Friday, August 31, 2007

Give tomorrow, tomorrow back to me

Len mentioned him in the comments recently, and it's really far past time I dedicate a post to Jonathan Fagerlund on this blog (I did mention him over in my former HotStuff Files column in April [and credit as always has to go to here for introducing me to him], but I don't think I ever mentioned I was writing that over here).

(Listen to his songs on his MySpace)

He's Swedish (shocking, me liking a Swedish singer, I know) and only sixteen years old, something that usually makes me feel uncomfortable about liking a singer's work, but I've decided the songs he's got means there's no way I can help liking him. He also has a very good voice for pop and has been smart enough to work with some very good producers and songwriters (Andreas Carlsson for one) after deciding to leave the Lou Pearlman-managed boy band he used to be a part of when the group "did not develop the way he had hoped for."

I'm completely in love with his debut single "Angeline" (which you can listen to a clip of on MySpace or a higher quality clip--and this is the sort of song that very much benefits from that--on his official site). If you like any of the "boy pop" sort of songs I post, you should love this--it's perfectly produced melodic pop, mid-tempo--a ballad, I suppose, but one of the ones that dances between sweet wistfulness suitable for its subject and enough catchiness to give it the perfect singalong feel.

I'm eagerly awaiting his debut album, whenever it's due to come out; though "Playing Me" is still the song I'm most dying to get my hands on (probably not surprising, considering it's one of the more upbeat songs on his MySpace, but it could quite possibly end up being my favorite song of whatever year it comes out), I've now decided I love everything he's got put up, with "Damn Lonely Night" currently being a little behind the rest, though I think that's my natural upbeat preference speaking and could easily change in the context of the album.

I briefly toyed with posting "Angeline," but--and I'm not sure why--I'm really worried about how he's going to do commercially, so instead I'll just urge everyone to go buy it, because it's really worth it; it's available on all countries' iTunes store (click here for a direct link to it) and regardless of where you live, you can buy a DRM-free mp3 copy of it from Klicktrack.

"Angeline" comes strongly recommended and, with songs like "Playing Me"(which, by the way, you can hear a full version of at the MySpace page of the man who mixed the album) already recorded and waiting for release, you know he's a popstar worth supporting.

(And can I just say: you all know I like boy bands, but I'm so glad he left the boy band he used to be a part of--his new material and promotion has so much more...class.)

Tell me would it make you happy, baby

Tomorrow (I think), Kleerup of "With Every Heartbeat" fame will be playing a demo of a track Marit Bergman is lending her vocals to, "3 AM," on Swedish radio. The song, in its finished version, will be on his album, due out at the beginning of next year.

I'm very interested to hear it--let's see if I can manage to wake up early enough to do so (and if the Internet cooperates)...

(The show, which does have multiple guests, starts at 8 AM EST, if anyone else wants to hear it.)

Update: the show is in the archives or you can listen to the song via YouTube. Maybe it's worth mentioning that there's a piano-led version of it on the "Mama, I Remember You Now" single, too.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Say it for me, say it for me: we all need somebody

Simon Webbe's "After All This Time" was still floating around the British charts back when I first started getting into music from outside the United States (early 2006), so he's one of the artists that featured in the first wave of my own sort of British invasion. Truth be told, it's actually "No Worries" that truly won me over to him--that is, it's not as if I wait with baited breath for everything he does, but I view most of his other singles with a more positive attitude and was interested to hear his second album mainly because of the goodwill he won from me with that song. "Coming Around Again," his second album's lead single, may have surpassed "No Worries" as my favorite song, but I know I've posted a radio rip of "Coming Around Again" before (albeit a while ago, back when all we had was a radio rip), so it's "No Worries" today. Before we get to that, though, a bit on Simon Webbe: he was one-fourth of "edgy" British boy band Blue who really did have a lot of great songs back in the day. After the band split up, all of its members would go on to pursue solo careers, most of which weren't too successful (though I found something to enjoy in all of them). Simon's first album, though, was the exception to the rule.

No Worries--Simon's best songs are this soulful sort of pop--they have a very...comforting sound to them. They're also the sort of song I can imagine both myself and my parents enjoying, and that's a good thing--if you've been looking for a feel-good sort of song, "No Worries" should fit the bill (though it may sound even better in summer). Maybe the most distinctive part of the song is the modern backing vocalist who's hook has been made to sound like some sort of vintage record; you'll hear it straight from the song's opening. With that, Simon's voice, uplifting lyrics, and this light mid-tempo music, you've got a recipe for something...magic, really, in how simply and appealing it feels.

To buy Simon Webbe's debut album Sanctuary, go here (physical) or here (digital).

Next up: maybe a Finnish or Norwegian singer.

Let's wake up the neighbors, dancing on chairs and tables

OK, while I'm being music dorky, I might as well go all the way and say that I'm currently really enjoying this site--I have a bunch to catch up on in regards to songwriters, producers, and song history, and, though I'm sure each publishing company has its own site, this is the one I'm working my way through at the moment.

If you read the news on the songwriters, you'll pick up interesting news bits (some names of people working on Sofia Berntson's album [Dimitri Stassos, who discovered her, and Jason Gill are working on it, though what's up now--post-Melodifestivalen--I have no idea], the fact that the same people who did Gerard's "Work It (Everybody)" have also come up with what sounds like might be another single or at least will be released somehow, "Addicted") and the music player in the bottom right hand corner will clue you in to some of the songs they've done, sometimes already released, sometimes not, and sometimes--and maybe the most interestingly (since we don't know who, if anyone, will end up doing the unreleased ones [there are some--if they aren't yet released--that I hope someone records; Thomas Ahlstrund, Richard Anderson, and Peter Malmrup's "Won't Be Back" is a cute poppy song and I wouldn't mind hearing Niklas Gårfeldt, Nilas Hillbom, and Tomas Jansson's "Unreal" on a girl group album at all, if it's not already been recorded)--demos of songs already released, like Ola's "Cops Come Knocking," Hadise's "Bad Boy," No Angel's "Someday," Soccx's "From Dusk Till Dawn," Gerard's "Work It" (entirely in English), and Alcazar's "Not A Sinner Nor A Saint" (slowed down and just with a female singer), although some of these could just have been released earlier by someone else that I don't know about and it's the original singer you're hearing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I take my tears and send them back to you

Random song/artist recommendation: Lisette Vares.

She describes her style as "Pop/Disco House/Rock." She lists her influences as Da Buzz, Cascada, September, and Kelly Clarkson. So, what can you expect from Lisette?

Well, I'm not entirely sure, since she's currently filming a music video for a new song later this September; that song could sound like anything. But her MySpace songs switch between dance pop, dance pop with some Cascada-esque beats (only one song really meets that description, I think, and it's better than Cascada-haters are probably expecting), and the song I'd recommend most, "Runaway" (though all the songs there are good to great; "Dream Of Love" is probably my second favorite at the moment--no, now I think it's "Together We Lost"--but I really like "I Kärlekens Namn," too! I give up)--not a Sahlene cover, but if I had to try to peg it to a subgenre of pop, I guess it'd go in whatever subgenre of pop Sahlene's "Runaway" goes in. I'm not sure that it technically counts as pop-rock, but it's got maybe a bit of influence from that--basically, upbeat pop.

So, who is she? A Swedish singer and songwriter (and dancer, and model...probably more!) who, among other things, did backing vocals and dancing for Malta at this past year's Eurovision at the request of Thomas G:son. She also competed in an international song contest with "Runaway."

I don't use MySpace, so I'm not sure if the post called "Need a break" means there's been a change of plans, but I'll be very interested to hear more from (or about) her.

Each and every step I take leads me back to you

OK, so maybe I'm getting a little too excited about Ola Svensson's new album.

