Indie Girl & Pop Boy

We Need A Little Edge With Our Electro Pop

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"I'm Looking For A New Direction..."

As some of you may know, I frequent quite a lot of different messageboards and tend to lurk about on them, like a bad smell. Well, a lot of these messageboards like talking about music so I thought i'd mention what's HAWT on there at the moment, and also a particular track that i'm surprised no-one's arsed about at all.

The two tracks I will talk about are ALSO the supposed "new directions" of both artists. Hence the title of the post.

Everyone won't fucking shut up about:
Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend

Yes, Avril is back and everyone thought she would be all grown up now she's a married woman. But there are varied opinions on her decision to go down the "extremely silly catchy pop" route. Despite having heard rumours that the song, image and silly pink heart and crossbones logo are infact, a joke, I will treat "Girlfriend" as though it is actually Avril's new direction.

Now, some people who didn't listen properly have simply criticised the song for having terrible lyrics.

What I will say to these people is, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT. There's no point of meaningful lyrics in a song that looks to be this decade's answer to "Hey Mickey" ! It's nonsense and Avril pretty much knows that.

Secondly, I will come back the "Hey Mickey" comparison which feels like it's already been made 42646757432 times on various messageboards, but it has a point! The handclap breakdown, as I like to call it, has got to be one of the most giddy, jig provoking pieces of music for a while.

Either way, this is a TOP POP TUNE. Well done Avril for making something that sounds like... The Pipettes x meaningless teen pop rock. You've only been stuck in my head the whole fucking day... and I didn't mind either! That shows good pop credentials!

And here's the video which is brilliant. I especially like the sudden choreographed dance routine, and the fact that the whole thing looks as if it could've been made by Nickelodeon.

And i'm surprised to see no threads on:-
Arctic Monkeys - Brianstorm

Now, I heard this song properly for the first time today, after getting a download off "THEPLACEWHEREALLMUSICLEAKS". Maybe it's been around a few days and i've just missed the boat or something, but no-one is talking about this song.

I've been round all the boards I frequent and I find not one thread on it. And it's not because no-one has heard it, because even bloody Chris Moyles had it on this very morning (maybe people just... have taste and don't listen to Chris Moyles. The cunt.)

Anyway, from what I hear, it's not actually that different from the Monkey's old stuff, though maybe i'm just surprised because the media hyped their "new style" to death.

Still, it's not a bad tune. And on first listen and sort of vague skimming of the lyrics, it seems to be attacking all those scenester twats or something like that. HURRAH!

Unfortunately, there's no video going about at the moment. But some people have kindly just been putting the songs onto still backgrounds for people like me to embed onto their crappy blogs. So here it is!

And remember folks, comments always appreciated!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The NME Awards = Tragic.

Yes, we haven't posted in FUCKING AGES but that's due to all this "new blogger/old blogger" nonsense stopping me from posting at all. Also see the whole "your browser doesn't allow cookies shite which happens every two seconds. Blogger really is quite shit. So even when I feel like it, and that's not very often, I can't post!

But now, ladies, gentlemen and random visitors who found us whilst looking for porn or somesuch, I will talk to you about what I thought of the NME Awards. "The Rock and Roll Party of the Year", NME call it on their website. I can't believe they're actually trying to pretend it went well.

It had all the cringe of Joss Stone trapsing onto the stage 2 1/2 weeks ago spread across two hours, which made watching like some sort of endurance test.

The whole shambles was presented by poor brave Lauren Laverne who was given some admittedly COMPLETELY SHIT jokes (they should've just gone with a Kenickie reunion. It's the way to go... people.) but may I ask NME, what was the point of getting anyone trying to be funny with THAT crowd? The biggest bunch of stony faced humourless twats one has seen at any awards ceremony EVAR. Seriously, what a bunch of utter cunts. I didn't think you could pack so many into one room. Though when you think about it, great opportunity to get rid of the entire NME at once and start over, but this time, make it good.

There were however, a few decent wins amongst the rot. There were deserved wins for Jamie T, Klaxons and Muse, and in the awards that have fuck all to do with music, Youtube won best website and The Mighty Boosh won best TV show and provided the only vaguely humourous acceptance speech of the entire thing (or at least what I watched of it) with a few silly jokes from Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt's drunken attempt at taking the piss out of Mitchell and Webb's annoying shit of an Apple ad.

There were of course, quite a lot of just WRONG winners and complete nonsense awards as well (though not quite as many as the laughable Q Awards, but at least they aren't televised.) My Chemical Romance, Kasabian and The View among the quite shit and/or unoriginal bands picking up prizes. And then there are the pointless categories such as Best Dressed and Sexiest Woman which I won't even say any more about because they are just so irrelevant.

