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Who needs guitars anyway?

Best Bits
Saturday, January 31, 2009

Top of the Poptastic!

Here are my favourite singles of January...

1. Private - Killer on the Dancefloor
2. Britney Spears - If U Seek Amy
3. Christina Milian - Us Against the World
4. Girls Aloud - The Loving Kind
5. Lily Allen - The Fear
6. N-Dubz - Strong Again
7. David Archuleta - A Little Too Not Over You
8. Flo Rida - Right Round
9. Tinchy Stryder ft. Taio Cruz - Take Me Back
10. Jada - American Cowboy
11. The Bird and the Bee - Love Letter To Japan
12. The Noisettes - Wild Young Hearts
13. Kid British - Lost In London (from Leave London EP)
14. Adiam Dymott - Miss you
15. Waldo's People - Lose Control
16. Pauline - Give Me A Call
17. They Live By Night - Ctrl+Alt+Del My Heart
18. Janet - Let Go
19. Velvet - Come Into The Night
20. John ME feat. Amanda Jenssen - Love Is My Drug
21. Ida Maria - Oh My God (UK release)
22. The New Sins - Feelings Have Changed
23. Danny - All On You
24. Corbin Bleu - Celebrate You
25. I Monster - A Sucker For Your Sound
26. The Saturdays - Issues
27. Jonna Lee - My High
28. Erin McCarley - Love, Save The Empty
29. Jupiter Rising - Falling Away
30. Alesha Dixon - Breathe Slow

International Video Challenge

Representing Germany: Queensberry - I Can't Stop Feeling
As winners of the latest German version of Popstars, this time creating a girl group, there is plenty of buzz around them at the moment, but they're naturally going to need to release some great singles to make sure that their success continues. The most successful acts from Popstars in Germany have been girlbands, No Angels and Monrose, so the oddly-named Queensbury have a lot to live up to. I was impressed with their first single, the Gabriella Cilmi-esque No Smoke, although I already knew the song from when Eva Avila (Canadian Idol winner) released it. However, the new single is a ballad, and not a terribly interesting one. They look and sound very professional, but there's nothing distinctive about them as a group. Their album won't bring much excitement either, considering most of the songs (just like the latest No Angels CD) are covers - even Clea's Sprung is included, proving the point that Queensberry are no Girls Aloud.

Representing Sweden: Adiam Dymott - Miss you
Looking for a new female rock singer to get obsessed with? Try Adiam Dymott for size! Her energetically catchy new single Miss U sounds quite similar to The Donnas, but Adiam looks more like Estelle (a heavily tattooed version!), and is label-mates with Swedish indie-pop royalty Hello Saferide, along with They Live By Night, Firefox AK and Maia Hirasawa, which suggests she won't be straying too far into the jungle of rock'n'roll. She is also working closely with Thomas Rusiak, best known and loved (by me at least) for his appearance on the fantastic Hip-Hopper by Teddybears Sthlm. He plays guitar in her band and even sings a bit on the single. Listening to the songs on her MySpace, the best is Memory Loss, which actually sounds like Annika Norlin but with less simple production. That will be worth 5 globes if she releases it. Adiam is an artist with huge potential and I'm really excited to have discovered her. I can't wait to hear her album when it's out in March.

Representing the USA: Pink - Please Don't Leave Me
Every time Pink releases a new song written by Max Martin or Dr Luke (or both), I pray that she will have 'done an Avril' and suddenly become likeable, but after 2 whole albums worth of working with them, it still hasn't happened. Her personality even seeped into So What enough to turn what could have been a fun and innovative pop song into one of the most annoying hits of 2008. At times in the video she looks quite nice, then she ruins it by pulling a stupid face! It is quite an amusing video, though, and especially good for Valentines day and all the men-hating that it necessitates. The songs is a mid-tempo jaunty-but-sad number, but it's no match for About You Now, When It All Falls Apart or even Pink's own Who Knew. The best bits are the da-di-da backing vocals, but the chorus definitely needs an injection of catchiness in order to compete with Max's many amazing pop creations.
Monday, January 26, 2009

Got a question for Dr Pop?

I am currently putting together a special new project... well, I say new, but actually it's a revival of an old one. My long-term readers will remember that I have previously put together 2 pop zines, called Poptastisk (Swedish for poptastic). Since it is one of my life aims (along with being head of Eurovision and joining BWO!) to start up my own pop magazine, regardless of how many people actually read it, I have decided to get on with it. No time like the present! There will be interviews with some super-groovy popstars (I'm planning a female electropop theme), and some fun features.

One of my ideas is a kind of letters page, where I will use my extreme knowledge of pop music to answer some queries from my readers. That's where you come in! Is there something you've always wanted to know? Perhaps you wonder what happened to a favourite act of yours, or want my opinion on a certain issue in pop. Maybe you want advice on something pop-related. Whatever it is, send in your questions to poptasticuk@hotmail.com and look out for my response in the magazine which will hopefully be available in the next few weeks.

Now I definitely need a new name for this blog

A crappy new girlgroup have announced that they have created a new genre called Dirty Pop. Erm, excuse me, but you are forgetting that the almighty *N Sync invented that genre 8 YEARS AGO! Very new indeed.
Saturday, January 24, 2009

I love Ola, but...

his performance (click fler klipp on the left to see it) at Swedish award show Rockbjörnen ("the rock bear" - no, I don't know why it's called that!) the other day was terrible. He looks awful with that hairstyle, and his vocals were pitiful. If he didn't have one of Sweden's best production teams on his side, he'd be entirely inconsequential - as he was pre-Natalie. If you want to see some real Swedish talent, look for Lisa Miskovsky's performance.

New Pop on the Block

Melody Club - Girls Don't Always Wanna Have Fun (Listen)
I started off quite underwhelmed by the new Melody Club single, but it has grown on me with more listens, as I hoped it would. It's still nowhere near their best material, but considering how brilliant Melody Club have been in the past, that's not a big criticism. The guitars and the vocals seem rockier than on their previous hits, which is naturally a step in the wrong direction in my poptastic books. The chorus is quite catchy, but I miss the sing-along synthpop of Baby, Electric, Take Me Away and all the rest. However, it could bring them new fans and they do make rock music better than 99% of actual rock bands. I'm still eagerly awaiting the new album, without a doubt.
93% Poptastic!

The Cab - Bounce (Listen)
This song has been around a few months already, but I mainly want to alert you to this band, and Bounce was their latest single. They may be a rock band, signed to a label run by one of Panic at the Disco, but the first band anyone with any sense will compare them to is *N Sync. What is most bizarre is that they seem to embrace this comparison wholeheartedly, regularly singing *N Sync songs at their concerts. Never before have I known an act to embrace a comparison to another band, particularly one that you'd expect the members to look down on, in such a way. In fact, for me it makes this band of medium quality much more interesting. Their problem is that all of their songs are quite good, but putting themself in comparison to *N Sync is in a way their downfall, cos they have never made anything as good. If they cut out the Fall Out Boy influences and went just for *N Sync style, I'd love them, but until then I'm not really on board.
72% Poptastic!
Friday, January 23, 2009

Amazing Pop Discovery #478723

I was thinking today about the early 00s pop group, VS. They annoyed me at first, because V were around at the same time and I adored V, so I didn't want people to get them confused. However, I really liked their second single, Call U Sexy, and still listen to it today. I also took a liking to one of the members, who this morning I could only remember as 'the one with braided hair'. He was cute and always seemed like the nicest member. I wondered if any of them were still in the pop business, but realised that I couldn't remember what any of them looked like, except that one had braids and was good-looking.

