Indie Girl & Pop Boy

We Need A Little Edge With Our Electro Pop

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Nelly Furtado - Loose Review

Nelly's first album, 'Whoa Nelly' was standard fare, not bad but by no means brilliant. Her second album 'Folklore', which contained the superb 'Try', was a vast improvement and showed real promise. Can 'Loose', the third album, live up to all the promise?

I don't know anyone who doesn't love 'Maneater', the first single, with it's crazy retarded beats and skittish rhythm, a lovechild born out of the creative juices of both Nelly and Timbaland, hip-hop producer, makes one of the most danceable, get-up-off-your-seats-now songs for a long while. 'Maneater' as been a long time coming. Much like Rihanna's stomper 'SOS' it combines the powers of pop, dance and hip-hop, also throwing in a little bit of folk. The resultant sound so sweet that Willy Wonka would want the sugar-free version.

And the rest of the album follows suit. Timbaland crops up all over the album, making an appearance, no more so than on the next single, 'Promiscuous'. Unfortunately, 'Promiscuous' lands just short of it's potential and is probably the worst song on the album, making the disjointedness just sound messy. However, on songs like opener 'Afraid' and 'Glow' Timbaland's influence is stamped heavily on Nelly. Timbaland is able to give Ms Furtado not only guidance, but also some kind of direction that her work has previously been lacking.

Timbaland's influence, however, has not meant that Nelly has neglected her latinfolk roots. 'No Hay Igual' is the result of taking Timbaland's beats to rural Portugal, it makes 'Folklore's latin moments like 'Forca' look like child's play. It even manages to tower above 'Maneater' and become easily the second best song of the album (the first best is yet to come). When I listen to 'No Hay Igual' I'm reminded not of summer but more specifically of that musty nearly-September warm dusk feeling. If this isn't a single then Nelly is a stupid doofus!

'Try', it must be said, remains Nelly's greatest moment for me, despite everything 'Loose' brings to the table. 'Loose' contains three major ballads each of which is probably worthy of a single release. 'Te Busque', much like 'No Hay Igual', is drenched in latin influence but this time the sound is much more longing and aching. Weirdly, and perhaps intentionally, the introduction sounds like 'Shape Of My Heart' by Craig David and Sting. 'In God's Hands', thankfully, doesn't sound anything like Craig David or Sting and comes the closest as possible to replicating 'Try''s sound. It achieves in part, and does such a good job of replicating it that it does actually sound like Nelly is just singing different lyrics over the same song, only it doesn't work quite as well this time. Step forward Chris Martin. Chris Martin and Nelly Furtado are apparently celeb chums now and Chris waves his magic 'chillingly poignant and beautiful and brilliant slow song' wand and creates 'All Good Things' for Nelly, which neatly bookends the album (if you ignore all of the bonuses). Timbaland's beats do feature but the panpipes and acoustics dominate, as does the brilliant whistling. I can not sing this song's praises enough, seriously. It is the song of the album. Buy the album, download the album, steal the album, do whatever, you need to hear this song. It's nearly six minutes long so it'll need to be shortened when (not if) it gets a single release.

'Say It Right' and 'Showtime' are what can only be described as 'mid-tempo'. Much like 'Promiscuous', there's nothing wrong with them per se, but they just don't work as well as they could. To be honest,these song let the album down and in doing so remind us that Nelly has a lot of potential left in here, as great as 80% of her album is. It's not perfect, we're not dealing with the album of the year, that's 'We Are The Pipettes', this can be a close second though.

'Say It Right' isn't helped by the fact that it's sandwiched between 'Te Busque' and the album's out-and-out, unashamed pop stomper, 'Do It' which might just be better than 'Maneater', I haven't decided for certain, I'll keep you posted. 'Wait For You' is another stomper which has an element about it that's consistent throughout the album: This is Nelly Furtado, and no-one else has ever, or will ever, sound quite like this.

