Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ooo, baby, and you will live forever

I don't know that much about C-Stones. I do know they are from Latvia and, for reasons I will probably never understand, all the iTunes stores, even the U.S. one, seem to carry their music (while they remove the albums of Will Young and Alcazar--not that I'm really complaining, mind, because I at least know where to buy those albums at a decent price). I think the group used to be named or used to be in a group named Sea Stones, which is presumably where their name comes from, not that that explains anything. I've seen them referred to as the Latvian A*Teens, but that raises expectations too much--they generally don't have the great songs the A*Teens had--and should probably just be seen as code for "boy-girl Europop-influenced group." Still, that doesn't stop them from having the occasional good song (which a lot of people will strongly dislike). They started out as a four-piece, two boys and two girls, but sometime in the lead-up to the second album, they lost one of the boys. The group as a whole has since disbanded...but not before leaving us with a performance (back from when they had four members) that I may have become mildly obsessed with recently.

All You Know--C-Stones' entry in Latvia's 2004 national final for Eurovision. I know this performance isn't the greatest thing ever, but I can't help but fight back laughter every time I see it--I love it. Not only does it sport flips (not backflips, but still, flips!), it's got a chorus dance routine that I just adore, especially when they get to the kicking part (which helpfully occurs during the arguably best part of the song). I don't care about the vocals; that dance alone should've won the contest for them. Maybe it was the styling that did them in... As for the song, you could say it's repetitive, that's it's not particularly sophisticated, and that's it's very cheesy pop, and I probably couldn't argue with that--but I still like it.

To buy C-Stones' second album, Friday Night Forever, you could pay an excessive price and get a physical copy from Amazon here or instead purchase it from iTunes; for example, if you live in the U.S., go here.

Next up: I'm not sure...possibly someone from Iceland, but maybe I'll finally get back to Jonatan Cerrada.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tonight, we're back where it started

(Picture credit to Jessica Andersson's official site.)

Fulfilling a request (I really will post than Jonatan Cerrada song! Honestly!), it's back to Fame today (which is exciting for me). As I mentioned before, they won Melodifestivalen in 2003; they then entered again in 2004, making it to the finals but not winning. I sometimes wonder if they were planning on another album, as, in addition to the "All In The Game" single from late 2005, they released another single, "Gjorda för varandra," in mid-2005--does anyone know?

The Wind Has Turned Around--Fame's entry in the 2004 Melodifestivalen was the absolutely glorious "Vindarna Vänder Oss." Up against Lena Philipsson's microphone-dancing "Det gör ont," they were never going to win, but how they only came 6th baffles me--I mean, "Tango! Tango!" beating them? Really? At any rate, there's also an English version of "Vindarna Vänder Oss," which is "The Wind Has Turned Around." The Swedish version is loads better, but for some reason, I find myself listening to this version sometimes, too (I know...). Posted at request and because, if you're not into Swedish-language music, hopefully this will at least help you get a taste of the amazingness that is "Vindarna Vänder Oss."

Rivers Of Gold--once again, I came so close to posting "Sending Out An MMS" (and I probably will in the next few days), but this song is just so schlager and upbeat and fun that I had to share it. That said, as upbeat as it is, there's somewhat of a ballad element about it, too, or maybe it just feels like it could easily be a ballad (I'm glad it's not, though!). There's a backing effect in the chorus that reminds me of something that I can't place at the moment but definitely should be able to.

These songs can be found of Fame Factory compilation albums; to buy Fame Factory Volym 8, go here (physical) or here (digital) and to buy Best Of Fame Factory, go here (physical) or here (digital).

Next up: maybe a Swedish singer who's competed in Melodifestivalen before, but is not from Fame Factory.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

She calls me baby, then she won't call me

Well, I feel obligated to post this. I think if it was from any other group, I'd be very excited about this...but as the lead single (which they've just confirmed it to be) from my beloved favorite American band? I think they can do better. As I said, though, and as Paul Zapping pointed out in the comments, it could be a grower, or just a song that "clicks" one day. Maybe I just wanted to bounce off the walls, and this isn't the sort of song to do that to. I'm sure I'll be listening to it repeatedly tonight at any rate. And probably raving about it in a few days.

MySpace rip (full song now, not just that looped clip)

You can visit their MySpace here.

Fact: if I see one more comment on their MySpace saying "It's good to see you're maturing out of the pop band sound" or "You don't sound as poppy as the last album, which is a good thing," I'm going to be very tempted to get a MySpace to yell at people.

1.) This song is not less poppy than their previous work. Not as good as their best songs, but it is still pop, as much as their first album was. What on Earth do you think it is? It's mellower, but that doesn't make it less pop!

2.) Even if it was less pop, that would not be a good thing! Grrr...

Edit: the former lead singer (and his "Postcard from Hollywood" is a very good song, I've decided) has a new song on his MySpace called "Love is Warfare." It's not as good, but not awful. Alternatively, you can listen to an interview (linked to on his MySpace) listening to him talking about being a "rock guy," repeatedly emphasizing that's what he's always been into and how hard it was to not do that for three years and how "not me" he was during those years, how he's going to be edgier now, etc.

What about the rain you cried on my pillow

Once again, we've got another female Fame Factory contestant from Sweden today. However, in this case, she's never competed in Melodifestivalen...but she has already been to Eurovision! She was chosen by a jury vote to represent Estonia at the 2006 Eurovision, where she didn't make it out of the semifinals. I wouldn't say it's worth buying Sandra Oxenryd's whole debut album (if you have to get an album by a female singer who I would've liked to see make it out of the semifinals but didn't, go with Kate Ryan's Alive), but there are a few good songs on it. On the other hand, it also features yet another cover of "A Moment Like This"--are there not enough giant inspirational songs out there that reality TV contestants have to keep reusing the same one? Sandra's also from the same season of Fame Factory as Linda Bengtzing, which Sandra ended up winning.

Through My Window--Sandra's Eurovision song, written by the creators of Estonia's previous entries "Once In A Lifetime" (a great song, sung by Estonian singer Ines) and "Runaway" (also a great singer, sung by another Swedish singer, Sahlene, who's probably going to be featured here very soon), which both placed highly; "Through My Window" didn't, coming in 18th out of 23 in the semifinals and so failing to make it to the final. The song is upbeat, with little clappy background effects; I wouldn't say it's schlager, but then again, I still get schlager and dansband music mixed up, so I'm definitely not the best person to talk to.

At Your Side--though the end of the chorus of this song is good, the verses are generally better than the chorus itself (though it does improve when we get some ad-libs or variation from its formula). It's pretty easy to pick out my favorite parts--I think the top award goes to the "someone to love us through, through the pain, a little hope" part, not because of the lyrics, but just how she sings them--I love how her voice rises up, somehow conveying both intensifying pain and support. That's making this song sound a lot deeper and sophisticated than it is; at heart, it's just a catchy little pop song, simple but fun. I'm not overly fond of those last few seconds, though.

To buy Sandra Oxenryd's debut album (I think there may have been two editions of it, one called All There Is and one called Through My Window, but as far as I know they have the same tracklisting), go here (physical) and here (digital).

Next up: possibly more Fame Factory contestants, but even if not that, probably more music from Sweden. I really will get away from that eventually, I promise.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

First you say you won't, then you say you will

I'm about to run out the door, but I had to post this: the Click Five have a clip of "Jenny," one of the songs from their new album up over at their official site (it's not very long at all--the chorus is looped).