So, this evening I decided to have a look at some of their videos, and it turns out I was right: one of them is still in the pop business, and in fact I must have a good star-spotting radar because it was my favourite, the braided hair guy. And guess who he is? Marvin from JLS! I'd always thought he looked a bit familiar but it was so vague I thought I'd imagined it. Anyway, here's the video for VS's best song, so you can share in my nostalgia trip:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago lamenting the rubbishness of pop in 2008, but having thought about it more, I have decided that there are both positive and negative sides to the current situation. While I feel that there were not as many songs which we will consider classics in years to come (only Just Dance and No Air stand out particularly), there were absolutely loads of really good songs. Maybe not the ones I'd award a rating of over 95% poptasticness, but plenty that would get 85 or 90%.

Some great artists emerged in 2008, bringing with them great albums. I didn't discuss them much last year, because I sadly don't feel that many of my readers want to hear about this kind of music, but I loved the album by California Liar. If they make their next album without Max Martin's help, it could well be rubbish, but their debut was one of the most solid and annoyingly underrated of the year. Ladyhawke released a great album too, and acts like Girls Aloud and the Sugababes, who we are used to being fab, continued to be so. If they had been a new act, from whom I hadn't expected such greatness, I would probably be quite obsessed with them. These are only the people I can think of right now, so I'm sure I've forgotten loads. Anyway, what I really want to say here is that even though it wasn't as strong a year as the past few have been, that doesn't mean that music worth celebrating was not being released.

Another reason that I've felt negative lately is that the pop acts (particularly electro-pop) which other bloggers and critics, including those I normally agree with, are putting their hopes on for making 2009 poptastic... well, most of them just don't grab me at all. I don't like feeling like I'm trying to start a backlash against these new acts, many of whom clearly have absolutely the right aims and motives, before they've even really begun, but I can't pretend that I really care whether Frankmusik or Little Boots are successful. There, I said it! You can all delete me from your links and RSS readers now!

The one thing I always stick to with this blog is to be honest and follow my instincts, even when my opinions don't quite go with the flow. I would much rather be in love with these acts than nonplussed by them, but a musical connection is not something you can force. What I can do is find acts who I personally believe in and have high hopes for. In 2007, I adored Alphabeat, and in 2008 so did everyone else. Now I'm seeing the same happening with Lady GaGa. There aren't many better feelings than when you see something special in an act and your instincts are in time proven right. For that reason I am going to keep on searching for acts, or just songs, with that special something and sharing them here so that more people can have that brilliant feeling. In the meantime, here are my top 5 reasons to be excited about the next few months:

1. Melodifestivalen
This year's contest has the strongest line-up of singers and writers in years. The first round is 4 weeks today, with Shirley Klamp, Marie Serneholt AND Alcazar!!

2. New albums from Alcazar & Melody Club
These are two of my favourite acts of all time, so new albums from them will always be unbelievably exciting. I have absolute faith in both of them.

3. American Idol
2008 produced an adorable new popstar who went on to release one of the best singles of the year, and 2007's AI caused the existence of No Air AND Tattoo!

4. A1 Reunion
I have been informed that they will be doing some gigs in February, and if Ben does well on Big Brother they'll also get to release some singles. Brilliant!

5. New acts such as The Yeah Yous, Love Grenades & Janelle Monae
These are just the first 3 I thought of who I really want to hear more from or just see more of. Most of all I want people to see what I see in them.

Brighton's Got Talent

I've discovered the new Amy Diamond! I just didn't expect it to be a 13 year old boy from Brighton. Today I was in town and there was a boy singing by the shopping centre. I thought he was really good, so I went to his MySpace when I got home. The first song, Great Escape, came on, and I was amused to find that the intro sounded rather Amy Diamond-esque, and then the chorus got going and it was even more Amy-esque than If You Seek Amy (well, maybe not, that does have her name in the title). It had the word 'domino' in it and everything! There are 2 other songs on his MySpace which are good too, but not quite as super-ace as Great Escape. He's released an album, which you can buy on Amazon if you like him and want to support someone just starting out. I'm sure we'll be seeing him on The X Factor in a few years, if it's still going by then.
Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hilarious news about The Script

Two of the members used to be in MyTown! I wonder if anyone remembers MyTown except for me? These days it sounds more like a social network than a boyband. This is what they used to look like:

This was one of their videos:

I'm sure they'd disagree, but I think it's miles better than their music now! Aww I miss boybands.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Pop on the Block

Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You (Listen)
This single has been greatly anticipated, which is good cos it's by Dr Luke, but not so good cos he gave it to Kelly Clarkson. After her ungrateful eschewing of all things ace and Swedish on her third album (obviously not realising they were the only reason she was successful), he really shouldn't have let her have use of his pop genius, but I suppose she is going to earn him a lot more money than a more pleasant but also less famous artist would, and he deserves to be mega-rich for all the brilliant pop he has given us over the years. When I listened to this for the first time I was waiting to see which of the other Dr Luke/Max Martin acts she was emulating, so I was surprised to find she hadn't gone down the Katy or Pink route. It's most similar to The Veronicas 1st album, but less playful and more foghornesque - neither of which is at all surprising with Kelly. It's not my favourite example of Max-Rock but it's much better than I Kissed A Girl or So What, and they were big hits, so this should be too.
90% Poptastic!

Private - Killer on the Dancefloor (Watch)
I thought Private must have finished releasing singles from this next album, as it has been ages since We Got Some Breaking Up To Do was out. It's nice to have a new video from them, though, and this is a great choice for a single (although every song on the album would be an acceptable single choice). I could even imagine it being a success in the UK, as similar songs have done well, and then they could use it as a launchpad for their even more poptastic songs. This is what Michael Jackson would be doing if he was still sane. In the video, the lyrics are taken literally and Thomas Troelsen (or a man with his hairstyle in a mask) is scarier than ever before - yes, even scarier than in the Crucify My Heart. I sometimes wonder if his scariness will impede future success, but then they are such an incredible pop act I feel like they just can't go unnoticed forever. Something must come of them at some point, surely?
98% Poptastic!

White Tie Affair - Candle (Sick and Tired) (Watch)
Lady GaGa is going on a US tour, and she is taking two support acts, but bizarrely they are both rock bands! One is Chester French, who are admittedly more pop than rock, and the other is this group, White Tie Affair. Their previous single, Mr Right, had a catchy hook but the singer's voice was just too much of typical, ear-hurting emo voice. Like many current acts, they sound a bit like Under the Influence of Giants but mixed with a highly unappealing act, in this case Fall Out Boy. None of them have got anywhere near the great heights of UTIOG, who have sadly gone to the pop afterlife. Candle begins really well, sounding like something LFO would have done, but then it gets into a proper rock song and loses all its charm. It has to be the most disappointing song I've heard in quite a while.
33% Poptastic! (for the nice first 1/3)
Monday, January 12, 2009

The Next Big Thing: an A to Z of 2009 - Part 8

Finally, we have reached the end of my A-Z! Although actually it's only an A-Y. Do you feel cheated?

