Monday, December 15, 2008

More updates soon!

Hey dear reader ! I'm sorry for the lack of updates lately. I'm pretty busy at the moment but will be back soon at full steam !
Keep listening to music, and buy CDs as your Christmas presents ! xoxo

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Oh god they killed Christmas

One of my favourite blogs (We Are Pop Slags) just did a very funny round-up of unexpected Christmas classics. Among them was the song featured below.
It's so amazing and unbelievable that I thought I'd share it with you. Caution : your life might not be the same after that. Good luck.

Lenka's album is worth a listen or two or much more

On the Australian scale of musical amazingness, we all know Kylie’s on top, and forever will be. Once you’ve established this as a fact you can start looking at other Aussie artists. Remember Savage Garden? They sure had great songs. Natalie Imbruglia used to be cool too. Every now and then a newcomer from Down Under knocks at the Popstardom door (Gabriella Cilmi), and makes us pop fans glad the faraway island exists.
That’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about Lenka. I seriously think her first, eponymous album can be a clever last-minute choice for a thoughtful present. Her style is a mix of Lily Allen’s and Kate Nash’s with a little Feist influence for good measure. It’s a very enjoyable pop album filled with catchy and soulful tunes. It feels like reading a funny and sexy girl’s diary, though funny and sexy girls probably don’t bother writing diaries, but whatever.
Her first single The Show will instantly find its way into your head and in no time will you be singing it on your bus ride to work/school/wherever you’re going. My personal favourite is her forthcoming single Trouble is a friend, which I find is a delicious and delicate pop song you can very easily become addicted to. And, is it just me or the first notes of Don’t Let Me Fall are totally reminiscent of New York New York?! I mean this is a good thing, but that’s what I immediately thought on first listen. Do you feel the same way?

Without further ado, give Lenka’s album a spin, and enjoy this new, promising voice.

Here's her Myspace page, but watch out! When you enter the page three videos and an audio start playing can get frightening!
Below is the lovely video for Trouble Is A Friend

The Show - Lenka
Dont Let Me Fall - Lenka

I'm sorry it seems like her label doesn't see the interest of letting bloggers embed Lenka's songs on their blogs, cause they're not available on Deezer or Imeem... Too bad for them, and you. Anyway you can get the album from iTunes, Amazon etc.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Question of the day: Can Lily Allen be great again ?

Well, as much as I loved her first album Alright Still for its great pop tunes, its cheeky lyrics and the overall fun that emanated from it, I recently couldn’t stand Lily Allen’s style, her stupid comments on everything going on in the world and her being in the papers for pretty much everything but music. Still, songs like LDN, Alfie, Smile or Friday Night were still on heavy-rotation on my iPod… “Only the music counts!”
Yesterday the first single off her forthcoming album It’s Not You It’s Me, entitled The Fear, was given its first play on Radio 1. Well it sounds great, very Lily Allen, but a little more mature I would say. The overall vibe is really good, it’s just as pop as it could be. It makes me eager to hear more from the album, which drops on Feb 9.
In the past months she leaked two other tracks which will be on the album : Everyone’s At It and Guess Who Batman (Fuck you Very Much), which are good too.
For now have a listen of The Fear and make your own opinion. No doubt I’ll write about Lily soon. Welcome back girl!

For more info : Lily's MySpace

Kylie + Coldplay = almost amazing

The best day in the world could have been yesterday, when the much-anticipated Kylie + Coldplay track was finally made available through the RED(wire) website. As you might know Dec 1 is the world AIDS day, and in order to raise money for research, some artists have agreed to give previously unreleased songs to that charity. The thing is you pay 5$ and every Wednesday you can download a track that comes with the online issue of RED(wire) magazine.
So Chris Martin decided to give Lhuna, the track his band recorded with Kylie Minogue during the Viva La Vida sessions.
Well, I was probably expecting too much (WAY too much) cause I must admit I was a little disappointed at first. It’s not at all what you’d expect from a Kylie/Coldplay collaboration. Of course this stament is ok if what you expect is a "bouncy pop track". Au contraire, it’s very dark and sung in a very low tone by both singers. But after a few listens, it’s quite haunting and mysteriously enjoyable. If you want to compare, it’s a little similar to Where The Wild Roses Grow (the amazing song Kylie recorded with Nick Cave in the 90s). One thing’s for sure, their voices are great together. And I love it when Chris Martin sings like that (he does that a lot on Viva La Vida).

Enjoy, and most importantly don’t forget to subscribe to RED(wire), it’s an important cause. Plus you’ll get a new U2 track soon!

Visit RED(wire) website here.

Lhuna (featuring Kylie Minogue) - Coldplay
For the memory : Where The Wild Roses Grow
Where the Wild Roses Grow - Kylie Minogue/Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday's Boombox

1) The wonderful Sugababes are ready to launch their new single No Can Do (out Dec 22). The video premiered last week, it’s OK but shares a lot of similarities with Kylie’s Slow. Check out the vids here: No Can Do / Slow. And, officially their latest album is a disaster on the charts.

2) The Saturdays’ new video Issues is now visible online. It’s simple, nothing outstanding, but hopefully it will do well on the charts. It’s out on Jan 5. I wish they chose Work or Keep her as single #3, to keep up with their top 10 success… BTW their album Chasing Lights is said to be re-released on the same date. Not sure it’s really clever, since the version 1.0 was out just in October… It’d better have great new songs on it… (Video here)

3) On Jan 5 Kylie Minogue will release Boombox, an album containing 16 remixes of her greatest hits from her Parlophone years (ie since 2000). Included on Boombox are Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head (the mash-up of her iconic 2001 hit with New Order’s, which she performed at the 2002 Brit Awards, see here), the great Mylo Remix of I Believe in You, the Chemical Brothers’ outstanding take on Slow and the fantastic Fischerspooner remix of Come Into My World. A must-have for all fans, or not, considering hard-core Kylie fans probably already own all of those remixes. Oh, and there’s that great song Boombox, remixed by LA Riots. Amazing.