I'm not falling out of my chair, but I suspect they've got better songs on the album...I mean, they must, right? Right? To be fair, it's very difficult to judge; I mean, yes, the clip is a little less than a minute long, but the actual new music we're hearing is much shorter than that, as they've just looped a snippet of the chorus (the snippet is about 17-18 seconds). Plus, I'm reassured that there's at least a chance of me enjoying the album. We'll see, I guess.

(I may just have very high hopes or standards--it's not bad or anything! And, knowing me, I'll probably love it pretty soon after hearing the whole thing.)

Jag har allt jag vill ha

I don't think I've made it clear on here before how much I love Linda Bengtzing. As I've said before, if I was giving a Melodifestivalen performance, I'd want it to be like Nanne's, but if I was singing a Melodifestivalen song, I'd want it to be like Linda's--she makes amazing pop songs for which the language really is no barrier (and she's absolutely gorgeous, too). Like so many great Swedish singers, she, too, was on Fame Factory and has competed in Melodifestivalen, making it to the finals both times but never winning. The best place to start with Linda is her album, Ingenting Att Förlora; songs like "'Alla Flickor" and "Jag Ljuger Så Bra" represent the pinnacle of pop music--no joke. However, since Robpop has already posted "Alla Flickor" over at You Call That Life (go read his post--really, it's a lot more informative and funnier than this one) and I'm guessing a lot of people interested in Swedish music already have the album, I'm going to try to split the difference: one of her biggest songs and one song that's not on the album (which a lot of people probably already have and which isn't quite as good as some of the album, but whatever). Under no circumstance should you be living your life without owning "Alla Flickor" and "Jag Ljuger Så Bra," though, so go grab "Alla Flickor" from You Call That Life if you don't already have it. And buy the album, too.

Jag Ljuger Så Bra--Linda's second Melodifestivalen entry, "Jag Ljuger Så Bra" manages to be both beautiful (in large part as a result of the strings it uses) and storming danceable pop. The title means something like "I lie so well," I think. In a battle between her two Melodifestivalen singles, I'd give the edge to "Alla Flickor," which is just so incredibly exuberant that I can't help loving it; there's something about "Jag Ljuger Så Bra" that makes it seem more mature, more well-developed, or fuller, though, while still allowing to to keep that all-important sense of fun.

Natten har en hemlighet--more uptempo pop, sung just as much at full pelt as most of Linda's songs are. The chorus is catchy, but not quite as divine as that of Linda's best songs (though that's a pretty high standard to hold songs to--this song is still great), which makes sense since, as far as I know, this song was only for a Fame Factory compilation, not for separate release anywhere. Like some of her other album songs, this one brings in the guitars a little bit, but they only add to the song's power--this is definitely not guitar-pop.

To buy Linda Bengtzing's album Ingenting Att Förlora, go here (physical) or here (digital); I know some people were disappointed with it, but I absolutely love it and it's very, very much worth buying. At the absolute least, in addition to "Alla Flickor" and "Jag Ljuger Så Bra," you need to have "Han Är Min." And "Värsta Schlagern," too, but I posted that a while ago.

Next up: probably another female singer from Fame Factory.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We can't get it right, still we carry on

The comparative lack of success of Australian singer Leah Haywood surprises me a little--from what I've heard, she had some teen-pop songs that would have fit right in with the other songs being released in 2000. However, her first single peaked at #7, and nothing she released was able to come close to that, with her second single peaking at #31, her third single reaching #18, and the album itself peaking at #40. I still have to get the album, called Leah (well, actually, I just bought it while writing up this post; listening to the songs again made me really want to hear more...), but given the strength of what I've heard so far (the first three singles), I'm very hopeful. She's since gone on to writing and producing for other singers.

We Think It's Love--her debut single. Some of you may have heard a version of this song, if you read Catchy Tunes of Sweden; Swedish Idol contestant Nathalie covered it, albeit with some significant changes in style (I very much recommend grabbing her version, as depending on my mood I may even prefer it to the original). Nathalie's version is a little darker than the original--not that it's ominous, though. Leah's original version sounds more typical of the teen-pop era in which it came out. That it carries that sound shouldn't be surprising, though, given who was involved with it--it was co-written by Jörgen Elofsson and co-produced by (among others) Elofsson, David Kreuger, and Per Magnusson. The song itself is mid-tempo and generally smooth, built to a large part around the "We think it's love-love-love-love-love" of the chorus (it sounds a lot better than that looks).

Takin' Back What's Mine--this song has more attitude than "We Think It's Love," and possibly because of that it's got more of a stronger beat, especially in the opening. However, the chorus opens up far more than I would have expected it to; in fact, it's a much better song than I expected it to be, given those first couple seconds (which aren't bad or anything--the song just exceeds them).

I also quite like "Crazy," possibly more than either of these songs, but I don't have it (yet); you can listen to it by watching the video on YouTube here, though.

You could theoretically buy Leah Haywood's album Leah here, from Amazon, but it's being sold for a ridiculous price; I'd recommend waiting for it to show up on eBay, or getting some of her singles from there.

Next up: probably back to former Fame Factory contestants.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I am at the crossroads again

Continuing the grand tradition of being behind in the news, I am only able to bring you this because of the amazing blog You Don't Know Pop (which you all should be reading by now).

It really is a shame that he probably didn't have too much choice about this, after the radio thing, and I think he is correct in saying that many people won't be surprised--but it was still his choice and that's no less reason for this to have been a difficult decision; there are other popstars who have remained silent or continued to deny reports for years.

Good for you, Anthony.

(Screencap from the Herald Sun here, but the much better article is from the Daily Telegraph here.)

Everyone should go immediately download the Tim Dawes remix of "Rain" that I have been looking for for ages and am beyond ecstatic to finally have. Thanks so much, Troy!

Do you ever wonder why this music gets you high?

Apparently the theme for tomorrow's American Idol episode is pop music, with Gwen Stefani filling in the advisor role (I don't think I've written anything about AI here yet, but I've been watching it faithfully [except for last week, when I forgot]; my favorites so far are Melinda and Blake). Now, this probably won't end up being used very well by the contestants at all, but the range of possibility here is still causing me to get somewhat excited. Well, really, what I'm excited by mainly is by the suggestion of one commenter at Popwatch. This particular commenter, Tim, suggested songs by Heart, Go West, Wham!, Daniel Bedingfield, and Marc Cohn for some contestants, which already had me inclined to like him, but this suggestion just about caused me to flip out:

"Blake - Dirty POP (N*SYNC)" [sic]

How amazingly brilliant would that be?! I hereby demand that Blake sing "Pop" tomorrow. He might not be able to pull it off, but it could fit him very well, and if he did it right...

You just have to believe there's a place where our dreams come true

(Picture credit to Jessica Andersson's official site--when are we getting an album, Jessica?)

I love(d) Swedish duo Fame, made up of Fame Factory contestants Magnus Bäcklund and Jessica Andersson (now pursuing solo careers), but I do have a couple of issues. First, though I like and probably love "Give Me Your Love" (which ended up taking 5th place for Sweden at Eurovision), it was part of preventing Alcazar's "Not A Sinner, Nor A Saint" from winning Melodifestivalen in 2003. Second, though their album is nice and worth picking up, most of their best songs aren't on it. Originally, I was going to post a song from the compilation albums I just bought--"Sending Out An MMS," among others, is wonderful, and where else will you get to hear Jessica Andersson "rapping"? (it's poppier than that makes it sound); "Rivers of Gold" is excellent, too--but I think I'll go with another song instead. (For my first post on Fame, go here.)

