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Who needs guitars anyway?


Best Bits
Saturday, January 29, 2005

Dirrrty Pop Review: Rooster - Rooster



The real music band who, despite being 4 boys in a band, singing poppy-rock and appearing at the height of Busted's success, are neither a boyband nor cashing in on Busted's success. However, they are actually quite good, so let's listen to their album!

1. Joy Ride
Quite poppy, but I do think Come get Some would be a better opener. Then again, they need to spread out the known songs so people don't collapse from the angst of it all. 8/10

2. Come Get Some
Remarkably, I still love this song. It is a great pop song which does what it says on the tin ie. make you want to shout from the rooftops, although possibly not running cos I don't want to fall off, do I? 9/10

3. Standing In Line
He sounds like he's singing underwater in the bridge. You are very annoying, Mr Rooster singer (Nick?), but you don't have to drown yourself. The chorus could be a bit more catchy, but it's quite likeable. 7/10

4. Staring At The Sun
Rooster's latest hit has definitely been a grower for me, but made it clear that despite their "real music" protests, they are definitely aiming for the pop market. It's a pretty but soppy ballad and still sounds like late A1 to me! 7/10

5. To Die For
I don't think this is the Luke Galliano cover that I once read V were planning. I can't actually remember what his To Die For sounded like. This sounds a bit like a very serious version of the incessantly cheery Ultra. Nice "sing along NOW!" drum roll at about 3.20. 6/10

6. You're So Right For Me
The song most like what you'd expect of the singers of Come Get Some so far. I'm liking it but not quite so much as CGS and it really reminds me of something. I feel like I've heard it before somewhere. Quite jaunty, anyway. 7/10

7. Platinum Blind
This is fun! He does sing very fast, doesn't he? It's hard to make out many of the lyrics in the verses, there's so many of them. For some reason this reminds me of B*Witched! 7.5/10

8. Deep And Meaningless
A ballad soppier than Staring At The Sun! Quite nice singing and I like the backing track too. Of course they have to put in a guitar solo which ruins the unrealness a bit, but it will have to be allowed. 8/10

9. On The Road
This was so mediocre I forgot to listen to it the first time and had to play it again, which I forgot to listen to again and gave up. 5/10

10. She Don't Make Me Feel
Pretty similar to all previous tracks, so the sound is getting a bit lacklustre by now. Some quite good lyrics. 6.5/10

11. Angels Calling
As you will have guessed from the title, here's another ballad. Again, it is nice, although my opinion may be swayed by how refreshing it to hear him singing delicately after all this wannabe rocker stuff. He sounds like Gary Barlow now! 8.5/10

12. Drag The Sunrise Down
Slow in the verses, slightly scary in the bridge and rocky in the chorus. Not at all catchy. Probably the most "hardcore" rocky track of all. 6/10
Monday, January 24, 2005

Trendy Discotheque, We're Dancing At The Trendy Discotheque

I was just reading the great Tom Ewing's latest Very Intelligent Essay about The Indie Boom and it has led me to wonder; how on Earth do you dance to indie music? Disco-y bands like the Killers and Franz Ferdinand might be do-able but what can you do to Oasis except injure them sway a bit?
Saturday, January 22, 2005

Ch-ch-ch-ch- changes

Oh look out you rock'n'rollers!

Dougie McFly was once a sweet little boy:



Zac from Hanson has become quite the buff hottie:



At least Ollie from Point Break and now Freefaller's hairstyle has improved if not his music:



Another vaguely related thing I feel compelled to point out is that Freefaller are more like a boybands-that-play-instruments surpergroup than a new band.



l-r: Harry McFly, Ollie Point Break, Charlie Busted, Danny McFly

Boybands, and another one, and another one, and another one

If all their other predictions about the Year 3000 fail, Busted have made sure that at least one will be true. They may have left the pop scene but we're still in no shortage of boybands. This Monday happens to be a rather excellent day for boybands releasing singles, so lets take a look at the contenders for boyband of the week:

Hanson - Penny & Me



Hanson did of course release two of the top boyband singles of the 90s (Mmmbop and especially I Will Come To You) and with this they look set to continue their greatness in the 21st century. I've praised them so many times over the past few weeks that I've run out of original things to say, but to paraphrase my Into The Groove post, they are hugely talented and severely underrated. They are single-handedly writing the frightening wrongs of that other 3-piece band of lookalike brothers with instruments, which is an accomplishment not to be undervalued!