The performances, to fit in with the whole boring spectacle, were rather joyless and uninteresting. All apart from one. People, I give you, live from what is officially the best website in the world ever because the NME says so, Beth Ditto and Jarvis Cocker performing Heaven 17's Temptation!

So there you have it people! The mess that was the NME Awards 2007. Ugh, at least everyone knows the Brits are shit. The NME Awards are still masquerading about like their slightly cooler cousin. Wankers.

It'll be nice to see any comments from you lot. About the NME, the awards or even just my return.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pop Boy's Top 40 Songs Of The Year

I've actually gotten off my arse and written something! In fact, this took longer, and contains more words than one of my essays. Geesh! In truth there are reviews for 'Ta-Dah!', 'Sam's Town' and 'The Sweet Escape' I wrote, but it's a bit late now.

But hey, everyone's doing them, and no-one's reaidng mine, but here it is anyway...

#40 The Fratellis – Henrietta
This should be so much more higher. And I apologise. The Fratellis are one of the most exciting British bands of 2006. I saw them live back in June and it was one the most insane massacres of skinny indie boys I’ve ever seen. I came out unscathed but a fair few people left with bloody noses and black eyes. Then again, it was in Stoke, so I can understand why people would’ve been riled anyway. I digress, this song makes me dance like the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz on Pro Plus. And at the end of the day, that’s all that fucking matters.

#39 Divine Comedy – To Die A Virgin
In a world where it’s been proven time and time again that pop and politics should never EVER mix with one another, here is a song that references “all the bombs and the bird flu” in a brilliant and unique way. This song can’t be avoided just for the straight face it’s delivered with, with only ever a tiny wirey smile creasing Neil Hannon’s face.

#38 Beyonce – Ring The Alarm
Probably supposed to be the best pop song in the galaxy. The sirens and megaphoned vocals are certainly very menacing. It’s impossible not to take notice of Beyonce, but then, when isn’t it? She’s loud, we’ll give her that. It’s easily her best work –schizo-pop at it’s best- however it tries so hard to be amazing, brilliant and original that it ends up sounding a bit contrived and psychotic.

#37 The Long Blondes – Weekend Without Make Up
Due to an administrative error, this song is unusually low down in the list. It should be a lot nearer the top but given that it’s been hovering around since mid-2005 it probably should bow out and let some younger songs run forward. A superb lyric helps Kate Jackson snarl on behalf of all under-appreciated twenty-something women.

#36 The Killers – Bones
One of the only notable songs on ‘Sam’s Town’ and one of the few times when the new sound really works for me. In typical Killers’ style it’s very cinematic and theatric. And a bit kinky and homoerotic.

#35 Cat Power – The Greatest
I think I heard this song last year but it wasn’t released until this year. Heartbreakingly beautiful in everyway, from the scattered piano to the strings to the echoing backing vocals. Whenever this comes on, whoever the company is, the room goes silent. It demands that you listen. You don’t just want to hear Chan’s heart break, you need to.

#34 Scissor Sisters – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’
Much like the Killers, I was a little dissappointed by the Scissors’ new album. It just didn’t have the spark that the first album did, their was something lacking. With it’s Beegees-esque, disco vibe that hasn’t been done this well for a good few decades and a chorus more addictive than meths I really want to put this song higher, but just can’t, as, unfortunately, there are 33 songs better than this out there.

#33 Hot Chip – Over & Over
Over & Over or On & On & On & On (& On & On…)? Yes it goes on for what seems like a whole fucking week, but the glockenspiels, thumping synths and random electro-farts make for a cracking pop record. Plus, I’ll bet it’s the only song in this list that you have time to buy a drink at the beginning (when everyone’s left the bar for the dancefloor) and still have ample time left at the end to clap and stomp like a monkey with a miniature cymbal.

#32 Oakenfold – Faster Kill Pussycat
It really was the year that dance music made it again. Having been so contrived for such a long time, the genre had to undergo a fast Darwinian evolution or get left behind. Consider this the missing link between Eric fucking Prydz and the (as-yet non-existent) dance choon that’ll have us all dancing to our graves. Oakenfold pulls together everything that makes dance music brilliant… a beat so simple being used so effectively, a fit blonde girl singing and a non-sensical, repetitive lyric. How could it fail?

#31 Panic! At The Disco – I Write Sins Not Tragedies
The whole world went emo this year, and if this is emo then go on and tar me with that brush. (At this point I’ll also give an honourable mention to Fall Out Boy’s ‘Dance Dance’ which didn’t quite make it onto the list.) A superb, if not slightly absurd, lyric that easy to scream along to, guitars to throw yourself about to and hot boys in make-up.

