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
Who would have thought that a song covered by Clea could, 2 years later, be covered by two other pop acts and Clea's would be the best of the bunch? While we're on the subject, if somebody could explain why anyone thought it was a good idea for Lil Chris to release a song which a) is already out by another band who happen to be much more popular right now, and b) condones the drinking of wine despite the boy's obvious underageness, this would really set my mind at ease.
The first CDs I spotted in the airport gift shop were by Savage Garden and Rufus Wainwright, and the first song to play on the radio in the taxi was Leave Right Now. This has to be some kind of sign. Oddly, everything on the Blogger site is now in Swedish and I'm not sure what to do apart from hope it improves my skills of Svenska.
With all the great recent American and Canadian rock-pop acts (Lillix, Fefe etc.) falling at the hurdle of public indifference, I was beginning to think that the occasional pop gem to be discovered on Disney albums (Potential Break-Up Song and See You Again being about as far as I dare delve) were the best we'd be getting from feisty, fun teenage girls on the other side of the Atlantic for a while. I'm certainly not about to start listening to Paramore when I could put on Fefe or Avril and not put up with any pretences of cool. But it seems they haven't all given up. I just discovered a young lady named Lucy Walsh who is signed to Island/DefJam and is basically like Gwen Stefani would be if she'd been born in Europe and never met Pharrell or Akon.
The single is So Uncool, which is super-catchy, a bit r'n'b but only in a way that adds a bit of sass, rather than full on Pussycat Dolls territory. It also has a spelling bit. There is a hint of similarity to Lindsay Lohan or even Hilary Duff, but I like it much better than even their best output. Considering they couldn't get hits and they're super-famous, I doubt Lucy is going to get any further, but she has commercial beauty on her side as the photos show (very Caprice, don't you think?), so you never know.
I can't help thinking what a great album Britney could make out of these tracks. Crash reminds me of Josie and the Pussycats (the movie soundtrack). Forever Since will surely not get away with those Umbrella "eh-eh"s, even though they make the track 100% better. Awful Sorry is very lovely, despite its grammatical incorrectness - a proper pop ballad. I notice that Lucy is MySpace friends with JR Rotem, so I guess some of these tracks might reappear on Paris Hilton's next album, if Lucy's career is a disaster. No matter what happens to her, I won't rest til I get her album!
I have found myself making some rather strange listening choices of late. Either my tastes are having a bad patch, or these songs are actually good. I'll let you decide...
Mitchell Brothers vs. Calvin Harris - Michael Jackson (Listen) I've never liked a song by either of these acts before. I actually find Calvin tremendously overrated and annoying (electropop can be SO much better), and all I remember about the Mitchell Brothers is that they're not off Eastenders and they once sang a song about Lemar, but it wasn't called Lemar From Afar. However, this is extremely great. I liked it so much when I first heard it on the radio that I looked it up online and listened twice more immediately afterwards!
Milburn - When The Money Goes (Watch) This lot are just known to me, and most people I suspect, as "Arctic Monkeys' mates", but I actually like this better than all the Arctic songs, unless you count the amazing dance cover of I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor which will never be surpassed in aceness by any song with guitars in it. This is really catchy, though, and has a bit of mum-appeal and well as brother-appeal. Not that I have a brother, but if I had one he might be embarrassed to find he likes this as much as his mum does.
P.S. Do you like my new pictures around the logo? First to name all the featured artist wins... well, nothing, but do it anyway!
1. I've decided I really like the new BSBs single. What a relief! 2. You know your career is over when your new single is doing so badly that you delay it, adding a double a-side called No U Hang Up. Has there ever been a worse single title? It's a terrible bore of a song too. And this is despite the first track being written by Max Martin... bye bye Shayne Ward! 3. ABBA = 70s. Roxette = 80s. Ace of Base = 90s. Robyn = 00s. Lovely. There's even an alternating pattern of initials. It's meant to be. Perhaps Amy Diamond will be the big Swedish star of the 10s.
It occured to me on my way to work this morning that just by having a no.1 hit, Robyn is already the biggest Swedish star in Britain for years. The only other Swedish no.1 of the 00s is Eric Prydz (2004), and while it's probably unlikely that WEH will sell as much as Call On Me, it is very unlikely that she will just be a one hit wonder. The last Swedish act to have a UK no.1 before Eric was Rednex in 1995! The one before that was Ace Of Base in 1993 - at last an act who wasn't a one hit wonder. So, Robyn is almost sure to be the biggest Swedish pop act since Ace of Base, the biggest in 14 years!! The only other big Swedish band within those years that I can think of is The Cardigans - am I missing anyone?
