Indie Girl & Pop Boy

We Need A Little Edge With Our Electro Pop

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Spanish Pop

I've just spent a week in Espana! Ibiza seemed to be as educational music wise as sticking on a Ministry of Sound compilation. Good old Catalonia was considerably better and I picked up a bit of Spanish Pop for my 'troubles'. I also bought an original vinyl of Kate Bush's 'The Kick Inside' from 1978 which I am in love with.

My first dip into Spanish pop was a rather tragic compilation called SuperVerano 2006 (Super Summer to you). It is tragic firstly because it's cover versions done by a band called La Banda El Diablo (well, quite). In fairness, of the originals I've heard, these versions don't sound too far away. But of course La Banda El Diablo may have slight artistic license, so the songs do begin to sound the same which I suspect may be down to the music itself. Also, it's very cheap sounding, but then it was only 5 euro, so it kind of was.

The most exciting song on the compilation is the (very close) cover of David Tavare's 'Summerlove', which Shakira and La Furtado aside, has been the 'exitos del verano' (that's hit of the summer to you). Incidentally, you can't move for 'Hips Don't Lie' and 'Te Busque' on Spanish radio, it's as if there's a law to play one or other every two songs. Back to 'Summerlove', it's Spanglish, as all the best Spanish pop is, and is the tale of well, summer love (duh!). It's very dancey and very Ibiza.

Another (Otra!) interesting song is Raul Paz's 'El Beso' ('The Kiss'). Not so much for the song, but the woman covering it who splutters it out in such a fabulous middle-aged Spanish could've-been singer lady way.

Reasonably self mocking is Batuka's 'Chi-Ka-Cha', clearly from the Las Ketchup school of shitting on the graves of Dali and Picasso and whoring out Spain with ditsy stupidity for a quick buck. The song is like Spanish Marvin & Tamara (remember them?), but twice as cheesy and no-where near as good. Not only is it offensive to Spain, it's offensive to pop.

Currently riding high in the singles chart is RBD, a band formed by actors from a TV show, 'Rebelde' set in a boarding school, like Miami 7 meets The OC meets Mexico. Now, they are Mexican, and as a result that makes them as Spanish as Usher is English (sorry Spain!). But, they are brilliant 90s style top pop sung in Spanish, so I picked up their album, 'Rebelde'.

A six piece (three boys, three girls) outfit in their school uniforms (when they are blatently in their twenties - ace!) singing boy-girl, girl-boy songs vaguely reminiscent of when *allStars and Steps were really good. It just couldn't fail to win my heart could it?

Debut single 'Rebelde' (yes, the same title as the album and the TV show) is a mid-tmepo affair which has it's quiet parts and it's fast parts. My favourite single of the album is 'Futuro Ex Novio' ('Future Ex-Boyfriend') is slightly rocky and sung entirely by the boys. It has ice-cream van style chime in the chorus, and has lines ending in "No comprender" and "Un momento", which I sort of vaguely understand. In fairness, the album doesn't really contain a duffer. Like all albums of this style, it has understated moments and it has it's "pow!" moments, but it never registers below brilliant.

I 'read' about RBD in a Smash hits style teen magazine and thought one of the boys (Alfonso Herrera) looked fit. Then the album pictures revealed that the one I thought was fugly (Christian Chavez) who colours his hair (like that one out of Aqua!) is actually quite fit and Alfonso is a bit iffy. This is the album photo that swung it. Confusing Spanish Pop!

Then I dipped my fingers into 'Spanish Britney', Natalia's 2006 album 'Nada Es Lo Crees' (vague pigeon translation: 'Not What It Seems'). The phrase '____ Britney' or '_____ Madonna' are bandied around in euro-pop far too lazily and is often in '___ Madonna's case, far off. However 'Britney' seems to mean, "washed up, ex-popstar who had a few very good singles but lots of bad albums and is a bit of a chav". I think the phrase is supposed to refer to 1999/2000 Britney when it meant "bird who sings who is a bit fit". So how does Natalia compare to Britney?

Hurrah! 'Nada Es Lo Crees' is a proper pop album. Worringly, the first great through-and-through pop album I've heard all year. Britney would kill for this K-Fed for this kind fo material. Opening track, 'Loco Por Mi' ('Crazy For Me') almost me think "Britney-who?", a stellar, sock-knocking-off 2006 pop song.

