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
Best songs of June (and where they're being released):
1. Andreas Lundstedt - Love Gun (Sweden) 2. Camera Obscura - Lloyd Im Ready To Be Heartbroken (UK) 3. Pet Shop Boys - Minimal (UK) 4. Lily Allen - Smile (UK) 5. Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man (USA) 6. Cascada - Everytime We Touch (UK) 7. The Modern - Seven Oceans (UK) 8. Guillemots - Made Up Lovesong #43 (UK) 9. Madonna - Get Together (UK) 10. All American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret (UK) 11. James Morisson - You Give Me Something (UK) 12. Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars (UK) 13. Infernal - Ten Miles (Denmark) 14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Turn Into (UK) 15. Paris Hilton - Stars Are Blind (USA) 16. Lilyjets - Don't Let It Go To Your Head (Norway) 17. Gnarls Barkley - Smiley Faces (UK) 18. Webb Sisters - I Still Hear It (UK) 19. Justice vs. Simian - We Are Your Friends (UK) 20. Long Blondes - Weekend Without Make-Up (UK)
And my chart of the year so far:
1. BWO - Temple Of Love 2. Pipettes - Pullshapes 3. Will Young – Who Am I 4. Delays – Valentine 5. Rihanna - S.O.S (Rescue Me) 6. Kate Ryan - Je t'adore 7. Infernal - From Paris To Berlin 8. Andreas Lundstedt - Love Gun 9. Najoua Belyzel - Gabriel 10. Will Young - All Time Love 11. Camera Obscura - Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken 12. Lillix - Sweet Temptation 13. Fefe Dobson - As A Blonde 14. The Veronicas - When It All Falls Apart 15. Morningwood - Nth Degree 16. BWO – We Could Be Heroes 17. September - It Doesn't Matter 18. The Veronicas - Everything I'm Not 19. Delays - Hideaway 20. Protocol - Where's The Pleasure
One of the Backstreet Boys has left! But don't worry too much, it's only Kevin. He must be so old by now (he's like a decade older than Nick or something) it was probably his doctor advising him to keep away from flashing lights and manic dancing, which kind of rules out touring or making any good videos. I just hope this isn't the beginning of the end for them. I mean, I don't really know how likely it is that the others will want to continue since they've been a band for so long, but their last album was successful (particularly in Asia and Europe) and so was their tour which I went to and it was brilliant. So hopefully it's not the end, but if it is they've at least had a very very good run.
Recently I noticed that there is not a really good forum that is devoted simply to Europop. The subject is frequently discussed in such places as Popjustice and Poptimists, but there's no single place you can go to find the best new artists. So, I've taken the liberty of setting one up!
This is not a forum for general discussion about pop, and if you want to talk about UK, US, Australian acts etc. you'll have to go elsewhere. This forum is about sharing the great pop that can be found in Europe, particularly the acts who aren't known in the UK. So, please join and get chatting cos it's looking a bit empty at the moment! And I apologise for the girliness of it at the moment, I'll make it a bit more unisex when I have more time.
I thought this would make an interesting poll. Please remember to choose the ones you think would be successful and NOT just the ones you like best. I'm asking you in your capacity as pop experts, not necessarily people with good taste. Think success!
The Reynolds Girls - I'd Rather Jack This song is often said to be one of the worst Stock, Aitken & Waterman have made (although when you think of their more recent projects, such as OTV and the Fast Food Rockers, even its biggest critics would change their mind) but it's actually a seriously brilliant song - probably my favourite of the SAW projects. Not only is it super-catchy but the lyrics are just what I'd say if I could release a song: "Golden oldies, Rolling Stones, we don't want them back" and "No heavy metal, Rock 'N' Roll, music from the past" and "Who needs Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, That's not our music, it's out of date" - it's telling those boring old folk to stop making us listen to rubbish old stuff that is irrelevant to music today. Why should we hark back to "music from the past"? This is 2006, we have invented all sorts of technology and fabulous clothes and dance routines and video/stage effects, so isn't it a bit of a waste if we don't use them? As usual, the old people are jealous and don't want us to have any fun! The most ironic thing is, when I looked up the lyrics of this song it was filed under 'golden oldies', so I guess we kind of DO want them back, just the good ones and not the poo!
