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Who needs guitars anyway?


Best Bits
Friday, March 31, 2006

Top of the Poptastic!

Another month has passed so it's time to count down the best songs of March, including tracks from some of my all time favourite pop acts and some of the greatest pop songs of the past year, finally getting a UK release. I've put by each one where they're being released, just for your interest and then you can research them if they sound interesting.

1. BWO - Temple Of Love (Sweden)
2. Will Young - Who Am I (UK)
3. Infernal - From Paris To Berlin (UK)
4. The Veronicas - When It All Falls Apart (Australia)
5. September - It Doesn't Matter (Russia)
6. Delays - Hideaway (UK)
7. Najoua Belyzel - Gabriel (France)
8. Gwen Stefani - Crash (USA)
9. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy (UK)
10. September - Flowers On The Grave (Sweden)
11. Snow Patrol - You're All I Have (UK)
12. Nerina Pallot - Everybody's Gone To War (UK)
13. t.A.T.u - Gomenasai (Europe)
14. Natasha Thomas - Skin Deep (UK)
15. Lorraine - I Feel It (UK)
16. Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean - Hips Don't Lie (Everywhere)
17. The Pipettes - Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me (UK)
18. Nouvelle Vague - I Melt With You (UK)
19. Cardigans - Don't Blame Your Daughter (Sweden, UK)
20. Da Buzz - Last Goodbye (Sweden)

Other things that are good:
Junior Senior - Can I Get Get Get, Gina G - Tonight's The Night, Jewel - Again & Again, Belle & Sebastian - The Blues Are Always Blue, Jim Noir - My Patch, Juanes - La Camisa Negra, the Kooks - Naive, Tahiti 80 - Big Day, Franz Ferdinand - The Fallen and Hard-Fi - Better Do Better

Now let's see how this affects my overall '06 chart:

1. BWO - Temple Of Love
2. Will Young – Who Am I
3. Delays – Valentine
4. Rihanna - S.O.S (Rescue Me)
5. Kate Ryan - Je t'adore
6. Infernal - From Paris To Berlin
7. Will Young - All Time Love
8. The Veronicas - When It All Falls Apart
9. September - It Doesn't Matter
10. Fefe Dobson - As A Blonde
11. Protocol - Where's The Pleasure
12. Morningwood - Nth Degree
13. Delays - Hideaway
14. The Veronicas - Everything I'm Not
15. Najoua Belyzel - Gabriel
16. Elisa – Swan
17. The Research - Lonely Hearts Still Beat The Same
18. All American Rejects - Move Along
19. Gwen Stefani - Crash
20. Marie Serneholt - That's The Way My Heart Goes
Thursday, March 30, 2006

If I was invisible... wait! I already am...

If you have music channels make sure you look out for the new Shayne Ward video. It starts off incredibly dull, yet suddenly at approximately 2/3 of the way through it gets rather hilarious. The girl who plays Shayne's love interest in the video is moving slowly towards him then suddenly he vanishes and is replaced by... his own grave! After a quick mourning session, everything is OK again as Shayne has apparently risen from the dead and they go off dancing!
Monday, March 27, 2006

A Present For Everyone

Here is a very special treat for you all! You may remember last year I produced an e-zine (I'm guessing that's what you call a fanzine on the Internet) called Poptastisk, and now I have the follow up, Poptastisk issue 2!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD!

Highlights include interviews with Alexis Strum and Helen Love, reviews of Darin, the Veronicas and September, features on online pop radio stations and Dutch music, and loads more. I've made it into a PDF file so you can print it off if you want to. Thanks also go to Adrian for his help.

OMG!

Infernal! On RADIO 1!! And they didn't say it was a new song or anything like that, so they must have played it a few times before. Maybe it won't be a complete flop after all! Infernal today, September tomorrow, BWO will be worldwide superstars by the end of the week.

Edit: they did call it "the gayest record in the world today", but the last time they went on about a song being gay was the Inaya Day one which did really well in the end.
Sunday, March 26, 2006

Where Are They Now?

No longer do we have to wonder what happened to our pop idols of yore - we can just look them up on Myspace!

