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.