Monday, May 31, 2010

Lolene's Electrick Hotel - Pop Trash Review

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Lolene and fell in love. She's smart, funny and could probably talk under water with a mouth gag. As much as I like her, I still didn't know what to expect when an advance copy of "The Electrick Hotel" unexpectedly arrived in my mailbox. "Sexy People" is a guilty pleasure but hardly career launching material. "Rich (Fake It Til You Make It)" - her official first single - is a massive step forward but I still wondered if she could keep it up for a whole album. The answer is a big, loud HELL YES. "The Electrick Hotel" is currently locked in a tight three way battle with "Superficial" (don't judge me!) and "Animal" for 2010's best pop album. This is a hugely accomplished set of polished gems that showcases Lolene's impressive versatility and uncanny knack for writing a catchy chorus. She would probably slap me for bringing up Lady Gaga but "The Electrick Hotel" is every bit as instant and memorable as "The Fame". In fact, if anything, it's more consistent and doesn't suffer from that album's suffocating self-importance. Lolene's gift is her effortless ability to bring the fun. Her music is loud, bright and larger than life. Pop music has a new leading lady. Here is my track by track review:

Intro

Is it wrong to be obsessed with an intro? I love that she's carried the hotel theme through album and the sentence "I'm Lolene and ch-ch-checkin' in!" is already iconic in my mind and the music is fabulous. I actually wish she had turned this into a song. It would have been fucking hot.

Sexy People

The world's first taste of Lolene is a hot club track but it really misrepresents her sound. That said, I'd be lying to say that I haven't played "Sexy People" several hundred times - usually when I'm drunk and making a spectacle of myself. But it is that kind of song. Trashy fun for inebriated gays and fag hags. Interestingly, this was produced by Christopher Rojas who is fast becoming one of my faves. Not only did he contribute songs to Vanessa Hudgen's underrated "Identified" album but is featured on holy Heidi's era defining masterpiece "Superficial". Class.

Rich (Fake It Til You Make It)

From low brow club filth to a radio ready shot of pure pop, Lolene taps into a more commercial sound for her official debut single. I've been obsessed with "Rich" since it first leaked, so I'm rather surprised to say that it's not my favourite song on the album. It is, however, a great single choice. Everyone can identify with the fun lyrics and I just know Lolene is going to bring it in the video clip. The Messengers (Justin Bieber, Chris Brown etc) are super hot right now and their production sounds fresh and very current. Fingers crossed it turns out to be a massive hit.

Lionheart

This amazing 80s inspired pop anthem probably just nudges past "Radio" and "For The Record" as my favourite track on the album. It's just so ridiculously over the top and irresistibly catchy. The chorus is monstrous and you can almost see the wind machines and elaborate costumes that will inevitably feature in the video. Moreover, it reminds me of my second favourite Sheena Easton song - 1985's brilliant "Young Lions". Somebody hurry up make a mash-up! Interestingly, "Lionheart" was co-written by Sheppard Solomon whose previous credits include Paris Hilton's amazing "Nothing In This World", Natalie Imbruglia's career highlight "Shiver" and Britney's "Touch Of My Hand". So you know it's gonna be quality. Well, with the exception of that last song.

Ordinary Girl

I'm usually wary when dance divas sing ballads. It can go horribly wrong but "Ordinary Girl" is a nice change of pace with cute lyrics about having the strength to not fit in. As a friend of mine correctly pointed out, it has a touch of Orianthi about it but there are worse people to be compared to. I guess. The biggest surprise is Lolene's voice, which has more strength than I would have previously given it credit for. It seems legendary producer Nellee Hooper finally recovered from working with Australia's next superstar @m8er to produce this lovely ballad.

Under The Bus (feat. Sam Sparro)

Sam Sparro usually makes me want to vomit and castrate myself simultaneously so it's really saying something when I describe this duet as bearable. Sam's production is particularly hot. Love the sample.

Interlude

Lolene calls room service for a hot guy, a plate of love, an owl, a zebra, a sewing kit to mend a broken heart and a bottle of fabulous. Girlfriend needs to share her drugs!

Carousel

Guitars suddenly emerge for this hot slice of pop-rock. When I say that "Carousel" reminds me of Ashlee Simpson crossed with Hilary Duff, I mean it as a massive compliment. Sure, the production is edgier and Lolene has more attitude than both of those musical heavyweights put together but there is something very "Bittersweet World" about the song. And it suits pop's hottest new diva superbly. "Carousel" should be in the running for a future single. It's catchy as fuck and I can imagine radio lapping it up.

Radio

Ok, I've changed my mind. This is my equal favourite track along with "Lionheart". I'm sure some people will write "Radio" off as too soft and pretty for today's disco stick riding pop crowd but I love the Kylie-esque sweetness of "Radio". The lyrics are unbearably cute ("tune into me every day, I'm that hit you want to play") and the synths are straight outta "Neon Nights". This was co-produced by the dude behind Cobra Starship and, amusingly, Jeffre Star. Dannii needs to hire these guys for her next album because this shit is seriously amazing!

Die Without Love

For an edgier dance sound, check out the club anthem in waiting "Die Without Love". This jam has summer floorfiller written all over it. I love the feelgood lyrics and the beats come thick and fast. By this stage I was already prepared to declare "The Electrick Hotel" a masterpiece but it just keeps on getting better. Check out the next track for proof.

For The Record

I've changed my mind again! "For The Record" is every bit as brilliant as "Radio" and "Lionheart". This is the track Lolene wrote with my lovely Luciana, Nick Clow and Richard Vission (ie. the team who brought you "I Like That") and it's completely fucking amazing. In fact, it's probably the best song Luci has penned for another artist with the possible exception Kylie's "Cupid Boy". The heavy club beats suit Lolene perfectly and the shouted verses are vintage Luciana. Combine that with a thunderous chorus and cool lyrics and you have one of 2010's hottest club tunes. This has to be a single!

Bang Bang

Lolene's streak of killer tracks had to end eventually and "Bang Bang" is the closest thing to filler on "The Electrick Hotel". It's not bad by any means - just a bit of a let down after all the hotness that came before it. However, it does boast my favourite lyric on the album: "I ain't Betty. I ain't doin' the do!" Anyone who name checks Ms Boo is clearly worthy of our love and admiration.

Limousine

Now this is fucking camp. "Limousine" reminds me of a cross between Aretha's "Freeway Of Love" and Natalie Cole's "Pink Cadillac". Yes, it's that GAY. This song basically sums of the difference between Lolene and Gaga. The latter would never let her hair down enough to sing something as irreverent and fun as this. "Driver turn the system up for me, OMG it's even got a jacuzzi!" Awesome.

Fucked Up

"Fucked Up" brings an unusual reggae/ska flavour to "The Electrick Hotel". I know Lolene is vehemently opposed to comparing female pop singers but it's an easy reference point for the uninitiated to say that this has more than a whiff of Gwen Stefani about it. I love the shouty chorus and bitter lyrics. The piano outro is also very cool. Lolene wasn't exaggerating when she told me that she dabbled in a bit of everything on the album. I'm just stunned that all her risks paid off. Music nerds will be interested to note that "Fucked Up" was produced by Oak, who recently crafted "Hands Tied" for the legendary and always age appropriate Toni Braxton.

Beautiful Disaster

The album closes on a high with this stunning ballad. "Beautiful Disaster" is pretty in a Ryan Tedder gone electro kind of way. Lolene doesn't have the biggest voice in pop music but she does have a distinctive one and knows how to get the most out of it. This kind of reminds me of Britney at her least annoying - see "Everytime" or "Unusual You". It's very pretty and the lyrics are genuinely touching. The perfect calling card for 2010's hottest new talent.

9/10

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pop Panel 2010 - Week 5

The term 'hot mess' is an accurate description of tonight's Pop Panel. My lovely celebrity judge had to pull out at the last minute, there are 9 songs instead of the usual 8 due to a one man protest over the conspicuous absence of a certain diva from last week's line up and The Prophet effectively sabotaged the chances of a certain pop princess. I would have scrapped it and started over if I didn't find the chaos so damn funny. As for the winner, I thought Robyn would run away with it but the votes turned out to be extremely close. Probably because it was a strong week (make sure you check out the stunning anthem from New Zealand's amazing Lori Watt) and I sense the beginning of a backlash against the Scandinavian pop deity. I guess people are starting to realise how shit "Body Talk" really is. Anyway, enough stirring! The following man whores are responsible for this week's shock result:

D'Luv (US) writer of Chart Rigger and Idolator
Mike (Aus) author of this classy blog
Paul (UK) writer of Fizzy Pop
The Prophet (Aus) writer of The Prophet

We are also joined by:

J-Step (Aus) - the mysterious music industry figure returns for a second week.

Aaron (New Zealand) - I love this guy! Aaron has been a friend of mine since the glory days of La Toya's Haven and has since gone on to make a name for himself on NZ's gay scene, first as a La Toya drag impersonator (watch this and weep!) and then as part of the country's first drag girlband (below). He now runs New Zealand's hottest gay website. Check out Aaron and Andy for music news, hot gossip and douching tips. I'll never drink bottled water again!

As usual the results are ranked lowest to highest.

Rihanna – Rockstar 101 (Video)

Another week, another Rihanna single.