The Sound of Arrows
The new... Le Sport
I, like many others in the pop blogging community, fell in love with this band just from watching a few seconds of their wonderful new video. The song is lovely anyway (although there are many better similar ones), but a super-ace video always makes a song seem extra special. It's just so joyous - it has unicorns (my favourite animal) and skipping and fireworks and all sorts of other acetastic things. The video has certainly gained them some notoriety, but now they've got to follow it up with lots of good songs if they want to become more than a one hit wonder. In Sweden, they have strong competition from acts such as Lo-Fi-Fnk, Pacific! and Montt Mardie, but none of those are really well known internationally, so they will seem more unique to newcomers to the Swedish electro-pop sound. Anyway, they're Swedish, they like unicorns, and they sound like the Pet Shop Boys mixed with Justice and I'm From Barcelona. The chances are undoubtedly high for future aceness.
Poptasticness: 76% Hit potential: 65%

VV Brown
The new... Vanessa Brown (well, you can't disagree!)
I loved VV Brown when she released her ace single Whipped under her full name of Vanessa Brown a few years ago. It was a song that seemed like it could be a huge hit, but nobody noticed, and I think (much like I fear will happen to Silhouettes if they release Surrender) that it was just not the right song to start off a career. Great for an established artist, but a bit too ambitious perhaps for a new one. It was so polished and perfect already that it just seemed unnatural, and I'm sure many people would have got the idea, like I did, that she was being presented to us on a plate as the next big thing, and people don't always go for that because it does make you feel manipulated. Crying Blood is much more like the kind of song that a new artist should release first, and I think it has a good chance of success, although I don't feel super-confident that she'll be the star of the year. I think she'll be a sort of middling success and we'll end the year wondering if she'll get to do another album. That's my prediction, anyway. Let's see if I'm right!
Poptasticness: 83% Hit potential: 55%

White Lies
The new... The Bravery
It's fantastic how few of the acts in this year's 'ones to watch' lists are traditional man bands with guitars and drums and all that rubbish. The only such act that's popped up particularly regularly is White Lies, and they're not too bad. Their new single is really good, actually. I first heard some hype around them last spring and took a liking to some of their MySpace songs, missed them at The Great Escape, and then forgot about them until recently. The hype was there, but the album wasn't, so they went off to record it and returned, probably not coincidentally, just in time to be everyone's easy pick for a one to watch this month. I haven't heard such an anthemic chorus in an indie-rock song in ages, and I remember now how brilliant and cathartic it can be to sing along with these songs. On the radio they were being compared to The Bravery in a derogatory way, but I absolute loved Honest Mistake, and Unconditional wasn't bad either, so I really don't mind having another Bravery around.
Poptasticness: 69% Hit potential: 88%

The Yeah Yous
The new... The Feeling
One of my most recent discoveries, and one of the acts I'm most looking forward to hearing more from in 2009. They're really, really obscure, but they have a major label deal and they may have only put one song up on their MySpace so far, but it's catchy enough to get stuck in my head most of the last week. They are a male duo, mid to late 20s at a guess from the small photos, and they're clearly aiming for the jolly retro man band genre created by The Feeling. I haven't been too impressed with The Feeling lately, and I used to love them, so it's great to have a new act doing something similar. Lets hope their aceness lasts a bit longer! Considering they are so unknown that I was actually the first person ever to listen to them on Last FM (I don't think I've ever given a band a Last FM profile before either), it's obviously not a safe bet, but I do think they have brilliant potential and I personally will support them all the way (as long as they don't go rubbish). It's so nice to find a new British band to support! It has been a while.
Poptasticness: 96% Hit potential: 37%

The end! It has been a long journey from A to Y, but enjoyable and very interesting for me, not just to get into some new music, but also to think about where music is going in 2009, and what kind of acts can fit into the pop industry as it is today. I always note patterns, and then a year later they'll be extinct, and that's what's exciting, although frustrating, about being invested in pop music as wholeheartedly as I am. You never know what is going to happen, and while there's often sadness when an act you love doesn't get the breaks they deserve, it's easy to console yourself with the next brilliant new artist. Even in times of low poptasticness, if you know where to look and have the energy to do it, you will find amazing new music. I haven't found my next Alphabeat or Lady GaGa yet, but maybe I've found a few Velvets or Those Dancing Days. Here's hoping!
Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Next Big Thing: an A to Z of 2009 - Part 7

Rosanna Munter
The new... Linda Sundblad
Rosanna was one of the members of Play, a Swedish girlgroup who always annoyed me because they basically took singles by UK acts (Billie, Atomic Kitten and Liberty X) and released them in America, where the UK acts had not been successful. Thinking about it now, those songs were probably written by Swedish people anyway so it's not really worth holding a grudge. Therefore, I'm approaching Rosanna's music with an open mind... and it's pretty good! She is going for a more Robyn-ish style than conventional Swedish pop, and already has some nice songs on her MySpace. I like Game Boy the most but Heart Attack and Flashing Lights are ace too. I'm not sure if there's room for another artist so vocally similar to Robyn and Linda, but if we have to have a new artist who sounds like an old one, then I definitely don't mind it being Robyn or Linda. Let's just hope someone tells her to ditch the surname - she definitely won't get any UK success with that one!
Poptasticness: 83% Hit potential: 55%

The new... Christina Milian
Has Rihanna started a trend of clothes and accessories themed songs with US female r'n'b artists? First Umbrella, then Sneakers, and now T-Shirt! Fergie and the Pussycat Dolls are probably racing as we speak to be the first to bring out a song called Underwear, and the Bangles are undoubtedly plotting a comeback. But back to Shontelle: I became a fan of the song T-Shirt when I first heard it last August, but I forgot all about it until recently when it has become a hit in America and is getting attention over here too. If you like songs like Irreplaceable and Tattoo you'll definitely like T-Shirt as it's very clearly made in that template, but it's a great template to choose. The chorus could be stronger, but as a whole the song has a nice vibe and Shontelle comes across as a sweet young popstar. There's nothing revolutionary about the music Shontelle is making, but it's enjoyable nonetheless, and all of the songs on her MySpace are as good as T-Shirt.
Poptasticness: 79% Hit potential: 82%

Sky Larkin
The new... Howling Bells
One of my favourite indie-pop songs of last year was I Was A Teenage Handmodel by Sky Larkin, a lovely quirky song with a super-catchy ooh-ooh section. Their debut album, The Golden Spike, is about to be released, so we could well be at a turning point with this group. If all goes well and the album gets good reviews, as I have little doubt that it will, then they are likely to become one of the indie know-it-alls' must-love acts in the coming months. They're already quite popular in Europe, and since Handmodel hasn't actually been released as a single yet, I reckon it could be one of the underground hits of 2009. I wish them luck anyway, and hope to hear some more ace songs from them in the future, as Handmodel is the only one that really grabs me so far. The others on their MySpace are fairly good, but they just don't have that special something which Handmodel definitely does have.
Poptasticness: 68% Hit potential: 56%