4) The new Pussycat Dolls single I Hate This Part is actually quite good. My mistake, I thought it was dull in the first place. (Video here).

5) Pink’s new single Sober is not great, but the video is. And a little weird too. Check it here.

6) Do you know Little Boots? Well this nice girl is probably one of the big things of 2009. Check Stuck On Repeat on the player below to make sure. The song is even better in "radio-edit" style, as featured on her Myspace.

7) Same thing for Uh Huh Her. This American female duo has a GREAT pop song on its hands: Not A Love Song. It would be a perfect winter hit, wouldn’t it? Check their Myspace!

8) Danish band The Hives teamed up with diva Cindy Lauper (who recently featured in a cameo on Gossip Girl) for a Christmas single. But fear not, nothing cheesy here. In A Christmas Duel, they sing about sleeping with each other’s brother/sister. It’s kinda fun and rather unexpected. You can download the single for free from their website (here) from Nov 28 to 30. Afterwards you’ll be able to get it from iTunes. It’s worth checking anyway! By the way, how amazing is Cindy Lauper’s Echo, which was on that GG episode she appeared on??! Answer: very.

9) Alesha Dixon’s new album The Alesha Show, which was released last Monday (Nov 24), is very good. More on that later. Oh, just one thing: if you’re crazy, you might like to try to sing the “I’ve got to let you know/I wanna give into my temptation” (at 1:56) part of Girls Aloud’s Can’t Speak French over the “I wanna see you work/I wanna see you move your body etc” (at 2:11) part of Alesha’s The Boy Does Nothing. Amazing. (Both tracks were produced by Xenomania...).

10) Roisin Murphy is finally going to release her fantastically outstanding song Movie Star as a proper single! It will actually be a double A-side type of thing, since it will be backed by her cover of Slave To Love. But if you regularly check this blog, you already know that. The thing you might not know is the release date: Dec 8 in the UK. Roisin for X-Mas #1??! I wish!

Music featured in this post :

Découvrez Cyndi Lauper!

Découvrez Alesha Dixon!

Découvrez Girls Aloud!

News Roundup#1

There are two Circuses in town!

America’s trashy pop princess and the UK’s favourite man-band are both back with a new album, released on the same day and under the same title. While Britney Spears is dropping Circus, her sixth record (aka “the real comeback”), the four British gentlemen of Take That are proudly offering The Circus (see the difference?!), their fifth studio album.

I already wrote about Brit’s latest offering, and what I can add is that SHE SHOULD NOT RECORD BALLADS. She sucks so much at singing slow jams that my ears are bleeding every time I forget to skip them. So Out Of Under, Blur and My Baby should have been b-sides, at best. Meanwhile some of the actual b-sides are really good, like Rock Boy or Trouble, although the latter really sounds like a demo version of Madonna’s Get Together. Below are two videos: one of Brit & Madge on stage together at LA’s Dodger Stadium when they sang Human Nature during granny’s US leg of her Sticky & Sweet Tour. The second shows Brit singing her wonderful #1 hit Womanizer at the Bambi Awards in Germany this week. Hot version of the track! But compare Madge’s and Brit’s outfits. I think Ms. Spears didn’t leave LA empty-handed…
To conclude on Circus, I’d say Womanizer, Kill The Lights, If U Seek Amy and Lace and Leather alone are worth putting Brit back on top.

That being said, it doesn’t look like she’s going to be able to top Take That on the UK album charts next week. Reports say the guys are outselling her by a 5/1 ratio on pre-sells. I wouldn’t say it comes as a huge surprise, TT being incredibly popular in their homeland. Remember three years ago they came back with a Greatest Hits compilation, did a huge stadium tour and then released Beautiful World in 2006, their first album of new material in what seems like a century in pop time-space continuum. They scored three HUGE hits (Patience, the wonderful Shine, and Rule The World), and embarked on a 49-date European tour, probably one of the best of 2007. I never thought I’d write something that positive on a former boyband, but you gotta admit they really managed the transition from cheesy 90’s boyband to mature pop/rock manband perfectly. Less dancing, more good tunes.
So now The Circus is coming out, and let’s say it’s rather good. It’s the right balance between well-crafted ballads (opener The Garden, the epic Say It All, The Circus), pleasant mid-tempo songs (Greatest Day, the first single) and surprisingly cool up-tempo tracks like Hello, How Did It Come To This or Up All Night. All the songs are catchy in their own way. Let’s not lie, they’re not the boyband they were anymore, they’ve successfully grown into a respectable pop band.
By the way, their tour, named Take That Presents the Circus Live 2009 will be huge. They’ll be playing London’s Wembley Stadium 4 times (for now), among other stadiums across the UK.

Maybe to please everyone (or at least me) Take That should cover Womanizer ASAP. Just sayin' (Live Lounge anyone???!!!)