Celena Cherry (the Honeyz)
The Honeyz were a mixed-race r'n'b girl group from the late 90s/early 00s who released several sweet, poppy r'n'b tracks. Their biggest hits included Finally Found (my personal fave), End Of The Line and Won't Take It Lying Down. They were last seen on last year's Hit Me Baby One More Time programme, but Celena's last UK release was as part of a duo whose name I've forgotten, but I think the song was garage-pop, a bit like Mis-teeq. Celena has some solo songs up on Myspace, including a pretty good catchy r'n'b-pop song called Gave You My Love. The other tracks are a dull ballad called Grass Ain't Greener and a more feisty track named Conscience Calling which you'll probably like if you liked Won't Take It Lying Down.

Trevor Pennick (O-Town)
O-Town were the boyband created by ex-BSBs/*N Sync manager Lou Pearlman on the reality show Making The Band. They released 2 albums and split up a couple of years ago. The cute blonde one with the ridiculous name, Ashley Parker Angel, currently has a reality show on in America and will soon release his solo material which is a rock/pop style. Trevor was one of the least interesting members of the band and is so far unsigned, but he has made a nice 90s-esque ballad called Hold On. Sadly his other songs are not so good, but they are at least better than the pretentious indie dullness created by my once fave O-towner, Dan Miller.

Steve Balsamo
Steve was a solo singer tipped for success in the early 00s but, although a few of you may remember his song Sugar For The Soul, he never made an impression on anyone (except for someone in the Idol franchise, since he's written songs for Antony Callea and Jonatan Cerrada)... until now, when his new band the (terribly ungrammatical) Storys have been plucked from obscurity by Elton John who has chosen them to support him on his current tour. Sadly their songs are just as dull as Steve's, although there is one good one called Cinnamon.
Saturday, March 25, 2006

New Kids On The Blog

2006 so far has been very good for blogging. While my all-time faves like Catchy Tunes of Sweden, Enthusiastic But Mediocre, Contact, Poptext and Girls On Pop have continued to provide us with ace tunes (and that Into The Groove isn't bad either!), there have also been some new kids on the blog giving them a run for their poptastic status! Here are some of my personal favourites:

Tip Top Pop
Run by "Splitchick" from the PJ boards, this blog has so far given us an extremely thorough nostalgia trip through the work of Swedish super-producer Max Martin, including loads of remixes I'd never heard before and some great songs I'd forgotten all about. The only bad point so far is her admission that she likes Clay Aitken! It's also brilliant to have another young female on the pop MP3 blogging scene, as she, I and Abby from Poptext are the only ones I know of.

#1 Hits From Another Planet
A lot of mp3 blogs post rare songs and forgotten gems, but a lot of the time those songs are rare or forgotten for a reason. However, #1 Hits... manages to find songs which are both little known and excellent. I have been introduced to several great bands through this site already (The Lovemakers and The Callahan being 2 particular favourites) and always enjoy reading the posts.

Don't Stop The Pop
One of the most prolific mp3 blogs is this one, which has several new posts every time I visit it. They again focus more on rare tracks, and although a few are the sort that are rare for a reason, they have come up with some gems too and reminded me of a few forgotten favourites, such as the recent post of Someday I'll Find You by Shola Ama, an amazing ballad which I taped off the chart when it came out and listened to non-stop for weeks!
Friday, March 24, 2006

Here's One Will Made Earlier

Well, someone had to say it! If you pop over to Popjustice right now you can see the new video for Will Young's very lovely single Who Am I.
Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Pop On The Block

Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
This is a great song to hear on the radio, always cheers me up when it's on (and it's on more and more at the moment) so I'm glad it's starting to do really well. It's funny how people seem to love these new songs that sound like old ones at the moment. Many acts try to create songs which sound like old classics and many fail because they're just not classy enough - you have to be very careful when modernising not to spoil it, but this works perfectly. I'm not sure if the vocals on this are actually from an old song, but it sounds like a song which should be an all-time classic. All I know about the song is that it's the brainchild of Dangermouse, known most recently for working with Gorillaz.
93% Poptastic!

Temposhark - Joy
This song starts off well but gets a bit tedious as it goes on. They look fab and have worked with some very cool people, they were even compared by Arjan Writes to my all-time pop hero Darren Hayes, yet something just isn't working for me. I should like them and I want to, but it just feels like too much effort. I do like their song Blame on Myspace much more though, there's something almost Swedish-sounding about it. Fans of the Ark might like them and there are occasions where his pronunciation reminds me of Martin Rolinski - if you like the darker songs on Prototype (although they are even sillier than their happy songs) you should definitely give Blame a listen, and maybe Joy too.
56% Poptastic!