Phixx - Strange Love



I was amazed (in a good way I must add - it is the music industry that are rubbish, not Phixx) that Phixx got a single out at all let alone that they would still be around nearly a year and a half later and on the 4th single. Ok so they may not be quite the success story of 2003, 04 or 05, but they have managed to consistently reach the top 13 with each release so far, so lets hope for the sake of their future in pop and their album getting released in the UK, that they can do the same with Strange Love. Chris' face on the cover is also absolute comedy genius, so it's worth buying just for that!

And a half mention goes to:

Freefaller - Do This, Do That



The fact that Ollie was involved in Stand Tough, You and Do We Rock cannot be ignored, and this song is rather catchy, especially the bit where he may or may not sing "crack the muscle whip, party down". They may be indistinguishable from McFly apart from the lead singer being substantially hotter, but I'll have them over the heinous Noise Next Door anyday.

Other boyband singles out this week are D-Rail - How Do I Say Goodbye, which no-one cares about but perhaps should as it's for charity and not that bad, and Biff Clyro who are not what would normally be defined as a boyband but should be celebrated for their part in causing the aforementioned (by everyone 20 million times a day) Busted split - hooray! On top of this, Rooster have an album out which on the basis of Come Get Some will be brilliant but on the basis of Staring At The Sun and their "real music" delusions, could be crap.

Video Killed The Radio Star

It's a bonza video bonanza this weekend!

Kaiser Chiefs - Oh My God
This song sounds like so many I hate, it's quite a miracle that I like it at all, let alone love it like I do. Even better news is that the lead singer turns out to be not quite as old and ugly as the I Predict A Riot video led us to believe. That video was a basic live performance thing with a bit of staged rioting thrown in for effect, but this one is much better. To match the "never been this far away from home" lyric, the band are transported to various places in the world. I just hope the rest of their songs are as good as the 2 singles, cos if so they are going to be easily the biggest indie band of 2004.
97% Poptastic!

Mario - Let Me Love You
Before you worry, this is not Mario Winans, but the teenage Usher-wannabe Mario who released a couple of singles (Just A Friend and C'mon) and was interviewed on Popworld a few years ago. You should all know by now how much I hate the evil Usher and his horrible music, but I have to say I have a slight soft-spot for Mario because there's something really nice about his voice and songs. He is much more soulful and less desperate to be cool, although he manages that just fine anyway. The sound of this song reminds me of K-Ci and Jojo (not the 14-yr-old). The video is nothing special but inoffensive, much like Mario himself.
61% Poptastic!

Other videos of note:

Futureheads - Hounds Of Love
I'm ashamed to say I've never heard the Kate Bush version but this one grows on me with each listen, so I think I need to download the original now!
Deeyah - Plan Of My Own
I know I've posted about this before but I've since changed my mind and decided to love. Annoyingly this coincides with my realisation that she is going absolutely nowhere.
Idlewild - Love Steals Us From Loneliness
I've never got the fuss about Idlewild, but this song is really nice. If only the gap in his front teeth wasn't quite so off-putting, I might even like the video too.
Friday, January 21, 2005

Video Killed The Radio Star

Daniel Bedingfield - Wrap My Words Around You
I should probably take note of the lyrics to this song because he sings "It's not fair to write a song for a woman, no, because a woman takes a song into her heart" and Daniel has written a song for me. It is a bonus demo track on the album and informs me that my love is like a newly buttered roll, which is nice. It also happens to be the best track by far on what is a really good, underappreciated album, so I can't complain, even if there are plenty of pop boys I'd rather have writing songs about me than Daniel Bedingfield. Anyway, back to this song, and I have to say that although at first I thought it was a mistake to release this next I have now changed my mind completely. I found it difficult to pick the stand-out tracks on the CD as it's more of a good all rounder but this one has something so lovely about it, I think it deserves to be a hit and will be on the radio at least, where it works very well.
89% Poptastic!