And that sounds like as good a point as any to end the review, don't you think? 'Loose' is at times ambitious, mixing latin-folk influences and a contemporary hip-hop 'crunk' sound, throwing in a Chris Martin ballad, but builds strongly on the foundations laid down in the first two albums. I dare say if anyone other than Ms Furtado were at the helm of this ship, the ship may sink with over-occupancy or speed off too fast into an iceberg. But Nelly is no ordinary popstar, she ash a unique sound, distinctive voice, new-found direction and, perhaps most importantly, she keeps a firm grasp on her work and has a control others can just envy. As a result this cruise ship maneuvers like a fishing boat on a lake and the only ice is in the alcohol.


Here, as a little treat, as I don't normally do this, and also a taster to make you go out and buy the album, are two of the best songs as well as Nelly's cover of Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy'. Enjoy! And remember, if you have something to say about my review, the two tracks below or Nelly in general, drop me a comment.

No Hay Igual

Thursday, June 22, 2006

NEW Album Of The Year

Stop whatever it is that you're doing. Stop looking at porn. Stop downloading your pathetic mediocre music. Stop msnning with your loser friends. Your life is about to be changed for the better.

I have got together all of my Pipettes mp3s and have found out that they make up the whole album, then a bit more. And by golly, it's fantastic. It is, and you'll have to excuse the rather disgusting metaphor, quite literally, a musical wet dream. In fact, I'm convinced they've made the album just for me. Now here's the serious review a bit...

'We Are The Pipettes' has it all. The retro 50s-esque barber-shop vibe that just jumps on the biggest indie bandwagon of the last year (or kicked it off, I don't remember) is prominent throughout and leaves The Pipettes dripping in what is a heady mixture of cool, vintage and probably a bit of sweat.

I don't think lead single 'Dirty Mind' and 'One Night Stand' are supposed to be hilarious but maybe it's delivery, maybe it's the lyrics, maybe it's cliche, maybe it's the women dressed as 50s housewives singing lyrics so in-your-face and feminist that they make the Spice Girls and Shampoo look like blushing violets in comparison. Whatever it is, these songs seem to be intended to make music a little bit more fun and tongue seems to firmly lodged in cheek throughout. Put down the guitars, stop crying and fucking dance, and all that.

Songs like 'ABC' and 'Uniform', despite 'ABC's brilliant lyric "He knows about ABC 123, But he don't care about XTC!", have a vaguely school-boy-esque overtone that is either paedophilic or just tongue in cheek that no-one cares about thirtysomething nurses on a hen night copping off with school boys (there is something of a group of thirtysomething nurses about the Pipettes is there not?). 'Judy' also mentions being at school. Pop Mum's name is Judy and I keep singing this song to her and telling her she turns the boys' heads but the girls all wish she was dead. She doesn't get it. She will, in time. And I'd only just got over greeting her with 'Hey Jude' as well. Bless her.

The Pipettes, however, are blatently NOT still at school because (I've seen pictures of them) of there rather worldly view of the world and the view of school life is (due to the retro tinges) nostalgic and rather rose-tinted. Also, the Pipettes don't once mention ASBOs or how much they love Gerard Way, so it's been a while since they were at school. The school vibe can't help but bring to mind The Orchids. If you've never heard of the Orchids before, give them a google, download a few songs and you'll see that basically the Pipettes are bordering on plagarism. But teenagers don't just flirt, (apparently) and that's why songs like 'Sex' and 'I Love You' exist.

I know I've said this about Rihanna and The Kooks and Lily Allen, but I can easily see THIS being the soundtrack to the summer. Songs like 'Pull Shapes', the latest single, and 'Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me' make me want to break out the hose and have a water fight and spray lots of stinky boys (you've got a dirty mind!). The Pipettes advantage I feel is that where Luke Kook sings in a silly accent, Lily Allen borrows a ska/hip-hop sound and Rihanna verges on R&B with tinges of reggae and calypso, The Pipettes sound could only ever be British, and could only ever be now. 'We Are The Pipettes' has an underlying moral message: basically, girls should dance lots and ALL boys are smelly. This is what I've been telling my friends for years...