Madonna feat. Britney Spears : Human Nature Live at LA's Dodger Stadium

Britney Spears : Womanizer Live at Bambi Awards

Take That : Shine Live at London's O² Arena

Music :

Best of Brit's Circus & Take That's The Circus

Best of Take That's The Circus

Don't forget to buy thoses records when they come out on Monday Dec 1. (Amazon, iTunes, Fnac), if you liked what you heard.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Player update

If you're interested, I've updated the player on the left with some of the songs I'm listening to at the moment. Hope you'lle like them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Tim Hanauer

Having spent a certain amount of time on planes and buses last weekend, I got a chance to get more familiar with Tim Hanauer’s album Time For Change, which I wrote about last week. Let me tell you it’s a really great record. It’s smooth, well written, soulful, and his voice is very rich. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. His voice sometimes reminds me of John Mayer’s, The Shins singer’s and Damien Rice’s. It’s the kind of music that really gets its way inside your head, that you find yourself singing here and there, that you simply love listening to.
Tim has kindly given me some songs for you to download, so I hope you enjoy them! Remember to buy the album if you like those four tracks, it’s really (I mean REALLY) worth it.

Next To You
Can’t Help Thinking

I can really see 2009 being Tim's year !

(Picture by Tim Hanauer)

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's triple-indie-post o'clock!

That’s right; tonight you’re getting three for one! Contrary to what you might think, I’m not all about big names and high-profile artists who sell millions of records and are all over the Internet. I also love indie artists. In fact the music is all that matters. Sometimes I (virtually) bump into songs, albums or videos from either unsigned or not-yet famous bands or solo acts. I like that so much.

This morning for example, I woke up and found a friend request on my Facebook page from Tim Hanauer. Who is he, you are wondering. Well from what I learnt from his profile, he’s an American pop/folk songwriter. Think Damien Rice, Tom Mc Rae with a little Beatles-feel to it. It’s really nice and pleasant to listen to. His new album is called Time For Change and you can hear his songs on his Facebook page (here). If all days could start like this, it’d be great! I wish him the best, and I must admit I wouldn't be surprised if he ended on the Private Practice soundtrack very soon... It would fit perfectly.

Then I remembered this band The Republic Tigers, which I had heard a couple of times on Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl (great shows BTW). I wasn’t too sure how much I liked their music, but after hearing the full album again, I struck me that I love Keep Color, their first album published on Chop Shop Music, Alex Patsavas’ label (see this previous post). It’s fresh, exciting and they have GREAT melodies. It’s a very enjoyable musical discovery and a serious contender for my top 10 albums of 2008. If you like The Virgins, you’ll probably love those guys.

And finally, still in the same vein and still very exciting is Eric Hutchinson. I’ve been playing his first great album Sounds Like This for over a year now, and it still hasn’t lost any of its appeal. It’s fresh pop/folk music with great lyrics and melodies. Songs like Oh!, Food Chain, Rock & Roll or OK, It’s Alright With Me could easily be hits, and the great thing about this record is that ALL the songs a good. There’s no filler, it feels like each song has its own story and therefore they all fit perfectly on the tracklist. With Christmas just around the corner, this could be a very nice gift (better than a Jessica Simpson record for example...just sayin'!)

All albums can be bought from iTunes.
For more info (tour dates, merchandise etc) check their websites:
Tim Hanauer
The Republic Tigers
Eric Hutchinson

And now some sound :
The Republic Tigers & Eric Hutchinson :

Eric Hutchinson / The Republic Tigers

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hello World!

Just a quick, non music-related post to thank you all for visiting this humble blog, from everywhere in the world ! I'm very happy and proud to see that people from such different countries are visiting It's Pop!

I'll try to update the blog tomorrow, being quite busy at the time being. Don't forget you can subscribe to this blog and add it to your personal page to be the first to know when a new article is posted. Plus you can leave a message in the shout box, if you have something to say, ask, or if you'd like to share anything about any artist you like.

I haven't been around a long time, but really I hope you enjoy reading me as much as I love writing.
Cheers !

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Zest Of good

It’s been a long time since I wanted to write a little something about Zazie, a French artist I’ve been loving for 12 years now. As today her first best-of collection is released, it’s the perfect occasion.
I’ll pass on the biography to stick to the music. She released her first album Je Tue Ils back in 1992, and has since released five others, as well as 3 live records. What makes her special and very appealing is that she makes quality pop music, which is quite rare in France, and she’s not afraid of experimenting on her own sound. A real evolution can be seen I think with the release of La Zizanie in 2001. While her sound was leaning towards classical pop-rock before it, this record showed a more daring approach of her regular formula, including electro sounds. This album coincides with her first collaboration with Jean-Pierre Pilot and Philippe Paradis, who since then have been involved in everything she’s released.
La Zizanie also introduced a slightly different writing style. Beforehand her lyrics were often made of puns and she was playing with words a lot. Still being very concerned by the state of the society (Rue de la paix, Adam & Yves), she opened up a lot more, offering more profound and emotional lyrics (Sur Toi, Si j’étais moi for example). On Rodéo and Totem, her last two albums, she pretty much stuck to this formula, for the better. While she’s not really a hit-maker anymore (her songs not even being released as singles), she still is very popular. She’s one of the few French singers who are able to play the biggest venues and even sell them out. Her recent Totem Tour proved once again that she is an amazing artist live. She’s extremely generous on stage, and isn’t afraid of trying new things. The guys playing alongside her are great, and the bond between them all is obvious.

So the release of her Zest Of is a great way to discover this prolific and very likeable artist if you haven’t already. Plus, you’ll get two brand new songs, FM Air and Un Peu Beaucoup, both great.
Oh, and by clicking on the song titles in this article, you’ll be able to watch her videos, most of the time very original.

You can buy Zest Of Zazie on the Fnac site or download it from the Fnacmusic online store.
Oh I almost forgot ! Along with the 2-disc set is a DVD with all her videos. It’s really worth a few more euros (or pounds or dollars or whatever) if you want my opinion…

The video from her latest single FM Air. Fun fact : the lyrics are mainly made of song titles of hers and the video refers to her previous ones. How good is that?
FM Air (video)

Below are some of my favourites from her. Hope you like them!

