Miss Li - Dancing the Whole Way Home - 1st April
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns - 6th April
Melody Club - Goodbye to Romance - 22nd April
BWO - Big Science - April
The Sounds - Crossing the Rubicon - May
Florence and the Machine - July
Leona Lewis - October
Alexandra Burke - November
Alcazar - 2009
The Ark - 2009
Patrick Wolf - 2009
Robyn - 2009
Here are my top 20 singles of July, with one of the countries they're being released in:
1. Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancing (UK) 2. Elize - Into Your System (Holland) 3. Bosson - You (Sweden) 4. Bertine Zetlitz - 500 (Norway) 5. Jojo - Too Little Too Late (USA) 6. Najoua Belyzel - Je Ferme Les Yeux (France) 7. Blue Lagoon - Isle of Paradise (Germany) 8. The Feeling - Never Be Lonely (UK) 9. Justin Timberlake - Sexy/Back (USA) 10. Meg & Dia - Monster (USA) 11. Sarah Nixey - Strangelove (UK) 12. Bugz In The Attic - Move Aside (UK) 13. R.O.O.O.M - First Thing (Holland) 14. Alesha - Lipstick (UK) 15. Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous Girl (USA) 16. Basement Jaxx - Hush Boy (UK) 17. Inner City Playboys - Jetsetter (UK) 18. Lazy B - Underwear Goes Inside The Pants (UK) 19. Stefy - Chelsea (USA) 20. Maria Lawson - Sleepwalking (UK)
July has been a pretty great month for music, with me discovering loads of ace new songs and it was very hard to decide on an order. Some of the songs that fell off the end include Mistake by Sky Mangel Stephanie McIntosh and the new Killers' single, but it's definitely better to be overflowing with great pop than being unable to fill the top 20.
Here's the updated top 20 of the year so far:
1. BWO - Temple Of Love 2. Pipettes – Pullshapes 3. Will Young – Who Am I 4. Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancing 5. Delays – Valentine 6. Rihanna - S.O.S (Rescue Me) 7. Kate Ryan - Je t'adore 8. Infernal - From Paris To Berlin 9 Andreas Lundstedt - Love Gun 10. Najoua Belyzel - Gabriel 11. Camera Obscura - Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken 12. Lillix - Sweet Temptation 13. Fefe Dobson - As A Blonde 14. Will Young - All Time Love 15. Elena Paparizou - Mambo 16. The Veronicas - When It All Falls Apart 17. The Veronicas - Everything I'm Not 18. Morningwood - Nth Degree 19. Elize - Into Your System 20. Bosson – You
Representing Turkey: Mustafa Sandal - All My Life If you're missing Eurovision, you're in luck cos I've found a song that epitomises recent Eastern male entries. It's got everything - ethnic sounds, very basic lyrics, a semi-handsome singer cavorting with a lady-friend and doing a bit of random dancing in a majestic building. It's not the greatest song ever but if you can't wait for next May this should keep you going for a while.
Representing Indonesia: Anggun - Saviour Despite being Indonesian living in France, Anggun somehow manages to sound just like Dutch angst-popper Anouk, although sadly this isn't up to the high standards of songs such as Girl and Nobody's Wife. I suppose it might be good enough for an album track. Still, it is a slight improvement on the usual r'n'b-lite Anggun produces and it's quite amusing to here this kind of angsting from a dainty French (sort of) pop star.
Representing the USA: The Spinto Band - Oh Mandy I'd heard this song a few times without paying it much attention until one time it was on the radio and suddenly I mysteriously quite enjoyed it, noticing it's resemblance to the one great song made by Arcade Fire, Rebellion (Lies) in it's repetition, similar vocal style and the way it kind of washes over you before you realise its aceness in a sudden moment of "oh, I get it now!" That night I woke up at some ridiculous hour and what was going round my head? Oh Mandy, oh Mandy-ee! Over and over again, it got kind of annoying but now I must admit I love this song.
Trinity Stone - Move A Little Closer It's always exciting to have a new pop group coming out, but I have to say I'm a bit disappointed by this new urban girlgroup. The song is likeable with a catchy chorus, but it doesn't exactly jump out at you and there's nothing new or innovative about it. I do like songs that hark back to the good old days and I think there's much more to good music than originality, but why release a single that sounds just like something the Honeyz would have done a few years ago? A follow-up single to I Don't Know perhaps, but that only got to no.28 in 2001 so I doubt anything they'd released afterwards would have exactly shot up the charts and I similarly can't see anything of the sort happening to Trinity Stone, but I am of course quite happy to be proven wrong.