#30 Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good
Lock up your sons! Etc… It would be very easy to make pot-shots at Amy’s oh-so-appropriate surname, but I won’t. The unashamedly slutty second single from the astounding album ‘Back To Black’ which simultaneously swaggers and staggers around the room is a triumph on all counts, fusing pop and jazz so well that it appears never to have been any different. Oh, and this is the version without Ghostface Killah I’m reffering to, thank you very much.

#29 Gwen Stefani – Wind It Up
This was a bit of a surprise wasn’t it? Except it wasn’t, as it was leaked in very bad quality about 18 months ago. Let’s get one thing clear: this is by no means a bad song. It’s just incredibly unexpected and about three years too late. I think we’ve all moved on from the Neptunes’ sound a bit by now as they’ve become progressively non-descript, as this song shows. No doubt, it’s popping like a mad thing, but don’t all Pharrell songs do that nowadays? I wish the Sound Of Music sample (which is by the by, a master stroke) could save this, but it can’t.

#28 Sugababes – Red Dress
I never cared much for Mutya anyway… This was Amelle’s chance to prove her worth and the girl did well, growling and purring like a panther making even veteran-babe Keisha look like a kitten. But, with or without Amelle, this song provides an interesting and thought-provoking view of life which many young fans can aspire to.

#27 The Kooks – Niave
The Kooks were huge this year, and all thanks to this. Bridging the gap between indie and pop so effortlessly that many became confused where one ended and the other began. I haven’t a clue what the lyric is on about, but to be honest I’m far too busy dancing to care.

#26 Darin – Perfect
Swedish, and not released in the UK, and never will be, but so… umm… perfect that it couldn’t be omitted from the list. Cheesey, unashamed pop at it’s best proving that pop can go indie, pop can go reggae, pop can go jazz, but it’s the pop core that’s essential for brilliance. It always helps if it’s a Swede too.

#25 New Young Pony Club – Ice Cream
I saw these guys supporting Lily Allen at the Astoria in November and was blown away by how well this dance song translated live. Clearly carrying on where ‘Milkshake’ left off. This will be claimed by NME’s new ravers, desperate for some actual music for the scene they’ve started, but once again, this lies clearly within the realms of pop. Fittingly snuggled between the teen bosoms of Darin and Lil Chris…

#24 Lil Chris – Checkin’It Out
Say what you want about Lil Chris. No really, go ahead. I think he’s brillaint, and not even in an ironic way. He’s a popstar out to make a quick buck out of his popularity from a TV show he was in. OK, so what sets him apart from any other I’m A Celeb…, Celebrity Big Brother no marks? First of all, he hasn’t just released any old tat (though it does sound a bit like the intro of Blur’s ‘Song 2’). Secondly, he had a hand in writing it. Thirdly, he really doesn’t want to do it this way, and it shows. He’s aware of his own corniness and his shelf life. The video to current single ‘Gettin’ Enough’ also shows how aware he is of his own image. Truly, there isn’t a rockstar more aware of how much of an arse they are making of themselves than Lil Chris.

#23 Lily Allen – Smile
I’m rather biased at this point, I know. Lily was a breath of fresh air to the whole music scene. Rather than singing dreary songs of love and the oh-so-hard-rockstar life, Lily Allen sings vemonous songs of disgust and mockery, filled to the brim with witticisms. Saying this, I’d’ve preferred her to stay unknown for a little while longer. Yes, she deserved the popualrity, but it overwhelmed her a little bit.

#22 The Strokes – Heart In A Cage
Despite being pop boy, one of my favourite bands in the world is The Strokes. And this song proves why. Guitars that bounce around your head like a rabbit on speed, drums that even when sitting still make you sweat with fear, Jule’s effortless vocals and a schizophrenic love-ravaged lyric from a heart that’s been stamped on one too many times.

#21 A-Studio – SOS
Whereas Oakenfold, the Knife and New Young Pony Club tried to re-invent dance music for the 21st Century, Russians A-Studio adopted an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach, creating a song that is at the same time achingly 2006 and hauntingly 1990. New rave? Pah! Here’s a bit of old rave you pill popping pussies! Now stop fiddling with your customised neon t-shirt and get your fucking hands in the fucking air!

#20 Amy Winehouse – Rehab
The record Billie Holiday never sung. Though, hauntingly it sounds just like she is. Amy channels the greats (late or otherwise) and smolders and pouts in equal proportions hitting us with the biggest surprise of the whole year getting the contemporary jazz world’s sub-prog knickers in a twist. Never before has alcoholism been so sexy.

