Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A taste of La Toya

The first taste of La Toya's pioneering autobiography soundtrack EP is finally here! "Starting Over" sounds like it was recorded in 2003 - and it probably was - but that doesn't stop the future #1 smash (on the bubbling under of the Billboard dance radio airplay chart) from being one of the year's finest singles. I love the perky beat and Toy Toy's Grammy winning lyrical genius is on full display:

All on my own and I'm finally startin' over,
Tonight let's celebrate until I say this party's over


Janet who? And then there's the stunning breakdown that gives me shivers and an erection. You will well and truly feel her funk when the pope of pop unleashes the full power of her one octave range vocals and sassily sings:

I don't need no cure, there ain't no lookin' back
I don't need no cure, no I don't have regrets


Bring on the rest of the EP! I think we can safely say that La Toya has album and single of the year already in the bag. Listen to a preview of her next first hit below.

Miss Kelly's revenge

After living in Beyoncé's shadow for the past 15 years, Kelly Rowland has emerged from the darkness with a freshly snatched House of Dereon wig in her back pocket. Miss Kelly is now the most successful child of destiny as her new single "Motivation" tops the US urban airplay chart this week and climbs to a new peak of number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. I'm so happy for her! When "Commander" flopped, I honestly thought Kelly's time had passed. That song was so perfect and should have been her moment to shine. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be but the stars have finally aligned for the hardest working diva in the game. And with probably the least commercial song of her career.

Don't get me wrong, "Motivation" is a smokin' hot tune but Bey's childhood friend was having no luck with the urban crowd. "Grown Ass Woman" and "Rose Coloured Glasses" were chart disasters of Ashanti-sized proportions. The dancefloor appeared to be her only salvation but Miss Kelly had other ideas. "Motivation" is like an old school 90s slow jam on steroids. It's so sleek and sexy. I can't even play it in the car when I have company because the lyrics make me blush! Kelly is basically the heterosexual equivalent of a bossy bottom in the song, telling her man where and how she wants it. Whatever happened to biting the pillow and getting on with it so you can be finished in time for Chelsea Lately? But I digress. "Motivation" is amazing and I hope K Row remembers to throw Bey a bone when she takes over the DC throne. Congrats!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kat DeLegend has a new single!

Queen Kat is truly unstoppable. Despite being ruthlessly swagga jacked by everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Lady Gaga, RedOne's original muse continues to churn out the hits at an alarming rate. I'm still blasting "Dancing Tonight" (easily one of the best singles of 2011), she has the brilliant "Drop It Low" lined up as her next American smash and today marked the arrival of her collaboration with Italian DJ Nicola Fasano. "Tonite" represents a radical change of pace for the Dominican diva. Her trademark Latin rhythms are still there but this is pure club fodder. As expected, Kat effortlessly conquers the new genre and pretty much snatches Kelly Rowland's wig as the go-to guest vocalist for big-name dance music producers in the process. I think this song could really work in Australia. It's very much in tune with the Pitbull club sound currently taking over the charts and one look at the "Whine Up" singer in that sexy leotard will ensure high rotation of the video (below) in strip clubs across the nation. Watch in awe as Kat DeLegend proves yet again why she's the most influential woman in pop music!

Victoria S - Germany's gift to music

Germany is just behind Romania and Mexico as my favourite musical nation. The cavalcade of superstars to emerge from there would make Sweden blush. Cascada, Kim Gloss, Daniela Katzenberger - need I say more? Well, you can add another name to that illustrious list. Victoria S is often described as the German Britney but I think that's really unfair. Sure, Vicky's voice is thinner than Karen Carpenter and she dances like she has a disability but at least the blond bombshell appears to be lucid and aware of her surroundings. Most of the time. The stunningly talented 17-year-old first appeared on my radar last year. Her debut single "One In A Million" set a new world record for the most autotune used on a pop song but I approved. She then showed off her real vocal chops by singing "There's A Place For Us" for the German Voyage of the Dawn Treader soundtrack and nailed it. I vastly prefer her version to Carrie Underwood's - high praise indeed!

