Friday, October 30, 2009

Britney Spears' video for "3". Sadly, no threesome involved :(

Whaaaat ????!!! Next!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paloma Faith, artist, wonder, and more

With a name like hers, Paloma Faith sure seems more like a popstar than, say, a plumber or a brocker. That said, "Paloma Faith, plumber" wouldn't sound that bad, and would probably urge you to have your pipes checked. So miss Faith has chosen a career path that's a lot less useful to people with a clogged sink on a Sunday night, but God was she right!
With a voice such as hers, it would have been a total waste to even think about doing anything else than sing. For those of you who like comparisons, she's like like a giger-hared mix of Amy Winehouse and Adele, a deep, strong and soulful voice that won't leave you disappointed. And thank God, her songs totally do her songs justice.
Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?, her brilliant first album, is here to show what a multi-talented and ambitious singer she is. Right from the the opening track Cold Stone Sober, a delicious Motown-inspired number, the tone of the record is set: it's all about classy production, sweet arrangements and great vocals. The rest of the album goes really smoothly, with slightly retro-sounding up-tempo tracks (Smoke And Mirrors and Upside Down are real successes), and more beautiful intimate moments like Broken Doll or Do You Want The Truth...
The current single New York is an impressively classy piece of pop-soul. Listening to Paloma sing how the city stole her man away from her is just one of the best musical moments of the year. Sorry Pal'! Stargazer starts off with strings that reminded me of Janet's Together Again (lol). Don't worry the comparison stops right here. The song is more of a big ballad with a huge chorus. Certainly not the most subtle one here, but it's no less efficient and enjoyable.
Play On closes the record on a cabaret note, all at the same time melancholic and a little desperate, and here again Paloma's voice does wonders.

The UK is obviously well-equiped in XXIst century soul singers ever since Amy arrived. Paloma Faith has something girls like Duffy, Adele o Pixie Lott don't have: a multi-referenced, multi-arts and very personal universe. As an actress, we'll see her soon in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. She's also proving to have a real eye for fashion and all things visual, a little bit like a not-vulgar version of Lady Gaga who doesn't think she's the World eighth marvel. It sure will be appealling to many, many people.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alphabeat - The Spell album review: the 90s are back!

Two years ago Alphabeat released an awesome album which paid tribute to the 80s, with an impressive sense of fun and melody. Now the Danish band are back with The Spell, an album that will remind people of my generation their very first parties... Yes, this record is like 1995 is happening all over again. And while it might seem like a very bad idea to bring back Corona and Gala back from the dead, the Fantastic 6 manage to create a brilliant album.
The strength of this band is that they don't take themselves seriously at all, but they do take very seriously a kind of music that is not. That's why The Spell is a total triumph. Of course if you like dark, meaningful lyrics and moody atmospheres, this won't be you cup of tea. But if you're into unashamedly fun, highly danceable and bouncy music, you're in for a treat.
Right from the first track and single The Spell, they set the tone: it's up-tempo and incredibly enjoyable, and this impression never leaves. The Beat Is and DJ are sexy electro numbers urging you to the dancefloor, as are Hole In My Heart, Heart Failure and Heatwave, three odes to rave-dance music and probably the best tracks here. Even when the bpm decrease, the songs remain huge (Chess, Q and A) and remind us that the 90s could slow it down too. The whole lot is very consistant both in influence and quality and never can you spot even a tiny bit of mockery for a kind of music that clearly made the band what they are today.
I'm so sad this record wasn't released when I threw my first proper birthday party, with spotlights, dancefloor and all. This would have been a hell of a dance! Now go buy this album as soon as it's released and put your hands in the air like Scatman John is still around!

Heart Failure
Hole In My Heart
Q and A

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cheryl Cole - Three Words album review. It's not that bad.

One of the most expected and at the same time the most feared album of the year is released today. Remember when I told you a few months ago that Cheryl Cole was working on an R'n'B album, I was very concerned. Well now, hearing the result, I was partially right.
It was to be expected. I mean Cheryl Cole belongs to one of the most successful girlbands of all time, a band that gained credibility over the years after being put together through a TV show. That's quite an achievement. Taking a year-long hiatus, Girls Aloud members are focusing on solo projects before the band get back together in 2010. Cheryl is the first one to release an album, Nadine's effort being scheduled for early 2010.