#19 The Pipettes – Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me
The Pipettees are amazing. And I’ve raved about them from the word go. Girls with more balls than Borrell and Pritchard combined. Singing empowering, ball-breaking, neo-feminist anthems over music so dainty that you won’t notice them punch you in the nose and steal your car.

#18 Lily Allen – LDN
I’m now a resident of LDN and now appreciate the genius of Lily’s observations on a whole new level. Undecidedly cynically or optimistic, Lily celebrates the crime, opportunity, corruption, beauty, debauchery and diversity that make LDN the greatest city in the world. Long live Lily’s LDN!

#17 The Killers – When You Were Young
“Tune!” I made a promise I’d never say “Tune!” when a song was played, but I heard this and out it pops. “Tune!” Pounding guitars throwing Brandon and co. around like rag dolls over mildly-inspriational lyrics that are about finding heores and idols in unusual places. Destined to be used in a bajillion montages until the end of time. So Meatloaf and yet so undeniably cool.

#16 The Gossip – Listen Up!
I can’t comment on the quality of the rest of The Gossip’s album as my uncle bought it for me for Christmas way back in October and is refusing to give it to me until the 25th (the scoundrel!) However, no band seems to have made such a huge impact so quickly. Beth Ditto is indie’s current queen of the dance, keeping Karen O on her toes. It’s the sound of 1am Sunday morning when the DJ’s getting alcohol-fuelled-dance-sensations back to the floor.
The song is lyrically nothing more than counting to 5 and some impressive cooing but that seems to say much more than many others.

#15 Justin Timberlake ft. T.I. – My Love
This is what it would sound like if you had sex with Justin Timberlake. First Justin charms your pants off, then he cooes and smolders rhythmically. And it’s all over in just under five minutes. And T.I.’s there. Ok, maybe, it’s not exactly like having sex with Justin Timberlake… every knows he’s finished after three minutes (and that's including foreplay).

#14 Madonna – Sorry
Technically a 2005 track but only released as a single this year, this song is far too large to be ignored. Dare I say one of Madonna’s best? Time, of course, will tell. The stand-out track of ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ which in February I described as, "
a glittering, throbbing, roller disco diety which takes the brilliance of 'Hung Up' and the infamous ABBA sample, shakes it around, strangles it with a pair of toned yoga thighs and beats it with a big glittery stick." And that still rings true.

#13 The Knife – We Share Our Mother’s Health

Fuck me I love the Knife. So much. Not only crossing the line between genius and insane but playing hopscotch with it. It sounds so good, words fail me. It just sounds like I imagine drugs to feel. It feels alive, it’s not so much a song but a creature, a life form, a disease that’s clawing at your brain like a great big dirty beast, desperate to escape from your speakers so it can maul you to death. Quite frankly, I’m more than a little scared.

#12 Justice Vs Simian – We Are Your Friends

A song as annoying as it is brilliant. And that makes it very fucking annoying. However, the fact that the song commands the scissor arms, the drunken hug-and-jump and not-anywhere-near-tuneful shouting from everyone who listens to it makes it another gem of 2006, leaving a convent looking as anarchic as a 15 year old with a fake ID.

#11 Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

If 2006 is remembered for one song, it’ll be this one. It’s already covered more times than any other song in the history of songs and has spent a whole year (or thereabouts) at number one. But unlike many ‘modern classics’ this song seemed to strike a chord with everyone who heard it (and believe me – everyone heard it). An absolute corker of a song that defies genre, demographic and convention. Timeless and unique.

#10 The Fratellis – Creeping Up The Back Stairs

The energy generated from this song is apparently enough to light up half of the national grid. The cool half, of course. Fuck the Arctic Monkeys, it was the Fratellis who produced the most original indie album of the year, full of songs like this which are conventional and yet at the same time utterly unique. This song has non-sensical lyrics, bonkers guitars, insane drums, handclaps and a chorus you can sing along to. What more could you ask for?

#9 Nelly Furtado – All Good Things

Chris Martin is such a cunt isn’t he? He goes around naming his children after fruit and being an annoying twat but when he sits down and does his job he does it so well that you just can’t hate him. This is not only the most beautiful, touching ballad of the year, but maybe possibly the decade. Clearly ‘Loose’’s ‘Try’, it beggars belief just how Nelly can top this with album number four. It’s the combination of Martin’s panpipe melody and whistling and Nelly’s signature tortured vocals that make this work so well. A pop ballad on which all should be based.