Stefy - Chelsea Here's a song that's becoming quite popular with the tweens of America despite it being 80s-style electro-pop, even reminding me a little of Garbage (on their better, poppier days) and an intro quite unashamedly lifted from Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics. The video is good fun with a courtroom setting and amusing catfight between the singer (whose name is Stefy Rae, having the band named after her Cleopatra style) and the girl who is supposed to be Chelsea. It's nothing phenomenal but I really like this song and I think most pop lovers will, so they should be heading for a hit.
Chipz - One Two Three Chipz are one of the cheesiest pop groups around but I love them regardless. Mix up the Vengaboys, Steps and A*Teens and this would be the product. They have themed songs with catchy choruses and fun videos, this one being my favourite. It's a dance-off between Good Chipz (wearing white) and Evil Chipz (wearing black). Although this is my favourite Chipz video it's not my favourite of their songs. That honour goes to 1001 Arabian Nights which you can see here.
CSS - Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above Cansei De Der Sexy (or CSS as they're often known) are a Brazilian band getting a lot of attention at the moment. I have to say personally I'm not in love with them yet but I do love this video which is adorable and amusing too. Their name means "tired of being sexy" and although the band are not unattractive it kind of fits, as they're not the typical long-haired bikini clad young women you imagine in Brazil, but they are so much cooler than that and show another side to South America that we maybe don't see enough.
Nick Lachey - I Can't Hate You Anymore Nick released several singles prior to the almighty What's Left Of Me in the USA but they were all so extremely rubbish that I like to forget they exist and see this as his second single. It's not quite as anthemic as WLOM but it's still great for an over-dramatic sing-along session, and that is something we can never frown on. As much as they may deny it, everyone loves a good power ballad and Nick's doing pretty well with them at the moment. I may just have to forgive him for that unwise marriage, but it's all over now and I am most certainly on Team Nick! Although I may just stick to listening to the mp3 from now on as this video is almost impressively dull.
Now, the top 5:
5. Robbie Williams - Rudebox 4. The Feeling - Never Be Lonely 3. Justin Timberlake - SexyBack 2. Alesha - Lipstick
and at no.1...
Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous Is it wrong from a pop lover's point of view that I like this way more than Maneater. OK so the verses aren't that amazing but neither are those of Maneater and I really like the chorus of this one for some unknown reason. I think Justin should have duetted on this with Nelly for both their first singles from their new album, and leave Maneater and SexyBack for their albums or perhaps later singles. I know Maneater and SexyBack have the same sort of shock factor (SexyBack more so, but then Nelly's last album was called Folklore so she couldn't go too radical in fear of actively upsetting old fans) which was probably necessary to get them right back onto the A List but Promiscuous is just a more pleasing song, to me at least.
Flicking through music channels last night I was suddenly confronted by a wonderfully familiar voice and a burst of bright yellow on the screen. I quickly realised what I was seeing and an unstoppable grin spread across my face. It was the video to Satellites by September! I knew it had been slightly remixed for a US release but I had no idea she'd be stopping off here on the way. Maybe I'm just over-optimistic after the chart justice received by Infernal recently (their single is now the 2nd biggest seller of the year despite never reaching no.1!) but I'm feeling quite positive about this release - I really think September could have a hit. The song just fills me with such joy when I hear that I simply can't imagine anyone not liking it, although I'm sure there are plenty of stupid people who won't. But this song is too amazing not to be a hit, surely!
When most people get bored they read a book or something. I make a new website! This one is different cos it's about films instead of music. I wanted somewhere to write about the ace films I've seen and now I have, so I hope you like reading it as much as I'm enjoying writing it.
Bosson - A Little More Time His latest single You is fab Euro disco-pop, but it's far from the first great single he's released. Here's another of my favourites, a song he released in 2003. Bosson's real name is Stefan Olsson and you may not think you've heard anything by him before but if you've seen the film Miss Congeniality you might remember his song One In A Million which was featured in one of the beauty contest scenes.
Erik Faber - Century One of my favourite ever ballads is this song by lovely Norwegian artist Erik Faber. It's very dramatic with a lovely chorus. I hadn't even seen this video until yesterday and I have to say it's not as brilliant as the video I have been imagining in my head all these years of listening to the song. In my version Erik is trapped in a ring of fire (since he did after all "stumble through the fire") having flashbacks to his time spent with the girl who is subject of the song. It would be so much more fitting.
