Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tune in to me every day, I'm that hit you wanna play

With so many great songs flying around, it's tough to give an accurate representation of what I'm listening to based on just my individual song posts. Here's a quick rundown of some of the new songs getting frequent spins from me that I haven't mentioned on the blog yet:

Kylie Minogure, Aphrodite
Yeah, the whole album. It's really that good. Pop-dance bliss that's left me feeling like some giddy ten year old. Kylie promised euphoria, and she delivered. The title track, embedded above, with its martial drums backing empowerment anthem lyrics, is a standout, but the whole album is fantastic--possibly the best album I've heard in at least a few years. Preorder it already (out July 6, including in the U.S.).

Kent, "Gamla Ullevi"
The Swedish rock band's best single in years. The group's detour into a more electronic sound recently caught my ear, but it felt as if at the same time they'd lost the strong melodies to make those interesting-sounding songs truly worthwhile. "Gamla Ullevi," with its gunfire synths, earworm chorus, and catchy whistling, finally has the best of both worlds. Via Swedish Stereo.

Miley Cyrus, "Permanent December"/"Two More Lonely People"/"Scars"/"Robot"/"Take Me Along"
My picks for the best songs from the new Miley Cyrus. "Liberty Walk" may be seriously overrated, but that doesn't mean that infernally catchy electro-pop "Permanent December" (above) shouldn't be blaring out of cars all summer (heavy auto-tune or not), that the galloping "Two More Lonely People" isn't a perfect combination of Miley's electronic turn with what you feel are her more rock instincts, that "Scars" isn't an excellently made pop-rock song spiced up with a little more electro flavor that is a lot better than you'd expect a song with that title to be, that "Robot" manages to overcome Miley's vocals getting buried in the chorus to and "I'm throwing off the shackles of your pop production powerhouse to declare my independence" lyrics to actually really good, that "Take Me Along" isn't actually an excellent pseudo-ballad (emphasis on the pseudo, thanks to the production)--and doesn't mean that at least half of this album isn't worth your time and money.

Maroon 5, "Misery"
Speaking of blaring out of cars all summer...that's what I'm demanding happen for the new single from Maroon 5. "Misery" is begging to be played while you drive around in the sun for the next few months. It's a bit like a lighter, fluffier version of "Makes Me Wonder" or "If I Never See Your Face Again," but probably better. I love this group, but let's just take a moment: thank goodness for Mutt Lange. His production work is just so clean, so polished, so everything-just-where-it-should-be--there's workmanlike and then there's "I'm an effing professional/genius and I know what I'm doing, so just let me tweak your already great song in a million little ways you never could have thought of to make it so ridiculously appealing that RESISTANCE. IS. FUTILE." The man knows what he's doing.

Ed Drewett, "Champagne Lemonade"/"Parallels" (stream here)
Forget that whole Professor Green thing. Pop-R&B singer Ed Drewett (co-writer of the Wanted's "All Time Low") has been working with people like Cutfather and Paul Statham, with the best result so far being "Champagne Lemonade." Without hearing it in full quality, it's tough to fully judge, but the Calvin Harris-style production behind lyrics like "all because he buys you champagne, I buy you lemonade/Makes him something of a Casanova" is begging for summer airplay, at least on my headphones. Another demo on his MySpace, "Parallels," is by Cutfather and has a great ravey musical backing. The topline is a little simple, but maybe that's for the best given everything going on in the background.

05 Hitman (Remix) by poppostergirl

Jessie and the Toy Boys, "Hitman"
Popjustice introduced me to the new incarnation of Jessie Malakouti, this time backed by several mannequins. Though I still want to own Xenomania-penned "Who's That Man," the chorus of "Hitman" is going some way to making up for her moving on to new songwriters. Seriously, stick it out to the chorus (or skip ahead to it if you need to)--it's energy jolt kind of stuff. The clip of "Perfect Shade Of Red" over on Popjustice sounds great, too. Listen to more songs at her official site.

Brandon Flowers, "Crossfire"
Brandon is channeling second album Killers in both facial hair and music style. If you'd asked me about his new solo project ahead of time, neither would have been my first choice. Why, then, are both choices working so well for me? Maybe it just all comes down to a good melody...and someone pushing him away from the pervert-next-door grooming choices into just pleasant scruff.

Lolene, "Radio" (stream here)
As featured on Idolator and Pop Trash Addicts. Pop-dance that, to be honest, is a whole level above what I was expecting from this British girl being launched in the U.S. I always just saw her as (eek) one of those "Internet buzz acts." The sweet, fresh "Radio" implies she's certainly more than that.

Tove Styrke, "Million Pieces"
Swedish Idol contestant goes commercialized-indie-electro-pop for her debut release. On the first listen, "Million Pieces" starts off slowly, in a style a bit like a quicker Lykke Li's "Little Bit," but the poppier chorus is delivers and from the second chorus through the end, the song just gets better and better--it builds in just the way you'd hope a song from Tove would. Via Swedish Stereo.

Also getting played: most of the new albums from Example and Delays. Possibly more later on at least one of those, though. Oh, and Kevin Rudolf's "You Make The Rain Fall," after #1 Hits From Another Planet mentioned it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Now I'm falling asleep and she's calling a cab

If you've ever wanted to hear a low quality recording of amazing Swedish pop group Le Kid covering the Killers' also amazing "Mr. Brightside"...

...there you go. The original is one of my favorite songs of the past decade, but it makes total sense in their '80s pop version. Everything they do is so incredibly joyful or joy-inducing and it takes real intelligence to be as good as they are at composing (or arranging) music.

I love this group with my whole heart. If they're not successful, I don't know what I'm going to do. Their taste in music--impeccable. The music they make--fantastic. Their obvious love for what they do--the icing on the cake.

Eric Saade was also at the same event (singing "Break Of Dawn" and a cover of Linkin Park's "Leave Out All The Rest"), if you feel like watching more fuzzy quality live videos.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I see it tattooed all over your face

I know we're all still in Kylie mode (I know I am), but please tell me you have time for a biting, strutting, rock-edged pop-dance song of the highest quality.

Dirty Kissin' by poppostergirl

I enjoyed British soapstar-turned-popstar Preeya Kalidas's debut single "Shimmy" (out July 26) quite a good bit--it never stood out to me in its original incarnation on Janet Leon's album, but Preeya's version is a lot of fun in an Alesha Dixon-type way. "In My Heels" on her MySpace sounded promising, enough to keep me interested in the project. Today's song, though, which she's recorded, takes it all up a level. No, at least two levels. If this song isn't worth skipping a grade at popstar school, I don't know what is.

