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Who needs guitars anyway?


Best Bits
Thursday, December 29, 2005

Yippee!

This year's Eurovision is going to be fantastic and also Bardtastic because not only are two of Alexander's Alcazar protegées, Magnus and Andreas entering (Magnus as a solo act in Melodifestivalen and Andreas as part of a band who are definitely representing Switzerland) but also his band, the unbelievably ace Bodies Without Organs! They have been announced as one of the entries for Melodifestivalen, which of course does not mean they will definitely get through, and they didn't get far last year when they entered, but they've gained much popularity since last year with singles such as Open Door being huge hits and I'm quite sure this year's entry, Temple Of Love, will be much stronger than last year's Gone, as that was certainly their weakest single so far. Even more exciting news comes at the same time, as it has been announced that a new album will follow from BWO this April! As you can imagine I am very very excited about this and am (probably unwisely) giving up on my coursework for today in celebration!
I've got some really exciting features coming up in the new year so make sure you keep reading!
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Big in 2006?

Last year I predicted Thirteen Senses, Mylo, Lindsay Lohan, Ciara and Kaiser Chiefs would be big, and most of them have done pretty well. So now it's almost 2006 and time to see what might be hitting the top 10 in the new year...

The Click Five
I've written about this instrument-wielding American boyband a few times on Into The Groove but I don't think I've ever mentioned them here. They seem to want to be the Beatles, but their music shows that really they owe as much to the Backstreet Boys. I don't know if they were signed as the American answer to Busted/McFly but they might as well have been. They're releasing early next year and considering they've done really well in the US and the UK seem to have an endless appetite for this sort of thing at the moment, I think they've got a good chance.
Breakthrough single: Just The Girl (Out soon)
The new: McFly

Fall Out Boy
Continuing the instrument-wielding American boyband theme, this lot are a bit tougher but still quite jolly compared to a lot of current rock music. Their single, Sugar We're Going Down was released to vague excitement earlier this year, but it's sure to do better second time around - in fact I think it could be one of the big tracks of the next few months.
Breakthrough single: Sugar We're Going Down
The new: Blink 182

José Gonzales
Proving once again that no-one writes better songs than the Swedes, this simple acoustic cover by Swedish indie-ist José of ace Swedish band the Knife's biggest hit in their home country is already making waves in the UK. It's on that lovely Sony advert with the coloured balls and getting play on Radio 1. It's so nice it deserves to be a big hit and I do think it will be.
Breakthrough single: Heartbeats (9th Jan)
The new: Damien Rice (but much more interesting due to Swedishness)

Matt Willis
It seems to be all about the guitars in 2006 as the final member of Busted to release solo material takes his turn. Matt was the one I would have picked to have most success as a solo artist - although James and Charlie both brought something to the band, Matt represents them most accurately as a solo artist, being right in the middle of James' teenage pop-rock and Charlie's more serious emo-whatever. It could turn out that he's missed the boat by waiting longer than the others, or his songs could yet be rubbish (although the chance of me liking them was never good), but I still think Matt will be the one to watch next year. He's certainly the most likely to be "the Robbie" of Busted.
Breakthrough single: Hey Kid (27th Feb)
The new: Robbie Williams?

Chico
The X Factor contestants apart from Shayne aren't allowed to release anything until March, but there's little doubt that Chico will have his single "It's Chico Time" ready for the shops by the end of the month. However, it will have been about 4 months since he left X Factor by that point, and knowing how fickle the British public can be, I'm not sure how much interest there'll be. I do think he'll get at least a top 10 with his first single, though.
Breakthrough single: It's Chico Time
The new: Crazy Frog

Arctic Monkeys
More of those stupid guitars, but sadly it seems that if 2005 was the year for indie, 06 is the year for rock and the Arctic Monkeys, being somewhere in the middle, are clearly a step ahead of the rest. They are quite an obvious choice, what with having a no.1 single already, but a few weeks ago I would have said that they are set for one hit wonder status and little more. However, I've heard their follow-up single to I Bet You... a few times now as well as another track by them and I'm sad to say that they do sound like hits. Their album is bound to sell loads and they could easily be one of the biggest bands of 2006.
Breakthrough single: That's been and gone!
The new: Kaiser Chiefs (but thinner and less jolly)

Protocol
Not all of the guitar acts hoping for 2006 world domination are completely useless, and this group championed by Whatever's Left and sounding a bit like The Killers and The Bravery do have some charm. Actually I just like them cos their video looks a lot like Melody Club's, but they are quite fun with the trusty synthesizer in use.
Breakthrough single: Where's The Pleasure (23rd Jan)
The new: The Killers

I wish I could add some more poptastic prospects, but I really can't think of any new pop acts likely to be successful in the UK next year. However, the list of artists making a comeback is far less depressing, so here are some of the great acts releasing new albums in 2006:

Scissor Sisters
Little has been heard from the Scissor Sisters since their last single in January this year, apart from their performance on Live 8 and a few secret gigs in London and New York. I'm not sure what month the new album will be released but I should imagine it'll be fairly early in the year as it's nearly 2 years since the first one now. I can't wait to see what they come up with - if it's anything like as ace as the first one I'll love it, and it's always good to have some proper pop music on the radio, as these guys are one of the very few acts who can manage it these days.

