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Who needs guitars anyway?

Best Bits
Friday, March 30, 2007

Indienational Video Challenge

Representing France: Herman Düne - I Wish That I Could See You Soon
If you're a fan of Adam Green then you'll love this. I didn't guess that they were French, but now I know it does make sense. The video is supremely cute, colourful and ace and the song is very sweet. Coincidentally they have played as the backing band for Adam Green's ex-bandmate Kimya Dawson, so I guess my comparison was quite apt. This song is released in the UK this week.

Representing the UK: Little Flames - Isobella
This Liverpool band's sound is somewhere between the Long Blondes and Garbage, I think. It's good but nothing on the best songs by either of those bands, or Low Happening by The Howling Bells, which it also made me think of. It's better than most indie/rock but far from the best of the female-fronted examples. They're friends of the Arctic Monkeys, but that link didn't really get Milburn very far, so I don't think we'll be seeing Little Flames atop the charts any time soon, unless they pull out a really ace song for their next single.

Representing the USA: Hey Willpower - Hundredaire
Hey Willpower reminds me of Tiga in that he works with ace people, makes great vidoes, and does music I feel I should like, but there's nothing standing out in it that makes me want to listen again, even once. I don't dislike it at all but I want more. Still, it is one of the best videos around at the moment, so worth watching just for that, and those of you with more patience than me may be able to get into his music too.

Representing Sweden: Peter, Bjorn & John - Objects Of My Affection
I grew to love Young Folks, but this new single lacks its charming whistles or its catchy chorus. It retains the combination of quite depressing singing over jolly music, but it gets a bit drone-like in places. I doubt they'll ever come up with something as ace as Young Folks, but I'm sure the indie types will continue to worship them anyway. The video looks cool and very well done, so they're obviously going up in the world of music video budgets.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Comeback Singles On The Block

Maroon 5 - Makes Me Wonder
I remember when Maroon 5's first album was released (I bought it in 2003) and they said that the next one may not be out until 2005 and my friends and I gasped in horror - 2005 was sooo far away! Now it's 2007 and at last there is a new album from the band I was once quite obsessed with. The excitement has certainly died down after such a long wait, but now I'm finally hearing their new single, I remember what an exciting event a brand new M5 song would have been 3 years ago, and it makes me really enjoy this in a kind of nostalgic way. It's a good comeback, fun and jolly, upbeat, less rocky than ever. It's not quite This Love but I'm playing it on repeat anyway.
92% Poptastic!

Rufus Wainwright - Going To A Town
Hooray, Rufus returns! And with the promise of this being his most poptastic album yet, I'm very excited. The first single doesn't exactly sound like the Pet Shop Boys or Darren Hayes, but it is quite lovely nonetheless. It's very slow and piano-led, but fits with his other more accessible tracks, such as I Don't Know What It Is and The One You Love, rather than the more unusual ones he is equally known for. I don't think it will go on to be one of my favourite Rufus tracks, but since it has such tough competition in that respect then that's not a bad thing really.
86% Poptastic!

Beverley Knight - No Man's Land
She may have lost out on two series' of Just The Two Of Us, released a successful greatest hits album, and toured with Take That, but this is her first proper single since she covered Keep This Fire Burning, and that was ages ago! Sadly her return is not a cover of any ace Europop star, but instead a ballad which is really quite dull. She has done a couple of good ballads in the past (Shoulda Woulda Coulda and Not Too Late For Love) but this is nothing special, unless it's going to grow on me hugely. Maybe it will surprise me and do really well, as songs that don't seem to stand out at first often do, but I was expecting better so I'm disappointed.
55% Poptastic!
Sunday, March 25, 2007


BWO must have been reading my blog, since they have pencilled in the release of their new album for the very month I will be arriving in Sweden and living there for the next 3 and a half months! The first single is a cover of an Alcazar song (Save My Pride, which was a hidden track on Alcazarised, hence I'm not quite sure how to make an MP3 of it), but revamped and I trust Alexander to make it amazing. That's out in May, with another single in August and the album in September! They are also supposed to release Chariots of Fire in the UK but hopefully they won't waste too much on promoting it, because it won't be a success and as much as I love them I really don't want it to be. The UK just don't deserve such wonderful genius and will not appreciate it, although a few gigs in London some time between now and September would be amazing, thanks!
Saturday, March 24, 2007

Popping The Question: Is there such a thing as Boy Power?