I'm not familiar enough with her voice yet to swear that this is her singing on the song I've posted above (to be honest, make me guess and I'd say it's a demo singer, but that's an uninformed opinion), but demo or final version--amazing. It's a hard-edged, attitude-filled pop track that demands aggressive action, be it the way one walks down a catwalk or pursues a boy. It shares a lyrical conceit or two with Sugababes' "Wear My Kiss" and maybe has a similar beat to Kat DeLuna's "Unstoppable," but it approximately 100 TIMES BETTER. It's faster, harder, punchier, catchier. Ohhh, can we talk about how catchy it is? I am going to be spitting out this chorus for days, and those guitar riffs, the biting electro pulses--yeah, they've all robbed me of my ability to write passable sentences and forced me into capitals and italics.

It's basically exactly you want as an attention-getting, "I am a proper popstar" debut. It's not an exact replica of the sound any other singer has going at the moment, and yet I have trouble seeing how fans of modern female-fronted pop-dance couldn't enjoy this. Whoever this is on this recording needs to release it NOW.

(Edit: maybe it's a little like Serebro's "Song No. 1," just in that hard beat beneath it?)

Friday, June 25, 2010

I toss and turn every night

My thought process still looks something like "KYLIE KYLIE KYLIE," but here's a fifteen second interruption to bring you the news that Swedish singer Jake Oh (of the 2008 single "Up In The Blue," which sounded like a remix of a Vincent Pontare song or, if you prefer a more recent reference, a ravier version of Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me") has a new single out.

The "leh-leh-let you in" part is pretty catchy, no? Jake sees himself as an R&B singer and there are traces of that here, along with pop (the bridge reminds me just a little bit of Ola's "Feelgood," though that's not an apt comparison for the whole song), dance (big swooshy synths!), and rock (the guitars in the first half of the chorus). He's on either his own label or a small label, so the going won't be easy for him...which makes victories in quality even sweeter for him, I'm sure.

I also recommend his sparkly new string-featuring R&B-pop song "Last Time," streaming over at his MySpace.

"Let You In" isn't available for sale yet, but it should be soon, so keep on eye on Swedish iTunes or the stores listed in the sidebar if you like what you hear.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Use me, I know the way to paradise

How does the idea of JC Chasez singing something by the creator of Jennifer Paige and Nick Carter's charming duet "Beautiful Lie" from last year sound to you? Like not such a bad idea, right?

Don't Stop by poppostergirl

Swedish songwriter Carl Falk has an eclectic discography but has recently been delivering quality work in a way that gives you the impression he's just about to break out and get the credit he deserves soon (personally, I've got high hopes for his work with Darren Hayes). When he feels like it, he does a good job updating the Cheiron sound of the late '90s with the more electronic sound of today to create catchy, fun pop songs like this one, with its little percussion progressions sprinkled throughout the kicky, poppy beat. Unlike, say, "Beautiful Lie" or the Backstreet Boys demo "Fire & Water," "Don't Stop" is pure fun, an up-tempo romp without any real dark undertones (or any of the dirty funk of JC's own earlier work). Carl posted "Don't Stop" to his MySpace, so the safest bet is that he and JC wrote it together with the intention of selling it to another artist--it's just a demo, but it comes with the pleasant perk of being sung by JC.

Speaking of JC-penned and -sung demos, a few more have leaked this year: "Teenage Wildlife" is a "Mr. Brightside" imitator that AJ McLean recorded for his debut solo album and "Build Some Love" was a ballad Kris Allen considered using. JC has always been one of the more underrated American male singers and I still regret that his second solo album was never released. Schizophrenic, its predecessor, deserved more success than it found; it's a fun, sexy/ridiculous-in-an-entertaining-way summer album. I still carry the hope, no matter how in vain it might be, that he'll release music again in some way.

There's nowhere to buy "Don't Stop," but you can purchase JC Chasez's album Schizophrenic here (physical) or here (digital).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A lover's love song without a melody

A recent mention of Moám's "Last Night In Paris" getting a release in Denmark (though I could have sworn that happened ages ago) reminded me that I've yet to feature that fantastic song here. I always just thought I'd cover it in my 2009 Favorite Singles list (which I'm sure is still highly anticipated due to its timely nature), but given my track record with promised features...well, it's probably best to spend a minute on it now.

Supposedly "Last Night In Paris" samples the theme song to Miami Vice, which I've apparently not heard enough to recognize in the song. All I hear is a fantastic trance-pop song from Danish producer Moám (Morten Hampenberg) and Swedish singer and songwriter Alice "Ace" Gernandt. Alice's sweet voice and melodies and Moám's beats create a song that has appeal beyond just the electronica community--it's pretty crossover-friendly, at least in Europe...well, mainstream dance radio-friendly, at the least. The charged beats ensure that "Last Night In Paris" still has power despite Alice's delicate voice, while her singing adds a certain romanticism to the song--the idealized romanticism of a late-night rendezvous in a city known for both its romance and its darker underbelly.

Moám has also remixed Example's "Watch The Sun Come Up," which makes perfect sense; Example's original is poppier than "Last Night In Paris," but the songs share a nostalgic appreciation for a time together that can't be recaptured and hint at the "what if"s that spring up from a one night stand (as well as lyrics that enable you to connect them into a cross-song narrative, if you're, say, into overanalyzing tracks with no basis in reality), though "Last Night In Paris" is musically darker.

If you're interested in hearing more of Alice's work, I recommend the demo "The Music Goes On," streaming on her MySpace. It's by the men behind Margaret Berger's "Will You Remember Me Tomorrow" and "Samantha" and Ninja's "Hush Hush." "The Music Goes On" isn't an electronic pop attack in the same way those songs are, but it's a sweet little song. "2 Left Feet," also streaming there, is by the same team.

You buy Moám's single "Last Night In Paris" from iTunes here depending on your country of residence.

I've seen it all in a disco ball tonight

I've been sitting here, playing the songs of twenty-one year old British singer Ollie Wride, who the Guardian's New Band of the Day introduced me to, over and over again, trying to decide which one to feature.

I can't decide. I just can't.