Maroon 5
The first M5 album was one of my favourites ever, and it was fantastic to watch it become one of the biggest selling and most-played acts of 2004, despite the slight backlash against them since then. The 100% consistency of good songs on their first CD suggests little chance of them going wrong with the follow-up, and I'm sure I'd buy it anyway because they really are an excellent band and I will not be persuaded otherwise!

Britney Spears
Britney's first post-natal album release is slated for November so we've still got a bit of a wait in store before we hear anything new from the princess of American pop. In the meantime, I'm sure there'll be plenty of interesting stories to read about her in the gossip magazines and perhaps we'll even hear something from "K-Fed" in the next few months - hopefully it'll be as hilarious as Britney reportedly finds it!

Robyn
There's little chance of Robyn's new album, due summer 2006, getting a UK release, but considering the immense aceness and cult popularity of her 2005 album, I'm sure plenty of people will be importing it and no-one will be more keen to hear it than me as I would name Robyn (the album) one of the best pop albums of this decade so far. It will be interesting to see who she works with this time - perhaps more songs with The Knife or Teddybears STHLM, or maybe she'll work with another Swedish producer (Alexander Bard or Vacuum would be amazing) or even someone British - I'd love to hear what she comes up with combined with Xenomania or Richard X!
Sunday, December 25, 2005

And The No.1 Most Poptastic Single Of 2005 Is...

Madonna - Hung Up



Released: 7th November
Final Fact: I'm finally getting the Madonna album today, so it's a very fitting no.1.
Best bits: 1. Every little this that you say or do
2. Waiting for your call baby night and day
3. Those who run seem to have all the fun
4. I'm hung up on you-oo-oo
5. And I'm done, I'm hanging up on you
Saturday, December 24, 2005

The 2nd Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Rachel Stevens - I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)



Released: 3rd October
Fluctuating Fact: This was no.1 until I changed my mind just 2 days ago!
Best bits: 1. I told you never to play your new guitar
2. You're the one who's creeping
3. One, two, three, four!
4. You're my only weakness
5. Boy, I want you so oh-oh-oo-oh
Friday, December 23, 2005

The 3rd Most Poptastic Song Of 2005

Will Young - Switch It On



Released: 14th November
Fixed Fact: If I still like Will this time next year (which I obviously will), I will have liked him for all of my teenage years.
Best bits: 1. This is how I'm gonna break it down now
2. Got to, got to, got to go crazy!
3. Ha!
Thursday, December 22, 2005

Joy to the world!

It is now almost certain that we will have a Swedish Christmas no.1! I wonder if this is the first ever? That would be very exciting!

The 4th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Gavin Degraw - I Don't Wanna Be



Released: 20th June
Foolish Fact: Gavin Degraw was one act who I really expected to make it big in 2005 and although he's very popular in America he's barely known at all in the UK.
Best Bits: 1. I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately
2. I can’t be the only one who’s learned
3. I don’t have to be anyone other than the birth of two souls in one
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The 5th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005!

Backstreet Boys - Incomplete



Released: 27th June
Forever Fact: I could say that I didn't expect to still like this lot in 2005, but that would be untrue because I always knew that I would love pop music forever and the BSBs are the best male pop group ever, so they have to be included!
Best Bits: 1. without you all I’m going to beee is...iiiiiincooooompleeeeeeete
2. I don’t wanna make you face this world alone
3. You still wonder if we made a big mistake

I Have Some Explaining To Do!

No-one seems to agree with me about Shayne being A Good Thing, so I'm going to prove it. I came up with a theory last night and already it has been proven true. While listening to the album The Anthem by Swedish Idol contestant and generally amazing popstar Darin, I realised that it would make an absolutely perfect album for Shayne. It's pop in an r'n'b style - very similar to *N Sync, with Darin alternatively sounding like Justin and JC, and I can totally imagine Shayne singing any of the songs on it. They would fit his voice and the style would place him exactly where he needs to be in the British pop market, while also being rather brilliant. The number of ace songs Darin has released (2 albums this year!) shows that there is plenty of this style of music available and being a UK act signed to Sony BMG I'm sure Shayne can afford the best of them.

Listening again to Darin on the bus into town this morning and thinking about Swedish songwriters' success in Britain, I suddenly remembered that Evergreen was written by the Swedish songwriting team, Jorgen Elofsson, David Krueger and Per Magnusson, who are also to thank or blame for hits from Britney Spears, Westlife and the Backstreet Boys. This inspired me to rush into HMV and grab a copy of That's My Goal, which (don't worry, I didn't buy it - it was £3.99!) I opened to find that the writers were exactly the same - Elofsson, Krueger and Magnusson! In fact, the only non-Swedish thing on the song is Shayne's voice! So he's worked with some Swedes - so what? So a lot actually! Not only does this mean that my excitement (mocked by still annoyed Maria fans) about the possibility of Shayne working with Swedish people was absolutely warranted - it's happened already! And this also proves my Darin theory above correct, because on The Anthem is a song called Coming True, written by...guess who? Elofsson, Krueger and Magnusson! I'm even more of a psychic genius than I already thought!