When listening to the Alphabeat album, with its mix of male and female lead vocals, I got thinking about the way I describe singers and their music when reviewing it. So many times I have called a female pop star 'fierce' or 'feisty' or celebrated the 'girl power' of a singer - everyone from Gwen Stefani to Fefe Dobson to Beyoncé has been applauded for their girl power on this blog. But is it even possible to call a male singer 'fierce' or 'feisty'? 'Boy power' is simply inconceivable, yet the kind of music or performance a woman has to make in order to gain the 'girl power' label is the kind that is generally expected of men - rock music, loud voices, controversial lyrics. Is it female empowerment or just a sign that we are all becoming equally aggressive and impudent?

This is not a criticism of the women who have 'girl power' or of the writers who use the term to describe women who are angry and obnoxious, because in fact the positive sides of this 'girl power' term (open ambition, emotional expression and catharsis, dismissing convention) outweigh those negatives. I find it interesting to consider why popstars with girl power appeal to me. Throughout my teenage years I have tended to shrink into the highly repressive stereotype of 'quiet, studious girl', and I'm no depressive angsting emo kid, I'm perfectly happy with my life and comfortable with myself, but a ferocious female singer appeals to a girl like me in a way that the shouty, angry male rock music beloved by most of my fellow teens bears no interest.

With the Spice Girls' reunion being pretty much confirmed for this year, we can look back at a decade ago, when they were at the height of their success. Have women in music achieved anything since then? The use of music as female empowerment is now fully recognised by the press and the public, but this acknowledgement means little when the music world, just like every other sphere of society, is still extremely male-dominated and controlled by men. Women are being acknowledged as important consumers, but this is a passive role, and more talk seems to be of how to control their desires than how to fulfil them.

Feminism seems to have played out in the same way as every other issue that was supposed to be revolutionised in the 20th century. From the sufragettes to Margaret Thatcher, women looked for power in every way imaginable, and they gained equality in many areas, but still there are obvious signs of patriarchy and the methods of removing them that worked (to a large but not complete extent) previously no longer make an impact. Linda Sundblad followed in Madonna's footsteps with sexy outfits and controversial lyrics on her debut solo album last year, but no-one was shocked, as much as it was a brilliant CD. This shows that if female musicians want to use their music to change the patriarchal industry they partake in, they are going to have to find new ways - it's just difficult to find those ways, when we have reached a point where little hasn't been tried.

Personally I believe that the best method is to continue to make brilliant music, to take control of their own careers and make sure everyone knows they are doing so. This approach has been exemplified by such female acts as Robyn and Amy Winehouse, who may not completely write and produce their albums themselves, but are involved in every choice made in relation to their careers. Both girls have succeeded because their work is a true reflection of their identities, and they have the intelligence and musical intuition to bring in producers such as The Knife, Klas Ahlund (Teddybears) and Mark Ronson, in each case preceding their rise to become the most desirable producers of the moment.

Girl power is about standing up to the aforementioned patriarchy, and would therefore not exist without it. Correspondingly, boy power does not exist because there is no such thing as matriarchy. But maybe, if women continue, as they are in many other cultural areas, to gain control and display intelligence, talent, creativity, ambition and good business sense, there will one day be a matriarchy and it will be the boys' turn to fight back! Until they really have something to fight against, angry emotions in male music will continue to disinterest me, but I'm not that confident that this day of matriarchy will ever come, and I think that's a good thing. Women should learn from men's mistakes, and rather than replicating the arrogance and insensitivity they often display in their destructive pursuit of power, female musicians have the chance to rule the airwaves in a uniquely female way, with dignity, strength and sincerity. And let's not forget the amazing pop music!