In a world where gay men tell women what to wear, Coleen McLoughlin is an icon, the whiffs of Girl Power linger on the new generation of university students, Craig and Rosie in Coronation Street are the new Romeo & Juliet and teenage pregnancies are at an all-time high, this is what passes for feminism. And I love it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

July? Not Looking Bad...

I thought I had to post something because Pop Boy's large amount of free time is giving him time to write quite a bit for the blog and managing to make me look crap and lazy without even realising. It's only because I have school, readers. I have actual proper work to do.

And partly because I really don't know what to write about... I have been feeling disgruntled at music journalism in general after reading the pretentious over-wordy toss that seems to be printed nowadays so i'm going to pride myself in... not doing that basically. Anyway, on with the music stuff.

It's come to my attention whilst looking up things that're being released in July, there's quite a few "not bad" things! Here is a list of the three I can be bothered to write about.

Muse - Black Holes And Revelations

Yes, Pop Boy has already written a little bit about Muse, but why shouldn't we write about Muse even more? Due to some not-exactly legal measures, I have came across the entire album and it is currently residing on my iPod. I highly recommend a buy even if you're not a Muse fan. I have never been a Muse fan but this new album has taken a slightly new direction (though it is not the complete turnaround that the hype suggests) The first three tracks, Take A Bow, Starlight and the "everyone knows it's fantastic" Supermassive Black Hole are pure gold in their own special little ways. Take A Bow is stunning and chilling, Starlight is eerily lovestruck pop, and everyone knows that Supermassive Black Hole is just bloody good. This album is released on the 3rd of July.
Pre-Order "Black Holes and Revelations on Amazon
Look At Muse's MySpace Page!

Robots In Disguise - Get RiD

Mad screamy electro-punk to pop-kissed frenchness. Robots in Disguise are really the only band who can do this as well as they do. Offbeat duo Sue Denim and Dee Plume offering pop goodness like pogo-inducing anthem "Turn It Up" and then leading onto silly punkdisco track "DJ's Got A Gun." Much more upbeat than their last album, which is not bad nor good, merely showing a different style of the Robots, the first album being very good also. Get RiD is released on the 3rd of July.
Pre-Order "Get RiD" at
The Robots have one of those MySpace thingys an'all!

Performance - Short Sharp Shock EP
"I don't know what the cover looks like. I don't think it's been decided on yet."
I've heard Performance described as hilarious, yes... perhaps they are. I think the problem with Performance is that they try far too hard to be serious when they look like a parody of a "PROPA ELECTRO REVOLUTION, YEAH!" They are obviously trying to be arty and get across a message, but I advise you to buy this in the mindset of "I want something silly and wonderfully 80's to dance like a mentaler to" because I find it's the best way to appreciate Performance. Also look up their best track "Surrender" on iTunes.
Finding a link for a place to buy Performance material is almost impossible, but here's their bloody MySpace.

I also recommend the debut album by The Automatic which is out tomorrow (Monday 19th) and called "Not Accepted Anywhere." Yes, I got it in the same way I got the Muse one. My bad.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Still Sounding Like The Male Goldfrapp...

I've managed to get hold of two more tracks of Muse's upcoming album 'Black Holes And Revelations' as I was hoping that 'Supermassive Black Hole' wasn't some crazy anomaly of aceness. Fortunately, it doesn't sound like it is.

'City Of Delusion' sounds a lot like typical Muse, heavy guitars, saluting drums and desperate, aching Matt Bellamy vocals, but's there's something about it. Maybe it is the smokescreen of 'Supermassive...', or maybe it's the violins. Maybe it's the trumpets that it the heavy Muse song curious, vaguely latin undertones. Or maybe it's the electro-fuzz bit in the middle that echoes around for the remainder of the song, as if Goldfrapp are in the bed-sit next door and Matt and Alison have erupted into a huge battle playing very loudly with the speakers against the wall.