Amine - J'Voulais This French single was released at the beginning of the year, and it wasn't until I went to Belgium and saw the CD that I realised Amine is actually male, not female as he sounds! It's a catchy piece of 70s-esque retro r'n'b/pop, which you can sing along to quite easily whether or not you know French.
Within Temptation - Angels (on TOTP) Here's a performance by one of the few truly brilliant rock acts in the world. Of course they are European, Dutch to be precise, but they're quite famous in the UK with several of my friends being fans. Their music is great fun and they've made loads of top singles. This is one of the more relaxed ones, a ballad from their last album. I wonder if Dutch TOTP will continue now the UK version is over?
Najoua Belyzel - Je Ferme Les Yeux Najoua's last single Gabriel is among my favourites of the year so far and the follow-up, although it took a few listens to grow on me, is no disappointment. If you like French pop legend Mylene Farmer or even other French pop ladies such as Alizée, then you must give Najoua's music a try. Unlike a lot of French music which is extremely dull (see their Eurovision entry this year), Najoua's music is exciting and original and generally lovely.
This week's top 5:
5. Madonna - Get Together 4. Justin Timberlake - Sexy/Back 3. Lily Allen - Smile 2. Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man
And retaining the no.1 spot is the much deserving Too Little Too Late by Jojo which we at last have a video for. I read one website calling this one of the best pop videos ever the other day which I have to say is rather an overstatement (it's quite ordinary, but the song of course is brilliant) but perhaps you will see in it whatever that person did - enjoy!
Boris - Within My Hands (Video) The Netherlands is a country that keeps its pop music to itself - a great shame since have one of the best pop industries in the world. However, according to Arjan Writes, 2004's Idols winner Boris Titulaer is set to release his latest hit in America along with an album, Holy Pleasure. He's got a great voice, great songs and he's not bad looking either, but can there ever be a global superstar named Boris? However, if you like Robin Thicke, Will Young, Justin Timberlake or any poppy white soul boys then you may just love Boris. 83% Poptastic!
Lemar - It's Not That Easy Both of Lemar's previous albums have been launched with successful singles which meant the albums too did pretty well, staying around in the charts for quite a long time, but to continue this success with an artist for whom it would be a big risk to change is just what Lemar says himself: not that easy! Many UK urban acts have lost their way in the last few years after promising starts, such as Ms Dynamite, So Solid Crew and The 411, but Lemar has got a bit further and become one of the big names of UK r'n'b (ironic since he came from a prime time BBC talent show) so he has a big responsibility to keep it up. He's certainly played it safe with a song quite similar to If There's Any Justice. It's utterly inoffensive, making him truly the male counterpart of Maria Lawson, but I like her and I like this too. His fans won't be disappointed, but can it win him any new ones? 75% Poptastic!
Inner City Playboys - Jet Setter (Video) After catching this on TV music channels a few times recently and quite enjoying it despite the worrying name of the act, I decided to research it and imagine my surprise when it turned out to be the product of professional celebrity and general odd-job man of the gossip scene, Fran Cosgrave! Still, it's a good song no matter where it came from and already has received plays on Radio 1 (although I think it was just a dance music programme) so success seems quite likely. The female singer is a mix of Javine and Kim from the Vengaboys, and the music is catchy dance-pop of the sort that would be very big in Europe but still cool enough to do well here too. 78% Poptastic!
I love how Darren Hayes decided to approach the whole 'coming out' thing, basically saying "Yeah, so... I got married! To a man!" It is all quite lovely, really. Things are going better than ever for him at the moment, what with this and freedom at last from rubbish Sony. Unlike most acts for whom leaving the record company would signal an embarrassing end to their career, for Darren it means he can make what he says will be the best album of his career, and considering he has already made the best album of my life in Affirmation, that sounds rather exciting to me! You also have to congratulate him for managing to leave Sony, turn gay and get married all in a week, and no silly fuss has been made - he must be very relieved.
Representing the UK: Maria Lawson - Sleepwalking X Factor star Maria has rather cleverly targeted the local radio and Magic TV channel fans with this mid-tempo, catchy but inoffensive MOR-pop song. She could have gone for something more exciting in the hope of gaining younger fans (she sang Kelly Clarkson and the Rolling Stones on X Factor, suggesting she likes a bit of rock), or something more soulful to appeal to r'n'b fans and perhaps make her the female Lemar, a tried and tested way of shrugging off the reality TV label. However, I think she has gone the right way with this track which sits her somewhere between Gabrielle and Kym Marsh with added catchy chorus. Now she just needs Local FM to play it every hour and she'll have a hit!