Annie - Heartbeat
I really do adore Annie and her music. She is the definition of cute and the music is her perfect match. I actually heard this track even before Chewing Gum so it's far from new to me, but I do love it very much and it's nice to see it in the context of the video, which is a really great one I must add. My favourite bits include Annie eating a cheesecake, the party balloons and her slightly awkward yet fab dancing. I'd love the world to wake up to her chamrs but on the other hand, if she could carry on releasing songs without being overhyped or overplayed except by her devoted fans, then that would be even better. Sometimes it's nice for us proper pop fans to have someone like Annie to keep to ourselves. Very selfish, but it works for me!
95% Poptastic!

KT Tunstall - Black Horse & The Cherry Tree
I've heard this girl's name but was unsure of who she was, and now I do know I wish I'd investigated sooner cos she's very ace. Her song is feisty, slightly country-esque singer-songwriter indie-pop with an English accent, which may sound confusing but you will understand when you hear it. It's very original and unusual which always helps. She's a bit like a cooler, dark-haired (she's actually a mix of Chinese and Scottish) version of Natasha Bedingfield. The video is simple, cool and stylish, although I'm thinking she should have stuck with Kate for her name instead of KT which makes her sound like some pointless rapper. I can see her taking off with the Radio 2 market but she's much more fun than that so do give her a chance.
84% Poptastic!
Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Best Compilation Of All Time!

Last night's discovery of Party Fox inspired me to dig out the first pop music cassette I ever bought, a compilation aptly named The No.1 Dance Party Album which also happens to be the best compilation I've ever had the pleasure of hearing (closely rivalled by TOTP V1 of 1998).



On first look, it appears to be just another album full of cheesy party songs put out just in time for Xmas in 1997, yet further inspection shows that it held the perfect mix of 90s dance floorfillers, the top pop tunes and the most memorable pop songs since the 70s. It was the perfect introduction to pop music for me and several of the songs (eg. Flashdance (What A Feeling), Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit and Don't Leave Me This Way) are still among my all-time favourites which always make me smile, and I'm pretty certain that wouldn't be the case if I hadn't listened to them on repeat between the ages of 9 and 12 (and quite regularly since then!). Basically, every child growing up and beginning to take an interest in music should be given a copy of this CD, which is still easily available on Amazon, and perhaps the future of pop music would be a little more exciting.

Top 10 Songs Played On Party Fox Last Night

1. Fragma - Toca's Miracle
2. Bobby Brown - 2 Can Play That Game
3. Army Of Lovers - Let The Sunshine In
4. Alex Party - Don't Give Me Your Life
5. Uniting Nations - Out Of Touch
6. D:Ream - Things Can Only Get Better
7. Baby D - Let Me Be Your Fantasy
8. Kurtis Mantronix - How Did You Know
9. Livin' Joy - Don't Give Up
10. Shalamar - I Can Make You Feel Good

Is this the best show on UK radio or what?!
Saturday, January 15, 2005

Video Killed The Radio Star

Adam Green - Emily
I had only heard one Adam Green song prior to this - unsurprisingly the one that shares my name, and despite annoyance that the Jessica referred to was of the Simpson variety and not me, I liked it very much. It's a very catchy song with something old-fashioned about it, yet definitely able to compete in the current pop market. It's certainly different to all the other singles out at the moment which is always a good thing. The video is slightly surreal but you have to keep watching and Adam is not bad looking if a little strange! And called Adam! And Jewish! And has The Hair!
93% Poptastic!

Verbalicious - Don't Play Nice
This song received some airplay on Radio 1 in early 2004, where I first heard and absolutely adored it. I went on to post it on my mp3 blog Into The Groove, which had a very positive reaction from downloaders. It is an excellent upbeat party song, combining pop, rap and rock to make the kind of single that manages to be both fabulously ace and a surefire hit. However, that certainty may have been jeapordised by the video in which Verbalicious (who is a mixed-race teenage girl) looks very young, wears terrible make-up and it generally has an air of failed hip-pop girl group of 2003, Tommi.
95% Poptastic!