#8 Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Oooh

2006 was the year we found out that dance is back and pop and this is living proof. Unlike ‘All Good Things’ and ‘Crazy’, this is no revelation in songwriting. But it was never going to be. Also unlike them, this is British. Thank fuck for that. Imperialism at it’s best. Jumping on the new-rave bandwagon, Xenomania and Girls Aloud shake off the ballads, borrow from C&C Music Factory’s ‘Gonna Make You Sweat (Everbody Dance Now)’ and create the biggest dance record of the year.If you want to dispute their punk credentials? Who else brings nine year old girls this close to a head-fuck without the bat of an eyelid? Punk that!

#7 The Gossip – Standing In the Way Of Control

Like all the songs in the top 15, this is in a class of it’s own. In fact, when making the list the top 11 changed so many times I got bored of it and left it like this. There is still a vague order but I think that each song is entirely different to the others. This may be due to the fact that they are entirely different to any other song ever. As a result, it’s kind of a tie: best ballad, best rock song, best dance song, best song to sing in the bath etc… This is the most exciting indie song of the year. By miles. This is none to far from being either sublime or ridiculous. It’s knocks you down then offers to help you up, it takes you to space and then dumps you in a dense urban jungle, it coaxs you into it’s boudoir then beats you across the head with a saucepan and then kisses you better. So very 2006. Yet another truly special record.

#6 Jamelia – Beware Of The Dog

The whole of ‘Walk With Me’ is piss poor, yet snuggled deep within it is an amazing pop song. This is ‘Beware Of The Dog’, a song that many were putting top of their list before they’d even heard it. Hyped such an incredible amount, it could’ve easily dissappointed. But it doesn’t. Every aspect of this song works just the way it should. The Depeche Mode sample goes practically unnoticed underneath the anarchy of the drums and Jamelia’s cautionary viceral vocals. Razor-edged, dangerous pop that attacks speakers like a musical samurai.

#5 Nelly Furtado - Maneater

Perhaps it’s a testament to Nelly that she’s made not one but TWO of the greatest songs of the year. Perhaps she got lucky? Back when she started Nelly was ‘just another’ female solo singer, however, through stonking songs like this one that grab you like a dog with a bone and never fail to get you dancing/crying/thinking/singing along every single time. This is Nelly’s best work to date, but then so was ‘Powerless’, and so was ‘Try’. I can only imagine when Nelly will reach her peak, and how magnificent it will be. Once the underdog, Nelly’s now ruling the pop world, with the power to command help from Timbaland, Chris Martin, Timberlake and anyone else she goddamn wants to work with her. And she’s done it all so easily. And she still can’t dance. An icon on the basis of that alone surely?

#4 Long Blondes – Once And Never Again

It’s a damn shame only two of my top five are British. But hey, if it’s going to be British, it may as well be the Long Blondes, one of 2006’s most exciting, most British bands, able to captivate with simply the flutter of an eyelash or stomp of a heel. ‘Once And Never Again’ is the song of an older sister, of a has-been living a second youth thorugh someone else. Is there a more legendary lyric of the year than “You’re only nineteen for god’s sake, you don’t need a boyfriend”? This is, however, just one lyric from an altogether superb lyric that elevate Kate Jackson and co. to the esteemed position of Best Band In Britain. Dressed in polka dots and berets, looking like indie kids from the 1950’s, the Long Blondes are one of the few bands who are actually as cool as they look. And they look fucking cool.

#3 Muse – Supermassive Blackhole

With this song, words fail me. There’s no one part of the song that stands out more than any other part. It just gels as a magnificent amalgam of everything that’s right about music. Matt Bellamy’s falsetto vocals take on a whole new level, pining and aching over a guitar which stalks his every move. The lyric is total bonkers, and means absolutely nothing, but then, that’s kind of the point of it all isn’t it? I wish I could justify why I love this song so much, but I can’t. It’s just very very very good.

#2 Rihanna - SOS (Rescue Me)

Much like Winehouse, I doubt many were expecting much from Rihanna. Her previous two singles had sounded like a) reggae’s squelchy attempts to follow the electro craze and b) a generic r&b tune lost amongst all the others. ‘SOS’ however, was something special, something different all together. Bursting on the ear drums with a vivacious excitement that knocks you to the floor and then tramples all over you. The lyrics beg for you to swish your head and throw up your arms. Add in the ‘Tainted Love’ sample, a nod to electro’s glory days, which is overshadowed so much it almost becomes irrelevant, and bam! Resistance is futile, you will dance. A masterpiece in pop, easily the best song of any other year, were it not for one man…

