Monday, August 31, 2009

Discover me

Songwriter update:

I reported earlier that British (but with an American deal with Lava Records) singer Jessie J, who may now be going by Jessie, was working with Dr. Luke and Claude Kelly. We've since had the opportunity to hear what must be at least one result from that collaboration: Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA," co-written by Luke, Claude, and Jessie. Hopefully, though, we'll hear better things sung by Jessie herself on her debut album, supposedly due out this year. I'm skeptical about that actually happening--the buzz behind the singer, more formally known as Jessica Cornish, needs more time to build.

Lucas Secon, the co-writer of songs like the Pussycat Dolls' "I Hate This Part," Martin's "Show The World," and Sarah Connor's "Under My Skin," is working on a new song with Britney Spears, according to his latest MySpace blog. He says he's also the producer of the lead single for Toni Braxton's new album, Pulse, which was written by him and Makeba Riddick. "Get Loose," a Toni track which leaked late last year, is still a great listen. "Resuscitate Me," which he reports is the "Say It"-following second single from Booty Luv's second album, is co-written by him as well.

Sharon Vaughn, co-writer of Agnes's "Release Me," has a song on her MySpace called "Penny on the Sidewalk" which sounds like it's being sung by Fredrik Kempe, the Swedish opera and pop singer who, despite two solo albums, is best known recently for his songwriting work. It could be an old song , but if you've missed Fredrik's voice or are completionist about the work of Kempe, Vaughn, Per Magnusson, or David Kreuger, its writers, head over there. If you're only a fan of Kempe's up-tempo, poppy productions, though, it's not for you. The (female) voice on "Dreamers Don't Get Much Sleep" also sounds familiar, though I can't quite place who it is.

Fibes, Oh Fibes!'s album 1987, released this week, features songs by Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp and Pontus and Petter Winnberg (the former being one-half of Bloodshy & Avant), among other talents more known to Swedes.

Swedish singer and former Alcazar and Barbados member Magnus Carlsson continues to work on his upcoming pop album (to be preceded by a holiday album this year, last I heard), Pop Galaxy, due in February of next year (you have to raise an eyebrow at that choice). He's continued to record with Pitchline (Velvet's "Come Into The Night" and "Take My Body Close") and Hitvision (and as mentioned before, Emil Hellman of SoundFactory contributed to some of them); some of the possible inclusions are called "Addicted To You" and "Last One To Stand."

Allison Iraheta, the fourth place finisher on the last season of American Idol, has worked with Toby Gad for her debut album, planned for a fall release...but really, who hasn't worked with him at this point, especially out of the Idol contestants?

Fred Ball (of Pleasure and work with Bertine Zetlitz) has contributed as a writer and producer to Girls Can't Catch's upcoming album.

Pascal Gabriel is working with Ladyhawke (on her second album), Example, Goldfrapp, and Marina & the Diamonds (we may have heard some of the resulting creations already).

The tracklist for the Saturdays' second album is out; Ina Wroldsen, co-writer of the majority of their first album, has done "No One," "One Shot," "Baby Baby," "Denial," "Wordshaker," "Open Up," and "Deeper." She's also contributed "Discover Me" to Girls Can't Catch's album, "My Hands" and "Heartbeat" to Leona Lewis's (earlier her two Leona contributions were called "Thank You, Thank You" and "My Heart," so I'm guessing they've just been renamed), "My Man," "Get Up (Stronger Man)," "Punching Out," and "I Had Him First" to Jade Ewen's, and "Before The Rain"'s to Alexandra Burke's. She's also got a song called "Not For You" which is listed as a Kylie Minogue release, but I don't have the Kylie knowledge to know whether that's a song that's come out already or not (it could also be the same song as Natalie Bassingthwaighte's "Not For You," also by Ina).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

With even the alphabet she only sings the crooked letters

What have I been playing over the last few months (a.k.a. trying to do some degree of catching up) that I haven't mentioned here yet?

David Guetta feat. Akon, "Sexy Bitch": "When Love Takes Over" is great. "Sexy Bitch" is even better. Speaks straight to the hips better than any song this year so far.

Pitbull, "Hotel Room Service": Pitbull should be mad at Guetta for taking that title from "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)," but he's probably too busy celebrating making a song as great (albeit filthy) as this one. American (in the broadest sense of the word) rap sampling O-Zone one minute, Eiffel 65 the next, and now Nightcrawlers? Who'd have guessed?

Three 6 Mafia feat. Kalenna and Pitbull, "Shake My": speaking of urban club-rap, "Shake My" is a killer. Kalenna and Pitbull's parts may both outshine the main act's--especially that of Kalenna, whose choruses here get me just as excited as Keri Hilson's contribution in "The Way I Are"--but when they make up the majority of the song and are this good, that barely matters. Darkchild is on a roll at the moment.

Mini Viva, "Bedroom Viber": I've been in love with the demo clip on the Xenomania-produced duo's MySpace for months; finally getting the full track, free and legally no less, couldn't have been a more welcome surprise. I like "Left My Heart In Tokyo," but it's songs like this one that have me hoping Xenomania have a new act to channel capable of making songs with the fun and excitement of earlier to mid-period Girls Aloud.

Taio Cruz, "Break Your Heart": my favorite Taio single yet sounds like all the best elements of his earlier element in one song. Catchy as anything.

Fibes, Oh Fibes feat. Kim Wilde, "Run To You": a recent addition to the list, courtesy of Don't Stop The Pop, "Run To You" is '80's in a gentle pop-rock way that sounds refreshingly different from most current '80s-influenced songs. It plus "Love Child" mean that the Swedish group's third album, 1987, released September 2, can't get here soon enough.

