Thursday, September 30, 2010

RPA: Random Pop Awesomeness

I'm currently lacking time to blog as much as I'd like to, but I thought I'd feed you with some (not-so-)recent cool stuff. Yeah I'm like that.

Glee does Britney

I still have to watch the episode, but I have to admit that the covers are pretty great. Generally very much like the originals, but with an unmissable Glee-twist. My favourites have to be Toxic and Stronger. And giving Brit's songs to Rachel knowing how much more powerful the latter's voice is, is in itself pretty priceless. That said we have to admit: that Britney has some of the most amazing pop songs of the last decade (and one of the best pop albums if you count Blackout).

Jamiroquai are back

We've known that for a while, but now we have a video to back that up. White Knuckle Ride is a great, classic-Jamiroquai tune, very energetic and dynamic. Of course, it's still the same recipe as in the 90s, even more so as far as the video is concerned: vehicles cruising way above the speed limit.

Kylie covers Hurts

A few weeks back Hurts covered Kylie's Confide In Me (see here) and now it's her turn to return the favour. Visiting the Radio 1 Live Lounge yesterday to promote the release of the second single off her near-perfect Aphrodite album, the Minogue covered Theo and Adam's single Wonderful Life. Needless to say my excitement rate was pretty high. If you read this blog on a regular basis you know why! Apart from this fantastic rendition, Kylie sang her current single Get Out Of My Way as well as her signature hit Can't Get You Out Of My Head in a gorgeous acoustic way, with strings and all, courtesy of her long-term musical director Steve Anderson. Perfect.
By the way the promo of the single is great, with perfect performances all around (thank you beautiful dance routine!). Too bad the song is currently at #11 in the midweek charts. Could this be a non-top 10 hit for Kylie? It sure doesn't deserve that.
(Click on the links to see the magic happen).

What a good pop mashup!

I was sent this pretty awesome mash-up earlier this week. It was made by a nice Norwegian fellow called Peter and who goes under the name "Norwegian Recycling". This man obviously knows what he's doing, as the mixing is faultless and the tracks fit in great together. This mashup ios called Miracles and incorporates tracks such as Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, Britney's Baby...One More Time, Justin Timberlake's My Love or Lady Gaga's Just Dance. How many can you spot? Great job.
You can also download an mp3 of the mahup here.

Shakira has a new video

It's for Shak's great single Loca. It was shot in Barcelona. It's nothing you've never seen before, but it's nice and festive nonetheless. I like this woman. She's very likeable (when she doesn't waste her and our time with crap like Waka Waka) isn't she? And judging from youtube videos of her new tour, I want to see her live. Like soon.OH WAIT she'll be in Paris in December (wink wink).

Scissor Sisters + Goldfrapp + Stuart Price = eargasm

OH YEAH. The b-side to the Scissor Sisters' huge (tune-wise more than chart-wise I'm afraid) new single Any Which Way is a collaboration between the band, their producer Stuart Price and the über fantastic Goldfrapp. Yes. The result is rather great, even if we could have hope for something more explosive. Let's not be too picky, this kind of collaborations doesn't happen that often.

There you go!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Brandon Flowers, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, The Mynabirds : it's an album round-up

Some words about four albums I've been listening to lately. Make a choice (and listen to a selection on the player below)!

Brandon Flowers - Flamingo

Pour lire ma critique en français, cliquez ici

The charismatic and rather endearing leader of Las Vegas band The Killers is releasing his debut solo album, making the most of his band’s hiatus. The ten-track record is a nice offering that will not surprise his fans, but has potential to win him some new ones. First single Crossfire (still my favourite), gives you a good idea of the general sound. The lack of surprising or unexpected tracks is this record’s only weakness. There is no bad song on here, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from Brandon. Too bad, given that it was produced by Stuart Price, who had already worked on the Killers’ third album and had successfully shaken their trademark sound. Anyway, you’d be missing on a good time not to join the Flamingo fun and ride along with it. Note that the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition should have featured on the regular one. They’re more than worthy of your attention.
Favourite tracks: Crossfire, Swallow It, Only The Young, On The Floor