Unfortunately, neither song was a huge hit in Germany but that hasn't stopped Victoria releasing another single. "Voyeur" is a camp dance anthem that sounds like a twisted mix of Ke$ha and September. Yes, it's that amazing. The track takes a couple of listens to get into and the chorus doesn't really make any sense (note to Europop acts - stop using Google translator!) but I love it and can't wait for Vicky's album, which I hope will be called "Adventures In Autotune". As usual, the superstar in waiting has pulled together a rather spectacular video to accompany her future smash. The brief was obviously sex, sex and more sex. Victoria rolls around on a bed, pouts in the shower and dances (as) seductively (as she can). She's so pretty and could make an international impact with the right song. This isn't it but I still need an mp3 now and pray they release it physically so I can add to my Victoria S collection!

La Toya - Singer, Dancer, Actress, Legend

How odd that two of the biggest names in the history of music were born one day apart. Kylie turned 43 yesterday, while La Toya celebrates her 55th birthday today. Geminis must have global chart domination written in their DNA! These women have so much in common. Stunning beauty, mesmerising charisma, millions of adoring fans and less successful younger sisters with child-bearing hips. They really should do a duet! So how to honour the Benjamin Buttons of pop? I could dig out a million different YouTube clips that showcase her vocal brilliance and legendary stagecraft but I've decided to post La Toya's iconic starring role as a voodoo priestess in Counterstrike. If you haven't seen this, you're in for a treat. Every second is television gold! Watch in awe as the sexiest woman alive discusses the harsh reality of ageing:

Dowdy woman: "What about inner beauty?"
Toy: "There's no money in it!"


Toy Toy then goes all kinds of crazy on the poor bitch by carrying out an extremely camp voodoo ritual, which seems to involves a lot of ranting and sword wielding while wearing the most fabulous outfit of the 1980s. It all ends in disaster when Toy meets a completely unjust demise - she just wanted to remain pretty! - but I don't want to give too much away. I really think La Toya should return to acting after releasing her book, its accompanying soundtrack and new studio album. She was clearly robbed of Golden Globe glory for her breathtakingly convincing turn as a lunatic on Counterstrike and I'm sure her acting prowess has only deepened with the passage of time.

Dear Toy, thank you for making the world a vastly more interesting place. May you still be startin' over when you're 100! Lots of love from your loyal soldier, Mike X

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Shontelle - Say Hello To Goodbye

Shontelle has to be one of the most underrated women in pop. Her album was great (ready my review here) but "No Gravity" could only manage one week in the top 100 before plummeting faster than "Run The World (Girls)". I thought she had cut her losses and moved on to album number number three but the rich man's Rihanna had other plans. Shontelle is pushing "Say Hello To Goodbye" to pop radio in America and, so far, it seems to be working. The track is already top 40 on pop airplay and should get a good push from the classy video (below), which was released on Friday. It's a pretty simple affair. Basically, Shon looks all depressed and goes on the trainride from hell where she's haunted by memories of her ex-boyfriend. I think I've taken that ride. On the bright side, the diva's stylist has stopped playing jokes on her and there are none of the trannylicious outfits that made "Licky" such an iconic (for all the wrong reasons) mess. I have to admit that it took my a while to warm to this lovely ballad - I was too busy stanning for "Love Shop" - but it's a grower and will hopefully repeat the worldwide success of "Impossible". Don't waste your time on rubbish like "California King Bed" when you could be listening to a real tearjerker like this instead!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Kylie!

Kylie turns 43 today. Damn. In my mind she's still the 18 year old ingenue from Neighbours but I guess most of her fans weren't even born when Scott and Charlene packed up the car and drove off to the arsehole of Australia to live happily ever after. It scares me that I remember that episode and every step of the pop icon's subsequent career. I have literally been a life-long fan. And while the "Aphrodite" era leaves me cold, Kylie will always be my favourite. She's like family. We fall out, make up and carry on as if nothing ever happened. The Les Folies juggernaut rolls into Australia in a couple of weeks and I'll be there waiting with a smile on my face and an arm full of tacky tour merchandise. Bring it on! So how to celebrate Kylie's special day? I was going to post one of the new "Put Your Hands Up" remixes but I just can't muster any enthusiasm. They are fine but I'd rather watch this fabulous clip of the diva belting out "Look My Way" in 1988. That jam has always been one of my favourites - I still give it the occasional spin when intoxicated! - and I love that she randomly performed it on national TV instead of promoting an actual single. Dannii's older sister looks so cute and sounds fantastic. The video is pretty low quality but it's well worth putting up with the fuzzy visuals. Happy birthday, Kylie!