Dirrrty Pop Review: James Blunt - Back To Bedlam



The first word James Blunt sings on his album is "beautiful" and it is a very good description of the album as a whole. He released (on October 18th, a week after the album came out on Oct 11th) and made a video for the first track, High so presumably that's his big selling-point song and it does that job well. I can really see him taking off in the album charts and getting a great deal of play on Radio 2, with the right promotion. His sound is somewhere between Kristian Leontiou and Jamie Scott and is marketed as such, but the first comparison that came to my mind was to Placebo's lead singer Brian Molko. They really do sound alike.



The subjects of the songs range from love at first sight on a "subway train" to his experiences of war (James was stationed in Kosovo and protected the Queen and Queen Mother on horseback in his army career) and this variety is reflected in the styles of the lyrics, which are one minute poetic, the next filled with swearing and drug references! I was particularly suprised by the line in my favourite track (not for this reason alone, it is a really good song too!), Wisemen, "Came down from heaven, smoked 9 til 7, all the shit that they could find". Another tracks I like is Billy, because it reminds me very much of Maroon 5.



The repetition in songs like Goodbye My Lover and Out Of My Mind annoys me a bit as they are otherwise great songs. His voice is unusual which is mostly a positive but it does get irritating at points such as the chorus of Goodbye My Lover. There are a few famous names involved, for example the track Tears And Rain which is co-written by Guy Chambers and has a reference to Dorian Gray (to remind us how intelligent and well read he is of course), and the final track No Bravery features 4 Non-Blondes member, popular songwriter and the person who 'discovered' James Blunt, Linda Perry on guitar. She even gets the first "thank you" on the sleeve. Also involved is Jimmy Hogarth, who has written with Sia, Amy Winehouse, Jamelia, Estelle, Beverley Knight and Tyler James, which should attract at least a few of you!



The two final tracks are very sombre and philosophical as they refer to his aforementioned experiences of war, with lyrics such as "I have seen peace, I have seen pain, resting on the shoulders of your name" and "Brothers lie in shallow graves, fathers lost without a trace, a nation blind to their disgrace, since he's been here". No Bravery is particularly sad, but it's good to see him bringing up subjects most sensible pop stars avoid and not making a mockery of himself á la Lee Ryan.
Friday, January 14, 2005

The 76th Sign Of Boredom

is posting anagrams on your blog. Here are some for you to unscramble:

Bands:

1. Chocos
2. Nanosh
3. Clazara
4. Hamoops
5. 1a

Songs:

1. Wig Much Gen
2. Slim Ogres
3. Row The Seds
4. He Not Need El Putti
5. Do A Brats

Good luck!
Monday, January 10, 2005

Who wants to wait til February?

Not me! Let's have the Brits now! It's actually a very good year for nominations with Will, Maroon 5, Scissor Sisters and Snow Patrol getting several each, GA and Gwen Stefani making their first appearances, plus ace people like Natasha Bedingfield, Jamelia, Franz Ferdinand, the Killers, Lemar and Kylie. In fact, I'd say this is without doubt the best nominations list I've ever seen and considering last year was one of the most useless charts-wise ever, it's quite a shock!

British Male Solo Artist
Prediction: The Streets
My choice: Will Young

British Female Solo Artist
Prediction: Jamelia
My choice: Natasha Bedingfield

British Group
Prediction: Franz Ferdinand
My choice: Snow Patrol

Mastercard British Album
Prediction: Keane - Hopes and Fears
My choice: Snow Patrol - Final Straw

British Single
Prediction: Band Aid 20 - Do They Know It's Christmas?
My choice: Will Young - Your Game

British Breakthrough Act
Prediction: Keane
My choice: Natasha Bedingfield

British Urban Act
Prediction: Jamelia
My choice: Lemar

British Rock Act
Prediction: Franz Ferdinand
My choice: Snow Patrol

British Live Act
Prediction: The Libertines
My choice: Franz Ferdinand (the only ones I'd even consider seeing live!)

BRITs25: The Best Song Award
Prediction: Queen - We Are The Champions
My choice: Will Young - Leave Right Now but Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights deserves it more really

Pop Act
Prediction: McFly
My choice: Girls Aloud

International Male Solo Artist
Prediction: Eminem
My choice: None of them!