The main problem with this album isn't that it's not good. It's more that it isn't good enough. Not good enough for a proper popstar whose career as a girlband member features songs as brilliant as Biology, The Show, Sexy No No No or Untouchable. No song on 3 Words is even close to one of these pop masterpieces. This can probably be explained by the fact that 3 Words is not a pop album. It is a modern  and generic R'n'B record mainly put together by men who are repeating their own formula on an artist that isn't them. Will I Am (yeah, the Black Eyed Peas twat) is to be blamed here for bringing songs like Heaven or Boy Like You to the table. They feel so rushed and uninspired ("that will do the trick") that I wonder why Cheryl even agreed to sing them. Title track and future single 3 Words is way better, but a little too reminiscent of BEP's I Gotta Feeling. Parachute also has an appealing chorus and drum beat that makes up for its lack of originality.
Fight For This Love, well, you know this one. It's grown on me so much over the past few weeks that I've come to really love it if not be literally obsessed by its chorus. Rain On Me has to be my other favourite track here, probably because it's more pop and goes somewhere Cheryl seems comfortable and competent.
Make Me Cry is a little funkier than the rest and has grown on me quite a lot but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It's just fine. Happy Hour is slightly better and with time, it could probably become one of the album's best tracks.
Stand Up, which was written by Taio Cruz, is the only real up-tempo club-friendly track. It's really efficient and enjoyable, but it won't win any award for its lyrics. And FYI, Taio, a "pair of Vans" has never been, is not and will never be the male equivalent of a pair of "Louboutin" [for those who don't know these are shoes]. NEVER. But apart from that detail, it shouldn't be too difficult to dance to that tune.
Don't Talk About This Love is 'the' ballad. It sucks.
The album closes with the rather dull Boy Like You which Will I Am apparantly stole from Frankmusik. It's not good, and fortunatlely the last track is better, even if Heartbreaker is in fact a Will I Am featuring Cheryl Cole single that was out two years ago. Opportunistic much?

All in all, this album appears as a fair deal for Cheryl, who's gonna have a hit with it, and a great one for Will I Am who's gonna get some extra money for writing and producing half of it. It's too bad the feeling I got was that it was as much a Will I Am show as it was a Cheryl-Cole-from-Girls-Aloud-first-solo-record. This spoils the fun "a little". The songs are not that bad, some are even good, but I can't help but wonder how amazing the whole project would have been if Cher' had put a little more enthusiasm and commitment to it.
Conclusion: she's a fifth of the best pop girlband in the world.

This is a rather interesting article about the marketing campaign surrounding the release of Three Words.

And this is a way for you to hear 1-minute clips of the songs.

EDIT !! You can get the album legally for free HERE. It's probably a mistake so enjoy it while it lasts !!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Here's Marina And The Diamonds' video for Mowgli's Road: very nice

Marina And the Diamonds is an artist I truly love. I can't wait for her debut album, due out in February 2010. After two amazing buzz tracks, I'm Not A Robot and Obsessions (click for vids), she's releasing Mowgli's Road as her first big single. The song is awesome and will hopefully be the hit she deserves. She's just released the simple yet brilliant video for it, which you can watch right below.
Marina is an artist you instantly know you're gonna like. She's fresh, clever, funny and those qualities show in her music. Her pop, which can be described as "indie" is absolutely modern in the best possible way, but also timeless. I have no doubt that her album will be in the same vein and will start the new year with a bang! Until then, enjoy the few tracks she's released, and mark your calendars, cause you'll hear about her again, a lot...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

So, yeah, Rihanna's back with a song called Russian Roulette

I think you'll understand why I chose the "extra large" size for the picture above. Cause, you know, it's all about the details ! So Rihanna is back with Russian Roulette, and after a few days of not knowing what to expect and a countdown, the song premiered on her website.
Well the least we can say is that this is quite an unexpected song choice for a come back. Choosing a dark ballad when your finest work includes Don't Stop The Music, SOS, or Umbrella (ie uptempo songs), and your last album is one of the iconic ones of the years 2000 is a risky move. But I could pay. Mainly because the song itself is good and sets a new, edgier image. At least she can't be accused of choosing a safe path, with a song that will probably not appeal to her younger audience.
Anyway, let's praise this daring move from one of the most interesting popstars around, instead of crying over the fact she didn't pull an Umbrella 2.0 off her sleeve. From her image to her sound, it really seems like Rihanna wants to set the record straight: she is the future of pop.
Her new album, Rated R, is released on November 23rd, which is the same day as Lady Gaga's Fame Monster... It will be interesting to see who wins the battle.

