Friday, October 8, 2010

It's the new Take That single "The Flood"

Take That's new single "the flood" was picked by PopJustice as their song of the day. The band released a teaser trailer showing the five piece getting ready to do some rowing or other water sport activities(think what you like).

I'm still unsure how I feel about Robbie Williams re-joining the band. I was quite comfortable with Take That's transition from pop teen idol boy band into a confident easy listening man -band. Their comeback album "beautiful world" was a solid release and really defined their more mature sound while still maintaining their pop sensibilities. News that Robbie who quit the group in the 90's seemed odd as the act had carried on with 2 solid albums. The recent Rob/Gary gay fest duet that is "shame" only concerned me more and seemed unnecessary. And so does Robbie's rejoining the group.

With that said the new single explores familiar territory and sounds like another take that classic in the making. The preview gives us a nice soaring chorus and really showcases (from what i can tell) each guy's vocals nicely. Whether the hype will return the UK's premiere boyband to the top of the charts remains to be seen. I like what I see and hear so far so perhaps it doesn't hurt Rob is back in the act with his mates.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kylie's 3rd Aphrodite Single

Kylie's recent single "Get Outta my Way" recently disappointed when it failed to reach the UK top ten leaving fans asking questions about what to expect next from the pop goddess. There has been lots of speculation regarding Aphrodite's third single. Several people have stated it would be the euphoric "Put your hands up (if you feel love)", the title track and recently the song "better than today" which Kylie previewed last year on her North American tour. For now no official word so fans will have to wait. Personally I'd love to have the following dream package presented. Of course I'm only dreaming.

Kylie Minogue: Put your Hands Up/Better Than Today

Better Than Today

1.Better Than Today (single version)
2.Change Your Mind
3.New B-side
4.White Diamond (studio version)
5.Mighty Rivers

Put Your Hands Up

1. Put Your Hands Up (single mix)
2. Heartstrings
3. Put Your Hands Up (Stuart Price extended)
4. Put Your Hands Up (Bright Lights Bright Lights remix)
5. Put Your Hands Up (Bimbo Jones remix)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Utada Hikaru News!

Utada Hikaru has released details of her forthcoming compilation "Singles collection, vol 2" due for release November 24th in Japan. The album collects her Japanese singles from "Ultra Blue" through "Heart Station" and adds 5 new songs. Utada recently stated she wanted to take some time off as a music artist to focus on human activities. Utada's last album was the English album "this is the one" in which she toured the US and the UK. Details for the new compilation are below. Curiously the cover art is just stars.

■Disc 1
01. Prisoner Of Love
02. Stay Gold
04. Kiss & Cry
05. Beautiful World
06. Flavor Of Life -Ballad Version-
07. ぼくはくま
08. This Is Love
09. Keep Tryin'
10. Passion
11. Be My Last
12. 誰かの願いが叶うころ
13. Beautiful World -PLANiTb Acoustica Mix-

■Disc 2
01. 嵐の女神 (Arashi no Megami)
02. Show Me Love (Not A Dream)
03. Goodbye Happiness
04. Hymne a l'amour ~Ai no Anthem~
05. Can't Wait 'Til Christmas

Monday, October 4, 2010

Halloween time: a PWL treat

Digging through CDs I came across my Japanese Hit factory compilations. Chock full of remixes and random bits I used to listen to them non-stop. One song I had completely forgot about was PWL act 1 on One's "Who's gonna love me?" I recall seeing some promos and interviews in Smash Hits (RIP) magazine back in the 90's. I believe they released 2 singles before the project was canceled.

The song "who's gonna love me?" is in my opinion a bit of a departure from PWL's trademark horns and chugging beats. I would go so far as to say that it has more in common with future acts East 17 and even take That's early work (no doubt the result of having Pete hammond and Harding/Curnow involvement in all projects). Having said that I have only heard the extended 12" so the single version actually may have a bit more oomph and similarities to the 80's SAW sound. What I do know is the 12" mix is a bit synth, a bit dreamy and actually quite nice with some spoken word vocals and lovely piano rift. Perhaps these guys were boring live or maybe they just got lost in the flood of copycat NKOTB and Bros acts that surfaced in the late 80's/early 90's. In any case this is a lost gem.