Of course, I don't 'habler' Espanol, but I get the idea that the title track is vaguely scathing, from the title, delivery and atmosphere of the song. One of those typical "it's so hard being young, rich and famous", 'aware', "I hate the media" songs. The obvious comparison is 'My Prerogative', which it shits on. From a great height.

'Por Ti [Call Me]' is amazing. It's one of my favourite songs of the year and it's crying out to be heard. Those lucky Spanish.

The whole album contains that sub-rock, sub-dance, sub-latin vibe that was really popular at the turn of the cenury, but that's not to make it sound dated. The album is as 2006 as "who is she!? where did you find her!?". It's sticks to what it's good at and stays with a continuous sound that never fails but avoids being samey. It's a culmunation of everything 2001 pop was and could've been ('No Fui Yo [Let's Get Wild]' even puts the Lumidee clap to good use).

Were this album sung in English it would your album of the year. I'm serious. In fact, rather promisingly, the credits seem to credit 7 of the 12 songs as being adapted from (I'm assuming) English. So if only we could adapt the other 4 songs (the other one's an intro), we've got the next Rachel Stevens album?

Natalia asks Britney who? Christina who? Shakira who? Ladies and gentlemen, this is our new icon.

She's a bit fit too, innit?

So I feel I've really tasted just a little bit of what Spain has to offer. Next time you visit those crazy Iberians, make sure you don't just go home with prickly heat and a sangria-induced-hangover.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pop Boy's Summer Compilation Thingy 2006

Indie Girl and Pop Boy is not an .mp3 blog (or an .m4a blog). But I was going to write about the perfect CD-R for this summer. Then I thought it would be a nice gesture to make it available for you to download so that you can listen, share and reflect. It all should fit onto a CD-R even though it's in two zip files. It's not copyright infringement, it's simply an advanced pop-music community thing. Or something.

Unfortunately, the sun isn't out. It's practically winter in fact. But, we can pretend a bit.

So here it is, then 'perfect' summer compilation, that I've lovingly named 'Shaking Like A Cool Lemonade'...

Girls Aloud - Long Hot Summer
The title of the compilation is lifted from this amazing Girls Aloud which really came into it's own when the sun came out. You've all heard it already, so I won't tell you about it. But, in case you've forgotten, it features the Nadine rap! which well and truly puts Dr Dre and his proteges in the shade.
Watch the video here.

The Banana Splits - Tra Tra La Song
This tune is currently being used by McDonalds in a recent ad campaign. But don't let that put you off. This psychedelic Hanna-Barbara theme is the very essence of summer; bouncy, fun and utterly ridiculous. If it doesn't have you throwing your arms around and finger clicking, then you have a heart of stone.
Watch the video here. It is a little bit scary.

Syreeta - Harmour Love
This song is gorgeous, and was originally recorded for the 1977 album 'One To One' but gained popularity again when it fetaured in 2005 film 'Junebug'. And yes, that is Stevie Wonder singing backing vocals, as Syreeta and he were married for 18 months in 1970 (their collaborative relationship lasted much longer). Syreeta died in 2004, but her legacy lives on with this song which seems to have been made for sunshine and lemonade, for those really lazy, laid back days for although it is relaxed, it's also tremendously upbeat.
Watch a Junebug/Syreeta video here.

Similou - All This Love
Technically, this should've been last year's summer anthem, as it released in it's native Sweden back in spring 2005. But we know the Swedes have a sixth sense for this kind of thing and although we may have had to wait 15 months for it to arrive over here, that's nothing compared to how long we've waited for Robyn. The song contrasts aching vocals and lyrics (which are actually quite painful) with perky melodies that just make you want to dance and throw up your arms.
Watch the video here.

Moloko - Sing It Back
Another blast from the past, this time from way back in 1999. 1999 was a great summer for music ('Red Alert', 'Livin' La Vida Loca') but this song remains as good as it was then. It's so summery it actually ice cream, I'm sure of it. This came into it's own particularly when I was in Ibiza on a boat from the south of the island to the north. As we cruised past the coast and saw people on the beaches and the rugged cliffs this song really just seemed to fit.
Watch the video here.