The boys have had their turn, now let the girls shows us what they're made of...
Sahara Hotnights - Visit To Vienna (Video) I loved Cheek To Cheek so I'm a bit disappointed that this isn't as catchy and poppy as that. It's more like the rockier style of SH's earlier work, although it's still one of their best singles (perhaps their second best, but I did like No Big Deal). There just aren't that many great ones to compare it to, and now we know they're capable of brilliance like Cheek To Cheek, we expect it all of the time. They are a cool band, though, and I would like to hear the whole of their new album to see if there are any other gems in there. I'm not sure quite what's happening in the video but it looks like they're standing on a train going backwards - perhaps attempting to take the With Every Heartbeat concept to a new level! 71% Poptastic!
Girls Aloud - Sexy! No, No, No... (Video) I hope I got all the punctuation right there. This is a great song for the fans, but I'm not sure if it'll follow Love Machine, Biology etc. into wider popularity. It is a bit fast to dance to, as well, but it's fun and I'm definitely liking the video. It's a bit less of a shoestring budget than usual and reminds me of loads of great female pop videos of the 00s - Fighter, Sweet Dreams (My LA Ex), Just A Little and Nothing Really Matters to name but a few. It's literally unheard of in recent years for a female group to remain successful for as long as they have without losing any of their original members - it's a great achievement and GA are undoubtedly one of the best assets of modern pop music, not just in Britain but worldwide. 95% Poptastic!
After a year and 5 months of patience, I had given up on Junior Senior ever releasing their second album in the UK, especially when I heard of them working on other projects. However, I just saw that Popjustice recently posted this video and called it their new single, so hopefully this is correct and at last the amazingness of Junior Senior (which goes far beyond Move Your Feet and Rhythm Bandits) will be known by all. And what an AMAZING video!
Even better news (well, for me) is that the album is released in Scandinavia, so I can finally track down a copy. It will be worth going just for that!
SHE DID IT! And how ironic that now my favouritest female singer in the world has taken her rightful place atop the UK charts, I am leaving the country. It is amusing and yet not. In even more exciting news, I am still the first result on "Robyn review" on Google. Look it up, then go and buy that CD if you're insane enough not to have got it already.
OK, they're not boybands in the traditional sense, but some of the music is pretty good...
Rooney - When Did Your Heart Go Missing? (Video) I never cared for Rooney in the past and all I knew of them was that they were on The OC once and have nothing to do with the English footballer, thank goodness. This song didn't particularly grab me on first listen, but every listen since I've loved it more, until now when I'm becoming slightly obsessive! I've heard that it's by far the best thing on their new album, but it's nice to hear such a jolly boy-pop song on the radio frequently. 88% Poptastic!
Scouting For Girls - She's So Lovely (Video) There really isn't a need for a band like Scouting For Girls, because there are a zillion other bands around who could have released this (Hoosiers, Rumble Strips, Hooloways etc.), but I suppose the fact that there are so many similar acts makes this a pretty safe bet for a hit, because it's obviously the sort of music people want at the moment. It's a good song but I don't turn it up when it comes on as I do with the Rooney track, and I think that sort of reaction is the best way to judge a new song a lot of the time. 67% Poptastic!
Booty Luv - Don't Mess With My Man (Video) Lucy Pearl's single from 2000 was a perfect choice to be next to get the Booty Luv r'n'b->dance treatment as it was a moderately-sized hit, the kind that a lot of people would recognise but not know the original singer of, so it soon becomes more identified with Booty Luv, but also has that sense of familiarity which gets people's attention. I don't think it's as good as the previous two singles, but maybe it's because I know the original quite well already and this doesn't change it as much, but I still think it's likely to do pretty well. The Big Brovaz girls have rescued their careers quite spectacularly! 77% Poptastic!
Passenger - Walk You Home (Video) I loved their last single and I love this one too. Passenger are just adorable in general. The lead singer does a hilarious little dance in the video, is pretty weird looking and definitely weird singing, but I love him nonetheless. There's something really heartwarming about the music and I felt it even more when I saw them live and again when I saw this video. It's a really catchy song and very easy to sing along to, so if by some bizarre circumstances I am ever forced to audition for X Factor, I will sing this. 87% Poptastic!
Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks (Video) Like many of you, I suspect, I've known this song for quite a while already, but I was surprised to realise that I'd never seen the video until today. Now I've seen it I love the song even more, because the video is just lovely. It's a cartoon but a very stylish one and typically Swedish in its cute indie tweeness. The music in Young Folks could almost be a dance song, something like Bob Sinclar but better, while the singing is typical tweepop, just like we expect from P, B & J or The Concretes, the band which the female singer here, Victoria Bergsman, originally sang with (now she performs as Taken By Tress). A lot of these tweepop songs are cute but nothing extraordinary, so the addition of danceability is what makes this an excellent song. 94% Poptastic!
Kano ft. Craig David - This Is The Girl (Video) When I heard this song and found out that it was Craig David, I realised I had totally forgotten about his comeback, only a couple of years ago. The one thing I do remember is the interview he did on Popworld which revealed his completely insanity, as he told the least funny joke ever. I can't remember what it was but the whole episode was so strange that it was perhaps my favourite Popworld interview ever, although classics such as Lemar From Afar and Ciara's random lecture cannot be forgotten. When I saw this video I said "who is that guy pretending to be Craig David?" because the guy singing his lines didn't look like the Craig I know - mainly cos he no longer has bobble-hair. The song's OK, better than usual Kano I suppose, but it is still Kano. 58% Poptastic!
1. I just realised the Shop Boyz song is "party" not "horny" like a rockstar. It doesn't make it any less painful on the ears, though. 2. The new Chemical Brothers single sounds like Will Smith meets the Avalanches! A strange combination but it makes for a great song, actually. 3. The bit of The Creeps by Freaks that goes "Now that you got it, get on the dancefloor" etc. is amazing! This song has grown on me loads to become one of my current faves.
In connection with my post the other day about Young Folks being re-released, here's an even weirder thing I found while researching the track. It's a cover of the song in German by Nena, she of 99 Luftballons and surprisingly still HUGE in Germany. The song is OK, but has nothing of the charm and individuality of the original. Apparently it's also been a hit for a Japanese female singer, but I couldn't track down that version.
Also on the theme of foreign-language music, I've recently become completely obsessed with a performance by Amy Diamond on this year's Allsang Pa Skansen (a huge summer concert in Stockholm). It is ABBA's Mamma Mia sung in Swedish and has the lyrics up on the screen, so if you, like me, are currently learning Swedish, it's the best fun way to practice. At first I stumbled over the words a bit, but now I can sing the whole thing fluently and enjoy doing so many times every day. When I meet new people in Sweden, I won't be able to tell them where I come from, but I'll be able to sing them this song, and really, what is more important?
Not for the music but for the discussion I just heard when I turned on the radio. They were saying how the female readership of Kerrang has shot up, and the reason for this is because they all started buying it when Charlie left Busted and joined a heavy metal band. Have I not been saying this for years? Busted are the root of all evil! Or at least all the problems with the current music scene. Of course there have been much worse bands in existence, and the other two seemed like nice lads, but the ethics they taught the generation of kids from my age and younger are absolutely terrible, and if we already have a music industry where using an instrument other than a guitar is so rare it's actually a novelty, how dire is it going to be in years to come when these kids are the main influence in the music media? Note to self: leave country asap (I am actually, in 2 weeks! wooo!)
A strange system of recycling seems to be taking place. I am just now listening to my beloved Radio 2 (yes, still) and the presenter announced that the next song would be the new single by Ladytron. I got excited, hoping it would be as good as Destroy Everything You Touch. The song began to play. It WAS Destroy Everything You Touch! And the very same thing happened yesterday, but on Radio 1 when Edith Bowman (please note her show wasn't my listening choice) announced her single of the week to be a new one by Peter, Bjorn and John. Ooh, I hope it's as good as Young Folks. The whistles began. They're using whistles again? Wait, this IS Young Folks. I love both these songs and they deserve to be very successful, but if we have to re-release everything just because the general public weren't tasteful enough to get on board the first time, those of us who were paying attention in 2005 and 2006 will never get anything new!
I was just listening to the latest singles chart and remembered that I 'discovered' (after a zillion Americans already had done so, but long before any Brits) Plain White Ts in February 2006! It's almost comforting to know that some things never change and PWTs are still just as rubbish as they were 18 months ago, simply a lot more successful.
Meanwhile, Robyn just had her first ever top 5 hit! Woo yay!