Dolly does it better

New music from Dolly Parton is always cause for celebration but "Together You and I" is easily the iconic diva's best single since "Travelin' Thru". This ruthlessly cheerful and upbeat anthem is a warm blanket of a (country) pop song. The 65-year-old stunner's homespun wisdom shines through in the sweet lyrics and the chorus is seriously catchy. I defy you to listen to this without a smile on your face. Dolly is such a legend. She just keeps on doing her thing and luckily for her - heartfelt, beautifully crafted music never goes out of style. I can't wait to get my hands on "Better Day". The inspiration for a thousand drag queens said she wanted to write an uplifting album to help people through hard times and if "Together You and I" is any indication, she has well and truly achieved that goal. Watch Dolly premiere her new smash on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (below) and pray she keeps her promise to tour Australia in November. I will be first in line!

STOP PRESS: Deni Hines Is Still Alive

What the fuck? I can't believe The Deni has a new single out and nobody bothered to tell me. There should have been an announcement on the evening news or at least a one hour special with Kerri-Anne. I'm so pressed! So what has Australia's queen of R'n'B cooked up this time? A funky cover of a Donna Summer hit from 1982 called "Finger On The Trigger". Deni's soulful version harks back to the sweet soul of her 2006 #37 on the iTunes album chart (for one day) smash "Water For Chocolate". That gem easily ranks as one my favourite Australian albums of the noughties - so I'm happy. Sometimes I wish The Deni would just dust off her sea-shells and record "It's Alright 2011" to score another hit but she seems happy doing her thing. More power to her. You can download "Finger On The Trigger" from Australian iTunes now.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beyoncé - 4 tracklist and 1+1 review

After a month of absolutely nothing, Bey's promo campaign went into overdrive this week. She touched Oprah in ways that made Gayle jealous on Monday night before unveiling her album tracklist and setting a new standard of excellence on American Idol on Wednesday. But more about that career-defining performance later. I have some "4" stanning to get out of the way first. These are the names of 11 of the best songs you will hear this year as well as the hottest mess of the decade:

1+1
I Care
I Miss You
Best Thing I Never Had
Party (Featuring Andre 3000)
Rather Die Young
Start Over
Love On Top
Countdown
End of Time
I Was Here
‎Run The World (Girls)


I'm happy with 12 songs. Given Beyoncé's recent track record, "4" will probably be re-released more times than "Good Girl Gone Bad" - so I'm sure we'll end up getting a bunch of extra tracks anyway. The only surprise is the Andre 3000 collaboration. Was Flo Rida busy? Whatever. I'm sure it's amazing. Speaking of which, how stunning is the diva's latest promo pic (above)? That should have been the album cover. Every other bitch in the game can only nod and say yep, she got this. Sasha Fierce is back from beyond the grave!

But while the styling still has an edge, there is something very old-fashioned about "4". Take the new song Beysus premiered this week. I heard a preview of "1+1" online before seeing her holiness belt it out on American Idol and was left scratching my head. In a good way. Much like the recently leaked "End of Time", this sounds like a throwback to old school 80s soul when music was allowed to grow on you instead of beating you over the head with a robotic hook. "1+1" is the best ballad Anita Baker never got to record. The love song Karyn White wishes she got sing after "Superman". Yes, it's that amazing! And if you think "1+1" sounds brilliant on record wait until you hear it live. Bey tore the stage up on American Idol with another flawless vocal performance that stole the show. Even better is the backstage rehearsal Jay Z posted on his blog today. Watching this is like having a front row seat to greatness. Beyoncé is now operating on a whole different level.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

La Toya's pioneering new album!

