better than any of the other dance-pop songs out currently in Sweden (apart from Alcazar of course). It sounds like so many fantastic Swedish groups from BWO to Ace of Base and it will be very popular with any fan of Swedish music.

In-Grid - Mamma Mia
I posted this recently on Into The Groove and it had a pretty good reaction. Deservedly so because it's a fabulous summery pop song. You may remember In-grid's previous single, the big European hit Tu Es Foutu. That was good but this is far better.

Dimension-X feat. TF - Why'd I Fall In Love With You?
This was posted by Edward O on his new blog Umlauts in May and I've been listening to it ever since - it's a real grower and considering I loved it on first listen, that's a lot of love! This has been a hit in Greece and the surrounding area but hopefully it will spread further soon as it deserves to be much bigger.

Velvet - Rock Down To (Electric Avenue)
Yes, this is a cover of the Eddy Grant 'classic' but please don't be put off by that because I hate that song and yet I think this is absolutely ACE! It's done pretty well in Sweden as well as other countries. I don't know much about Velvet apart from that she was a backing singer for this year's Swedish Eurovision entry, Martin Stenmarck, but I hope to hear much more from her in the future because like September she has a great voice for dance-pop music.

LMC vs. New Radicals - Don't Give Up
I hated LMC's last hit but this is surprisingly fantastic. I am fan of the original New Radicals song but this brilliant remix has given it a whole new lease of life.

Inaya Day - Nasty Girl
More pop than dance but since it's being released on AATW I have decided that it counts. This has done really well, especially, a little surprisingly, on Radio 1, although it has been treated as a bit of a novelty "gay song". I only recently found out that it is a cover of a song written by Prince and originally released by a girl group called Vanity 6. It is a great cheesy-pop cover and should have definitely been no.1 last weekend.

Plastic Dreams - Fuse (Move Your Body)
This track got very little attention at all - I only heard of it due to it's few plays on various music channels. There is something extremely 90s about the song, singer and especially the video (which is very worth seeing if you can) but it still fits in well with current trends. It's a huge shame this didn't do better as it is extremely catchy and manages to also be rather cool.

Big Ang feat. Siobhan - It's Over Now
Fans of 90s dance hits such as those by Alex Party and Robin S (so that's everyone, then!) should listen out for this track which would have been a massive hit then and should be just as big now since as this post proves, dance music is back and on top form. So what if we have to wade through some Erik Prydz and Audiobullies to get to it - I think you'll agree it's very much worth it!

Heartache at Missing the top 10

I'm rather surprised at the lack of Maximo Park and Roll Deep from the top 10 in the singles charts midweek predictions. Going Missing is a great song which I had expected to be the breakthrough single for Maximo Park - it already is in terms of being their biggest hit yet (a predicted no.15 compared to Graffiti's no.23) and had loads of attention from Radio 1, but that combined with this week's Mercury nomination would suggest at least a top 10 chart entry. With the Roll Deep Crew, I may not be a huge fan myself, but the song is on heavy rotation on the music channels and also receiving some Radio 1 play (not always a given for UK urban music as it is with British indie bands). The sample seems to be very popular (even I like that part of the song) and with Roll Deep being the origin of 2 of UK raps big stars, Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, and one of the main sources of the currently fashionable 'grime' style, you would think they would bring some more fans. Another song not charting as high as expected is the Daddy Yankee single, which has been huge across Europe, although it hasn't had so much radio play (yet) as video play so perhaps it will be one to stick around the top end of the charts for several weeks. It does seem to be strong contender for a big summer hit.

One reason for these lower chart entires must be that big hit singles are staying around the top 10 for much longer. 2Pac feat. Elton John, Charlotte Church, MVP and Crazy Frog have been there for 5, 4, 5 and 9 weeks respectively and James Blunt is spending only his second week at no.1 after 8 weeks of release, which although not an unheard of pattern is clogging up the top 10, letting in less new entries. For this it seems the integration of the download chart is to blame. The download chart, probably due to the varied release dates (often earlier or later than the physical single release), seems to be much slower than the singles chart was when it was a separate entity. This could cause worrying problems for new acts, particularly pop acts who depend on chart success to retain their record deal. If a pop act's last single was released before the download merger and reached the top 10 it is likely that they could sell just as much but miss the top 10, which would seem a failure to followers of the charts who, like me and most people it seems, don't pay much attention to the actual sales numbers.
Monday, July 18, 2005

It's all about me!

I have another review up on Stylus. This time it's of the latest Melody Club album, which you must all run out and buy immediately because it is so very very VERY good! It should really be an A but for some reason the editor has lessened the grade which is a shame because it kind of contradicts my review - this is one of the best albums I've heard in a long time and it's up with Robyn, BWO and the BSBs for the most necessary albums for any pop fan of the year so far.

Shocking news!

Bodies Without Organs have apparently signed a deal with EMI to be launched in the UK! This is obviously very exciting because seeing BWO videos on TV would be fantastic, but it is also a little worrying because as much as I adore them I know there is no chance of them being successful in the UK. I would be fooling myself if I believed otherwise. On the other hand, when Alcazar last released a single, although it wasn't a huge hit, it didn't ruin them or the song at all for me and allowed to place This Is The World We Live In at the very top of my top 100 singles of 2004.