And this isn't all. I have also noticed parallels between Shayne and some of the best-loved female popstars in current UK pop. First is Cheryl Tweedy - her dodgy (to put it nicely) background has been well-documented, she has even been charged for assault, and still she is probably the most popular member of Girls Aloud, certainly the best-known and the one who is always appearing in the gossip pages with her footballer boyfriend. Shayne's background is far worse than Cheryl's, and as all avid X Factor viewers will have noticed, his girlfriend is hardly the epitome of youth and beauty, so I'm sure it wouldn't take much to persuade him to date a footballer! He's a "good Northern lad" with a rags-to-riches story - you couldn't make it up.

The second parallel is with Rachel Stevens. This may seem random, but let me explain. Rachel is known for being very pretty but not having much of a personality - she seems lovely but she's a bit boring. This may not make for the most exciting interviews, but she makes a fantastic popstar because she is a clean slate - utterly malleable. Great pop songwriters such as Richard X, Cathy Dennis and Vacuum write pop songs and she has a fanbase ready to buy them. Although Rachel's recent releases haven't been anywhere near as successful as they deserve to be, it's a better financial option for the songs to be given to her where they will certainly sell fairly well, rather than to a new singer who will need a lot of promotion and even then may just not go down well with the public, as so many pop acts recently haven't. Shayne is also good-looking, young enough at 21 to last several albums and, like Rachel, there's nothing particularly distinctive about his personality and in pop music it's always better to have no personality than an unlikeable one. Shayne has the potential to be the perfect outlet for all of the male pop songs being written with nowhere to go because there is no British male pop at the moment.

I honestly can't think of any route Shayne could conceivably take and not be ace. If there is one, I wish someone would point it out so I can stop making a fool of myself to stick up for him. The worst that could happen is that he releases a whole album of songs like That's My Goal, and that will never happen because they need to be saved for Idol winners from other countries! That basically rules out sub-par ballads, and he's never shown an interest in swing music so I reckon we're safe from that one. Any other pop sub-genre, there are plenty of good songs around. His management are completely incapable of their jobs if they don't make a huge popstar out of Shayne. On the other hand, he does have many similarities to Kavana...
Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The 6th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Darren Hayes - So Beautiful



Released: 31st October
Forward-looking Fact: I am going to see his royal Hayesness in April next year and I am more excited than excitement itself!
Best Bits: 1. Cos baby you KNOW!
2. Just happy to be found
3. And if all the world was perfect, I would only ever want to see your scars
Monday, December 19, 2005

The 7th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Backstreet Boys - Just Want You To Know



Released: 24th October
Favouritism Fact: After being a BSBs fan for about 7 years, I still don't have a favourite member.
Best Bits: 1. You gave me a smile that I could never forget
2. I just want you to know that I've been fighting to let you go
3. and then there's niiiights that neeeever end

A Very Poptastic Christmas!

Here is a very special Xmas present for you all. I have generously zipped all of the most poptastic Xmas songs ever into one file along with a Word document containing a talentedly photoshopped CD cover which you can print out to go with the Cd you can make with all the songs. The result will be the best Xmas CD in the world EVER!

Download the .zip now!

It is, as you can imagine, a very big file (20 songs and a Word file), and although it is quite obviously very much worth downloading, I recognise that some of you are on slow internet or have download limits, so I will be posting a few of these songs on Into The Groove in the next few days for those people. So you can decide whether to download the CD or not, here are my comments on all of the tracks:



1. Shirley Clamp - Do They Know It's Christmas?

This may not have been for charity but it's still a million times better than the 3 Band Aid versions combined. If there was ever any doubt that the Swedes do it better, this removes it.

2. Britney Spears - My Only Wish (This Year)

Taken from the Platinum Christmas compilation of a few years ago, this is a very catchy number clearly recorded during Britney's early career as it's as sweet and innocent as they come.

3. Darren Hayes - Last Christmas

The Wham version is good but this one, by the King of Pop himself is even better because it sounds, to me at least, far more like Christmas. Once Darren Hayes has covered a song, there's no point in anyone else trying.

4. Hanson - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

This is from Hanson's Christmas album released early in their career. It's a cover of a song written by Phil Spector and originally sung by Darlene Love, whoever she may be. It's also been covered by Mariah Carey, U2 and Death Cab For Cutie, among others, but again why bother with them when Hanson have done an utterly glorious version?

5. Siobhan Donaghy – Iodine

This was one of the most popular songs on Siobhan's fantastic solo album, although it was never released as a single. It's a beautiful but very sad song about Christmas turkeys and presents (possibly metaphorical!). If this doesn't make you realise that Siobhan is the best ever Sugababe, you have no ears.

6. Girls Aloud - Not Tonight Santa

The first of four songs I have included from Girls Aloud's Christmas CD, which accompanies their new album Chemistry. It must be good cos Woolworths are charging £6 extra for it!

7. Mew - She Came Home For Christmas

This was a single a couple of years ago and although I've never thought much of Mew otherwise, despite them being Scandinavian with a high-voiced singer and a really cute name, this is absolutely gorgeous and I never tire of it. The contrast of jubilant Xmas party songs and shockingly sad ones like this is incredible.

8. Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas

This is obviously a huge classic and although I tried to stick to the lesser known Christmas songs for this CD, the aceness of this one cannot be ignored. I know it's very wrong to like Mariah but I still think she's great (she is the definition of OTT, after all!) and this proves me absolutely correct.

9. Raveonettes - The Christmas Song

The Raveonettes are another super-cute Danish band who I'd really love to love, but so far they've not really caught my attention, except for with this excellently Christmassy (if unimaginatively titled) song.

10. Girls Aloud – Christmas Round At Ours

Another track off the girls' Xmas CD and a very jolly one it is too! It is rather less positive about Xmas than the other ones, even contradicting some of the lyrics in other songs which annoys me slightly, but it's a great song all the same, particularly due to the way Cheryl sings "beauty queen" in a random farmer accent.

11. Sugababes - New Year

A single from the olden days when the Sugababes were at their acest (see track 5 for why), it's not really about Christmas so much as a lost love who may be returning, but the word "Christmas" in the chorus makes it Christmassy enough for my standards, which as you will soon see are rather relaxed.

12. Michael Learns To Rock - Frostbite

As you will realise when listening to this song, it's not actually a Christmas song at all. It mentions nothing to do with Christmas, but it does use a metaphor of frostbite and it sounds very Christmassy to me. It sounds like Life Is A Rollercoaster sung by Mark Owen and the jolly Dane from this year's Eurovison. And Michael Learns To Rock are Danish too! Clearly the Danes win at Christmas(sy) songs.

13. Pet Shop Boys - Always On My Mind

This is a very important inclusion because it's my birthday song - no.1 on the day I was born and clearly a very accurate sign of things to come, since 18 years later I absolutely LOVE IT! It was also Christmas no.1, just in case you didn't pick that up (and my birthday is this Thursday, so send me poptastic things).

14. S Club 7 - Perfect Xmas

Many of S Club's ballads were crap, yet this one that didn't even get onto any of their albums is great! It reminds me of a happier time when pop songs were plentiful and not just a joke.

15. Girls Aloud – I Wanna Kiss You So (Christmas In A Nutshell)

Another absolutely brilliant track from the almighty Aloud, although unlike Christmas Round At Ours this one claims they ARE big kids! I'm so confused. However, the fact that this song includes the words (noises?) "bish! bash! bong! woo!" makes up for everything.

16. Steps - Merry Xmas Everybody

I went out for a birthday meal with some friends last night and this song came on and no-one could work out what it was. I decided not to tell them, and had to try very hard not to laugh my brain out when they decided it must be the Smurfs!

17. *N Sync - I Don't Wanna Spend One More Xmas Without You

*N Sync also made a whole album of Christmas songs early in their career, but this is the only one I've ever heard. It's a typical *N Sync ballad, but they do ballads better than 99% of musicians (FACT! (probably)) so this is no bad thing.

18. Scissor Sisters – Filthy/Gorgeous

What better to shake off the melancholy mood of a Christmassy love ballad than a crazy, naughty Scissor Sisters party song. And yes, it IS a Christmas song because it was around last Xmas (although released in January) and it includes the line "The people that you meet want to open you up like Christmas". That's the Xmas spirit!

19. Sufjan Stevens - Come On! Let's Boogie to the Elf Dance!

Sufjan may be the dullest man on Earth for 364 days a year, but on Christmas day he has a bit to drink and suddenly he's the life and soul of the party. It's always the quiet ones, isn't it!

20. Girls Aloud – Count The Days

A nice ballad to end the album with. Why wasn't this GA's Xmas single? It's loads better than See The Day. I'm sure no-one would notice if they changed it, there's only one word completely different.
Sunday, December 18, 2005

The 8th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Andy Bell - Crazy



Released: 26th September
Fast Fact: Andy released both a solo album and one with Erasure this year, and there'll be a new Erasure album in 2006!
Best Bits: 1. I'm driven by a heavy beat
2. Crazy Crazeeeeeeehh
3. When you put your hand in my hand

Yippee!

Well done British public, you can be my friends again. The Sony BMG people are working fast, with a website up already which tells fans not only where and when to find Shayne on TV and radio this week, but also exactly where he will be recording said shows, giving exact addresses! I guess they want lots of people to go so they can call it "Shayne Mania", but really they're just attracting scary stalker types for whom seeing him on telly non-stop for the next few days will not be enough.

I am quite excited about Shayne winning but I'm not sure if this will be the general opinion, so I'm going to explain why. When the X Factor series began, I wrote a Popping The Question post about whether we can ever have another reality TV star who will become a great pop artist in their own right. I feel that with Shayne we have the best chance of this since Popstars: The Rivals (a programme which, incidentally, Shayne was in - there's even a photo of him in the official book if you have it, pg20). There are many directions he can take, and I can't think of one that would ruin him. He is a fantastic popstar because can be changed into whatever is currently in fashion. He can be the British Justin, a one-man Backstreet Boys, even placing him as the new Robbie Williams couldn't go terribly wrong as long as they give him good songs, and the best thing about Shayne is that he is over-qualified for this position, being an excellent singer. He's already been on the cover of Heat and Sneak and all their gossipy pals, which is exactly where the perfect popstar would be appearing.