My most recent thing to wonder about is news from Spinlane (who apparently wrote "Till The End" on Given To Fly); I'd noticed earlier (though long after October, when the news was posted) that they reported that they, along with Thomas Ahlstrand, were working on songs for Ola's new album, but only just noticed that they mentioned that Richard Darell (one of Spinlane's founders) wrote two songs for the album, one of which "will be the theme song for a movie due out in 2007 called Puskas - The Legend." I don't have any idea of what to make of this news, considering Google brings up multiple movies with that title but none of which seem to fit (probably a reference to a Hungarian football/soccer player, though). Still happening? Already happened? A joke? I have no idea.

Really, even if it's happening, it doesn't tell us anything, but I'm currently at the "any information will do" stage (which isn't being helped by me relistening to his album and realizing that I underrated a lot of the songs on it).

Time is on my side

A la request, we have Molly Sandén and Ola and Ladybird today. To begin with: Molly and Ola. Molly Sandén is a Swedish singer who took third in the 2006 Junior Eurovision, breaking Sweden out of three consecutive fifteenth places. She's also duetted with Magnus Carlsson on his most recent Christmas album. I think I remember reading an article about someone being upset that age restrictions mean she won't be able to compete in this coming year's Melodifestivalen, but even if she can't compete next year, I'll be interested to hear more from her in the future. Ola Svensson took eighth in the second season of Idol (the same one Agnes Carlsson, Sebastian Karlsson, and Måns Zelmerlöw were in) and is going to be releasing his second album pretty soon. Disney seems to be having lots of different pairs record "You Are The Music In Me" so that they can have a version in a language for each country High School Musical 2 is released in, and Molly and Ola were the two people chosen to record the Swedish version.

Du är musiken i mig (You Are The Music In Me)

(Posted only for a little bit since it's a new single.)

Latvian singer Ladybird has released two albums so far, switching back and forth between an "old school" pop sound a more dance-pop sound. "Destiny" comes from her second album, 5 Moods. The writers are Swedish, but the producers are Boyza II, who are Latvian.


You can buy Molly Sandén and Ola's single "Du är musiken i mig" here (physical) or here (digital) and Ladybird's album 5 Moods here (digital).

Next up: maybe an American group.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Please don't make the same mistakes I did

Oh no!

Please tell me the fact that Måns Zelmerlöw has "Maniac" on a compilation of a bunch of hits (Absolute Music 55) doesn't mean that it's the next single!

...maybe they just threw it on there since he's performed it so much?*

Am I wrong, or is he still singing "I'm just a steel-town girl on a Saturday night"? Can someone please tell me why no one, during the writing down of the lyrics, the album's recording, when they were previewing it for execs, or before he performed it on live TV months later, bothered to mention it? If he needs someone to meet with to go over English language lyrics before going on, I'm sure I can think of loads of people who'd volunteer...and, uh, maybe someone to handle wardrobe, too, given that shirt. So verdict is yes, I'm wrong; shouldn't be surprised that I need my hearing checked. Sorry! :(

I stop paying attention to you for a few minutes, Måns, and this is what happens? If there's another single, there's no way it should be "Maniac" (though, maybe differently from most people, I like his version; I'm sorry, but I think I just like the song enough that as long as you do a half-decent job, I'll enjoy it)? I really love "Brother Oh Brother," but now I'm almost leaning towards "Miss America" as a single choice. Not "Maniac," though.

And, while we're discussing Swedish Idol contestants, Ola's version of "You Are The Music In Me" from High School Musical with Molly Sandén is out now. I'd rather have a taste of the record itself, but if you've ever wanted to hear what it would sound like if someone who finished third in Junior Eurovision and someone who finished eighth in Swedish Idol sang a song from a Disney Channel musical, now you can.

*or is he performing it so much because it's the next single? Eep!

We keep covering the same old ground

British boy band a1 really were all sorts of fantastic. I know I've mentioned before that, over the course of three albums, they really covered every sort of boy band music you could want: first, super-cheesy '90's-sounding stuff, then the more 'N Sync-style stuff, then the "boy band with guitars" sound, sort of BBMak-esque, I guess, but, even at the point they'd moved on beyond the light pop sound (which I loved), they continued to give us fantastic remixes--the Almighty mix of "Caught In The Middle" is one of my favorite remixes by them (not that I've heard that many, to be fair), Johan S (there's a good chance you've heard him on remix duty for BWO) gave us a remix of "Make It Good" that I think I prefer even more, and there are remixes of "Same Old Brand New You," "Summertime Of Our Lives," and "Be The First To Believe" that I recommend as well (even if I have yet to buy the import CD singles to actually get high quality versions of all of them). That's a tangent, though--the song I'm posting today is from their third and final non-compilation album, Make It Good, which, in my opinion, is underrated, with a depth that goes beyond the big single "Caught In The Middle" and "Make It Good."

(Random fact: I was actually introduced to a1 because I liked Ben Adams's solo efforts, not the other way around.)

Isn't It Cheap--I suppose this is about as "dirty" as a1 get, i.e., not very, but I think they're trying to go for a more down-and-dirty sound in a guitars way and hoping that lyrics like a light swear word and a girl pleading to "let me take you to a place I know/right beside the dirty little picture show" (but "nothing comes for free") are going to contribute to that atmosphere. It doesn't really make you buy them as the "bad boy" type, but it doesn't have to--the song's catchy enough on its own, and it's more the effects that have been done on their vocals that make you accept the song, that make it sound less straightforwardly guitar-pop. That doesn't make any sense, does it? Let's start over: the verses are spent with processed vocals and the choruses show a1's pretty consistent ability to come up with catchy tunes, though here that catchiness doesn't just come from the vocal melody itself, which is fairly flat, but the backing instrumentation. The middle 8 is pretty great as well, even if a change from the often processed vocals from this song--that ending note of it is a nice touch.

And, I know I've posted it before, but I'm reposting it anyway:

This Ain't What Love Is About--and here we go back to a1 in straightforward catchy "boy band with guitars" mode again. They genuinely had a way with choruses, and instrumentation, and...really, well, all the music-related stuff. There's a subtle sense of...musicianship that comes with the songs on their third album which really helps their music pop--guitars are too often abused in the search for credibility (it's the "let's just throw some in here and everyone will buy this!" strategy, and usually when that happens, the people doing it don't really know how to use guitars to their best ability), but they can be the perfect touch for a song when used properly--and on the best songs on Make It Good, that's exactly how they are used (though in a wash over you way; these aren't in-your-face guitars, but more ones that just happen to be there, in the background, contributing).

Neither of the songs I've posted today were even singles; if you've never heard "Caught In The Middle" or "Make It Good," I definitely recommend looking them up (they've got videos on YouTube)--a lot of people don't like anything else by a1 but still really like "Caught In The Middle"--and buying a1's third album Make It Good here (physical) or here (digital).

Next up: maybe Shayne Ward, although I think that post will probably be completely irrelevant by the time it happens.

'Cause when you're out of reach and out of sight, I want you on my mind

Speaking of album updates I've been remiss in mentioning: September's new album now has a more specific release date (September 26), a title (Dancing Shoes), and a tracklist (all this information courtesy of Popjustice, but you can also see it on CDOn). Apparently it shows a "more experimental side" (though that could mean anything, really), though its dance side is still obvious.