Aaron: What happened to Rihanna? She was so good then came "Rated R". This isn't terrible, it's just dull like both "Russian Roulette" and "Te Amo". Even the addition of Slash can't get me excited about this. 2/5
D'Luv: WRETCHED. 0/5
J-Step: Prefer this over "Te Amo' completely. That being said, it isn't all that either. Is it time we officially called this bitch a try hard and moved on? 3/5
Mike: RiRi-diculous. 0/5
Paul: Jesus Christ on a cross, I'm not sure how many more Rihanna singles I can take! She releases more of one album than say, Westlife have from the past 4. If I've not been entirely won over by her by now then I can't see this changing my mind. 2/5
The Prophet: After seeing this video I went from being a Rihanna hater to a Rihanna stan overnight. I'm a huge fan of the "Rated R" record now, and "Rockstar 101" is one of the best cuts from it. Rihanna is probably the worst female singer and performer of the past decade, but style and great songs have turned her into a superstar and the "Rockstar" video really embodies everything that makes Rihanna, Rihanna. 5/5
Total: 12/30

David Guetta & Chris Willis Feat. Fergie & LMFAO – Gettin’ Over You (Video)

Guetta gets fergalicious!

Aaron: LMFAO = amazing and Fergie = pantswetting hot mess, so this should be good except David Guetta is just so boring. 3/5
D'Luv: The first version was bad enough. LMFAO just makes it even more shit. And Guetta needs to get a new sound. (Get-a it?) 0/5
J-Step: This is pure David Guetta. Fun, pumping and likeable. He better stop this before he gets a name for himself! 4/5
Mike: Fuck LMFAO, David Guetta and Chris Willis. This stunning anthem is all about goddess Fergie, who continues to inspire a generation of drag queens with her tasteful make-up and costume choices. Big, dumb fun. 3.5/5
Paul: Well clearly David has peaked with Kelly Rowland's "Commander" this year then. Not that this is entirely horrible, it certainly has its moments, but I'm not unfolding in my pants over it. 2.5/5
The Prophet: Absolute trash. I'll give it one point for LMFAO and Fergie's titties. 1/5
Total: 14/30

Lori Watt – Chill In My Vein (Video)

Words escape me...

Aaron: I'm ashamed to be a New Zealander. I'm sure I've seen this no talent busking outside the local Westfield. If I'd realised I'd have to endure her again, I would've thrown something at her. Yuck yuck yuck! 0/5
D'Luv: When this broad held that note on the line "I'm not the only ooooooooone," my cat's ears shot straight back. Lori is a true talent! Watch and learn, Rihanna. Well, I know what I'll be masturbating to for the next year. 5/5
J-Step: God help us all! 0/5
Mike: Sarah McLachlan, Aimee Mann and Jewel just threw in the towel because they know they can never compete with the mind-bending brilliance of Lori Watt. With a voice that sounds like Britney (live without autotune) and the magnetic charisma of crazy homeless woman, New Zealand's greatest living talent takes you places that should be illegal. This defining masterpiece will leave a chill in your vein and potential deafness in your ear. 5/5
Paul: Fucking ghastly. 0/5
The Prophet: Mike, you know you are a hot mess for this one! This is so amazing that I can't even speak, so I'm going to let the Youtube comments on the video do the talking for me: "Truly amazing! I can relate to the lyrics after my bad breakup" and "Hauntingly, achingly beautiful. Thank you". 4.5/5
Total: 14.5/30

Sergey Lazarev – Alarm (Video)

Fom Russia with love. And pleats.

Aaron: I don't know why, but when it comes to male singers, I have a real soft spot for trashy Russians. This is the first Sergey song I've heard and I'm now obsessed. He's my new Dima Bilan! I hope he likes to get his gear off as much as Dima. 5/5
D'Luv: Nyet, Boy Gaga. 0/5
J-Step: Conceptually, this track and its video is the result of Christina Aguilera's "Not Myself Tonight" and George Michael's "Freeek!" engaging in a session of love making. But seriously Sergey, why the frig am I ringing the alarm for? I do, however, love the symbolic shape in the video's 2:40 mark. 2/5
Mike: A Russian twink channels Lady Gaga on a $10 budget. Is it wrong that I kind of love it? 3.5/5
Paul: Oh the nerve! The sheer gall! The unmitigated audacity!! He's basically rewritten G'Gah's "Just Dance" and made it a man-pop song. It's not bad at all, and I'm a fan of Sergey mainly because he does look like a low class rent boy who'd do the really dirty stuff for an extra tenner. So it's a bit generic but a lot of fun. Love the weeding of the lady garden amidst her ruffles. 3.5/5
The Prophet: Russian pop is garbage without t.A.T.u! 1/5
Total: 15/30

Infernal – Love Is All (below)

Denmark's greatest export returns with a new single.

Aaron: Hmmmm. I want to like this. I love the beat, but something about it just doesn't gel with me. The vocals sound a bit like a bad Steps remix. I think they need to go Paris or Berlin and get some better sounds. 3/5
D'Luv: This sounds like something from Gina G's 1996 Fresh album. (That's a good thing!) I don't think I've ever actually seen full-on fucking in a music video before, though. Weird. 3/5
J-Step: Infernal were one of my true loves in 2005, but this is a HUGE step backwards. Always having a tight, superior Euro sound, this just sounds like a god awful piece of 90s shit that was produced in 45 seconds. The whole package is saved by the video's impressive cinematography. They're both capable and worthy of so much more. 2.5/5
Mike: God bless Paw and Lena. Bitches are falling over themselves to hate on Infernal's comeback but they can do no wrong in my book. Admittedly, "Love Is All" is a bit of a grower and I feel unclean after watching the video but the chorus is deceptively catchy and I love the 90s throwback sound. 3.5/5
Paul: The Danes return! It's cookie cutter rave pop and they are capable of so much better but the video is bonkers x 10 and the chorus gets catchier each time I hear it. They usually have much better on their albums than the first single indicates so I'm excited for a "long player" as the kids say... 3/5
The Prophet: This is so trashy that I can't help but love it. The video defines me. 3.5/5
Total: 18.5/30

Enrique Iglesias – Cuando Me Enamoro (Video)

While the rest of the world gets "I Like It", Spain and latin America are treated to this jam.

Aaron: When Enrique sings in Spanish, it either gives me shivers up my spine, or I find myself reaching for the skip button. This is more a skip button. It's cute enough but just doesn't really go anywhere, and why is the teacher speaking in English at the start of the video? 3/5
D'Luv: This is okay, I guess. It kind of makes me want to dig out his good stuff, like "Be With You" and that ping pong shit. I'd hit it with Enrique. 2.5/5
J-Step: Who thought cheese could be so boring? Once you've gone pop you can't stop! 2/5
Mike: I'm a total whore for any old shit sung in Spanish and I've always had a hard spot for Enrique, so this is a no brainer. 4/5
Paul: I do like Enrique the pop star. He still pleases me all these years on. And I do like the Spanish language - it's more sensual than the romantic French, so I feel like Enrique is trying to get me quickly onto his satin sheets. It's a rather nice mid-tempo tune where the two blokes get to croon each other off to their hearts content. 3/5
The Prophet: OMG amazing! I love Enrique but I didn't listen to any of the new stuff after that shitty RedOne song leaked. I didn't realise he was still doing good music too. God he is so hot. And Lol @ that fat kid getting hit in the gut with the ball. 4.5/5
Total: 19/30

Goldfrapp – Alive (Video)

Alison & Co release the second single from "Head First".

Aaron: I groaned a little when I saw this on the list... I've never been able to get into Goldfrapp and so left this to last with a bit of dread. But how wrong was I? This is lovely! Also loving the 70s porn meets Satan doing Cher Fitness video. 4/5
D'Luv: Not the most immediate single choice from "Head First", but it's still an awesome track. People have complained about how cheap the video looks, but I think it's better than that last piece of shit Beyonce threw up. 5/5
J-Step: The intended clever irony is totally lost on me. This is the kind of pointless shit that pisses me off. Is it really worth all the cash and effort to just try be funny and have a dig at something? How is this the same duo that gave us Strict Machine? Stop trying to comment on everything that's wrong with music, bitches, and start actually producing something decent for us to talk about and enjoy! 1.5/5
Mike: "Rocket" was completely irresistible but this strikes me as more of an accomplished album track. I do love the dreamy synths and share Alison's obvious obsession with Olivia Newton-John but the chorus doesn't really do it for me. 3.5/5
Paul: Bloody lovely. It's airy, floating, ethereal, charming disco-pop and I can't get enough of this single or their rather brilliant album. Alison sounds like she's having the whispery time of her life. It just seeps into your brain and refuses to get out. Like a semen stain but more pleasant. 4/5
The Prophet: The song is great, but ya'll know the video is where it's at! We're not supposed to review the video but fuck it, I"m still taking it into account. 4/5
Total: 22/30

Robyn – Dancing On My Own (Video)

Sweden's favourite hobbit unveils her stalker anthem.