The new... The Honeyz
This new girl group are clearly very early in the makings, but they've already had a bit of press from Popjustice, and other pop blogs have caught on. Their style is a halfway point between the Sugababes and Amy Winehouse, a retro r'n'b girlgroup with strong vocals and classic-sounding songs. Surrender is a really good pop song, but it's not the kind of song to turn an unknown act into pop royalty. If the Sugababes released it, it would be a hit, but for a first single they'll need something really super-special, because talent alone is sadly not enough. Still, forgetting about selling records for a minute, I do like their sound a lot and I will be keeping an eye on their MySpace to hear what else they come up with. It's nice to have a new girlgroup where all of the members are good singers, and with influences such as The Ronettes and Darlene Love. Also, for those of you who miss 90s-style r'n'b or just were a fan of Eternal, definitely give Hold You Tonight a listen.
Poptasticness: 90% Hit potential: 57%

New Pop on the Block

Erin McCarley - Blue Suitcase (Watch)
When I read that Erin was a "sultry singer-songwriter", I wasn't expecting much, but I keep hearing her name mentioned lately so I decided I must check her out. I'm glad I did, cos Blue Suitcase is really good. If I'd known of her earlier I certainly would have included her in my Next Big Thing feature. I'm not sure if this will definitely be the next single, but an acoustic performance video has been released. She's got a lovely voice, and lovely songs to match - nothing spectacular or innovative, but certainly the kind of thing that will catch on without any difficulty. I think she could definitely be the Sara Bareilles of 2009.
82% Poptastic!

Jupiter Rising - Falling Away (Listen)
Their 2007 single Electropop is one of the most underrated singles of the past few years. It's utterly brilliant. In March they will release a new album, and Falling Away is the lead single. I must say it's not quite as ace Electropop, but the chorus is good, and the parts sung by the girl singer are the definite highlights. I really like Jupiter Rising because they are a different set-up (girl singer and male rapper), and although their sound is a mix of r'n'b and electro-pop, they do it in a way that puts poptasticness first. If Taio Cruz and Luciana were a duo all the time, then they would be constantly compared to Jupiter Rising.
85% Poptastic!
Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Next Big Thing: an A to Z of 2009 - Part 6

The new... Fefe Dobson
Mixi is an interesting new act, because it's so hard to place her. Vocally she is similar to Amy Winehouse, but the rockier element to her music separates Mixi from the hoardes of Amy wannabes around at the moment. Her debut single I Miss Those Days (Ghost) is excellent - really catchy and sellable, but at the same time she represents something a bit different to what's already out there. I think the single could be a big hit in America (although I know she was on a rock reality show so I'm not sure if that will help or not), and possibly here too. However, she could also become one of those acts who, thanks to America's hugeness, has a big enough following to carry on as long as she likes, but never really troubles the top 10. She'll definitely strike a chord with teenage girls, but it's possible that she's a little too quirky for mainstream radio and not edgy enough for alternative stations, so finding a place for her in the market may be tough. Still, there is something special here, and I look forward to seeing what happens.
Poptasticness: 84% Hit potential: 45%

The New Sins
The new... Dead Disco
If you're tired already of Little Boots and La Roux, here's another female electro-pop act to get into, but this time it's a girl group. The electro girl group is quite a rare set-up. The only British ones springing to mind are Dead Disco (now extra-dead), the RGBs and Robots in Disguise, and none of them have been huge successes. However, I think The New Sins might fare a bit better. Their new single Feelings Have Changed is very very good, and they're building up a strong following already. Their look is really sophisticated and glamorous, the video is super-sleek and generally everything about them is very cool and 'now'. Could it even be too cool? That can alienate people sometimes. I think they're great anyway, both in sound and look, and I'm sure they will be worth keeping an eye on in the next few months.
Poptasticness: 79% Hit potential: 54%

Passion Pit
The new... Avalanches
There aren't many 'ones to watch' lists which haven't mentioned Passion Pit, and it's not surprising, as they're part of this (somewhat unexpected, I must admit) electro revival that everybody seems to heralding at the moment. It's exciting because I love electropop, and hopefully the trend will help some of the ace electro acts who I've been supporting for years already, but bands like Passion Pit, MGMT and Empire of the Sun don't really capture me in the same way as someone like Annie or Bertine Zetlitz or even Little Boots does. Then again, it's certainly preferable to another influx of unimaginative guitar acts. Passion Pit aren't too bad, but I won't be buying their album either. What I find quite telling about them is that their music is creative and fun compared to other man bands, but they look so boring in photos! At least Empire of the Sun and MGMT bother to keep up the charade of being genuinely groovy.
Poptasticness: 60% Hit potential: 82%

Pixie Lott
The new... Natasha Bedingfield
I've mentioned her so many times already, but I really do believe that Pixie could be one of the biggest UK stars by the end of 2009. However, if it doesn't work out there'll be some very angry record execs cos they've obviously been spending a lot of money on her. It will be interesting to see whether, when she does release her debut single, it is one of the songs she's put on MySpace already or a brand new one. This should let us know whether there is anything better than them on her album, or if her poptasticness peaked with Moma Do, Boys and Girls and The Fall. I think The Fall will definitely be a single at some point, because it's brilliant, but they need to hurry up and get on with her career or all her songs will seem dated by the time they get released! She's also getting older, and it will naturally seem more impressive if she can be marketed as a girl who would normally be still at school. Let's have the album in 2009, not 2029, please!
Poptasticness: 97% Hit potential: 88%
Friday, January 09, 2009

The Next Big Thing: an A to Z of 2009 - Part 5

Love Grenades
The new... Dragonette
I can't say I've discovered anyone yet in my search for the next big thing who made me stop and think "this could be my new favourite band", but I have found a few acts I'd at least like to hear an album by, and Love Grenades are one of them. They are female vocalist Liz Wright and guitarist Corey Hunter Gatherer (probably not his real name). They're friends with Sam Sparro, but don't worry: they've already got 4 more good songs than he's released. Tigers in the Fire does sound very much like a Lemar song, but the Lemar song in question is a zillion times better than any of his others, so that's not a bad thing at all. I can't see Love Grenades becoming big stars, even in these days of electro-pop madness, but I think Popjustice readers who loved acts like Dragonette and Stefy will be hugely impressed by Love Grenades.
Poptasticness: 90% Hit potential: 43%

Marina & the Diamonds
The new... Kate Bush
Although she is similar to acts I love such as Bat For Lashes and Florence and the Machine, and clearly influenced by the wonderful Kate Bush, I wasn't totally won over by Marina at first. However, listening again to Obsessions today, I think it's rather lovely. It's certainly in the top 10 of songs I've discovered during my search for the next big thing, and I think a lot of my readers will enjoy it as well. The video is quite interesting, although slow to get going, and makes Marina seem like she'd be a nice person. Mowgli's Road is a bit madder, but in a fun way. I feel like her quirkiness is much more genuine than La Roux, and I like that. She's on the label Neon Gold, who are working with several of the hot new acts of the moment, such as Passion Pit and the brilliant Gotye, who I really hope will re-release Learnalilgivinanlovin this year. As for Marina, I hope to be buying her album this year, and to see her at a festival would be ace too.
Poptasticness: 92% Hit potential: 54%