Trivium - Dying Words
My sister loves this band, so I thought I'd be nice and give their new song a chance when it came on Radio 1 today, but as any of you who've heard a Trivium song before will be able to guess, my patient open-mindedness did not last long and my finger was on the off button within seconds. Open-mindedness can only stretch so far until it becomes stupidity.
5% Poptastic!
Sunday, March 19, 2006

Melodifestivalen: The Final

Being a complete idiot, I have already found out the results of Melodifestivalen but I'm watching it now for the first time and I'll pretend not to know to keep up the suspense. You can too by clicking here!

The show begins with the Eurovision music and as usual when I hear I'm instantly full of glee. Then they show some pictures of Stockholm, which gets me even more excited recognising places and, erm, bus shelters! Fianlly there are the actual MF titles (such a pretty logo) and we can see inside the Globen theatre where it's held. It looks like Wembley arena, a sea of dark blue people with many waving little yellow lights and balloons of every colour.

Then Lena Philipsson, the presenter of MF this year, appears amid them throwing her hands in the air and squealing what sounds like "toodalooo!" No Lena, we don't want to say goodbye yet, we've only just started! The crowd goes insane and Lena parades up to the stage in a jolly pink dress followed by a number of security guys who stand around the edges of the stage to either prevent the audience jumping up to join her or, more likely, Lena getting so excited she falls right off.

She chats for a bit, then it's time for a song. As she sings about each contestant a large picture of them appears on stage. I am going to be singing "bee-vee-ooh" (BWO in Swedish) to the tune of Waterloo for the rest of my life! Although I could understand very little of the song I'm quite certain it was fantastisk. Then she gets on with her chatting until... a streaker comes on stage! Lena seemed rather worried and not very amused as I would have expected so perhaps it was planned? I'm not sure - any Swedish readers please let me know.

Finally it's time for the first song and it's...

Andreas Johnson - Sing For Me
I learn that Johnson is pronounced "yoonsonn" in Swedish so I will be calling my relatives who share that name "the yoonsonns" from now on. He looks a bit fat and his blue suit is really boring but this is a very catchy song. Towards the end he walks through the audience to another small stage. He sings well and overall it's a perfect performance.

Two guys from SVT Sport appear in what is obviously a hilarious joke (although one used every week on TOTP Saturday) with lots of sports/music metaphors. Next song please!

Bjorn Kjellvan - Älskar du livet
Bjoring Bjorn is back only a week after we last had to put up with him. The song begins with extremely disturbing video footage of Bjorn looking like a phantom circus leader or alernatively the child catcher. Run away! Run away! The song sounds like something from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang too. Well, the Swedish version. There's even an accordion! The whole thing resembles a very scary dream I once had and certainly wasn't hoping to relive.

Linda Bengtzing - Jag ljuger så bra
At last it's time for lovely Linda! Her song last year was my favourite (joint with Alcazar & Pay TV) so I had high expectations for this one and I do like it a lot, although not as much as Alla Flickor. This is exactly how a Melodifestivalen performance should sound and look. She has 3 Bucks Fizz-esque costume changes with her dress getting shorter and shorter until you can see her knickers. She now looks like a younger version of Lena Ph, so she clearly has years of aceness still ahead of her.

The Poodles - Night Of Passion
This is the 80s-style rock band, obviously chosen in the hope of recreating the success of Wigwam - by which I mean last year's Norwegian Eurovision entry as opposed to the new group of Betty Boo. The problem is, they're not as good or as mad as either Wigwam and this joke is so unfunny now.

Magnus Carlsson - Lev Livet
I like this song a lot and being a huge fan of Alcazar I have to support Magnus but I do think he's lost a lot of his sparkle without the others around him just being ace. The string dance is back, channeling Rachel Stevens and Elena Paparizou. He's still a great performer, beating all the other solo blokes undoubtedly. Hopefully this will lead to a great solo career for him - and even if it doesn't it's good news cos it means Alcazar might reform!

Rednex - Mama Take Me Home
Certainly the most thoroughly thought through stage set-up of the night so far - they've made it into a cosy barn/house with bales of hay and even a washing line with clothes on it behind them. The song begins with a talky bit between the boys, then the girl arrives singing and dancing in a dress that looks more Tarzan than country, but the tassles do the job well enough. The chorus is great but it says a lot that the best bit of this song is when they sing a bit of Cotton Eye Joe, and I was rather cross when it didn't appear in the live performance (I guess lyrics of old songs aren't allowed in Eurovision, or everyone would be inserting a bit of Waterloo). I loved that song when it was first released and had no idea it was Swedish - now I know why I loved it.