A few songs you might like

These are songs I've been wanting to write about these past few days. So there you go.

Hurts - Wonderful Life
This band is still pretty unknown, but I've come across this fine tune, and I tend to think this might get big in the coming months. Think Coldplay + Erik Hassle, or something like that. (Myspace / Video)

Kylie Minogue - Speakerphone (2009 Remix)
One of the best songs on X got a remix treatment for her recent US Tour. Exactly what the track needed. Amazing. (Video)

Alexandra Burke - Dangerous
This is the b-side to her smash hit Bad Boys. Well, let's say that for a b-side, it's pretty enjoyable. No, in fact, it's really good.


Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
Although I'm not really a fan of the Gaga, I must admit this one is kinda good. Still a little too RedOne-sque for me (so too similar to her other songs), but the chorus and the rama-mamama thing are amazing.

Nerina Pallot - Real Late Starter
This girl's latest album The Graduate is a real treat for the ears, so I'll probably write about it later. For now, enjoy this perfectly crafted pop song. Honestly, if you can resist singing this chorus, I'm afraid I can't do anything else for you. (Video)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Birthday It's Pop!

One year ago I started this blog not really knowing what to expect. Well, after 170 posts, 10 of which were about Girls Aloud (!), and a first post about Mya, I can say I'm pretty happy with what it has become. So thank you to those who read regularly, to those who pop in from time to time, to those who support me with kind words and to the people I've become blog-buddies with! I hope you enjoy what you read and feel free to suggest anything for the future. For a more direct contact, you know you can follow me on Twitter. See you next year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cheryl Cole sings/dances/nails her first live performance of Fight For This Love on the X Factor

There are lots I need to catch up on after a few blissfully good days away from the blogosphere, but for now I'll just post this rather good video of Cheryl Cole performing her grower of a first solo single Fight For This Love on the X-Factor. I can't say for sure if she was singing live, or miming to pre-recorded live vocals but the thing is it's pretty well done. Nice outfit, dance moves and lights. Lots of dancers.
By the way, her album, which I'm listening to right now as I'm typing, is not as bad as I had come to expect after the first reviews I read. More on that later. Tomorrow is a special day for It's Pop!, so I'll probably be back for more !

UPDATE : the single sold 130 000 copies in the UK on its day of release, making it the biggest first day of the year. Yeah, it's gonna be a hit.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Florence + The Machine - You Got The Love (Video)

Florence and her label have cleverly chosen You Got The Love to be the third single off her album. And by "cleverly", I mean it's the most radio-friendly track on Lungs. The song is a cover of Candi Staton's hit which was featured in the final scene of the final Sex And The City episode. The scene that had me all wet in the eyes area. But I was young then. AND, Carrie coming back to NYC with Big was a err.. "big" deal.
Anyway Florence's version is really worth a listen, though it's really similar to the original. If you're a Kylie fan, you'll notice that the tiny Australian has been kind enough to lend Flo the moon crescent she used on her Showgirl Tour back in 2005. How nice of her ! [note: this is not a real info, I made that up]
Enjoy the vid below and check out Lungs ASAP if you haven't already!

Drugs are bad, kids

THIS non-embeddable X Factor video is one of the many reasons why you don't want to get started with nasty substances. Of course not everyone will end up performing a bloody good song (ie. way better than a month ago) on national TV and make himself look like a mess, but hey, not everyone is Robbie Williams.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What day is it today? It's Glee-day!