1.) Candy Love
2.) Until I Die
3.) My Neighbourhood
4.) Can't Get Over
5.) Because I Love You
6.) Taboo
7.) Follow Me
8.) R.I.P.
9.) Start It Up
10.) Just An Illusion
11.) Sad Song
12.) Freaking Out

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hans magi gör ingen besviken

It's my birthday today (exciting day, mainly, which is just as well, since I'm trying to pretend it's not happening), which means I'm calling priority to post whatever I want, even if it's quite well known already and the artist has been featured on other great blogs and the song's original version has just recently been posted elsewhere (a very interesting read), in pseudo-celebration. I am craving new material from this new singer, though not really expecting anything soon--still, hope springs eternal, and all that. Anyhow, Linda Bengtzing is Swedish and competed in Fame Factory, but her real rise to fame as a singer came when she entered the 2005 Melodifestivalen with this song. She would come back in 2006 with "Jag Ljuger Så Bra," originally written for former Fame member Jessica Andersson. Neither of her Melodifestivalen entries came close to winning, but 2007 brought her her biggest hit yet when she featured in Markoolio's "Värsta Schlagern" in a role originally meant for Shirley Clamp (I think). The song was a huge success, and worthily so--it may be a parody, but it's a great song.

Alla Flickor--if there's a more joyous (in sound), more compelling, must-sing-along outburst of a song out there, I haven't heard it. And if there's a song out there with better ability to cross language boundaries, I don't think I've heard it either. "Alla Flickor"'s writers have created an under three minute masterpiece--it's like schlager to the nth degree, which perfectly suits Linda's style (at least in the recording studio) of full-bore singing.

To buy Linda Bengtzing's album Ingenting Att Förlora, go here (physical) or here (digital). In my eyes, it's very much worth picking up.

Next up: maybe an American group or Shayne Ward.

(By the way, this post was very nearly about the Delays' "Valentine.")

Sunday, August 26, 2007

But I remember when we were invincible

I'd missed noticing until now that Ola Svensson's new album (due out September 12) is called Good Enough.

That's a very...brave name to give an album.

Still, it cannot get here soon enough.

Jag fyllde mina dagar med nått som kallas ensamhet

It's been a whole five days since I posted something Swedish, which means it's probably time for me to post something from the homeland of pop again. I know I've written about Barbados, the dansband that both Magnus Carlsson and Mathias Holmgren have fronted at various points, once before, posting "Bye Bye," but, though I'm certainly no expert on them, I know enough to know that featuring just one of their songs isn't enough. The group seems to be cycling through a lot of singers since Magnus Carlsson left--Mathias got kicked out after one album and Chris Lindh left after one album as well, not too long after keyboardist Mattias Berggren left. They've got a new singer now, Björn Lagerström, with whom they've released one single so far, the Thomas G:son-penned "Tid att gå vidare." I just got their album with Chris Lindh (and Mattias still), Stolt, recently, and I really like it--it's definitely worth picking up if you have an interest in this type of sound.

Du Lärde Mig Kärlek--I love how the chorus of this is so catchy in an unusual way--I'm not sure that I can get it across in words, but the rhythm and structure is just not what you'd expect for a pop chorus--you sort of expect it to explode more in your face, but it doesn't, hooking you in instead with how it bounces around. It's super-singalongable, but I guess part of the uniqueness of the chorus comes from its willingness to pause the vocals for a few moments and give the being catchy work over to the guitars. It's upbeat, it's smile-inducing, and it's catchy--what more could you want in a song?

To buy Barbados's album Stolt, go here (physical).

Next up: I was so close to posting about Shayne Ward today, so maybe that'll happen tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

They say don't waste your time; they're obviously blind provides hours of entertainment. I'm trying not to get addicted to just messing around on it, but it's hard when I get such a kick out of just reading, say, the Click Five comments. A selection:

"The new album made my ears bleed. Yet somehow I'll end up listening to it inevitably."

"They have many songs better than Just the Girl. Just fyi to the 3000 people that have only listened to that one song." [6,000+ people have listened to "Just The Girl," while 3,000-some people have listened to the second most played track, "Catch Your Wave"]

"The Click Five without Eric Dill is like Queen without Freddy Mercury.."

"that side fringe really annoys me"

"Why? You think it's too emo?"

and some mild debate about Eric versus Kyle.

Though McFly's latest album is better than the Click Five's latest album,, the Click Five definitely win out.

(Oh, and speaking of McFly, I haven't mentioned yet that they have a greatest hits album coming out this November, preceded by a new single called "The Heart Never Lies" [that title is not promising...]--apparently you can listen to some live versions on YouTube, but I've deliberately avoided doing so. They've got a cover of The Jam's "Town Called Malice" on a Radio 1 compilation album coming out soon, too.)

(Another "oh": I'm listening to "All I Need Is You" right now, and it's really very good.)

We had it all, but we lost it somehow

Bringing you cutting-edge news, August 11:

No Måns Zelmerlöw in Melodifestivalen 2008


(Though technically he does say "maybe" [he claims he wants to wait since following up a song as great as "Cara Mia" one year after it came out would be really difficult] and he does say when he comes back--he's thinking 2009--he wants it to be with a song like "Cara Mia.")

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Nanne's said no in regards to 2008 as well.

(2008 sounds like it has the potential to be a great year, though, given all the people said to be considering competing.)

We never had a chance to begin

I got pretty sidetracked when writing about Norwegian singer Maria Arredondo's new single the other day--I hardly spent any time writing about the song itself. Consider this post an attempt to remedy that as well as share the best quality version of the song I've got so far--still not normal quality, but listenable. It is a radio rip, though, so the ending is clipped. As for Maria herself, she's released two pop albums (one in 2003 and one in 2004, both selling platinum) and one holiday album so far. Her voice does have that certain sweetness you'll find in some other female Norwegian singers' voices, but not quite to the same extent, and there's maybe a hint of the potential for her to sing country as well.

Brief and Beautiful--that slight sweetness suits this song really well--it's a great combination of voice and melody (and the songwriters' work really has to be recognized--the melody sounds like a big hit). Great match of melody and lyrics (or at least lyrical sentiment) as well--the bittersweet lyrics about a short-lived relationship (I love the line "like every good thing, it's not yours to keep") and achingly sweet melody (those quick rises and falls in the chorus's vocal melody might as well be the quick rise and fall of the relationship). In short, fantastic beautiful song matched with a singer who brings out its best elements

Since this is a new single, it'll only be posted for a little bit.

I'm not sure of anywhere where you can buy Maria Arredondo's new single "Brief And Beautiful" unless you have access to the Norwegian iTunes store, but you can buy her earlier albums here (physical). They're also listed on Amazon.

Edit: this probably doesn't deserve its own post, but Shayne Ward's video for "No U Hang Up" has debuted over here (you'll have to scroll down a bit, but you'll see a video player). Be warned that it involved black and white, water, and a general lack of clothes.

Next up: a Swedish or American group.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sé que es amor

I mentioned Belanova's latest single "Baila mi corazón" a while ago, but since it's still getting pretty frequent plays in my iTunes, I figured it'd be something worth mentioning again--and sharing. The Mexican synthpop group's new album, Fantasía Pop, comes out September 11 (September 10 in Mexico) and I'm pretty excited to hear it. From what we've heard--"Baila mi corazón" and two new songs, "Vestida de azul" and "Rockstar" (as far as I know, we haven't heard second single "Toma mi mano" yet), Belanova is just as good as ever and Denisse Guerrero still has one of the most adorable (and best, from a "what it sounds like" perspective) voices in pop music.

Baila mi corazón--"Baila mi corazón" doesn't quite live up to the level of complete pop perfection established by "Niño," but not much does, and I think I prefer it to "Rosa pastel," even if it seems simpler and more innocent (though there's still a certain sophistication as well, probably coming from the production)--that may even be why I prefer it. The song is practically a cuteness overload, but it never seems truly sugary or saccharine, if that makes sense--it's a very glossy sort of cuteness. It's a song about being completely, entirely, head-over-your-heels in love, and boy, does it sound like it.

To preorder Belanova's third album Fantasía Pop, go here (physical) or here (digital). Forget Kenny Chesney, 50 Cent, and Kanye West--Fantasía Pop is what you should be buying September 11. In the meantime, get Dulce Beat--it has some absolutely divine pop gems (in addition to "Niño," listen out for "Por tí"...though really, most of the album is great).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why should we care what people say?