Carola - Evighet
Now it's time for the lady no-one can confidently expect to beat. She's won Eurovision once and another time came 3rd - she is the biggest Swedish Eurovision legend after ABBA, and since they're not likely to reform at the moment Carola is the biggest they can get. It's a very good song but Carola annoys me, not least because she leaves the competition so closed, so I can only half support her.

Magnus Bäcklund - The Name Of Love
The beginning of this performance made me laugh because the lighting made Magnus look like he was covered in mud. That's an interesting take on the song, I thought - in the name of love, I cover myself in mud... it almost rhymes too! He mixes two styles popular in Eurovision, the dreary ballad and the ethnic backing music. It's better than many of the male-sung ballads of MF this year but it's nothing compared to Magnus' last appearance at Eurovision with his band Fame and the acetastic song Give Me Your Love. Someone needs to go back to pop, please! The funny thing is though, I could really imagine this doing well at Eurovision.

Kikki Danielsson - Idag & imorgon
I realise now who she reminds me of - Cilla from Coronation Street! This does not bode well for her. Her tent-like outfit would fit in better in Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. The song is not awful, just average, and I'm too impatient for the next act to have any interest in it.

BWO - Temple Of Love
And now, the very very very exciting moment! My favourite new band of this century so far, it's BWO!!!! Martin dances like no-one else I've ever seen, Alexander looks like no-one else I've ever seen and Marina is just the most glamorous and fabuluous woman on the planet, not to mention the luckiest. There may be no more Smash Hits or Popworld, the Spice Girls can get old and Will Young can take drugs - while BWO exist I still have faith in humanity, because they represent everything that is ace in the world all bundled up into one band, and that performance made everything else I've seen this morning utterly pointless.

Now we have a rundown of all the performers and the phonelines. Vote BWO everyone! Nice to see that idiots who jump up and shake their fists when the camera goes around to them are a universal plague, not just a British embarrassment as all the complaining about football hooligans would suggest. A guy from the orchestra is interviewed and he looks like an even more deranged version of James Blunt - but even he is not as scary as Bjorn Kjellvan!

Next up is what was the most exciting moment of our Making Your Mind Up show - a performance by Elena Paparizou. It must be one of the best bits of winning Eurovision, getting to go around all the different countries' Euro selection shows, even if she does always have to perform the same song. Please let her sing Mambo on the actual Eurovision interval, that will be amazing. I like to imagine that Elena lives on the same street as Lena Philipsson, Shirley Klamp and Carola, where they are the Swedish answer to desperate housewives. Kikki can be the nosy neighbour and Victoria Silvstedt can be Edie, because she reminds me of her so much. They really should make this programme, it would be great!

Now at last it's time for the scores from the jury. First up is Fredrik who gives scores from Orebro, a place I've never heard of. Linda gets a disappointing 1 point. Carola gets only 2 points!! The top marks go to Andreas, Magnus B and... BWO! 12 points! Now I think we should end the contest here and say they've won - all agreed? Yep. OK. Bye!

But sadly that's against the rules so we have to carry on. Martin grins like a loon while Alex gives a smile and a shrug as though to say "Well, what did you expect? We are the best!" It seems to be exactly the same guy giving points from a place called Lulea. Top points go to Carola, BWO and Andreas, a far less deserving winner. Somewhere called Falun only gives BWO 4 points! What a load of poo! Interestingly, I notice that points is said "pooing" in Swedish, which now seems appropriate. Top points to Magnus B, Andreas and Carola. Hmmph! Now Andreas is in the lead cos his points have been consistently in the top 3.

Why do Lena and Fredrik keep saying hello to each other as though he is a different person each time - we are not fooled that easily! Karlstad, the first place I recognise, gives BWO only 2 points! Remind me never to go there, they clearly hate fun. Top points go to Magnus B, Carola and Andreas, who know looks like he thinks he's won. Not so fast, mister! Umea gives BWO only 6 points. What is going on? They deserve twice that. Ten times that in fact, can't we break the rules for this special occasion? Top points go to Magnus B, Carola and Andreas again, who is now shaking people's hands!