I think there are two reasons for that, one bad and one good. Let's get the bad out of the way first: none of them really stand out as a smash hit single in the universe we currently live in, unfortunately--at least not as they and the charts currently stand. Ollie's songs sometimes still feel just a little more like great genre experiments, rather than hit songs, than they should. Nothing that a little refining couldn't fix.

HeadRush by Ollie Wride

Now, the good reason: each and every song has "cue PG falling madly in love with this artist's musical output" written all over it. Ollie, who had a development deal with a major label but is now unsigned, cites Freddie Mercury as one of his biggest inspirations, and you can hear that in his music; he may not bear a vocal resemblance to the Queen frontman, but there's a common interest in glam. On a similar tip, Ollie was brought in to write songs with Meat Loaf for what became Hang Cool, Teddy Bear and though none of his songs made the album, you can see why the match-up was made.

21st Century Love by Ollie Wride

Still, the '80s-inspired glittery synth-filled musical backdrops he and collaborators like Royworld's Rod and Crispin Futrille have created are unlike anything I've heard Freddie sing over--they're more like the foolhardy, party-ready, take-on-the-world teenage cousins of the instrumentals of songs by Performance, the Bang Bang Club, or Dyno. Apparently Ollie was also asked to write songs for Sophie Ellis-Bextor and, though once again I don't think any of his songs made the cut, it's just as easy to see why that match-up was made; there's a bold electronic pop shimmer to all Ollie's tracks.

This Isn't Paradise by Ollie Wride

The seven songs on Ollie's SoundCloud page are easy on the ear, like listening to a four out of five stars album that you can play over and over again without boredom setting in and with a sense of excitement that counterbalances the lack of the single. I love them all, but they also give you the sense that he's on the verge of something incredible...and you can't help hoping he takes that one more step, finds that one song that makes it all happen for him. His work right now, though, is highly recommended.

Spotlights by Ollie Wride

There's nowhere to buy Ollie Wride's music yet, but visit him on MySpace here.

Dance To Survive by Ollie Wride

(All right, I'll cut myself off there. The remaining two songs are JUST as great, though.)

Pop Music by Ollie Wride

(I mean, I'll stop there. Really. But how could I leave out the strings, going-underwater-a-la-"Love At First Sight," and big glammy chorus of that song?)

We Won by Ollie Wride

(*cough* OK, done. Though there is a song from his old band still up elsewhere on MySpace and one of his collaborators has a pretty cool project going and--"*yanked off stage*)

You were wearin' headphones, dancin' to some song

Whenever summer rolls around, it's time to pull out Josh Hoge's "Work That Body."

02 Work That Body by poppostergirl

Slinky, pervy funk, "Work That Body" makes excellent use of Josh's falsetto while still keeping a nod or two to the grit that his voice usually has. It was one of several fantastic tracks we were treated to in the run-up to Josh's eventually canceled major label debut Call It What You Want back in 2006. Lead single "360" was like an early version of Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around....Comes Around" or a Ne-Yo-penned ballad, made all the better by the slight rasp in Josh's voice, but it unfortunately never took off at the radio. "Take It Or Leave It" is stomping southern-fried pop-rock with a snappy, spitfire chorus. It would go on to make appearances on an EP and the independent album Josh eventually released, but neither version is as good as the one from the Call It What You Want era. Like many of Josh's songs, it was co-written with Ryan Tedder before he was in fashion. "Undone" is another such song, with Josh's original being much better than the version that appeared on the Backstreet Boys album of last year (I love the boys' voices, but they sound surprisingly characterless on "Undone").

I didn't love the album Josh was able to release in 2008 as much as I might have hoped based on that earlier material, but I'm still convinced he's a talent. No song on the album shows that better than my favorite, the semi-ballad "Stay Away." If I'd realized at the time that it was a single, it certainly would have made my "Favorite Singles of 2008" list--the melody is beautiful, taking an unexpected twist here or there while never coming off as try-hard. Josh's voice, as usual, elevates the song, preventing any risk of blandness while still not being left-of-field; he's like an R&B singer trapped in a southern rock singer's voice, a combination which adds up to a great pop voice.

The good news is that Josh is still writing songs. He released a Christmas album last year. His "Know My Name" appeared on Blake Lewis's first album, though I suspect that was a song originally meant for Josh (you can hear his demo on his MySpace; it's always sounded like a song that would match him to a T, and he proves it) and, more recently, several of his songs were recorded by American Idol contestant Anoop Desai. I'm glad of that, but, though I know it will never happen, I wish we'd have the chance to hear that unreleased 2006 album in its entirety. Josh has moved on, as he should, but from the sound of everything we heard (the aforementioned songs and "Damn Thing"), it wouldn't be just "Work That Body" I'd play every summer--it'd be the whole album.

Though Call It What You Want was never released, you can find it on a Biggest Loser soundtrack, available on US iTunes here. You can buy other work by Josh here (physical) and here (digital).

(I need to do a whole post about "Stay Away" at some point. It's excellent.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The way you held my gaze, my lovely one

Though I'm eager to buy young Zimbabwean-born, British-residing singer Tinashé's upcoming single "Zambezi," I kind of hope its release is going to be pushed back a few weeks. As far as I know, it's still set to come out on June 27, and I just haven't seen enough evidence of radio play to leave me confident that it's going to be the hit it should be.

If you made me choose one word to describe "Zambezi," I think I'd go with "beautiful." Give me a few more and I'd say that it's simultaneously sad and uplifting, one of those songs that seems to be enhanced by an authentic simplicity but that actually has dozens of little carefully linked together elements that are made even more impressive by the way they blend together.

To traffic in stereotypes for a minute, the mid-tempo "Zambezi" has the sort of chants and musical lightness you might expect from a songwriter with roots in Sub-Saharan Africa, but they work naturally with the dancing electronic sparkles and almost house-style piano lines. Organic electronic pop, it has a magic that reminds me of Donna Lewis's "I Love You Always Forever" (though with that being one of the best songs of the past two decades, I'm reluctant to declare "Zambezi" as on its level quite yet, and I don't see it as that kind of all-conquering hit either). Maybe throw in a little of Ne-Yo's closer done in an African style, some of the gentleness and vague folkiness of a few buzzy British pop acts, and keep in mind what the Matrix did with Jason Mraz's "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)"--how they musically conveyed the impression of a talented singer-songwriter who probably worked everything out on an acoustic guitar but whose work was improved with smartly used waves of electronic production effects.