(Picture credit to Deborah Thomas on

Are we ready for the extreme cheese factor today? I hope so, because Tim James's single "I'll Be Your Secret" is a cheesy ballad--but a great one. "I'll Be Your Secret" came out in 2000, I think, and was supposed to be followed up with a self-titled album, though I'm not sure if it was ever actually released (or at least released on a major scale) since the only copies of it I've ever seen for sale are advance promo versions. I suspect it's not even his real debut album, too--the back of my copy says that it's "his forthcoming C2Records debut," which could mean there was an earlier album released, possibly the one pictured here, which definitely isn't the one I own. Anyhow, the pop artist career may not have worked out for Tim, but don't feel too sorry for him; he seems to have a pretty substantial behind-the-scenes career in pop music going on, having written for a bunch of the Disney stable and even getting a song in High School Musical 2 ("Bet On It"). That's no surprise, though, considering that even before his own album, he'd done that sort of stuff--he's behind Youngstown's "I'll Be Your Everything" and, along with frequent songwriting collaborator Antonina Armato, he wrote songs for Hoku's self-titled debut album. In fact, the album even includes a duet between him and her, "I'm Scared," the music, structure, and even some of the lyrics of which really should be reused for the next High School Musical-esque movie.

I'll Be Your Secret--there a hints of country at the beginning of this, but the further we get into the song, the more the production takes it away from that direction. The lyrics are the sort of stuff that lend themselves quite easily to YouTube tribute montages to your fictional couple of choice (Power Rangers! Firefly!), but it really is a good song, with one of those choruses that builds, though primarily because of the backing instrumentation. Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi would later go on to cover it and release it as "Secret" (as well as release a Spanish version) for his failed attempt to break into the English-speaking American pop market.

To buy Tim James's album Tim James, go here (physical). It's not a must-own, but I recommend seeking out "Better Man" at least--it may have a bizarre moment where I could swear they take a female singer's voice and then meld it into Tim's, but it's really good (you can listen to a preview of it here).

Next up: maybe an American or Swedish group.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Everyone could hear our illusion crash

My second "Oh, this is lovely, go listen to it on MySpace" post in one day, but oh well...

Taken straight from PubliSpain (I'm mentioning that site a lot lately, aren't I? Well, that's because it's ace!): Norwegian singer Maria Arredondo's new single "Brief and Beautiful."

(Listen to it on her MySpace)

I actually probably wouldn't have paid attention to it if she hadn't already been featured on Thnairg's World Of Music, so credit where credit's due.

"Brief and Beautiful" is one of those songs that shows the fuzziness of the music industry in regards to that whole passing around songs thing. Maria's version came out just a few days ago and is in English, as I imagine the original was, given that it was writen by Hanne Sorvaag and Harry Sommerdahl (who are Swedish, but I think they usually write songs in English). However, a few months ago, Spanish singer Edurne--featured on Don't Stop The Pop (thanks for that, Robpop! "No mirar atrás" is great--that chorus is so difficult to get out of your head)--released her album Ilusión, which includes the song "Fue para los dos," a Spanish version of the same song. I've read that all the songs on Ilusión are Spanish language adaptations of other songs--not that they've all been previously released (though some have been; "Lo que sientes" is Bellefire's "Perfect Bliss" and "Algo cambió" is Mynt's "Still Not Sorry," and if anyone recognizes any of the others, I'd love to know about it!), but they were originally written in English. If you check out the album in the Spanish iTunes store, you'll even see English language titles in parentheses next to the Spanish titles (the lone exception is "Ven por mi," but that's a cover of Sita's "Come With Me"). Given this, it wouldn't be surprising to see the English versions cropping up on other artists' albums in the future.

In the end, I'm not sure whether all this says more about the talents of songwriters or why producers matter or the importance of how singers themselves interpret the song--maybe a bit of all that. One thing's definite, though: it makes me with Pop Eats Pop was back.

"Brief and Beautiful" is available on the Norwegian iTunes store.

לא מתקשרת לא חוזרת ולא עונה

I was first introduced to Israeli singer Roni Duani (or, as she goes by, Roni) by Pop Eats Pop, which, as Robpop recently mentioned, is very much missed. Anyhow, as you might guess from the fact that she featured on that blog, she's released a lot of covers of songs from other countries in her lifetime (she's a Pop Art artist, as is Daniel Zilberstein); in fact, she's often referred to as Roni Superstar since she became famous for her cover of Christine Milton's "Superstar." She's often referred to as the Israeli version of Britney Spears (speaking of Britney, I heard "Toxic" is a cover--is that true?) and, though I know what that comparison is getting at, I wouldn't quite run with it--Roni is...poppier. I know, I know, how can you be poppier than Britney Spears? Maybe what I mean is her songs are often cute, softer, even if the best ones still have that punch necessary for a pop hook.

Sukaria--like many of her hits, this song is a cover; the original (well, at least an earlier version that I presume is the original) was done by Russian singer Katya Lel's "Moi Marmeladny" (which I don't own [I probably would have posted that instead, since it's the original, if I did...and I've been wondering: is she someone worth investigating further?], but you can listen to it on YouTube if you want). The chorus features words that come out sounding like kisses and catchy "jagajaga"s. Roni's voice is a bit Lolita-esque.

To buy Roni's album Won't Stop Parts 1 & 2 (which combines two mini-albums), go here (physical). Her first two albums are also available on iTunes.

Next up: maybe something Icelandic or Swedish.

Making something from nothing is what I do

File this in the "random song recommendations" category, I guess, given that I don't know anywhere where most people can buy it: Aura's "Something From Nothing."

(You can listen to it on her MySpace, which has some...umm...rather strange photos.)

It's maybe a little more singer-songwritery than some of the stuff I post, but it's positively lovely.

I don't know that much about Aura at all, except that she's from Denmark, Kenneth Bager (not that I love everything he's done, but I keep meaning to write about him--in regards to his own releases, or at least most recent album, think spacey music that manages to sound both electronic and organic) co-produced the song, and that "Something From Nothing" has been floating around Denmark download charts for the past few months. I actually didn't think that much of it the first time I heard a clip, but the first time I heard the full version, I was really drawn to it. I guess if I had to try to choose the mood of it, I'd go for "sweetly sad."

Anyhow, if you happen to live in Denmark, you can buy "Something From Nothing" from iTunes (or several other digital music stores). I think her debut album is scheduled to come out this October.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jag blundar

Are you kidding me, Martin Stenmarck? A lead single I love instantly? And that's actually less rock than before? Electronic touches? That are cute, no less? But still with guitars and that big catchy pop-rock-friendly chorus?

What is it sampling? Or maybe nothing and it just reminds me of something?

I don't expect this to be quite as big a hit as his last album's lead single--I can definitely imagine some fans of "7milakliv" feeling like this is a let down, since it's perhaps not as distinctive and epic-sounding, but this is the sort of thing that wins me over instantly. And a perfect direction for him. Please let it at least do OK...

Anyhow, here's a horribly low quality radio rip, just in case anyone else is as curious as I was to hear it.

100 år från nu (blundar) (Low Quality Radio Rip)

Consider my fears assuaged, then.

You can pre-order Martin Stenmarck's new single, "100 år från nu (blundar)," here (physical) or the album from which it comes, Det Är Så Pojkar Gör När Kärleken Dör, here (physical); the single is due out September 12 and the album November 7.

(My second "fear": is it a cover?)

Posted for only a little bit, as is usual.

Oh, and added when I noticed it at the last minute: him performing it live:

For what it's worth, though he's a good performer, I definitely like the studio arrangement much better, at least based on the low audio quality I heard.