Representing Holland: Elize - Into Your System I've been going on about this one a bit lately, but every gratuitous mention is deserved because Elize is absolutely brilliant. If, like me, you've been rather disappointed by Dannii's recent output and the sad lack of any from her sister, give this one a try. It's pure pop, Eurodisco, super-catchy and every other adjective usually employed to describe such a masterpiece. Now let's hope she actually gets an album out soon, after 4 top singles and no sign of one yet.
Representing Australia: Stephanie McIntosh - Mistake I loved Sky when she had blue hair in Neighbours, but then Boyd found out she had based her whole style on Enid from Ghost World (surely nothing to be ashamed of, Ghost World being even more brilliant than blue-haired Sky) and suddenly she was a bit boring - blonde hair, short skirts, everything blue-haired Sky would hate! Still, I was excited for her music career and at last her first single (tied in with a reality show in America) has arrived, but sadly it is a bit of a disappointment. While it's catchy and not trying to be too cool, it's rather unoriginal - although I love the Max Martin grrl-rock sound, she doesn't seem to have Swedes on side and her imitation pales in comparison to Lilyjets or even her fellow Aussie Kate DeAraugo's song Faded.
Representing Germany, the USA and France: Loo & Placido - Horny As A Dandy This mash-up of Horny by Mousse T and Bohemian Like You by the Dandy Warhols has been around for ages in Europe but it's finally getting a release in the UK. I posted it on Into The Groove a few weeks ago as I think it's one of the best mash-ups I've heard - it just fits perfectly and refreshes two great songs. It's Radio 1's song of the weekend this week and seems to be getting lots of plays, suggesting it will be a hit when it's re-released (it originally came out here in March this year) in a few weeks.
Representing the USA: Meg & Dia - Monster Sister act Meg (older, guitar player) & Dia (lead singer, loves Rufus and Ben Folds so she's my fave already) are the Veronicas' darker, rockier American counterparts and although this song is not a patch on the almighty 4ever or Everything I'm Not, it's grown on me a lot and I'm now quite a fan, which I'm sure Dave from Cure For Bedbugs will be pleased since he's been mentioning them quite often recently. Their dress sense seems to be inspired by Just A Little Girl era Amy Studt, but unlike Amy and The Veronicas I think these will be able to win over some 'serious' rock fans, because the music is not as immediately catchy as those I've compared it to (and they've already been on the Warped Tour!), but still gets stuck in your head after a few listens, meaning those of you who like The Veronicas, Marion Raven and those kinds of acts should definitely give them a try.
The Hush Sound - Wine Red Who would have thought that a band loved by both Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco could actually be good? Certainly not me, which is why it was such a surprise to discover The Hush Sound. I spotted them in the top 10 bands on MySpace (although they've now slipped to no.32) and, since I'd never heard of them and they didn't look too scary, I clicked and soon found myself throughly enjoying their album sampler. It was only after reading a little more about them I found out the horrible truth about their connections to wimpy rockers, but hopefully as soon as they have a hit album, as their MySpace popularity and general aceness suggests they will, they'll announce that they never liked Fall Out Boy anyway and just used them to get to the top, and everyone will admire their cunning and live happily ever after. Until then, enjoy this pretty video and see if you agree that they sound like the younger siblings of Nina Persson and Ben Folds and a group of their geekiest friends.
The Ark - One Of Us Is Gonna Die Young (US version) Here's a new version of one of The Ark's greatest hits, which they hope will be their breakthrough single in America. They are actually quite popular there considering their Swedishness, but I doubt they will ever become a huge act, mainly because there is so much competition for a rock band in America, and unlike The Hush Sound, I don't think Ola Salo, a unique and slightly insane extrovert who is a real gay, not just faking androgyny to get attention, would get on that well with thingummy-bob and whatever his name is from Fall Out Boy and P!ATD. Even if you don't like rock music, give The Ark a chance because they are the antidote to all the generic rubbish that every 14-year-old seems to love at the moment.