Metro Station
The new... Fall Out Boy
This band have confused me from the outset. At first I thought lead singer Trace was Miley Cyrus' younger brother, and therefore about 12, so I presumed the whole thing was a joke with no future a la Lil Chris. However, he turns out to be her older brother, age 19, and his band are a kind of American emo version of Busted. Unfortunately for Trace (and even more so for anyone who makes the mistake of watching their videos), he is terribly ugly. I did momentarily admire the symmetry of his moles, until I realised they were ridiculous facial piercings. They do have one catchy song (Shake It), but have decided instead to release the crap one (Control) first in the UK. I pray that Control will be such a flop that we won't hear anything more of them, but I fear that instead their knowledge that they have a good song to release next will make them persist with the UK campaign whether or not Control is successful. It's going to be a sad few months for those of us who remember when good looks were the main pre-requisite of joining a boyband.
Poptasticness: 34% Hit potential: 78%

The Micropops
The new... Alphabeat
Although The Micropops are Norwegian, they're more in keeping with the Swedish indie style, and the singer's voice often reminds me of Ola Salo from The Ark. They seem really sweet and jolly in their photos, and the music reflects that. I can't see them having any major international success, but as far as the next big indie-pop act from Scandinavia, they stand a good chance. Their adorable album cover will certainly encourage a few people to buy it - they look like so much fun! I think Moonlight is the best song they've done so far (the catchiest at least), but Vertigo is nice as well. Fans of Alphabeat and I'm From Barcelona should definitely give The Micropops a go. Håkon Njøten, the lead singer, came third on Idol in Norway the year that Kjartan won and Margaret Berger came second, so that shows he is not afraid of pop music, and hopefully will make lots of ace pop in the future.
Poptasticness: 78% Hit potential: 33%

Oops, oh my!

I jumped on the bandwagon and set up an account on Twitter. You can see my updates in the top right corner, or click here to become a follower of me (I feel like I'm startng a cult now!) if you have a Twitter account. I'll probably add you back too, unless your tweets are really boring!
Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Next Big Thing: an A to Z of 2009 - Part 4

Kid British
The new... Ordinary Boys
This Manchester band are not my usual cup of tea but I discovered that I rather like their song Lost In London when I heard it on the radio. They live up to their name by displaying a typically British attitude in their lyrics and interviews, but at the same time I think the singer sounds a lot like the guy from Under the Influence of Giants in the line "I'm just tryna find my way arouu-und" in Lost In London. I am sure that Kid British will soon be regarded in the same way as The Ordinary Boys, Hard Fi and similar British lad acts (the singer has already been seen in a white polo shirt), and Lost In London will undoubtedly be a hit at some point, so I'm going to have to enjoy it now as much as I can before it gets pinched away by those pesky young lads.
Poptasticness: 73% Hit potential: 82%

Lady GaGa
The new... Gwen Stefani
When I wrote this list, Lady GaGa was a nobody in the UK. She had not even had a Top 40 hit. Now, as I write this, Just Dance is on course to become this week's no.1 single! I couldn't be more proud - finally, the UK have got themselves a brain between them, and figured out that 2008's best single deserves to be a no.1, even if it is in 2009. It's a great start to the year, so I'm hoping it's a signal of what's to come. Making this list hasn't, admittedly, helped me discover all that many really great new pop acts, but perhaps what has happened with Lady GaGa will also happen to others of my favourite foreign acts, and they will at last take their deserved places atop the UK charts. Well, a bit of optimism to start the year never goes amiss, does it?
Poptasticness: 98% Hit potential: 100%

La Roux
The new... Bertine Zetlitz (well, if Little Boots is the British Annie)
When my mum saw the Quicksand video on TV the other day, she said "is that the new Doctor Who?" She can hardly be blamed for being confused - they both look like boys with silly haircuts after all. Watching Elly's video on BBC Sound of 2009 on Monday, I was quite disappointed. She seemed so cool and elegant in photos, but in reality she is really young and talks quite annoyingly, as well as appearing to have got her clothes from a dressing up box. I didn't totally hate her, but at the same time my perception of her definitely changed. She name-checked David Bowie in the video, and I can see that she's trying to be a quirky, unique popstar as he was, but unfortunately it doesn't appear genuine. She could just be one of my younger sister's friends (although she's actually almost my age) who'd taken a liking to 80s electro. Quicksand's a pretty good song, but the others on their MySpace are not particularly interesting. It's no surprise, though, when the other member of the duo is known for his work with Faithless and Kubb. Hmm, what credentials!
Poptasticness: 74% Hit potential: 77%

Little Boots
The new... Annie
This young lady has not yet been mentioned in the BBC's Sound of 2009 poll. We know she is in the top 15, and numbers 5 to 2 have been announced so far. Tomorrow the no.1 will be revealed, and considering the success of recent winners, we will then know for sure the fate of Miss Boots. When I first heard her brilliant song Meddle last summer, I planned to post it on Into The Groove, but I forgot, so I haven't pointed out yet how great it is. I'll do it now: It's great! I can definitely imagine it being a hit, and if Stuck On Repeat is all you've heard so far then give Meddle a listen cos it's far more poptastic. I haven't heard anything else as good from her yet, but she is working with Richard X on new material, so if his work with similar act Annie is anything to go by, we should have some ace pop music in store from Little Boots. Yay!
Poptasticness: 86% Hit potential: 88%

Excellent News!

E-Type is signed to British label AATW (you can call them a 'chav' label all you like, they're doing so well they won't care) and True Believer, one of my top singles of 2007, will be released properly very soon. It's been on Clubland TV's playlist for ages but finally seems to be picking up speed. Fingers crossed it will 'do a Lady GaGa' and at last gain the success I know it can have. Another hit for Max Martin as well! I bet not many people wasting their £s on Pink and Katy Perry would believe that their songs were written by the guy behind True Believer. Wait... so Pink and Katy don't actually have any talent of their own? Who'd have thought it!

The other similarly great piece of news is that September's next single has finally been chosen, and thank the lord it is not some rubbish new song but Can't Get Over! I would have gone for either that or Satellites, so I'm pleased. Now she will have a great shot at being more than a one hit wonder - the new Cascada at least!