Edit: you know how yesterday I was hoping he'd follow the pattern of "Han är galen"? Well, he hasn't--he's done something even better, that I didn't think he'd ever do--if anything, this song is closest to the Bassflow remix of "7milakliv"--not identical, but it's closer to that than anything else from this past album.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Jag är ensam, trasig, farlig

Swedish singer Martin Stenmarck's new single "100 år från nu (blundar)" comes out September 12 (though he's already debuted it) and his new album Det är så pojkar gör när kärleken dör comes out November 7. In celebration (well, hopefully I'll be celebrating when I hear it), here's a post about him I've been meaning to do for a while.

Martin Stenmarck seems intent on making me less and less interested in his music career. Fantastic radio-friendly (even if radios didn't realize it) debut album with a bunch of catchy uptempo pop-rock songs? Well, let's slow it down, make it even more MOR and even more ballady and sentimental for the second album and reuse one of the debut's weakest tracks. That wasn't enough? Heck, let's throw a Las Vegas pastiche on the re-edition. Third album time? I know! Let's recycle a previous single from that first album--but in Swedish this time! And let's make the two biggest hits duller than any of the singles from the first album! Good plan!

And yet, I can't let go and wouldn't want to. He keeps taunting me--I didn't initially think much of megahit "7milakliv" (though my opinion of it has improved a lot by now), but they gave me a brill remix just to show what could have been. And threw "Han är galen," one of his most fun tracks ever, on the album. Plus, much as I just brushed off his second album, I'd be a fool to say it didn't have its gems--I really love "That's When I Love You" and "19 Something"--and that it hasn't grown to be something I love.

Plus, he's still got that voice perfect for this style of music and that talented songwriter brother...

Han är galen--given that we can't really expect Martin to go back to his first album or second album sound, I'd at least like to see some more songs like this on his new album--or at least fewer ballads. Like "7milakliv," piano is prominent, but beyond that, they couldn't be more different (well, they could, but whatever). "Han är galen" is more upbeat, more "thowback" sounding--maybe that comes from the horns?--and even has gospel-style backing vocals. It's just such a fun track--certainly not as "pure pop" as some things I've posted, but no less good for that.

To buy Martin Stenmarck's album 9 Sanningar Och En Lögn, go here (physical). I very much recommend picking up his debut album One as long as you don't hate guitars and even grabbing "That's When I Love You" and "19 Something" from Think Of Me, which is available on iTunes stores throughout the world.

(By the way, before anyone starts thinking I really dislike Martin, you should check out some of my earlier posts on him. Even the songs I'm not so fond of are generally pretty good--I just have high standards for him [and sometimes the songs have had to grow on me]. Anyone who chooses to cover Boris's "When You Think Of Me"--even if his voice doesn't have that rough edge that Boris's does and that fits the song so perfectly--clearly has good taste in music. I could post good songs by him for weeks on end...every time I write about him, I can barely restrain myself from posting a bunch more songs by him--if I went any past one at a time [and choosing that one is always difficult], I'd never be able to stop.)

Next up: an Israeli singer, I think.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Adesso non ho più il tempo

It's no secret that I've been coveting more music from Nyco since I first heard his debut single last May--in particular, Maxime Desprez's remix of "Parlami d'amore." Having finally got the album, I'm glad to say the remix doesn't disappoint, though, in addition to lead single "Dimmi Perché," the original version of "Parlami d'Amore" and "Paura" are great as well. Nyco, as mentioned earlier, is the younger brother of Nouvelle Star (the French version of Pop Idol) winner contestant Pierrick Lilliu; though I think he's spent most of his life in France (and that's where he's releasing music at the moment), he's part Italian and, on his debut album, sings in Italian.

Rmix Parlami d'Amore--yes, that really is how it is labeled on the album, as informal as that looks. Anyhow, though the original is a good catchy mid-tempo song with more of the hints of electro mixed in with acoustic guitars that "Dimmi Perché" promised, I love what this remix does to the song; it ups the tempo and makes it a little more dance-friendly. The bleepy electro touches of the original are replaced by swooshing wave-like electronic sweeps and backing "ahh-ahhh"s. I like that it keeps the spirit of the original, though--or maybe what I mean is it doesn't feel like a non-dance song that's been remixed into something it's not. Though the remix of "Dimmi perché" is good, it has a little more of that--it simultaneously just feels like almost any dance song and as if it's been remixed just for the sake of having a dance version, not for the sake of improving the original.

To buy Nyco's debut album Dimmi Perché..., go here (physical).

Next up: an American group, I think.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Don't need psychology with this biology

Normally I'd just wait until tomorrow to post this, but since my earlier post today was one that you either had no interest in or already knew the songs, I'm doing this one, too. Swedish singer Velvet has released one album so far; it included songs like her cover of "Rock Down To (Electric Avenue)" and Melodifestivalen entry "Mi Amore." Earlier this year, she released another single, the great "Fix Me," dance pop with one of those big swooping stompy choruses. As I just mentioned, her latest single, "Chemistry," comes out August 29 and a new album--which I cannot wait to get, given the style of her past two singles--comes out this winter.

Chemistry--at the first few listens, I don't think this is quite as good as "Fix Me," but let's be honest: though I loved "Fix Me" from the first time I heard it, I didn't realize how truly excellent it was for a little while, and "Chemistry" in all likelihood will end up being only slightly behind "Fix Me" in my hypothetical year end list of the best songs of 2007. "Chemistry" doesn't deviate that much from the template established by "Fix Me," though there are some electronic horn-esque sounds and we do get strings, though more in the background than those in other songs I've recently mentioned. In short, it's really, really good. Very danceable.

To preorder Velvet's "Chemistry," go here (physical).

Since this is a new single, it'll only be posted for a little bit.

Next up: an American or Swedish group or a French or Israeli singer.

I'm losing my mind, can't you see what you mean to me

News that's apparently a month old but new to me: Swedish singer Velvet is releasing "Chemistry," the follow up to "Fix Me" (which, in the light of the months that have passed, is one of the year's best dance pop songs so far) on August 29 and her second album this winter! And it looks like the single is already getting played on radios!

Credit to Publispain for the heads-up and here and here for the dates and so on.

This is looking to be a great month or so for Swedish music: albums from September and BWO, hopefully something from Ola (at least at some point in the fall--and no, that High School Musical thing with Molly Sandén doesn't count), and I know Da Buzz was supposed to release an album in the fall at some point (oh, apparently "Baby, Listen To Me" will be their next single in Sweden as well), and probably people I'm forgetting at the moment and later won't be able to believe I forgot.

Edit: just heard it, and it's totally post-worthy--give me a bit...

Life keeps getting in the way

(If you're worried about spoilers, there should be no more than what you'd be able to discern from looking at the track titles.)

I didn't catch the original High School Musical until something like a year after it debuted, but last night, I watched the debut of High School Musical 2. I know, a few days ago, I'm questioning writing about things when others have already done doing a great job doing so, and what am I doing now? Writing about High School Musical 2! Before you read further here, I recommend reading Adem (I was definitely glancing at the clock with Adem's time marks in mind) and Paul's reviews of it. I won't get into what I thought of the whole thing here, but I am going to share my two favorite songs--pointless, considering anyone with any interest has already downloaded them or bought the soundtrack? Probably yes, but I just want to get the opportunity to talk about them. Funnily enough, the two songs I think Paul is alluding to when discussing the slower parts of the movie were my two favorites: "Gotta Go My Own Way" and "Bet On It."

Gotta Go My Own Way--after having nothing much to do beyond swan about in the background and hang off Zac's arm, Vanessa comes out of nowhere to finally deliver what has to be one of the movie's best songs--if her debut album had been full of songs like this and "Make You Mine" (which is all sorts of fantastic--surely one of the year's [well, technically last year's, I guess] most adorable and poppy songs; I have Into The Groove to thank for introducing me to it, and I'm so glad I know it now--definitely seek it out if you haven't heard it), I would have bought it. It's one of those songs that is completely solid outside of the context of a musical ("Stick To The Status Quo," for example, is fantastic, but all those asides mean it doesn't sound like commercial pop; "Gotta Go My Own Way" does). It's a cute but sad mid-tempo "I'm leaving you" ballad. And the little interjections from Zac by the time we get two-thirds through the song are welcome additions as well.