Freddy is having a right old rant about something now. Shut up and get on with it! 8 for BWO from Norrkoping (add umlauts as appropriate) with top points going to Carola and Andreas. It's like World Idol again, when that guy Kurt Nilsen who looked smelly and had a single which sounded just like Glorious by Andreas won basically every vote. The top 3 now go Andreas, Carola, BWO.

Now time for Goteborg, where I went on holiday last year. I know for a fact they love BWO (I even saw them play live there, which was amazing) so they have to give them lots of points. They give Bjorn his very 1st points of the night - now only Kikki has nil points. The top 3 go to Andreas, BWO and Carola. Some improvement I suppose. Fredrik is now "in" Sundsvall, where it's snowy so he dons a fetching pink hat. This must be another area which dislikes fun since they give BWO only 6. Top points go to Rednex, Andreas and Carola, who is now catching up with Andreas.

Fredrik must be saying something funny since a girl in the audience is practically falling out of herseat with laughter. He literally won't shut up. Vaxjo give top points to Carola, BWO and Andreas. Malmo awards them to Carola, Andreas and... BWO!! Woohoo! Alex gives a cute little wave and the others clap happily, hoping all is not lost. At last it's time for Stockholm's results. Suddenly the stream goes green and upside down! Kikki at last gets 2 points. Top points go to Magnus Carlsson (yay!), Carola and BWO! Yay, I love you Stockholm!

Now there is 20 points between the top 3, but there is still the phone votes to count, which can make a big difference. The sports guys are back to announce that the phone lines are closed, and I notice they have the same ties in different colours. Lena asks Andreas a question to which he seems to respond "shit" - rather odd since he is winning so far. Then she speaks to Carola, the sports guys discuss a Melodifestivalen all-star team and then Lena sings one of her songs (I think) which is very good. I love her dancing!

And here is last year's winner, Martin Stenmarck. It still should have been Alcazar. At last, Lena announces the telephone votes. Magnus B gets 11 pooings. Linda gets 22. Rednex get 44. Poodles get 66. Andreas gets 88, which means he is very unlikely now to win. He looks understandably sad and I almost feel sorry for him. Almost... but not really! The next points define whether BWO or Carola wins. If I didn't know the result alreayd this would be the most nerve-wracking moment of my life so far. Actually it's quite scary even knowing. 110 pooings go to BWO - they have not won. The winner is Carola, with 132 pooings. Now we will never know how far BWO were from winning - if they had got more phone votes than Carola they would have won. How annoying! Still, Carola is not undeserving (better than Andreas at least), just not as deserving as BWO.

Carola runs on stage weilding a Greek flag. Now she is to sing her song in English. It's better but I'm sure at one point she sings "unvincible", which is definitely not a word! She switches back to Swedish half way through - I'm not sure whether she'll do the same at Athens or if she was just showcasing both versions at once so she sells lots of singles. The show ends with the sports guys dancing and Carola having lots of photos taken.

Goodbye my Swedish pals! Until next year!
Saturday, March 18, 2006

Videotastic

My fave videos on YouTube at the moment:




Melodi Club: The Final!

Tonight is the final of Melodifestivalen and I am unsurprisingly very excited. BWO have little chance against the almighty Carola but they have a better song and a much acer singer so I'll be optimistic anyway, plus on the official site BWO currently have more votes than Carola so it might be a closer call than expected! It's always an exciting event whoever wins, and whoever it is will certainly do Sweden proud in Athens. If you haven't been keeping up with the shows so far, you can watch all of the performances at www.melodifestivalen.se. Here are my top 5:

1. BWO - Temple Of Love
2. Magnus Carlsson (ex-Alcazar) - Lev Livet
3. Anna Sahlene - This Woman
4. Evan - Under Your Spell
5. Sandra Dahlberg - Jag tar det jag vill ha

Also great were Gunther, Sonya, Velvet and the two Jessicas.

The most exciting news of all is that tonight we can watch the show live from 10pm UK time, as it will be posted on www.svt.se after the show ends in Sweden.

Hit, Miss or Maybe

So often a band is either made or destroyed by their choice of single to release. Here are a few examples of the best and worst choices of 2006 so far:

Will Young - Who Am I
Although I'd heard that All Time Love was the big ballad of the Keep On album and to be the next single, when I first heard the CD it was this one I was immediately drawn to. There is something about it that's so human and gentle and authentically emotional. There's nothing pretentious about the lyrics, they are utterly simple and heartfelt, my favourite part being the glimmer of hope in "It just might be enough" towards the end - that one line really makes the song for me. I don't know if it will be hindered by the fact that most people who like Will will already have the album by the time this comes out, but I'm certain that it will sell loads more copies and hopefully get played loads on the radio.
My verdict: Excellent choice!

