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Who needs guitars anyway?


Best Bits
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Elize and Infernal! Blue Lagoon and Girls "Alound"! How incredibly exciting! And what a shame I've already ordered the Infernal CD (for lots of money) as it'll probably be mega-cheap in Poland. Oh well. Hooray!
In just 13 hours I will begin my journey to Krakow, one of the main cities in Poland. Yes, that means I am leaving my house at 3am. But never mind, because a glance at their current chart suggests it will be very much worth it. While they have the typical Powter and Peas, those are the only 2 US acts in the top 10, with the others including some of the best recent pop from Sweden, Germany and Italy! (And Jem, but we can ignore her) It's also very exciting to see that Ann Winsborn was no.1 at one time, and she isn't even big in Sweden, where she's from. I don't know a lot about Polish music or Poland itself at the moment but I'm sure I'll soon be an expert and I will of course tell you all about it when I get back!
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Freeform Five's album is only £3.96 on Amazon. For goodness' sake, BUY IT!!!
Monday, November 21, 2005

Dirrrty Pop Review: Will Young - Keep On

1. Keep On
An ace upbeat number to begin with, just like Friday's Child, which of course had Love The One You're With. Annoyingly, half the lyrics are missed out on the sleeve, but I presume this is everyone's, not just mine.

2. Switch It On
We all know this one of course, and it sounds great following Keep On.

3. All Time Love
The supposed "new Leave Right Now" is quite slow but it builds up and is as lovely as expected and obviously going to be a huge hit.

4. Ain't Such A Bad Place To Be
This one is written by the wonderful Karne Poole, and kind of sounds like the male version of Misfit, the fab song she wrote for Amy Studt. Lots of squelchy noises, wouldn't sound out of place in a musical or as a Tyler James single. The lyrics are clever, although they have a bizarre amount of "!!!"s on the sleeve.

5. Think It Over
This sounds like several Friday's Child songs - typical Will, and I can totally imagine him playing it live.

6. Who Am I
A really really lovely ballad. Very sweet, but not in the slightly sickly way of Love Is A Matter Of Distance, which I know some people disliked (although I personally love that one). The granny fans will adore this one, but so do I.

7. Happiness
A jaunty tune with a very suitable name. A little bit jazzy but poppy too. Will will definitely be doing his silly salsa to this one. There is an odd section which reminds me of elevator music. The song also includes the line "Happiness is being gay". Hmm, cryptic!

8. Save Yourself
This song has been around a while as it was sung on Will's last tour. It's on the DVD if you've got it. It's about domestic violence, a subject Will did a thesis on at uni and feels strongly about. Obviously it's a sad song, but hopefully it will help some people.

9. Madness
Robin Thicke wrote this one! He wrote the best song on Will's last album, Very Kind, so I had high expectations for this one, and it is pretty great. There are some fab violin bits, and the song grows as it goes on, getting really great by the end.

10. All I Want
A bit darker than the other songs, the backing music sounds like something from a spy film. The song is a real grower, though.

11. Think About It
There's a lot of thinking songs on this album! Well, two, but two more than most albums have. This reminds me of Friday's Child the song.

12. Home
This is the song written by the very cool producer/artist-in-his-own-right Nitin Sawhney, and it's very good in a relaxed way. It's a really lovely song which reminds me a little of Zero 7 (though it could just be the title influencing me), but mostly of Nickel Creek.

Overall, an absolutely fantastic album, but of course I expected nothing less.
Saturday, November 19, 2005

All you want for Christmas

Planning your Xmas list already? Well, stop before you make a terrible mistake! The CDs you need on your list this year are as follows:





Friday, November 18, 2005

For all you cool people...

...with Livejournals, go and join my fabulous new community for sharing Europop music.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Put your pom-poms down

The Music section of Myspace (Livejournal's less intelligent younger sibling) is the depressing home of teenagers making rock music of whatever variety is currently in, but if you look hard enough you can actually find some interesting new acts. By searching for acts influenced by Gwen Stefani, this is what I found:

The Butterflys
I have two very large bones to pick with this young female duo. The first is obvious. Their name is grammatically incorrect! Everyone knows the plural of a word ending in 'y' is 'ies'. The second is a song that I found in the music section of their web site, called Up In Smoke. They have not just stolen it from Lene Nystrom, but they have stolen Lene herself as I am almost certain it's her singing. Very dodgy indeed. Their other songs are not bad and apparently they've worked with Murlyn (ace Swedish writers/producers), but how do we know the songs aren't stolen from some other poor unsuspecting foreign popster and it was actually Merlin the wizard they worked with?

Russell Dean Stone
Russell Dean Stone thinks it's still the 80s, or at least he wishes it was. His song, Ideal Animal, is quite jolly and fun to begin with (certainly better than most things on Myspace) but by the end of it I was rather bored. The second song on his profile, a darker track called Heartache Catastrophe, I couldn't even stand to listen all the way through.He seems to be aiming for an Apoptygma Bezerk-esque sound, but his voice doesn't have the deceptive tunefulness necessary for this kind of music.