Even without the lyrics, "Zambezi" feels like a memory of a young couple's kiss under the summer sun, looked back on with affection for what was experienced and regret for what was lost; like a slightly faded childhood photograph, which reminds you of an innocence and joy you can't recapture and yet makes you smile more than enough to outweigh any thought of tears; and, maybe most of all, like one of the best, warmest pop songs I've heard this year.

"I can see Zambezi in your eyes."


If you live in the UK, you can preorder Tinashe's single "Zambezi" from iTunes here. The Tinashé Re-Edit is also worth your money. "Come On Over," a collaboration with Kissy Sellout available on Tinashé's Mayday EP is also worth getting.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Closer to perfection

The fantastic site Scandipop, which along with Swedish Stereo is a must-read for all fans of Swedish and Scandinavian pop, has just opened a forum.

You can visit it here.

(Discussions so far include new Ace of Base material, rumors about next year's Melodifestival, and Lena Philipsson appreciation.)

I very much recommend signing up. The time, effort, and love put into Scandipop is representative of the best kind of music journalism and fandom, and the forum will in all likelihood be full of similarly informed, interesting, passionate people who can keep each other up to date on news while also having the more in-depth discussions that I can't imagine a better home for. There may be different opinions at times, but given the man behind it, the forum should be a welcoming environment that I really hope anyone who enjoys this blog's diversions into Scandinavian pop would enjoy and feel comfortable in. Forums thrive on members, so every person that joins adds quite a bit to the strength of this new project.

I'm pretty bad at doing the forum member thing, but I'll be there; more importantly, some of the best commentators on the subject are already signed up, as are people who are just now taking the step from reading to participating. I hope you'll consider doing the same--it should be a lot of fun.

Also, Måns wants you to.

How can you say no?

All they ask for

Why did no one TELL ME that the Starsmith remix of N.E.R.D's Nelly Furtado-featuring "Hot-N-Fun" is life-changing?

N.E.R.D. - Hot N Fun (Starsmith Remix) by Starsmith

(This comes straight from Starsmith's SoundCloud page, so don't miss the download option built into the player: click on the downward-pointing arrow below the "Info" button.)

The Neptunes may have delivered some great tracks over the years, but, disappointingly, the new single from the group of which they are a part wasn't more than "fine." The original "Hot-N-Fun" is R&B-funk in the style you'd expect from N.E.R.D., heavy on the percussion and guitar-based groove. Summer friendly? Sure, but it wasn't anything to make you stop in your tracks--a song to enjoy when it came on, but not one that stuck with you for much past that.

This remix, though, makes it almost unfathomably better. It might very well be the best thing I've heard yet from young, blog-beloved British producer Starsmith (though to be fair, his song for Kylie, "Put Your Hands Up [If You Feel Love]" isn't out yet), who besides his remixes has worked on songs for Ellie Goulding (check out "This Love [Will Be Your Downfall]" or the more famous "Under The Sheets") and Diana Vickers (see "You'll Never Get To Heaven"). Starsmith uses quirky, shiny, cute, jumpy synths somewhat akin to those in Frankmusik's "In Step" or Owl City's "Umbrella Beach" which, if the artist chooses, can lend themselves to a cosmic combination of joy and sadness--beats that lift you up while beautiful melodies simultaneously caress you in your dance and pull you back towards something darker.

Most of that potential darkness is set aside in this remix. Starsmith has reworked "Hot-N-Fun" into what it was apparently always meant to be: euphoric pop-dance. The propulsive electronic backing recenters the song, with the recontextualized answerback-style title-deriving line and Nelly's uplifting hook suddenly becoming less a sleazy invitation by a swag-endowed bass player to engage in some drop-it-low dirty dancing and more a unifying, lost-in-the-music journey to an idealized dancefloor paradise. There's a slight allusion to some duller, more challenging existence away from dancefloor in the piano run quietly embedded in the song and the occasionally slightly conflicted feel in a synth or two, but it's only there to improve the experience you're having now through contrast. They're vague memories floating at the outside of your mind, reminding you that life doesn't have to feel this good--but right now it does. This new version of the song is celebratory in a sophisticated, shaded way.

Remember how you felt about the Jacques Lu Cont Thin White Duke Mix of "Mr. Brightside"? This is right there in terms of remix-induced electronica transcendence. N.E.R.D includes some talented people, but it's hard to believe what Starsmith has achieved with the source material they gave him. A world where competent if unexciting songs are scrubbed off to reveal shining dancefloor gems that suddenly seem like authentic anthems, no matter what their original lyrical content may have been? That's Starsmith's world--and that's a world I want to live in.

The original version of N.E.R.D's "Hot-n-Fun" is available for purchase digitally here. There's nowhere to buy the Starsmith remixes yet (I'm eager to buy the radio remix), but I imagine they will be available in the UK once the single is released there.

Bring it right back now

Who is Emil?

I have no idea, and it's been driving me crazy for months. There's no quicker way to get me to waste time than to give me just a drop of information and then force me to scour the Internet for more with only minimal results, not because there's some sort of deliberate disguising or misrepresentation of what's going on but just because the promo information hasn't been sent out yet.

Here's what I've got: soon-to-be-launched young British singer. That's him providing vocals (albeit very chopped up vocals) for dance act Ocelot's latest single "Beating Hearts."

Most intriguingly, he's had songs written for him by Fred Ball (Pleasure) and Hannah Robinson. One is called "Yet To Come" (penned by Ball, Robinson, and Ball's collaborator Kwame Ogoo) and one might be called "If I Was A Girl." Considering we're probably not going to hear those Girls Can't Catch songs he did, I'm more than ready for some more Fred Ball, and talented Hannah Robinson is as close to a sure sign of quality as you'll find in music.

Apparently Emil is signed to B-Unique and used to be represented by Grand Management Group, but I'm not sure if that exists any longer. He has no MySpace or official site yet, so I don't even have a picture for you.

Subba Cultcha has done a few blurbs about him--"Like Lenny Kravitz, but COOLER, BETTER, YOUNGER and SMOOTHER" (the Lenny reference does make me a bit nervous, truth be told), "the charm and coy intrigue of an English gent with an urban chic image, and the talent way, way beyond his years"--but that's about the only place I know of that's provided anything remotely approaching real information.

Does anyone else know more? Truth be told, it's the songwriters that first caught my attention, but regardless, I'm now interested.