International Female Solo Artist
Prediction: Kylie Minogue
My choice: Gwen Stefani

International Group
Prediction: U2
My choice: Maroon 5

International Album
Prediction: Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
My choice: Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane

International Breakthrough Act
Prediction: Scissor Sisters
My choice: Maroon 5

How exciting!
Saturday, January 08, 2005

Video Killed The Radio Star

In a new and exciting twist, you can now click on the song titles to either watch the video or find out more about the artist.

Charlotte Hatherley - Bastardo
I really loved her download-only single Kim Wilde from last year and was very pleasantly surprised by the ace direction she had taken, especially after the general horror of most of Ash's music. I was less impressed with her single Summer and another track, Paragon, that I heard from her album, so I had presumed that she was a one good song wonder. However, this new single proves me wrong as it is not only as ace as Kim Wilde (the song and the person!), it also has a brilliant video. The concept is flicking through the pages of the Charly (short for Charlotte of course) Annual, with each page being linked to the song. There's a problem page, crossword, colour-in dolls and even a photo story starring Charlotte and David Walliams, of all people, as the subject of the song, her boyfriend Antonio! Also in the video are her celebrity pals and comedy greats, Julia Davis (Love Actually), Simon Pegg (Shawn of the Dead), Lucy Davis (The Office) and Lauren Laverne (you better know who she is!). It is quite genius, as you can imagine.
95% Poptastic!

Jennifer Lopez - Get Right
Jennifer (as she now wants to be called - no more J-Lo!) tries out several different styles for the various roles she plays in this video, including a short blonde wig which suits her surprisingly well. There is one part which looks way too much like the Lose My Breath video and it is quite unoriginal in general. I still think she should go back to the latino-pop she's best at - Waiting For Tonight and Let's Get Loud were pure brilliance!
53% Poptastic!

Athlete - Wires
I'm slightly confused by why this seems to be doing so well - it's already getting loads of play on The Box and was chosen to play instead of the strangely unavailable Elvis at the end of this morning's CD:UK. It's a nice indie song by an innofensive and occasionally fun song, but neither the song, band or video could be much further from ground-breaking or exciting. The excitement over their comeback is equally confusing - they were never that important when they were around before and the same thing goes for the Doves, whose very dull new single is getting loads of hype on Radio 1. It's a bit like with Embrace last year, except the reason for their sudden importance was the Coldplay link. Am I missing something?
65% Poptastic!
Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Dirrrty Pop Review: The Honeymoon - Dialogue

The Honeymoon are an utterly lovely Icelandic/English pop duo who supported Darren Hayes on his recent tour and released this, their first full album, in August 2004. They've been compared to everyone from Dubstar and the Sugababes to Fleetwood Mac and the Cardigans (I was thinking more along the lines of the long lost Hepburn and the never found Ben Jelen teaming up), so if you like any of those or just beautiful pop songs in general, then read on!



1. Passive Aggressive
Wayne sings the first verse, then Thorunn joins in for the chorus and takes the reins for verse 2 and the second chorus, and finally Wayne repeats the first verse to end the song. The lyrics are far from genius but there's something very sweet about them, and I love the line, "Got my mind made up on someone else, and she reminds me of you", as I often find myself wondering if I like someone for who they are as much as who they remind me of.

2. Chaos Theory
Starts a bit tougher with handclaps and a steady beat, but it's as gentle and beautiful as ever. Thorunn sings lead on this song and you can hear her accent more on parts of it, which always appeals to me, being such a Europhile. Not as hooky as some of the other songs but is not without merit.

3. Reconcile
One of my 3 equal favourite tracks on the album. Nice use of the phrase "gonna fuck up his jaw" which is quite amusing to hear on such a pretty song. I love Thorunn's breathy "I don't feel good" and I've had the whole chorus stuck in my head all day. The chorus actually sounds like it should be a bridge leading up to a big chorus, but it's so hooky on it's own that a bigger chorus isn't needed.