I've uploaded the mp3 here for you to listen. Let me know what you guys think.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The end of Sophie Ellis-Bextor?

Sophie Ellis-Bextor seems to be having a bit of trouble troubling the charts of late. Her single with the Freemason's "heartbreak make me dancer" seemed like a sure fire UK top ten but wasn't. Her next single "Bittersweet" truly proved be just that as she limped into the top 40. Her latest single with Armin van Buuren "Not giving up on love" doesn't seem to be the crossover hit that many may have hoped. Her fourth album "straight to the heart" has been renamed, pushed back, delayed again and at one point appeared canceled. Where does that leave Sophie?

My personal history has been a bit mixed. I was never a huge fan of her first album. It rode the fence between indie and pop- committing to neither and thus producing a rather ho-hum album with one or two good singles. The trend continued on album two and three. My overall opinion was "well, she makes good singles but her albums tend to be a mish-mash of good singles, missed opportunities and filler". Now it appears that the good singles are missing. I loved "bittersweet" but honestly her last 3 singles were enjoyable but nothing truly mind blowing.

I wonder if Sophie can rally and deliver the goods on her much maligned and delayed 4th album.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Florence's "Cosmic Love"

I was a bit late to the party regarding Florence + the Machine. For about a year the press has praised the act, blogs have gushed over Florence herself and even MTV nominated the group for a video of the year award. And still I didn't really react. For me Florence and her backing group were easily dismissed as one of many next big thing acts with a something and something name (Miranda and the diamonds, for example).

Everything about Florence + the Machine changed for me this week when I caught a music clip of a woman cavorting, writhing and singing/screaming among a flurry of leaves, lights and colors. It was the "cosmic love" video. One part Kate Bush, one part Tori Amos and all parts Florence I was taken aback at how exciting and emotional Florence was delivering her song. As she prowled through forest and trees she sang almost a bit reserved only to soon explode in a near howl during the chorus.

I really don't have to much else to add. just wanted to share how much I enjoyed this clip. I have since picked up the debut album "lungs" and must say it is equally amazing with exception to the quite naff "kiss with a fist". It's at Target for 9.99!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Unreleased Stock Aitken jam surfaces

A few years ago PWL fans were treated to a ton of unreleased jams courtesy of radio station LBH The Scene. While I doubt we will ever get out mitts on many of these jams I always have hope. In any case some kind soul has posted Girls@Play's version of "brand new car" on Youtube.

The Girls@Play version is really light pop version compared to the other rockier version I'm guessing is credited to The Park. In any case this is one of my fave Stock/Aitken tracks and could musically be the cousin of Sinitta's "GTO". Check it out below!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stock Aitken Waterman re-releases

It's a great time to be a PWL/ Stock Aitken Waterman fan. Indie label Cherry Red has been steadily re-releasing classic PWL albums on CD such as the much sought Princess album and Hazell Dean's first album "heart first". September sees new releases from Boy Krazy, Sonia as well as Jason Donovan's PWL albums.

I received my first batch of re-releases this week. After months of doing nothing I finally got around to ordering Princess, Haywoode, Lonnie Gordon, Mandy Smith and Brilliant. The package came and I poured over the booklets with extensive liner notes (especially Haywoode, talk about eye strain!) and must say if you are a fan you have no excuse for picking up these amazing CDs.

With all the new releases coming I am still bummed that fans must wait for the genius of PWL singer Kakko's unreleased album (there is no sarcasm there BTW). "We should be dancing" is one of SAW's most irritatingly catchy and fun tracks. The fact it flopped so bad and has become somewhat of a forgotten gem makes it that more alluring. Until we get that album here is the mp3. Grab it while its available!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Saturdays, not really missing you ladies

When The Saturday's first started doing the rounds with their Yazoo sampling debut "if this is love" I cannot tell you how pumped I was about their launch. The song was amazing. The art direction/sleeve design was great. We got an actual b-side (not just the usual load of crap remixes). And the video was pretty decent too!