Eleventh Hour
This group are described as r'n'b/pop/funk which is a pretty good description. Their sound is somewhere between Gwen and Maroon 5, and their song Get Your Head On Straight is as good as a mix of those two should be (ie. ace!), but their other song, So Long is not quite so good. The female singer has a good voice, so it's not a complete disaster, but the musical backing doesn't seem to fit very well and drowns out the singing more often than not. However, they do look like a great fun bunch of people so they're definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Aryana
Aryana seems to have had slightly more success than the others - she's been on TV singing with someone who is announced as "her royal highness, Regine Velasquez", although Google seems to suggest she is not royal in the slightest. However, it wasn't the most successful of performances. The music begins, the lyrics (which another Google tells me belong to I Believe by Fantasia Barrino) appear on screen, Aryana's (or Regine's, I'm not actually) mouth moves, but no singing is heard. Luckily, unlike a certain American pop princess (well, she's about as royal as Regine really), Aryana/Regine was singing live so someone could run up with a new, working microphone for her to sing with. At the end it is finally revealed that Aryana was the girl with the microphone problems, and it is in fact her birthday. Why this is being celebrated by putting her on TV with a fake royal (who probably sabotaged her microphone so she wouldn't be outshone) I have no idea, but it's hilarious viewing all the same. As for her songs, she seems mostly to do ballads, but there is a song which sounds like Gloria Estefan combined with Lolly, which I inevitably love.
Sunday, November 13, 2005

Video Killed The Radio Star...

has MOVED!
Saturday, November 12, 2005

Out on Monday...

is this:



So, buy it! If you don't know why, click here.

Also out:

AND

Monday is going to be expensive...
Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dirrrty Pop Review: The Tamperer ft. Maya - Fabulous

Since they are obviously Madonna's sole inspiration for her new album (well, she sampled 2 of the same songs as them), it is only fair that I also review the album by the Tamperer ft. Maya, which I recently obtained for the magnificent bargain of £1.89. Sadly it doesn't have Hammer To The Heart, but it does have the other 2 singles and many other great songs...



1. If You Buy This Record (Your Life Will Be Better)
Some of you may remember this being released as the band's second single. It was a small hit, and had absolutely brilliant lyrics which I have often used to title proclamations of the current "best album ever" on this very site.

2. Feel It
I'm sure you all know this one. It is of course their biggest hit, the one that samples Feel It by the Jackson Five and bears the line "What's she gonna look like with a chimney on her?" It's a 90s classic that will never get boring.

3. Gotta Shine
Rather catchy although not quite as good as the singles.

4. Step Out
A light, poppy number with simple lyrics. Not much else to say about it really, as with track 3.

5. I Love Being A Girl
A very cheesy Aqua/Vengaboys-esque pop song with rubbish (in a very ace way) lyrics and a kind of Latin-ish sound.

6. OO Doggie
Yes the title is "OO" not "Ooh" or anything normal like that. Dog metaphors seem to be very in vogue (strike a pose!) right now, what with Goldfrapp and the Cardigans also using them.

7. Get Up Get It On
This apparently samples a song written by Holland and Dozier, and I think it's I'll Be There by the Jackson Five (them again), although it's a much more upbeat version. It has an annoyingly long and pointless intro, but once you get into it the song is quite good.

8. DJs Rule The World
The chorus of this sounds like she is hiccuping! Very odd, but entirely highlarious. There is also a really manic, evil laugh about 3/4 of the way through the song. Insane! I wouldn't want to listen to it too often, though, since I actually feel a little sick now.

9. The Heart Of A Memory
As you may have guessed from the sentimental-sounding title, it's a ballad - and it's a surprisingly good one! Parts of it remind me of Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx. It's very late 90s - something that would sit quite happily on a Steps album.

10. Feel It (Klubbheads Klubb Mix)
This is of course a remix of Feel It. It's alright but I prefer the original version personally - it's too hard to beat.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Exciting news for Swedes!

You will soon be able to buy Oh Lord, the first single by Nouveau Riche, a band made up of Dominika from Army of Lovers and Ulrich, an ex-boyfriend of Alexander Bard, who have also been working with Alexander's old group, Vacuum! Although their website is based in Germany and written in English, they don't seem to be releasing anywhere outside of Sweden yet. The song is pretty good - just what you'd expect from a group with that history, and they look as fabulous as you would expect too!



Wow!
Sunday, November 06, 2005

International Video Challenge

Click the titles to watch the videos.

Representing Belgium: Hadise - Milk Chocolate Girl
When this video began I was not impressed. The style is a bit r'n'b-ish, and the chorus is very repetitive, but it quickly grew on me and by the end of the song I actually rather liked it! Hadise was a contestant on Belgium's Idool programme but failed to reach the top 10, so she's kind of their Sarah Whatmore, although she actually gets to release an album.