All In The Game (Radio Version)--there are two versions of this song, and I'm often not sure which I prefer; this version sounds more like a remix (I know, saying "radio version" sort of automatically means it's been reworked, but a lot of single mixes make small subtle changes--the changes here are more along the lines of what you'd expect from a "real" remix, though not a full-fledged one) and the other version sounds more...inspirational, maybe? This song is more beat-oriented than, say, "Vindarna Vänder Oss," but still nothing but pure pop, upbeat and fun. Actually, the beat (probably because of the crowd effects) makes me think of sports, which was probably intentional, as apparently this was Sweden's official song for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

To buy Fame's single "All In The Game," go here (physical) or here (digital). If people want to hear more from them, just let me know; I'll take any excuse I can get to write about Fame (before anyone asks, I don't have " Låt Kärleken Slå Rot").

Next up: probably the singer I said I was going to write about yesterday; another Fame Factory contestant, she's been to Melodifestivalen twice.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Chapter two, I blamed it all on you

(Picture credit to here.)

These Fame Factory compilation albums have introduced me to some people I'd never heard of before, including today's singer. After research, I still don't know that much about Hannah Westin, and what I do know about her musical career makes me a little uncomfortable, to be honest, so let's just focus on the fact that she was a Fame Factory contestant during the first season, which also had, among other contestants, Magnus Bäcklund and Jessica Andersson.

Tell Me How To End This Story--this song is very girl-pop (whatever that is). If this song wasn't so catchy, I'd be tempted to brush her off as someone having a sweet voice but not really making good songs, which would be easier...but, as is, I've found myself listening to this song a lot and being very tempted to sing along with the chorus. I guess it's sort of like a sweet form of teen-pop (sweet in sound, not story-wise). The chorus is easily the best part, and whoever wrote the song knew that, because that's what the song starts out with in an attempt to hook you in as quickly as possible.

To buy the album Fame Factory Volym 3, go here (physical) or here (digital).

Next up: something very upbeat and very poppy by two former Fame Factory contestants.

Too many dumb mistakes

You can listen to a low-quality version of McFly's new song "Baby's Coming Back" here.

Whhyyyyyy? I mean, it's not like it's a horrible mess of unlistenable sound, but is there anyone on the face of the planet Earth who really thinks they don't have hugely better not-yet-released songs on Motion In The Ocean?

The promotion better focus on "Transylvania" (though I'm not expecting it to), or I will be very upset.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

You say that, don't you know, you'll be as big as J.Lo

Be prepared for a lot of Swedish music from Fame Factory contestants in the upcoming weeks, as I've just got some of the Fame Factory compilation albums, as well as some albums by some contestants themselves. Today's singer was on the fourth series of the TV show, the one which Sandra Oxenryd (who represented Estonia at last year's Eurovision) won. I've seen her name spelled bunches of different ways, but I'm pretty sure the way she's spelling it now is Mikeyla. From the bits and pieces I've heard of her music, a lot of it is too rocky for me, but she still has some songs with more of a pop influence, and those ones are really catchy--they should probably appeal to anyone who likes, say, the Veronicas or Marion Raven, and possibly even people who don't.

Young And Stupid--the video for this song, though I'm not a huge fan of it, makes me think of something Pink might do on a lower budget (a bit like the "Stupid Girls" video, if it was about the music industry). It's got a bridge and chorus that demand to be shouted along with, though the singing itself isn't (just) shouting--it's hooky and has a melody, and, though the song is driven by loads of guitar riffs, they never overwhelm the basic melody of the song. There are a couple points where you feel like "Young And Stupid" is ripping off other songs, but that doesn't really hinder your enjoyment too much--you should be too caught up in jumping around the room to think about it. Beware, though; there's a good chance this song will be stuck in your head for hours.

To buy Mikeyla's debut album Something Like That, go here (physical).

Next up: possibly that French song, but more likely another Fame Factory contestant who's gone on to compete in Melodifestivalen.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I met you again a few weeks ago, you had a proper job and a place to call home

OK, so until today, I didn't really know much about the group Laakso (Swedish--of course they are--but seemingly named after a place in Finland), though they've been featured in other places, but now I think I'm in least with this song! This is just a low-quality radio rip (sorry about that), but I absolutely have to share this song with you, because it's amazing. "Italy vs Helsinki," the lead single for their new album (which I think will be their third album) is good, but I think this song is much better; if this is the sort of song they have hidden away on the album, I can't wait to buy it.

Norrköping (Radio Rip)--don't let the title scare you away--this song is in English, not Swedish; Norrköping is just the name of a city. As I mentioned in the post below this, they're supporting the Ark at some upcoming performances, and if you like that sort of music, I definitely recommend listening to this song. I don't even know how to begin to describe it--think narrative, epic, guitars, piano, synths, and just generally amazing. Beautiful, too. This song deserves a much more coherent and better description, so I may write more about it later, but for now, just listen to it already! If they don't have (another?) hit before the end of the year, I'll be very surprised; at the very least, I see lots of blog love in their future, though maybe not in the circles I usually frequent.

Laakso's album Mother, Am I Good Looking?, from which this song comes, isn't out yet--it comes out April 18--but you can preorder it here. A huge thanks goes to Oswald over at Ronny & Ronney's Schlagerblogg for letting me know about their new work.

Next up: maybe that French song, finally.

(Edit: if anyone wants to hear "Italy vs Helsinki," which is growing on me to the point that I'm beginning to love it, too--it's the sort of song that's brilliantly over-the-top--though I still prefer "Norrköping," go to It's A Trap.)

To be high on love again

Song I have to hear ASAP: Laakso's new single "Italy vs Helsinki."


  • They're supporting the Ark at some upcoming performances.
  • It's featuring Peter Jöback.
  • It's being raved about over at Ronny&Ronney's Schlagerblogg.
Has anyone heard it?

Edit: Just heard it on the radio--at first listen, I like it but would not classify it as "fabulous." Still, we'll see what I think after repeated listenings.

Edit again: ooo--but I may love the song they followed it up with! Is that still them, I wonder? I think so, but I'm not sure what the title is.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Someone wake me, somebody just help me out

Do you ever hear a song and know pretty much instantly that you're going to end up overplaying it? That was the exact reaction I had when I first heard "Leading Me On," which Will ever so amazingly posted over at Will's Eye-pod. I have a lot of Eurovision history to catch up on, so I'd never heard of this Making Your Mind Up (the UK's national finals to choose its Eurovision entry) 2004 entry until Will posted it. I suspect a lot of people will disagree with me, but I LOVE this song! I still haven't heard all the other contestants from that year, so I'm not going to make any claims about whether it deserved to win, but, standing on its own, it's a great poppy boy band song with a chorus I have not been able to get out of my head--it's very catchy. My curiosity was piqued, so I had to go look it up on YouTube...

...and was shocked to see that a Scott-Lee was involved! One of the former members of 3SL, of the great "Take It Easy" and not great "Touch Me Tease Me," that wasn't Andy.

Anyhow, I love this song and I rather like the performance (though they need to change those final few seconds--I'm not fond of the shouting/wailing/ad-libbing/whatever it is at the very end--and even if it was mimed [was it?], that doesn't make the song less good outside of a Eurovision context). I demand that they reform immediately and meet up with whoever wrote this song for them! I need more.

(This is not the start of another series of excessive posts, but everyone should really go download the song from Will's blog because it really is a great little pop song.)