Additional interesting videos :

A ma place (duet with Axel Bauer)
Les Meilleurs Ennemis (duet with Pascal Obispo)
Cyber (Rodéo Tour Live)

It's (part of) Britney's Circus, bitch!

In an attempt to produce a lame pun, I would say that the Circus is slowly getting into shape. This means Britney's new album (due Dec 2.) is currently leaking. So far I've heard :

- Womanizer : who hasn't ? Very good.
- Circus : the second single, very good, but not as strong as the first one. So "very good -".
- If You Seek Amy : say it out loud... yeah, that makes F.U.C.K. Me. If you expect some very delicate production and nice lyrics, well, you'll be disappointed. But it's still great and very efficient and sounds like a future hit.
- Kills The Lights : everybody's heard it too. It's good.
- Mannequin : I'm not liking it for the moment.
- Out From Under : THE big ballad. Everytime 2.0 or something. Plesant, but not being a ballad guy, I'll just say "OK".

For the moments it sounds like the sonic follow-up to Blackout, but I think it will be OK.
Can't wait for the rest. But as usual I'll probably be over it in a week. Nothing can top Gimme More anyway.

Below is a nice remix of Womanizer. Now release your inner Britney, bitches !

Womanizer Remix - Britney Spears feat. Erick Right

And here's a You Tube link to listen to Kill The Lights.

PS : how hilariously awful are the promo pictures for the album that leaked earlier last week ? They don't even look like Brit. Thanks St. Photoshop.

Ich liebe Monrose

Monrose is a band with many qualities :
- They're German.
- They sing hot electro-pop songs .
- They sing them in English.
- We'll that's it, but that's more than enough.

A little History first :
1) They won the fifth season of the German Popstars TV show in 2006.
2) Their names are Mandy, Senna and Bahar (or so they say. One of them really looks like a tranny, I'd like to know more about that. Maybe in fact her actual name is Gunter or Dieter).
3) They have released three albums in three years.

Basically, there's not much more to know because they're far from being as attractive and interesting as a band as Sugababes and Girls Aloud can be, but I just wanted to feature them on the blog because of some of their hot songs. Of course, they have plenty of soulless and boring ballads (they're a Popstars band, remember), but the producers they've been working with, especially on their latest record I Am, have managed to give them great pop tunes. They should really have released Hot Summer all over Europe for example, because this one has "MEGAHIT" written all over. It's catchy, danceable, reasonably cheesy and very fresh. It's a welcome mix of a Timbaland-type production and a Xenomania kind of stuff.
I Am, to that extent, is filled with potential hits, and that's exactly why their three singles so far are clearly not the most appealing... The latest one Why not us is super lame in comparison with Tip Toe or You Can Look. Strike The Match & Hit'n'Run, the first two extracts from the CD were OK, although a little too similar to Hot Summer, without being half as good.
On a side note, I really think it's too bad they're not really charismatic or more sexy, because they could be a lot bigger on the international market. For now they've only released their stuff in the German-speaking countries, but who knows for the future. That said, with Girls Aloud bombing in France a few years ago and Sugababes only managing to get a minor hit every two years, I don't think we Frenchies are ready for a girlband whatsoever. Are we still mourning the tragic loss of L5 ?
In the player below I featured my favourites from the girls, so you can make your own opinion. Anyway, I believe we should get more stuff from Germany. I love this country (I really do). Danke sehr, Deutschland.

For more info :

You can download the girls' music from iTunes, or order the CD from Amazon

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Run Leona, Run

I’m usually not a fan of the big-voiced-emotional-songs-singing-and-gala-dress-wearing type of artists (Whitney, Mariah, Crazy Dion for example). OK, they occasionally have decent songs but most of the time they make me laugh and frighten me at the same time. Plus they often lack personality. They’re good singers, full stop.
But strangely, I must confess there is something I like about Leona Lewis. Is it her incredible voice? Probably. It’s too bad there only was one really amazing song on her debut album Spirit (which has been a major success all aver the world in the last 12 months), that song being Bleeding Love.
Well, two years after winning the UK talent show X Factor, and a year after it was originally launched, Leona is re-releasing her album. But be careful! This time around it’s called Spirit – The Deluxe Edition, cause you know, there are some new songs on it. Too bad her record company didn’t remove some of the stinkers, but whatever. I’m writing this post because on this new version, there is a cover of Snow Patrol’s Run. Leona had covered that song a year ago on BBC 1’s Live Lounge, and now she has recorded it properly WITH A CHOIR!!! Ladies and gentlemen this song alone is worth the purchase of the whole album. While it was deliciously epic and soulful sung by Gary Lightbody (SP’s frontman), Leona’s version is simply breathtaking and powerful, in both an amazing and a cheesy kind of way. Cause first of all, Leona is probably one of the cheesiest girls in the world (example here), and secondly she makes the indie-rock Glastonbury anthem an unbeatable GREAT pop song. Go home, Mariah.

Here is Leona performing Run live on the X Factor Show (aka her home). If you wonder why the whole stage is dark during 2/3 of the song, you might be inspired to think “MAJOR CHOIR PART-TAKING”.

And here is Bleeding Love, just because it’s a fantastic cheesy-yet-enjoyable pop song.

Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis

Spirit - The Deluxe Edition is out on Nov 17. You can dowload it from iTunes or buy it anywhere else you want.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Out Of Control Review 2.0

Today I figured I'd fight back after my huge Girls Aloud post was deleted. Some might think it wasn't such a bad thing, but I guess a review of their latest album (which I hope you bought) wouldn't hurt. So here it is above, in a ridiculously small size, but you get the general idea (plus, you can see it bigger by clicking on it). Let's now do some chart analyse.