It's not certain that Shayne will be a success, but I do think he's got a very good chance (certainly much better than any other contestant on this series), and it would be great if he could give the X Factor a better reputation, because it annoys me hugely when people write off one of the very few ways we have of getting new potentially ace pop stars these days. Whether or not it was these shows that made pop music so cool to hate in the first place, that's how it is now and we have to take every opportunity to save it.
Saturday, December 17, 2005

The 9th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Helen Love - Debbie Loves Joey



Released: 31st January
Fearsome Fact: This was the song I was allocated to write about in the Stylus chart of the year where it came 40th, which isn't bad considering it didn't even make the UK charts.
Best Bits: 1. She was 17 and she didn't care! (this can only be about me for 4 more days!!)
2. Getting pissed in the park...she's in love!
3. She saw shooting stars flash by, the moon exploded in the sky
Tonight, as I'm sure you will know, is the X Factor final and I reckon it could go any way. Will it be...

Shane, who managed to make Unchained Melody, one of my most hated songs of all time (and who can blame me when both Gareth Gates and Clay Aiken have sung it) quite bearable last week.

Journey South, who have improved throughout the competition and are jolly nice blokes.

or Andy, who is a boring idiot and should just go home now.

It's a 2/3 chance of success. Don't let me down, British public!
Friday, December 16, 2005

The 10th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Head Automatica - Beating Heart Baby



Released: 31st January
Fearsome Fact: The singer in this group is from a hard rock band called Glassjaw, but this song is utterly poptastic and ace.
Best Bits: 1. The beating of your heart babaaay!
2. Cause you-oo-oo don't know what you doooo to meeeee
3. Baby is this love for real? Let me in your arms to feel
Thursday, December 15, 2005

The 11th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Rachel Stevens - So Good



Released: 4th July
Fortunate Fact: According to "her people", Rachel WILL be making a new album in 2006, although a new direction is planned, which is worrying because no direction is better than the one she took on Come & Get It.
Best Bits: 1. So good, and so good, and so goo-o-ood
2. Gonna show yerrrrrr
3. My eyes are open to you foolin' around

For once, I'm very glad I was wrong

Westlife are NOT no.1 in the midweeks! Joy to the world, but especially me. So let's see if I was right. The order I rated the chances of the songs released this week was:

Westlife & Diana Ross - When You Tell Me That You Love Me (Most likely)
Nizlopi - JCB
Robbie Williams - Advertising Space
Crazy Frog - Jingle Bells/Can’t Touch This
McFly - The Ballad Of Paul K/Ultraviolet
Keedie Ft England Cricket Team - Jerusalem (Least likely)

And the actual order of those songs:

Nizlopi - JCB
Westlife & Diana Ross - When You Tell Me That You Love Me
McFly - The Ballad Of Paul K/Ultraviolet
Crazy Frog - Jingle Bells/Can’t Touch This
Robbie Williams - Advertising Space
Keedie Ft England Cricket Team - Jerusalem

So, I underestimated McFly (their fanbase are obviously still strong enough to prevent an embarrassing chart position) and, most interestingly, overestimated Robbie. Is it just me who thinks his new song is the best ballad he's done in years, has his failure to rejoin Take That lost him fans, or is everyone just bored of him? Only time will tell!

Sarah Whatmore Mania

Well, that's a title I never thought I'd write (unless listing pop acts who have undeservedly fallen down the dumper in recent years) but it's true - the world has gone Sarah Whatmore mad! Well, the music channels anyway. In the past few days I have seen When I Lost You once and Automatic 3 times! Perhaps her ever-rumoured comeback is about to finally begin. Either that or she's got herself a job at Sky.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The 13th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Annie - Heartbeat



Released: 28th February
F Fact: Annie's single Chewing Gum was the no.2 most poptastic single of 2004.
Best bits: 1. Feel my heartbeat trembling to the beat
2. Majestic sound, round and round and round
3. There was a time, everybody was around and I was dancing with you
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

At last!

The indie bores at Pitchfork have finally seen sense and written about the acetastic Swedish group, The Ark! They did compare them to The Darkness, but it's still a step in the right direction. How about a feature on Bodies Without Organs next?

The 14th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Rachel Stevens - Negotiate With Love



Released: 28th March
Foreign Fact: This was written by Swedish pop legends Vacuum!
Best bits: 1. Could you turn down the track a little bit, please?
2. What is it you don't understand, respect is all that I demand
3. Well, let me tell you, dear
Monday, December 12, 2005

The 14th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl



Released: 23rd May
Foul Fact: Gwen's latest single, Luxurious, missed the top 40 altogether! Admittedly it is the 2nd worst song on her album, but it's GWEN! This just should not be allowed.
Best bits: 1. This shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
2. A few times I've been around that track, so it's not just gonna happen like that
3. All the girls stomp your feet like this
Sunday, December 11, 2005

Popping The Question: Who Will Be Xmas No.1 2005?

I don't think anyone really deserves to be Xmas no.1 this year, but here is a rundown of who's having a go and their chances of success. I've never understood betting odds, so I'm marking them in the far more sensible percentages instead.