Aaron: Robyn is the 13th greatest female performer of all time and this continues to demonstrate why she is so amazing. While she's never gonna top "Show Me Love", this is right up there. 4.5/5
D'Luv: It's a shame this leaked two months before its actual scheduled release. I think the song actually better than most of the stuff on her last album. I hope complete-fail amateurs like Beyonce, Ciara and Keri Hilson hear Robyn's stunning soul pipes and just drop on the spot. 5/5
J-Step: I'm just not lapping this up like I thought I would. It just feels like I've heard it all before. Come to think of it, I have. Seriously, Robyn, go away for another five years and take two doll, 'cause this just ain't making the cut! 2/5
Mike: I've already written about "Dancing On My Own" at length. In a nutshell - it is the saving grace of the thus far woeful "Body Talk" experience. This is nuclear powered pop with (a broken) heart and soul. Exquisite. 5/5
Paul: I've never really got Robyn the way other bloggers spaff their love chuff over her. This is pleasant enough though isn't it, though it's hardly the second coming of Christ or whatever. I do quite like the chorus lyrics and I probably wouldn't turn it off if it came on the radio. And I do see why people like her, I just never warmed to her. 3.5/5
The Prophet: I would've given this 4 or 5, but it's so obvious that it's probably gonna win the Panel this week, so I'm gonna fight the system and sabotage it. La Résistance! 2/5
Total: 22/30

SINGLE OF THE WEEK



Ke$ha - Your Love Is My Drug (below)

Pop's classiest flower returns with the 3rd single from "Animal".

Aaron: She is the worst thing to happen to the world since Taylor Swift. 0/5
D'Luv: The New Queen Of Soul delivers yet another smash hit. Her CD hasn't left my car since January, and this angelic hymn, co-written by her mother, never ceases to make my crotch tingle. 5/5
J-Step: Oh, look, it's the cheap Britney/Pink/GaGa/Christina wannabe! The song's catchy enough, but the woman herself just makes me want to hate everything about her and her stuff! 3.5/5
Mike: I'm appalled by the small minded haters on this Panel. Ke$ha is the Bob Dylan of our generation and deserves our love and respect! The entirely original cultural icon continues to stun and amaze with the latest single from her flawless album of high class pop gems. And seeing her live with The Prophet was one of the defining moments of 2010! 5/5
Paul: I can't help but like this song. it's so infernally catchy and rather addictive and engaging. And that's a bit of a problem for me because i don't really like Ke$ha although i'm scared to say because Mike will probably end up having her as a guest blogger next week! But this is jolly good sing out loud pop. 4/5
The Prophet: YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Ke$ha just snatched every fuckin' wig in the game! The h@t3rZ said that she would be a one-hit-wonder but now she's on her third consecutive top ten platinum certified smash! Mike and I have actually had the pleasure of basking in Ke$ha's holy glow at a really intimate and exclusive live concert in Sydney, where we got to touch her and get covered in glitter. You mad? 5/5 (or if possible 10/5).
Total: 22.5/30

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Luciana's New Single - Skin I'm In

The follow up to Luciana's stunning top 3 platinum selling hit "I Like That" is finally ready! "Skin I'm In" is a killer track and deserves to be huge when it's released here in June. Australia's adopted daughter switches things up this time around by moving away from her trademark club beats to radio ready electro-pop. It's a smart move that pays off. I love the chorus, catchy vocal hooks and attitude filled lyrics. My favourite line is "Paris Hilton, Posh and Kate - BORED!" You tell 'em, Luci! I'm just a bit surprised the song is credited to Static Revenger featuring Luciana. All previous incarnations of the song were credited solely to the dance diva. I guess it's clever marketing in the wake of "I Like That" but I'm still waiting patiently for her next solo single. It's been 16 long years since the gorgeous "One More River" climbed all the way to #67 on the UK chart! At least she's listed on this unlike her current collaboration with N-Dubz. Luciana co-wrote and sang on the chorus of the band's soon to be top 10 smash "We Dance On" but you won't see her name on the sleeve. Boo! Anyway, back to "Skin I'm In". The video is pretty simple but a lot of fun. I think the mirror effects are cool and the lovely Mrs Clow works it as usual. Does anyone else think she looks a bit like Chrissie Amphlett back in the 80s? You know, when she was hot and slightly crazy. With a bunch of international singles on the way as well as an Australian tour and songwriting credits on forthcoming albums from Kylie, Lolene and Nicole Scherzinger, this is shaping up as the year of Luciana!

Halo - Alternate Version

Life is never boring for Beyoncé fans. The most successful, beautiful and talented woman in popular music (after La Toya) continues to keep us on our toes by releasing/leaking an alternate cut (above) of her iconic "Halo" video. From what I gather, this was set to be the original version until the record company got cold feet and scratched the dark subplot - which would explain the notable absence of a storyline in the final edit. Many fans and sad, jealous haters have called this a radical improvement but I couldn't disagree more. Anyone who knows me will testify to my ongoing obsession with "Halo". A year and a half on and I still listen to it at least once a day. Queen B's Grammy winning anthem got me through a rough patch and obviously struck a chord with millions of other people around the globe. Hell, international superstar Kym Wilson even walked down the aisle to it with the equally legendary Toni Pearen by her side! I wonder if people would feel the same emotional connection to the song if it was associated with such a dark and depressing film clip?

Don't get me wrong. I love it when Beyjesus mixes it up by going on a lesbian murder spree ("Telephone") or getting wasted in the bathtub ("Why Don't You Love Me?") but the alternate version of "Halo" completely misrepresents the song and - worse still - doesn't even make sense. Can someone please explain what the hell is going on? Beyoncé spends most of the video brushing her teeth and looking glamorous while driving a car, while her boyfriend is apparently chased by police. Or is he a policeman? And I'm sorry but the big finale is completely ridiculous. How often is being mauled by a (small) dog - on the ankle (!) - a fatal injury? Did he catch rabies or just die of boredom when Leona Lewis popped on his iPod? The released version (below) is incredibly simple but that's one of the reasons I love it. In fact, after "Single Ladies" it's probably my favourite video from the "Sasha Fierce" era. The soft, white light and eerie underwater scene imbue the clip with a spiritual element that suits the song perfectly and B's interaction with her male lead is romantic without making you want to vomit. I'm glad the alternate version leaked. I just have no desire to see it ever again.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Amy Pearson's Aftershock - Review

As Janet once said - you don't know what you got til' it's gone and that's exactly the way I feel about Amy Pearson. Particularly after the leak of her recently scrapped "Aftershock" album. I didn't know what to expect after the career ending fabulousness of "Butterfingers" but it definitely wasn't a set of stellar urban dance tracks that would make Britney green with envy. Speaking of that sad has-been, "Aftershock" owes a lot to "Blackout". Production wise. The beats come thick and fast and the sound is distinctly American. However, the finished product is a considerabley better due to the fact that Amy can actually sing. Think Christina Aguilera covering tracks from Heidi's genre defining "Superficial" album (go with me) and you get the general idea. It's a heady mix that works surprisingly well. I can't help but think that Sony would have had a massive hit on their hands if they had chosen a less outrageous lead single. I am seriously addicted to "Butterfingers" but you can't go from the girl next door to singing about arseplay and expect your audience of suburban housewives to go along for the ride! Hopefully, Amy can release the album independently online or sell the tracks to another artist. Whatever happens, these songs deserve to be heard. I never thought I'd say it but "Aftershock" is easily the best Australian pop album I've heard this year. Here is my track by track review:

Aftershock

The title track was slated to be the album's second single before Sony pulled the plug. It's a shame because "Aftershock" is stunning in a Britney meets Keri Hilson kind of way. Infectious beats rain down on a series of catchy hooks and a beast of a chorus to create the perfect album opener. Amy's pipes are in great form and she doesn't sound overwhelmed by the heavy production. If this had been the lead single, I think things would have turned out very differently. It's a hot new sound but not quite as breathtakingly trashtastic as "Butterfingers".

Butterfingers

Speaking of which, the most notorious single in recent Australian pop history comes next. I don't care what anyone says - I love this song. And not in a so bad it's good way either. The synths are amazing and that chorus is electric. Amy comes across as a modern day Vanity or Sheena Easton (during her filth phase), which is a massive compliment. However, the lyrics are just too much for the girl who sang "Ready To Fly" and the video (below) was a hot mess. I apologise for likening Amy to a drunk librarian but the styling was all wrong and that tragic (and slightly sordid) finger twirling dance routine will live on in infamy for eternity. A veritable trash classic.

Cold

Now this is just lovely. "Cold" is a mid-tempo electronic ballad that allows the diva to show a softer side. I love the lyrics and delicate production. I'd love to know who wrote and produced this song because it's really very impressive. In many ways it's a perfect stepping stone from her first album. The sweetness is still there but the sound is more contemporary and would have exposed Amy to a younger audience. This would have been my pick for a later single. It's really very, very pretty.

Contagious

Oh gurl. Amy really unleashes her inner diva on this hot track. It's almost as if she's been possessed by the spirit of Sasha Fierce! "Contagious" positively drips confidence and a newfound fuck you attitude. I love a good revenge anthem and Amy slaps her hateful ex where it hurts by singing about her hot new body and saucy nightclub antics. This shit makes me want to laugh, dance and snap my fingers like Miss J all at once. The highlight is when Amy pulls off a Xtina howl halfway through the song and sings "all the hot guys lookin', they're lookin' at me"! I'm devastated that we'll never get a video.

Doctor Love

I'm pretty sure this was produced by the man behind "Aftershock" (there was footage of Amy recordig the two songs on her Myspace) but I could be mistaken. If anyone has the writing and production credits, please send them my way. Anyway, whoever you are, congratulations on making Amy sound so fierce. "Doctor Love" isn't my favourite track on the album but the chorus is fantastic and I like the more straightforward dance sound. I just think the verses needed to be beefier and the lyrics could have been better.

Ghost

Darkchild - the legendary producer behind smash hits like "Telephone", "Say My Name" and "Holler" (LOL) - was rumoured to have worked on the album and the proof is in his trademark name check. As it turns out, Amy didn't get the scraps that Lady GaGa and Beyoncé turned down as I originally expected. "Ghost" is actually one of his better efforts. I love the eerie synths in the intro and think the layered beats combine brilliantly with the simple piano line that runs through the song. The chorus is also pretty special ("since you left me alone, I've been fighting your ghost") and the lyrics ring true. Quality stuff.