Chart analyse facts :

- Out Of Control generally is a good album. If we were to draw an average line (which I forgot to do, being so bad at maths and all things related), it would go somewhere between "good" and "great", two terms universally known for being positive ones.
- On first listen I liked it less than after 17 days (ie. today).
- There clearly are three standout tracks : Love Is The Key, Turn To Stone and Untouchable.
- Other good tracks include : The Promise, The Loving Kind, Love Is Pain and Miss You Bow Wow.
- The album lows are, according to my judgement : Rolling Back The Rivers In Time and We Wanna Party (a "Lene-from-Aqua" cover !!!! Who covers that ? Shame on you Girls Aloud).
- Fix Me Up, Revolution In The Head and Live In The Country are a bit different, because I like them but am not totally won over yet. I gues they are slow growers. But I feel they have some potential over time.
- I'm still not going totally crazy about The Loving Kind (officially the 2nd single), just like all other bloggers/reviewers/journalists/fans seem to be. I know it's the "big-Girls-Aloud-Xenomania-Pet-Shop-Boys-collaboration" everyone had been waiting for, and that's maybe why I thought it would be far better. It will probably be a hit, but I do hope they'll be a bit more risky about the 3rd and 4th singles choices.
- Love Is The Key and Untouchable (in a shorter version or "radio edit") would be great as next singles because they are very different from singles 1 & 2, and to that extent showcase something new from the album.
- Volcals are more split on this album than on the previous ones (ie. superhot Nadine sings less, and red-haired Nicola sings more).
- Ashley Tisdale (the blonde one from High School Musical) is probably one of the most awful things that happened to music over the last decade. Fortunately no song on this album reaches such a low level. We're saved !

In other GA news :

- It seems they're back on top : after The Promise made it to number one in the UK a few weeks ago, the album just entered the chart at the top position ! Well done. So after a 6-year carreer they seem stronger than ever, AND they totally crash Sugababes on this one, soon after one of the Babes said in an interview that they were "much more successful than Girls Aloud in terms of record sales". She should have kept her mouth shut on this one...
- The Girls (ie their management) just announced The Out Of Control Tour 2009, which starts on April 30th at Belfast's Odyssey Arena and ends on May 23rd at London's O2 Arena. I guess mor dates will be added when the first ones sell out. This tour wil be their "biggest and most exciting EVER" (yes capital letters) according to their website. It better be, if they want to make it as big as the previous one. Just a side note : this will be their fourth UK Arena tour in four years ! I guess people are not tired of seeing them live! But I should add, their concerts are real shows, they sing 100% live, they dance, they are truly good performers. So it's a good deal.
To check for yourself, you can check the videos below, taken from their 2008 Tangled Up Tour, which was just released on DVD. It's got all a good pop show 's gotta have : screens, theatrics, dancers, sexy costumes, amazing lights and nice dance routines. Below is Sexy...No! No! No!, the first superheroes-themed song, and Control Of The Knife mixed with Kelis' hit Trick Me. Et voilà !

Below are my favourites track of the album for you to enjoy !

Girls Aloud Out Of Control

So now you're safe, you can go buy Out Of Control (or download it on Itunes),as well as The Tangled Up Tour DVD (here for example)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Random on Nov 10 (re-upload)

As I already told you a few weeks ago, I was quite curious about Genie 2.0, the reworking of Christina Aguilera’s first single Genie In A Bottle. I have since then been able to hear it fully, and let me tell you I like it very much! It seems like she’s going electro for her next studio album, due out sometimes in 2009. And it seems that Goldfrapp are on board ! Should be good. Anyway, do whatever you like C. as long as you're more inspired than on Keeps Getting Better
GENIE 2.0 - Christina Aguilera

It’s tooooo bad the Sugababes’ latest album Catfights And Spotlights is flopping hard in the UK. It only entered the charts at #8, and after only three weeks, it’s at #36… It’s strange considering it’s their most mature and consistent work. Guess their core audience wasn’t ready for a new sound yet. At least I was, were you?! ;-)
Anyway here is a nice version of Hard Fi’s Living For The Weekend, which they did a few years ago on BBC’s Live Lounge. Good.
Living for the weekend - Sugababes

After all I won’t be writing a proper post on Snow Patrol’s latest album A Hundred Million Suns. Why? Because I was highly disappointed. They didn’t really evolve from their previous release Eyes Open, and at the same time the energy I cherished on their third album Final Straw is most of the time nowhere to be found. I really wish I loved this one, but I’ll have to wait for the next one I guess. That said, don’t be afraid, at least half of the record can be featured on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack this season, so nothing’s really lost!

Do you know Christophe Willem? He’s a French pop singer who won the local Pop Idol three seasons ago. I’m normally much into that kind of artists, but this one got me to some extent, since he collaborated with Zazie on his first album Inventaire, which was a highlight in 2007. Well, guess what, he’s currently working on his next album, scheduled for an April 2009 release, with lots of British producers, including those of Kylie Minogue. Being a fan of hers himself, he managed to record a duet with KM. Too bad it won’t be a new song, but Kylie’s Sensitized, which is on her X album. Anyway their two voices together might sound great.

Here is a little something related to that: Christophe’s song Kiss The Bride, which could have easily been a hit if it had been released in Europe. On the live version it was mashed with Kylie's interstellar pop masterpiece Can't Get You Out Of My Head, and I think it worked VERY well (see here, crappy You Tube link, sorry). Anyway here's the studio version for you to enjoy !
Kiss The Bride - Christophe Willem

And, finally, I wanted to share a few covers made by different artists on the BBC Live Lounge show.
The first one was made by The Saturdays (which you have read a lot about on this blog already). It’s their version of Madcon’s Beggin, a recent hit all across Europe. In France it’s even been on top of the charts for eight weeks… Well the girls make it a lot more bearable, and even quite enjoyable!
The Saturdays - Beggin' (sorry it's a You Tube link, but the MP3 cost me this post to be deleted so...)