The Sats seemed on course to establish themselves as a major music player and bust up the UK duopoly of Sugababes/Girls Aloud. Second single "UP" was another smash and the album campaigned was a pretty decent success. Momentum was lost and everything changed when 2nd album "wordshaker" arrived with its chintzy album cover and substandard-almost teen disney-esque bland tunes. These songs would be fine for Demi Lovato, but for the Saturdays this was pretty dire barrel scraping.

I was hoping new song "missing you" would restore my faith in The Saturdays. It has not. New song "missing you" is alike a watered down version of "forever is over". Even the upbeat version they performed on the Alan Carr show leaves a lot to be desired. With The Wanted's success and the UK's top girls groups MIA perhaps this is a sign that the boy bands are back in charge.

Listen to Cahill's salvage remix below.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Boy Band Alert!

It sure has been tough in the UK to launch some new young studs onto the pop music scene. Some may recall the disastrous launch of next big thing Avenue and their flop single "last goodbye". If you're asking yourself "Avenue?" fear not, no one else heard their song either! Take That and Boyzone still sold records but for a minute it seemed that there was no record label willing to try the boy band formula again. Until now. From the UK here comes The Wanted and their debut track "All time low" to challenge the naysayers.

I've watched the video to "All time low" like a billion times. The song is a great pop track and definitely a step up from the garbage JLS has been spewing. But the thing I I love the most about The Wanted or any new boy band launch is trying to guess who is who. All good boy bands have 5 members (the exception being East 17) and there are 5 distinct boy band members we need to identify:

1. The Hottie. Essentially the one which will sell the most posters, gets girls and gays all bothered when he comes out shirtless and the first (only?) to be offered a solo deal when the band goes tits up.

2. The Bad Boy. May be cute too and you probably have the most chance of having a post concert bounce with him. But he may also be misunderstood so the possibility that the bad boy gets drunk and violent with people is pretty high.

3. The Gay. Absolutely essential. The cutest guy in the group but in a little bro kinda way and ultimately poised to come out in scandalous fashion. Expect all the band members to rally around him when he makes a public statement after UK tabloid rag publishes a tell all story. Memo to Jason in take that- please call me.

4. The Nice guy. He's not the hottest but he's cute. He smiles. A lot. You feel bad about putting tape on his face when his poster is on the reverse side of the Hot one's poster in a teen mag.

5. The Extra. He is forgettable. No one cares what he has to say unless he is telling a story about the other 4 band members we actually like. Most likely to be financially stable after the band splits because he knows he has to make the most of the gravy train.

See if you can correctly identify each member's role in The Wanted's video for "All Time Low"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Let's go all the way tonight

Katy Perry certainly is a frustrating pop star. Her entire career has been arguably a string of novelty hits and "serious" flops. Her latest single "teenage dream" is no exception. After the cheese fest that was "California gurls" Katy's latest single certainly is like aural ambien. This is hardly surpising. It's almost like she plans her singles this way. After "i kissed a girl" and "hot n cold" we got the rather limp "thinking of you" and grower "waking up in vegas". So where does "teenage dream" fit in? I'd say it's a grower like "waking up in vegas" but not as catchy.

Whether or not "teenage dream" does the biz remains to be seen but I'd say the record company has another Dr Luke jam in the wings should it tank. Is it me or does Katy seem like one of those people who would say they weren't really trying when something flops?

In any case the single should be out soon. You can listen to it here in the meantime.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

PopWatch: 6 acts gone or in trouble

With the year half over it felt like the right time to take a look and survey the pop scene. We have seen amazing triumphs for established artists like Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga but the music arena hasn't been quite so kind to others. Here's a look at some acts we said goodbye to and a few others that may be on life support.

1.Girls Can't Catch
The plucky trio's debut single "Keep your head up" showed promise even if the video was laughably bad. Record label Fascination pushed on with second single "echo" but that track also failed to garner the girls much success. The plug was pulled on this act last week and Popjustice wrote a very passionate entry for them. Maybe the label should have named the group Girls Can't Catch On.
Status: GONE

Not since the stunning Deuce have I been so surprised by the lack of interest in an AMAZING pop act. Britt and Frankie seemed like a sure thing with their quirky style and the powerhouse production team Xenomania behind them. First single "left my heart in tokyo" was an immediate success but follow-ups "i wish" and "one touch" while also amazing tanked spectacularly in the charts. With no word on a new label I'd say this act has rode into the sunset.
Status: GONE