Crazy Frog - Jingle Bells/Can’t Touch This
Surely even 3 year olds are over this by now?
Quality: -100%
Chance: 20%

Keedie Ft England Cricket Team - Jerusalem
Every year some sports-playing twerps suddenly decide they're singers and release something for Christmas. If they thought it over they would remember that none of them have been successful, and they really don't need to hurt our ears so unnecessarily.
Quality: 0%
Chance: 0%

McFly - The Ballad Of Paul K/Ultraviolet
McFly started their careers so well with their jolly first 3 singles, followed by Room On The 3rd Floor which is without doubt their best song. However, it's all been downhill from there and they've finally reached the ditch at the bottom of said hill with this dull and utterly unappealing double a-side. Their strong fanbase will presumably award them a top 10 placing but this could easily be their first single to miss the top 5.
Quality: 10%
Chance: 15%

Nizlopi - JCB
I first posted about this song in April, so I am obviously exceptionally cool and ahead of the times. I've seen/heard them interviewed a couple of times now and they seem really nice, as the cheery inoffensive indie types always do, but they're hardly poptastic ace people. This should do well in a "quirky" Mad World kind of way, but is it really good enough to be the Xmas no.1? I'm really not sure...
Quality: 75%
Chance: 75%

Robbie Williams - Advertising Space
I'm as surprised to say this as you might be to hear it, but I really love this song. I haven't been particularly botherd about Robbie in a long time, especially not his ballads, yet this one just has something really enjoyable about it. Trippin' was pretty weird and still did well, so this should be a pretty big hit.
Quality: 85%
Chance: 70%

Westlife & Diana Ross - When You Tell Me That You Love Me
I have huge respect for Diana Ross. She sang Do You Know Where You're Going To, one of my favourite songs ever, and countless Motown classics with the Supremes, which were a huge part of my introduction to pop music as a child. However, when teamed with my current worst enemies in music, even she cannot win me over.
Quality: 5% (for Diana only)
Chance: 90%

X Factor Winner - That's My Goal
I'm pretty pleased with the outcome of X Factor so far. I like Shayne and Journey South and although Andy is a total bore (4Tune, Brenda and Maria were all much more deserving of the success he has annoyingly achieved), 2 out of 3 is pretty good compared to the finals of other recent reality shows, especially American Idol this year where all the good people went far too early. Obviously I can't comment on the quality of the song as I've not heard it and we don't know yet who has won, but I do know I'd much prefer this to be no.1 than Westlife.
Quality: ??
Chance: 80%

Girls Aloud - See The Day
Obviously I'm a huge Girls Aloud fan and as I said in my album review I'm a bit bored of this song, but it does seem to be going down fairly well so I reckon they'll be heading for about no.5 on Xmas day, although I would of course prefer them to beat the rubbish acts who are looking likely to beat them.
Quality: 75%
Chance: 75%

James Blunt - Goodbye My Lover
James may have been one of the, if not the most successful artist of the year, but I don't think this is going to provide him with a big Christmas hit. There just aren't enough people who haven't got the album or who like him enough to buy his singles as well. He's not exactly overflowing with personality, is he? Plus, if you were going to buy one of his singles it wouldn't be this one unless you were completely deaf. Personally, I don't hate all of his music (just what he has done to the music industry ie. blandified it even more than it already was), but I really hate this song.
Quality: 15%
Chance: 10%

The 15th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Scissor Sisters - Filthy/Gorgeous



Released: January 3, 2005
Fashionista Fact: This year the Scissor Sisters designed their own charity wristbands, which you can see here.
Best bits: 1. I'm a classy honey kissy huggy lovey dovey ghetto princess
2. You're an acid junkie college flunky dirty puppy daddy bastard
3. Oh you're so filthy, and I am gooooorgeous
Saturday, December 10, 2005

The 16th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

The Modern - Jane Falls Down



Released: 14th November
Forgetful Fact: I still haven't written about when I went to see The Modern live last month, but I will do it soon I promise.
Best bits: 1. Days go by and she waits for him
2. I picture her, she's all alone
3. There are voices behind the wall, behind the wall, behind her autograph (??)

Dirrrty Pop Review: Girls Aloud - Chemistry



Intro
The first intro GA have used and it's a quietly spoken electro affair, leading to...

Models
I love the tempo of this one, so fast and jerky. You can't dance to it normally. It's very 90s - somewhere between Love Shack and the fabled girlband Crush. I absolutely love it.
10/10

Biology
It's funny how this song didn't get a great reaction at first from many GA fans, yet it's now many people's song of the year. I liked it straight away, so either I'm ahead of the crowd or just less picky than other people. It's not quite No Good Advice but it's much better than their ballady cover versions, and the lyrics are genius as ever.
9/10

Wild Horses
This song begins with the girls singing choir-style, then breaks into as close as they get to scary punk-rock. Well, OK, it's not actually punk at all, but there are attitude-filled talky bits and a fierce chorus. This is the song with the famous train noises from Cheryl. Woo woo!
8/10