Then, here are three covers of the magnificent US band MGMT (their album has to be one of my favourites of 2008) by three different artists. That is inspiration! First Kaiser Chiefs cover Time To Pretend quite nicely (maybe they should only release cover albums now!), then the pretty funny Katy Perry covers Electric Feel in a very enjoyable way and finally one of my favourite bands at the moment, the wonderful Kooks give Kids an unexpected and great acoustic turn !
Live Lounge

Monday, November 10, 2008

Introducing... Scotty Dynamo!

One of things I love about the internet is wandering around, going from site to site through links, and discovering artists or songs I didn’t know and wasn’t expecting to.
That’s exactly how it happened with this artist I want to introduce you. Scotty Dynamo is a 19 year-old guy from Toronto, Canada who’s making music I’d describe as being a fun mix of pop, electro, hip-hop and rap. It’s reminiscent of Justin Timberlake to a certain extent, it’s great to dance to, or to play why getting ready for a party, you know when you’re in the bathroom, then choosing clothes, doing your hair etc. I know cause I experienced it yesterday! Judging from the biography posted on his Myspace page, the guy doesn’t lack ambition and energy, qualities which usually make good popstars.
Anyway, I can only hope Scotty releases more music soon on his Myspace and keeps getting better, as CA would say. But as for now, enjoy these few tracks below. And you know what? They won’t be taken down, since he gave me his written consent to post his music on my blog… So thanks Scotty!

Download :

Work It

Make It Right
Cars Glamour Fame Money

And, if you want to know more, become friends, watch more pictures (yeah, I know, the guy’s not ugly at all) etc, maybe you should go to his myspace :

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Roisin, you're a star

There are some major mysteries in this world I can't even begin to try and understand. For example why there only are two taps in kitchens (hot and cold water), and not one for champagne too. Or why so few people are watching Lipstick Jungle. But I think biggest mystery of all involves Roisin Murphy. I really can't figure why she hasn't reached success with her second fantastic album Overpowered. This is just beyong my understanding abilities.
If you don't know her (yet) as a solo artist, you might remember her from a band called Moloko. She was the band's vocalist. They had two very good songs back in the 90s, Sing It Back and The Time Is Now.
She released Overpowered a year ago along with a first extract of the same name, and the least you can say is that the reception was cold. However, the album is a collection of very classy and inspired electro-pop music. Roisin is like no other artist you can find at the moment. She really has a strong visual univers (see here videos below), she doesn't fit the expected "pop singer" standards, and goes way beyond. She's really different from all the slutty ones out there at the moment and yet she's got presence. Her live shows, even in the smallest venues, are filled with extravagant costumes, daring musical experimentations and an undeniable sense of rhythm. I saw her in Paris last year and it was litterally amazing.
Even though other singles were released, none of them have been successful. Her label had planned a big marketing campain to go along with her fourth (and likely last) single off the album, the wonderful Movie Star. It's undoubtedly the catchiest song on the record and was really supposed to be a hit. But appearantly, it is not. And quite frankly I've stopped believing it will be.
Anyway I can't wait to hear new material from her ! She recently covered Bryan Ferry's Slave To Love and the song was used in the Gucci perfume commercial starring James Franco, but that's not enough ! I want new, original songs !

Découvrez Róisín Murphy!

Découvrez Róisín Murphy!

Découvrez Róisín Murphy!

Découvrez Róisín Murphy!

Découvrez Róisín Murphy!

If you like Roisin's music, support her by purchasing her album (iTunes, Amazon) and seeing her live ! You won't regret it.

Oh and here's what Moloko sounded like !

Découvrez Moloko!

Découvrez Moloko!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Things could have gone better for Kylie on the X project...

Unless you've been living in a cave for the last year, you're aware that Aussie pop wonder Kylie Minogue released X, her tenth studio album at the end of 2007.
She has been signed to the british label Parlophone (property of EMI Music) since the early 00s and the release of her super-platinum album Fever. They've done a fairly good job on her recent projects (even managing to make two-and-a-half hits out of Body Language, by issuing the three most decent songs from the record).

As you might know, last year KM came back to the music scene after her victorious fight agains breast cancer with her tenth studio album X. That's when things got all wrong.

Error #1 : The first single
I'm not saying 2 Hearts is a bad song cause it's obviously amazing, but it wasn"t a wise choice to use it as "the big comeback track", simply because it doesn't sound like a proper Kylie song, or at least like the kind of track she needed to return with a bang. So, as expected, it wasn't a huge hit, only peaking at #4 in the UK.
What should have been done instead : listen to the fans, the bloggers, the wise people. The One was clearly a favourite right from the beginning, and it surely would have been huge and would have given the album the light it deserved. It was totally what she needed. Instead the song got another destiny (see below).

Error #2 : The album tracklist
It had been highly publicised months ahead of the release of X that KM had been working with the hypest producers of the moment, such as The Freemasons, Calvin Harris, Mylo, Bloodshy & Avant, Greg Kurstin etc. A demo disc with a dozen songs even leaked in March 2007, containing early works of some songs which made it on X, and other projects which were evicted or later appeared as B-Sides. It was highly exciting at the time, considering the expectations surrounding the project.
While X could have been a very strong and consistant electro-pop album thanks to all the talents involved, it finally contained very different kind of sounds, some amazing, others very forgettable. For example Stars, a very uninspired dance track, All I See, a lame attempt at having Kylie sing blank R&B (for the US market, see below) or Cosmic, a clearly boring ballad. Instead of that, some other fantastic songs such as Lose Control, Ruffle My Feathers, King or Queen or Rippin' Up The Disco were left aside or used as iTunes bonus tracks, unableling them to be enjoyed by all the album buyers.
What should have been done instead : think consistently and focus on a real kickass 21st century electropop album, which is the sound that fits Kylie best. Everyone would have been happy !