4. Truth Hurts
The second of my 3 favourites and if you want to hear it I suggest you pay a visit to Into The Groove very soon! Another great chorus which gets stuck in my head. This song is more emotional than the others and a bit more instant (it has even been compared to Girls Aloud!), so if they were going to release a single then this would be my suggestion.

5. Summers Gone
This one starts very prettily and continues that way, but doesn't really have any catchy bits to make it memorable. It's very nice as background music and there are lots of interesting instruments used, but it's not a song I have to listen to again and again.

6. Stay All Night
Reminds me of Kylie's Breathe at the beginning and is a bit more electronic than the other more acoustic-based songs. Lots of "waohw"s and tinkly bits, which is always fun. very relaxing but could do with an injection of fun.

7. I Don't Know What To Say
Wayne takes the lead on this one and sounds quite indie, in the nicest poptastic way with Thorunn's backing. I like how the chorus is quiet and soothing, slowly finding itself going round and round in your head.

8. Act Like You Know Her
My other favourite track and surely the most beautiful. Thorunn sounds so sweet and innocent (well, she is "loyal and young and infinitely dumb"), then the song gradually grows into what for The Honeymoon is positively anthemic! It's so gorgeous and enchanting and just singing along to the words makes me feel upset like what's happened to her has happened to me too. In fact she sounds like she's about to cry throughout which can't fail to pull on the heartstrings. Love it!

9. Out In the Open
The beginning strangely reminds me of Ainslie Henderson's Keep Me A Secret, which in turn reminds me - Wayne and Thorunn are so a more sophisticated David and Sinead! I did think she was Irish at first. I like the continuous shouts of what sounds like "Ha!" in the background and the whole song, like many of others, makes me want to sway. It would be very good music to slow dance to, if I had anyone to do that with!

10. Moving On
A much faster tempo for this guitar-based song with firm statements of "You're beautiful" from Thorunn. The little girl has grown up and knows what she wants. It makes me want to dance about with a tambourine. There isn't a particular part that gets stuck in my head, apart from "You're beautiful!" and there are some nice "oooh"s, but it's great to jig about to.

11. Little Ways
This song is a short as it's title suggests and despite being nothing to do with Vernon, Stuart or even Kevin Little, it's a very nice song. Perfectly understated as ever, Wayne quietly sings the whole thing but it's over before you can get into it and serves more as an interlude than another song.

12. Come Undone
Not a Robbie cover, hurrah! The duo sing together in this thoughtful song which is a perfect closure for the album. They're being more forceful again, instructing whoever each one is singing to to "take some time and spend it with me", persuading them to "see what I see", which is, quite cleverly, what they've done with this album - they just want you listeners to give them a chance to impress.

Click here for The Honeymoon's official site.
Monday, January 03, 2005

Video Killed The Radio Star

Deeyah - Plan Of My Own
Deeyah (No, not Deetah!) has been threatening to invade the UK charts for a while now and I've often seen posters for her playing small urban gigs in Reading (especially random since she's Norwegian), but her single has finally landed on The Box this week. It's basically a typical girly pop r'n'b song with an Indian touch. It's good enough to be a hit with the right promotion, but I don't think it will stand out enough. Then again after last year's casualties with her Scandinavian peers Annie and Alcazar, perhaps blending in is the key to success.
69% Poptastic!

Mark Joseph - Lady Lady
This surprisingly lovely ballad was supposed to be released in 2004, but with a brand new video he's trying again in the less competitive time of January. The original video was simply Mark playing the song on guitar (and singing of course) but this one's all 'psychedelic' which doesn't suit the song at all, but you can't go wrong with bright colours that make you slightly dizzy. I've always thought Mark Joseph is like a combination of every boy to ever do well on Fame Academy, and with his tales of funding his own debut single and being a "real musician", he could easily have ended up in the Academy and probably would have done rather well. Sadly I think he'll suffer the same fate as Alistair, Ainslee and David, except without the initial top 5 hits.
82% Poptastic!

D-Rail - How Do I Say Goodbye
Not the most upmarket boyband I've come across, but they've already beaten Boysterous and Most Wanted by getting their song on a music channel, even if it is only B4. It's the official Cancer Research single of 2005 (is there one of these every year? I've never heard of it) and you can watch and listen to it here. The song is, unsurprisingly a soppy boyband ballad, a bit over-emotional, but we'll let them off seeing as they're not too ugly.
65% Poptastic!
Sunday, January 02, 2005

Big In 2005?