Handcuffed

Heidi called and wants her act back! This sounds like a crazy hybrid of "Twisted" and "Fanatic" - only with heavier production and vocal talent. It's a heady mix but Amy pulls it off. Almost.

I Want Your Love

Amy lifts her foot off the pedal for this catchy mid-tempo jam. The song has a distinctly urban sheen, which suits her voice surprisingly well. I particularly love the diva's rap (!) in the middle. Amy is nothing if not versatile! While there are stronger tracks on the album, "I Want Your Love" is easy to digest radio fodder with a memorable chorus. Most of us can also identify with the lyrics ("I'm not your stepping stone, just a number in your phone") and I love the telephone special effects at the beginning of the song. Yes, I'm that easy to please.

Magnetic (Ft. HR King)

HR King is one of Australia's most underrated singers, so I was happily surprised to find him on "Aftershock". It's a shame then that his duet with Amy will never see the light of day because "Magnetic" is a great track. I love the guitar riff that they built the song around and their voices combine effortlessly on the chorus. Definitely worth hunting down.

Murder

It wouldn't be an Amy Pearson album without at least one ballad and "Murder" is the perfect vehicle for the diva's powerful pipes. The murder metaphor has been done before (and better) and I found the production a little heavy handed (strings and Danja-esque beats?) but it is a nice change of pace and a reminder that despite the occasional misstep, Amy has an amazing voice.

Puppet

"Puppet" reminds me of the Timbaland produced tracks on Ashlee Simpson's criminally underrated "Bittersweet World" album. Yes, it's that amazing. I love the deceptively catchy vocal hooks and the chorus is insane. The quirky lyrics are also a treat and I'm a sucker for a bit of autotune. This would have made a great single - it's radio ready and club friendly. How depressing that it will never grace the airwaves or be played in a nightclub. Boo.

Ten Steps

Strangely, this is the one track from the album that doesn't appear to have leaked. And I'm not sure why because it's probably the best song on "Aftershock". There was even talk of it being a future single when the album was first being promoted late last year. It was written by DNA (the songwriting team behind Chris Sorbello's "So Lonely") and takes Amy back to her pop roots. Sure, the production is still faux Darkchild/Danja but the chorus and lyrics return the diva to more familiar territory. I love it and hope it turns up somewhere else in the near future.

8/10

Kylie's Gang Bang - All The Lovers Preview

So here's the first sneak peek at Kylie's outrageous "All The Lovers" video clip, which finds Dannii's increasingly immoral sibling partaking in what appears to be a massive gang bang. What about the children? Jokes aside, I fucking love it! The Queen of Pop should promote indecent exposure and public fornication more often. This could be Kylie's first truly iconic video since "Slow" and should provide the buzz she needs to snag a lofty chart position. More importantly, the bitch looks HOT. That costume is so much more flattering on film and I haven't seen airbrushing this thorough since Mariah's last album cover. I'm so glad Kylie has decided to bring sexy back and push the envelope again. No doubt the video will be torn apart by the usual critics - who seem to think every woman over 40 should be covered from head to toe in a burka -but this is still very tasteful. It reminds me of a big budget perfume commercial or Vogue fashion shoot. Sexy but still artistic and glamorous. I get goosebumps when the chorus kicks in and they lift her from the crowd. Only three more days before the finished product is unveiled!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Marla - Lipstick For The Vampires

A lot of weird and wonderful things find their way into my inbox. Most of them never find their way on to the blog but it was love at first listen with Marla. I really don't know a lot about this hot bitch - apart from the fact that she appeared on the Hollyoaks Music Show (kind of like X Factor for unsigned acts) and has one hell of a catchy debut single. "Lipstick For The Vampires" is yet another song about fame whores and starfuckers. This has almost become a genre unto itself over the past couple of years but Marla's wit and deceptively filthy lyrics help her stand out from the crowd. I love it when the diva cheerfully sings "she hopped on a bus and became a slut" and you don't need a lot of imagination to figure out why the poor girl has sore knees. Hint - it's probably not arthritis. However, this isn't an exercise in being cool or clever. The relentlessly upbeat production is genuinely sweet, while Marla comes across as pleasantly quirky as opposed to ten kinds of crazy. She kind of reminds me of a less depressed Marina & The Diamonds on a considerably lower budget. Her video (below) is very simple but she looks stunning in a Dita Von Teese wearing clothes made after 1980 kind of way and I love her less is more approach to choreography. "Lipstick For The Vampires" is available to download from iTunes now. Can't wait to see what she does next!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pop Panel 2010 - Week 4

I'm so excited about tonight's Pop Panel. I know I say that every week but I really mean it this time! The songs are slightly more commercial than usual but it still represents a nice spread of genres from bottom of the barrel trash right through to classy R'n'B and overly hyped electro-pop. Before people jump on my balls about the absence of Robyn - I promise "Dancing On My Own" will make an appearance next week. I was just waiting for the video to drop. That will obviously start a clear favourite but even she will struggle to outscore our current champion, which sets a new Pop Panel record with a very impressive 31.5 out of a possible 35 points. If that's not enough to get your juices flowing, I've also snagged the services of another fabulous celebrity guest judge but first things first. Tonight's Panel consists of:

D'Luv (US) writer of Chart Rigger and Idolator
Mike (Aus) author of this classy blog
Paul (UK) writer of Fizzy Pop
The Prophet (Aus) writer of The Prophet

We are also joined by the following guest judges:

Tommie (Sweden) is a Pop Panel regular, part-time stalker and infrequent blogger. Check out Donna Martin Graduates for more of his wit. Tommie kindly stepped in to fill the void when someone had to pull out at the last minute. Cheers, bitch.

Now this is very cool. J-Step (Aus) is a big wig in the local music industry and the son of an 80s pop diva. Who I would gladly feature on the blog any time. Hint! Anyway, I was very surprised to discover his taste for trashy pop and downright shocked when he offered his services for the Pop Panel. It's an honour.

And now for our celebrity guest!

Chris Sorbello is Pop Trash royalty and currently on something of a tear. Her debut single landed in the top 40 and she recently supported Akon, Kelly Rowland and Eve on a national tour. She is also working on her debut album and putting the finishing touches on her follow up to "So Lonely". And now she can add Pop Panellist to her long list of accomplishments! But before we get on to that I thought I'd do a bit of probing.

Chris, it's great to finally have you on the Panel. It's not every week that we're graced with someone who has actually had a top 40 hit! So tell me, #39 - ecstatic, disappointed or somewhere inbetween?
Hello Mikeeee and everyone! I have a feeling this Pop Panel stuff could become addictive! I am actually really ecstatic about how my little track has gone on the charts. It's only the beginning, so I'm grateful just to be here.

I hear you're already putting the finishing touches to the second single. Is it going to be "Dangerzone"?
I can reveal that it is going to be "Dangerzone"! It's sounding really hot and I'm really excited about shooting the clip. The song is so kitsch and fun that we really have lots of places we can go with the shoot.

Now for the question on everyone's lips - Can I make a cameo in the video? It's a little known fact that I once played a homeless man in a TV commercial!
Sure! What do you look like as a Femme Bot? White catsuit okay with you?

I'd better start dieting! Now, spill the beans on Supafest! Did you touch Eve's nasty weave? Was Kelly Rowland a complete bitch?
It was honestly a very memorable week. I didn't really know how I'd be received by all of these amazingly talented artists, but they were all so welcoming and friendly. I was like the baby sister of the bunch, which was really nice and unexpected. Actually, Kelly was really lovely to me! I don't know what went wrong with those Qantas hostesses.... Tanya Fierce maybe?

What are you listening to at the moment? Well, apart from these 8 "gems"....
Hmmmm... I'm loving the JT & Timbaland collab "Carry Out", however, I've been really losing myself into some classic stuff recently like Muddy Waters, Smokey Joe and The Pointer Sisters. I've been in the studio writing a lot the last couple of months and these artists are hugely inspirational for me.


As usual the results are ranked lowest to highest.

Dennis Ferrer - Hey Hey (Video)

Club smash featuring the vocals of that hot bitch from the Noisettes.

Chris Sorbello: I love her vocal! Shame about the clip. It's a bit of cheese on toast really, isn't it? She's super hot though. 3/5
D'Luv: This is alright. Kind of reminds me of that 2003 jam "Breathe" by Telepopmusik. Jesus, whatever happened to them, by the way? Anyway, "Hey Hey" would probably sound better in the club with some dude trying to touch my butt. But just sitting here at the computer and listening, I feel like something's missing. Maybe I'll start touching my ass myself. 2.5/5
J-Step: While the track begins as if it's going to be something bigger than it is, I couldn't get over how bored I was after it ended. Possibly good for some 2-9am chilling after a big one (mainly because the brain isn't comprehending or analysing anything then anyway), but other than that I wouldn't bother too much with this. 2/5
Mike: I know most of you haven't set foot inside a nightclub since the 90s but times have changed since the hey day of Corona and The Real McCoy. This is now what passes for a dance anthem. Just swallow a disco biscuit and go with the flow, boys. 3.5/5
Paul: Oh it's one of those house anthems that starts off all subdued and then gets a bit hands in the air, I'm mad me... Not really my cup of tea but I do really like her voice and there are parts of the song that scream to come out from behind all the dance insanity! 2.5/5
The Prophet: Uh, well, some of the people in the video are very attractive, so they can have a couple of points for that. 2/5
Tommie: Utterly boring. I was waiting for this to take off until the very end, but it never did. Like having sex without an orgasm. 1.5/5
Total: 17/35

Monrose – Like A Lady (Video)

Germany's favourite girlband unveil their latest anthem.