Error #3 : the USA
Kylie has never really been huge in America. More precisely she had one hit 20 years ago (The Locomotion) and another one in 2002 (Can't Get You Out Of My Head) but that's it. She's just not appealing to the american market, which is much more "urban"-oriented than the rest of the world. Knowing that, those behind Kylie thought it would be a good idea to launch X there, six month after its initial release, with All I See as the first single (clearly one of the most insipid tracks ever recorded), but in a remix version adding a rap by rapper/loser Mim's. They sent her in the US to do some promotion, but the song being shit, it failed miserably and the album entered the charts at #139 !! I guess she's done with the US for a long time now !
What should have been done instead : either release a strong electro song (In My Arms, Speakerphone, Like A Drug) or not ever set foot on the american market.

Error #4 : the single choices
How can you have such good material and screw things up that much ? First, 2 Hearts. already discussed. Then the label thought it would be wise to release In my arms in Europe and Wow in the UK, and then the other way around. So both videos were released at the same time, killing expectations. But the worse arrived over the summer when someone probably suggested that something had to be done about The One so a great Freemasons Remix was released as a download-only single right in the middle of summer, with a low budget video. Needless to say it didn't make any impact, being her lowest-charting single since the 90s... Such a waste...
What should have been done instead :
Single 1 : The One
Single 2 : In My Arms
Single 3 : Speakerphone/2 Hearts Paul Harris Remix (double A-Side single)
Single 4 : Wow (live version from the KylieX2008 Tour with live video)

I'm by no means saying I would have done a better job (well obviously I would have ;)), cause it was a hard project to work on with lots of pressure and expectations. But pleeeeease, next time listen to the fans!

Just when you thought it was over, the label is releasing X - Tour Edition at the end of the month. At first I thought "great, there'll be live stuff, unreleased tracks from the X sessions, perhaps new songs". Wrong, wrong and wrong. Instead, the second CD coming with the regular X album contains the singles' various remix, all a which appeared on the different CDs when they came out. How stupid is that !!! Ok some of them are good, but they're certainly not worth buying the abum again ! Plus, the artwork uses an old picture... All sorts of stupid, here !

(Tracklisting : 1. 2 Hearts (Harris & Masterson Extended Mix) ; 2. 2 Hearts (Alan Braxe Remix) ; 3. The One (Freemasons Vocal Club Mix) ; 4. Wow (David Guetta Remix) ; 5. Wow (Css Remix) ; 6. In My Arms (Chris Lake Vocal Mix) ; 7. In My Arms (Steve Pitron And Max Sanna Remix) ; 8. In My Arms (Sebastien Leger Remix) ; 9. In My Arms (Spitzer Remix) ; 10. All I See Featuring Mims (Remix)

And last, but not least, the KYLIEX2008 - Live at the 02 DVD is being released. You'd expect some nice artwork, the show being visually so stunning. Fear not, the most awful thing possible has been done. It's just disgusting. But as I said, the show is extraordinary so it's worth enduring such an awful vision (or, you can create your own).
So, in a nutshell :

- Kylie and her X album : very good
- The marketing campaign surrounding X : not so good
Below are some little treats : X songs for you to listen, unreleased great tracks to enjoy, and a video of Speakerphone live at The O2, from the soon-to-be-released DVD. Have fun guys !

Lose Control : unreleased
Rippin' Up The Disco : bonus
2 Hearts (Paul Harris Remix) : unreleased remix
I Don't Know What It Is : bonus
The One (Freemasons Remix) : remix
Step Back In Time (taken from KYLIEX2008 - Live At The 02)


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Coming back soon !

I'm sorry the blog hasn't been uptated recently, but I'll be back very soon, so stay tuned !
To keep you waiting, I figured you'd love to discover a new song I heard on a TV show last week (but can't remember which one), even more if it's really good.

The band's called The Midway State and their song Never Again. Perfect pop sound for a Monday morning! Enjoy!

If you like the song, you can support the band by buying their music on iTunes for example. Just sayin'!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Look no further... is this a message ?

I'll contradict Dido's new song title, and look (actually listen) further than those four songs off her new album I heard so far, when Safe Trip Home is released on Nov 17.

I really liked her first two albums (No Angel, 1999 and Life For Rent, 2003), and was kind of looking forward to hearing her new songs. I remember reading that the recording of Safe Trip Home was being described as "a long process", with Dido experimenting a lot in the studio, trying to evolve with her own sound.

Four songs have surfaced until now, the first single Don't Believe In Love, which I'd describe as low-key introspectively boring Dido. Then she gave a song away on her website (Look No Further), which clearly made me wonder if the album was worth the wait. That minimalistic song clearly doesn't live up to what she's done in the past (Don't Live Home, See The Sun, My Life, Isoblel for example). Has Dido become totally boring ? I hope not. Then yesterday I found two more songs Let's Do The Things We Normally Do and Us 2 Little Gods, which are far from being exciting, to say the least.
So has Dido lost her Mojo while being away ? Maybe Don't Believe In Love is not the smartest choice for a first single, but still it's quite radio-friendly and will probably be a minor hit, but what's for sure is that Look No Further is clearly not a highlight, just a song she gave for free as a "thanks for waiting" gift...