Bet On It--good "edgy" one man boy band song (from the mid-'90's to 2000), but boy, is it hard to listen to without envisioning Zac's completely ridiculous antics during this scene. Awkward, awkward, awkward, and that's coming from someone who loves boy bands and dance routines. If Zac suddenly goes all Lindsey Lohan, I will entirely blame him watching this scene back and realizing what he looks like during it. Oh, and this song is co-written by someone I think I'll be featuring in the near future.

I also quite like Vanessa and Zac's duet "You Are The Music In Me."

To buy the soundtrack for High School Musical 2, go here (physical) or here (digital). It's also available on iTunes.

Next up: maybe a French singer or American group...or a Swedish one.

Edit: ...and the last review I've been waiting to hear just came in: Chart Rigger's. Definitely worth checking out.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I don't think I ever been in love before

Some sweetly-singing Swedes today. Lucy Street were a three person girl group who released their self-titled debut (and only, I think) album back in 2000. As is probably unsurprising for a Sweden-based pop group working at that time, their album included Cheiron input. Their debut single, "Girl Next Door," was written by Jörgen Elofsson and produced by Per Magnusson and David Kreuger and was, I think, said to be wanted by Britney Spears's people. To be honest, I'm glad it went to Lucy Street instead--there's a certain...sweetness (and laid-back feel) to the song that really suits their voices and that might not have been brought out so well if sung by Britney.

Girl Next Door--I don't have their album and so can't speak for any more than this song and the others of theirs on YouTube, but Lucy Street's sound seems to be a poppy one with that sort of background acoustic guitar noise that doesn't make you think "oh, this song has guitars!" but that changes the feel of the song a bit. Their songs also don't seem to go for the in-your-face or attitude-filled style that you get from a lot of pop from this time, instead focusing on sweet, often bittersweet or sad (though not here) melodies and lyrics. Very girly-pop sounding. The verse has you expecting the song to be a little punchier than it is, but then the lovely chorus hits and just sort of washes over you--in a very good, catchy, sing-a-long sort of way.

To buy Lucy Street's debut album Lucy Street, go here (physical).

Next up: maybe a French or Israeli singer.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Time goes by fast

Ryan Cabrera on So You Think You Can Dance:

My first thought: wait, what? Does he have something new coming out? I mean, they use his song "I Will Remember You" for when people get kicked off, but surely that can't be what...

And then that train of thought was completely interrupted by his actual appearance.

What the heck?

(If I had a picture, I would totally put one hear--suffice to say he's, umm, changed his look a bit.)

(By the way, it's down to Danny or Sabra at this point, either of which I'm fine with. Still sad Pasha didn't make the top 4, though.)

Who do you think you're fooling now?

I've been excited about Swedish singer Danny for quite some time now, but haven't posted any good quality songs of his since back in February when I wrote about "Tokyo," not because he didn't release a great album but more because loads of other blogs have written about him as well. It's something to juggle, I guess--if you're super-enthusiastic about an artist but so are tons of other people, is there much point to writing about him or her? It's sort of why I rarely write about American music (though quality is an issue there as well) or even that much British music--if it's so well known and written about so well by others, is there much point to me writing about it as well? Unless I can think of something truly thought-provoking or unique to say? Similar thing with Jessica Folcker's latest album--I wrote about "Snowflakes" but nothing since, and not because the album was a waste of time or anything--there were just other people covering it better.

So anyhow, Danny (Saucedo)--his latest single, as mentioned earlier, is "If Only You," but it's been turned into a duet with Therese Grankvist. I'm not entirely sure how much the duet adds to it, but it's a fantastic song and Therese is always a good thing. Hopefully it does as well as his first two singles--it's more dance with a little trance than either of the other two were, but it's just as good. "Only Wanna Be With You," "Hey (I've Been Feeling Kind Of Lonely)," or "Do Or Die" (to a lesser extent) next, please.

If Only You--as I mentioned, this song has a little more trance or house influence, I think, than his earlier two singles. It's just as catchy, though, and it does make sense as a duet.

I'm not sure of anywhere where you preorder Danny and Therese's new single "If Only You," but you can buy Danny's album Heart.Beats, which contains the original, here (physical).

Since this is a new single, it'll only be posted a few days, though it'll surely be all over the Internet soon.

Speaking of Therese, there's a so far (as far as I know) unreleased song by her currently up at 2N Productions' MySpace called "Losing Ground" (well, it's labeled as "Loosing Ground")--I've been meaning to mention this on the blog for a while now, but kept forgetting. I think it's her, at least--one of the writers is "Grankvist" and it sounds like her to's nothing jaw-dropping, but it is good.

Next up: maybe an American or Israeli singer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No matter what the weather, we can always stay together

I think I've mentioned a few times that I love strings (or string-mimicking sounds, sampled or otherwise) in dance music, or at least have a special place in my heart for such songs--the strings were a huge part of why I loved the Freemasons' remix of Beyoncé's "Ring The Alarm" and the Life Saver version of Jealousy's "Lucy," and they really helped ToNi's version of "Natalie" pop. With that in mind, it's probably no surprise I'm currently taken with German duo the Glamrock Brothers' debut single. Why they call themselves the Glamrock Brothers when they're off making disco-type songs, I have no idea; I've also seen them described as "glam house," and that at least makes more sense than glam rock.

You Got What I Want (Original Mix)--as a warning, this song is five minutes long; there's a radio edit out there somewhere, but I don't have it. Luckily, those five minutes seem to pass really quickly, with the possible exception of the end, where the beat takes a while to fade out, presumably to aid with mixing this song in with the next one if it's being played as part of a DJ set. Think disco-y modern dance music, and you've pretty much got what this song sounds like. Those strings I mentioned aren't necessarily the dominating element, or even the main one, but the whole song is just so fun that I can't help but love it. Oh, and they're not singing on it--it's a female singer.

None of the stores I usually use are selling the Glamrock Brothers's single "You Got What I Want" and vinyl does me no good, so I'm not sure where to recommend you go to buy this single. Instead, I'll just point you in the direction of their official site.

Next up: maybe that German duo...

Oh father...

I am going straight to pop music hell for liking this, aren't I?

Plus, it's on American iTunes!

I'll probably end up posting it, too, so best to steel yourselves now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Come on and give a guy a whirl

It's no secret that I love Enrique Iglesias's "Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song)," and even if I'm pretty disappointed that it appears "Somebody's Me" is the next American single while Spain and maybe all Europe gets the far better "Tired Of Being Sorry" (video here), this latest album has led to a mini-Enrique revival over the course of this spring and summer. I'd thought he was underrated before, but now I'm completely convinced of it--he's had some great singles and, even if I wouldn't say he's the most consistent artist ever, he's got some great album tracks, too. Today's is one of them, from the sadly less successful than it should have been 7 album.

Break Me Shake Me--oh, how I love this song--it must be one of my most played Enrique songs at this point. It's catchy, it's got some great production going several of the songs I've recently written about, I'm struggling to find too much to say about it, but, unlike most of those, I have no doubts about its quality--it's a fantastic pop song. Everything about it is perfect, from the verse-bridge-chorus succession to the somewhat strange but completely appropriate for the song laugh to that almost spoken-shouted part at the end that goes over the top of the chorus. Plus, we even get an almost breakdown-like middle eight (or, maybe more properly, the chorus right after the middle eight), the kind that you can just imagine being clapped along with by a stadium full of people. The songs on 7 are thoroughly pop, and yet I find myself unable to resist comparing them to stadium rockers--and really, if you can take the best of that, the power, the urge to sing along, the "bigness," and put in a pop song, what's not to love?