Representing Canada: Feist - Mushaboom
The song is pretty good, but it's the video which is really ace. It begins with Feist singing along to her own song and doing various odd things in her groovy Wallace & Gromit-esque home, then the music kicks in and she flies out the window! There is dancing in the street, carousel horses which turn into real ones and much more magnificent madness. At the end she floats back to bed - was it all a dream?


Representing the UK: The Sirens - Love Hurts
This sounds more like a porn movie than a song, which is probably what they were aiming for. Still, it has grown on me a bit and is certainly an advance on their last single. Not that it will do any better, of course, and with a song like this they can hardly go on TOTP Reloaded and Smile like pop bands are supposed to.


Representing Belgium: DHT ft. Edmee - Listen To Your Heart
I'm not sure which version (Eurodance or boring ballad) they're going with here in the UK as I've seen both on different music channels. My favourite is of course the dancey version but the ballad was the very surprising success in America, so they'd probably be wise to go with that. It really is the strangest success story of the year. Europop rarely ever gets a look-in in the USA, then when it does it's a mediocre Roxette cover like this. What about Robyn or Melody Club, surely much more suited to the current US market. It's a real mystery.

Confessions of an Illegal Downloader

I just couldn't help myself! I'm still asking for the proper CD for Xmas, don't worry...

1. Hung Up
Obviously I love this one. Madonna + Abba sample + Gwen influence = a very happy Jessica!

2. Get Together
I can't believe it - another song copying Take Your Time (Do It Right) by the SOS Band! Although I prefer to believe she is in fact plagiarising September's acetastic version of the song. If you're thinking, hasn't Madonna sung a song with the words "get together" before, you're on the right track - this song also samples and at the end turns into her first mega-hit, Holiday, which actually said "come together" not "get together", but it's near enough. On top of all that, this song also samples Music Sounds Better With You by Stardust!

3. Sorry
Now this is getting spooky. Remember that ace dance-pop band from the late 90s/early 00s, The Tamperer? Well, not only did they, like Madonna, sample Gimme Gimme Gimme on their single Hammer To The Heart, but their biggest and most brilliant hit sampled Feel It by the Jackson Five - and so does this! Sorry is rumoured to be the 2nd single from this album and I'm pleased that it is cos it's one of the most poppy tracks. Madonna is such a good embassador for pop these days!

4. Future Lovers
This begins with a talky bit which reminds me of Madonna's song Erotica, but in fact it samples I Feel Love by Donna Summer, one of the biggest ever disco classics, showing Madge is really serious about this disco thing, although the album does sound rather like a remix compilation CD as opposed to a normal album. It's not a bad thing, though - it's good fun to spot all the references.

5. I Love New York
This song is obviously meant to build up but it's very slow getting into it's stride. It's more 'proper' dance music, and so less pop, but it's still very good - much better than your average 'proper' dance song. It would fit well on the Ray Of Light or Music albums, but would be one of the best songs on the latter at least.

6. Let It Will Be
Here's another reference to her past as this starts like Papa Don't Preach. The stupid title puts me off a bit, but it's a strong, typical Madonna album track with a nice upbeat stringy (that is so not the technical term) background.

7. Forbidden Love
An ace synthy 80s track, the most ballad-like I think. A very nice one. The beeps remind me of something, I can't think what, but it's annoying me so if you know please leave a comment!

8. Jump
This one has a really ace, poptastic chorus. The sound is a mixture of the poppier Ray of Light tracks and her early work such as my old fave Into The Groove.

9. How High
Madonna makes her own jokes by putting this track after the previous one. Is it a secret message, a cry for help? Well, probably not,

10. Isaac
Who is Isaac? I think she must mean the old (a few thousand years by now in fact!) Jewish bloke, as this song also has Jewish chants in it. It seems to be the only Kabullah reference on the album but I wouldn't be suprised if there were more. It gets a bit boring after a while, but at least it's unusual/inventive.

11. Push
The "keeep ooon puuushing" parts remind me of Mariah's hit, Fantasy. The song is very poppy and generally really great. I would say this and Jump are my joint favourites, after Hung Up. I like most the "every..." bits.

12. Like It Or Not
This is (I think) a bonus track, not yet available for download, so at least I'll still have one surprise left for when I get the actual CD.

When the DJ spins will it change your mind?

Today's chart may actually be quite interesting. The number 1 is most likely to still be Westlife, which is of course very depressing, but if we ignore that and concentrate on this week's only important release, So Beautiful by Darren Hayes, we may be in for a treat. On Tuesday's midweeks the song sat at no.16, by Wednesday it had risen to 15. Of course this is nowhere near as high as he should be, but it is at least consistent with his past releases and shows what a strong and reliable fanbase he has, as I think by now it's mostly the same people buying all his singles. The exciting news was that by Thursday he was up to no.13. That means he had gone up 2 places in a day as opposed to the 1 place he rose between Tuesday and Wednesday. By this rule he should have gone up 3 by Friday (no.10), 4 more on Saturday (no.6) and another 5 by today - he'll be no.1!



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