Cooler Kids - All Around The World
This song was featured in The O.C. in one of the first episodes I seem to remember, unfortunately it was omitted from the subsequent OC Mix albums. But it is on Cooler Kids' album 'Punk Debutante' which is packed with similar gems. Again, this is a bit ludicrous and silly at times, but it is one for the movers and shakers. Quite frankly, no DJ worth anything would dare omit it from their summer setlist.
Watch the video here.

Dandy Warhols Vs Mousse T - Horny As A Dandy
Another song from 1999, this time mashed up with a 2000 indie tune. This really shouldn't work, at all, but somehow it does. The addictive strum of the Dandy Warhols mixed with summer supremo Mousse T and vocalists Hot 'N' Juicy. HRNK! Embrace the summer horn!
Watch the video here.

Rogue Traders - Voodoo Child
Of course this is Izzy from Neighbours, who else could make something so brilliant and random? Again, this was floating around last year and has taken a whole year to arrive on the shores of Blighty, but better late than never. It almost makes people forget that soapstars turned popstars are supposed to be rubbish. And it's the soundtrack to heated games of strip pontoon everywhere, do I twist do I fold? Taken from the sensational album 'Here Comes The Drums...'
Watch the video here.

Nelly Furtado - No Hay Igual
Easily one of the best songs on 'Loose' and a song I put up for download I love it so much. Everybody needs this steamy Spanish banger in their life. It almost redeems Portugal (Nelly is Portuguese-Canadian but the song is Spanish) for the football (I said almost). Booty shaking done latino style.
Watch the song over the 'Promiscuous' video here.

The Kooks - She Moves In Her Own Way
The Kooks are brilliant, everyone knows that, after all they are the British band of 2006. Luke Kook is a bit of a hotty too, which, I'll be honest, always helps. The jaunty strumming of this song is just amazing. The video is filmed in Mexico, and they sit on a roof with a guitar and that's about it. This is the kind of song you can sit on a roof with a guitar to or just do absolutely fudge-all to. Maybe tap your toes a bit and do other Kook-ish things like look really cool and admire your own scenester-ness. This is about as indie as the compilation gets I'm afraid. If you want more Kooks then buy the album, 'Inside In Inside Out'.
Watch the video here.

Kelis - Till The Wheels Fall Off
The more I hear from Kelis' new album, 'Kelis Was Here', the more excited I get. 'Bossy' was a bit of a grower, and 'Fuck Them Bitches' isn't overly charming. This song, however, is an instant
favourite. It's about having a big long road trip and the melody bounces along like an L-reg Fiat Punto on it's way to Blackpool. Which I think is the exact sound Kelis was aiming for.

Kioki - Do & Don't For Love
The interwebnet isn't showing any information for Kioki, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. All I can find is the video. I seem to remember they were Dutch/Japanese and that this was first released a few years ago. It's all very cutesy and electronic. The video features a little toy baby crawling around toyland in stop-motion style and he ends up in a scary graveyard then he flies off in a bubble. The director may have been on drugs, I wouldn't like to say. But ignoring all that, it's an absolutely brilliant song and one of my all-time favourites. Enjoy!

Puppini Sisters - Sway
Last year it was the Pussycat Dolls, this year it's the turn of British Andrews Sisters impersonators Puppini Sisters to cover 'Sway'. No-one knows where 'Sway' comes from, legend has it was first heard being sung by God when he made summer. It wouldn't be summer without 'Sway'. This version is a little bit more melancholic than previous versions and a lot of the Sisters other material from the album 'Betcha Bottom Dollar' (including that version of 'Wuthering Heights' that is either the greatest thing ever made or the worst I can't quite decide). I still think the version Suranne Jones did on Star In Their Eyes is the best version (I just wish I could find it on YouTube!).
Learn the dance here.

Paolo Nutini - Loving You
Paolo Nutini is brilliant, I think that was established a while back. And it's OK for him to be huge because he's ace and he's not the next James Blunt, as that's James Morrison. What I've heard of his album 'These Streets' is all pretty fab and in much the same style, but this song is particularly summery. Paolo's vocals melt over the smolderingly lyrics.
Watch a makeshift video here.