Maroon 5 - Hands All Over

You like Maroon 5’s winning formula of big choruses, easily likeable pop-rock melodies and high-pitched sexy frontman? You won’t be disppointed with the band’s third album. As far as I’m concerned I find it difficult to listen to Adam Levine’s voice for more than six songs in a row, but I have to be fair: these guys can write a tune and have it stuck in your head in no time. I had the opportunity to attend a fancy private show last week and the band showed that a stage is were they belong. Their energetic set mainly consisted of singles from their previous records, to which they added the new one’s three single and unarguably best tracks Misery, Give Me A Little More and Stutter.
Quite frankly the record doesn’t bring anything new to the table but is likeable nonetheless. If you fancied Maroon 5 before, you’re in for a treat, but if, like me, you were never really a fan, you might find yourself slightly bored. But entertained. But bored. You get the idea.
Favourite tracks : Misery, Give Me A Little More, Stutter

Here's a video of Misery shot at the private show I attended on September 14th, courtesy of my dear friend Julien (@JulienPerret) from

Katy Perry - Teenage Dream

LOL. This singer is a joke isn't she?
Ok there’s one great song on there, it’s called Circle The Drain.
That’s it. 

The Mynabirds - What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood

This one came totally unexpectedly as a suggestion from a colleague. I gave it a try because I had been totally seduced by one track (Let The Record Go) and eventually got a superb album to listen to. Their style ranges from rock, pop and folk in the best of manners. The voice of singer Laura Burhenn is reminiscent of Aimee Mann’s, which means soulful and very emotional, but she can also deliver on more upbeat tracks. This collection of songs reflects a very home-made and warm feel that wraps you almost instantly. Perfect for an Autumn Sunday.
If you’ve never heard of this really great new band, I can only encourage you to head over to their website and download two songs for free, which will probably make you want to buy the whole record afterwards. You (kinda) have my word on that!

Now listen !

Découvrez la playlist Albums roundup 09/10 avec Brandon Flowers

Friday, September 24, 2010

A day of Happiness in Paris, with Hurts

All pictures : credit

Pour lire ma critique de Happiness en français, c'est ici !

On Tuesday September 21st, the lovely and very talented Tokyo Banhbao and I were invited to follow amazing Manchester pop duo Hurts during their promo tour in Paris. It was a great chance to talk to Theo and Adam freely, asking questions and getting their impressions on music, touring and their newly-found success. After briefly meeting them back in June during a showcase they were eventually not able to perform due to the venue's sound system dying minutes before the performance, this more intimate time with the twosome was an opportunity to check if they really are the coolest new band around. Guess what... they're more than that.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cheryl Cole Returns : the revenge of Malaria Queen (video).

Cheryl Cole's new single Promise This is probably one of the worst song I've heard this year. And that includes Missing You. Nothing works for me here. The beat is cheap, the verses are a rip-off of Cheryl's own Rain On Me, the Alouette thing is awful (and was already used way better by Mark Ronson 2 months ago and French popstar Zazie in 2007 on her track Des Rails), and whoever is responsible for this didn't even bother checking how the words were supposed to be pronounced. EPIC FAIL I say.

That being said, the video is rather nice, mainly because Cole herself looks gorgeous. As much as I'd like to enjoy this piece of pop music, I can't. It's all about Nadine Coyle's Insatiable anyway. Oh, and just to think Promise this will do better in the charts just makes me quiver with horror.

Who manages these girls ?! (It's the new Saturdays epic fail)

I would LOVE to love pop's most incredibly ill-advised quintet The Saturdays but recently, it's been hard. The campaign for their recently released EP Headlines makes me wonder who makes all those bad choices for them, and leads me to officially apply to be their manager. My contact's on the site.

Exhibit #1 : Missing You
I've already told you about how much I dislike this song, but here's the fact. It's still as bad as it was when it premiered. It's in no way first-single material. The song managed to peak at #3 though, probably due to a string of never-ending promo appearances: that's called brainwashing.

Exhibit #2 : The Saturdays 24/7
This documentary, which aimed at showing the band's life from the inside wasn't exactly a clever move. It didn't show very flattering moments (they're ill, they have stomach ache, they scream a lot, they're not very clever etc). A bit of mystery could do these girls good in my opinion.

Check out the totally awful and uncomfortable moment of over-reaction when they learn they're at number one in the midweeks with Missing You. Too bad, they dropped two spots afterwards. It's at 2:30.