'Knights Of Cydonia' is a rather epic affair at 6 minutes in length. Now Muse are not only borrowing from Goldfrapp but also Rachel Stevens in making a song with a drum/synth mix-up so regularly frenzied that it sounds like Muse are on horseback. Horses are so 2005. But Muse are being so retro. The drum synth bit starts off and goes on for 2 mintues on it's own, only occassionally interrupted by choral, tuneful screams. There's an unexpected acapella bit under which the synths still pulsate, joined soon by the spaztic guitars, which quickly dominate before the synths beat them down again. 'Knights Of Cydonia' goes from choral horsey song, to rock-apella, to guitar wielding glam-rock, to new-emo-pop, to Muse of old and back again, darting in between the styles with the same vaguely congruent axis from which to spin in every direction, jerking around moodly in smeared mascara and eye liner.

If that hasn't got you excited, I don't know what will.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pop Boy Needs You

At the end of July, Pop Boy is travelling to the dance music capital of the world, Ibiza. As the Venga Boys sung, "Whoa, we're going to Ibiza". But, being a Pop Boy means that I don't really know dance music. I know dance pop, but I don't know strictly dance music. This means that when I get to Ibiza I won't know what is cool and what is crap, what I should the floor with glow sticks and fluorescent body paint for, and what I should stand against the wall for. And it could create an embarrassing situation. So, the point is, I need you beautiful people to tell me what I'll be dancing to. Point me in the right direction to this summer's biggest and bestest dance choons.

Also, the sun is shining. This is good. But Pop Boy has nothing new and summery to dance to. This is bad. So, what are the bestest summer songs of this summer (this isn't just dance songs). Are you in a band that have recorded the song of the summer? Well, no-one can enjoy it if you don't whisk it over to me and let me write about it can they?

Send anything (even, or especially, abuse) to email address which is in the sidebar somewhere.

Blunt Of The Week/Month/Year

It was inevitable. Really. I'm sure you've seen it coming. But the worst thing that could possibly have happened, has happened. A female Blunt has unleashed herself, with a song that may actually be worse than 'You're Beautiful' and possibly even worse than 'Goodbye My Lover' (I know, it's quite an achievement).

Step forward, Sandi Thom...

I touched on the whole punk rocker thing in my last post, which was supposed to be about Muse but ended up a venomous tirade (as is always the way). But I won't mention the ludricousness of the lyrics much. This time I'll do more of a character assassination.

First of all, she's spelt her name wrong hasn't she, the twonk? Sandi with an I? Does the girl know nothing about the power of the Y? I just don't believe her parents would give anyone the name Sandi with an I (unless they were punishing her for the crap music they thought she'd go on to make) which indicates to me that she's changed it deliberately in order to be 'cool'. Which makes her a cunt.

Her surname can't be helped really, but it is a bit cunty. Afterall, the person I can think of that spells Tom like that is Mr Yorke of Radiohead. And Radiohead are the biggest blunts in the whole world. I got round to thinking, maybe Sandi came to be such a bad musician becasue she wanted to inflicted pain on the world after suffering with such a crappy name for so long.

No, I haven't heard the album (because basically I'd rather chew on barbed wire) but I don't need to to know that it's a big pile of shite. Looking at the song titles it seems that the general patronisingly-nostalgic theme of 'Punk Rocker' is continued. For example, a song called 'When Horsepower Meant What It Said' is just the most cunty title I've ever seen, and I dare say she's trying to compete with the songtitles of Panic! At The Disco, in which case she has failed.

The title 'What If I'm Right' is just too smug and faux-forward thinking. In fact, the whole thing is faux-forward thinking. It likes to pretend that it likes to be forward thinking and being different and original ("she was signed after sell-out webcam concerts from her basement") but has no desire to actually change anything because, in truth, she's run by a group of middle aged men who remember the 1970s first time around who've made themselves very rich through abusing the system that they get Sandi to sing against. And the record itself is bought by these exact same people, the people who dressed in punks in the 70s then wore suits in the 80s and drank Coca Cola and ate McDonalds and made the world into a business.