Delays - Hideaway
I bought this album last week and have been listening to it non-stop, growing to love almost every song, but on first listen it was only this song which really struck me apart from Valentine, the single which I was already obsessed with. Hideaway, which I think is still up for download on Into The Groove, is such a jolly poppy song it's amazing to think this band is generally grouped with indie acts. They may use guitars but they also have a really unique sound and the ability to make music that sounds as close as you can get to the musical equivalent of happiness, of which this is the best example. If you haven't been able to get into Lost In A Melody or Valentine, this may be your ticket to Delays fandom.
My verdict: Great choice!

Alexis Strum - It Could Be You
Sorry Alexis, if you're watching (Edit: I mean reading - I don't have my own TV show as far as I know), but I'm quite glad that this song has been pulled as your new single because I really don't think it's your best. It's nice and all that, but for me it doesn't grab my attention or leave me singing along like Bad Haircut did. I really think Alexis has been marketed in the wrong way - why hasn't she had the blanket-advertised album with singles to follow approach. It's worked for so many other singer-songwriters in the past few years, I think it's foolish not to use this tactic with Alexis. She's not the new Rachel Stevens, even if she did donate a song to her. Alexis is like KT Tunstall and Lucie Silvas and those sorts, yet much better and therefore sure to sell heaps if she was marketed like that. Someone give me a job in music marketing now so I can right this wrong!
My verdict: Not a good choice

The Subways - Rock & Roll Queen
Why re-release this when you could re-release one of the best rock songs of the past few years (i.e. Oh Yeah) instead?
My verdict: Pure insanity!
Thursday, March 16, 2006

At last!

Darren Hayes is releasing a DVD and you can see the trailer for it at www.darrenhayes.com - just click 'Latest Videos'. I really can't wait to see him live next month - as a live act he is simply unbeatable.
Saturday, March 11, 2006

Melodi Club: First Listen

This is the 4th week of Melodifestivalen rounds and the last time we'll hear new entries. Next week will be the Andra Chansen round, where the songs that came 3rd and 4th are performed again, resulting in the 2 most popular winning places in the final. Here are my thoughts on listening to each of this week's entries for the first time - as usual you can listen yourself at www.melodifestivalen.se

Roger Pontare - Silverland
This is horrible! I suppose it stands out, as does Roger who is well known among Eurovision fans for his general insanity. He has already won Melodifestivalen once and managed a fairly impressive 7th place in Eurovision 2000, but I really don't think he's going to be improving on that this year.

Laila Adele - Don't Try To Stop Me
This song is almost good but it just doesn't go anywhere and this faux-60s slightly Motown (but not of the ace Supremes kind) style is so over-done. Whoever thought this could win Eurovision knows nothing about music.

Gunther & the Sunshine Girls - Like Fire Tonight
You may know Gunther already from his minor hit 2 years ago in the UK, the Ding Dong Song. This song, like most of his, would be pretty good if he wasn't in it. The Sunshine Girls need to go solo!

Sandra Dahlberg - Jag tar det jag vill ha
Now this has got the oomph I was looking for! Sandra has a good voice and the song is energetic, sure to have a fun performance. Sandra, who turns 27 on Monday, found fame in Sweden's Fame Factory TV programme, entered Melodifestivalen 2004 and I think she is the girlfriend of the lovely Jimmy Jansson who was in the final last year.

Evan - Under Your Spell
Wow, this is good! Evan is a young male pop star who has had a few good songs, but he's outdone himself with this. The sound is quite BWO-esque, although not as good as them, but lets not be too ambitious - a very good effort and nice to hear a male entrant doing something disco-poppy as opposed to the ballads of past weeks.

Rednex - Mama Take Me Home
Yes, this is the same band who released Cotton Eye Joe! I loved that song in the 90s, but strangely they seem to have turned into the Cartoons since then and this is not a good thing - the song is really weird. The chorus is jolly and catchy, but it's nothing amazing. Also they seem to be living on past glories, inserting a bit of Cotton Eye Joe at the end, presumably hoping no-one will notice - too late!

Bjorn Kjellman - Älskar du livet
It seems that every week has to have an ageing guy singing a dull Swedish ballad and this week that 'honour' belongs to Bjorn.