Now you've found me, arms around me

Estonia does these delicate-yet-catchy, sort-of-singer-songwriter, dabbling-in-being-otherworldly-and-yet-still-inherently-comfortable songs (generally sung by young-sounding women) better than any country I know--there seems to be a lot of such music coming from there, and a lot of it is very good. Kadi Toom fits solidly into that category. She, like Ithaka-Maria's former group Slobodan River, has competed in Estonia's Eurolaul; in 2003, she even had two of the ten entries. As far as I know, she's released an EP and two albums so far. Today's song comes from the second of those albums, You/Mina, effectively a double album with English and Estonian versions of songs.

Nightfall--Kadi's voice is sweet but not treacly, accompanied by these rather beautiful but still simple backing effects; her voice alone would probably lend itself to a very simple, intimate song, but the musical backing it's been given (as well as the backing vocals), though certainly not making the song epic, gives it a very full feel--still personal, but not intensely so. "Nightfall" is the sort of song you put on after a long day, when you just want to close your eyes and be swept away.

To buy Kadi Toom's album You (I can't find anywhere that has the double album version in stock at the moment), go here (physical).

Next up: maybe that French song.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm here today and gone tomorrow

Australian singer Tony Lee Scott's (I always have to stop myself before writing his name, because my instinct is to write "Tony Scott-Lee") pop music career never really took off; his debut single and today's song entered the charts at #50 when it was released in early 2001 (or so I've read online--please let me know if any of this information is wrong). I'm not sure what happened to follow-up single "Tastes So Sweet," but the lack of information out there makes me think it can't have done too well. Apparently he (like yesterday's group Catch) recorded an album, but it was never released, which is a shame; who knows what he himself is like, but given this song, I would've at least been interested to hear more from him. Since then, he's apparently gone on to appearing in musical shows.

Take Me Away--hearing that first verse, you'll think this song is a bad Busted knockoff; as the song goes on, though, it reveals itself to actually be a shot of pure power-pop of the sort that makes me want to go stomping across a stage or throw my hands up in the air and shout to the sky. The first verse does contain two lines that may be the worst lyrics every written, and the lyrics of the second verse need some changes, too, but I just can't get over that chorus; the second minute and a half of the song is much better than the first, too, and the song overall is a grower (well, it was for me, though I suspect it will be instant for most people). If you like pop-rock at all, listen to the whole thing--it really comes together near the end, and the whole song, even the beginning, makes sense (musically, not lyrically--I'm not sure what "you came into my life like a four-leaf clover" is supposed to mean...).

As a general rule, I'm not a fan of singers covering other people's songs and releasing them as singles; however, the rare exception does come along, and "Take Me Away" is one of them. Well, it hasn't been covered yet, but it should be, for two reasons. First, as great as this song is, I think it has some unrealized potential. A cover could change some of those awful lyrics, do a little cleaning up of the music, and give us a chance to hear the song coming from a different voice--Tony's voice verges a little on the punky or snotty side (given what he looks like, it's hard for me to believe it's actually his voice), and maybe that's what the song needs, but before definitely reaching that conclusion I'd like to hear it sung by someone else--say, Jamie Meyer (you remember Jamie, right? Swedish singer that I wrote about back in January who's done some of my all-time favorite fun pop-rock songs?), who sounds young enough to pull off this song but whose voice voice might make the song more powerful, more effective, and more mainstream--that is, give it a chance to win a fan base with a broader age range. The second reason this song should be covered, specifically by Jamie, is to save him from the nice but less energetic, less catchy, and less powerful route he seems to be going down now. Actually, I'm not sure how well the song would go down now, but if he'd released it back in, say, late 2003, it would've deserved to be a minor hit at the very least, preferably a good-sized hit...and he should still cover it now, just so we could hear his version.

I'm not sure where you can buy Tony Lee Scott's single "Take Me Away" except for checking eBay, where it sometimes shows up; this store says it will let you buy a copy, but I've never used it before and so can't vouch for it.

As for music completely unlike this song, there's two links I'd like to point you all in the direction of. AceDiscovery has a link to a very important petition that we should all sign--the stage for this year's Eurovision has a catwalk, but the performers aren't going to be aloud to use it! Clearly, for the sake of strutting, this needs to be remedied; go to AceDiscovery for details and to sign the petition.

Slippy Disco Days has remixes of a new song by the amazing Therese (ex-Drömhus, of Acapulco and "Time" and "Take Me Away" and this year's Melodifestivalen entry with the Attic).

Next up: probably that French song (although really, it's only partially in French and the singer himself was born in Belgium).

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The lights are bright in Hollywood; they shine out somewhere, not right here

The ex-lead singer of my favorite American band has put a song up on his MySpace. My first thought was "oh, this is no 'Friday Night'...or 'Pop Princess'...or 'Catch Your Wave'...or..."--well, you get the idea. And it isn't--it doesn't have the hugely poppy catchy happy melodies that those songs have. However, I think I like it. Really like it. Could even see myself loving it. I don't think it would set the charts alight if it was his lead single, so hopefully it's not, but not only am I somewhat reassured (only somewhat, though), I'm actually impressed. Think a bit more epic than the aforementioned songs (that "epicness" doesn't really come in until the first chorus).

I would've loved it if the split led to me essentially getting two separate groups/artists releasing songs like those on the first album, but--and I'm shocking myself by saying this--I think I could live with this. We'll have to see what the rest of his stuff sounds like (it'd be just as easy for the album to be dull as great, just based on this one song, depending on the direction he chooses to go in), but I think I'm pleasantly surprised.

Low Quality MySpace Rip

You can visit his MySpace here.

For more about what his former band is doing, check The Zapping (and maybe peep at my super-long comment there for more details about their new lead singer).

I still wish they were all together, though--it was always going to be a difficult task to top their debut album, but changes in group members will probably mean a change in style, and make that even less likely. It's probably worth noting that the lead singer never did much of the songwriting (that was mainly Ben Romans), so the swap shouldn't necessarily lead to a change in sound, but it's a possibility.

Not what we asked for

Please tell me this is a lie...

(Taken from McFly's official MySpace)

Can anyone tell me why, fresh off making what is clearly the best album of their entire career, they would resort to releasing a cover of a Jellyfish song as a new single (according to unconfirmed rumor, as the lead single for a new album)? Now, I know they released "Don't Stop Me Now" as a single, but that was a double A side with "Please, Please," and really, the emphasis was on "Please, Please." When you can create brilliant songs like those on Motion In The Ocean, why on Earth would you cover another song and release it as a single? To be fair, the song--if it is in fact the Jellyfish song (as it's been reported to be)--sounds like it would fit them and they could improve it (although it would be a better fit if they'd covered it during their first album era), but I just don't understand it at all; it's a step back both artistically and stylistically. Secondly, what happened to releasing "Transylvania" as a single? Though I had my reservations about it as a single, since it had already been a B-side to "Star Girl," it is one of the album's best songs, so I could understand; however, what's the point of even releasing it if it's going to be (based on the ordering and formatting of that banner) the lesser of a double-A side or a B-side again?

As much as I love McFly and would love new music from them all the time, I'm worried this means they're being pressured to put out too much too fast. I'm sure I'll probably enjoy the song reworked by them, but this doesn't seem...necessary, let alone smart. Just take your time, boys--much as I'd love it, we don't need an album every year, especially if this is what you have to do to make one.

Love is something you and me could never handle

Given my schedule for tomorrow, I thought I might as well slip this in tonight--hopefully, it'll be enough to cleanse your minds of certain posts. It's also a song I'm very excited to share.