You’re del.icio.us, so cap.ricio.us...

There is so much to read on the Internet relating to music, and you tend to have to sift through a lot of nonsense to get to the good stuff. For the past few months I have been adding links to my del.icio.us account, which you can see here. These are not just links to any pop blog, site or resource, but highlight what I think are the most interesting and informative examples of music writing, or just brilliant things that everyone should know about, such as the Embassy of Sweden calendar of Swedish events in the UK or Nietzsche's Untimely Meditations, where he brings up many interesting points about culture which can certainly be related to pop music. There are also some links to things I'm interested in which aren't music-related, but you might like them anyway. Get clicking and feel free to leave suggestions in my comments box.

Dirrrty Pop Review: Alphabeat - Alphabeat

Sometimes it takes me a while to warm to a new favourite band, and other times you Just Know. Alphabeat certainly fit the latter category. Within seconds of clicking the little triangle on their Fascination video on #1 Hits on Another Planet, I knew that even if this was their only good song I would love this band. A visit to their MySpace revealed that their follow-up single, 10,000 Nights of Thunder, was even better! A couple of months later I've interviewed them for this site, posted about them on Into The Groove and at long last I have my copy of their album.

Alphabeat's music or singing could never be called technically perfect, but they have a charm that overcomes that - they are absolutely exploding with enthusiasm and joy for life. The female singer, Stine, comes close to shouting at many times, but she never falls off the ledge of fearless open-heartedness. She sings with personality, ferocity and most of all she means it. The lyrics are cheesy but in a comforting way which makes me smile wider than Sanjaya from American Idol. Their image, in photos and videos, is bursting with colour and happy, groovy vibes. Really, what more could a cheery pop fan like me want from a band?

It's impossible to pick out favourites, as the album is ace all the way through, but I would still send everyone in the direction of 10,000 Nights of Thunder for an introductory Alphabeat experience. The best songs seem to be the ones where Stine takes the lead, but the dual vocal responsibilities mean the group can tackle a number of sounds, although luckily they never stray too far from the ecstatic pop sound they are clearly best at. Visit their MySpace for a taster, then order their album from CDON.

The Music Of My *Heart*

Something Old: Arcade Fire - Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) (Watch)
While everyone else is busy raving about their new album, I finally decided to obtain their previous effort, and see if I could be persuaded to like anything on it apart from Rebellion (Lies), which we all already know is a legendary track of aceness. The attempt didn't go too well as I still can't tell most of the songs apart, but I did find myself warming to the first song on the CD. There is something very appealing about the line, "I'll dig a tunnel, from my window to yours", as much sonically as lyrically.

Something New: Ghosts - Stay The Night (Watch)
I liked this song from the first listen but then I saw them perform it on Popworld this morning and in that magical way that sometimes randomly happens, it suddenly grew from a nice song to a completely lovely one. There are two lines that really grabbed me: "If it's a question of timing, I'll wait" and "I think of you and my heart beats a little louder". They don't look so impressive written down, but listen out for them and you too may soon be in love with this lovely song.

Something Borrowed: Les Fatals Picards - L'Amour À La Française (Watch)
This year's French Eurovision entry has completely taken me by surprise. The one country dependable to always have a more rubbish entry than us has for once come up with one of the best in the competition! It's even something I would listen to in real life, out of the Eurovision context, actually one of the best pop songs to come out of France in ages. Definitely not nil points.

Something Blue: Mika - Love Today (Watch)
OK so I'm just using this last category as an excuse to post what I want, but the video does have a fair amount of blue in it. It reminds me of the Killers' Somebody Told Me video at times, but Mika adds great hair, great dancing and some excellent jackets! He was totally spoilt for choice when picking a follow-up to Grace Kelly, but I think he's made a perfect decision with this one. Again it is bursting with joy and excitement and insanely catchy. I love it and any pop fan who hasn't bought Mika's album by now will certainly want to when they hear this.
Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dirrrty Pop Review: UTIOG & The Sounds Live

(UTIOG = Under The Influence Of Giants, in case you were wondering)