La Toya Jackson has always been a marketing genius. Not that it has ever actually resulted in any success but that's beside the point. This is a woman who released an album called "Bad Girl" while her brother was still promoting "Bad". A diva who posed nude on the cover of "Stop! In The Name Of Love" to remind people that she was once in Playboy. An entrepreneur who opened a psychic hotline despite possessing no psychic ability. Yes, Toy Soldiers - our glorious leader has always been at the forefront of publicity whoring and that trend continues with her decade-in-the-making "Starting Over" album. Instead of merely releasing her sure-to-be Grammy nominated opus on its own, Toy Toy is plugging it as the soundtrack to her latest autobiography. Also titled "Starting Over".

The book, which is now available to pre-order from Amazon, sounds like a truly toytastic read. According to the blurb:

"La Toya Jackson was always closer to Michael than anyone knew. In this heartfelt memoir, she pays tribute to his tortured soul — revealing the intimate moments she shared with the deeply troubled pop legend. The first sibling to arrive at the hospital after Michael was rushed there, and the informant on his death certificate, La Toya noticed suspicious details and demanded a second autopsy. For the first time, she unveils shocking behind-the-scenes dealings that she believes led to her brother's death."

No doubt Toy will add a Pulitzer Prize to her already impressive CV before the end of the year! The soundtrack, which is set for release on June 21, is apparently an EP of older tracks. Never fear, Janet's prettier sister is just being resourceful. Apparently the ageless beauty has a second album of new material on the way with a single scheduled for July. The excitement is almost more than I can handle! If her haunting soundtrack album does contain older material - I'm guessing it will feature her stunning Michael Jackson tribute "Home" - then I hope "No More Drama" makes the cut. I've been playing this stunning gem a lot lately. Not only is the YouTube clip a work of genius but Toy was rocking the urban dance sound 8 years before Rihanna. It even includes the legendary lyric "like Jan said I'm in control". A pioneer, I tell you!

Via Toy Experience.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wynter Gordon - Album Sampler Review

Earlier a today I wrote an article for Sydney Star Observer about the impending release of Wynter Gordon's debut album and wrote that it "promises to be one of the party albums of the year". Well, I need to buy some tarot cards and set up a stall in Newtown because my predication was spot on. A six track sampler of "With The Music I Die" arrived in my inbox this evening and I'm absolutely stunned. I knew the album was going to be good but my future beard has delivered half a dozen of the hottest dance-pop songs I've heard in a very long time. Even if the rest of the album is awful - which it won't be - Australia's adopted club queen has already snatched every wig in town. Poor J Lo must be so pressed that Wynter kept all the good shit for herself! Here is the full "With The Music I Die" tracklist and my initial comments about the tracks I've heard:

Til Death

The album's punchy second single has been lodged in the iTunes top 20 since release and looks set to climb into the top 10 when Wynter returns to Australia for a promo tour in June. It's a great pop song and scarily, still grows on me with each listen !

Dirty Talk

This shit is undeniable. The highest selling single in Australia for the first quarter of 2011 is now catching on around the world. Absolutely defining. Now somebody please put the original naughty school girl video back on YouTube. That hot mess is what made me fall in love with my flawless boo in the first place!

Don’t Stop Me

I love this. An effortlessly cool club anthem with an icy edge that I'd usually associate with Robyn or Roisin Murphy - if someone threw a pill down their throat and pushed them on the dancefloor. My favourite part is when Wynter coos "I can melt your heart, you'll be all mine". That and the sassy countdown at the end. Perhaps not single material but great nonetheless.

Buy My Love

Gold diggers have a new theme song! "Buy My Love" is so cute and catchy - definitely a good choice for single number three. It's more electro than we're used to from the diva but there's still something quite camp and 80s about the track. I love the lyrics ("Let's take a quick vacation, a little shopping spree - a fancy destination, we'll spend it all on me!") and adorable chorus. I can definitely hear this on the radio.