Danish group Catch was made up of three people, two girls--one of them being the singer, Tine Bjerggaard (also the singer for Sunzet)--and one guy. I'm not sure how much success they had outside of Denmark (though if they did well anywhere, it would've been on the club charts), but today's song was the 18th biggest song of 2002 in Denmark. Follow-up song "Keep On (Singing La La)" wasn't nearly as successful, though it did reach #87 on the year-end charts. If we can believe, the group recorded an album, but it was never released, which is a huge shame--I definitely would have bought it.

Walk On Water (Baby You Can)--Europop, dance-pop, just pop, whatever--this is an excellent song. It starts out boppy and happy, builds up to the chorus--but just when you expect it to kick into high gear, most of the beat drops out, leaving only the singer and one simple backing that makes me think of steel drums and xylophones and summers at the beach. Then the beat starts to build back up again, as if it wants to make up for depriving us of a power chorus (but really, we didn't mind) and we get a nice long section for dancing. Another verse, and the song's just as full of sunshine as ever as it goes into the chorus again. Just watch the video, really--though it's nothing particularly artistic, it's one of my favorite song and video combinations ever. Everything, from the styling to the colors to the dancing to the gestures and movements of Catch, is perfect and perfectly captures the song's essence while also enhancing it. This is what I want my summer to be like--or rather, this is what I want my summer to feel like.

To buy Catch's single "Walk On Water (Baby U Can)" (incidentally, my copy of the single is labeled "Walk On Water (Baby You Can)," but the cover on Amazon uses "U"), go here (physical).

Next up: hopefully a song from France, but possibly one from Australia.

Monday, March 19, 2007

See your face in every magazine

Is this the new Gareth Gates single cover?

(Taken from eBay, via his forum.)

Possibly. According to HMV and Amazon, the b-side is "Lovesong." It is a very nice picture--but then, covers have never really been a problem for Gareth, at least from his second album era:

He was the undisputed king of popstar hair. And I won't even be argued with.

OK, I'm done.

(If it makes it any better, I just sought out those pictures for this post...)

Also on the topic of Gareth: why did no one tell me that Fredrik Kempe covered "With You All The Time"?! And even remixed it into what sounds like amazing dance-pop (based on the clip, which isn't itself hugely amazing but sounds like it's building up to something great) ?

Cautivo de tu cuerpo soy

I hope you all are ready for what is probably my most ridiculously long post ever: my track-by-track review of Nash's debut album, Capaz de todo, which you can buy a digital version of here. Hopefully the length of this post will have exorcised some of my need or desire to write about them--I'm going to try to decrease my number of posts about what most people probably think is a rubbish boy band (I already managed to contain my excitement when I found out a few weeks ago that Måns's song was one of their favorite potential rivals, difficult as that was), but I'm convinced they've got some great songs.

Part of me is very cynical about them--"they're completely milking all these young girls for all they're worth," "they totally know what they're doing," "maybe they're a combination of arrogant and not good (just because they have this endearing rough-around-the-edges quality doesn't rule out the possiblity of arrogance)"--but part of me still envisions them as this lovely combination of that aformentioned rough-around-the-edges quality, performance wise, and good songs. That can't last forever--and, in fact, if I want them to do well at Eurovision, hopefully it won't, and I'm trying to be more leery about liking boy bands these days--they come and go so quickly--but they've drawn me in; even if I shouldn't like the group itself, I can't help liking the songs they've got.

Enough of that, though--onto the album itself.

1.) Capaz de todo--their debut single (albums opening with their lead single is generally a pet peeve of mine), and it's actually quite good. At first, I was surprised this, a mid-tempo track and not one of the album's best songs, was chosen as the first single, but it sort of makes sense--it's dramatic, with its horns and strings as well as that pounding beat. It's got an ending unlike what I'd expect from a boy band song--it's a bit edgy, even. If you just looked at the title, "Capaz de todo" ("Capable of everything"), which is taken from the line "Por ti sería capaz de todo" ("For you I would be capable of everything"), the dramatic, sort-of-edgy style of music might not seem to match the subject, but listening to all the lyrics reveals it does--though the boy might be "capable of everything" for the sake of whoever he's singing to, the song is a little more sinister than that might imply, dabbling in obsession and a complete surrender of will, adoring the object of the song's vanity and loving them more because of it, accepting slavery. I'm not even into lyrics usually, but I find the lyrics to this song very interesting, possibly mainly because they circumvent my expectations for what a boy band song about being "capable of everything" because of love would be about.

2.) Un, dos, cuatro--musically, one of the weaker songs on the album. It's mid-tempo and midway to being catchy, but doesn't quite get there. I think they're trying to pretend it's about not having the patience to deal with a girlfriend (girl is specified in this song) anymore and maybe wanting a more serious relationship, but I'm pretty sure it's actually about not being able to "wait"--you're tired of saying over and over again that you love her and hearing that she's not ready for "something more"? Real subtle, boys.

3.) Sobrenatural--and three songs in we hit the first ballad, about their love being "supernatural." It's not bad for a boy band ballad, but it's not the strongest ballad on the album and it's certainly not going to go down as a classic. Do all boy band songs have this much innuendo (if you can even call it "innuendo")? I think I may need to go back and listen to Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync again.

4.) Lo haré por ti--finally, we get to something that's purely sweet and adorable, both musically and lyrically, as well as one of the four best songs on the album. The song is mid- to up-tempo and just brimming with happiness--it's got a very bright feel about it, a sure-to-make-you-smile melody (especially in the chorus), and even breaks out into "doo-dooo-doo-dooo"'s by the end! You could criticize the lyrics for being cheesy, but they work perfectly for a song like this (and really, they are sooo cute--he lies awake at night each night waiting for the suject to return because he just can't believe they would want to be with him! And it just gets better). This is just as adorable and catchy as I hoped Luca Dirisio's "La Ricetta del campione" was going to be based on the first 18 seconds of it, before it went off in a completely new direction--even more so, in fact.

5.) Perversa--I posted this a few days ago and wrote about it then--the beat still feels stolen from a certain someone (and apparently the song itself was originally going to go to a female singer). I'm not sure how well it will hold up over time, but it was one of the most instant songs on the album for me, throwing the Nash boys into this heavy, club-esque (not dancey club) beat and giving them some lyrics clearly meant to drive the girls crazy. Still, it's surprisingly effective. If this was a single (and it shouldn't be), I can picture it having a Phixx-esque video (though Nash should definitely not try to pull off that look).

6.) Dónde estás--the second single, and the album's second ballad. When I heard this as a single, I didn't like it--it seemed to overdone and cliche for me (heck, the most repeated lines are "I feel alone, where are you?", though to be fair they sound slightly better in Spanish)--but in the context of the album, which only has three ballads, it works. It's still exactly what you'd expect from a boy band ballad (kind of a power ballad) pushed to the edge of acceptability, but I think it manages to be all right, possibly even good, even if it's dangerously close to going over that edge.

7.) Se cancela--the pace picks back up for this song, and there's been quite the attitude change from "Capaz de todo"--in fact, based on some of the parallel lyrics, it's almost an answer-back song, answering back to one of Nash's own songs, or at least as if they've suddenly snapped out of that first song. It doesn't sound like 'N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye," but think of the lyrics and the attitude of that song and you'll know what this song is about. It opens with the slightest hint of co-opted Middle Eastern influence. The lyrics are pretty rapid-pace, forcing the boys to rely on hitting each distinct syllable hard during the chorus to try to make the song catchy; it might take a few listens for the "catchiness" to hit you, and it still isn't as catchy as some of the other songs on the album, but it is very good.