Edit: I forgot to mention that some remixes of his songs are on MySpace. Gan Juan's remix of "Empty Generation" is here and Maison Deluxe's remix of the same song is here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I would die a million times a day if you could only look my way

A couple of pleasant, female-vocalled songs that fall somewhere in between the sounds of pop and indie-pop and come from familial woman-man duos are the features today. Warning: you may read the word "sweet" a number of times.

Domino Girl by poppostergirl

American brother-sister act Blondfire used to be Astaire of "L-L-Love" semi-fame, though they've been operating under this name for a few years now. "Domino Girl" apparently won't be on their new album, due out this year, which is a shame. Even as a demo, the song, co-written by Richard X and Hannah Robinson, has a more electronic sheen than the other music I've heard that will appear on the album, so I'd like to think it was cut more for not fitting in than for lack of quality. There's something that's the teensiest bit Saint Etienne about it, though that's not really the right comparison; I just (sadly) haven't dabbled enough in this style of music to have the best references. It's less intricately worked out than you'd expect for a Saint Etienne track.

At any rate, "Domino Girl" is a sweetly-sung, unprepossessing mid-tempo song that doesn't swoosh, stomp, or act as brazenly flirty as previous Richard X and Hannah collaborations like Rachel Stevens's "Some Girls" or Annie's "Chewing Gum" or "Songs Remind Me Of You;" it's much more subdued, but there are still sparks of life in the verses, a bit of fight and resistance, before the lovely if quieter chorus, where singer Erica resigns herself to being unable to maintain the aloofness and independence she had earlier. It's not really a jubilant celebration of falling in love, though; there's ambivalence here. The narrator, uncertain if her affections will be returned, is left waiting, hoping to be noticed--"standing in line," no less--and her metaphors tend to verge on the destructive side: she's a knocked-over domino, defeated, run over. Sure, she falls sweetly, with the song certainly not being truly gloomy, but someone's slipped at least a drop or two of something bittersweet into this honey-like pop song.

(Another song penned by the duo, Richard X, and Hannah Robinson, "What Does Love Mean?", is streaming here.)

Eva & The Heartmaker - Mr. Tokyo by RevOliver7

(With thanks to the fantastic Olivier for uploading the song!)

The excellently named Eva & the Heartmaker are a husband and wife team who fell in love after working together. Eva would go on to compete on Norwegian Idol before they released any music, but on "Mr. Tokyo," a single from their upcoming third album, she doesn't sound like what you'd expect from someone with that on their resumé (though, to engage in a tangent, at this point we've had so many Idol contestants around the world pursue so many different types of music after their television appearances that you can't really say being on a reality show means you'll pursue a certain sound).

The duo's music has, in the past, been Cardigans-esque, but "Mr. Tokyo" is much poppier, albeit still with an indie-pop nod or two. It's a bit like if you de-electro-popped an electro-pop song, if that makes any sense. The slight stylistic change of direction is the perfect move for them; their songs have never sounded more instantly appealing, their melodies more instantly charming, Eva's voice more sweetly, earnestly, restrainedly beseeching.

Blondfire's "Domino Girl" is not available for purchase anywhere, but you can buy their earlier work on iTunes here or physically here. Keep an eye out for their new album, Win The Game, later this year.

Eva & the Heartmaker's single "Mr. Tokyo" can be purchased digitally here. Some of their earlier work is available on iTunes internationally here.

In not-really-related news (Norway!), there's a clip of a demo of a new (well. she's performed it live before) song, "No Last Time," on Margaret Berger's MySpace. Maybe it's just the low quality, but it sounds kind of demo-y. She's scheduled to perform at a festival in early July, with rumors of new material making an appearance, so fingers crossed we'll hear more then.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Now I'm carried away 'cause I've opened my arms

As far as I know, "Lovekiller" is still slated to be Darin's new proper single, but in the meantime, while we wait for that release, we have Darin's new song/semi-single written for the Swedish royal wedding (though if it showed signs of taking off, I'm sure his record label would jump behind it). Like most of what we've heard from Darin this era, it's co-written by Tony Nilsson, this time in tandem with Darin.

01 Can't Stop Love by poppostergirl

As much as I would have loved the idea of writing some awesome club-friendly song for a newly married high status couple, let's be real: this was always going to be a ballad. It was created after SVT specifically asked Darin to come up with something for the wedding. We're still in a holding pattern, basically. No music revolutions here, just Darin singing over a burbling electronic background, slow but with a heavy enough percussion beat to create that mid-tempo feeling, like "You're Out Of My Life." No lyrical genius reinventing how we think about love.

All that said, we still have Darin, lovely Darin with his pop-friendly voice, singing a solid song. I might have preferred a stronger topline, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't probably going to overplay this song. I realize if someone else released "Can't Stop Love" I might brush it off, or at the least not pay it so much attention, but Darin sells these songs so well. We all have our musical weaknesses, right? I'll probably always love strings in dance music, purposeful catchy stuttering, synthy uptempo songs, "Knock On Wood"-style drum rolls--and Darin's singing. Preferably in something that incorporated all of the aforementioned elements (you'll find only the latter here), but until that day comes...well, until then, just one of them will do.

"Can't Stop Love" is available on Swedish iTunes here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stuck inside my head

I think it's probably been established by now that up-and-coming British singer Fabio Lendrum is an exciting pop prospect--he's been praised by other people as well as here--but his music is too good for me to sit around playing while twiddling my thumbs and waiting for more official news (which one hopes is coming sooner than later, but I think Warner is building him up for something big). Coming off a bit like a mix of Calvin Harris, Frankmusik, and this-era-Example, Fabio combines pop songs with big electronic production; I realize that's not a wholly original concept, but he somehow manages to come across as one of the freshest additions to the UK music scene in a while. I can never quite permanently decide which is my favorite song out of what we've heard so far--"Can't Help Myself" is awesome, "What She's Got" is excellent, "Don't Wait For Me" is amazing, "Little Game" is crazy catchy, "Everybody Glows" demands to be raved to--but "Trouble" certainly takes the title often enough to make it worth discussing.

01 Trouble by poppostergirl

(Speaking of worth discussing, Fabio's hair certainly is, y/y? Heaven help me, I'm going to end up with a serial killer with fantastic hair one of these days.)