To buy Enrique Iglesias's album 7, go here (physical) or here (digital). It's also available on iTunes.

Next up: maybe an American singer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My heart's keeping time to the speed of sound


After hearing nothing but good things from everyone I know who'd seen it, I finally got to see this movie and, not surprisingly at all, I LOVED it. Big cheesy catchy songs, loads of choreographed group dancing--how could I not? Songs I'm currently loving: "Good Morning Baltimore," "Come So Far (Got So Far To Go)," "Without Love" (though that's mainly for the accompanying scene in the movie itself--it loses a lot just being listened to as a song, but at that point while watching the movie I had the biggest cheesy grin on my face that I could not get rid of), and the two I'm posting.

You Can't Stop The Beat--the song that will probably be almost everyone's favorite. "Can't Stop The Beat" is the definition of infectiously catchy and happy. This song, sung by a bunch of the cast, might rely a little on you knowing the movie for some of the lyrics to make sense, but when the music is this catchy, that doesn't matter.

Ladies' Choice--this Zac Efron-sung song didn't do much for me during the movie (though the scene was good), but when I was listening to the soundtrack, it quickly jumped out at me. My main judging criteria was basically how much trouble I had resisting the urge to dance while listening to it, and it passes that test with flying colors, even if it has its awkward moments (that deep backing voice, for one) and doesn't have quite the musical depth of some of my other favorites. It may be wrong, but I love the lyrics too.

To buy the soundtrack to the film Hairspray, go here (physical) or here (digital). It's also available in all countries' iTunes stores except Australia's, I think.

Speaking of Hairspray, go read Chart Rigger's Link Larkin-doll featuring post from a few days ago. I'm hoping it turns into an ongoing series...

Next up: a Spanish singer or an American one.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Should I play hard to hold, should I stay, should I go

Czech singer Helena Zetova (probably more properly Helena Zeťová) had one of the biggest hits of 2006 in her native Czech Republic with her debut single. Before that, though, she was part of three person girl group Black Milk, but the group split up after several years and she embarked on a solo career, releasing one album, Ready To Roll, so far. She also competed in this past year's national selection for Eurovision with "Love Me Again," taking fifth. I've not felt compelled to buy Ready To Roll by any stretch yet, but I'll be interested to hear whatever material she ultimately follows it up with in hopes she gets another song of this quality on it.

Impossible (Unstoppable)--another song that won't change the world, doesn't create a new subgenre of pop, but is still good. Coming in at a little under three minutes, it doesn't have time to mess about, so, 31 seconds in, we get the catchy building rhythm of the bridge and by 41 seconds we've hit the chorus, which, though no rock-out thing, has a little punch to it. There's also a random ad libbed "we're unshakable baby" that reminds me of Sahlene's "We're Unbreakable."

Helena Zetova's debut album Ready To Roll is available in the U.S.'s iTunes store, but I'm not sure where else you can buy it.

Next up: a Spanish singer.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Don't wanna take it slow

Song that I am currently taken with: Caroline Blixen's "No Strings" (listen to it here). Maybe I just love the backing music. And I think I like the verses and bridge more than the chorus. It's pop, maybe with some R&B and electro influence, and has that edgy-in-a-mainstream-way song (maybe what I mean by that is that it has a slight club vibe).

I really know absolutely nothing about her except what's on her MySpace page. Does anyone else? I'd love to know if we can expect this song to come out at any point and I'm intrigued to hear more from her. Strangely, the older comments on her page are addressed to "Bonnie & Clyde" and speak as if there were multiple (probably two) girls...was this formerly the page of a duo? I'm not sure...

Just an excuse to lay in bed all day

So it's official: I love "No, U Hang Up," which, along with "If That's OK With You," is making up the double A side that is Shayne Ward's latest single (the release of which sadly has been pushed back to September 24).

It's exactly the sort of song loads of people will be calling "naff" but that I adore. The lyrics are adorably dorky (I can't help thinking of that episode of Friends where Ross is on the phone with whoever he's dating and the time and neither of them will hang up, so Rachel grabs the phone out of his hands and hangs up for him), it's catchy, and it brings a smile, almost and often a laugh, to my face every time I hear it and I can't help singing along.

I'm not sure that it's the greatest choice for the UK singles chart or radio, but I'm just happy this sort of music is being made, that we have a popstar who's such a perfect vehicle for these songs.

And though it will be hated by many, "We got that 'you hang up' 'no you hang up' kinda love" is still probably my favorite line of the year (though Enrique Iglesias's "Do you know what it feels like loving someone that's in a rush to throw you away" and maybe the following line in "Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song)" are providing some close competition). Of course, this is coming from the girl whose favorite lyrics of 2006 were

I don't want no Angelina, no Britney or Christina
'Cause all I want is you la la
I won't be no Casanova with Anna Kournikova
'Cause all I want is you la la take that for what it's worth.

If you take me away, all the pain will change into a memory of when we were amazing

This is today's song.

I am speechless.

If you like music at all, buy this album when it comes out.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Now I can be committed, I'll work that body like a 9 to 5

Whoever did this is someone after my own heart...

The fact that Darin's song "Want Ya" has been covered by German boy band Part Six and Japanese boy band W-inds isn't news to me, but the fact that someone put this mash-up video of the three versions together is so cool--it switches back and forth between the three, with each part subtitled. It's a really neat thing, and I can't imagine how must time it must have taken.

The only thing? There's at least one more version out there that I know of: Israeli singer Daniel Zilberstein/Silverstein's version, "Elayich."

Daniel's also covered Darin's "The Anthem" and Danish singer Jon's "Right Here Next To You" (and probably other songs as well).

"Want Ya" is a great song, so I'm not surprised it's been passed around so much; what does surprise me, though, is the lack of covers of "Step Up"--surely there must be some?

Cover up the tears that we try to hide I finally have BWO's "Let It Rain," and...I don't know--I'm not convinced yet. It's not as if it's atrocious or anything, but I feel like--like if you were going to choose any of the styles you've done before as a touchpoint for your new single, why would you choose that of "Hanging On The Phone"? OK, maybe it's not quite like that, but--well, I guess, for me, the middle part of Halcyon Days (say, "Hanging On The Phone"/"Angel Of The Night"/"I Keep Walking On") was the least interesting part, and it seems like "Let It Rain" is using that part as its leaping off point.

I already know I'll end up listening to it a lot to try to make up my mind about it, and I'll probably end up completely changing my mind (plus, the version I've got doesn't quite seem top quality), but I'm not sold yet--it just seems like a strange decision.

Edit: the video, in all of its suitably BWO weirdness (I like it)--thanks to Robpop for the heads up!

By the way, if anyone wants to try to explain to me why I should love this song, go for it--I really want to be super-enthusiastic about it.

A piece of heaven's what I'm offering you

I don't know that much about Kinnda except that she's from Sweden and released an album called K back in 2001. I think the song she's most known for is "Don't Bring Sand To The Beach," but she released several other singles as well. K is one of those albums from that time that straddles the pop-R&B divide, but--and I don't think I'm just saying this because of my own preferences--the best songs are the ones that lean more towards the pop side, with some R&B influence. I'm not exactly sure what happened after that, but I think she's done some songwriting.

All My Love--a pop song that sounds very much of its era, but when it's this cute and this well done, I really don't mind. It's got a nice catchy chorus and--well, really, it's one of those songs there's not too much to say about. It's a good example of the sort of song that won't change the world but is really enjoyable nevertheless.

To buy Kinnda's album K, go here (physical) or here (digital). It's also available in all countries' iTunes stores.