I wasn't immensely excited about The Sounds' gig when I booked it a few months ago, but I never miss a chance to see a Swedish pop group. At the time I expected a low-key affair, mostly Swedes out to support their fellow countrymen and woman, but then in the weeks approaching the gig, the group received high praise from NME, Popjustice and many more, and released their new album which even earned itself a place right at the front of my local Fopp music store, which anyone who has ever been in one will know is the coolest record store around (kind of indie yet extremely shiny and cheap). This all meant that the venue was completely packed and the only Swedish accent I heard was Maja's, which is in fact quite a hilarious accent cos she kinda speaks like she sings (not very ladylike!).

When I heard the name of the support act (above) it sounded familiar, but I didn't realise where from until I went on their MySpace. It was a band I'd heard of through #1 Hits on Another Planet, and I'd loved what I'd heard but never researched any further - I soon regretted that when I listened to more of their songs and they were all brilliant (I ordered their CD from Amazon literally minutes after Googling them - definitely my quickest Google to purchase ever), so I stuck 4 of them on my mp3 player and spent the remaining 2 days til the gig listening to them on repeat. By the time the gig came around, I was quite obsessed and very very excited to hear 3 of the 4 songs I knew. The other tracks sounded great as well, and I can't wait now to get the CD. I think they have a huge chance of being successful in the UK - I hesitate to say it but the comparison that comes to mind is 'this year's Orson', the difference being that UTIOG are actually amazingly ace, not dull and poo like Orson.

Now, onto the main event - The Sounds! My most exciting moment was finding a blue and yellow t-shirt with The Sounds on the front and 'SWEDEN' on the back, but this was closely followed by the ace music they played. About half the songs on the setlist were from the new album, the other half being from their first album, which was released in 2002. The newer tracks are the poppier and best, in my opinion, but I was equally excited to hear the classic Living In America. My favourites of the night were Painted By Numbers, Song With A Mission, Tony The Beat and Hurt You, which are all amazing on the CD too.

The visual performance was as great as the music, as despite the lack of special effects, Maja and her boys showed what can be done with Swedish hotness (the boys are all rather attractive) and stage presence. Maja looked like some kind of alternative Barbie doll - she is perfectly thin and blonde, yet wearing tiny hot pants with a denim jacket, the side of her hair shaved off, swearing like only a fierce young Swedish woman can, adorned with tattoos, stage diving at every chance and smoking and drinking constantly throughout the gig. At one point she actually threw her cigarette into the crowd, which was a bit dangerous but certainly helped make this the most rock'n'roll concert experience I've ever had! Not that it's hard, when your favourite singer is Darren Hayes, but still I've been to way more gigs than most 19 year olds and I can't say I've seen many singers rule the stage like Miss Ivarsson did.

The Next Big Thing?

Air Traffic (Video)
My expectation that Air Traffic were going to be 'the new Feeling' was clearly quite a mistake, unless this single is entirely atypical of their sound, because it's nothing like The Feeling. Personally I'm much favouring Ghosts or Tiny Dancers in the 'new Feeling' stakes, but really I don't think we need a replacement quite yet - all the tracks from 12 Stops And Home still sound ace. Air Traffic seem to be much rockier, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, but in this case certainly is. Still, it doesn't mean they won't be successful - just perhaps not with our mothers.
Hit Potential: 68% Poptasticness: 42%

Therese (Video)
Yes, it is THAT Therese! The one who sang with Stonebridge on their 2 ace hits and the one who released the amazing dance-pop single Time in Sweden a few years ago. Finally she's got a solo single coming out on EMI, and although it's very generic dance music (not even particularly poppy) and nothing on her Stonebridge songs or Time or even her duet with The Attic for Melodifestivalen, it's still Therese so I hope she will do well with it.
Hit Potential: 64% Poptasticness: 60%
Sunday, March 18, 2007

New Pop On The Block

Just Jack - Glory Days
I was expecting him to re-release Writer's Block after the success of Starz In Their Eyes, but I'm glad he hasn't because I don't want it to be ruined by being a huge hit. I really like the video for this (the over-literal dancing is funny and the idea of picture/logo t-shirts matching the lyrics is clever) but the dance routine parts combined with his not-exactly-Eton looks brings out a side of this song which I would never have noticed otherwise - it kinda sounds like Blazin' Squad! Of course it's better quality both musically and lyrically, but still once I'd noticed the similarity I couldn't deny it. I just hope no-one else notices, or I'll soon be hiding my copies of his albums under my bed.
67% Poptastic!