#1 Justin Timberlake – Sexy/Back

Timbaland’s had his fingers in a lot of pies this year. Namely, creating albums for Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake. In 2003 the world went crazy for Pharrell Williams, but now we see a new duke of hip-pop genius, serving under HRH Justin Timberlake, Prince of Pop Music. The pinnacle of both careers, showing a lot of promise for things to come.
This song re-invents not only Justin but also music itself. ‘Sexy/Back’ doesn’t appear to have any constructs of the normal pop song. It’s just a bassline and a snare drum with Timberlake singing over it, heck, it doesn’t even have any verses. And yet it’s this charged-rawness, this etheral-electricity, the complex-simplicity that make both the charm and logic of this song so interesting. When this first hit the radio, love it or hate it, you listened to ‘Sexy/Back’, you paid attention to ‘Sexy/Back’. For four minutes your world stood still as the future of pop music poured into your brain. It’s OK to be a little scared. It’s even OK if your body went into spasms (or was that dancing?). We’re all in this together. Take it to the bridge…

And that's your lot...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Robyn Live Review

Robyn needs no introduction to many of you readers I’m sure but just in case, I’ll set the scene… She’s a crazy hip-pop Swedish popstar who breaks rules, defies conventions and is, quite simply, probably one of the most original, genuinely talented musicians of the 21st Century.

Got it? Good! So it comes as no surprise that when she performed at Club YoYo in Notting Hill, her first show in the UK for a long long while I was there super early (and entry was free before 8). I was not alone though, I had an accomplice in Poptastic Jessica of countless ace blogs that really make me feel stupid.

Robyn was amazing, as expected, blasting out ‘Be Mine’ and ‘Handle Me’ with ease, captivating the (albeit small) audience. She had everyone dancing on the palm of her hand.

Then we were treated to a cover of Prince’s ‘Jack U Off’. When the ‘band’ consisted of just Robyn and Kleerup, one of which was singing, the other one playing guitar, drums might, under normal circumstances, prove difficult. No such problems for these super Swedes as Kleerup banged the snare drum and Robyn took a drumstick in one hand and convulsed over the track, hitting the skins and cymbals brilliantly. It left quite a lot of the audience gasping in awe.

‘Konichiwa Bitches’ came on, and Robyn’s scarf came off, and with it came all the pleasantness and twee smiles she’d shot us so far. Now Robyn was an animalistic monster hell bent on kicking everyone’s ass and making them dance. If we were in Colonial Salem then Robyn’s mystifying stage presence might result in a ducking. Fortunately, we were Notting Hill, so her efforts got her some polite moshing from people wearing co-ordinated shirts and jumpers.

Finally, we got a treat in the form of ‘With Every Heartbeat’, her latest collaboration, with Kleerup, and 'Girliestyle'. 'With Every Heartbeat' is, even by Robyn’s standards, one of her best. One of THE best in fact. Hopefully, it’ll be the song to give Robyn the success in the UK she so thoroughly deserves. Robyn’s presence and talent are to big to be confined to Scandinavia. Infact, I think ‘With Every Heartbeat’ is almost guaranteed to be Jupiter’s biggest hit of 2007. You heard it here first and all that.


On a related note, one of the support acts, Cock n Bull Kid, was sensational. Obviously influenced by Neneh Cherry and M.I.A. she threw out four songs with such wit and insight I couldn’t help but be enamoured. In truth, I hate this speculating over what will be huge next year, though having said this; if Cock N Bull Kid’s best song ‘Velvet Glove, Iron Fist’ isn’t gobbled up and doesn’t redefine Brit-hop then I’ll eat my hat.

And you can ask Jessica, it’s a very nice hat.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The REAL Best Of The Nineties.

People always bang on about how Oasis and Blur were the best Britpop bands to come out of the nineties. But, as most of us know, that is bollocks. Here is my small list of bands of the nineties that I like more than Blur and a hell of a lot more than Oasis.

Some say that Pulp were third in the race for Britpop domination, I believe that they are not appreciated as much as they should be, or as they should be. Jarvis and the gang did not only produce catchy tunes that would dance around your head for a few weeks after your trip to the indie disco, the lyrics had something. The difference between Pulp and your average indie tribe is that Mr Cocker thoughts about the lyrics, and in fact based a hell of a lot of the songs on things that had happened to him. Disco 2000 being about a girl that he fancied at school but had no chance with, Common People about a well-off girl that he met in art college, who had been conned by the glamourisation of working class culture into wanting to be a bit rough and poor like everyone else etc.. etc.

Of course those are only the singles that people always say are Pulp's best. They arguably are, though really... they are just the most popular.

I say that people watch the equally danceable Razzmatazz , the spine tingling Do You Remember The First Time? , and the epic This Is Hardcore (even if just to play "Spot Lolly!" Yes, THE Lolly. She actually acts in this video.)