James Morrison - You Give Me Something (live performance) This guy has already been on Jools Holland and his radio and video plays are increasing every day, but most importantly, he looks a bit like James Blunt, so stardom is almost certain. He's one of many pretenders to the Blunt 'throne', others including the young Scot, Paolo Nutini (who happens to be on the radio right now as I just turned it on a second after writing his name!) and the brain-melting female version Sandi Thom, but this James has a great voice and some really nice songs (especially soulful yet catchy Wonderful World), so I'm hoping he does well when his music gets released. In fact I see him more as a UK equivalent to Gavin Degraw - I just hope he's a bit more successful here than Gavin was!
Billie - She Wants You In the good old days when no-one except readers of pop magazines knew her surname, Billie (Piper, obviously) released this ace single. The video must have cost about 10p, but the song is extremely catchy and shows that there was more to Billie than Chris Evans and Because We Want To, long before you could buy plastic doll versions of her in Forbidden Planet. Pop stars' lives take strange turns sometimes, and no-one watching this video when it was first released would ever have guessed what would happen to Billie in the future, although I do remember being quite sad when I read an early interview saying she really wanted to do acting. She's got her wish but hopefully she will one day return to make some more pop music as ace as this!
Robyn interview Here's an interview from around the time of Be Mine's release, and it's one of the few I've ever seen in English. It can be an advantage not being able to watch interviews with foreign stars, cos it means you really do love them for their music and can't be put off if they're really annoying in real life, but when you know there's no way someone could be anything but fantastic in real life (e.g. Robyn!) then it's a real shame that we can't hear her thoughts more often. I so need to learn Swedish!
Pet Shop Boys - Minimal Now a special treat for PSBs fans - here's their new video which only went on music channels yesterday. I was going to write that it's quite minimalistic, then I realised that's probably the point, but don't read that as boring - there's actually some lovely bits with flowers, people pretending to be letters, and a large amount of those long lightbuld you sometimes get in kitchens and bathrooms. This is my joint favourite on the PSBs' latest album Fundamental, the honour being shared with dramatically emotional ballad Numb and catchy anti-ID cards rant Integral.
Time for the DP:UK top 5...
5. Paris Hilton - Stars Are Blind 4. Pet Shop Boys - Minimal =2. Lily Allen - Smile =2. Madonna - Get Together
and at no.1 yet again it's...
Pipettes - Pullshapes! The Pipettes seem to be EVERYONE'S favourite band at the moment and deservedly so cos they are amazing! Here instead of the video cos that's already been posted, is a video from the past of one of the Pipettes, Gwen Saunders. She used to make kooky Welsh dance music and here's one of her singles (Môr Hud) and it's slightly brain-boggling but really quite ace video.
This week I have retired all the Eurovision songs, as it's now a month since the event and we need to move on to some new ace pop, so if you have any recommendations of new Europop we should be listening to, let me know.
Through reading this excellent article criticising Chantelle off Big Brother from Nietzsche's point of view, I have not only worked out what AQA meant by writing "The notion of ‘superiority’" in the A-level syllabus and possibly saving my whole academic career (it might come up as a question and now I know!), but also realised that Nietzsche (unwittingly) pointed out one of the biggest problems with the modern music industry.
Just as Big Brother voters look for someone they can identify with, and smugly jumped at the chance to bring down those wild and wacky and over-privileged (with the exception of Pete Burns, whose supreme wacky-ness must have made up for his lack of wealth and popularity before entering the house) celebs who Chantelle was pitted against, music-buyers have recently clung on to the romantic notions of 'organic' and 'authentic' and parted with their cash accordingly. While novelty records and some 'silly' sing-along songs have succeeded in breaking through this prejudice, this is only when media opinion leaders such as Radio 1 have condoned it, perhaps in the hope that if the public can get all their silliness out in these one-off singles, they'll them be able to move on to serious (except for the so bad it's not funny lyrics) and original (yet I still can't differentiate it from any others of the style) music like Razorlight and the Zutons.
Now, getting back to Nietzsche. The people who receive the harshest criticism in his book Beyond Good & Evil are what he calls 'the herd' - weak people who follow the rules and implicitly accept their low status. This of course is represented by those people who fall for every marketing trick in the book, and by that I don't mean performances on Popworld or even blanket-coverage TV adverts, but this repressive influence that says we should not be tricked by those naughty pop stars who don't write their own songs or play any instruments. After all, Razorlight spent years learning theirs and it may have not paid off in the slightest, but it would just be unfair to let a band who hadn't gone through all that pointless toil have a hit single!