See The Day

I liked the original of this song, which I downloaded before I heard the GA version, and I think the girls have done a good cover version of it, but I really am bored of it now, and it didn't seem to take very long for me to feel this way. I hope the song is a success, I think they'll be far from Christmas no.1 but hopefully they'll beat G4 and Crazy Frog, if not Westlife. It is at least an improvement on I'll Stand By You.
6/10

Watch Me Go

The JC song! Mega-excitement! The backing music is very JC as well, and there are a few "OW!"s in the background which are so definitely him. You can't get much more impressive in my eyes than an *N Sync member on backing vocals. I wonder if this song was originally intended for JC? Presumably he would change the lyric "said your name was Ben", maybe to "Jen" or...um...I can't think of any more. I also have to bless the Fannypack-esque talky bit in this song as the best of the many talky bits on Chemistry.
8/10

Waiting

This is rather 60s, the new Love Machine perhaps. It's really good fun and the middle 8 is extremely Spice Girls-esque, so it's worth listening to just for that! It also has the 3 immortal words "in the groove", so it's close enough dedicated to me.
7/10

Whole Lotta History

The first original ballad and once again it's extremely Spicy! Think 2 Become One or Too Much. I can totally imagine the Spicies singing this and it makes me like it all the more. If they do have a comeback this year (10 years since they started, remember), they are ordered to go straight to Xenomania for ace new songs.
8/10

Long Hot Summer

This still sounds good although I've heard it millions of times (probably literally).
9/10

Swinging London Town

This seems to be many people's favourite on this album but personally I think there are many better tracks. Of course it's still good, it's Girls Aloud, but considering it's electro, usually my favourite type of GA song, it's actually a bit boring.
7/10

It's Magic

Aagin, I find this one a bit boring - every time I listen to it, it just seems to float past without much notice. There's nothing wrong with it at all, just not as much right with it as the other tracks. In a context other than this fabulous album, I'd probably be really excited about it.
7/10

No Regrets

Another ballad but sadly not a very good one. It's kind of latin-y which is only really good on crazy upbeat party songs. They also reference fish and chips, which is not a good sign. Not that I can remember anyone doing it before, but it's hardly the height of class.
6/10

Racy Lacey

The lyrics award of the album has to go to this one, cos it's highlarious. Again it would not have been out of place on Spiceworld. It does seem really short, though.
8/10

Thank You For The Music

One of the most sought-after pop producers of the 00s so far has been Richard X. His career began as a remixer, particularly known for his "mash-ups", including a mix of Adina Howard's Freak Like Me vocals on top of the backing track of Gary Numan's Are Friends Electric. This remix became popular and was chosen by the Sugababes as the song to cover for their comeback single - their first with new member Heidi. It soon became the band's biggest hit and the first of several no.1s.

This success meant Richard X was in high demand and those who worked with him were sure to get their song noticed. He continued to work with his favourite acts, including Tiga and one of my many beloved Norwegians, Bertine Zetlitz. Then Liberty X, who obviously felt a connection with Richard due to their similar names, followed in the Sugababes' footsteps by covering another of his remixes, this time a combination of 80s electro legends the Human League's Being Boiled and Ain't Nobody by Chaka Khan. The result was a no.3 hit and soon there was a whole album (Richard X Presents His X Factor - nothing to do with the TV show) of songs created in a similar way, featuring pop stars such as Jarvis Cocker, Javine and Kelis, and spoken word tracks from radio DJ Mark Goodier and an as yet unknown singer named Annie.

After that Richard moved away from mash-ups and concentrated on doing remixes for whichever acts he took a liking to, as well as creating some brand new tracks for established pop stars such as Rachel Stevens and lesser known acts like MIA and Annie, whose fantastic track Me Plus One I have uploaded for your listening pleasure below:

Annie - Me Plus One

Most of you will know the story behind this track by now, but for those who don't, it is about the lady formerly known as Ginger Spice. The height of Richard X's career coincided with one of the many low points in Geri's, when she was desperate for a song from Richard which she believed would elevate her back into the top of the charts. There was one song in particular that she wanted, and that was Some Girls, the song that gave Rachel Stevens one of her biggest hits. Geri was so upset about not being given the song that she sat crying in Richard's car, hence the lines, "Get out of the car, you know it's time, you've got to let it go, it's gone".

Richard's current projects include new material for Annie and the forthcoming solo work of Alesha Dixon from Mis-teeq.
Friday, December 09, 2005

The 17th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Girls Aloud - Long Hot Summer



Released: 22nd August
Fabulous Fact: This is GA's highest charting song in this year's poptastic countdown, yet last year they only reached no.19 with what I consider to be one of their best ever singles, The Show, once again proving what a rubbish year this has been in comparison.
Best bits: 1. I've ricoched around the world drinking pink champagne - it's easy!
2. I'm shaking like a cool lemonade
3. I've seen you disco dancing with your pants on fire
Thursday, December 08, 2005

The 18th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Royksopp - Only This Moment



Released: 27th June
Fabulous Fact: Their new single (featuring Karin from The Knife) has a brilliant remix by Jacques Lu Cont/Stuart Price/whatever he's called this week.
Best bits: 1. Stay or forever go, play or you´ll never know
2. I know I might loose it by taking the chance, but love without pain isn´t really romance
3. Deep down inside I know love will survive
Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The 19th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Groove Coverage - Poison