Chris Sorbello: Is this where Nicole Scherzinger is?! Ok, firstly, can we get my Femme Bots in those outfits? Hot shoulder pads. I'm actually liking the clip and I like the synths they are using in the song. The vocal hasn't got me sold though or the lyrical content. 2/5
D'Luv: Where to start with the swagger-jackin' in this jam? Maybe the rip of the melody from Rihanna's "Please Don't Stop The Music"? Or the Lady Gaga "Poker Face" disco ball masks? Or maybe it's the copying of both Kylie's "In My Arms" and Robyn's "Handle Me" videos? Plus, that transman singing looks like she went to Cheryl Cole's plastic surgeon and got the cheapo lift. Anyway, the song's ok. 2/5
J-Step: Well, after laughing like I haven't since re-watching Scandal'Us' "Me, Myself & I" video on YouTube last week, I came to the realisation that I don't hate this as much as I probably should. Fun, boppy and very much Eurovision-esque, here's to the start of the Week of the Vision! Is anybody else finding the classic comedic value in the track's title and the fact that none of them actually look like women? You gotta love that! 3/5
Mike: You should all be ashamed. These stunning angels have been sent from heaven to brighten the world with their refined artistry and unprecedented ability to rip off Kylie videos. Monrose, you have my love and admiration! 5/5
Paul: That is one bonkers switch one of the girls is wearing. The first part of the verses are really good, then it goes a bit unnecessarily electro and then the chorus is quite good again. So it's ever so slightly uneven but a decent if not standout bit of pop from the German girl group. 3/5
The Prophet: It's like Courtney Act formed his own girl group and wrote a universal anthem for transvestites everywhere. The trannilicious weaves are this song's only saving grace. 1.5/5
Tommie: I'm guessing there's already been a string of tranny jokes this week, so I'll skip that, although I am keen to point out that Kylie did it better in 1997. Otherwise a pretty average pop track. 2.5/5
Total: 19/35

Margi Clarke – Like A Memory (Video)

Nothing like a 50 year old soap star turned electro-diva!

Chris Sorbello: Really? 0/5
D'Luv: And people gave Nicki French shit for her "Total Eclipse Of The Heart 2006" video…! I don't know where you dig this shit up, but this is pretty fantastic. 4/5
J-Step: Now this is when we can reflect on the true success of Nicki French and her ability to inspire other 'slightly' older women to do what they want to do. Yeah, well, either that or this was her Make-A-Wish 'wish'! I am especially digging the other-worldly gaze in the 56th second of the video, which is where she gets her point from. Kudos, Margi, kudos indeed! 1/5
Mike: I think poor Margi lost a bet but that's beside the point. Pop needs more menopausal soap stars. Irene from Home & Away please take note! 3/5
Paul: Oooh Tyrone's mum from Corrie! How ace. She's like Lady Gaga in 10 years time (ie when Lady G'Gah really turns 50) and more youthful than Madonna! Her lovely vocals are so paper thin they would slide under a door frame and yet there is something entirely engaging and bonkers about this song! 4/5
The Prophet: I wanted to love this but the acid trip video left me feeling like I had just been drugged and abused. And no you dirty bitches, I don't mean that in a good way! 2.5/5
Tommie: What happens when you take Gillian Anderson's Exodus, age her about 50 years and do it on a Nicki French budget? You get Margi Clarke! 5/5
Total: 19.5/35

Alicia Keys – Unthinkable (Video)

The third single from "The Element of Freedom. Video stars Chad Michael Murray.

Chris Sorbello: It's a pretty song. I'm not sure it screams 'RADIO' but it's another beautiful, emotive delivery from AK. I'd turn for her... 4/5
D'Luv: Alicia usually bores me, but I'm liking the past couple singles off her latest album. I wish the Pop Panel was in session when "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart" was out, 'cause that was a 5/5 jam. This one's a 3, but gets an extra point for the plot and Chad Michael Murray's fine ass being in the vid. 4/5
J-Step: Yawn! More reconstituted beats from one of the most overrated 'artistes' in the world. Bitch, please - the girl can do nothing but play the piano and piss me off! At least Monrose had me entertained! 2/5
Mike: Dark, brooding and beautiful. AK has more talent in one hairy armpit than the rest of your faves put together! Deal, bitches. I'm following D'Luv's lead and awarding an extra half a mark for the video. Chad is looking a bit rough around the edges but I'd still climb his one tree hill any day of the week. 4.5/5
Paul: I was ready to be bored silly again by Alica. Oh look a piano. And her very good voice. But where's the excitement? However, I was so enamoured by the end of the song I had to rush back and play it all over again. Quite heavenly really! In your face scrapped Bouncey duet!! No not really that's what I wanted to happen. I really was bored silly. 2/5
The Prophet: Mike viciously tried to sabotage the Pop Panel by sending us the wrong Alicia video because he's still sore that AK's duet with Bukkake Trolls "Put It In a Shit Song" bombed, but his hating can't keep Queen Keys down! "Un-thinkable" is one of the best R&B songs of the year so far, and one of the finest musical moments in Alicia's career. I just really fucking hate the bridge of this song! 4.5/5
Tommie: Yawn! I've never liked this hairy closet lesbian. 0/5
Total: 21/35

Amy Meredith – Lying (above)

Australia's next big thing. Apparently.

Chris Sorbello: Poor Christian gets slammed for his vocal but I actually like it. The 'Rockabilly' girls are cute. I like this song. 4/5
D'Luv: I'm confused… Amy is a guy's name? Maybe the music will be better after the full sexual reassignment? 1/5
J-Step: LOVE the song, HATE the video. That being said, I still think Christian Lo Russo is sex on legs. Good seeing him promote the fact we share the same ratio of chest to hair... loves it! 5/5
Mike: This is hard. I've been a fan of the band since they supported Dash & Will on their national tour (LOL) but "Lying" isn't the song to break them in this country. Perhaps it's time to dust off "Running". At least that had a chorus. Oh and is that Lola for Australia's Next Top Model in the video? 3/5
Paul: Oh I was expecting some woman, not a hot guy with some facial jewellry. It's like a man version of Stefy and it's very good indeed. Is it true Australia hasn't fallen in love? It's a shame because I really do love this track and am going to hunt down more... 4/5
The Prophet: The guy looks pretentious, but I like the song. 2/5
Tommie: The biggest surprise of the video was when the guy started singing! Too bad the video ended up better than the actual song - although it isn't too bad in a "generic radio fodder" kind of way I suppose. 2.5/5
Total: 21.5/35

Rihanna - Te Amo (Video)

RiRi sings about a lesbian stalker on the 4th single from "Rated R".

Chris Sorbello: Gaga's answer to La Isla Bonita was "Alejandro". RiRi's = "Te Amo". I like RiRi's return to her Barbados roots this album. The pan pipe-esque synths are like ethereal tribal-esque. Well done-esque. 5/5
D'Luv: This a good song, and I'm still baffled why Ri Ri didn't lead her album with "Te Amo" and "Rude Boy" rather than those other two depressing pieces of garbage. That said, looking forward to the next album. More of this, please, girl. 4/5
J-Step: I can see why people like the track, but I can't stand it. I don't give a fuck about your lesbian stalker. Thank the lord you've actually got one bitch, and move the hell on. If I have to sit through the unbearable agony of this pretender's nostrils whinge again, I think I may inflict self bodily harm. Or maybe I could just write a song about it and give it to her, at least I'd be benefiting from suffering it. Stick to your upbeat radio-ready shit, RiRi, you've really got nothing else! 2/5
Mike: As much as it pains me to say anything nice about the poor man's Shontelle, this is the crowning glory of the lump of shit otherwise known as "Rated R". I love the evocative production and deceptively catchy chorus. Rihanna is so much less annoying when she's not trying to be Grace Jones and just does her sexy island girl routine. In fact, "Te Amo" - lesbian lyrics aside - wouldn't sound out of place on "Music Of The Sun". You know, back when RiRi wasn't a pretentious cunt? And Jacques, Tea Tea has no shine to steal! End of. 5/5
Paul: Oh it's only ok. I like the rhythm and beat in the chorus but she just irritates me for some reason. 2/5
The Prophet: This is the bitch who stole Tea-Tea's shine! Booooooo! 2/5
Tommie: While lesbianism is hardly controversial in the post-Katy Perry pop landscape, Rihanna chooses a different approach as opposed to slutting it up with the same sex, she turns it down. Rigid bitch! No wait, it's rather sweet that she doesn't want to lead her on, isn't it? Still, what's the use of overanalyzing a good pop song? Should keep her fantastic Rated R album selling during the summer. 4/5
Total: 24/35

Ellie Goulding - Guns And Horses (Video)

More icy electropop from Ellie.