See, I don't know a hell of a lot about Suede, but what I do know is that people often seem to neglect them when making a little list of Britpop folk. Well, I won't. Suede produce great British glam for us all to flail and jig about to. I recently rediscovered Suede by buying a compilation I used to have on tape back in '96 and used to love... without knowing who any of the bands were. Turns out one of them was Suede, and the song was Trash. Brett Anderson's vocals kind of, shoot right through you, listening to this song, and yet you can't help but find yourself bobbing your head and lip syncing to the chorus, perhaps even having a bit of a dance.

I don't really like them as much as Pulp mind, but the songs are worth checking out. Even if you do have to watch the video, which are also a bit crap. Here's Trash.

Rediscovered from the same Smash Hits compilation album, Dubstar are great. Well, not really, I found one track from their later album which I liked called I'm Conscious Of Myself which really doesn't sound like proper Dubstar at all. So when I was listening to that compilation, I was wondering what that haunting song with the women's vocals was, it was Dubstar's Stars. It seems that Dubstar are better when they sound like Saint Etienne, who people say are better but I don't know, because i've never really listened to them.

Anyway, Stars was in absolutely no doubt, Dubstar's best song. Strangely enough, Stars didn't do particularly well despite lots of promotion, and instead they had a bigger break with the inferior (in my opinion) Not So Manic Now.

Please have a glance at Stars and try to look up the rather good Anywhere which kind of sounds like Ace Of Base, but doesn't... if you get my meaning.

And finally:
I've known about Kenickie for a while now, but unlike all the bands I have mentioned previously, they completely passed me by back in the 90s when I was all 5ive and 911. I decided to check out Kenickie the minute I heard that the FABULOUS Lauren Laverne had been in a band. They were either Proper party-going, working class lyrics over crunchy guitars, in the case of album At The Club or calmed-down Summer pop fun which featured heavily on their second album Get In.

I find it very sad that the band have now split up completely and none of the band will talk to Lauren anymore. But have a bask in the glory of Kenickie by watching the video for In Your Car , a good example of first album Kenickie, and I Would Fix You which is an example of Kenickie from the second album.

And if you like those (or don't), check out the video for the Summer classic that never was, Don't Falter, by Mint Royale and Lauren Laverne.

Whose idea was it to release it in January? Pah!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pop Boy Meets Girls Aloud

Girls Aloud have released a greatest hits album. My fingers have been itching since ‘Something Kinda Oooh!’ first blasted on the radio. So why have I held on for so long? That’s because I didn’t get the album until today and whereas I don’t mind downloading albums from rubbish/unimportant people, but when it comes to Girls Aloud I’d gladly spend my few student pennies. They are worth it.

Today they were particularly worth splashing out £16.95 on in HMV for the special edition version at 9am because it meant that, after a three hour wait, I got to meet the girls! I realise this makes me a total fanboy, and a little bit sad, but I must remind you, this isn’t Clea, it isn’t Lisa Scott-Lee, it’s Girls Aloud, the single most important thing to happen to British music and punk since the dawn of time. There, I said it.

The girls were lovely, but weren’t taking pictures; however, after I sweet talked Nicola I managed to worm a special one out of her which needs to be kept under wraps. I told her she was my favourite, at which point Nadine said, “you said that to me!” and the girls squabbled for my affections. I didn’t say Nadine was my favourite, I told her that the cover art was crap. She tutted and nodded. You heard it here first and all that.

Kimberley and Cheryl were ace too, and as I explained the three hour wait to them a security guard tried to usher me away. Cheryl then said “Oi! He’s talking to us!” and then said bye properly to me.

Sarah was wearing lots of make up. She was nice. But she’s just Sarah. There’s nothing wrong with that, she’s just not Nicola, Cheryl, Kimberley or Nadine and therefore, not as ace.

To the passing reader this may seem trivial, and going to a band signing (particularly one for a girlband) may be extremely immature and cliché ghey (true enough I was the oldest person there who wasn’t an escort/minder and the only guy on his own – that I could see), but for me this is everything. I mean, I touched Nicola for crying out loud, talk about something kinda ooooh!

The Greatest Hits is, by it’s definition, nothing I haven’t heard before. And yes, in the age of iTunes and CD-Rs, greatest hits are extremely unnecessary. But this greatest hits isn’t just that, it’s the sound of pop music evolving at a rate that would have Darwin shitting himself. All it needs now is poseable thumbs and it shall inherit the earth.