Today I'm doing something a little different by posting about a TV show. But if you're already familiar with Glee, you will have understood that it has its place on this blog. Indeed, Glee is a a TV show that has "pop-music" written all over it! After the pilot that aired at the end of the 08/09 season, the show properly started in September and is quickly becoming a must-see.
For those not already aware of what it's about, let me sum it up quickly. Will, an average spanish teacher in an average high school in Ohio, decides to re-launch the Glee club that made him a star back when he was a student, and before he embarked on a rather boring journey with his never-satisfied high school sweetheart turned wife. Of course the kids that join are not the most popular. There's the unsufferable Celine Dion admirer who thinks she's the next big thing, the fat afro-american girl with the BIG voice, the geeky guy in a wheelchair, the stuttering Asian-american and of course the gay guy. Cliché much?! Of course, and thank God for that. Will soon understands that he'll need some popular guys if he wants the whole thing to be taken seriously, so he manages to get some of the football team members to join. Of course the Glee guys have to face mockery from their school mates, trickery from the evil cheer-coach and have to get ready for the Nationals, a competition they're not very likely to win... But who knows!
Let's get this straight: Glee is NOT another High School Musical. From the creator of Nip/Tuck, it's more of an hilarious and politically incorrect vision of high school and all the clichés it entails. Each character has something that makes him/her shine and ridicules him/her at the same time. The cheer coach (Sue Sylvestor, former secret agent) is just an amazingly funny and some of her lines are already classics.
But I almost forgot about the main thing: the music. The songs featured on the show are big, super-famous pop songs you must have sung at least once in the shower. The respect and distance they are treated with make them  totally accurate and enjoyable (yes, even Celine Dion's Taking Chances ;) ). The dance numbers are ace too, especially when they're performed by the club's rivals and winners of the previous Nationals.
So if you don't know Glee yet and you want a fun, exciting and well-written show to watch this year, tune in on Fox every Wednesday night or, if you don't live in the States, look for it on the Internet every Thursday morning! It's well worth it.

Below is an extended trailer for the show

This is a review of The Saturdays' new album Wordshaker

Less than a year after their first album Chasing Lights was released, The Saturdays are back with a second LP, Wordshaker. Whether you like them or not, you must admit that what they've achieved is pretty impressive. In less time than Leona Lewis needs to say "amazing" in an interview, they managed to get four top ten singles (plus a fifth, unfairly unsuccessful one), a platinum album that remains one of the best pop offerings of 2008, a headlining tour, and, it seems, new colourful dresses to wear on the photoshoot for the cover of their new record.
While the release of Wordshaker appears a little rushed, there are good reasons for that. Girls Aloud are on a year-long hiatus, Sugababes are heading God-knows-where with their new line up, and new gilrbands Dolly Rockers and Girls Can't Catch are kinda struggling to launch themselves on the maintream pop landscape. So the horizon is pretty clear for The Sats to establish themselves as more than "the other Alouds".
The first single Forever Is Over had us believe that they were heading towards a rockier sound, but it stops right there. Just like on Chasing Lights, the band's sound ranges from sophisticated and sexy modern electro-pop to powerful but generic and most of the time boring ballads. Whereas Wordshaker clearly has great moments (the majority of the up-tempo tracks), the weak or uninspired ballads tend to drag it down. I mean, how many great ballads are there in general? It's an extremely hard alchemy to achieve and quite frankly, for a Whole Again (Atomic Kitten), a Never Ever (All Saints), a Too Lost In You, Stronger or Caught In a Moment (Sugababes), how many bland, boring and underwhelming slow-jams?
Sure, Denial or Not Good Enough will do the trick during the slow/acoustic/b-stage part of their next (arena?) tour, and Here Standing will probably make a proper Christmas single because it has everything it takes, but I honestly believe The Saturdays are, like most girlbands, way better and more efficient on uptempo tracks.
So by now you all know what Forever Is Over sounds like, and it's neither better nor worse from an album perspective. Ego, One Shot, Wordshaker and Lose Control, while being pretty similar, are the standout songs here, showing the band as sexy, confident girls. Ego particularly shines with a brilliant chorus and Open Up, with its impossible-to-resist singalong chorus sounds a little more american than the rest of the tracks, perhaps like something a female version of the Jonas Brothers could have recorded (that's not necessarily meant as a mean comment!). Lose Control is pretty hard to ignore too, with its cheerful energy and killer chorus.
Then comes Not Good Enough, a track that leaked at the time their first album was released. So, including it on the tracklist now seems really awkward, especially given it isn't amazing. It's just a generic big ballad.
Deeper, the track they wrote "themselves" appears like a filler, and should probably have been saved for, errr, a Mariah Carey album. The last track 2AM won't revolutionize pop music, but it's not too bad for a last song.

All in all, Wordshaker is a pretty strong offering, in the same vein as their first album. The songs that have been chosen are exciting as long as they are uptempo. But unfortunately, too many soundalike ballads prevent the record from being totally great. And also, maybe this second-album business was a little rushed. If they had taken more time to choose more interesting tracks, and to work on a more consistant sound, they would have had the best pop album of 2009. But you know what they say, you've got to strike while the iron is hot!
One Shot
Open Up
Lose Control

Buy Wordshaker from your favourite record shop or online retailer from Monday, Oct 12.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Charlotte Gainsbourg is back with a new sound and a free mp3! Yay!