Chris Sorbello: I like Ellie and what she stands for: Plain unadulterated pop. My BFF reckons she's the UK's answer to Lisa Mitchell/Sarah Blasko. When she's right, she's right. 5/5
D'Luv: This broad hasn't annoyed me yet. And I'd fuck a couple of the soldiers in the vid. 4/5
J-Step: Definitely a nice little track. On the video front, is it just me or does Ms. Goulding look like she's just stepped into the Twilight movies? Hey, if the track doesn't take off, I think the best thing to come from the video is that she's now a frontrunner to star in the Breaking Dawn film! 4/5
Mike: Sorry Chris but the words 'Sarah Blasko' are banned around these parts - but you're right - Ellie does have a touch of Lisa Mitchell about her. I honestly don't know what to make of this ho. Ellie's lyrics are gorgeous and the production is sublime but her voice is thinner than Sophie Monk's. She's no Marina but I'm feeling generous tonight so 4/5.
Paul: Oh no she did not rhyme forces with horses. Still it's forgiveable as this is quite polished accomplished pop that's quite nice at dinner parties and older people like me can feel they are down with the kids. 4/5
The prophet: "Starry Eyed" was kind of lame but this song is beautiful! One of my favorite tunes of 2010. I have a feeling Ellie will be irrelevant by the time her sophomore album rolls around, so better enjoy her while you can. 4.5/5
Tommie: This isn't too bad, but the chorus needed to be stronger. 2/5
Total: 27.5/35

SINGLE OF THE WEEK


Katie Melua - The Flood (below)

William Orbit jazzes up Katie's sound no end.

Chris Sorbello: How can you not love her voice?! It's quite dramatic and the clip with naked guys with great bodies is .... well, yes. She's beautiful and something to listen to when I'm feeling less commercial. 4/5
D'Luv: Seriously, why doesn't William Orbit get more work these days? Oh, right — working with that vampyre hag Madonna probably scarred him for life to the point where he'll only step out of of the house if six buckets of cash are part of the deal. This song's pretty, and the video didn't make me want to turn it off after 10 seconds like the usual shit Mike makes us watch. 4/5
J-Step: Interesting video concept. I still think Katie takes herself a little too seriously. Love what William Orbit's done with the track. It's a perfect mixture of pop and classical. 4/5
Mike: I hated this at first. The eclectic mix of sounds was too jarring and the video gave me epilepsy and a hard on - which isn't as much fun as it sounds. But electro/classical Katie is growing on me. I love it when the song morphs into a demented disco anthem at the two minute mark and she deserves credit for taking a huge risk. Genuinely fresh and innovative. 4.5/5
Paul: Oh this is just heavenly. It's like a more classical version of Girls Aloud "Biology" ie. all sorts of songs rolled into one epic production. I hope this is as huge as it deserves to be because it's utter utter bliss. 5/5
The Prophet: Stunning. Defining. Amazing! 5/5
Tommie: Finally, Katie actually does a song that can connect with people born after 1964. Too bad it's probably a one-off, but at least it's a good one-off. 5/5
Total: 31.5/35

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pulse - A Tale Of 2 Albums

The return of Toni Braxton is one of 2010's most welcome surprises. I loved her first three albums and still blast classics like "You're Making Me High", "I Don't Want To" and "He Wasn't Man Enough" all the time. There's just something about that deep, soulful voice that gets to me. She's a total throwback to a time when divas could actually sing and talent counted for something. Which is one of the reasons I was so disappointed when "Pulse" first leaked a few months ago. The material was patchy and, to be honest, beneath her. It was almost as if she had rifled through the demos Beyoncé and Rihanna rejected in a desperate bid for relevance. Toni doesn't need to talk her way through songs about texting her man in a nightclub - reference to the so bad it's hilarious "Don't Talk, Just Text" - leave that stuff for the girls who can't sing like Cassie and Ciara. As it turns out, someone at Atlantic Records obviously agreed with me because "Pulse" was given a last minute overhaul. Half of the original tracklist was axed and new songs were commissioned. The end result is a strong collection of largely mid-tempo urban pop songs that hold up to anything in Toni's amazing back catalogue. However, it leaves us with the unusual situation of having two very different versions of the one album.

THE ORIGINAL VERSION

"Pulse" originally had the following tracklist:

1. Pulse
2. Stay
3. Yesterday
4. Hands Tied
5. Clockwork
6. I Hate Love
7. It's You

8. Wardrobe
9. Lookin' At Me
10. Don't Call, Just Text
11. My Ring
12. Make My Heart
13. Melt
14. Yesterday ft. Trey Songz

The songs in red were scrapped, while "My Ring" was renamed "The Wave". This is a rare example of a record company actually getting it right - with one glaring exception. "It's You" is an absolute gem and one of the few tracks on either version of the album with real hit potential. If you like your mid-tempo pop piano driven and pretty, with a belter of a chorus, then I highly recommend hunting this down. I'm less fussed about the rest of the songs that were cut. "I Hate Love" and "Melt" are nice but it feels like Toni was covering old ground. I've already mentioned "Don't Call, Just Text", while "Clockwork" is just another slow jam about the diva's sizzling bedroom antics. Interestingly, most of axed songs were the Rihanna/Beyoncé B-sides. Team Braxton clearly made a decision to follow a more traditional route and "Pulse" is so much better for it. Toni has returned to her R'n'B roots with an album that perfectly showcases her powerful pipes.

The original album cover

THE FINAL VERSION

Here is my track by track review of the final version of "Pulse".

Yesterday

The album's lead single reached a not so lofty #112 in America, which is surprising given its quality. I blame the ridiculous video (below) which finds Toni lounging around on a plastic table like the world's laziest pole dancer. Tamar has a lot to answer for! Apart from that, "Yesterday" is rather lovely. Sure, it's another in a long line of "Halo" rip offs but who cares when it's done this well? DJ Frank E's production is intricate and delicate, while Toni really gets her teeth into the lyrics. She can play the woman scorned as well as anyone in pop. If pretty ballads aren't your thing, check out the fabulous Fred Falke remix.

Make My Heart

"Make My Heart" should have been thrown into the same bin as "Don't Call, Just Text". Toni's attempt to get down with the kids is an epic fail and it's got nothing to do with her age. The stunning diva still looks 25 and could easily pull off a club anthem but this just sounds like the homeless homosexual's "Single Ladies". Lucas Secon is a great producer and I love the brass but this has all been done before and better. And don't even get me started on that video. Whoever chose this as a single needs to find a new job.

Hands Tied

Now this is old school. "Hands Tied" is a juicy R'n'B groove that allows Toni to show off her vocal range. I can almost see the power grabs and hair flicks when I listen it. The song is a nice throwback for fans but it's missing the big hook it needs to raise it to the next level. "Hands Tied" won't win over too many newcomers but nobody is making this kind of music at the moment - probably because it requires vocal talent - and there is definitely a market for quality R'n'B. I just wouldn't have picked it as a single.

Woman

I've already examined Toni's shocking decision to cover Dulta in
an earlier post. I'm still coming to terms with it!

If I Have To Wait

And the award for my favourite song on "Pulse" goes to the utterly gorgeous "If I Have To Wait". Toni switches things up with an unexpected excursion into gentle pop/rock. I love the sentiment of this song. It's so self-destructive and depressing yet simultaneously touching and romantic. If that makes any sense. I hope Toni explores this sound again in the future. Her voice sounds amazing against the soft wave of guitars and the vocal acrobatics at the end are a nice touch.

Lookin' At You

Lucas Secon returns for the second time and it's another fizzer. I'm a bit worried because this guy has a song on "Aphrodite" and I really hope he hasn't unloaded an equally dull club banger on poor Kylie. Again, the song isn't awful but Rihanna and Beyoncé just do it better. "Lookin' At You" needed a bigger chorus or a vocal hook to work. Instead it falls flat and sounds more than a little embarrassing.

Wardrobe

This is another track that I would deleted. It's pleasant enough but completely unremarkable.


Hero

Now this is more like it. Yes, it sounds like a Ryan Tedder production (it's not) but I'm still sick for synth driven ballads and "Hero" is something of a monster. I love the melodramatic lyrics ("my heart never had a hero") and bombastic production (bringing in the orchestra was a nice touch). Toni is just so much more at home when she's wailing like a crazy woman. She needs to release this as a single. Radio would lap it up and despite the content, I'm sure Ms Braxton would find a way to be semi-naked in the video. It's not very original but "Hero" is a rare example of a knock off that matches the quality of the song/genre it's imitating.

No Way

The guitars make another appearance on this subtle gem. The lyrics are pretty and the diva's vocal delivery is admirably low key. I can't see "No Way" burning up the charts but this is my idea of high quality filler. It's cute, simple and showcases the versatility of Toni's voice.

Pulse

Chuck Harmony (the man behind Rihanna's "Russian Roulette") produced the album's title track and it is something of a corker unlike Riri's dull suicide anthem. The difference is that Toni actually has soul and she serves it up in spades on "Pulse". What a relief that the years haven't wearied her voice one iota. Whitney and Christina must be jealous. The chorus could be bigger but I think this is pretty special.

Why Won't You Love Me

Think of this as a sequel of sorts to "If I Have To Wait". The lyrics are almost as heartbreaking/pathetic but this isn't as elegantly constructed or memorable. That said, I love the subtle production and Toni's pouty voice is in its element. It's a fitting conclusion to a low key but ultimately satisfying album by one of music's lost superstars.


BONUS TRACKS

Yesterday ft Trey Songz

I vastly prefer this version of "Yesterday" to the original. Trey's voice drives me wild and tranforming the song into a duet is a masterstroke.

Stay

This stunning anthem has been wasted as a bonus track. It's one of the best songs on the album and could easily be a single. I love the lyrics and piano driven production. "Stay" is effortlessly catchy and classy. Definitely worth downloading.

Rewind

Boring.