I heard about both September and E-Type's news from the Scandipop blog, which I recently began to read as I realised that in fact it was not some meanie stealing the pseudonym of Scandipop from the Popjustice boards in the olden days, but actually the good old Scandipop himself! It's a very informative blog, although a little too promotey at times, but I do think it's a shame that Swedish pop music blogs are so segregated these days. We have sites like Scandipop for the cheesy pop and dance and the Melodifestivalen info, and then there are those like It's A Trap providing news on all the indie-pop acts like Hello Saferide and Marit Bergman. While both kinds are great, I do miss the days of Sounds of Sweden where we could hear about the best of both sides of Svenskpop all in one place! It certainly does take much more effort to keep up these days.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Next Big Thing: an A to Z of 2009 - Part 3

Florence and the Machine
The new... Bat For Lashes
She came third in the BBC Sound of 2009 poll, and it makes sense. Florence released a brilliant single last summer, and followed it up with another pretty good one a few months ago, but so far she hasn't quite had the hype to get her into the top ten. Now she's getting it, and no doubt success will be quickly coming her way. She is very similar to Bat For Lashes (although a bit more colourful) and it will be interesting to see, since Natasha is making her return to the music scene imminently, which of the two will be most successful. Is there room for two neo-Kate Bushes? And then there's Marina and the Diamonds as well... she's got no hope! Anyway, Florence is a lovely young girl and I will definitely be buying her album when it comes out.
Poptasticness: 88% Hit potential: 90%

Gary Go
The new... Ross Copperman (but without the good songs)
The problem with Gary Go is that he quite unavoidably BORING. He is a new singer-songwriter, but has already had experience writing for other acts. He was even part of the team who wrote the songs for Britannia High. Perhaps he was the reason for their failure! He looks geeky, but not in a cute or stylish way. He is the archetypal songwriter thinking his songwriting ability (which can't be that great - surely you would save some good songs for yourself?) entitles him to become a popstar, and he will soon find out that he is wrong. This music is not terrible, and far less annoying than acts like The Fratellis, Wombats and Scouting for Girls. It's possible that he could release one or two great songs as Ross Copperman managed (not that anyone noticed), but he hasn't done it yet.
Poptasticness: 40% Hit potential: 35%

Janelle Monáe
The new... Outkast
I've been following Janelle for quite a while now, and I really hope that she will break through in 2009. She has been mentioned on several 'ones to watch' lists, but I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't happen. I discovered her song Violet Stars Happy Hunting back in April and immedately posted it up on Into The Groove, but unfortunately she decided to release a different song as her next single, and subsequently I quite forgot about her. She's such an original popstar, totally different to the other r'n'b acts at the moment. She brings a pinch of soul which makes her sound like an authetic 60s star, and a poptastic electro slant, resulting in a unique style more innovative than any of her contemporaries: a superstar in waiting. Surely this will be recognised in time - she is too special to go unnoticed.
Poptasticness: 94% Hit potential: 72%

The Jessie Rose Trip
The new... Amy Winehouse
I don't know much about this act yet, and to predict them to be the next big thing would be quite a long shot. However, there's a really great vibe about their music and I think others will find it similarly appealing. They could be grouped with pop-soul acts like Duffy and Gabriella Cilmi, but (as much as I am loathe to support rocky sounds) the addition of a 'proper' band makes the music sound a bit more rough and real, which really works for them. The singer conveys a great, feisty attitude in her voice and lyrics. I don't know if there's potential for a really big success story here, but I'll definitely be following them with interest in the future. It's Just Soul could be a hit, and I reckon they'd have good airplay if they could get noticed a bit more, because the style would fit on Radio 1 and Radio 2, even maybe local radio.
Poptasticness: 81% Hit potential: 42%

The latest US hip-hopper to go Euro-pop

It's Flo Rida! His new single is poppier than the music most actual pop acts are making these days. It's not bad either, better than the Akon, Ne-Yo, TI or Kanye attempts. The singer sounds like her out of Infernal! This has to be the most unexpected trend of the century, but if boring, ugly rap music is now going to be replaced with jolly jaunts like this, I'm all for it.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Next Big Thing: an A to Z of 2009 - Part 2

Daniel Merriweather
The new... Gavin, Paolo and Jamie
This 26-year-old Australian has already had two big hits, so he'll certainly get some attention for his solo work, but he isn't necessarily guaranteed hits. He has to make good songs first. His new solo single, Change, is not too bad but personally I was more impressed by the soulful and melodic Cigarettes. It reminds me of two great singers, Jamie Lidell and Gavin Degraw, and one slightly less great, Paolo Nutini. In fact, Cigarettes is pretty much a progression from Gavin to Paolo to Jamie. Hopefully it will be his next single. Those who like The Script will enjoy Daniel's music, although his soulful sound feels a bit more genuine to me (even if he is Australian!).
Poptasticness: 78% Hit potential: 82%

Emmy the Great
The new... Laura Marling
She's not exactly a new act, but I think Emmy could make her breakthrough in the next few months, at least with the indie crowd. Her debut album, First Love, is released on the 2nd of February, and she also appears on one of the singles from the new Norman Cook project, The BPA (standing for Brighton Port Authority), although it's hard to tell what's going on with that at the moment. I loved her 2007 single Gabriel and the slightly Pipettes-esque recent release We Almost Had a Baby. Emmy has a lovely voice and some very nice songs, so I think her album will be quite successful.
Poptasticness: 86% Hit potential: 74%

Empire of the Sun
The new... Cut Copy/PNAO/Presets etc.
I was first intrigued by this group because one of them was from Nick Littlemore from PNAU, who made the brilliant Embrace featuring Ladyhawke. In fact, I just learned that Nick was in a band with Ladyhawke before as well. After years of producing only crap rock bands and unimpressive pop princesses, Australia is definitely the cool place for electro-indie these days. Cut Copy and The Presets have been popular for a few years, and now Empire of the Sun are getting mentions in every 'ones to watch' list. I do like their creative, colourful image, and the catchy new single is nice to listen to, but I don't find myself playing it again and again. It's inoffensive, but I wouldn't say it's special. Australia may be producing some popular electro acts, but Scandinavia continues to produce much better ones.
Poptasticness: 79% Hit potential: 84%

The new... Hot Chip
This group were apparently one of the most talked about acts at last year's In The City festival in Manchester, so it seems they definitely have the potential to gain critical acclaim. Whether they can transform that into sales is another thing, particularly when there are so many other electro acts coming out at the moment. We're utterly inundated, and I wish I could be more enthusiastic. Much of my favourite music is in the electro-pop genre, but to be quite honest none of these new acts are good enough. Fenech-Soler could do well as they appear to be something of an electro boyband, but sadly they don't sound all that much like Phixx or even Avenue, and they're not actually all that good-looking either. They state Phoenix as an influence, and they are quite similar, but there's no Run or Everything is Everything yet.
Poptasticness: 53% Hit potential: 43%

Poptastic News Round-Up!

1. Pixie has posted up the latest installment of her YouTube video diary, and it's a performance of a new song which sounds really good. It's called Hallucination and you can listen to it here. Pixie is definitely going to be big in 2009.

2. I just discovered that the new N-Dubz single is written by the same guy who did Broken Strings and the highly underrated World Filled With Love by Craig David. Although this is quite exciting because it means I have a new songwriter, Fraser T. Smith, to look out for new work from, but it's also a bit sad cos I was so impressed by such a cheap and tacky group coming up with such as great pop song. Oh well...

3. Velvet is soon to have a crack at the UK, and her management have chosen her single very wisely - it's Chemistry! This was the first song that made me think Velvet was a properly good popstar, as her first few singles were covers, and then I went back and listened again to Fix Me and realised it was also brilliant. Good luck Velvet!

4. Fans of Lady GaGa should have a listen to Swedish rapper Markoolio's new single, The Markoolio Anthem. You may find it interesting!
Monday, January 05, 2009

Popping the Question: Has pop gone poo?