Double the picture, double the fun!

Miss Charlotte Gainsbourg, an actress and singer who's not exactly bad, is back with a new song you can download for free on her website. IRM was produced by Beck, and boy it shows! Don't expect anything like the material that was on her beautiful previous record 5:55, which had been partly produced by Air. Here it's not as delicate and nicely fragile-sounding, it's rather staightforward and up-beat. Charlotte's voice is almost unrecognisable still it sounds familiar. That delicious accent, perhaps? This is certainly something to get us excited for the release of the album, due out on November 30th.
IRM is a great way to keep us waiting, and hopefully the rest of the tracks will be as enjoyable.


Ellie Goulding, the return

I know it hasn't been long since I last wrote about Ellie Goulding, but the fact that she has a new song out totally justifies it. Even more so beacause said song, Under The Sheets, is BRILLIANT and available for free from Neon Gold. How awesome is that??!
As for the song, it's a great piece of up-beat electro-pop deliciousness you should like if Wish I Stayed was to your liking. Mind you, it's way better! It's among the ten best songs of the year. Can't wait for more!

Under The Sheets

This is Sugababes 4.0's video for About A Girl

Warning: there's A PLOT !!!! And they're pretty hot. End of story.
What about the stunt doubles though???!! Isn't the line-up change confusing enough?!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

There must have been some kind of mistake...

...because this awesome song, one of the best pop singles of 2009, is not currently at number one in the UK. Shame on you my beloved Brits. What were you thinking buying Taio Cruz (3 weeks at #1 so far) instead of Natalie Imbruglia's Want ??!
For some reason her album has been pushed to January 2nd, despite it having already leaked and being really really good. More on that later. I'm kinda planning to turn It's Pop! into a Nat Imb blog. Only kidding.
One last thing, had anyone noticed how similar Wild About It (the buzz track I told you about back in August) is to Kylie's Two Hearts? As far as the melody is concerned, I think it's striking. Let's just say Nat listened to some fine pop while making Come To Life...

And now compare:

Wild About It
2 Hearts


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dragonette's Fixin' To Thrill: surely a great album

Remember two months ago, I told you about Dragonette, and how awesome they are. Well, they still are, and maybe even more than last time. Their second album Fixin To Thrill is now available and establishes as a fact that they are one of the few great pop bands around.
If you already are a fan of the band, you probably knew 6 songs of the album even before it was released, because the band either used them as buzz tracks, singles or free givaways. This means there were only 6 other tracks for me to discover. Were they going to be as good as the first six? Better?
Basically they're really great too. In fact the whole album is a smash. No track on it seems misplaced or not attention-worthy. Actually, listening to Fixin To Thrill is like having a ride through pop-Heaven.
Things start off pretty well with both Fixin To Thrill and Gone Too Far, which introduce the record in the best possible way. They display a sexy, clever and exciting sound that's going to keep on shining on the other songs.
Liar, the third track, is instrumentally a little more minimalistic, but in no way less efficient. Then Stupid Grin, probably my favourite for the moment, displays a winning mix of sexiness and attitude.
Easy sounds like a rather electro-melancholic tune, in the shape of an indie Call The Shots (or maybe not at all, perhaps I'm making a total fool of myself with that comment). Anyway, it's great. Pick Up The Phone, despite not being really new, is still sounding as fresh and enjoyable as a few months ago. The superheroes-inspired We Rule The World would probably make Superman wet his pants with excitement provided can get wet of course. Dragonette are in fact pop music super heroes, period.
Big Sunglasses is another fast-paced piece of electro-pop genius that's proving better everytime I listen to it, wheareas Okay Dolore might be the one song I'm not totally crazy about as for now. By the tenth track you'd think the band would have put the fillers, but as soon as Come On Be Good starts, you understand it's not the case. A great melody a killer chorus, that's another A-list piece of work from the band. You're A Disaster starts as an almost-ballad, before beats and electro stuff happen. Cool track.
Finally Don't Be Funny brings the album to an end, in quite a great way. My reaction? Hit "repeat" so that the journey doesn't stop.

Conclusion : awesome album. Buy it.

We Rule The World