Some less shocking news is that James Blunt is this week's no.1 single and album. This isn't shocking because both the single and album have been hanging around the top ends of the two charts for months already and at the moment he is everywhere. However, it is quite surprising in some other ways. For one, it is very unusual for songs to rise up so gradually to the no.1 spot, and it's quite a feat for an artist who was unknown a few months ago to have dethroned Coldplay from the album chart top spot. Sadly I can only see his success as being very bad news for the music industry. Although it's nice to see that when a song enters the charts far from the top, all hope is not lost that it will be a success, he is going to inspire record companies to look for the dullest, most sincere boys and girls with guitars to sign up, make dull but sincere guitar (or perhaps, to be quirky, piano!) based albums which they will then promote by TV advertisement until everyone is sick of the sight of them but somehow, bizarrely compelled to buy the CD. As if it wasn't bad enough with all the Didos and Katie Meluas of the past few years, James Blunt shows that it is going to get worse - much worse! The only good thing about this is that eventually it will get so bad that someone will have to rebel. Although it will probably be some hyped-up rock group telling us all how original they are, when chances are anyone with a memory longer than a year will call them the new Rooster.

3 Great Videos For Summer Holiday Viewing

1. Tegan & Sara - Speak Slow
Their recent singles are their best yet and they always make ace videos.

2. Clor - Love & Pain
Clor's 2 videos have to be the best of 2005 so far. Absolute genius! More indie song should have dance routines.

3. Anna Nalick - Breathe
Lovely new single from the new Michelle Branch.
Friday, July 15, 2005

Star of CCTV Stylus

Click here to read my latest Stylus review of Hard-Fi's album, Stars Of CCTV.

In other news:

I can't believe Jessica Simpson got Mandy Moore and Jake Gyllenhaal to go to her birthday party! That is just NOT FAIR!

Good News & Bad News

Good news:
1. I'm going to see Rufus Wainright on tour (again!)
2. The next BSB single is Just Want You To Know, the best song on Never Gone and the unofficial male version of Since U Been Gone.
3. The Kaiser Chiefs have made a new improved video for the re-release of I Predict A Riot.

Bad news:
1. Jessica Simpson is releasing her horrid These Boots Are Made For Walking cover in the UK.
2. The Charlotte Church album doesn't sound too promising.
3. Pink has a new album on the way.
Friday, July 08, 2005

Video Killed The Radio Star

Tyler James - Your Woman
At first when I heard this I was a bit disappointed as it's not as good as the original, but then I thought, what was I expecting? It was never going to compare to White Town, who's version was so extremely ace it can't really be topped, and if I hadn't heard it I probably would have been quite impressed with this version. Tyler also looks lovely in the video and hopefully his Glastonbury appearance will have given him a bit of a boost.
87% Poptastic!

Kubb - Remain
I first heard of Kubb on the 31st of May when their single, which was released that day, was played on Jo Whiley's show. Quite liking it, I searched the Internet for any information on them but as I was spelling their name wrong (or right, really) I found nothing. It was then to my great surprise and excitement to find myself watching them play live a few hours later as support for Gavin Degraw's London gig! They played a very good set and this was one of the most popular songs. They're not really amazing but the singer is very talented and the song is nice so I think they deserve some success.
73% Poptastic!

Uniting Nations - You And Me
I'm not a fan of many of the recent dance cover versions or samples of classic songs, but Out Of Touch was one which I really did love. It turns out, however, that this original (in as much that it's not an actual cover - it still sounds like loads of other songs) song is even better! It's a fantastic pop song and hopefully will be even bigger than it's predecessor, but it may be set back by sounding so similar to it, despite being a new improved version of it.
95% Poptastic!
Sunday, July 03, 2005

International Video Challenge

Representing the USA: Gwen Stefani - Cool
Gwen with brown hair! She looks fantastic! This video is just as cool as the song title demands, but we could never expect any less from Gwen. Its a very different look to the other singles from L.A.M.B. I actually get the feeling that this could turn out to be a Don't Speak for the 21st century, although the song is not quite that level of greatness. But not that far off either!

Representing Germany: Blue Lagoon - Heartbreaker
I just posted about Blue Lagoon on Into The Groove and in the researching process I came across this, their new video and a cover of the Dionne Warwick hit Heartbreaker. Blue Lagoon's singles are a bit hit-and-miss but this is definitely a hit, making a rather lovely summery pop song.

Representing the UK: Goldfrapp - Ooh La La
Seeing this on Popworld this morning was the first time I'd heard the song in full and I liked it a lot more than from just the small clip on their web site, so I'm getting the Popjustice hype now. Goldfrapp are obviously very cool and leading the way with all this electropop stuff but they've never moved me to want their whole album before, but the new one is beginning to sound quite tempting as I've heard that there are lots of songs on it much better than this one so it shpuld be very good indeed.

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