Still Getting Younger

Was I more high than usual or did Wynter tweet that this was the next single? If the sticker on the album cover is any indication, it looks like Neon is going with the fabulous "Buy My Love" but I think I prefer this glorious explosion of dreamy synths. Even if it is slightly less commercial. "Still Getting Younger" isn't an ode to Madonna's plastic surgery but a soft and pretty dance-pop love song. It actually reminds me a little of Kylie's "Tightrope" (my favourite "Fever" era track) with a bit of 80s Moroder thrown in for good measure. The lyrics are gorgeous too - "I'm not lonely, I just need you. You're this empty space I got." Simply beautiful.

Drunk On Your Love

Unheard.

All My Life

Unheard.

Rumba [feat. Kevin McCall]

Unheard.

Back To You

Now this is very different for Wynter. It's a moody mid-tempo electronic groove with amazing lyrics like "you don't know that when I lie in bed I touch myself to you" and "I took you for granted, I spit in your face". It's an atmospheric and multi-layered little gem that no doubt will worm its way further into my consciousness with each listen. Fabulous.

In The Morning [feat. Robbie Rivera]

Unheard.

I'm so curious about the other tracks now. If they are of a similar standard, Wynter will have one of the best albums of 2011 on her hands. "With The Music I Die" is released in Australia on June 17. I'm pre-ordering my copy today. Here's her current hit "Til Death". Someone really needs to mash it with "Til The World Ends" to create a truly morbid floorfiller!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Introducing Hadise - The Belgian/Turkish Beyoncé

How have I lived without Hadise? The Belgian born Turkish diva has been ruling my iPod ever since a friend recommended her new album "Aşk Kaç Beden Giyer?" as the next best thing to Beyoncé. High praise indeed! Apparently, her new Bey-tastic image is a talking point in Belgium and her latest video clip is also drawing comparisons to the world-running pop icon. But before we delve into the inevitable comparisons, let me give you some background on this promising diva. It seems she came to fame on Pop Idol but wasn't selected as a finalist. As is often the case, it worked in her favour and she was offered a record deal without the stigma of actually winning. Since then she has steadily built her profile by releasing hit albums in English and Turkish as well as hosting TV shows and representing Turkey in Eurovision.

Even more impressively, the always reliable Wikipedia claims that Hadise is friends with my new Twitter BFF Kate Ryan. That's good enough for me! So back to the Beyoncé comparisons. The cover of "Aşk Kaç Beden Giyer?" has a touch of the House of Dereon about it but I wholeheartedly approve of this kind of elegance and glamour. As for her new top 5 smash "Süperman" - it is reminiscent of "Naughty Girl" but I think that's because they sample the same song. The track is brilliant. I love the hot beats and blend of styles. It takes a couple of listens but I guarantee you will be humming along in no time. The video (below) also has a touch of Bey about it but who cares? This woman has immaculate taste in divas and the rest of her album is equally amazing. Hadise might not run the world yet but she firm control of Belgium and Turkey!

Horsey has another Australian hit!

A couple of days ago I wrote a random post about Natasha Bedingfield's flop album being re-released in Europe. Little did I know the equine beauty was also planning an Australian chart comeback courtesy of a duet with Canadian punk/pop rockers Simple Plan! "Jet Lag" debuted at number 37 on this week's ARIA chart and should climb even higher given its top 20 placing on iTunes. I used to hate the little horse that could but "Strip Me" was a hot mess (in a good way) and I like her latest desperate attempt to remain relevant.