After the ousting of the last remainig founding member Keisha Buchanan this top UK girl group divided its fanbase with replacement member Jade Ewan. The act's RedOne produced jam "About a Girl" was suppossed to be a return to the top of the charts but after all the internal drama became a minor top ten hit. Parent album "Sweet 7" was delayed and ultimately flopped into the charts despiting yielding another top ten hit with 3rd single "wear my kiss". The group state they are recording a new album. Only time will tell what will happen to Sugababes 4.0.
Status: Unsure

4.Sophie Ellis-Bextor
The premiere queen of classy pop returned last year with the Freemason's on "heartbreak make me a dancer" which was a nice preview of her next album. First proper single "bittersweet" was released earlier this year and seemed to push all the right buttons with its big chorus and fantastic video but when released limped into the UK top forty. Sophie parted ways with label Fascination Records and is now looking to release her 4th album "Straight to the heart" on a different label in the fall. I have to wonder how much Sophie appeals to the UK record buying public.
Status: Unsure

The Swedish trio who turned out such amazing electro-pop hits like "lay your love on me" and "temple of love" crashed and burned in 2009's Melodifestivalen with the snoozy "you're not alone". Things didn't improve when they delivered the classy but overlooked "big science" album afterwards. So, what's a pop act with a flop album to do? Something else. Alexander Bard is doing his Gravitonas project, Marina Schiptjenko reunited with her old synth-pop group Page and singer Martin is rumored working on a solo album. While many groups say they are just on hiatus I must say I feel BWO is over until something concrete surfaces.
Status: GONE

6.Christina Aguilera
Something tells me singer Aguilera wishes she had been herself on new album "bionic". First song "not myself tonight" pretty much flopped everywhere and the album definitely leaves a lot to be desired. "bionic" should have been to Xtina what "circus" was to Britney but alas the reality is that Brit brought the goods and so all we have from Xtina are some tuneless drag queen anthems (glam) and half baked ballads (you lost me). I think Aguilera will be back soon with another album but for now...
Status: On Life Support

UPDATE: According to website Teen Today MiniViva are very much still alive and working on a relaunch. Read the article here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ace of Base Return

Unless you lived under a rock in the 1990's you couldn't escape the infectious sounds of Swedish quartet Ace of Base. Their debut album "The Sign" spawned multiple global hits. While later releases never quite matched their early success that didn't stop Ace of Base from amassing a legion of pop fans world wide.

After several years of silence and comeback rumors Ace of Base return with two new female singers, loads of internal drama and a new album slated for release in autumn 2010. Up first though is a new single "all for you" which went to European radio this week. A snippet was posted on youtube and you can sample the track below.

Personally I find the new Ace of Base project to be a bit curious. There has been loads of drama between former singer Jenny Berggren and the two men Ulf and Buddha. Blonde singer Linn left awhile back and the Scandipop website has a great post here that summarizes the turmoil between the two camps and how fans are reacting to all the conflict. In the middle of this we have a new AoB single "all for you" which is a pleasant if not inoffensive song to me. However when I think about the possibility that Jenny was ousted by a group she helped make successful it makes me feel a bit hesitant about embracing this newest incarnation of AoB. There's probably a bit of truth in what both sides say.

It's the new Diana Vickers Video

It's single #2 time for British popster Diana Vickers following her UK #1 "Once". The latest video is another visual tour de force. Instead of a zillion costume changes this go around we get treated to sensory overload with bright graphics, lots of angles and of course Vickers herself looking a bit pouty. Here's a short list of things to be on the lookout for:

1. Blood splatters everywhere drive home the "murder" aspect but the blood is pepto pink instead of true blood red so as not to be too disturbing. This is a pop song after all.

2.Shirtless dude. Shirtless dude with arrows in him. Shirtless dude in devil costume, etc. The only thing that really matters being the shirtless part.

3. Diana lays about on her bed.

4. The house seems to come alive with eyes and tentacles.

5. After all the drama we see Diana follow the yellow brick road to happiness. This and the rainbow are no doubt a subtle nod to her gay fans.

Watch below

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Welcome to Possibly, amazing!

Exploring the sounds of dance, electronic and pop music.