I really hope the release of Safe Trip Home will prove all this wrong and will offer a new collection of classy pop songs perfect for a winter night by the fireplace. Cause that's what Dido's good for, right ?

Below you can hear Don't Believe in Love (which you can purchase since yesterday) and Look No Further, and make your own opinion on the tracks.

Découvrez Dido!

Découvrez Dido!

And, just for the memory, some good old Dido songs.

Découvrez Dido!

Découvrez Dido!

Découvrez Dido!

Découvrez Dido!

French Kiss, en français dans le texte

I rarely listen to any French music, mainly because I think we suck at making quality pop. Maybe it's just not in our DNA. There are fortunately a few exceptions I'll come to write about, starting today with one of my favourite bands, Vendetta.
They're clearly one of the best things that happened to French music over the last decade. They figured it would be a good idea if they started making brit-pop influenced tunes, while singing in french. And boy it was a good idea !
I first heard them back in 2003, when they were Zazie's (another great French pop singer I'll write about later) opening act on her Zizanie Tour. What struck me was how immediate and addictive their songs were and how warm and captivating Sylvie Hoarau's voice was. While buying their EP soon after the show, I ran into her and we started chatting, which was quite a nice moment. They had been touring heavily for years and this opening slot for Zazie was their chance to meet a wider audience every night. Soon after they signed to a Universal Music label (Barclay) and began working on their first proper album. In the winter they released an new EP containing one of their best songs, French Kiss, but unfortunately due to a lack of media attention, it wasn't as successful as it should have been and they remained pretty much unnoticed.

Drôle d'Idée ("strange idea") was released a year later, in May 2004. Despite being packed with potential hits (French Kiss, L'excès, Everest, Assassin, Le Silence...) it received absolutely no support from the label. Barclay clearly ruined their chances to make an impact by not choosing the right first single (Viens, not a sufficiant hit to launch them properly), not making a video even if they had a strong visual universe. Well this first album had "disaster" written all over it, even though it was one of the best records of 2004 (to me at least !). To make it clearer, the album entered the French top 200 at number 198, and left it after only a week...
Still today I can't understand why this album wasn't marketed more professionally, why it failed to make an impact on the radio (some of the songs were perfect for the summer) and why it was dropped so fast. I hope the people who worked on the project are rotting in Hell...

As you can imagine after such a catastrophe, no second album was considered by the label. The band performed a few shows, but never got the attention they deserved. Sylvie then had a baby, and as for now, their Myspace page doesn't say much, except "Vendetta est mort, vive Brigitte" (Vendetta is dead, long live Brigitte). Does it mean they'll be back with a new name, new songs, new projects ? I really hope so, since they still have so much to offer. Oh, and their former website turned into a porn one. wonder if they know ! Or maybe THIS is their new carrer !
For now all seems calm on the musical front, but I'll keep you posted for sure.

Below are some tracks from their first album Drôle d'Idée for you to download (I'm feeling generous today, and anyway this won't hurt their album sales...). Tell me what you think in the comments section !

French Kiss (taken down)
Message (renamed Le Silence on the album)

Visit their myspace page here

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Playlist Update !

The player on the left of the main page has been updated with new songs. Hope you'll enjoy them.

Lesson learned !

Close your eyes. You're in Australia.
Bondi beach, check. Harbour Bridge check. Great reef barrier, check. Kylie Minogue, check. Kangaroos, check. Savage Garden, check. Heartbreak High (go Ryan!!!), check. Nicole Kidman (go Botox!!!), check. Clichés, check.

Well ladies and gentlemen I'll ask you to make some more room in your Australia-related-stuff box for the lovely Gabriella Cilmi. This 16-year-old beautiful Aussie made her way on the european airwaves earlier this year, proving that Kylieland knows how good pop music is done.

I got her album months ago, loved it for several weeks, then forgot about it, and rediscovered it a few days ago, thanks to an ad on French TV. Yeah, France is just starting to buzz about her. Us French people are never late when it comes to music... ! Her first single for the european market was the deliciously addictive Sweet About Me which slowly but surely climbed the UK charts a few months ago, something quite rare over there (singles usually chart at their peak position on their first week and then slowly climb the charts down), to peak at a respectable number 6.

Her album, Lessons To Be Learned, is a nice piece of pop crafted by the holy Xenomania, the production team behind Girls Aloud and some of Sugababes' finest work. They managed to make good use of her warm and very mature-sounding voice (think Anastacia without the scary part) on catchy pop tunes, such as Don't Wanna Go To Bed Now (well, lady, 16 is quite a young age, you need you rest) or Cigarettes And Lies and Messy. The more pop-rock oriented Save The Lies (her second single) clearly demonstrates the sexy bee can deliver in the voice department without sounding too hard-pushed. Got No Place To Go has got a bass line reminiscent of Duffy's Mercy (tell me if I'm wrong), but thank God it's not as annoying after 3 listens, it even is one of the best tracks on the record. Of course there are the inevitable ballads, but those are surprisingly not boring, Akward Game even being quite good, with its acoustic guitar bringing a welcome folk touch. Terrifying and Echo Beach are also pleasant up-tempo tracks that conclude the album well.

Overall Miss Cilmi shows some impressive skills on her first album. The fact she won six ARIA awards (Australian music awards) last week proves her carreer's far from being over. In fact it's just beginning.

Découvrez Gabriella Cilmi!

Découvrez Gabriella Cilmi!

Découvrez Gabriella Cilmi!

Découvrez Gabriella Cilmi!

Découvrez Gabriella Cilmi!

If you liked what you heard, maybe you can go buy Lessons To Be Learned by Gabriella Cilmi at the nearest record shop or download it from Itunes, or wherever else you like.