8.) Déjate ir--set after a breakup, this song is more R&B-influenced that most of the other songs. It's mid-tempo, too, but calmer than the frenzy that was "Se cancela," with a little bit of an up-and-down feel in the chorus. "Se cancela" and "Déjate ir" are both good to great songs ("Se cancela" is the better of the two) , but for me, they might not be the greatest songs to have back-to-back, as neither have a super-strong hook.

9.) Sexy--naming songs "Sexy" is generally the best way to guarantee they won't be--but this one is, from the lyrics (how they say "cautivo de tu cuerpo"--and even just the sound of that phrase itself--is worthy of special mention) to the little laughs to the "uhh-ahh"'s and moans. It'd be very easy to laugh at this song (I mean, they are literally using moans in it and muttering "sexy" in the background), but the pre-chorus and chorus are great. Even if you do laugh, it's still one of the four best songs on the album.

10.) Siempre serás--back to ballads for the third and final one on the first edition of the album (the second edition adds "Más allá de las estrellas" as the final track). It's more on the sweet and soothing side than on the power ballad side as "Dónde estás" is, though it does have a chorus that tries to soar. I can't say it's one of my favorite songs on the album, but neither is it a bad song, and its tone sort of comes as a breath of fresh air at this point in the album. The "nah-nah-nah"'s are nice, if probably stolen from elsewhere (maybe even from an earlier ballad on the album).

11.) Escúchame--back to uptempo and another "I'm breaking up with you" song, but I like this chorus a lot more than that of "Se cancela"--it's easier to grab hold of (and theoretically sing). A very good song.

12.) Come To My Party--don't let that title fool you; save for one or two lines, this song is in Spanish (and who came up with those English lines? "Come to my party zone"--are you serious?). Still, it's catchy, mid- to up-tempo as well. Quality-wise, it might not be better than "Se cancela" or "Déjate ir," but it's more approachable. It's got sort-of-electro backing music.

Qué sabes del amor--on the second edition of the album, this song is track four--and a great addition it was, because it's easily one of the album's best songs. It's one of the most complete and full-sounding songs on the album, but it never overwhelms you with sound; I have a feeling it will weather time well. It starts out typically enough, mid- to up-tempo boy band song with a bit of attitude, but I love that pre-chorus and chorus, with its randomly drawn out words--it gets stuck in my head instantly and I find myself singing "Yoquiero la loooooooona y elsol" at moments when I should definitely be thinking about other things. Catchy and with a definite beat, thoroughly boy band with attitude, it's still melodic; they've packed the song with hooks, too. In fact, I think it may be my favorite song on the album, and it would stand well on its own, but having heard the whole album, I love it all the more.

I so wanted to post "Sexy," as everyone should hear it, but given that I already posted "Perversa"--with which it really makes a matched set--and I don't want people to write off the whole album as sounding like that, I decided to go for "Qué sabes del amor"--listen to it through the chorus and I promise you'll be hooked. But really, go buy "Sexy." And "Lo haré por ti"--every time it comes on, it makes my day.

Qué sabes del amor

To buy the second edition of Nash's album Capaz de todo, go here (physical); for the first edition, go here (digital). They've got another edition coming out soon, as I reported yesterday--technically a new album, but it's got most of these songs on it, as well as the Mision Eurovision songs. I really think people should buy the album, but maybe the smart thing to do would be to wait for April and get this new album when it comes out. It'll probably be a lot cheaper to go with the digital edition of the first album, though, since that cuts out shipping costs. Three editions of one album, though? They're turning into the Grégory Lemarchals of Spain.

Next up: something really special to make up for putting up with this, I promise; it has nothing to do with Nash, Spain, or boy bands and hopefully no one has heard it, unless you're from Denmark or into dance music.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dime quién te ha roto el corazón

I'd like to take you all through my thought process over the past 30 seconds...

ESC Today has a headline saying "NASH record new album"--yay! I click on the article.

The first line says that their new album will come out in April and include the five Eurovision songs--yay again! I really want their version of "Una lágrima," even if as audio it of course won't have the great visuals, and given how much I'm enjoying this album, I'll probably like the new one.

Further on in the article: "All the songs from their last album Capaz de todo will also feature in their latest album..." Me: "oh...that's not as exciting, then. And of course I literally just bought their first album. Well, I guess their first album didn't sell that well, and at least when I buy this album, I'll finally have the one song I'm missing, 'Más allá de las estrellas.'"

The sentence continues: "...with the exception of Mas Alla De Las Estrellas."


Of course.

You don't wanna let me down

I really do want to review Nash's album at some point, but right now talking about a few more Eurovision entries just seems like a better idea. Two songs that will be at Eurovision today, as well as one more that I don't expect too many other people to like but that I would've liked to see in Helsinki.

Russia's entry was revealed a few days ago, and I like it. It's sung by a trio of girls going by the name of Serebro and is creatively titled "Song No. 1." I wish we could cut a couple of the lines lyrics-wise, but I love those first few seconds--the "Five, four, three, two" comes out of nowhere, dramatic and definitely attention-catching (though I've heard a version that doesn't have it, so I'm not sure if it's actually part of the song). I have no idea what the girls will sound like live, but hopefully they'll be some good strutting to go along with the song--it feels like it demands it. Plus, though I want to change some of the lyrics, there are other parts I think are great, "don't call me funny bunny" and "I'll take your money-oney" (or is it "I'll take your money yummy"?) being particular highlights. Is it wrong that it reminds me a little bit of an "edgier" version of Cosmo4's song?

Song No. 1

Also sung by a woman (though just one this time) is Cyprus's entry, which is in French. Evridiki has been in Eurovision twice before. This time she'll be singing "Comme Ci Comme Ça", which was composed by her fiance Dimitris Korgialas (who I've also seen listed as a performer of the song, though I'm not actually sure if he's going to be on stage--maybe he's the guy with the guitar in this video?). It's got a little bit of a slow start, but keep with it, because it turns into a great dance-ish song with a catchy chorus.

Comme Ci Comme Ça

Finally, onto a song that you won't hear at Eurovision this year. Icelandic singer Jonsi, or Jón Jósep Snæbjörnsson, was in Eurovision in 2004 with a song DigiTech introduced me to that has, as DigiTech pointed out, a surprising similarity to Moulin Rouge's "Come What May." He made it to the finals of Iceland's national selection with "Segðu mér," but didn't win, which is a real shame--I would've really liked to hear an English translation of this song, provided Jonsi could somehow manage to keep the same inflections, drama, and strength in his voice when he sang. By rights, I probably shouldn't enjoy this song--think big dramatic ballad which I'm sure a lot of people will find boring--but it manages to be catchy; possibly more important, though, something about it just works for me, and I find myself wanting to sing along every time we get to Jonsi's "ohh-ohHH-OHHH-OHhh"'s, and maybe even attempt to sing along with the chorus, even though I have no idea what he's saying--there's one part that really gets me, but I'm not even going to attempt to transcribe it. He really sold the song in the semifinal performance, too--he even had those strong-but-desperate reaching towards the camera hand movements!

Fact: Jonsi once played Danny Zuko in the musical Grease. Do you know what other "failed to get out of the national finals" singer has done (and is doing) the same? Måns Zelmerlöw!

Segðu mér

(Credit for the first picture goes here.)

You should be able to get the first two songs on the Eurovision 2007 album when it finally comes out--keep your eyes peeled around here--but I have no idea where to buy Icelandic music (any suggestions?).

Edit: The Goggles Do Nothing has started up its annual review of the Eurovision songs--that's what drew me to the blog last year, and it's worth reading even if you think you have no clue what's going on in regards to Eurovision--it'll catch you up.

Next up: maybe that album review.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

When the sky is the limit, what happens then?