It doesn't hurt that I've always had a soft spot for Simple Plan. I know those fools are only one rung above Busted on the boyband scale of awfulness but they have released some catchy songs over the years. And this is a good example. Natasha and Pierre trade forlorn verses before coming together for a perky chorus that gets lodged in your head after a few listens. "Jet Lag" sounds very early noughties to me but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Interestingly, the song was also recorded with Canadian pop diva Marie-Mai. That version is cute too but I'm on team Horsey! Who knows. If this takes off, Natasha might finally get around to releasing "Strip Me" in Australia - it didn't even get the chance to flop here! Check out her latest smash below.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beyoncé takes it to the next level

My angels reunite

There was a lot riding of Beyoncé's performance at today's Billboard Awards in Las Vegas. It's no secret that "Run The World (Girls)" is the love-it-or-hate-it hot mess of the decade and the timing and legitimacy of her special Millennium Award was questioned by the usual crowd of pressed troublemakers. And while I'll admit that the timing was suspect, there's no denying that she well and truly deserved the award. It's basic math. When Billboard released their artists of the decade countdown in back 2009 Beyoncé came in 4th, while Destiny's Child placed 9th. Add the two together and you have the biggest star of the new millennium. Which admittedly is only 11 years old. But still!

So you rock up to receive a dubious award in front of the all your main rivals at a time when your video is being derided as National Geographic porn and your single is being outsold by Selena Gomez. I guess there are two options. Go with something tried and tested, perhaps throw in a couple of verses of "Halo" to remind people that you can sing, or stand by your wacky chorusless wonder and snatch every wig in the building with a flawless display of artistry that hasn't been seen since Michael Jackson did the moonwalk at the Grammys. In case you haven't seen the video - Beyoncé went with option number two.

Words can not describe how breathtaking her performance was. Dancing alone for most of the song against mind-bending projections that appeared to merge dimensions, the 29-year-old superstar redefined what it means to be a pop star. Bey looked amazing, worked the stage like a master, incorporated new technology, sounded brilliant, danced like a mad woman and whipped her hair until I thought her weave would fall off. There's a whole slew of canny ladies out there with Max Martin on speed dial but Beyoncé proved yet again that when it comes to raw talent, she is the only complete package in popular music.

Almost as exciting as the main event were the pre-performance testimonials and Bey's acceptance speech. It blows my mind that Honey B has the First Lady pimping out her hood anthem at random award ceremonies. That would be like Nancy Reagan rocking up to the MTV Music Awards in the 80s to praise Madonna! I loved hearing trannylicious Tina Knowles, her shady dad Matthew, poor Solange, Stevie Wonder, Babyface, The-Dream, Barbra Streisand and Lady Gaga talk about Beyoncé's stunning contribution to music. It was more than I could get my head around in one viewing.

And the acceptance speech was better yet. I cried when I saw Michelle Williams and Miss Kelly overcome with emotion. Is a brief Destiny's Child reunion too much to ask for now that K Row is a hitmaker in her own right and 'Shell has a high profile job cleaning toilets in Houston? And what about Bey thanking original members LeToya and Latavia! Those pressed bitches now have nothing left to complain about, so I guess that's the last we'll ever hear from them. It was sad that Bey forgot to thank Farrah Franklin but I think I'm the only DC fan with a soft spot for that trainwreck so I guess it's all good.

Here is the best performance you will see until the next time Beyoncé lifts the bar. Take a deep breath and prepare to be blown away.

Fuck K-Pop, it's all about Romania!

Don't get me wrong. I love K-Pop. Pop Trash Addicts played host to the pride of Korea and many other stunning acts before loud and proud K-Pop fanatics like Pop Reviews Now and The Prophet Blog started flying the flag. The thought and effort that goes into everything from the styling to the choreography is inspiring and it's exciting to see how the Korean model is being embraced abroad. You only have to look at The Saturdays' latest video to see that someone has been taking notes. But when it comes to making a genuine impact on the international music scene, Romania has well and truly snatched Korea's wig. Over the past couple of years the country has become a hot bed for dance music and continues to churn out hitmakers at an alarming rate. Their most successful export is arguably Edward Maya, who cracked the US top 20 with "Stereo Love" and took the song to number 1 in nine other countries, but in this post I'm going to focus on the leading ladies of Romania.