Infernal - I Won't Be Crying
Yet another case of one band unexpectedly turning into another - I didn't think of it at all when I heard this song, as I had many times before I saw the video, but as soon as it appeared on B4 Hits (a much better TV channel than it's tacky name suggests) I had a feeling of familiarity. It was only after a few more viewings that it finally clicked - Infernal have turned into The Modern! Of course they are now Matinee Club and the chance of success they once seemed to have has withered, but I must say I'd rather Infernal had covered the amazing Jane Falls Down than release this single, which is confusingly inferior to most of the tracks on their album, particularly the singles which have already been released abroad and have videos ready-made. Their marketing has really been messed up, in an almost impressive way, because they could have remained as huge as Paris To Berlin, if they had just continued with the songs that were supposed to be its follow-up, and were in the rest of Europe. It seems like acts try too hard to crack the UK (or USA) sometimes, when they should really just take a leaf out of Cascada's book and release the same trash (but quality trash - I still think Miracle is amazing) they did in Europe.
70% Poptastic!

Meck ft. Dino - Feels Like Home
I've been without TV for the past 3 weeks, and it's always interesting after that period to watch the music channels and see if the general sound is different, and this time it definitely was - 'new rave' seems to finally be taking effect, or at least trying to. The problem is, as other people have said, the idea has been around for a while now and it seems people are making (and signing) music to fit the name. Now the Klaxons are everywhere, and the new dance tunes do seem to have something quite 90s about them. This one samples Don't You Want Me by Felix and I must say it's rather enjoyable, but I don't think an act who is known for working with Leo Sayer is ever going to quite fit a term coined by NME, and to be honest I think any sane person would rather 'big fish little fish cardboard box' to the original.
55% Poptastic!

What? What? WHAT?!?!

Making Your Mind Up is always a bit of a farce, and I have come to expect to be completely embarrassed by my nationality on Eurovision night, but in the stakes of shambolicness this really takes the biscuit! Yes, Scooch once did a good song, but this was not it. I will be accused of taking Eurovision too seriously (although I am really quite relaxed about it compared to the average person from Malta) but I actually find Scooch's entry offensive. Only people who've never watched Eurovision would think this is what Eurovision is all about.

Scooch, when they were originally in the charts, were a Steps rip-off and they only had one song (For Sure) which was as good as Steps, but it was proper pop music. Now, maybe it's just cos Russ was in a 'girl'band with one of the members, they've turned into a new version of the Fast Food Rockers, another band I found completely insulting as a pop fan. The music sounds like pop but it is not typical of pop music today, it is so dated and stupid - even cheesy pop music today can be intelligent, such as BWO and Mika and Scissor Sisters. That is modern pop, and this is simply not deserving of the term but of course uneducated yet unreasonably influential people will say "Isn't it great to have a proper pop band representing the UK?" and I will cringe and think "If only there was".

Hopefully, there will be an announcement tomorrow morning that it wasn't just Terry originally saying Cyndi had won that was a mistake, but the entire evening and everyone involved in it, so we'll have a restaging next week where Alcazar reform and the audience vote between songs written for them by Xenomania and the Pet Shop Boys.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Next Big Thing?