The Wave

"The Wave" is pretty tragic but I find it amusing and find myself listening to it more often than I care to admit. Any song that begins with the line "they see me walkin' through the mall wit' my man, tryin' to get at him any which way they can" has to be worth a listen. Right?

Caught (Don't Take Your Hat Off) ft Mo'Nique

Mo'Nique makes this track pop. Her spoken interlude is fierce, particular when she quotes Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable"!


7.5/10

"Pulse" is in stores now. Check out the Trey Songz remix of "Yesterday" below. Toni's desperate antics are a joy to behold. Oh and Brooke Hogan makes an unexpected cameo as her love rival. You can buy that kind of class!

Robyn - Dancing On My Own

Damn Robyn. Just when I was about to write that bitch off, she goes and does this. And by 'this' I mean make a typically demented video for what is undeniably one of 2010's best tunes. In my last post I mentioned "Better Than Her" (stop laughing, haters!) and "All The Lovers" as early frontrunners for pop song of the year but I forgot about Sweden's favourite troll. As disappointed as I am by "Body Talk", I can't fault a single second of "Dancing On My Own". It's the bitter twin sister of "Be Mine". A sad, pathetic and all too human snapshot of a broken heart complete with a ball-tearing chorus and driving dance beats. The track cuts through me like a rusty chainsaw. I can identify with each and every line. So kudos to her for owning up to the level of crazy that we're all occasionally capable of. This is the Robyn that I know and love. The girl who isn't afraid to explore feelings and emotions within the context of an extremely catchy four minute pop song - not the pretentious artiste with a robot fetish. To celebrate the return to form of Sweden's third best singer, here are ten things to note about her latest video (below).

1. Cosmetic dentistry hasn't caught on in Sweden.
2. For once Robyn doesn't look like an extra from Lord of the Rings.
3. The styling is hot and she looks fucking sexy.
4. In fact, I think I'm going to try out that haircut. Only with a little less volume because I don't want to be hit on by lesbians. Any more than usual.
5. Kylie is no longer the worst dancer in pop.
6. For proof check out the hilarious dance routine at 1:30 mins. LOL.
7. Robyn is amazing in close-up. Her eyes and attitude scream superstar.
8. The scene where she's working across the dancefloor, stalking her ex-boyfriend is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking.
9. Fist pumps are the new jazz hands. Work it, Robyn!
10. Someone has clearly been watching "Papa Don't Preach".


"Dancing On My Own" has smash hit written all over it. The song is released on the 14th of June with remixes by Fred Falke and Michael Woods. As far as I'm concerned, it's worth buying for the cover (above) alone.

Friday, May 21, 2010

All The Lovers - Review

I know this review has been a long time coming but I wanted to live with the song for a couple of days before declaring it the greatest thing since "Better Than Her". As it turns out, "All The Lovers" is probably the best pop tune since Matisse revolutionised music as we know it. The Kish Mauve penned, Stuart Price produced gem initially struck me as a little safe but releasing a lead single as soft and pretty as "All The Lovers" is almost an act of rebellion at a time when Lady Gaga and Ke$ha are ruling the charts with their hypersexual slut anthems. Instead of jumping on the latest trend like Madonna, the (ever so slightly) more successful Minogue sister has re-discovered her own sound.

In another singer's hands, the track would be vomit inducing mush but Kylie does wide eyed romance and time worn whimsy better than anyone. In fact, one of the song's greatest accomplishments is its ability to channel something autobiographical. "All The Lovers" is the fitting soundtrack for a perfectly preserved cougar with a well hung Spanish toy boy. Kylie is finally lucky, lucky, lucky in love and the song captures that euphoria perfectly. The lyrics couldn't be more simple but they tap into something that anyone who has been around the block a couple (of hundred) times can identify with and Stuart Price serves up a brilliant smorgasbord of delicate bleeps and beeps to accompany them. Given all that, I wonder why the song makes me want to cry. It just seems inexplicably bittersweet. "All The Lovers" appears to capture the final moments of lovesick insanity before reality kicks in and you realise you've fallen for a lying man whore with the moral fibre of a dog on heat but I could just be projecting.

As much as I adore the song, I do have some criticisms. Well, one big one. I really hope I'm wrong but I don't think "All The Lovers" is a particularly smart lead single from a commercial standpoint. Kylie needed to steal her sister's crown as the undisputed Queen of Clubs instead of returning with what is essentially an electronic Mother's Day anthem. Fans have likened the song to "I Believe In You" and "The One" but neither of those set the charts on fire outside of England. I can't help but feel Kylie is restricting herself to spinsters and ageing homosexuals on this outing. And that's ok. I'm beyond caring about chart positions. As long as the music is this good, the diva can happily become Australia's own Sophie Ellis Flopster and churn out amazing pop tunes that no one buys. Legally. That aside, "All The Lovers" is pretty close to perfect.

10/10

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lolene - Pop Trash Interview

Lolene has been making her fabulous presence felt across the internet for the best part of a year but the British born, American based diva is finally gearing up for the release of her official debut single "Rich (Fake It Til You Make It)" - it's available now on US iTunes - and highly anticipated debut album, "Electrick Hotel". When the opportunity arose to interview Lolene, I jumped at it. A lot of ladies are working the electro-pop sound at the moment but she does it with a wit and originality that makes her stand out from the crowd. I loved the filthy dance explosion of "Sexy People" but "Rich" takes things to the next level. It's a brilliant pop anthem that should bring the future pop trash icon to the masses. As for the interview - it was an experience. I usually do them via email or MSN or even Gaydar chat (not mentioning any names!) but I spoke to Lolene on the phone at 5am after a rather big night, so please don't judge me too harshly. I was going to edit the interview down and make it sound professional but that's not how I roll! I kind of like the rawness of this transcript. It gives you a better idea of how warm, talkative and funny she is. You also get to laugh at me when I put my foot in it and bring up Lady Gaga. Note to self - refrain from all lazy comparisons in the future! Anyway, enjoy and get downloading. Pop needs real characters like Lolene!

Hi Lolene, how’s things?
Hi darling, how you goin’?

Fantastic. It’s so nice to speak to you.
Yeah you too. Where’s your accent from?

Australia.
Very cool. I’ve never been, I can’t wait to go. So what’s going on? How are you today?

I’m great.
I’m fantastic. I’m just excited about my video. So I’ve just been looking at edits and stuff.

When’s it coming out? I’m dying to see it. The preview is amazing.
We shot it last weekend, so we just looked at the edit today and we’ve just got a couple of more things to do on the edit and then it should be ready.

Who directed it?
A guy called Justin Harder. He directed the video for Kerli. You know that girl Kerli. “Tea Party”?

Yeah, that’s cool.
He’s really good.

Is it going to share a similar theme with “Sexy People” (above)? That was pretty outrageous. I love that video!
Thank you so much. Actually, no because “Sexy People” was a very low budget kind of viral video we made. It wasn’t an official single, so we just made this little video, you know, to put with the song for the clubs. And so I wanted to have fun with that video and do something outrageous and cool but unfortunately we didn’t have the resources to make a full budget video, so this time around we do have a nice budget and we’ve made a really fun video. I’m really excited for you to see it.

Can you maybe just give me a bit of a heads up about the theme of the video?
The song is called “Rich (Fake It Till You Make It)” and I wanted to create a scenario of basically living like you’re rich when you’re not.

I can identify.
Yeah, I do that in a way and I don’t want to give it away exactly how I do that but I do that and it’s very colourful and tongue in cheek but still, you know, there’s dancing and yeah… it’s about colour and comedy. It’s cool.

Can’t wait to see it. Is there a release date for “Electrick Hotel” yet?
August 24!

Fuck, I can’t wait. I remember when you first started leaking things online. What’s it been – about a year in the making?
I signed to Capitol in April and started making the album in May and then we put out “Sexy People” in like August/September and here we are now. Yeah it takes a little while. I mean, you know, if it were up to me it would be out already but I’m signed to a label. You don’t always get to have your way and decide everything.

Some amazing people worked on the album. I’ve been looking through the credits, you got Nelle Hooper, a couple of Australians there – Sam Sparro, Josh Abraham. How did you get all those great people on board?
It’s funny because like before I was an artist, I was a songwriter for Sony and Jonathon Rotem on Beluga Heights, so I got to meet lots of people as a writer and was really focusing on my writing for a long time and on that process I met some really cool people and I was like ‘hey I’m making an album, let’s do some stuff for my project' and it was just very organic.

Great. I notice you also worked with a friend of mine, Luciana. How was that?
Luciana. She’s so wonderful!

Isn’t she cool?
Well I’ve always been a fan of Luciana’s, from when she was in Portobella and she’s just a great artist and writer and person and she works with Richard Vission a lot – a DJ and producer – and we met and we hung and I was like ‘we should do something’ and we ended up writing a song called “For The Record”. I just saw her in Miami for the music conference. If you actually go to Lolene TV she’s on there talking when I’m in Miami I think. I’ve got my TV channel – Lolene TV – on youtube.

I love Lolene TV, I’ve been watching it.
Do you watch it?

Yeah I do. I just watched the “Girls Girls Girls” episode. That performance was amazing. You were workin’ it!
Thanks, babe. Thank you. Yeah, so Luciana she’s wonderful and she’s very underrated, you know as an artist and as a writer but I think she’s going to have her time really, really soon. Well her song’s doing really well - “I Like That”.