Energetic and pulsing, "Trouble" is instantly appealing, from its lyrics about addiction to a bad relationship to its melodies to its production (the quick, subtle fade in and fade out after the first chorus that teases the middle eight is a favorite moment). It has the life, wit, and verve of some other acts scattered throughout the Internet music scene, hovering on the edge of popularity, but everything has been polished to commercial, radio-ready perfection without losing any of its charm or excitement. It's basically everything a want from a male popstar--heck, any popstar--and makes me hope that, whenever Fabio finally gets launched, he finds success. Preferably of the massive kind, but I'll take what I can get. Ideally, he'll also manage to refine his ballads to a similar level of quality, but as long as his making songs as good as "Trouble," I can overlook that.

There's nowhere to buy Fabio Lendrum's songs yet, but you can pick up some remixes here.

Say it, you want more

You know who doesn't get enough work? Niklas Pettersson. I mean, he's probably quite happy with the number of offers he gets, but I'd love for him to be in vogue for a little while.

06 Hey Ya by poppostergirl

The side of Niklas--he's Swedish, of course--I appreciate most is oriented towards commercial pop-dance. If you've ever thrilled to Velvet's "Fix Me" or "Chemistry" (or that demo "Superlove") you've appreciated his work. He's done some more ballady pop-rock, too, though, with songs on the Bratz Rock Angelz soundtrack and the Dutch girl group Band Candy's album. What I find so unusual (and frustrating), though, is that, in a time in which Swedish songwriters' names pop up on album around the globe, his body of released work seems...limited.

Today's song is by an act that Niklas was closely involved in, in the way that the Von der Burgs are with involved with September. If you love the idea of an album in the style of Velvet's "Mi Amore" (though that's not one of the Velvet songs Niklas co-wrote) or Arash's female-fronted songs, you'll enjoy Starclub. You might know the voice, Daisy, for her post-Starclub song "Everytime," which ditches any of the vague Latin/Indian/Middle Eastern/whatever influences that Starclub songs might have for a more pure dance sound. Anyway, the project resulted in the release of a few singles, "Chiki Chiki" being the most known, but almost all Starclub's songs, even the ones that never made it out of Eastern Europe, are summery fun. "Hey Ya" is no exception, though it was a tough choice to decide which song to feature; from "Electric Kiss" to "Perfect Ten" to the remix of "You Believed In Me" to "Play It Real" to "Sunshine," Starclub doesn't lack for songs that put a little grin on your face, make you bob your head (or swing your hips) just a bit, and imagine yourself in your own little beachside cabana.

(I've seen this song referred to as "Hey Na," but I'm pretty sure Niklas called it "Hey Ya" and that's what it sounds like to me, so I'm going with that [plus, I was too locked in with the Last.fm playcount to seriously consider changing the title].)

In other Niklas Pettersson news, he's got a song called "I Learned The Hard Way" on his MySpace that has Velvet providing the vocals, though given Jenny "Velvet" Petterson's history of singing demos, it's probably best not to expect it to be a Velvet song. It's catchy pop-rock. Maybe even better, though, are the other two songs. "Say It Again" is slinky electronic pop, while "Feel My Love," more on the dance tip, is also very much worth listening to.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Maybe it's our first mistake

Today's post will be of interest to about, oh, two other people somewhere on the Internet, who'll have to stumble across it while randomly googling some day. Still, those two people, like me, will be very glad to have this little footnote of pop history in their collection.

I have an unhidden love for American pop-rock group the Click Five's debut album, Greetings From Imrie House, though I haven't had much reason to discuss it recently. Still, it's pretty reflective of a side of me I don't get many opportunities to feature here, since sadly there aren't too many people making great music in that particular style. With a lead single penned by Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger that is just about as much of a dose of radio-ready light-guitar sparkle as "Stacy's Mom" or "That Thing You Do"...

...and just-as-good tracks penned by the group's own underrespected Ben Romans (and often featuring healthy doses of synth)...

...the album felt tailor-made for me: energetic pop-rock with youthful intensity, boy band-style vocals, and polished, controlled rock chops. It's probably the first album that took over my life for a period of time.

Anyway, as teen hearts must be, mine was eventually broken. The lead singer, Eric, left the group, and took his keening-friendly voice with him. I wanted everything to be the same, clung for a while to the hope that nothing had changed, but was left feeling a lack of attachment to the group's second album, Modern Minds and Pastimes. Maybe the level of song quality had dropped off somewhat, though gems were still to be found, but I was left feeling most of the (I hesitate to use the word even now, as it's not really his fault) blame fell to new lead singer Kyle. His voice seemed a little more Plain White T's, a little less capable of soaring, teen dream-style (if it's any consolation, Kyle, most of Eric's solo material seemed intent on leaving behind that style of singing and mimicking yours or an even more unappealing sludgy type of rock). The album didn't sell as well as the first, though the lead singer change was probably the least of the problems there, and I was left listening to a few live recordings of a couple of the new songs as sung by Eric, wondering about what might have been.

I still live in ungrounded, feverish hope that some day we'll get to hear any and all studio recordings matching up Eric to those second album era songs, but here's one for now, albeit not one of the album's highlights--well, not a highlight as it appears on the actual album.

15 The Reason Why by poppostergirl

This recording of the ballad "The Reason Why," which appears on Modern Minds and Pastimes as sung by Kyle, is still unfinished, but it features Eric's voice, and that change alone instantly makes it better, much as the part of me that wants to let go of this whole lead singer disappointment thing would rather have my suspicions in that regard proven unfounded. If this is your first exposure to the group, though, don't start here. They have better introductory songs--almost anything on their first album, really.

You can buy the Kyle-featuring second album by the Click Five, Modern Minds and Pastimes, here (physical) or here (digital); it includes his version of this song. Alternatively, you can buy the Eric-featuring debut album, Greetings From Imrie House, here (physical) or here (digital).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A perfect blueprint of all that you require?

If I was South African, I might have more reservations about featuring the singer of today's song. Danny K may have had some major hits in his home country, but well, let's just say he doesn't always fit the persona he's created for himself.

03 Made 2 Love You by poppostergirl

Danny fancies himself an R&B singer, or at least an urban pop singer; his first album was Craig David-like (in style, not necessarily quality) and he generally continued on an unsurprising trajectory through his third solo album in 2006, which in addition to including the requisite ballads tried to position him as a club king as well. He did have a brief, interesting musical diversion in 2005 when he collaborated with kwaito star Mandoza on the great album Same Difference, a fresh mixing of their two styles which I always pull out when summer rolls around.