Contrast what's popular now (Sandi Thom, the Kooks, Corinne Bailey Rae etc.) with the stars of the 80s, Pete Burns himself being an excellent example, and we see how celebration of people with something special and unique has been replaced with the celebration of ordinariness and simplicity (simple is certainly the word for Chantelle) which would have given Nietzsche enough annoyance to write a whole other book on the subject! The obvious reasoning behind this is to make the ordinary people feel like they could be that famous, which is sort of good in that it inspires them to 'be more', but as the K-punk website pointed out, is being a Big Brother contestant really what young people should be aspiring to? If that's the height of achievement, that means all the truly great achievements are off-limits to the type of people who aspire to be like Chantelle and co.
There is also the point that celebrities being 'normal' people who the public can identify with makes the public feel like those people aren't superior to them, which in fact kind of correlates with Nietzsche's view that some people are naturally superior to others, but unlike Nietzsche the modern media don't point this out, because it would of course be rather alienating to their audience to tell them other people are better than them (although they still do this with every pretty face they publish). The degrading of celebrities who are badly dressed or too thin/fat occurs in magazines etc. for the very same reason.
So it seems I have found another point to add to my "Nietzsche would be a pop fan" list. I shall end by quoting the conclusion of K-punk's great article, which is just as fitting for this post:
"We once turned to popular culture because it produced fantasy objects; now, we are asked to 'identify with' the fantasising subject itself. It was entirely appropriate that, the week after Chantelle won Celebrity Big Brother, Smash Hits should have announced its imminent closure.
Smash Hits began just as the Glam continuum was winding down. What Smash Hits took from punk was its least Nietzschean affect, namely its 'irreverence'. In the case of Smash Hits, this amounted to a compulsory trivialization coupled with a kind of good-humoured debunking of the pretensions of Stardom. Behind Smash Hits' silly surrealism was good solid commonsense and a conflicted desire, to both have your idols and kill them. Heat was Smash Hits' successor and what rendered it obsolete. No need to bother with the (Pop) pretext now you can consume celebrity directly, untroubled by Pop's embarrassing Dreams. Chantelle is the logical conclusion of the process: the anti-Pop anti-Idol."
Just as Christianity and its herd morality, according to Nietzsche, was anti-life, Chantelle and her fellow '(wo)men of the people' are anti-pop. Depressing! But go and tell your friends the gospel of Alexander Bard, and you can do your part in changing it. If we're all going to be equal, can we at least be equally great instead of equally rubbish?
Madonna - Get Together I really like this new video, because for once she doesn't look like someone's mum dressed as their daughter and it reminds me of that Daft Punk video, which is fitting for the song. It's actually made me want to listen to Confessions On A Dancefloor again which I haven't for ages.
Johnny Boy - You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes If you haven't heard this before I'm sure you'll be rushing to after reading it's ace title, and I don't think you'll be disappointed. Johnny Boy are a pretty good band with quite a varied range of songs, but this one and another from their album called Fifteen Minutes (which sounds more like the Go! Team than the Go! Team themselves) are my favourites.
Cascada - Everytime We Touch This catchy German dance single, which reminds me of something Fragma might have done, has been a huge hit in America. There seems no particular reason for it - the song is brilliant but so are so many European dance-pop singles and none of them usually reach the US Top 10. Still, there's no point questioning it - let's just enjoy it and hope the same will happen here. Cascada for the new Infernal, please!
Amy Studt - Misfit Amy is a controversial creature - when her name is mentioned some people (usually girls) have very fond memories while others seemed to inexplicably hate her. She had brilliant songs, many written by the super-ace pop writer Karen Poole (out of Alisha's Attic), and a feisty grrl attitude way before Avril, Lindsay and Ashlee made names for themselves. This was her second single, her poppiest and generally agreed to be her best, although I loved all 3 of her first singles - we'll just ignore the atrocious All I Wanna Do cover that killed her career.
Seth Lakeman - Kitty Jay There aren't many acts I can say I first heard of watching the Mercury Music Prize (in fact, this is the only one), but don't be put off, Seth Lakeman is not completely boring. It's certainly very different to the usual Dirrrty Pop fodder, but I really like the song. It's very dramatic, and if you like Patrick Wolf you definitely should give this a viewing. He has a new single out soon, but it's not quite as good as this one.
Now, the DP:UK top 5!
5. Lily Allen - Smile 4. Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man 3. Paris Hilton - Stars Are Blind 2. Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean - Hips Don't Lie
and at no.1 for the 3rd week (although not consecutively), it's...
