Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hurts have delivered 2010's first classic

Being on loads of New Year "ones to watch" lists is a bit of a double-edged sword I think: flattering and lots of publicity but also ramps up the expectations and perhaps subliminally suggests to people that you are being hyped up beyond your worth. Hurts has certainly been heavily tipped recently on the back of 2009's excellent "Wonderful Life" (a previous Best New Pop Song selection - see review) . The BBC's Sound of 2010 placed Hurts in the top 5 and were no 2 on Breaking More Waves similar list. But BELIEVE THE HYPE! The first new material we have from the British duo is called "Blood, Tears and Gold" (not a single yet apparently but will be on a Spring debut album):


It is not only my current selection as the song of the week (and the first time one artist has been featured twice) it is the first one I have rated "instant classic". It is the kind of emotionally-charged atmospheric synth ballad that you want to really savour over and over, perhaps in the dark. With more mainstream, radio-friendly but obviously classy and distinctive songs like this they could well out-perform the hype and become a huge success in the UK and beyond.

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Gabriella Cilmi's driving me crazy!

No, not in that way! Although the 18 year old Ozzie pop siren does look sexy enough I suppose in her new video "On a Mission" which I am making my Best New Pop Song of the Week although they've gone a bit overboard with the "Chicks in their underwear" theme on this one. It's easy to see why a commercial, mainstream pop fan like me would like this song: high energy dance beat, electro pop but with plenty of guitars, belted out chorus . . . what's not to like? So what's driving me crazy? The first five seconds, that's what. What does that intro remind me of? There are plenty of 70s and 80s echoes throughout the song (including a whiff of Jump by the Pointer Sisters at the beginning and a bit of the Streisand/Summer disco epic Enough is Enough later on). As for the reedy unconvincing rap in the middle, I don't know who that reminds me of - Lady Sovereign? Toni Basil? But that first 5 seconds - what song does that come from. Go on, listen now and put me out my misery:


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Sunday, 17 January 2010

Selena Gomez "Naturally" - Free MP3 download

I really like the song "Naturally" by Selena Gomez. If you haven't heard it, it's a bit more mature and cool than you'd expect from a Disney child star. The song hits the ground running with a great intro and beat and the energy never flags on this enjoyable dance track. Her voice has more depth and strength than you would expect. The song has been around for a while which is perhaps why they put out a free MP3 download out here:


I think it's just for this week only but well worth adding to your collection if you like bright and cheery pop music with a good beat.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Riverside: music and the F word

The UK's no.2 record this week is Riverside by Sidney Samson. A bit too annoying to be my pick this week as best pop song, it is notable for its catchy but soon to be rather irritating riff (think what Crazy Frog might have sounded if it'd been from Holland and a House DJ like Samson). The other salient point about the song - which you won't hear on the radio - is that it's only lyric is "Riverside - MotherF***er". It works quite well and I am sure the profanity is part of its appeal to the thousands who have downloaded it. It got me thinking about other songs that use the F word.

Oddly enough my favorite song of the last few weeks also features F***ers: Boys Who Rape (Should all be destroyed) by The Raveonettes [see blog post] and again very effectively. I originally fell for the track listening to an American radio edit (i.e. minus the expletives) and was quite shocked when I heard to version of YouTube which contains the lyric "Those F***ers stay in your head". Again it's quite effective and my preferred version. Listen - it is brilliant:


Others that spring to mind are "The Modern World" by The Jam which is an angry but brilliant rant sung by someone alienated from everything they see around them including the final line "I don't give two f**s about your review". I remember this song as a kid and it seemed very brave at the time and again the swearing fits the spirit of the song well. More recently we had F U Right Back (again rather shorn of it's power in the radio edit) and of course If Your Seek Amy by Britney (you subversive thing you). The F word first into the upperreaches of the UK charts in 1995 when Smokie re-released their 70s classic "Living Next Door to Alice" with the lyric "Alice, Who the F*** is Alice?" added in to the chorus. Anything for a comeback eh?

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Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Leave Eliza Doolittle alone!

What's poor little Eliza Doolittle done to deserve the barage of abuse she's getting from the critics. I don't mean the fictional character from My Fair Lady of course but the young London singer who's currently got a great new single out called "Skinny Genes":


With it's addictively catchy intro, jaunty whistle and vocal stylings reminiscent of Corrinne Bailey Rae you'd think she'd be showered with praise but no, some of the snobs in the music press have got their knives out.

Guardian Music damned her with faint praise, said she wouldn't last long and intimated that she was a cynical record company project to fill the vacant ground left open by Lilly Allen's "retirement". Another critic managed to pack "annoying", "highpitched", "raspy", "predictable", "flimsy", "horribly laboured" and countless other brickbats into his scathingly dismissive review.

To be fair I've seen some more positive reviews but in general it looks like a case of cynical old-timers refusing to give bright and breezy pure commercial pop the time of day. The public are a better judge and I can see this song being a big hit and making these reviews look a bit "predictable", "flimsy" and "laboured" themselves.

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Hot Chip will fry up the charts with this song

Did I really just kick off 2010 with that awful pun? You may not have heard of the British indie pop group Hot Chip (I hadn't until recently) but their new single "One Life Stand" is fantastic and my selection as best pop song of the week (the video and my review are on the site - This Week's Best New Pop Song). They are not exactly a new band having notched up 4 albums over the last 10 years and notching up several UK hits. When I heard One Life Stand I was immediately taken by the 80s style electro-synth sound, thumping bassline and most of all by the vocal which starts off quite monotone but really hits the spot by the chorus. Perhaps it will score big for them. I thought I would check out their previous successes to see why they haven't registered with me before. The first single from the current album (this is the second) is called Take It In and I thought it was dull. Of the back catalogue the pick is "Ready for the Floor" but this new single is their best to date.

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