Like the residents of many countries, South African acts often struggle to compete against imports from the U.S. and the UK. Creating music in the style of those acts often seems to be the best shot at radio play and connecting to young record buyers, but without the budget and resources of those countries' music industries, living up to the quality can be difficult. There are, obviously, acts who pursue entirely different strategies and have quite a lot of success with them--Freshlyground is one of the go-to examples for an "authentic South African sound" that is still pretty pop, while other acts go with an even more folk or other niche-based strategy (amongst many possibilities)--but I always find it interesting to see what the output of acts with a sound similar to those of American and British successes will be like.

Danny K often gets assistance from abroad, and his new album is no exception: he's returned to producer Pete "Boxsta" Martin, who's based in the UK but originally from South Africa. Martin has also worked with some acts you might know: Margaret Berger, Dannii Minogue, Tarkan, Matt Pokora, Christophe Willem, and Monrose, amongst others. The good news is that the two of them seem to be evolving Danny's sound. It's less "here I am acting gangsta in the club," more darker and electronic (though we're still nowhere near indie cred here). The former may have included a handful of good songs, but it never felt like a natural fit for Danny. This new album, Across The Line, feels like the album you make when you want to say that some big personal problem inspired it (sadly, he had to make that kind of album already, back when he was working on his second offering), with said personal trauma presumably being his separation from his wife: musically darker, more lyrics about dealing with the problems of fame (no, wait, don't run away yet!), et cetera, et cetera. Whether that reasoning is genuine, though, doesn't matter as much as the music.

"Made 2 Love U," lined up to be the second single, is fantastic, albeit subtly so. Danny cites Duran Duran as a reference and, though I don't know of an exact equivalent from their back catalogue, I actually wish they'd record something like this. I know mentioning Duran Duran and the following song is going to raise expectations to unreasonable levels and set everyone up to be let down, but in my mind "Made To Love You" as recorded by Duran Duran would be a bit like Pet Shop Boys' "Minimal": lush mid-tempo electronica pop that, though restrained, somehow manages to reach you, get itself stuck inside your head, and carry maybe more emotional resonance than it should.

As soon as I heard "Made 2 Love U," I expected it to be the keeper of the album, the song that made the era worthwhile. Count me as pleasantly surprised, then, to say there are at least two more good songs on Across The Line. "The Borrower" may be the first Danny K ballad I've really liked in years, and I don't think I could tell you why it works so much better for me than previous offerings. The melody, maybe? Yeah, lame explanation.

07 Follow Me by poppostergirl

As if to maintain the cosmic balance of the universe, after a mid-tempo and a ballad, the other song that initially caught my attention was the up-tempo "Follow Me." It continues Danny's move away from the urban side of pop and towards that more electronica pop (I'm reluctant to say electro-pop) sound. It's insistent but not in the way that Darin's "Breathing Your Love Is," nor does it sport as much of a rock influence as some other tracks on the album do. The key here is the "everywhere I go it follows me, follows me" hook that makes up the second half of the chorus and some good modern production. Plus, the middle eight adds some strings to the mix--heaven knows I can't resist some strings in a dance-influenced song, and they're used well, if stereotypically, here to up the sense of pop drama.

"Shades," a great electronic track with prominent female vocals, a quick paced backing track but a smoother, slower chorus, and an avoiding-the-paparazzi theme; "Barricade," a sort of "ballad with a pulse" with rock aspirations; and "Projecta," a harder electronic track which is less edgy than it thinks it is but is still pretty good, are all respectable efforts from Danny K as well. The lead single, "I Get Up Again," finds Danny in raspier voice than usual and isn't quite as strong as I'd like from an album campaign opener, but it's still better than I originally gave it credit for being.

That last sentence actually captures Danny K the music artist for me: he's never quite firing on one hundred percent with his albums, but, given that I tend to view him more with a detached but deep interest than as an artist I'm totally invested in--more with the perspective of a scientist than as the music fan I am--he's become better than I always think he's going to be. Across The Line is no must-own, but several, perhaps half of its tracks are worth adding into the international pop music conversation. My apologies, Danny: no more thinking of you as a some sort of research project, some specimen under observation; you're a singer, and that's how you deserve to be seen.

Across The Line has been out for several weeks, but for some reason isn't available on the sites I usually buy South African music from. It might show up at this link eventually, though.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Can't stop this tonight

Ola's new single is both unexpected and expected; it's a departure from his usual sound, especially in the acoustic verses, but with all the references he's been dropping about it sounding different and the writers involved, it's not that surprising. The chorus is still pleasantly poppy, based around a stuttery recitation of the word "overdrive" and with more electronic instrumentation than the parts of the song that surround it, and decently catchy. It's kind of like a less joyous, more acoustic "Feelgood," and, to be honest, neither of those descriptors is what my ideal Ola song sounds like (weren't the joy and the electronic production some of the best things about "Feelgood"?). Still, I could see myself enjoying it on the radio, and certainly imagine having it stuck in my head. Less "frolicking on the beach in a music video" and more "sitting around a beachside campfire."

The third track on his new EP, "Still Remember," is by Ola, respected pop songwriter Alexander Kronlund, and Ali Payami, more famous for remixes, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn it was produced by KeiOne. It's got a slight R&B tinge to it (though it switches over to rock for the middle 8) and a nice little pseudo-sample. The lyrics are silly in parts, but it's enjoyable, if once again the mid-tempo side of Ola.

02 All Over The World by poppostergirl

I'm glad to have the aforementioned two songs as nice little bonuses in advance of the album, but it's the EP's second track that will probably take the early playcount lead on my iTunes. Like Ola's Melodifestival entry this year, it too is by Alexander Kronlund. WithTony Nilsson also on board, it's much in the vein of what you'd expect a collaboration between those two writers to sound like: über-poppy, very "produced" in sound, uptempo, and--of course--catchy. It feels a little less like some reimagining of an '80s hit than some of Ola's previous tracks, but it does keep Ola in line with what I've always seen as the best thing about him: he's a vehicle for excellent teen pop, a spiritual successor to the songs we all loved in the late '90s and early '00s. "All Over The World" is certainly glossy pop, "cheesy," if you will, but it's not really all that sugary thanks to its pulsing production. That joy we were talking about earlier? It is--blissfully, thankfully--here, especially in a tension-building middle eight. Maybe not quite on the level of, say, "Forever," but it channel similar dancefloor euphoria vibes.