Shebang - Sheena Is A Punkrocker This seems to be turning into a bit of a rock special, not at all on purpose! Luckily, Shebang are another act who manage to undermine everything the typical rock fan holds dear. They cover this track by the Ramones, making it into a poptastic sing-along, neither of the two members so much as touching a guitar or any other instrument in the process. Maybe if the Ramones had got young Swedish girls to sing on all their songs, then I wouldn't laugh at every conformatively unique teenager (or, even worse, grown-up adult) in a Ramones t-shirt. Admittedly, I too own a Ramones t-shirt, but I only realised this 2 years after I bought it (which I did because it had the name of a Teddybears Sthlm single on it) and of course I haven't worn it since then.
Arash ft. Rebecca - Temptation One of the best summer singles of last year was this piece of sunny ethnic fabulousless by Persian/Swedish singer Arash and a previously unknown young lady named Rebecca. I actually got to see them do this live last year when I went on holiday to Goteborg and it was entirely ace, as expected. It's a shame Arash hasn't become popular in the UK, because it would be great to hear this on the radio on a sunny day like today and pretend we were somewhere exotic and not boring old England.
Fefe Dobson Interview on TRL Poor Fefe, ever underrated and yet so very ace. I think the reason for her lack of success is her seeming unapproachableness - her singing voice is quite harsh and tough (but perfectly fits her girl power persona) and she's no pretty blonde with short skirts and miniature dogs, again because that's who she is the antithesis too. Girls like Lindsay and Hilary try to be rock chicks but it just doesn't work because they are too boring, weak and simply not believable. Fefe has real teenage angst and as this interview shows she is genuine, normal and seems to be brilliant fun. She also has way better songs than the skinny blondes could even dream of, especially on her second album which was postponed continually until she was very unfairly dropped last month. Hopefully she will make a comeback somehow, but until then we have loads of great music to enjoy, particularly her recent singles Don't Let It Go To Your Head and This Is My Life.
Now, this week's top 5:
5. Madonna - Get Together 4. Elize - Into Your System 3. Justin Timberlake - Sexy/Back 2. Lily Allen - Smile 1. JoJo - Too Little Too Late
But since the video for this song has not yet been released, here instead is Jojo's Swedish counterpart, Amy Diamond, performing her most recent single Don't Cry Your Heart Out live and very impressively on TV.
There have been some pretty useless DJs employed by Radio 1 in the last few years, but 'cheeky' (presumably meaning smug and idiotic) Northerners JK and Joel have to be the worst ever. Just now they were arguing over who discovered All This Love by the Similou first out of them and Scott Mills. Well, I think they'll find that me and my Into The Groove readers were loving it way back in May 2005 and any Swedish music lover will have heard it when it was released there in December 2004! If you like All This Love you should definitely click here to listen to samples of their whole album.
Lillix - Sweet Temptation I have been loving this song for a couple of months now and finally it has a video. I was a big fan of Lillix's first album Standing Uphill but the new single is even better - an all out acetastic pop-rockathon. If you were a fan in the olden days you may notice that the drummer Kim (and my old favourite member) has left and been replaced by a girl named Alicia. The verdict is still out on whether she is ace - watch the video and see what you think!
Bertine Zetlitz - 500 If you're getting impatient for the new Annie album and you've never heard any of Bertine's music, you need to fix that right now! Bertine worked with Richard X before Rachel, Liberty X and the Sugababes had probably even heard of him, and brings a quirky coolness to her music that makes it quite different to Annie's, even though they're both Norwegian blondes who worked with Mr X. 500 is the first single from her forthcoming 5th album My Italian Greyhound, which will be released on 11th September.
Darren Hayes - Unlovable Not wanting to waste a brilliant song, Darren has decided to release this song as a charity download from his website http://www.darrenhayes.com/ and to get people interested he's made a video for it which is a mixture of clips from his tours and travels and new parts filmed just for this. This is such a dramatic and emotional song and just genuinely brilliant, it's great that a few more people will get to hear it. I know from my own and others' experience that once you become a Darren Hayes fan there's no way out so hopefully this release will help him catch a few more of those obsessed fans.
Nicola Roberts - Shout Recently Nadine and Cheryl's spotlight-hogging has got worse than ever with both bagging themselves very famous boyfriends and Cheryl in particular becoming quite a celebrity icon with tabloid rivalries, an advertising deal with Coca Cola and even being the subject of a song by the current no.1 singer, Lily Allen. But Nicola is still my favourite and here is a performance from Popstars: The Rivals to show why Miss Roberts should be doing all the lead vocals from now on!