Basically, the point I'm trying to make is that Sandi Thom is pretty much a musical prostitute. Pimped out by middle-aged men who are feigning an interest in her as they dress her as a harlot that will sell for big money before being sold onto the same middle aged men in mid-life crisis desperate for some bubbly young thing to have so that they can look young and cool and not as old as they are.

So all rise and throw rotten fruit at Sandi Thom, harlot of the airways, blunt of the week.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Prestigious 'SOS'/'LDN' Song Of The Month Award

To be honest, and I don't mean to sound like a broken record here, as I'm aware Indie Girl and I do complain a lot, but really, I think I'd pack it all in were it not for just one song...

Weirdly (this is a sentence I never EVER thought I'd say...) I absolutely adore the new Muse single, 'Super Massive Black Hole'. It's amazing, and of course, we all know I'm not prone to hyperbole (no no, not at all) but this could be 'IT'. This song eclipses every other Song of the Month of 2006, 'LDN', 'Niave', 'Maneater', 'Sorry', 'SOS', 'Everybody's Gone To War' and 'No Tomorrow' (yes five months and seven songs. And?) just when it didn't seem possible. It sounds like nothing else I've heard this year, except for, of course, Goldfrapp. Muse have basically made a male-Goldfrapp song and I'm plesantly surprised that a group with stuff drudgey tendencies have managed to pull such a glittery, fabulous, danceable song out of the bag. And whisperings over on PopJustice suggests that a lot of the new album follows int he sameNow let's all sit back and watch Goldfrapp get the knee-up to the meteoric success they've had coming for a while as they are portrayed as the pioneers of the new wave of electro-pop-glam-slut-rock sound. And of course, as Indie Girl and I have always been fans of the 'Frapp, we'll look even more cool than we already do. Or something.

I got to thinking, Rihanna was a huge success with 'SOS', a pop song, that was eaten up by your typical r&b fans. The Kooks new one could basically be a V song, and the band are beginning to sound increasingly like a boyband (expect a slow ballad 'acoustic' version of 'You Don't Love Me' with a video on a beach and waterfalls, in black and white, sometime soon). Now Muse are going pop too and it means only one thing: Pop IS going to take over the world this year. I did tell you. I'd give a link to the archives but quite honestly, I can't be bothered to find it and I doubt you're arsed enough to click it so let's just say I was right and leave it at that eh?

If you look underneath the depressing state of affairs regarding Gnarls Barkley's 'legendary' stint at number one and Sandi Thom's fake, "I-hate-technology-but-visit-my-website", messed up cultural references (Punk rockers never wore flowers in their hair, you cunt, they were a rebellion against that kind of namby-pamby stuff - or something. To be honest, I don't know I great deal about punks, or claim to be a great fan, as they were the sort of people who spear-headed the idea that music could be cool just because someone said they were rather than being cool for being good. And for everything they stood for, and against, punk-rockers (and their fashionista tendencies) have created a world full of commercialism and materialism. And it's the kind of people who were punks in the 70s that buy albums by Tunstall, Blunt and the like*. I digress...) if you look beneath all this, there's finally a bright burning sun on the horizon, a light at the end of the tunnel, we only have to wait a while and the age of pretentious indie drudgery will be over and pop will rise like a phoenix and burn all you motherfuckers down. I would like this usurping to reach it's climax as Jo Whiley and Edith Bowman are lynched, beaten and replaced by Lily Allen and Annie.

What was the point again? Oh yes, Muse! Muse! Rar! They are ace!

Also, I'm keeping an eye on Paolo Mutini. He's sounding pretty cool and vaguely summery at the moment but I'm getting Blunt-ish vibes from him. If he even dares try it, I'll break his legs. Or something.

*Feel free to comment and complain that I've got punks and what they stood/stand for totally wrong. Like I said, I don't know the details, and don't particularly care, what I wrote is just my little view in hindsight.

Monday, June 05, 2006


I don't think anymore needs to be said. ROLL ON SEPTEMBER!

Feel free to comment/leaves cheers of jubilation right here.