I am supposed to be writing an essay (8000 words to write over the holidays and so far I've done none. Eek!), but all of the posting on Dirrrty Pop I've done lately has got me thinking about the state of pop music today. Compiling my top 100, I felt that while in previous years I had many songs deserving to be no.1, this year it was difficult to decide if anything deserved it. I considered each of my top 5 songs as the no.1, thinking about how I'd feel when I look back in years to come at what I'd chosen as 2008's best pop song.

The fact that Just Dance still sounds brilliant 8 months after I first heard it is proof that it is the best song of the year, but I really didn't expect it to be the only real contender. I kept waiting for its competition to be released, and it never came. Every song in my top 100 is genuinely great, but consider 2007's top 3:

1. Rihanna ft. Jay-Z - Umbrella
2. Kleerup ft. Robyn - With Every Heartbeat
3. Alphabeat - 10,000 Nights of Thunder

Any of those would have beaten Lady GaGa, and the rest of the top 5 would have put up a fight as well. The whole top 10 is a list of absolute pop classics, and I think only Just Dance and No Air will be remembered as the pure pop classics of 2008.

So, now I've come to the conclusion that 2008 was not a great year for pop, let's look to 2009. What am I excited about? Well, I can't really think of anything. I'm glad that Lady GaGa is becoming successful, but we've had her album for ages so there's not much to look forward to with her. The Alcazar album will hopefully be ace, and this year's Melodifestivalen will certainly provide some fantastic pop, but that's just Sweden - they're always going to be making good stuff.

What about the rest of the world, namely the mega-markets of the UK and America? The only British act I'm excited about is The Pipettes, and I haven't even heard anything from them in ages. It was in June I saw them do their new songs, and not even a single has been released yet. Anna has apparently left so things aren't looking positive. As for America, I'm hoping for some more great r'n'b-pop after the recent vast improvements in this genre, but I can't think of any particular act who I'm looking forward to new music from.

There are of course plenty of pop bands who are being tipped for the top in 2009, but most of them are electro-pop acts and unfortunately none of them have quite got the poptasticness I'm looking for. Little Boots impressed me with Meddle, but nothing else I've heard by her is as catchy. Frankmusik may be popular, but his unusual sound will only be a fad, if that. La Roux is interesting, but again I feel like my attitude to her, and many of the other acts, will more closely reflect how I feel about Goldfrapp or Ladytron than Annie or Bertine Zetlitz. I suppose they are just not Norwegian enough. But more importantly, they are too cool, and their efforts to retain that coolness by not making all-out pop songs are preventing them from being any more than 'quite good'.

I want my faith in pop to be restored, and it will only take a few really amazing songs or albums to do it. If you know of any, please let me in on the secret!
Sunday, January 04, 2009


The UK obsession with Lady GaGa, which I have been patiently awaiting for almost a year now, has begun. She shot right up the charts to no.3 this week, only selling less than Alexandra and Leona. Obviously the British public have been listening to me, since I chose the song as my top single of 2008 just the other day. Can she overtake them next week, or will Just Dance be one of those almost no.1s that was edged out by bad timing? I look forward to finding out.

New Pop on the Block

N-Dubz - Strong Again (Watch)
It seems that N-Dubz have looked to the past for their new single, but bizarrely they only got as far as the early 00s and their time machine took them to Germany by accident. However, Strong Again is without doubt their most poptastic song yet. Well, it is actually their first poptastic song, but it's a great new direction for them if they want to win me over. I'm not sure if the fans who love their usual bassline style will be so impressed, although I doubt many of them are familiar with Sarah Connor, so they may just see it as a brave new direction... or selling out. I think it could be a hit, anyway. Perhaps they'll become the British Black Eyed Peas?
79% Poptastic!

Alcazar - Burning (Clip)
Yay! Alcazar are finally releasing the third single from their comeback album (and soon the album itself), and it's the best one by nu-Alcazar yet. The sound is a bit more BWO-esque than usual, with Andreas taking the lead throughout. There's nothing really new here but it's exactly what we expect of Alcazar and I can't see why any Alcazar fan could dislike it. Whether they still have the popularity in Sweden to reach no.1, as they often did as a 4-piece, we'll just have to wait and see. You can watch a bit of their first performance of Burning at GAY here, and enjoy the fabulous dance routine. It is apparently going to be an international single but I'm not sure if there's much room for a song like this in the UK charts, unfortunately, although it would be nice to see them back on TV.
95% Poptastic!

The Next Big Thing: an A to Z of 2009 - Part 1

I always find it difficult to decide who to include in my yearly predictions list, as there are some acts who will obviously be huge, some very unlikely to be, but many more who could just as easily be megastars or total flops. Therefore I have decided to make a list of every act I can think of who either I think has a good chance of success, or others have been tipping for it, and give my verdict on every one of them. The list got rather long, so I'm going to give you 4 a day for the next week or so. Enjoy discovering some great new pop, and let's hope that only the ones who deserve it will be the success stories of 2009!

Alexandra Burke
The new... Leona Lewis
It's undoubtable that Alex will see success in 2009, but the real question is how much. She has the potential to be as big as Leona, and it would be brilliant to see two talented British girls ruling the charts worldwide, but it will only happen if she gets at least one song as good as Bleeding Love. Unfortunately, those are not very common at all, but Simon Cowell and pals can afford to buy whatever is the best r'n'b song written in 2009, and they MUST buy it. It is also important that she has a mixture of upbeat songs and ballads, to show how she is different to Leona. Fingers crossed for a song with RedOne!
Poptasticness: Depends what she does next! Hit potential: 96%

Alex Roots
The new... Ashlee Simpson
Another Alex, but I'll be incredibly shocked if this one does better than the Burke variety in 2009. Unfortunately it seems that she's not the sharpest tool in the box either, as she thinks that being the New Artist of the Day for The Guardian means she was actually in the paper. If she bothered to look up her own media coverage she'd know it's an online feature! Some of her songs are quite fun and catchy, but just not good enough in my opinion. The world doesn't need a British answer to Ashlee Simpson.
Poptasticness: 73% Hit potential: 34%

Boy Crisis
The new... Chromeo
I've known about this group for a while, and I must say they've grown on me since I watched their videos and got a better idea of what they're all about. They're friends of MGMT but mix their indie-electro sound with r'n'b rather than rock, although the two acts share a colourful and quirky style of dressing. I think Boy Crisis will be one of the big names on the hipster blogging scene this year, but I don't think they'll be topping the charts, although taking part in this year's Wonky Pop national tour might help them along, as well as a London show with Passion Pit and Black Kids in February. Personally I'm looking forward to seeing what their stage show is like when they come to my local indie-pop venue in March.
Poptasticness: 78% Hit potential: 46%

Dan Black
The new... Calvin Harris (but good!)
Joining Boy Crisis and Master Shortie on the Wonky Pop tour is Dan Black, another urban electro (this genre needs a name asap!) act who is getting lots of mentions on the trend-setting music blogs. I was already well-acquainted with him after years of being a fan of his band The Servant, who were British but for some reason only popular in France and Italy. Before he'd even released a single as a solo act, he was getting more attention than he ever had with the band, and as I know he has potential for writing great songs I believe he has a pretty good chance of success in the coming year. His super-ace videos should help him along as well, and he's not afraid of wearing leopard print and white jeans, so I'm thinking he's plenty extraverted enough to be a star.
Poptasticness: 87% Hit potential: 72%
Saturday, January 03, 2009

Message to Nicola Ward

Don't you think it's time to give up now? Andrew Lloyd Webber doesn't want you, and neither do we!