Ross Copperman (MySpace)
Apparently his song As I Choke was a huge hit on iTunes but I didn't recognise his name at all, and only vaguely recognised the song, recalling seeing its video at some point on a music channel. He's American but targetting the UK market first, and hoping to be a 1-man Coldplay... well I think he's most likely to be a 1-man Kubb, but I guess they did have a few minor hits so perhaps there are worse things to be. I didn't think much of As I Choke but All She Wrote and Shout are better, the latter having some great "nanana"s at the end making it quite anthemic. Found You is more delicate and actually a bit lovely, although it could easily be done by The Fray, which will put off quite a lot of you I suspect.
Hit Potential: 75% Poptasticness: 68%

Tiny Dancers (MySpace)
Their single I Will Wait For You is one of the jolliest around at the moment, appealing to fans of The Magic Numbers or Zutons but so far not getting me quite so annoyed as the latter particularly seem to. It's not going to be on my top singles list at the end of the year but it's something cheery to sing along to in the car and your mum will probably like it, which is handy with Mother's Day coming up this weekend. If you like the Elton John song they're named after you'll probably enjoy this too, but if you're expecting variety don't bother with the album, which from their MySpace seems to be a dozen more of the same.
Hit Potential: 86% Poptasticness: 77%
Sunday, March 11, 2007

I actually quite like this!

It's the completely crazy Ukranian entry for Eurovision, Danzing by Verka Serduchka. Kiev 2008? Maybe not, but I bet it will get some votes from the UK.

Amy Diamond uses Aquafresh toothpaste

I just love this fan interview translated on an Amy Diamond fan site. Her fans are clearly even younger than she is and their questions reflect this, but in fact make for an unusual and interesting interview! Very Smash Hits in the 80s. Now I know how many times she's seen She's The Man, that she has been on a sledge, and precisely which countries she has visited. All very important & valuable information.
Saturday, March 10, 2007


The Ark to Helsinki!!!!

I somehow don't think I will be quite so excited next weekend when the UK result is announced, so I'm making the most of this good news. The Ark are one of my actual favourite bands, Swedish or otherwise, so it's really exciting for them to be in Eurovision, even though I don't think they'll win. That's because a) a rock band won last year, b) Wigwam didnt win and The Ark are a bit like them. They are better than Wigwam, but since Wigwam came before them it will just seem to other countries like a copy, even though The Ark have been around for years and this is their distinct style.


Because tonight is the Melodifestivalen final, and I have two strong favourites, The Ark and Måns Zelmerlöw, and guess which two are miles ahead of all the other acts in the online vote on the MF website? Yep, it's my favourites! This is why I love Sweden. Sebastian beat Måns in Idol and is a much bigger star, but Måns has the better song, so he gets the votes. It's simple and fair. Go go Måns and The Ark! If only they could both win.

My personal order of favouriteness:
1. Måns Zelmerlöw
2. The Ark
3. Sebastian
4. Marie Lindberg
5. Sanna Nielsen
6. Andreas Johnson
7. Anna Book
8. Sarah Dawn Finer
9. Sonja Aldén
10. Tommy Nilsson

Ace news!

The fab girl group Shut Up Stella, who I first wrote about last August, have just finished working with Xenomania! They're American but came over to the UK especially to work with Brian, Miranda and co. in Kent, and they wrote all about it on their MySpace blog.

New Pop On The Block

Fountains of Wayne - Someone To Love (Listen)
I'm sure you remember their previous hit, Stacey's Mom, which although not the classiest of subjects was certainly a catchy and cheer-enducing tune. While I recall being unimpressed by whatever they chose to be its follow-up (I vaguely remember a video set on a boat), I am quite enjoying this new song. This time the story is of two people named Seth and Beth, an obvious romantic pairing but the ending is ambiguous - I'll leave you to decide whether or not they get together. The chorus is really nice and hopeful and I love the backing "ah-ah"s that follow it. Very very cute, but I don't think any pop fan will find it sickly (certainly not with its unconventional ending lyrically), they'll just be bopping along and thinking nice positive thoughts - who doesn't want that?
87% Poptastic!