Estonian singer Ithaka-Maria used to be a part of the group Best B4 and the very good group Slobodan River, who might be familiar to anyone who follows Eurolaul, as they had several failed attempts to represent Estonia at Eurovision (go search out "Surrounded," their attempt from 2004--it's got a light dance backing track and Ithaka-Maria's voice, half-speaking and half-singing, is perfectly sweet and, though not powerful, not quavery, allowing the catchiness of the song to come through). In 2006, though, she went solo and she's released two singles so far, with an album expected in mid-2007. Her voice is still light, not meant for belting, but it's perfect for songs like today's.

Confession--the second of the two singles so far, "Confession" came out this past December. As you might expect for a song with a title like this, the words are partly narrative and designed to convey the impression of intimacy, of a stream-of-consciousness confession. Stream of consciousness can be a dangerous thing to play with in regards to pop music, but the catchiness of the chorus and that backing music make sure that the song stays compelling. Even if there are moments where the lyrics themselves feel awkward (it's especially bad during the first couple of lines), there's still something sweet and uplifting, occasionally even playful, about them.

To buy Ithaka-Maria's second single "Confession," go here (physical).

Next up: possibly Eurovision-related stuff or more about Nash.

Start up the engines, I'm ready to go

Right, right, right, so I'm behind the times and am in huge debt to the PJ messageboards for alerting me to this, but, from BWO's official site (well, the closest they have to an official site):

"The third studio album from BWO will be released around Europe in September 2007."

"A new single and video in May, another single and video in August, to be followed by the third BWO studio album in September. We plan to do some select concerts during the summer, mostly in Scandinavia, during the summer, to be followed by an international tour in the fall."

"The album will be released in September and will have what we call a hyper-electronic sound. The songwriting will of course be in focus, as always. But the sound has been inspired this time by the trance music of the early 1990s and the early electro pop of the late 1980s. It will be a very varied album, with songs from 60 bpm up to 140 bpm!"

"The first single will be an anthemic and dramatic very European-sounding dance track, released in May. I can't reveal the title yet but it will be revealed in a few weeks' time."

Read the full interview to find out what BWO think of hidden tracks, their favorite albums of 2006, their plans in regards to the UK, and a lot more.

To put it mildly and refrain from lots of shouting, I am very very excited.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Soy un esclavo de la situación

"What on Earth is Mikel Nash wearing?!", Part 2. I never intended this to be an ongoing series, but if he keeps doing stuff like this, I can't help myself.

(As always, apologies for the horrible quality of the picture--it's a cap from YouTube.)

The video's too fuzzy to know for sure, but why is he wearing ugg-like boots? With jeans and a t-shirt? Granted, my fashion sense is horrible, but it doesn't seem like the best look. Yes, I know lots of people do it, but that doesn't make it right. Singing a Christmas song does not excuse it.

Popplastic wrote about Nash today as well, but I didn't know it until after I'd already posted, or I would've avoided writing anything or tried to put it off further. At any rate, go visit Popplastic for thoughts on Nash, "I Love You Mi Vida," and Rebeca.

Soy tu adicción

I just got Nash's album last night and--shock!--it is good. Very good. As in, if you like boy bands (or at least don't mind them singing your pop music), I recommend running to 7Digital and buying some of their songs. They don't always do a good ballad (although sadly I didn't get the version with their best ballad, "Más allá de las estrellas"), but I'm pleasantly surprised by the overall quality--it's the best new boy band album I've heard in a while (of course, when was the last time a "pure pop" boy band released an album?). It's not even a matter of one or two stand-out tracks--there's a surprising number of solid songs on it.

Perversa--does that beat sound familiar to anyone else? It might be me imagining it, and even if it isn't, who knows if it was intentional, but there's another musical bit later on that also reminds me of her. Anyhow, wherever it comes from, that opening beat is chunky, and I love it. The boys have brought in a girl to sing with them, which was a pretty good decision--her vocals help the song pop more. A lot of boy band or boy band-esque albums try to go "edgy," resulting in songs that are fun but laughable--say, Ola's "Cops Come Knocking" or Mercury4's "In The Club" (incidentally, out of the "hip" songs on the Mercury4 album, "Miss Sophisticated" is definitely the best). "Perversa," like those songs, is going a little more for the club vibe (the boy band idea of club music, that is), but it works; I don't feel compelled to laugh at the ridiculousness of the posing--this style of song fits Nash--and the song itself is strong. "Dirty" definitely isn't the right word for this song, but convert the aura of a "dirty" song into the world of G to PG boy bands and you'd have a vibe pretty similar to the one "Perversa" is giving off (that's just in regards to vibe--in regards to lyrics, it verges on the racey side--the title means something along the lines of "Wicked"--but the song really relies on the delivery and sound of the words to enhance that impression).

Who knew? I wasn't sarcastic when I kept writing about how fascinated by them I was, but I never expected the album, Capaz de todo, to be this...good. How could I have? The video for "Capaz de todo" was well-done, but the one for "¿Dónde estás?" was just too easy to laugh at--the song was a typical overwrought boy band ballad, and the video was everything you'd expect from such a song. Their live performances on Misión Eurovisión were very rough around the edges--endearingly so, but still.

If you can afford it, I'd say to go for the second edition of the album: song-wise, it only has two new songs, but they're both good--as I mentioned, I don't have "Más allá de las estrellas," but judging from live performances, it's their best ballad and "¿Qué sabes del amor?", which I do have, is a great mid- to up-tempo catchy pop song that has had me singing its chorus since I first heard it. You can buy that edition of the album here (physical). However, if you live in the U.S. (and possibly outside Spain, though I doubt it's to the same degree), the shipping charges are really expensive and you might be better off getting the first edition of the album here (digital). As I said before, I very much recommend buying more of their songs--I don't think it's just lack of expectations that has led to me being so impressed and pleased with this album. There are a couple of tracks that aren't as good as the rest of the album, but it's generally consistent, and not in an "oh, I can put this on as background noise and not skip anything" way--it genuinely has a lot of good songs. I'm very tempted to do, for the first time ever, a track-by-track album review--it's that good, and I'm that convinced that other people should buy it (it won't be to everyone's taste, but at least listen to the song previews on 7Digital).

Basically, what all this means is that any chance you all had of getting out of all these Nash updates just disappeared--I'm actually now quite in love with them as a group.

Next up: possibly that French song.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hay versos en mí que nadie escuchó

Are you joking, boys? This is the promotional video for Nash's "I Love You Mi Vida." I want them to do well at Eurovision (can anyone explain to me why performing second--the position they've drawn--is generally viewed as the worst position? Is there a particular reason or is it just statistically so without anyone knowing why?), but I hope they're going to get their act together. I'm not saying it's awful, but it could certainly be much much better. At least they don't look like they're rejects from a straight-to-DVD Spiderman movie, though.

(P.S. I finally saw the pictures from Mikel Nash's Tommy Hilfiger days, and I'm disappointed--they're very "aww, look at the darling family!" or mid/late-'90's cutesy heartthrob. The boys better be getting some good styling advice on the night--not that you necessarily need to look good to do well, but I think they'd better work any advantage they can find.)

Du är vild

Look, I'm sorry, but I love Jimmy Jansson. His music falls exactly into one of my favorite subgenres of pop; "Amanda," his Melodifestivalen entry this year, sounded very McFly-esque, and given my incredible love for McFly, it should come as no surprise that I loved it. Since I forgot to do the singles review thing for Paul last week, I missed my chance to rail against the Jonas Brothers. To be fair, I don't know very much of their original material, but at the very least they seem to sap every song they cover of any strength or quality it originally had. To me, they--at least in those songs--are an example of how to do fun pop-rock poorly; Jimmy Jansson, on the other hand, does it very well, and manages to slip in practically everything that makes that type of music great--catchy songs that don't let the guitars overwhelm the melody, repeated syllables, and handclaps, as well as loads of energy--I love it. (For more information about Jimmy himself, you can read my first post about him here.)