Next up: maybe another female Swedish singer or that Czech singer.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

You looked happy, and that's great...I just miss you, that's all

Yes, I realize this is going to seem like bandwagon jumping, that this can't really make that much of a difference, that lots of people already have this song, that I can't possibly write about this artist with as much depth of feeling as other blogs have. I don't care. I wouldn't feel right if the week passed without me making at least one plea for people to go out and buy Robyn's stunning song "With Every Heartbeat." You can buy it from 7Digital wherever you live, even if you don't live in the U.K. It's in the running to be number one on the singles chart this weekend, but it's close. So close. And it would mean so much for so many reasons if she got that number one slot: mean a lot for pop, for artists brave enough to forsake the major label route (and still stay pop!), for an amazing artist who deserves all the success in the world. Robyn is Swedish and chances are even if you've never heard of "With Every Heartbeat" (which I admit might have been difficult to avoid hearing about, given the blog clamor about it), you'll at least know her from her late '90's song "Show Me Love" ("show me love, show me life, baby show me what it's all about" may ring a bell). She's done a lot more than her debut album Robyn Is Here, though, releasing My Truth, Don't Stop The Music, and, most recently, the much raved about Robyn, all well as penning songs released by other artists (including Darin's hit "Money For Nothing"). Now, she's relaunching herself in the U.K. She's already achieved a lot, with her collaboration with Kleerup entering the charts at #5 on downloads alone last week, but, as I said, it would be amazing if she went to #1 this, if you have £0.50 (about $1.01), please, please, please buy "With Every Heartbeat" from here before Sunday. It's a fantastic song, really, it is, and, as an indication of why she's an artist completely worth supporting, I'm temporarily posting another song of hers.

Be Mine!--this song deserves to conquer the world, to sit atop every chart, to be played on radios across the continents. Instantly attention-grabbing with those strings and tinged with sadness throughout (and oh, those opening lines and spoken middle 8!), it's hooky and sophisticated and poppy and meaningful and instant all at the same time, a rare and precious combination. This song is quality, but, in contrast to so many songs that are held up as pinnacles of musical success, it does what the best of pop should do by being eminently listenable, by being exactly the sort of thing you can imagine someone hearing on the radio and being instantly drawn to, wanting to listen to repeatedly, that can reach everyone. It's not stuck up in itself. You could listen to it repeatedly, picking up nuances and new levels of emotion each time, but you don't have to do that to appreciate it, to get its appeal--you'll love it from listen one.

The album from which "Be Mine!" comes, Robyn, is very much worth picking up (if you don't have anything yet, probably the best thing to do is pick up the UK re-edition and then use a digital download store to pick up the older versions of the couple of tracks that have been changed, "Bum Like You" and "Robotboy"), but please, please, please buy "With Every Heartbeat" if you can (you can listen to it on her MySpace)--you can buy it from here (physical) or here (digital) even if you don't live in the U.K.

Next up: another female Swedish singer, I think.

(By the way, this cute picture comes from her appearance yesterday on Radio 1's Live Lounge, where she covered "Since U Been Gone"--Samuel, former runner of the HotStuff Files, has posted it over at Electroqueer [well, I'm guessing based on writing style that it's him--if it's not, sorry!] and Discopop Directory has it and her performance of "With Every Hearbeat" as well.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm the one for you

Best. Video game. Ever.

With all credit to Ronny&Ronneys Schlagerblogg--head over there to check out the songs on it.

(Now we need a Melodifestivalen edition that goes beyond schlager!)

Suis mon regard magnétique, c'est quasi éléctrique

I was sorting through a folder of songs when I stumbled across this one. I couldn't find where another blog I read had posted it, so I presume it really is my own (apologies if not--please let me know!). Anyhow, Adenyum are, from what I've read, a French dance project/group/singer/whatever the proper name for these sort of dance music associations is. I think Antonio de Jesus is the sort of behind-the-scenes person while Elodie Guenoun sings, though she may do more than that and there may even be more than one singer on this particular track. They've got some other songs or singles floating around out there in promo world, but I'm not exactly sure what's up with them at the moment, or even if they're still going. At any rate, this song, released in mid and late 2006 (it peaked in the low 30s), is by the best thing I've heard from them.

Toi & Moi--housey electro-pop--very electro-pop. It may not have the subtlety of emotion you get from some of France's best pop artists with a fondness for electro, but it's none the less catchy for that (well, maybe it is less catchy as a result--the hooks are more of repetitive thudding dancefloor-oriented type than in-your-face pop-type--but it's still catchy enough). It's sort of a shame the video had to fall back on that old dance music staple of "ooo, how scandalous!"-type stuff (albeit more stylish than usual)--the song deserves better than being seen as just another dance track that relies on its video to get anywhere. I don't have that much to say about the song, except for that it's really good.

Strangely, Adenyum's single "Toi & Moi" (or "Toi et moi") no longer seems to be available on (where it's not even listed) or FNAC (where it's listed but not available for purchase), so, unless you have access to the French iTunes store, I guess you'll just have to keep an eye on eBay to buy it.

Next up: a Swedish singer.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Heads are spinning around

If you want to hear BWO's upcoming two singles before they actually debut, you can listen to them through a live performance viewable here. "Rhythm Drives Me Crazy" is performed first and "Let It Rain" is performed last.

I would watch them (I never learn--I always want to hear things in advance), but it's all skippy for me.

Gib mir lebenslänglich einzelhaft mit dir

German singer Timo Langner made music that would fit in nicely on a playlist with the pop-rock of McFly, the Click Five, Jamie Meyer, and Jimmy Jansson. He released four singles back around 2003 and 2004 and was supposed to release an album, though I'm not sure if it ever happened since he never exactly set the charts alight. Still, I'm glad that he didn't stay exactly on the photographer's assistant career path he was originally on--I think I can probably recommend any of his singles. In fact, choosing which one to post today was really difficult--the dramatic "Nur die sterne," which I think was his biggest hit, which so perfectly suits the German language (I hope this doesn't sound condescending--I'm sure non-English speakers could make similar statements about English--but German is a language that I often have trouble listening to in music; not that "Nur die sterne" couldn't be sung in other languages, but German suits it perfectly)? The catchy "Umlaufbahn"? "Jenny," which really isn't that far away from sounding like a Click Five song? Or his only English language song, the Swede-penned "Are You Ready?," which may not be that far away from sounding like an Idol winner's song but is actually good despite that? Or maybe even one of the b-sides? I'm still not sure. While I make up my mind, let's watch a video. Sadly, the music video for "Nur die sterne" isn't nearly dramatic or stylish as I'd like (should've hired whoever made Andreas Johnson's video for "Glorious," though it's not as sweepingly dramatic as that song), so let's just watch him in a coffee ad instead.

Umlaufbahn (Radio Edit)--I'm still not sure that this song is the right choice--"Nur die sterne" is so distinctive that it really must be his sort of "calling card" song. It's the more sophisticated choice, certainly. Still, there's something so fun about this song that it just barely edged out "Nur die sterne." Maybe it's my imagination, but Timo's voice often comes off as really...electronically processed sounding in his songs, though maybe that's because most of the singles he released are actually remixes. Anyhow, "Umlaufbahn" was Timo's second single and continued his theme of astronomy-related song titles--"Umlaufbahn" means "Orbit," while "Nur die sterne" means "Only The Stars." "Umlaufbahn" is catchy pop-rock that even manages to sneak in some "nah nah"'s--even if you don't speak German, hopefully those and some "yeah yeah"'s and "woo-hoo-ooo-ooo"s should be catchy enough to let you enjoy the song.

To buy Timo Langner's single "Umlaufbahn," go here (physical) or here (digital). If anyone knows if he ever did get to release that album, please let me know! I'd love to hear more from him because, save for one b-side, I don't think I've heard a song by him that I didn't like or love.

Next up: a Swedish singer.