Pipettes - Pullshapes We've all seen the video now (if not scroll down a few posts and you can) so here's a lovely interview the girls did recently on MTV. They come across as very jolly, down-to-earth young ladies, and there is even a brilliant bit in the interview where they eschew edginess in favour of "shiny and polished and stupid!" - hooray for that!
Inspired by my previous post, I've had an idea! If you have a niggling musical secret you want to get off your chest, why not make it into a postcard (made by hand or computer, it doesn't matter) Post Secret-style and post it anonymously in the comments boxes, or e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org (although bear in mind that won't be anonymous). When I've received some I'll post them up as a gallery right here on Dirrrty Pop. Get creative!
The Tamperer ft. Maya - Feel It It's hard to believe that it's now 8 years since everyone was asking "Did she just say 'what's she gonna look like with a chimney on her?'", but it's true - this one of the biggest and best hits of summer 1998. The video is wonderfully camp (with a comedy gay sailors storyline which has nothing to do with the song) and the song is one you just can't help but love - a much better anthem for women scorned than I Hate You So Much Right Now or Since U Been Gone. And Madonna obviously agreed on the greatness of this group as she based her first 2 singles of her new album on them! Sorry shares the same Jackson 5 sample as this track, while Hung Up sampled ABBA's Gimme Gimme Gimme, the same song that influenced The Tamperer in Hammer To The Heart.
Paris Hilton - Stars Are Blind I wrote about this earlier in the week but now I bring you the video. The song is proving very catchy as it's often in my head, but I do think listening to more than a few songs sung by Paris at once would get quite painful, so maybe she will be best as a one-hit wonder. Still, if she can make reggae-pop the next big thing, I will love her forever.
Ruffus - Club Kung Fu Here's one for the real Eurovision anoraks among you. This is Ruffus, the 2003 Estonian entry (well-remembered for his amusing song Eighties Coming Back) covering Club Kung Fu by Vanilla Ninja, a song which failed to reach Eurovision the same year but still led to the megastardom of the girlband, who did finally reach Eurovision last year, although they were representing Switzerland. This was performed during the interval of the 2005 Estonian Eurovision selection show, which interestingly was the show that chose to send acetastic Vanilla Ninja wannabes Suntribe, who sadly never got much further, failing to reach the final rounds - a travesty if you ask me!
Whigfield - Was A Time You'll surely remember Whigfield as the singer of 90s school disco hit Saturday Night, but you probably don't remember any of her other singles - that's cos all the others she released in the 90s were quite rubbish, at least in comparison to this fabulous summer pop song she released in 2004. The repetitive backing music combined with "dadadada"s and simple lyrics are so catchy, once you've heard it you'll never forget.
Nick Lachey - What's Left Of Me I was very excited to see this on The Box yesterday since that means it's getting a UK release, and I never thought I'd say that about the musical product of a 98 Degrees member, but this really is a great song. Forget You Raise Me Up and You're Beautiful, this is how a ballad should sound - dramatic and emotional to the point of ridiculousness, and leaving you feel all cheered up rather than more depressed than you were in the first place. Male pop stars, take note - this is how slushy boy-pop should be done.
Time for this week's DP:UK chart countdown:
5. Dima Bilan - Never Let You Go 4. Rihanna - SOS (Rescue Me) 3. Lily Allen - Smile 2. Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man
and rising back to no. 1 is...
Pipettes - Pullshapes You only have to scroll down a bit on this page to see the video for this (and I highly recommend it), so instead here is a live performance the Pipettes did on E4's Album Chart Show a few weeks ago. They sing their previous 2 singles and have a quick chat with the presenter, seeming generally very jolly ladies. I can't wait til I see them live myself in a few weeks!
I haven't listened to Swedish radio in ages cos I've been so busy revising and doing exams and some less academic things, so I thought I would listen to the Swedish top 10 on http://sr.se/p3/topplistor/hitlistan/ and share my thoughts on it with you, my lovely readers!
1. Elias Feat Frans - Who's Da'man I'm not sure if this is supposed to be the male Amy Diamond or the Swedish Schnappi, but it's nowhere near as good as the former and even worse than the latter. 30% Poptastic!