Exhibit #3 : Higher
You thought all was going to be OK when they announced that Higher would be the next single? You were right, because it's the best song on the EP and quite frankly an awesome pop tune.
But you should have thought twice. 

First it was announced that a new version featuring US rapper Flo-Rida would be release as the single. FLO EFFING RIDA. The last thing any good pop song needs. As the rapper prevented the Sats from taking the #1 spot twice (for Just Can't Get Enough & Missing You) they thought :
"Hey, let's give him a verse! It'll boost up our steet credibility, make the track even more radio friendly and this time maybe we'll hit the #1 spot. Oh, and lets kill our great middle 8 in the process".
So, as predicted the new version is totally ruined. And ridiculous. Have a listen (if you dare).

The same thing goes for the single artwork. After offering generaly beautiful CD sleeves, they decided to mess it up, in case a great one could help the track. So queue the awful yellow background, the badly photoshopped pictures, cheap styling and "jumping-Vanessa" concept. Even Atomic Kitten had better sleeves.

Last but not least, here's the video.

Really? Could this be any cheaper? And could their "enthusiasm" look any faker? And why is the video not featuring Flo-Rida? No consistencey here. That's their main problem I guess. The zebra-crossing routine is fun though. I'm trying it tomorrow on my way to work.

Girls, I'm here to help you. Love, L.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Interview : Bright Light Bright Light

My dear friends from great French website Hall-Musique and I have been able to ask one of my (our) favourite new popstars Brigh Light Bright Light some questions. BLBL is Rod Thomas, a supertalented guy who's first single A New Word To Say was of huge quality. Now he's getting ready to launch his first proper release Love Part II through Popjustice newly-created label Popjustice Hi-Fi. As you would expect from that serious imprint, Rod's pop is of extremely high standards and his tracks can easily be classifed as "golden". You can get a free mp3 of the single's superb b-side Cry At Films, which features Scissor Sister Del Marquis. Read our interview after the jump and don't forget to follow Hall Musique and Bright Light Bright Light on Twitter : @hallmusique and @brightlightx2 (Website)

L'interview est disponible en français sur Hall-Musique.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Interview : Kirsten Price

(Photo credit : Kevin Beaty)

Kirsten Price is a UK singer who's got a new album out called Brixton To Brooklyn. She came a bit out of nowhere for me, more precisely through an e-mail submission. I must say I'm happy I listened to the whole record because it is really enjoyable. Sonically it's a mix of various sounds and influences ranging from pop, rock and R&B. We got to ask Kirsten a few questions, read her answers after the jump and listen to the first single off the album, the epic With Or Without You.
Some of her anwsers are a little bit short and I would have loved to ask more things, but that's the problem with e-mail interviews : they're not conversations. So Kirsten, if you wanna chat some more, give me a call!

It's Nadine Coyle's debut solo single Insatiable

Nadine-Nuhdeen-Coyle's debut solo single premiered today. The Girls Aloud star (and unarguably best vocalist) has been recording tracks for her upcoming album for over a year now, fueling rumors of the band never getting back together, which I refuse to believe. In the meantime fellow GA member Cheryl Cole has had a +800k-selling and mostly underwhelming record, a huge european hit (Fight For This Love) and has firmly established herself as one of Britain's hottest property (thank you judging slot on the X Factor!). 

Given the rush and general lack of quality that surrounded formerly-Cole-now-Tweedy's solo release, I always thought that Nadine taking her time to craft a consistent and clever pop record was a good thing.  After all, Girls Aloud taking a longer break than expected will only make their comeback bigger, provided their is one someday. Having worked with some of the most talented producers/writers in the pop game, such a Robbie Williams former pen pal Guy Chambers and the man who brought us Madonna's Ray Of Light album and All Saints' Pure Shores William Orbit, it's highly probable that Nadine has managed to get some great songs for herself.