Backstreet Boys - We've Got It Goin' On (TOTP performance) If I was compiling a TOTP best bits programme to commemorate the very sad ending of the show, I would have to include this performance by the BSBs very early in their career, when they were so much fun and so energetic and excited, you just can't help but want to join in and feel a bit jealous cos you're not part of their gang. The singing and dancing is all so brilliant, there is no doubt that they were the acest boyband to ever exist, which makes it quite a shame that Kevin has left and after so many years the original line-up is no longer intact, but they are carrying on and there's no reason their next album won't be as great as Never Gone.
This week's top 5:
5. Bertine Zetlitz - 500 4. Pet Shop Boys - Minimal =2. Madonna - Get Together =2. Camera Obscura - Lloyd Im Ready To Be Heartbroken
and no.1 is...
Lily Allen - Smile We've all seen the video by now so here's an interview Lily did for a new Channel 4 show called Transmission recently. It made me really like her as she comes across as very normal (I especially liked the "don't question my genius!" bit) even though she's obviously had quite an abnormal life so far, and I love her for telling it like it is. She's the new Daphne & Celeste! Don't question her genius!
On 2nd listen, I kind of like it, although it's still horrible. It sounds bad if you listen properly, but let it flow and you can't help bopping along. 3rd and I might be addicted, but I can't allow myself to listen to it anymore because I don't want to get bored of it too quickly. Perhaps this will be his Dirrrty. Can a boy popstar have a Dirrrty? If any can, it's Justin.
Justin Timberlake - Sexy/Back This is scary and I am not impressed. What happened to the poptastic *N Sync boy we knew and loved? What happened to Britney's best boyfriend? He'd better be back on the next single or I'll be very cross. It's kind of electro-urban, very repetitive, improves a bit towards the end but overall a bit too weird. I suppose it might be a grower, but there's none of the fun high-pitched singing or really many different words at all. I'm all for pop stars going in new directions, but not if they lose everything that was good about them before. 70% Poptastic!
Bugz In The Attic - Move Aside Now this is the song Justin should have released. It's still r'n'b and cool and tough and electronic, but it's just got something about it which even urban haterz like me can groove along. I've heard it a few times on the radio now and it's grown on me each time, even though it's not the sort of music I'd normally like - it's strangely catchy and I think it could be a huge hit. 73% Poptastic!
Lazy B - Underwear Goes Inside The Pants This is the antidote to Baz Luhrman's Sunscreen song - a spoken word track full of opinions and advice but these are slightly different, coming from 'the youth' with a mixture of humour (the part about obesity especially), insight and some rather controversial statements. According to his MySpace Lazy B is Danish (although the guy speaking is American comedian Greg Giraldo) and then I looked on Wikipedia and you'll NEVER guess Lazy B's true identity... Soren Rasted from AQUA!!! The blonde one who's now married to Lene from the band. How weird is that? And rather highlarious considering Zane Lowe has been playing it. But at least the Nystrom-Rasted household is getting some income now, after the stupid flop of Lene's solo album, and she appears on . Click here to watch the video. 78% Poptastic!
JoJo - Too Little Too Late The American Amy Diamond has just released her first film, a pre-teen 'chick flick' called Aquamarine which also stars Sara Paxton and a young relation of Julia Roberts, Emma Roberts, but Jojo is also back with a new single and it's rather good! She's obviously trying to recreate the success of Leave (Get Out) as Too Little Too Late is pretty similar but that's no bad thing as I loved Leave and this is just as good. JoJo is definitely one of the best singers (if not the best) of the teen-pop girls of the moment, and this makes her ordinary pop songs sound much better than ordinary. 85% Poptastic!
Bassment Jaxx - Hush Boy This sounds very similar to their brilliant single from last year Oh My Gosh, but without the poptastic aceness and therefore a bit pointless, although not entirely terrible. I just can't get at all excited about it. The Jaxx have made such a variety of ace songs in the past, from Romeo to Good Luck to Plug It In, and they never usually make two songs that sound the same, so why start now? I'm very disappointed! 65% Poptastic!
10. I'm From Barcelona This Swedish group have only released two singles so far but they've been so jolly and fun-filled that they've more than earned their place in the top 10.
9. Andreas Lundstedt Andreas is another Swedish act hasn't done too much yet, and his Eurovision entry wasn't that great (although he was the first act from the Alexander Bard stable to get into Eurovision proper), but his first solo single Love Gun is so fantastic that on that song alone he deserves to be in this list.