2. Ola - Rain This was posted on Catchy Tunes of Sweden a while ago and I quite like it. It's a boy ballad in the style of Westlife before they became really dull (eg. Fool Again, If I Let You Go). It's not quite BSBs level but it's a good effort. His full name is Ola Svensson, he's 20 years old, looks a lot like Alex from The Calling and came 8th on last year's Idol programme. How someone can fall like rain, I'm not exactly sure, but I wouldn't mind meeting Ola to ask him! 67% Poptastic!
3. Basshunter - Boten Anna This starts off sounding like it's going to be quite good, but then it kicks in properly and is a dance track of the most rubbish kind - very disappointing. 36% Poptastic!
4. Richard Herrey - Hon Kom Till Mig Richard Herrey was one of the 3 Mormon brothers who made up Eurovision winning group The Herreys, obviously hoping to be the next Osmonds, and famous for their nonsensically titled song Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley. This is a single from the first solo album Richard has ever released, but he probably should have stayed away from the recording studio because it is seriously one of the most boring songs ever made. It is extremely monotonous and doesn't really go anywhere - avoid this at any cost! 20% Poptastic!
5. Tomas Ledin - Vi Är På Gång - Vm 2006 Tomas represented Sweden in Eurovision of 1980, so it's a testament to the Swedes' love of Eurovision that he can still have a top 10 hit at all - not even this year's entrant could get one in this country! Tomas is now 54 so this energetic song is fairly impressive considering that, but it's a bit shouty and not really very good. 35% Poptastic!
6. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy Well, we all know this one. I still think it's a great song even if I wouldn't voluntarily listen to it now - that's only cos there's no need to. 90% Poptastic!
7. Shirley Clamp - När Kärleken Föds Every fan of Swedish pop should know Shirley, if only for her ace Melodifestivalen entries and her creation of the amazing defintive version of Do They Know It's Christmas. This new single is a cover of It Must Have Been Love by Roxette. I'm not sure if her whole new album is covers, but I know she has one if that interests any of you. This song sounds nice in Swedish, and Shirley, who chose her stage surname because she thought it sounded English, does a great job of singing it. 76% Poptastic!
8. Pimp Diddy - Casanova Eminem should give up trying to make jokes and start rapping in Swedish instead, it's much funnier and if it's offensive no-one will know except the Swedes, who probably won't mind. Or they'll just set The Poodles on them and everything's sorted. This is typical of tacky Euro-rap but you can actually almost dance to it, so I'd definitely trade this for 50 Cent without a moment's thought. 32% Poptastic!
9. Lordi - Hard Rock Hallelujah Another one we all know, and it's no surprise the Swedes are liking this, with it belonging to their Moomin-creating neighbours. Maybe next year instead of people pretending to be dolphins, they'll be dressed as Moomins! I'm excited already! 65% Poptastic!
10. Helena Paparizou - Mambo This song has been around for ages but I guess it's been given an extra boost by Helena's fabulous Eurovision performance. I was so pleased she did this one because it's one of my absolute favourite songs of the past year, and deserves to be huge. The Americans are lapping up Shakira's Hips Don't Lie, so someone should get them to listen to this - it's Latino-pop that's even better than Shakira's song (which is ace anyway) and doesn't have Wyclef Jean on it! 98% Poptastic!
The Feeling are a strange phenomenon. They are 5 20-something blokes with instruments. They are not very original. They are not very exciting (apart from one being married to Sophie EB). And yet, they are really very very good! There isn't a single song on Twelve Stops And Home that will change the world, yet every one of the 12 tracks leaves me with a smile on my face.
The only conclusion I can come to is that they must be very good songwriters. Although the music has a general sound making it identifiable as The Feeling, they still manage to cover quite a variety of styles within that Feeling sound. There are beautiful ballads like Strange and Kettle's On, jolly jaunts like Fill My Little World and Never Be Lonely and straight-forward super-duper sing-alongs like Love It When You Call, and every one that comes on I think "this is my favourite!", so how I will ever choose an actual favourite is beyond me.
Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man This is supposed to be Christina's big comeback, so why isn't it a bit... bigger? Previous albums were launched with legendary pop hits, Genie In A Bottle and Dirrty. Is this song, which seems to be an extention of Christina's most pointless single (the one with Nelly), going to be as big as that? Maybe it will, just because of who she is, but unless I'm completely missing the point I don't really see how, out of all the songs she must have recorded in the four years since she last released an album, this could be the best? There's nothing wrong with it exactly, it's quite enjoyable (the best bit is the first few notes where I keep thinking it's gonna be Real Things by Javine), but where is the controversial, ever-changing Christina we know and love who has in the past managed to produce such a variety of aceness. From most acts this would be a triumph but this is one of the biggest pop stars of the 00s - I just expected something more exciting. Maybe it'll be a grower, or one of those songs that to start with sounds dated but ends up starting a whole new trend. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
Paris Hilton - Stars Are Blind Paris was obviously paying attention when I praised cheap reggae-pop music recently, cos she's done exactly that for her debut single. To say it's brilliant would be a bit of an overstatement, but at least she's got poptastic intentions. In fact it is one of the worst examples of the genre, but luckily she's attempted a type of pop where the worse kind of means better. It's car-crash pop and heaps of fun, and I do think Paris Hilton is an utterly brilliant celebrity even if she isn't exactly someone I'd want to spend a lot of time with personally. Of every act I expected Paris to rip off, it certainly wasn't Ace of Base, but I'm far from complaining - in fact I'm quite excited. Paris is nothing if not a trendsetter, so if she says Euro-reggae is cool, soon everyone will be doing it. I can't wait!
I can't decide which one is better. Christina, who should be ace, is disappointing, while Paris, who should be crap, is just that but in a very ace way, which kind of leaves them even. Obviously full albums will have to be heard before a final judgement is made.
Pauline - Answer Pauline Kamusewu is a Swedish singer of catchy soulful pop who I think is highly underrated, because she had some brilliant songs, particular this one and Running Out Of Gaz, which I posted on Into The Groove in its younger days. Pauline has a great voice and with these great songs it's a shame she's not better known. Since releasing her debut album she's also duetted with a singer called Rigo on Say Say Say (not the Hi Tack song), and hopefully new material is on its way, although her website is no longer in existence - I'm hoping it's just a change of management or something, cos it would be a shame to lose her completely.
Marit Larsen - Under The Surface Marit's first solo single went down very well with Internetting pop fans and those of her home country of Norway as well, since it went to no.1 in the singles chart, and her album has been very successful too. This is the second single and the video starts out seeming like a simple performance video but turns into something quite unusual and very fun to watch, so stick with it!
Ellie Campbell - Don't Want You Back Ellie was a solo singer who worked with Pete Waterman (and J from 5ive, who she met in a shopping centre, on one song!) and released a few singles in the early 00s, this one being by far the best. It didn't do very well in the charts but if you, like any sane person, love the Britney-inspired Scandi-pop sound that was everywhere at that time then this is certainly worth a watch, as one of the best examples of it. Ellie was last seen auditioning for the X Factor with her sisters (she just missed the bit where you go to a judge's house), of which she has plenty since she was one of 10 kids and a disinterest in contraception seems to run in the family since her mum was one of 21!
I'm From Barcelona - Collection of Stamps I wasn't that interested in this band's first single until I saw the ace video, and I'm pleased to report that the follow-up is just as fab, and they are fast becoming one of my top bands of 2006. They're so jolly and show everything that is good about Sweden and its super-cool inhabitants. Their songs are very funny too - this one as you may have guessed, is about stamp-collecting! With about 30 members in the group, they are like the Polyphonic Spree but much much better.
Elize - Automatic (live at the TMF Awards) This was one of my absolute favourite singles from 2005 and Elize is one ace popstar as well. She was a model in her home country of Holland until she became a singer with her three dance-pop singles Shake, Automatic and I'm No Latino. All of them are good but this one is a step above. OK, so she looks a little stripper-esque in this get-up, but the Dannii Minogues of this world can only dream of releasing a single of this calibre.
Now, time for the chart countdown. Interestingly, the 2 biggest pop hits of the past few months in the UK have risen back to the top, despite being around for a long time. Perhaps its time to give them a rest, and let other acts have a go? Let me know what you think in the comments boxes.
5. Mihai Traistariu - Tornero 4. Pipettes - Pullshapes 3. Kate Ryan - Je t'adore 2. Rihanna - SOS (Rescue Me)
and at no.1...
Infernal - From Paris To Berlin I'm sure you've all seen the original video a zillion times by now so here's a different version. It's been made for the world cup and is the same song with cheesy lyrics such as "when we're thinking of Roo, and all the things he can do" and some rather strange dubbing of the new lyrics over the old video. It seems even ace pop music can't escape in these terrible times of world cup mania. And should Infernal even be supporting the UK when they're Danish? However, anything that increases their chances of releasing another single (which HAS to be Cheap Trick Kinda Girl - it's a sure-fire hit and unlike A To The B and Keen On Disco, it sounds different to FPTB) is a good thing really.