You can buy a physical copy of Ola's new single "Overdrive," an EP which includes two other new songs and a remix, here.

Monday, June 07, 2010

You're teasin' me

Today's song is a complete change of pace from yesterday's. "Vida Loca," a song from Swedish girl group Cosmo4's shelved album, couldn't be any more sugary sweet. Coming in at just under three minutes, it's likely it's a rejected Melodifestival entry.

Vida Loca by poppostergirl

Speaking of Melodifestivalen, I'd guess if you know of this four-person group it's from that contest, though they released several singles prior their appearance on that stage. Cosmo4 competed in Sweden's national selection for Eurovision in 2007 with the fantastic "What's Your Name?" and, though they didn't make it out of their semifinal, they gave us an infernally catchy eternal summer Swede-pop anthem, bubblegum pop full of lots of cutely assertive lines ("cruisin' the land/lookin' for somebody/not a wimp with a tan/not a boy thinkin' he's a man") and a whistled hook.

"Vida Loca" doesn't stomp with quite the same gusto as "What's Your Name?" but it's still a lot of fun for those of us who love the cheesy pop side of Swedish music. Despite the title, it's not really all that Latin in flavor; sure, it's got a little shimmy to it, some "ey-oh-ey-oh-ey-oh"s, but it's mainly just a youthful, glossy, poppy song that, though it's by different writers, would have sat easily on an album with "What's Your Name?". Plus, it manages to run through a bunch of traditional Eurovision rhymes in the first verse alone. If only they'd managed to fit in "desire" to go along with "fire" and "higher"...

Cosmo4's album All Around The World can't be purchased anywhere that I know of, but you can buy some of the group's singles--"What's Your Name?", "Peek-A-Boo," and "Adios Amigos"--here (digital).

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Making a rhyme or two to get me through this song

Let's take a moment. Take a breath. Set aside the glowsticks and the glitter and spend four minutes or so curled up listening to an old Alexis Strum song.

More To Life Than This by poppostergirl

"More To Life Than This" is the singer-songwriter side of Alexis--not that her sense of musicality and way around a melody are ever lost, but there are fewer flecks of electronic sparkle on it than are on "Rock This Disco" or "Coming On Strong"--but instantly accessible, catchy in a "favorite album track" sort of way. Over a strummy guitar backdrop, Alexis narrates a story for anyone who's ever felt like they're stuck in a life that isn't the one they imagined for themselves. It's an unassuming mid-tempo track that, in a reverse of the singer's growing realization of dissatisfaction, slowly reveals itself to be a quiet anthem. Less a song for winter depression and more for an overcast late summer day.

(Alexis, to work back to what I probably should have started with, is a very talented British artist who is the poster child for how frustrating the music industry can be. She was signed to a deal with one record company in 2002, recorded an album, released a single, and was dropped before being signed by another record company a few years later, recording another album, releasing another single, and being dropped again. She's also the creator and original singer of Rachel Stevens's much-adored song "Nothing Good About This Goodbye" as well as Kylie Mingoue's "Still Standing." After her time fronting an unsigned group, I thought she basically retired from the industry--figuring a song of hers that appeared on German group Monrose's third album was just an old song finally making an appearance--but apparently she did some writing for Diana Vickers's album, though nothing made the cut. She's worked with some incredible songwriters and producers like Greg Kurstin, Xenomania, Pascal Gabriel, Richard X, and Billy Steinberg, but she's a talent in her own right. Please write more, Alexis! Or, perhaps more accurately, please use the songs she writes, singers!)

You can buy some of Alexis Strum's music via Amazon UK. If you live in the UK, her work from her second album is available on iTunes.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

I see your strategy

As hoped, Darin performed a few songs from his new album last night. Since we've heard bits of "Drowning" and "Only You Can Save Me" before, the song of note is "Lovekiller," his new single. Listen to some it it below. Thanks go out to the person who recorded it.

Of note: it's a ballad. Much as I'm eager to hear a new uptempo Darin song (partly because it's been so long and partly to reassure myself as to the album having another side), ballads seem to be what sells for him these days, so I can understand the choice. I like the obviously previously recorded backing vocals, and I'm saying that sincerely; it's a great production touch. I'm still eager to hear the studio version--after all, I was just saying I wanted more songs like "Out Of My Life"--though I'll understand if this dampens the excitement for some people.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Safe when I am in your arms

A few bits of news I mentioned on Twitter that I feel bear repeating over here:

Darin's new album finally--finally!--comes out August 25. Nearly a perfect birthday present. The more time that passes, the more time I'm inclined to think "You're Out Of My Life" is my favorite Melodifestival entry from this year, though that's not to say I would have wanted it to win. I realize that it's just a big sparkly '80s adult contemporary power ballad, but THAT'S WHY I LOVE IT. More songs that channel this style, please, Misters Nilsson and Janson.

As a brief recap, songs from this era include Darin's cover of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida;" "You're Out Of My Life;" "Drowning," another Tony Nilsson/Henrik Janson song which we've heard Darin working on in studio (it sounds very much in keeping with "You're Out Of My Life," which I love); and "Only You Can Save Me," which he's performed live acoustically (the melody sounds lovely) and with more accompaniment. It could be premature to judge based on only a few songs, but we've yet to hear anything of the uptempo urban pop variety, so this could be pretty different from Flashback. Hopefully there will be at least a few songs that leave you wanting to dance; he has mentioned an uptempo song written by Tony and Henrik at least once. EDIT: at least one Swedish source reports his next single will be called "Lovekiller" and is released to radios soon. That would be an unfortunate coincidence given the release of the Style single of the same name, so I want to verify that there wasn't just some confusion on the part of the journalist before I say that that fact is 100% certain. Stay tuned... Edit 2: just confirmed that Tony Nilsson did write a song for Darin called "Love Killer," so the news about that being a single and at radios shortly must be true. Maybe it's that aforementioned uptempo song.

Ola's new single, "Overdrive," comes out this Wednesday. The digital single will include two additional new songs from his upcoming album, though he's once again tried to emphasize the album being varied in sound and that these songs don't represent it. I'm worried about "Overdrive," to be honest, but I'll be keeping an ear out regardless.

I feel as if I read this somewhere else a while ago, but since today's such a summery day, here's the possibly old news anyway: Timoteij's new single looks to be "Högt Över Ängarna," which is a choice I'm pretty happy about. Längtan has other options, sure, but the song is still great sugary girly pop.