8. The Feeling I'm not generally a big fan of the basic 'blokes with guitars' groups so they've got to have something special to catch my attention. For The Feeling it was their excellent song-writing, ranging from the cheery pop of Fill My Little World to the moving balladry of Sewn, and that's just the singles - 12 Stops & Home is one of the best albums of 2006 so far.
7. The Veronicas While everybody else was raving about Kelly Clarkson, I was much more interested in another of Max Martin's projects: the Australian twins Lisa and Jess Origliasso, better known as the Veronicas. I personally think their brand of the newly reinvigorated rock-pop style is the best around, and their album is consistently great. Hopefully a UK release is not too far away.
6. Infernal The phenomenal success of From Paris To Berlin is more than I could possibly expect for the ace Danish dance-pop act whose album was one of the best things I got for Christmas last year. Whether or not they get to release more music and become the Vengaboys of the 00s, they've still made a great achievement in the name of Scandipop and made Radio 1 just that bit more listenable over the past few months.
5. Fefe Dobson She may have just been ousted from her American record company but I still hold Fefe as one of the heroines of 2006 as she has provided me with some amazing rock-pop music that has cheered me up every time I was feeling rubbish. Her voice is perhaps an acquired taste but on this album she's found songs which really suit her and it all works so fantastically that it's a huge shame it can't now be the hit it deserves to be.
4. Lily Allen The UK charts have taken a fantastic turn recently with 3 ace pop ladies having no.1s in a row. Now Nelly and Shakira have to step aside for the acest yet, Lily Allen and her lovely summery single Smile. She's got personality, style, intelligence and she can sing as well - Lily is exactly what pop music needs right now and she might not be making the cheesy pop we're used to supporting around these parts but I personally think Lily's brand of cheeky urban pop is even better.
3. The Delays It's been a few months now since I was first getting excited about the Delays but their album You See Colours still sounds as exciting and brilliant as the first time I heard it. It was a crime that Valentine and Hideaway weren't no.1 singles (and the best song You & Me hasn't even been released) but it's nice sometimes to have albums that could easily be enormous hits but only a few of us ace people know about it and it can't be ruined by being overplayed on TV or the radio.
2. The Pipettes When I first heard a Pipettes song it was cheap, unpolished and all a bit indie but the promise was there and I kept an eye on them as their singles gradually improved until this week they released their most amazing single yet and undoubtedly one of the singles of the year, Pull Shapes. If this song doesn't make you smile and sing and dance and want to join the Pipettes, there must be something wrong with you. The Pipettes are here to save the souls of boring indie kids across the UK, while proving that us pop kids had the right idea all along.
1. Bodies Without Organs As much as I love all the other acts in this top 10, 2006 so far has definitely been the year of BWO as they've released both the best album and single of the year and generally amazed me with their absolute aceness. Not everyone quite gets this band but those who do understand how special they are - there is no-one else like them and no other music can make me feel quite as fantastic as theirs. I don't need to promote BWO because I know people will either love or hate them, and even some people with great taste have trouble understanding my love for this band, but to me they are so fab and exciting that I just can't help going on about them all the time! Marina is the coolest lady in pop, Martin is the ultimate 21st century pop star and Alexander is just simply the acest man on the planet. They could be heroes? They already are!
Alesha - Lipstick This is of course Alesha Dixon from Mis-Teeq and her first single received its radio premiere this afternoon (there's also a clip here) but I have to say I'm a little bit disappointed. It's catchy but it's nothing compared to Scandalous, the obvious height of Mis-teeq's career, and there's no rap which just isn't right for Alesha's debut single - it's incomplete! In related news, if you want some hilarity you must visit the MySpace of Alesha's hippy mum! 83% Poptastic!
Robbie Williams - Rudebox Thanks to Karinski for pointing out this song on a recent Radio 1 dance show (click here and go 40 mins in to hear it). This seems to be a remix and they've carefully chosen one that doesn't have much of Robbie's voice in it, but you can still recognise it quite easily, especially if you know it's him. It's quite cool sounding, and wouldn't be out of place on a Freeform Five CD for example, but it's nowhere near as good as their songs, some of which would actually make great singles for Robbie. Anu Pillai, if you or someone who knows you are reading, I order you to contact Robbie right now and save this project before it goes rubbish and no-one ever 'goes dance' ever again! 74% Poptastic!