Bobby - Another Day (Listen)
Those of you who loved Lorraine should give this one a listen, as it's quite similar to their style and Bobby are also a Scandinavian synth-pop group of stylish young men, although Swedish rather than Norwegian and a duo rather than a trio. They have some lovely songs on their MySpace, such as Come Crashing In, which really reminds me of Universal Poplab. There are quite a few similar acts already, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye on Bobby as they have the potential to make some really great music.
77% Poptastic!
Friday, March 09, 2007

Oh Rufus, we knew you could do it!

Yesterday I visited a friend and as soon as I entered her room she shoved the latest issue of Q magazine in front of me. Albeit confused as to why she thought I'd have the slightest interest in such a rubbish magazine, I was intrigued as I saw Rufus Wainwright staring back at me. "Jessica!" yelped my friend, "It's a disaster - Rufus is going pop and he's working with the Pet Shop Boys!" Well, I tried to conceal my squees of excitement, but it didn't really work...
Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dirrrty Pop Review: Robyn Live (Again!)

There are some artists who you see once, you've had the live experience and that's enough, but there are others who you could see again and again and even if they played the same songs every time you'd never get bored. Along with Rufus Wainwright, Darren Hayes and a few others, Robyn is in the latter category for me, and I know that after just seeing her twice. This time we got a full concert, with songs from her self-titled latest album (Be Mine, Handle Me, Who's That Girl, Bum Like You, Crash and Burn Girl, Konichiwa Bitches) as well as other recent singles (Dream On, With Every Heartbeat, Girliestyle), some older tracks (Show Me Love, Keep This Fire Burning) and some carefully-chose ncover versions (Jack U Off, Buffalo Stance and Push It).

Robyn looked fab as usual and I noticed she was wearing a Konichiwa Records scarf with the little bird symbol printed on it, which was very cute. She is very tiny and bouncy in person, and her super-blonde hair would be useful in a power cut. She danced like a crazy person and sang her heart out, with the adoring crowd lapping up every word and movement. At the risk of sounding like Darius, I don't think I've ever felt so much love for an artist at a gig - there was so much positive energy spurring Robyn on to be even more ace, and of course that's not difficult when you have a setlist as amazing as hers. There were no bad songs, every one rousing a big cheer as the audience recognised it, and they did recognise everything.

I realised, while listening to what once again had to be the show's highlight, With Every Heartbeat, that Robyn really has tapped into something special with songs like that and Be Mine particularly. She manages to combine excellent-sounding music with really meaningful and heartfelt lyrics. Most acts tend to excel in one or the other but few manage both and very few excel in both. When she sings "Still I'm dying with every step I take... but I don't look back" she expresses this feeling which anyone who has ever felt loss or sadness must identify with, she inspires us to move on and get on with it, without belittling the feelings, and she does this without being dreary or over-earnest like the artists who are supposedly the best lyricists of our time. I'd pick Robyn any time and the gig on Friday showed that I am most certainly not alone in that.
Sunday, March 04, 2007


why does the full version of Big Brovaz' Eurovision entry sound like Within Temptation in places? Very very strange! The full MP3s are here, by the way - thanks to DSTP for the tip-off.
Thursday, March 01, 2007

Top of the Poptastic!

Again this has been a great month for pop music so I've extended the list to 25:

1. Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position
2. Young Love - Discotech
3. Melody Club - Fever Fever
4. Marit Bergman - Mama, I Remember You Now
5. Scissor Sisters - She's My Man
6. Kate Nash - Birds
7. Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend
8. Helena Paparizou - The Game Of Love
9. Cosmo4 - What's Your Name?
10. Lily Allen - Alfie
11. The Sounds - Painted By Numbers
12. Sahara Hotnights - Cheek to Cheek
13. Maximo Park - Our Velocity
14. Idlewild - No Emotion
15. Howling Bells - Low Happening
16. Darin - Everything But The Girl
17. Jamelia - No More
18. Da Buzz - Soon My Heart
19. Dragonette - Jesus Doesn't Love Me Anymore
20. Relient K - Must Have Done Something Right
21. Robbie Williams - She's Madonna
22. Lily Allen - Shame For You
23. Bosson - I Can Feel Love
24. Velvet - Fix Me
25. Within Temptation - What Have You Done?

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