Example, "Watch The Sun Come Up": transporting pop-rap positioning itself as a brief glimpse into the sentimental underbelly of a narrator prone to posturing. The Fred Falke mix is DIVINE.

Lorentz & M.Sakarias, "Baby!": older, but I haven't mentioned it yet here, despite loving it. Über-cute, shiny production from FutureCut on this Swedish language rap song has made it one of the songs I easily return to when I can't quite choose what to play.

Jordin Sparks, "S.O.S. (Let The Music Play)": the second single from a good album which I haven't given full attention to recently--but this song, along with the much-anticipated "Walking On Snow," have no problem winning my attention.

Bananarama, "Love Comes": the British duo delivers with their latest single, electro-disco full of sounds that slice through the air. Another album I can't wait to hear.

The Sound Of Arrows, "Into The Clouds": cosmic Swedish pop. Am I allowed to use the word "transporting" twice in one post?

Filthy Dukes feat. Tommy Sparks, "Messages": did this actually end up being a single? If not, it should have been--this #1 Hits-featured single has the spiky electro influences you might expect from the Filthy Dukes, but it's got pop crossover written all over it via that chorus. And the verses. And those breakdown bleeps.

Jessie James, "Bullet": country-tinged pop that is so much more fun than the song it was replaced by as the second single.

Visitor, "Los Feeling": gorgeous, full of synth washes, beeps, and pumps, but with energy to it--a pulse.

Boys Like Girls, "Love Drunk": the American pop-rock group finally delivers on a level hinted at by "The Great Escape" but one which I never really expected them to reach. It's the single I wanted the All-American Rejects to release.

Written about before but also featuring heavily were the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," Gathania's "Get It Out," Kate Ryan's "Your Eyes," Booty Luv's "Say It," Cobra Starship feat. Leighton Meester's "Good Girls Go Bad,"and, to a lesser extent, Anders Fernette/Johansson's "Hungry Eyes" (and probably some others).

Maybe worthy of a quick mention, though the jury's still out on some of them:
Chipmunk's "Oopsie Daisy" (who is that female vocalist?)
Heidi Montag's "Body Language" (she finally gets around to releasing her best song)
Natalie Imbruglia, "Want" (it never climaxes for me, so I'm not fully onboard yet)
Alexandra feat. Flo Rida, "Bad Boys" (pop fun)
Anna Abreu, "Music Everywhere" (good pop chorus that's better than anything she's done since "Ivory Tower," but still not as fully excellent as I want this Finnish Idol contestant's material to be)
Linda Teodosiu, "Reprogram My Heart"
Alphabeat, "The Spell"
Rob Thomas, "Give Me The Meltdown" (my favorite song from him since "Lonely No More" and "This Is How A Heart Breaks," it's catchy pop-rock that should be his next single)
Mika, "We Are Golden" (worried about this new album, which I don't want to be considering how much I loved his first, but there's a great chorus to this lead single)
Blake Lewis, "Sad Song" (I always think it's good but haven't played it much so far--bad sign?)
Backstreet Boys, "Straight Through My Heart" (more generic and less exciting than I'd hoped, but I nearly swerved into another lane while stopping someone from changing the station when it came on the radio. ACTUAL AMERICAN RADIO playing the latest Backstreet Boys single. Probably a one-off, but still.)
Colbie Caillat, "Fallin' For You" (oh no. "Bubbly" was one of those songs I complained about and avoided at all costs, but I really like this sweet singer-songwritery song)
Trey Songz, "I Need A Girl" (months old, but this sweet R&B-pop song has won me over)
Shakira, "She Wolf" (I don't love it like I want to yet, but I'm excited for the album)
Jade Ewen, "Punching Out"
Leona Lewis, "Strangers"
Sugababes, "Get Sexy"

There are some other recent singles--the new ones from Swedish artists like Martin Stenmarck, Nanne, Sandra Dahlberg, Andreas Johnson, Rongedal, and the like--that I can't really judge yet.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I just wanna go back in time

Guess who's back?

Well, me, but that's besides the point.

The real news: Linda Sundblad is releasing a new single.

Since her 2006 debut solo album, the former Lambretta single has kept herself busy by hosting a Swedish radio show and composing songs for other artists--great songs like Elin Lanto's "Speak 'n Spell" and Fibes, Oh Fibes!'s new Kim Wilde-featuring "Run To You" --but now she's finally coming back to that solo career. Her new single, "2 All My Girls" or "To All My Girls," is coming out soon; one site says it's released on September 7, but if that's to radio or commercially, I'm not sure. That same site refers to it as a proper pop song with an '80s-styled video (which was made by the same people who made BWO's last few videos and Le Kid's "Mercy Mercy" video). Since she's just finished up her gig with the aforementioned Swedish radio station, she must be preparing for a proper promotional push for this new project.

I can't guarantee the song's quality, but I'm very excited to hear it. Linda's "Lose You" remains as emotionally affecting yet subtle as it was the day it was released, but Oh My God! contained other gems. I'm hoping, though, that this time her album will be even better. As I've written about before, early reports indicated the lead single from Linda's next album would be a rockier, Max Martin and Alexander Kronlund-penned song, but the '80s styled video, her latest collaborators (Johan Bobäck, the Salazar Brothers), and the songs she's composed for other artists recently make me think we could be in for more of pop sound--more electronic than rock, or electronic-meets-rock.