(This is Insatiable in all its glory)

Insatiable, the first single taken from the album of the same name is way more than the "decent" track I was expecting. In fact it's a powerful and modern-yet-not-bragging piece of pop music, with real intruments (including a brass section !!), a big chorus, some WOW moments and Nadine's strong and distinctive voice.
The track is clever precisely because it is not an instant smash, but a grower that takes a few listen to fully reveal itself. Not the kind of grower that never really grows but you want to believe will, because you know, it's The Saturdays/Britney/any sometimes-disappointing-popstar. It sounds great on first listen, and just gets better with each play. Girls Aloud wise, it is way closer to what they could have recorded (during the Out Of Control era maybe) than any of the poorly-produced generic R&B that filled 2/3 of Cheryl's LP (Rain On Me being the exception).
The only thing the track lacks is a real middle 8 to re-enforce the last minute of the song. Other than that, Insatiable makes a statement : Nadine is a credible solo popstar, not only the best singer of a great girlband. Hopefully this good impression will still be valid with the whole album. We'll see that when it leaks when it's released on November 8th.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Madonna leaks all over the place

Remember. The last time we spoke about the Madge, was when she released her greatest hits compilation Celebration. The two new tracks on there were not good (Celebration) and awfully desperate (Revolver). 
These past few days and pretty much out of nowhere, some new tracks from various eras were leaked. 

I'll pass on the semi-decent ones that understandably didn't make it on the albums they were destined to, but one of the bunch sounds absolutely great. It's the Timbaland-produced Animal, which was intended for the mostly-crap Hard Candy album but ended up on a shelf, cause you know, they had to make room for Spanish Lesson and Incredible. (*vomits*)

Thank God someone broke into the Madonna Vault and decided to give the fans what they want : decent pop songs from the (former?) Queen of Pop. Let's hope more unreleased tracks are coming our way so we can begin to think that Madge's latest musical era wasn't that much of a mistake.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Behind the scenes of the new Rihanna song "Only Girl (In The World)"

This is what probably went down during a meeting between Rihanna and her record company a few months ago.

- Ri, you screwed us with your last album. It was too dark. It flopped.
- Yeah, Boss, but I had just been beaten up by that motherf*cker Brown. My music had to convey my state of mind.
- Don't care, ho. You're here to make some cash. We're lucky you had that dull song Rude Boy to save the thing a bit.
- Uh it sucked.
- So. That "Don't Stop The Music" track of yours was a hit back in the day, right?
- Yeah, I guess so.
- Who did it ? These Stargate guys, right?
- Yeah, I guess so.
- Ok, so we're sending you over to Sweden tomorrow. Try and make something dancey. No more boring dark stuff.
- But, boss, I'M-A-SERIOUS-ARTIST-NOW !!! *cries*
- Shut up and pack.
Ok, it probably didn't go exactly like that, but you get the idea. So unsurprisingly, the Rihanna-puppet new single is a BIG dance-pop track that has far better verses than chorus. It will do well, but I bet we'll all be over it in a week. Yep, it's that anoyingly catchy.

It's Marina's Thriller : Shampain (video)

Ladies and Gentlemen, my favourite newcomer Marina (and her Diamonds) just released her new video for what has to be my second-favourite song on her fantastic debut album The Family Jewels : Shampain. The video looks like a girly re-interpretation of Michael Jackson's Thriller. No less.
I'm not sure this video will help her connect with the masses, but at least she's not giving up on her artistic integrity. This girl is here to stay, maybe not with a #1 every three months, that's all.

Friday, September 03, 2010

It doesn't get any better than a new Kylie video

Hey, Goddess ! This is Kylie's new video for the second single of her near-perfect 11th album Aphrodite, the sexy Get Out Of My Way. It's visually splendid, yet simple, and fits the song perfectly. If the visuals are anything to go by for The 2011 Folies Tour, then' we're in for a big treat. Ok, I should add "as usual". Well done team Minogue, so far the Aphrodite campaign is great. Ok, I should add "for a change".

The single's out on September 27th with a whole package of remixes, but sadly no b-side. But maybe the lush and recently-leaked Jake Shears-written Change Your Mind can be counted as a b-side.

(Change Your Mind)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Shakira - Loca (new single)

This Shakira's new single Loca.

It's no Loba, but I like it. You can dance along to it. It's taken from Shak's forthcoming album Sale Al Sol, due out on October 19th, so just a year after her previous one Shewolf. Remember how bad that campaign was ? Stupid single choices and all. Let's hope her team does a better job this time around.