The Pipettes - Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me
I don't think the Pipettes need much of an introduction, everybody knows they are brilliant. I'd take their album, the album of the year, 'We Are The Pipettes' to the beach with you for sure. Rays of sunshine beam out of the speakers, I could included any of the album tracks, but I decided with this one as it's particularly angsty and bolschy and rar! One to wear vintage swimming costumes to.
Watch the video here.

Zero 7 ft. Sia - You're My Flame
This is the third single from Zero 7's third album 'The Garden' and it's one of their finer moments, even if it is a departure from their traditional sound. The lyrics could be 'Humpty Dumpty' and Sia would still triumph and make it incredibly sexy. However, the lyrics are about goofing around when you really shouldn't and putting fun above everything else. Which is surely the essence of summer holidays?
There are no videos for this song, but there is the 'Destiny' video, which is just as good. Watch that here.

Rachel Stevens - Crazy Boys
This isn't a traditional summer song. It doesn't sound anything like a typical summer song. It was dark undertones that are more at home at Hallowe'en than 'high'-August. But it does work. Trust me. Richard X waves his magic wand again. I think this song became a summer song for me when I listened to it whilst perving at hotties on the beach under dark sunglasses in Ibiza. I'm not sure it was X's intial intention, but it fits that purpose perfectly.

Chelo - Cha Cha
I thought this would be THE song of the summer, and to a certain extent it was. It was No.1 Download from iTunes on the Latin charts. Borrowing elements from latin music, throwing in a pinch of pop all rapped over by Puerto-Rican hip-hop artist, Chelo (with handclaps for the beat), 'Cha Cha' is almost a work of art. It works on every level. And they really need to hurry up and release it over hear or it'll have to wait until next summer for it to be huge. From the album '360'.
Watch the English video here, and if you really feel up to it, the Spanish video here.

Fonseca - Hace Tiempo
More proper latino music, this time from Columbia. The album 'Curazon', from which this is taken went double platinum in Columbia last year. This is proper latin, not gimmicky latin or sub-latin or so forth, and it's very very good and has an authentic sound to it. It's very jaunty and almost as booty-shaking as 'No Hay Igual'.
Watch a live performance here.

Josh Hoge - Work That Body
I meant to do a post on Josh Hoge a while back after hearing a few tracks from his upcoming album, 'Call It What You Want', all of which were rather ace. This song, about perving on women dancing, is particularly brilliant. It's about dancing and has a very American rock-pop sound to it, with Josh sounding a lot like JC Chasez with his falsetto vocals.
Watch a short live performance here.

Justice Vs Simian - We Are Your Friends
Undoubtedley the dance anthem of the summer I think (not that stupid David Guetta Vs Egg one). Yes, it does grate on me a bit after a while, but it'd be foolish and stupid not to include it.
Watch the video here.

I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona
This is Swedish, contrary to the name. Being Swedish it is, of course, absolutely fabulous. The "na na na na" chants are very summery. Much like the Pipettes and the Puppini Sisters it has a certain retro sound but also has a very contemporary sound at the same time. I've just came from Barcelona-ish (Catalonia) as well so it's sort of kind of appropriate, except I went to not came from Barcelona, but meh!
Watch the brilliant, squee-tastic video here.

Venga Boys - We're Going To Ibiza
Because I went. And this is just an amazing song. Yes it's silly and yes it's trashy, so colour me trashy. Remember when records as wonderful and fun as this could get to number one?
Watch the video here.

And here are the zips for you. I think some of songs may be in both file. But, I'm an idiot, deal with it...

Part 1
Part 2

--Also, I wrote this before I went to Catalonia, hence why there's no Natalia or RBD--

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Questions Of The Week...

What the fuck is Fergie's 'London Bridge' about?
How come everytime he comes around her London London Bridge wanna go down? I just don't get it. When I heard her debut solo single was called 'London Bridge' I figured it would be in the vein of 'LDN' or The Smith's 'Panic', or would sample nursery rhyme "London bridge is falling down".

But I can't figure out the imagery? Is she thinking of Tower Bridge, implying that her lady part is like a bascule? Even then, surely the idea, or imagery, would suggest that you'd want your 'London Bridge' to go up? This is all very confusing.

Maybe her lady part is sinking an inch every 8 years. Maybe her male friend is Saxon Kind Ethelred (I'm not one to judge)?