Vild och vacker--there are a lot of great songs on Jimmy's new album, and some that might even be better than this one, but I think this one might be the most immediate, especially for people who don't speak Swedish, so I'm going with it. It was also the b-side for "Amanda," which surprised me--if he was planning on another single from the album, this seems like it would be one of the logical choices; it's very singalongable and catchy--just wait for the chorus, and you're sure to hear what I mean. Although it's very easy to draw comparisons between Jimmy and McFly--I do so myself all the time--his songs often aren't actually ones I can imagine McFly releasing; he manages to be reminiscent of what I associate with McFly (and a bit of Busted in this song, especially whenever that high-pitched noise comes in) without actually making songs that I would expect McFly to make. There's also a certain rushing sound a lot of his songs manage to capture, and rely on--"Som sommaren" and "Vi kan gunga" don't show it (and actually, "Vild och vacker" doesn't show it too well either, though there are hints); out of his hits, "Godmorgon världen" probably is this best example. If you listen to his albums, though, it's a lot more prevalent.

To buy Jimmy Jansson's third album, Sån E Jag, go here (physical) or here (digital). I very much recommend it if you like this style of music and don't mind listening to lyrics you can't understand. There are a lot of great songs on it, but I'd especially say to listen out for "Farväl," which is very good (I'm just about dying to post it, and may do so in the future, even though I'm not sure how well it would go over; still, to me, it's one of those songs that casually sums up how to do this sort of pop-rock well). The album's also more diverse (and more mature) than one might expect, though it's not genre-hopping. I'm sure a lot of people won't like it--I can't imagine any music reviewer is going to give it positive reviews--but I'd defend its quality (or at least the quality of some of the songs on it) to anyone.

Next up: maybe that French song, finally, but who knows.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kom hit!

In the ongoing periodic series of insomniac posts, I bring you a song from a new album. Does anyone else think it's strange iTunes is selling Nanne Grönvall's new album a week before it's supposed to be released? Oh well--in a classic case of impulse buying, I just bought it. I've written before about how much I love her--that should be taken with a grain of salt, because my knowledge of her work is limited, but I love what I know. I was sort of disappointed with her Melodifestivalen entry this year--it just felt too "unplugged" and lacked a certain oomph. However...

Kom hit--can someone please tell me if this is a cover? If it is (and it's probably a cover of some classic that I should definitely know but don't), I want to hear the original, and if it's not, I want to bask in how great and refreshing this song is. For some reason, it just feels like it could be a cover--it's not quite what I think of as Nanne's usual style (though she's done some style-hopping) and the album does include a cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," after all. Anyhow, I really don't know if this is the best song on the album because I made the mistake of listening to it first and now every time I start to listen to something else, I end up skipping back to this; if nothing else, then, it's probably the most immediate. "Kom hit" is not the intense side of Nanne--far from it; it's light and fun...and has synths! Synths! I was never expecting those, but I love them! There's a lot of singing by a guy--it's still Nanne's song, don't worry, but I'm surprised it's not labeled as a duet or "featuring." In addition to the synths, the song also feels retro (another reason for my initial question). I love the chorus, I love how so many of Nanne's titles are or are like commands ("Kom hit" means "Come Here," and, given how it's sung, that really should be "Come Here!"; the title of her Melodifestivalen song this year meant "I Must Kiss You" and her 2005 entry meant something like "Hold Me"), and I love this song in general.

To preorder Nanne's new album Jag Måste Kyssa Dig, go here (physical). If you can't wait, though, or want to buy it for less, iTunes is selling it now; for example, if you live in the U.S., go here.

Next up: maybe that French song, finally.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You don't know what you're missin'

Numerous other blogs have featured Da Buzz, but I have to write about them anyhow--they've created some great music over the years. The three person group, fronted by Annika Thörnquist, is from Sweden. They're on their fifth album so far and, though I don't have all of those five albums, I'd say it's definitely worth buying some of their work if you like upbeat pop/Euro-pop/dance-pop. It's hard to even know where to begin with them, as they've created so many good songs over the years. I will say that you absolutely must hear "Without Breaking," but I'm not going to post it as other blogs have. Interestingly, despite releasing singles since 1999, the band only got its first #1 in 2006, when "Last Goodbye," the title track and lead single for their latest album, managed to make the top of the charts.

Dangerous--from the album also titled Dangerous, this song reached #5 back in 2004. Like most of their songs, it's poppy dance-pop and very catchy.

Stop, Look, Listen--though still upbeat, this song is less dance-influenced, probably because it was their entry in the 2003 Melodifestivalen. I like the idea of the back-and-forth voices, though I'm not sure how well it actually works. Still, though the song has its weaknesses, it's also so poppy, so catchy, and so fun that I love it. I love the live performance of it as well, though maybe it wasn't showy enough to do well in Melodifestivalen (like most of my favorites this year, it didn't make it out of the semifinals). Plus, as I've mentioned before, I love poppy songs that have a "breakdown" moment where it feels like you should be clapping along with your hands over your head...and, yup, "Stop, Look, Listen" has one.

I'd without doubt recommend buying some of their albums; the song "Dangerous" comes from Dangerous, which you can get here (physical) or here (digital) and the song "Stop, Look, Listen" comes from the album More Than Alive, which you can get here (physical) or here (digital). Even US iTunes has their albums! I generally avoid tossing around the word "poptastic," but that's truly the best way to describe Da Buzz.

On the topic of Swedish pop, if you're at all interested in it, you absolutely must be reading You Don't Know Pop--Troy's just got back from Sweden and the Melodifestivalen final, and he brings with him 50 CDs!

Next up: probably a song from France.

Monday, March 12, 2007

La la la la la

Do you ever learn something that makes you feel like your understanding of pop music has been shaken to the core? That's how I felt when I first found out that ATC's absolute classic "Around The World (La La La La La)" was actually a cover. Of course, I had to hear the original, and was intrigued enough to want to hear more from the group that originally created the song--if they could come up with this, what else had they done? As it turns out, the group in question, Ruki vverkh (Руки вверх, which translates to "Hands Up"), has done quite a lot, with a back catalogue running from 1997 to 2005. The group broke up in 2006 (I think--I don't speak Russian, so please correct me if any of this is wrong), but member Sergey Zhukov released a solo album in 2006. At some point, I do want to answer the "what else have they done?" question, but I think their original version of "Around The World" is a good place to start.

Pesenka--or Песенка, which apparently means "Song" (though I've seen this referred to as "Song No. 1," probably because there are later "pesenka"s). I wish I could be like Pinkie and give you the history of how this song ended up being used by ATC, but I truly have no idea. What really surprised me the first time I heard it was how similar this version and ATC's are--save for the language, there's not much to distinguish between them (there are some things--the song's length, for example). Given that most people are so familiar with "Around The World" and (among any readers) are English speakers, I imagine this will probably mainly have novelty value for most people, but they definitely have more music worth listening to.

As usual, I have pretty much no idea where you can buy Russian music (any recommendations?), but you can buy some of Ruki vverkh's albums (though not Sdelay pogromche, or Turn Up The Volume, which this song comes from) from marketplace sellers on Amazon.

Next up: maybe France.