Released: 30th May
Frightening Fact: This is a cover version of a song by Alice Cooper, who is not a girl.
Best bits: 1. One look, could kill, my pain, your thriiiiiiiill
2. You're poison running through my veins
3. I wanna love you, but I, but I better not
Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The 20th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Girls Aloud - Biology



Released: 14th November
Fascinating fact: Not only is one of the songs on GA's ace new album written by JC Chasez of *N Sync fame, but several are written by Shawn Lee, the obscure singer-songwriter whose song Happiness Will Young covered on his new album!!
Best bits: 1. You can't mistake my biology!
2. Say you love me, and not my dirrrty brain
3. Closer! Closer! Closer!
Monday, December 05, 2005

The 21st Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

t.A.T.u - All About Us



Released: 26th September
Flattering fact: Their album, Dangerous & Moving, was the best album released in the UK this year, until Rachel, Will and GA spoiled it by releasing new CDs.
Best bits: 1. If. They. Hurt. You. They. Hurt. Me. Too!
2. It's all about, all about, all about US!
3. Cos you know ah-ohh
Sunday, December 04, 2005

20 Facts About Poland

1. It's very cold in Poland.
2. It was snowing when I got there!
3. It's quite normal to wear your hood up on your coat even when it's not raining or snowing - this is good cos I always feel silly doing it in England.
4. There is some good Polish music, but the charts are a mixture of the best pop from Europe.
5. They are much less interested in American music than more Western European countries.
6. Lasgo, ATB, Lutricia McNeal and the Bomfunk MCs are still around!
7. Don't expect to find the top 10 singles in the shops, but if you want Girl Thing or Point Break you'll be fine.
8. The selection of restaurants and shops reflect the music, being a very multi-cultural affair.
9. However, Poland isn't at all multi-cultural, with ethnic minorities being extremely rare.
10. One great song currently popular in Poland is the extremely catchy pop-rock song "Tired Of Being Sorry" by a Californian band I'd never heard of before, called Ringside.
11. Sadly all their other songs sound like U2.
12. The Internet is clearly still a novelty in Poland, as they have a band called Blog 27 whose album is called LOL.
13. Blog 27 have covered both Alexia's Uh La La (in girl-rap style) and the Teddybear Sthlm single Hey Boy, with quite triumphant results.
14. Another fantastic song is Appetite by Iris, who are actually a rock band and not a female singer as their name suggests.
15. There are not a lot of music shops in Poland, and I only found one which sold only music, the other CD sellers being department stores and electrical shops.
16. Current CDs can cost anything between 25 and 70 Zlotys - £4.37 to £12.24, but in general are fairly cheap and most CDs can be found at least somewhere for about 35 Zlotys (£6.12).
17. All tastes are catered for in Poland with CD shops providing some quite obscure finds, such as both ATC albums (don't worry, I didn't buy them) and cassettes of Madasun and Made In London!
18. Magazines have great free gifts, such as the phone dangly thing that flashes red and green when you get a message. It's an amazing piece of technology!
19. I didn't see anyone who looked like the Internet's resident Pole, Edward O.
20. They have loads of radio stations, Radio Eska and RMF Maxxx being the best ones.

Poland is great! You should all go there.

The 22nd Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Patrick Wolf - Tristan



Released: 21st February
Fussy fact: This is the only Paddy Wolf song I've liked so far, but I absolutely love it, so hopefully he'll make another good one soon.
Best bits: 1. My name is Tristan...and I am ALIVE! (uh! uh! huh!)
2. Sorrow by name and sorrow by nature
3. I fea-e-ar no criiime...WOW!
Saturday, December 03, 2005

The 23rd Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Kaiser Chiefs - Oh my God



Released: 21st February
Frustrating fact: I Predict A Riot was only no.58 next year, but I actually like it better than Oh My God, showing what a rubbish year this has been compared to 2004.
Best bits: 1. Oh my God, I can't believe it!
2. Somewhere more familiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar
3. I didn't see you not looking when I messed up
Friday, December 02, 2005

The 24th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek



Released: 26th September
Freaky fact: For a while this was played on every show on Radio 1, causing great controversy over whether it was fantastic (correct) or horrible (incorrect), and then it was just mysteriously forgotten about...
Best bits: 1. Spin me round again
2. Crop circles in the carpet
3. Mmm what you say-ay?
Thursday, December 01, 2005

The 25th Most Poptastic Single Of 2005

Here we go again! This needs no introduction, unless you were rubbish this time last year and not reading Dirrrty Pop, in which case here is last year's chart. The full top 100 will be revealed at the end of the month, along, obviously, with the no.1 on Christmas day (not that I will actually be on the Internet on Xmas day but I'll work it out somehow).

Idlewild - Love Steals Us From Loneliness



Released: 21st February 2005
Flighty fact: A year ago I hated Idlewild despite not knowing any of their songs. I still only like them because of this song and the singer being quite cute.
Best bits: 1. Happy birthday, Are you lonely yet?
2. You're going nowhere and you're going there fast
3. It's only the future that didn't last



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