More to the point: What the fuck does the song have to do with London?
Other than the dancing guards, the phone boxes at the beginning and the -duh- Tower Bridge at the end, there doesn't appear to be much London-ish, or even English in the video, and it's certainly not in the song. I don't even think the video was filmed in London. That river they're speedboating in isn't the Thames is it? Where's the sewage spray?

Whatever, clearly, Fergie is an idiot.

Is Jamelia's song supposed to sound like all her other songs with guitars thrown in?
Because it does.

'Something About You' is basically a rocked up 'Thank You' with guitars isn't it? I'm all for artists sticking with what they know works for them (it stops things like this happening) but that's not quite the point is it?

Jamelia's turning into a black solo female Westlife from Birmingham. Weirdly, that image does work, because often, when I think of Jamelia's material, I think of stools.

What the fuck is up with 'Sexy/Back'?
Much like Fergie's 'London Bridge', 'Sexy/Back' doesn't appear to be about anything? Does Justin like it up the bum? Does Justin like doing up the bum? Does he have a back fetish? These are, of course, all literal interpretations (and wishful thinking).

The randomness of the song remains though. The song contains only one verse and a chorus that's repeated three times. The rest of the song consists of Justin and Timbaland repeating the same line over and over. All of this over a bassline that sounds like 'Popcorn' being attacked by 'Like I Love You'. All this being said, I do love the song.

I've tried to interpret the lyrics, but I think it's a pointless excercise as this is clearly a song that has no meaning and makes no sense, much like Russian t.A.T.u songs. Maybe in some far off land 'Sexy/Back' does make sense. That's nice for them. In the meanwhile I think we should all dance.

Plus, he looks very hot in the video. He also looks hot in the video for equally weird 'Featuring Timbaland' song, 'Promiscuous' by Nelly Furtado, which is a little less successful in its Timba-randomness and ends up as a messy dirge.

Has Robbie Williams crossed the line between 'zany and innovative' and 'drugged up has-been' one too many times?
A lot has happened since I last wrote anything. All of ^ this ^ for a start. But also, Official Laughing Stock of the British Media has emerged from in between the legs of a beautiful woman long enough to record and release a new 'song' (though, judging by the quality, he wasn't up for air for very long).

In words of Maximo Park's Paul Smith: "write a review? well how objective can I be?", But, I'll try. I'll give 'Rudebox' one thing, I do actually quite like the bridge. But all in all it adds to another of Robbie's lost lives. 'Radio' was, plainly, a pile of shite trying to jump on the 80s revival bandwagon. 'Trippin'' tried desperately and failed tragically to be 'What You Waiting For?'.
Here 'Rudebox' seems to have stolen a half arsed bleepy beat that Robbie found whilst rooting around in Richard X's bins, thrown in the token 'generic rapper call outs and hand claps' and decided to rap over it.

If Eminem were dead, he'd be spinning in his grave to hear this white-man rap, which namechecks TKMaxx, Durex and Adidas and could've been written by a dyslexic four year old. The video, which I'm not going to YouTube link, because I don't want to, may have stood a good chance of being cool in 2003, if Robbie were Nelly. Unfortunately, it's 2006 and he's not (someone ought to tell him).

Once again, in an attempt to keep up with pop music and appear cool and innovative, Robbie falls flat of his pug face, and embarrasses himself and anyoen whose ever bought a record of his.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Oh my Lordi.

As people may well know, Lordi happen to be the winners of this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

They look like this.

They are famous enough for fans to kick up a fuss when they were pictured in a Finnish magazine without their Halloween costume disguise as well.

And we all know that they have the ability to be quite amusing... in Hard Rock Hallelujah with their reinventions of words to make them "RAWK!" and now in one of the funniest songs i've ever heard.

Prepare Your Ears For The Joy That is "The Devil Is A Loser!"

Thank you Lordi for being so unintentionally (?) hilarious.

(And yes, I realise this is quick becoming a "mp3 and youtube link" blog but meh. It entertains you readers. And it's not like I actually have any writing talent in the first place. FREE MP3s PEOPLE!)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Here They Go Again...

They just can't stop.

(oh, and incase you don't know or hadn't guessed. This is Ok Go, but this time the song playing is called "Here It Goes Again")