Carola - Evighet
This lady is the one to watch - she's a huge star in Sweden because she won Eurovision for them in 1983 and again in 1991! This means she has a huge following and will definitely go through to the next round, regardless of her song. She is getting on a bit now but with her new Catherine Zeta Jones-esque look and a belter of a song, she has a new lease of life and as much as I want BWO to win, it won't be a travesty if she beats them. Coming 2nd to Carola would hardly be a failure.
Monday, March 06, 2006

New Pop On The Block

Shakira - Hips Don't Lie
Despite this song featuring Mr Rent-A-Rap himself (he's worked with Sarah Connor and Brian Harvey, to name but two), Wyclef Jean, I actually prefer it to Don't Bother. It's a return to the more Latino sound of her previous work, probably most comparable to that Obsession song off of Laundry Service. I'm glad she's back to catchy aceness.
84% Poptastic!

Journey South - First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Having been an avid viewer of the X Factor, I know that Journey South are two genuinely nice young men and pretty good at what they do, but even that can't disguise the fact that this is one of the dullest singles of the year so far. However, I'm sure their album will sell well - they just need to enjoy it while it lasts, I think.
45% Poptastic!

Protocol - Love Is My Drug
I absolutely loved their last single so I have high expectations for this. I have to say it's a bit too far on the rocky side for my liking, but it still beats Orson and The Feeling's latest singles and they both did very well for their type of music, so all hope is not lost.
81% Poptastic!

Videotastic

Here are my top 10 fave things on YouTube at the moment:




Saturday, March 04, 2006

Melodi Club: First Listen

Now I've calmed down I can review the rest of the Melodifestivalen songs!

Jessica Folcker - When Love's Comin' Back Again
This is a bit Celine Dion for my liking but it's catchy and likeable and Jessica has a good history in pop, from working with Max Martin and Bomfunk MCs to singing the theme tune of the Dutch show Starmaker which produced K-otic and Sita.

Gregor - Mi Amor
Unknown singer Gregor sings in Swedish despite his song title being in Spanish. It's absolutely terrible. The crown of best Latino single of Melodifestivalen 2006 remains firmly on Alexander's bald head.

Jessica Andersson - Kalla nätter
As part of Fame, Jessica entered Eurovision a few years ago with a fantastic song called Give Me Your Love. I don't think this is quite as good as that, but it's a jolly pop song - probably the best non-BWO song out of the ones I've heard so far.

The Poodles
Oh dear! Someone has obviously been inspired by Wigwam (the Norwegian rock group, not the ace new band of Betty Boo) and this is even worse than their entry of last year. One novelty rock band is enough for one decade of Eurovision, thanks very much.

Elysion - Golden Star
Blimey! Opera on Melodifestivalen? It sounds most like that song from Phantom of the Opera actually. I always hated that song, and I can't stand this one either. Luckily I don't think it's much of a challenge for our Organless idols.

Patrick Isaksson - Faller du så faller jag
There are always a few successful older guys in Melodifestivalen, harnessing the mums and grans' votes. Patrick will be popular with that demographic, but this ballad is far too dull to get anywhere. Then again, I thought the same of the Norwegian MGP winner and everyone else loves it!

Kayo - Innan natten är över
This is another jolly upbeat song but there's nothing original about it, and it's distinctly lacking in oomph, which is in my opinion the one thing most necessary for a Eurovision entry. This just wouldn't cut it in Greece.

YIPPEE!

Go to www.melodifestivalen.se ASAP so you can hear the most amazing thing ever - BWO's new single! In a competition absolutely full of faux-Latino entries, BWO outdo them all by a million miles. It is an absolute triumph - one of the purest pop songs ever. My face hurts from grinning throughout the entire song and already the nonsensical "We are ONCE! LOVE!" is jammed in my brain for ever more. I love this band TOO MUCH!