Representing Iceland: Nylon - Losing A Friend (Watch it) Are we sure these girls are from Iceland and not Ireland? Maybe there was a misprint somewhere along the line cos they even seem to have Irish accents when they sing. If someone said it was Bellefire I'd believe it - in fact, with Nylon supporting Westlife on tour, I half think it actually IS Bellefire, having a last desperate attempt at success. I don't think it's going to work, but full marks for cunning!
Representing the USA: Dixie Chicks - Not Ready To Make Nice (Watch it) I've already shown my love for this on VKTRS and Stylus so I won't go on too much, but I'm really pleased it's getting a proper UK release. Maybe it won't do so well as people here don't know the full story behind it, but it's still a very powerful and generally great song.
Representing the UK: Lily Allen - Smile (Watch it on The Box) I know some people don't think Lily lives up to the hype, but I personally love her and this is one of her best songs. She does chav chic in the best Robyn/M.I.A style with hoop earrings matched with nice summer dresses. This should be one of this year's summer anthems. It's as good as Ms Dynamite's It Takes More but unlike Ms D, Lily has enough ace music to fill a whole album, and best of all she doesn't seem desperate to be urban - she's impossibly cool already, without a crap rap in sight.
Today is the 3rd anniversary of this blog! It's amazing that I have been able to consistently post regularly for a whole 3 years. People often ask me how I manage to stick with it, but I can't really say. I just love writing about music and never run out of things to say!
In celebration, here is a review of the last 12 months of Dirrrty Pop:
June '05 - I did a great Robyn review for Stylus, reviewed Nizlopi 6 months before it hit no.1 and thought Gavin Degraw was going to be famous.
July - I hated Jessica Simpson but loved Melody Club and summer dance-pop singles.
August - I went to Sweden (where I saw BWO! AMAZING!), got this lovely luminous layout, loved the t.A.T.u album and debated downloading and reality TV in Popping The Question.
September - I moved house, made Poptastisk issue 1 and got extremely excited about Andy Bell, Darren Hayes and Will Young's new singles.
October - I got cross at Rachel's chart failure, loved X Factor, saw the BSBs live (brilliant!) and was obsessed with Hung Up.
November - I hated Westlife, opened Video Killed The Radio Star (must update more, but no-one ever comments!), loved Will's album and went to the super-fab Krakow in Poland.
December - I celebrated my top singles of the year, loved Poland and the GA album, and cheered when Andy didn't win X Factor, when Westlife weren't Xmas no.1 and when it was in fact a Swedish song, albeit a rubbish one. I also started planning my part for when BWO won Eurovision. Maybe next year!
January - I celebrated a Decade of Poptastic No.1s, awaited the Swedish conquest of 2006, loved YouTube and applied Nietzsche's philosophy to pop music.
February - I sobbed at Smash Hits closing, loved Bad Boybands and (confusingly) All-American Rejects, watched Melodifestivalen and American Idol and awarded the real Brit Awards.
March - My BWO obsession reached new heights when I heard Temple of Love, made Poptastisk issue 2 and squealed with joy as Infernal were on UK radio (and they haven't left since!).
April - I adored the Delays, hated Sandi Thom (grrr!), went BWO mad and saw Darren Hayes live for the 7th time!
May - Pipettes became my new faves (and everyone else's), I launched DP:UK, took terrible photos of The Ark and wanted to throw things when Kate Ryan didn't win Eurovision.
It looks like Alcazar won't be getting back together any time, since original male member Andreas certainly won't need to - his debut solo single is utterly brilliant! I'd heard that it was good but had been unable to locate a copy for myself so of course I rushed to download it when everyone's favourite non-pop star Swede posted it on Catchy Tunes of Sweden. It rips off ABBA and You Sexy Thing, has lyrics about discos in the proven Alcazar tradition, a ridiculous extended metaphor (as you might have guessed from the title) and although it doesn't sound like Alcazar it sounds exactly how a solo song by an Alcazar boy should - definitely much better than Magnus' latest attempt, although that may be better in English (I know it's terribly un-cultured to say it, but pop music is about singing along and fab lyrics) but I love Linda Bengtzing's songs without them needing to be translated. Now I just want to hear what the girls come up with. Hurry up Tess and Annika!