Wednesday, 30 June 2010

I think I'll like the new Lady Gaga song

Regular readers will know that there was a time when I didn't appreciate the phenomenal talent that is Lady Gaga (I think I underestimated Lady Gaga). A lot of people still don't.

I think her songs need a couple of listens for one thing. You also have to learn to look beyond the hype and the publicity-hungry image to give her the credit she deserves for the amount of creativity and craft in her work. You are always interested to see what's coming next. And on that subject . . .

A new song has apparently "leaked" (or been planted as part of a manipulative media strategy more likely) and the internet has been abuzz with reaction. The song is Changing Skies and a lot of the comment boils down to whether it represents a change of direction or not. If you haven't been leaked on yourself yet you might want to take a listen.

She has trailed her new album (presumably this song is to be on it) as harder-edged than the debut, even describing the message as "bitter". To me it seems more of the same - nice, clean, energetic beat underpinning a very catchy song. It has the feel of a marching song and the lyric speaks of needing a bit of help getting through tough times, hardly bitter. Again I am not as yet bowled over but I am sure I will like it time like all the others.

Then again this is a supposedly unfinished leak - so it may end up sounding very different and there is no guarantee that it will end up as a single or even on the album. Just a clever way of filling column inches with Gaga talk even when she is not in the charts? It's a good song though so I'm not complaining, though not sure whether it will be Best Song of The Week; there's still time as I decide that every Tuesday.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Has Selena Gomez scored again with Round and Round?

I was a big fan of her last hit "Naturally" (see post Selena Gomez Naturally) which is still knocking around the Billboard charts and became a decent-sized hit in other places including Britain and Australia. So I was quite keen to hear the Disney starlet's new single "Round & Round" to see if it matched up.

Not quite, has to be the verdict. A bit bland and inoffensive I am afraid without the dancefloor-filling beat of the last hit and lacking some of the vocal tricks. The beginning of Naturally was one of my favourite intros of last year (it charted late having been around since last Autumn).

Even the lyric of the new song is a touch dull and unoriginal - it's hardly the first time a pop song has explored the idea of being sent dizzy by someone you have fallen for. I mean what about, er, "Dizzy" or "You Spin Me Round" and countless others.

Perhaps I am being too hard on the girl (or her producers). Who expects startling originality from big label pop acts these days? And besides I didn't like Naturally at first, come to think of it, apart from that fabulous intro. Anyway here's the new one:

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

World Cup Shock - a decent song!

The World Cup may be keenly anticipated for the skill, the stars, the drama and the spectacle but surely not for the music. Rarely does the 4 yearly global football feast yield much even passable musical fare.

Last time out, 2006 in Germany, the official song was called Campione which was awful and sounded like a lot of drunk football fans singing the night away. Ricky Martin was a big name in 1998 and a natural choice for the French tournament's musical star turn. Sadly his Cup of Life was awful - "Here we go, Ole Ole Ole, tonight's the night, we're gonna celebrate the Cup of Life". No thanks.

This time though they might be onto something. Wavin' Flag by Knaan is my Best Song of the Week and is excellent. Great to sing along to, suitably uplifting and reflective of the African venue. Finally a world cup theme to be thankful for.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Why is Mike Posner giving away the sound of the Summer?

I am not complaining but I was a bit surprised to be able to download Mike Posner's brilliant new single "Cooler than me" right off his website for free. It's a track that's been around for a while but is only now been given the big release complete with new radio edit and a video. It is working as the track is climbing up the Billboard Top 100 and is already top 10 on iTunes.

So why can you get it free at ? I guess it won't be free for long. I don't really understand the marketing of music these days.

It is my Best Pop Song of the Week and may get to be one of those songs that defines a Summer or at least forms a pleasant aural backdrop. It's bright, breezy, catchy and cool with a great moment about 30 seconds in. I am sure a lot of listeners will be reminded of Justin Timberlake but he is a genuine talent this guy. He has another song knocking around which I think is even better than Cooler than Me, which is "Drug Dealer Girlfriend". It features the same breezy R&B light style and a witty authentic sounding lyric. If you haven't heard them yet, see what you think.

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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Elin Lanto - too sexy to convince?

They say you can't be too rich or too thin. What about too sexy? No one has ever accused me of being off-puttingly gorgeous and distractingly good-looking but I understand it can be a problem for the women and men who win the genetic lottery. The main complaint is they are not taken seriously.

Now I wonder if there is a similar phenomenon for pop singers. The whole point of a singer is that they can convey an emotion with their voice and convincingly tell the story of a song. The problem for the too-beautiful is that they are not terribly convincing when singing about their woes and how tough they have it, because you look at them and doubt whether they do anything but glide through life.

Take Swedish uber-babe Elin Lanto (pictured). Her latest song (Best Pop Song of the Week) is Funeral which is a case in point. This is a big, dramatic (and brilliant) number about a girl so hurt by a guy that she will dance all over his funeral. Standard bunny boiler behaviour if a little morbid, but take a look at the singer. Does she really convince as someone who's going to get mucked about by some guy so badly that she plans to ruin his wake?
Perhaps I'm being a bit naive about the lives of the outrageously sexy - maybe they are just as liable to be emotionally shredded as the rest of us and therefore have just as much right to warble about it. Whatever the truth I don't expect Elin's going to start singing about why she never has to pay for drinks or always seems to get out of traffic tickets, and I do like her music, so I had better learn to pretend her heartache is genuine.
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