Top 10 Best Rock Songs Ever

Since I apparently have such good taste in rock music, here are the top 10 best rock songs ever according to me:

1. Head Automatica - Beating Heart Baby
I may not be the biggest rock fan but rock is a huge genre so to be my favourite rock song of all time is still pretty impressive. Head Automatica are actually a side project of the singer (who resembles Jake Gyllenhaal's rebellious older brother) from another much harder rock band called Glassjaw, but the synth-loving offshoot are far superior. None of their other songs are anywhere near the might of this one, but who needs any more good songs when you have one like this? It also has one of the best performance videos I've ever seen. (Video)

2. Within Temptation - Running Up That Hill
This Dutch goth-pop act have made many great songs, but I've forced myself to only pick one and there was no way I couldn't pick this, the Kate Bush cover that made me love both Within Temptation and Kate Bush a million times more than I already did. Other great songs include Stand My Ground and Memories. (Video)

3. All American Rejects - Move Along
This is of course a brand new single and I've only liked it for about 2 weeks, so hopefully I won't come to regret giving it such a high placing. This song just has a great catchy melody and the singer is quite good looking as well. When AAR first released a single in the UK they were compared to Busted. That song, Swing Swing, was OK, but this is miles better. (Video)

4. Subways - Oh Yeah
This time last year I loved this song and now they're making a comeback of sorts with a re-release of the follow-up single Rock & Roll Queen and a recent appearance on The OC. I'm not sure whether they'll ever get really big, but I'll take them over Arctic Monkeys any day. (Video)

5. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
Well, everyone knows this one but it was the first track I heard by the Kaisers (like the Delays and the Sugababes, the first time I heard of them was when they entered the charts) and for months afterwards it was the only song of theirs I'd heard, so I listened to it a lot while waiting to hear what else they had and whether it would be any good. Of course it was good, but now it's become so over-played my enthusiasm has really run out. (the original much acer video)

6. Lacuna Coil - Swamped
This lot certainly fulfil the scary quota necessary for true rock music, but they also fulfil the aceness quota which is slightly less prevailent. They're Italian if I remember correctly, but they're quite comparable to Within Temptation or their less ace cousins Nightwish. This song is absolutely anthemic and with the inclusion of weirdo bloke it's not lacking in comedy either! (Video)

7. Lifehouse - Hanging By A Moment
This was a small hit in the UK a few years ago but it seemed to be much bigger in Denmark where I went on holiday around the time of it's release. I was quite obsessed with the song and even bought the single - admittedly it was in the bargain bin in Virgin Megastore about 2 years later, but I bought it and that's what counts! Sadly they have since lost some members to the Calling and become rubbish, but they're still popular in America. (Video)

8. Franz Ferdinand - Michael
I'm not a devoted fan of the Franz, but I've liked several of their songs and I loved this one. Anyone who brings gay undertones to the super-straight land of rock music deserves a round of applause. I've been pretty disappointed by what I've heard of the new Franz album, although the video for new single The Fallen is very good and I don't mind Do You Want To. (Video)

9. Nu Pagadi - Sweetest Poison
I love Nu Pagadi because they arrived on the German music scene in a way that every other rock band would snarl at - they were the winners of a German Popstars programme. The German verses of this song make it sound extra-scary while the English chorus means we can all sing along. (Video)

10. American Hi-Fi - Flavor Of The Weak
I shouldn't like this song because it sounds like so many terrible ones, but I really do! It was released at the time when nu-metal and pop-punk were all the rage, but it didn't get the success it deserved, much more than the bands who did have hits at least. The video also seems to have inspired the Backstreet Boys! Busted wished they had a song as good as this. (Video)

Rocktastic!
Friday, March 03, 2006

New Pop On The Block

Shayne Ward - No Promises
I posted the original version of this song on Into The Groove a couple of weeks ago, and here at last is Shayne's version. It's a ballad, I suppose you could call it Westlife-y but it's a bit better than that suggests. The original sounds quite similar to If You're Not The One, but this version doesn't so much. Shayne has a quite similar voice to Bryan Rice, who sang it first and I think wrote it, but the arrangement of the song has changed. It's less powerful entering the chorus and loses some of the sleekness of the original, but gains poptasticness as it's faster
with an added poppy beat. It is to Bryan's version what Rachel's Nothing Good About This Goodbye was to Alexis Strum's. I think Darin would be quite happy to release this (it's better than most of his ballads), so I shall allow it from Shayne, as long as his next song is the aceness he needs - and I deserve for attempting to support him against the masses!
76% Poptastic!

Lorraine - I Feel It
There's been a lot of hype from Popjustice and other sites about this band, and although I do like their new single a lot, I'm not sure it quite deserves that extent of praise. Still, they're Norwegian and that's always something worth getting excited about. They are also influenced by the Pet Shop Boys - an undeniable positive. There is absolutely nothing to dislike about them, I just don't feel like running down the street shouting about them quite yet. However, I'm quite happy for them to change my mind!
80% Poptastic!



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