Betty Curse - God That Hurts This whole thing reeks of trying too hard. I thought about a year ago that a goth-rock lady singer could do really well, but the closest we got was Kelly Clarkson having a bit of a wail on Behind These Hazel Eyes, and now someone's finally having a go it is not only too late but too rubbish. The song has no catchy pop hook to it, yet neither is it actually cool. I don't care about whether pop acts are fake or authentic, but trying so desperately to be cool and in the process forgetting to make a good quality song is just never going to work. 32% Poptastic!
Last night I went to see The Pipettes in concert at King's College Student's Union in London, and it turned out to be every bit as ace as you'd expect. The night didn't start too well - I was fashionably late and still had to wait nearly 2 hours and through 2 awful support acts (why do pop bands get rock bands supporting them? It's stupid!) until the Pipettes arrived, and it was extremely hot in there but as soon as The Pipettes took to the stage all annoyance was forgotten.
I can't remember the exact setlist but they did most of the songs from the album as well as Pull Shapes b-sides Really That Bad and Guess Who Ran Off With The Milkman? (which you can hear here) and for the encore, the notorious I Like A Boy in Uniform (School Uniform). It's impossible to pick a highlight because, as anyone who's heard the Pipettes album will know, every song they do is brilliant.
The girls took it in turns to sing lead vocals and stand in the middle on stage, and Gwenno and Rose both played the keyboard during various songs. My favourite member is definitely Gwenno, who is by far the most fun and bouncy Pipette and her style and singing is fab. Rose was really good on her solo song Sex and Becki was pretty good but distractingly looks just like Liz from Atomic Kitten. There was also a backing band of boys who I believe are known as The Cassettes and all wore matching sleeveless jumpers in a preppy American high school style.
Making it all the more exciting was after the gig when I got in what I thought was the queue for the lift and then found I was queueing to meet The Pipettes! They were signing everyone's tickets and I had the chance to thank acetastic Gwenno for a fantastic gig and for making "proper pop with dance routines and everything!" Overall it was a throughly enjoyable experience and now I cannot wait to buy their new single (Pull Shapes out this week!!!) which apparently has instructions to do the dance moves, just like pop singles did in the olden days (well, the 90s), and the album which comes out in 2 weeks! The Pipettes are definitely the most exciting UK band of 2006, the coolest and by far the most fun.
Marco Borsato - Rood I posted this song on Into The Groove recently but now I've found the video I think it needs another outing. This is such a fun song and being in Dutch just makes it all the more silly and surreal! And it's not just a novelty, it's really great pop as well, especially the dancier bits as the song goes on.
V - Boyband Medley V were ther perfect boyband - a bunch of good looking young boys who could sing and dance well and had actual personality as well as a variety of ace songs. And best of all they didn't shrug off the boyband tag, they revelled in it, never more so than when they recorded this boyband medley (starring 5ive, BSBs and Take That).
Camera Obscura - Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken Another song posted on ITG this week, but the video is even better than the song and needs to be shared! It's a funny mix of the shy-seeming lead singer and the crazy funness of the video but it works and fits the fab song perfectly. This video manages to combine Japan and musicals, and even Gwen Stefani hasn't managed that!
Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man Here's the brand new video by Miss Aguilera and her song that I now completely understand the release of, although by the time I started loving it it had already begun being played far too much so I hope I don't hate it again by the time it's actually released. She looks OK in the video (for her) and it's good fun in a kind of Moulin Rouge way with some 60s/70s style mixed in for some reason.
Guillemots - Made Up Love Song #43 This band have some seriously dreary songs, but also some acetastic ones and luckily they're releasing the best one of all, and this is their performance on TOTP, one of the last episodes ever - if they'd left it any later to release this song they would never have made it onto the show!
And now the top 5...
5. Paris Hilton - Stars Are Blind 4. Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man 3. Lily Allen - Smile 2. Madonna - Get Together
1. Pipettes - Pull Shapes And here for the last time in DP:UK is the video for Pull Shapes, because I am now going to retire this song from the chart and let someone else have a go at being no.1. In other Pipettes news, I'm going to see them live this week (YAY!) and Pull Shapes the single is out on Monday to buy in all good record shops (so probably not Woolies). Don't forget to buy it and make this the huge summer hit it's supposed to be, even if it's not been on the radio or TV at all unless I've missed it every time. We're relying on their greatness to bring justice to the Pipettes!