I guess I should get back to your album because there’s so much I want to ask you. Is there a big mix of sounds because I notice you’ve worked with some hip hop producers. Is it all very electro-dance or is there a mix?
Well, I definitely don’t describe my music as electro-dance, like a lot of people like to put labels on it and that’s one of the ones that’s flown around but I really wouldn’t say that my album is electro-dance at all. I think “Sexy People” was a dance track, very club based but “Rich” – my single – is very top 40 radio pop music but the album is a real mixture. I have some indie type songs on there, a couple of ballads, I have some straight up pop, I have a bit of a reggae vibe goin’ on and you know, I’m very influenced by Kate Bush, so she peeps through in certain songs, so it’s a really eclectic mix, which is why I called it the “Electrik Hotel” because each room has a different vibe and I wanted people to really have a mixture. I think that my song writing and my voice is the thread and the music is just the music. I never tried to conform. I wanted to just be really free with my album and make great, great songs and not go ‘Oh, I’ve gotta stick to one thing’ – you know like Leona Lewis - because they have a strict genre that they have to stick in but like I said, I really admire people like Prince, who you never know if you’re gonna get a rock ballad or a funk track from him. He’s free in his musicality and as a new artist, I know you can’t do that too much because people need to know who you are. So ultimately it’s a pop album with very eclectic, universal influences.

That sounds great! You also wrote “Diamonds”, didn’t you? I think Tea Tea did it first or was it Christina Milian...
I wrote that. It’s a great song. I think Teairra is about to release it properly, so that’s nice. Yeah I’m really proud of that song. It’s a really great song.

Are you gonna keep up with the songwriting for other people or are you now just focused on yourself?
I’m focusing right now on my album but I’ve always loved songwriting and I’m always going to write songs because it’s like acting to me. You get to play someone else for that song. I am a very diverse writer, so I enjoy exploring all these other different areas like I’m writing with Martina Topley-Bird from Massive Attack and John Legend. There’s always a surprise from me. You never know who I’m gonna pop up with next.

That’s good. You keep everyone on their toes. I’ve gotta ask you Lolene, what happened to your disco vagina?
My disco vagina was so 2009, Mike!

Oh, c'mon!
My disco vagina was a concept that I really saw as a symbolic element, as a coming out as an artist. We all come from vaginas at the end of the day. I saw it as a birth thing. I was very inspired by Damon Hurst the artist. He makes skulls that are covered in diamonds. I don’t know if you know of his work. In my opinion he was glamorising death and I wanted to glamorise life, so I wanted to come up with this concept, which is a disco vagina and it symbolised life and the life of music and the birthing of me into, you know, the world and so my songs are like my babies, my disco babies. It all combined together to make the disco vagina! So I unleashed that on the world last year and I think everyone knows about it now and now I feel like arriving without any gimmicks so to speak. It’s just me and my music. That’s why I left her behind.

You closed it down!
Well, she’s still there but once you’re out, you’re out. There’s no crawling back in!

True. How important is social networking/media to you? Your Disco Vagina was brilliant, your web series is amazing and you’ve also done a lot of really cool things with free downloads and blogging.
You know what. I’ll be really honest, Mike. I was a reluctant social media user. It took me a while to like… you know, I was kind of grumpy about it. I love talking to people face to face, I love talking on the phone, I love interacting with people like that. At the beginning it was difficult for me to get into that and then I realised the wonderful aspects of it. Like the outreach that I have and the amazing conversations that I have with my fans, who by the way are the most important thing and the most essential part of what I do and I realised that it was a gift, so it was really a chance for me to talk to them and they are the people that inspire me, they are the people that uplift me and are, you know, the purpose.

It’s also like a really great way of you know getting out there and making yourself stand out because it’s so hard today. Which leads me to my next question. There are so many people appealing to the same market at the moment. You’ve got Lady Gaga and Ke$ha and some people have compared you to some of those names. What makes Lolene special and different compared to the rest of the crowd?
It’s funny. I get asked that question a lot and my answer is the same. I don’t think I’m in the position to tell anybody what makes me different. It’s up to you guys because everyone looks at everything in different ways. So I leave that judgement, I suppose, down to other people but all I know is that I’m very honest about my artistry and I take it very seriously. This is a tremendous gift and blessing I’ve been given to share music with the world and it’s just a very personal thing. I can only be Lolene, I don’t know what it feels like to be any of the others that you mentioned. I only know how it feels to be me and make the kind of art that I make and that honesty will come through in my music, you know, and can’t help but make me different because I’m not those girls that were mentioned. So it’s like – we all make pop music, we’re all feisty females and it feels wonderful to be making this kind of music in a time where, you know, pop is hot right now.

There's a revival...
Yeah, it’s a revival of pop and we all happen to be female and you know, I think this comparison business just has to stop. It’s the responsibility of journalists and people to stop that. You know the Gaga Vs Christina thing – it’s just boring. Everyone and their mother is compared to Gaga these days and I just think it’s a bit dull now. We’re all people, we’re all individuals. I’m British for a start. I happen to be mixed race, I couldn’t look more different that she is. You know there’s always going to be comparisons in pop music. Like back in the day Madonna was compared to Cyndi Lauper and Prince was compared to Rick James and the comparisons go on. So I think people need to just realise that females in pop can exist within the same world without having to be accused of copying each other.

And your look is so different…
Yeah, it’s easy to just point the finger and go ‘oh look she’s got shoulder pads and a jacket. She’s trying to be Gaga!’ but another thing people need to realise is it takes a very long time a make a song and video and get it on the radio and that process… it’s not like you can watch Gaga live on some show and go ‘Ooh, I wanna do that!’ and it happens the next day. The music I’ve been making, like you said when we first started speaking, has been over a year in the making - before I’d even heard of half the stuff Gaga or Ke$ha has been doing. So it’s like, you know, it’s just the movement of the sound of music right now.

Lady Gaga and Ke$ha have only been around for two years anyway, they borrow shit from everyone who went before them.
Exactly. Everyone’s influenced by everyone. It just so happens that our influences might be similar. I’m very influenced by Madonna and Kate Bush and if anyone’s jackin’ anyone, I’m jackin’ them and not Gaga and Ke$ha!

How come you’ve decided to focus on America first? Doesn’t it usually work the other way around? You kind of start at home and branch out.
Yeah Mike, absolutely. I don’t know any other female pop artist that has done this from England actually. I’m definitely challenging myself to do this. It would, of course, be much easier for me to do this at home. To sort of make my mark there and come over, you know like other people have done, but I’ve decided to do it the other way around. It’s a lot harder but when I do it, it will be a first. There’s been no other person that’s done that.

Do you think it also takes a bit of the pressure off to be a bit of an underdog instead of being trumped up at home like some people I could mention with all the hype?
It would be easier for me to fly home and just break there real quick and then come out after but that’s not what I want to do. I’m not in it for the instant fame, I’m in it for a career. So this is where I’ve made my album, this is where I’m signed and this is where I feel at home right now. I’m very proud to be English but right now, it feels like I’m supposed to be here, making and releasing my music here and I always say that my music is very universal, so it doesn’t matter where I am really. I love America, I really do and I’m really proud to be English making music here. And yeah, I don’t think it matters where I launch first. It’s certainly the harder way to do this but I’m not frightened of a little hard work.

Is it true that you started off in a girlband?
When I was in England when I was at school, I was in a band, a girlband. We didn’t come out with anything. You know, it was fun for me really. Almost like a hobby because I just got on really well with these chicks and we hung out together. I was really very, very young… so it was a nice way for me to find my voice. When you’re that young and you’re at school, you know you want to be a singer.. it’s difficult to just break out on your own. So I started with the songwriting and singing with these chicks in a little band. Very low key.

That’s cool. It would be good to hear those demos now. I bet you look back on those…
Oh my god, can you imagine?

It would be so good. I’m sure someone’s got them at home waiting for you to blow up and then…
I have them under lock and key!

So what’s the plan now? The video for “Rich” is about to come out and then are you going to promote it and doing some shows?
Absolutely, so we just shot the video, it’s gonna be out very, very soon and so I’m focusing on my live show now and we go to radio, we start servicing radio in about two weeks. That’s the exciting part. It’s available now on iTunes for download in the US and it’s an exciting time. People are going to start hearing “Rich” on the radio, seeing me playing and travelling the country on a tour and really making my mark now with this song. It’s a really great song.

It’s really catchy.
Do you love it?

I LOVE it!
Thank you.

Is it international after that… are you going to come over here? That’s what I want to know.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, like you said, it’s very difficult to start with the US, so we’re going to do that because even with those chicks that you mentioned before, they had all their success in Canada and the UK first. So we’re focusing on the US market and I can’t wait to come to Oz and I can’t wait go back home to England and just be a universal/international artist. That’s definitely my focus. But first things first, we’re starting on the radio here and I’m really looking forward to making my mark with this song. It’s time that everyone got to see Lolene for real!

Well, good luck with it. It’s such a good song and I can’t wait for you to get a slice of it.
Thank you, Mike. I really appreciate that and I just want to thank you so much for your support. People like you and other amazing writers out there on the internet are so important to me and I really appreciate you guys. Thank you very much and you can put a little note to all my friends and my fans that I love them and thanks for their love.

That’s really sweet. Thanks a lot for talking to me and I can’t wait to see "Rich" burning up the charts.
Mike, thanks so much. Tell everyone to twitter me if they have other questions. I try to answer them all. Mike, tweet me!

"Rich (Fake It Til You Make It)" is available to download now from US iTunes. Check out this amazing album preview. The guy in it is sex on legs and the second featured song - "Lionheart" - is phenomenal!