The album features never before heard songs, ‘Money’ and ‘Singapore’, the latter of which was needlessly dropped off the Chemistry album and could possibly be one of the Girls’ finest moments, and the Girl’s takes on Tiffany’s ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, which will be the next single apparently, Blondie’s ‘Hanging On The Telephone’, Kaiser Chief’s ‘I Predict A Riot’, a highlight of the recent tour, and, with a cruel tongue in cheek, The Beegee’s ‘Sacred Trust’, which was covered by their Colon Rivals ‘opponents’ One True Voice. All in all seven out of the twenty songs are covers. Is this a problem? No, and why? Because each of the covers equals if not betters the original.

In a drought of innovation and fun, with artists preferring acoustic guitars or simpleton basslines to rhythm and vibrancy, Girls Aloud have been left to fly the flag for pop single-handedly. In an industry where it’s do-or-die and sales mean everything, Girls Aloud have racked up thirteen consecutive top ten singles, more than any other girlband in the history of pop and have had sales and success that most acts can only dream of, pop, indie or otherwise. They’ve outlived not only their contemporaries but also their own genre with reality TV, Top of the Pops and Smash Hits! – staples of the pop music scene they were flung into.

Will Girls Aloud split Steps-stylee after this album? Who knows? And to be honest, who cares? I’d rather they went out unanimously now they were on top than be forced out two years down the line and fade into the background. They make music better than anyone, so I don’t want them to quit, but if they did they’d leave such a legacy behind them that it’d be hard to hold anything against them.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Long Blondes Live Review

[Lust In the Movies/Weekend Without Make Up/Madame Ray/In The Company Of Women/Fulwood Babylon/Giddy Stratospheres/Only Lovers Left Alive/You Could Have Both/Appropriation (By Any Other Name)/Once & Never Again/5 Ways To Heaven/Separated By Motorways]

Let’s not beat around the bush, The Long Blondes are one of the most exciting to happen to music in a long time. Yes, the Pipettes have the style, and yes, the Fratellis have the swagger, but the Long Blondes have both the style and swagger, in abundance. And then some.

Cool enough to be devoured by the indie population, fun enough to be pop and clever enough to last, Long Blondes’ sensational album ‘Someone To Drive You Home’ is timeless. Not in the Pipettes/Fratellis heavily influenced, mish-mash way, but in the fact that it could easily have been enjoyed five years ago, and may still be enjoyed fifteen years from now. The album dips into every genre and period of rock and roll so subtley and so effectively that you almost don’t even notice it.

One thing you do notice is Kate Jackson, who brings the front woman back to the fore, in an indie environment majoritively filled with Y chromosomes. Kate provides both the style, dressed coolly but not showy, making an effort, but not too much, and the swagger, delivering empowering, man-hating anthems for the indie generations and flipping between empathy and blood-spitting rage faster than it was physically thought possible. Without Kate the Long Blondes would be like any other good indie band, nice, catchy songs but no staying power. With Kate the band is transformed into a world-beating non-stop indie dance machine.

The point is, eventually, that I went back home to the West Midlands on Saturday (thus missing Girls Aloud at G-A-Y – dammit!) to see Kate and co. perform at the Birmingham Academy and despite being contained in the smallest room in the building, they raised the roof and rocked the house. The crowd was not, as I’d expected, full of teeny-boppers attending their first gig but instead a lot of ‘too-cool-to-dance’ older fans. This didn’t kill the fun factor though, as the crowd was still electric, and submitting to Kate’s every wish. Quite simply, everyone was too busy enjoying the show to dance and spill beer over people.

Kate’s voice is much better than I’d expected. Perhaps it’s the ‘atmosphere’ that adds to it, but she sounded ten times better live than she does on record. Her voice is stronger, her Sheffield accent strengthened and weirdly sounds much less strained than it does on record.

‘Giddy Stratospheres’, in particular, comes into a league of its own live. The song is somewhat let down by the verses, but the chorus comes alive, literally when it’s spat in your face turning it from one of the lesser album tracks to a potential 2007 festival favourite.

But, from the reaction to ‘You Could Have Both’ and ‘Once And Never Again’, the Long Blondes needn’t pull out any kind of magic tricks in order to win the crowd over. Kate has us all bopping in the palm of her hand.

The Long Blondes put on a top show, promoting their album, which I think you should all play at Hallowe’en/Guy Fawkes’/Thanksgiving/Hanukah/Christmas parties/shindigs/box-socials as it will set any mood you want, it’s open to interpretation. They finished their set with the meteoric ‘Separated By Motorways’ (made particularly poignant as me and my friends ARE) which had the atmospheric effect of setting of fireworks on stage and handing out sparklers. They were dazzling, they were shit-hot.

Easily one of 2007’s big live bands, not be missed. And who knows, maybe ‘Christmas Is Cancelled’ will get the release it so thoroughly deserves. Here’s hoping. It’s my Christmas Number One. And we’re only just into November.