The Eurovision Excitement Begins Here!

With the UK’s Eurovision selection show beginning tonight, I’ve been looking into who may be their competition. As I’ve mentioned, the Swedish finals are set to be utterly brilliant this year as many of my favourite acts are competing. Also of interest is Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix, which this year features the brilliant (and crazy) electro-rock-pop group Surferosa. They may never recreate the fantastic madness of their early album track German Socks, but with the poppiness necessary for a successful Eurovision entry, I think this could well be their best song yet. Another interesting entrant is Velvet, but apparently this is not our beloved Swedish dance-popper but a girl group trying to steal her name. Tone Damli Aaberge is another well known contestant (came 2nd in Idol 2005), so if she has a good song she's probably in with a good chance.

Other names I recognised on my Wikipedia travels were Waldo's People (Finland), Sakis Rouvas (Greece), Hadise (Turkey), System of a Down (Armenia) and France are promising another big name after the positive reception for Sébastien Tellier last year. If you're into betting I'd recommend putting a small one on Armenia, as they could easily 'do a Lordi' if SoaD are confirmed as their entrant. Although that has been done once already, they are much more famous than Lordi (with many ignorant fans who would like to mess up Eurovision) and Armenia usually gets lots of points from its neighbours anyway. Then again, their song will probably not be a pop song in disguise as Lordi's was, so they are unlikely to pick up many votes from people who actually like Eurovision and its typical musical styles. It should be an interesting year, anyway!

The 100 Most Poptastic Singles of 2008!

1. Lady GaGa ft. Colby O'Donis & Akon - Just Dance
2. BWO - Lay Your Love On Me
3. David Archuleta - Crush
4. Alphabeat - Boyfriend
5. Jordin Sparks ft. Chris Brown - No Air
6. Jordin Sparks - Tattoo (Jason Nevins Radio Edit)
7. Amy Diamond - Thank You
8. Darin ft. Kat DeLuna - Breathing Your Love
9. Agnes Carlsson - On and On
10. Rihanna - Disturbia
11. Private - We Got Some Breaking Up To Do
12. Agnes Carlsson - Release Me
13. Taio Cruz - Come On Girl ft. Luciana
14. Hot Chip - Ready For The Floor
15. Britannia High - Watch This Space
16. Yelle - Je Veux Te Voir
17. Tilly And The Wall - Beat Control
18. Private - Crucify My Heart
19. Sam Sparro - Black and Gold
20. Ola - Love In Stereo
21. Montt Mardié - Names Not Forgotten
22. Hello Saferide - Anna
23. Keane - Spiralling
24. Jonas Oakland - Beat of my Heart
25. Doe Deere - One Touch
26. Carolina Liar - Show Me What I'm Looking For
27. Leona Lewis - Better In Time
28. BWO - The Bells of Freedom
29. Maia Hirasawa - The Worrying Kind (Live)
30. Alcazar - We Keep On Rockin'
31. Ladyhawke - Paris Is Burning
32. Gotye - Learnalilgivinanlovin
33. Carolina Liar - I'm Not Over
34. Same Difference - We R One
35. Girls Aloud - The Promise
36. Mitt Piano - Små Små Steg
37. Bodies Without Organs - Gomenasai
38. Gavin Degraw - In Love With A Girl
39. Britney Spears - Womanizer
40. September - Because I Love You
41. Mystery Jets - Two Doors Down
42. Katy Perry - Hot'N'Cold
43. Marit Larsen - If A Song Could Get Me You
44. The Saturdays - Up
45. Leona Lewis - Run
46. Madonna - Give It 2 Me
47. Those Dancing Days - Run Run
48. Velvet - Déjà Vu
49. Wynter Gordon - Surveillance
50. Brandy - Right Here (Departed)
51. Charlotte Perrelli - Hero
52. James Morrison ft. Nelly Furtado - Broken Strings
53. Those Dancing Days - Home Sweet Home
54. Alphabeat - What Is Happening
55. Erlend Bratland - Lost
56. West End Girls ft. Magnus Carlson - What Have I Done To Deserve This
57. Marit Bergman feat. Titiyo - 300 Slow Days in a Row
58. Linda Bengtzing - Hur Svårt Kan Det Va
59. Gisela - Casanova
60. BWO - Barcelona
61. Girls Aloud - Can't Speak French
62. Alcazar - Inhibitions
63. Delays - Hooray
64. Johan Krafman - Disarmed
65. MGMT - Time To Pretend
66. Amanda Jenssen - Do You Love Me
67. Kylie Minogue - The One
68. A Camp - Stronger Than Jesus
69. BoA - Eat You Up
70. Kleerup - 3am (feat. Marit Bergman)
71. Rihanna - Rehab
72. Florence and the Machine - Kiss With A Fist
73. Elize - Lovesick
74. One Republic - Stop and Stare
75. Jesse McCartney - How Do You Sleep
76. Alesha Dixon - The Boy Does Nothing
77. Swingfly - Singing That Melody
78. Avenue - Last Goodbye
79. Christina Aguilera - Keeps Getting Better
80. The Killers - Human
81. Collapsing Cities - Seriously
82. They Live By Night - Catching Up
83. Ola - Feelgood
84. Monrose - Strike The Match
85. Rosie and the Goldbug - War of the Roses (Because You Said So)
86. E.M.D - Jennie Let Me Love You
87. Walter Meego - Forever
88. Jimmy Wayne - Do You Believe Me Now
89. The Virgins - One Week Of Danger
90. Little Jackie - The World Should Revolve Around Me
91. Lenka - The Show
92. Velvet - Take My Body Close
93. Vanessa Hudgens - Sneaker Night
94. Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance
95. Madonna – Miles Away
96. Tone Mette - Call Before You Come
97. Jamie Lidell - Another Day
98. Taio Cruz - I Just Wanna Know
99. Born Crain - Tonight
100. dEUS - The Architect

Top of the Poptastic!

The best 25 singles of December, plus a few I forgot to include early in the year:

1. Leona Lewis - Run
2. Johan Krafman - Disarmed
3. The Hives & Cyndi Lauper - A Christmas Duel
4. Jesse McCartney - How Do You Sleep
5. Alexandra Burke - Hallelujah
6. Sahara Hotnights - In Private
7. Marit Bergman - Were You Ever Really Mine
8. CSS - Rat Is Dead (Rage)
9. Kevin Borg - With Every Bit Of Me
10. Marit Larsen - I've Heard Your Love Songs
11. Jessica Mauboy - Burn
12. Britney Spears - Circus
13. Christian Walz - What's Your Name (sounds like Digital Love!)
14. Sugababes - No Can Do
15. The Tough Alliance - Neo Violence
16. Cascada - Faded
17. Elize - Hot Stuff
18. Brandy - Long Distance
19. Marit Bergman ft. Frida Hyvonen - Traveling Companion
20. Arash ft. Helena - Pure Love
21. Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream
22. La Roux - Quicksand
23. Markoolio - The Markoolio Anthem
24. The Fray - You Found Me
25. Lucy Walsh - Lullaby

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