Here are my predictions for who will be the big breakthrough bands and singers in 2005:

Thirteen Senses:

I first heard this band on Radio 1 one evening early last year whilst trying to avoid something terrible on Core Control. I liked the singer but the song didn't seem strong enough and I thought the same about their single Into The Sun when it found it's way onto the Box near the end of the year, but I soon found myself singing the song in my head and rather liking it. The songs are big growers so if Thru The Glass continues to get lots of play I'd say they're a big contender for top 'indie' band of 2005.
Breakthroughthru single: Thru The Glass (Jan 10)
This year's: Keane

Ciara:

The next big r'n'b one-hit-wonder is on her way. Even my Dad asked me what 'krunk' meant the other day (My definition was "it's got L'il Jon in it and is awful") so clearly everyone is geared up to go on about that for a while and I'm getting my earplugs out.
Breakthrough single: Goodies (Jan 17)
This year's: Nina Sky

Mylo:

Drop The Pressure was a dance hit last year and Destroy Rock'N'Roll (the one that namechecks every 80s pop star you can think of) has been getting some play from Radio 1 and is obviously going to be the Sunscreen Song for the 00s, but hopefully Mylo won't be a one-hit-wonder. However, it will be a pain if they are successful as my Dad's had the album for quite a while and will think he's the coolest person on Earth for spotting them early.
Breakthrough single: In My Arms (Jan 24) or, more likely, Destroy Rock'N'Roll (Eventually)
The new: Daft Punk

Lindsay Lohan:

The girl who played twins in the Parent Trap, entertained lots of children in Freak Friday then their older sisters and brothers in Mean Girls is releasing her debut single and album in 2005. After the tacky and rubbish song she recorded for Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen, I wasn't looking forward to this but then the ever ace and lovely Scandipop sent me links for a few album tracks and they turned out to be really rather good! This is enough r'n'b and rock to make it appeal to the current market plus enough proper pop for it to be good. Rumours may be a Britney leftover, but so was Sweet Dreams My LA Ex! Her ongoing war with Miss Sweet & Innocent & Bloody Annoying Hilary Duff over Aaron Carter should be interesting interview-fodder as well.
Breakthrough single: Rumours (Feb 14)
The new: Britney Spears

Kaiser Chiefs:
I'd heard murmurs of their aceness but presumed they'd just be another typical indie band, and to be fair they are, but their is something about their songs which grabs all the fun bits of indie music and leaves behind all the boring bits to make, out of the two songs by them I have heard, some brilliant pop music! The surprisingly catchy I Predict A Riot was a small hit last year and Oh My God, the next single (a re-release, I believe) has an equally ace chorus. This is accessible indie without being middle of the road, so I think it's going to do very well.
Breakthrough single: Oh My God (Feb 21)
This year's: Franz Ferdinand

And the ones who we sane popists will love despite their terrifying chart failure:

Le Tigre:

They've been around for a while but after their recent support slot with the Scissor Sisters are finally getting some recognition. 90s kids might know lead singer Kathleen Hanna as the angry feminist frontwoman of Bikini Kill who inspired Smells Like Teen Spirit and was punched in the face by Courtney Love, plus NME described the new single as a combination of Shampoo, Joan Jett and Buggles, so really they can't go wrong!
Breakthrough single: T.K.O (Jan 3)
Should be this year's: Scissor Sisters

Hanson:

I've mentioned them here several times recently but Penny & Me is finally getting played on the music channels and it's rather exciting! You'll recognise the lovely Samaire Armstrong (The OC's Anna) in the video and you'll be singing along with this hugely catchy tune in no time! Despite this being released independantly, the look and sound are much more polished than some of their previous releases and hopefully they have modernised enough to lose their jokey image of the past, plus the recent breath freshener adverts with Mmmbop as their soundtrack will have got the song and band back in people's minds and hopefully remembering just how ace they were!
Break(back)through single: Penny & Me (Jan 24)
Should be this year's: Maroon 5



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