Elena is the least famous of the ravishing Romanian divas wreaking havoc on the European charts at the moment but she could well be my favourite. Like many a pop tart before her, she got her big break at Eurovision - placing 19th in 2009. At least she did better than Soraya! Since then Elena has racked up consecutive number one hits in her homeland and made waves across the continent with "Disco Romancing". That song was massive in Eastern Europe and won over the Spanish gays. I love that trash but her new single is even better. "Midnight Sun" (below) is typically upbeat Romanian dance-pop with a cute Latin twist and a killer sample. The chorus is annoyingly catchy and I like her bubbly personality. As usual the video is basically soft porn with Elena dancing around in a variety of skimpy outfits. She looks slightly demented but kudos for trying to bring back the eye patch. I need an album from this goddess ASAP!


The next classy Romanian diva on everyone's lips is Alexandra Stan. "Mr Saxobeat" has already been a top 10 hit in 8 European countries and is rapidly climbing the UK singles chart. She's currently sitting at number 18 but should jump a couple of places this week given the song's position on iTunes. The 21-year-old's success is easy to explain. She looks and behaves like a (slightly) less trashy Ke$ha and somehow got her paws on one of the most insanely catchy novelty hits in recent memory. Part of me wants to dismiss the song as a total fluke but Romanian producers continue to deliver these killer tunes - first "Stereo Love", then Inna's "Hot" and now "Mr Saxobeat". Bucharest is the new Stockholm! I particularly like Alexandra's video. She gets arrested and taken to prison but like any self-respecting party girl, she flirts with the guard and breaks out. And really who could resist this stunner? It's only a matter of time before someone licences this in Australia. Trust me.


Last but definitely not least is the Romanian Madonna. By now Inna needs no introduction. The diva's uncanny ability to endlessly recycle hooks and beats won her an army of fans around the globe, particularly in France where she has scored 5 consecutive top 10 hits. I loved her debut album (even though it sounds like 18 remixes of the same track) and I'm glad she's still going strong. The lead single from her sophomore opus "I Am The Club Rocker" broke into the UK top 20 last week and, like Alexandra, is predicted to climb when the charts are released on Monday. "Sun Is Up" is typical Inna. It combines her favourite themes - warm weather and looking sexy - and will get stuck in your head after the first listen. Inna definitely gets more a lot more money funnelled into her music and videos than Elena or Alexandra but she always looks a little bored to me. I guess it's stressful being the reigning queen of Romanian pop! Check out her latest smash below. You just know that BoA is crying into a pillow somewhere screaming "that shoulda been me!"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Here comes Oh Land!

Chances are you know more about Oh Land than I do. The Danish diva has been getting major blog love for the best part of a year but, until recently, I didn't take much notice. My iPod is already full of overhyped Scandinavian nobodies and I wasn't prepared to take a punt on another epic fail like Lykke Li. But when a "Sun Of A Gun" promo arrived in my inbox last week, I thought I'd give it a spin to see what all the fuss is about. And I'm glad I did. Sounding like a cross between Feist's "1234" and Lenka's "The Show", Oh Land's breakout single is an instantly catchy pop gem that deserves to find a bigger audience. I love the overwhelming simplicity of "Sun Of A Gun". The producers show admirable restraint by letting the quirky vocal hooks and cute lyrics set the tone. It's so understated but I guarantee you'll be singing along by the end of the song. As far as I know it wasn't a huge hit in America - where she has decided to launch her album - but it has racked up over 10 million views on YouTube and her upcoming support slot on Sia's US tour should help. In the meantime, Oh land is finally being given a push in Europe - and then hopefully in Australia. Fingers crossed "Sun Of A Gun" takes off. Her image is great and the video is very pretty. I guess it's time to see if the rest of the album is any good!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Run The World - Remixed

The first batch of "Run The World (Girls)" remixes has landed and, as usual, Beyoncé delivers the goods. I have to admit I was concerned. Surely the ultimate remix of Bey's #12 Australian smash would be an instrumental of "Pon De Floor"? Well, team Knowles had a different idea and decided to gay this mother up! Dave Audé's mix is a typically crisp, mainroom floorfiller, while Jump Smokers remove most of the lyrics to give the track a harder edge. Their hot mix is the pick of the bunch but I like them all. Perhaps the most amusing is the Jochen Simms remix. It turns B's hood anthem into a future Oxford Street video jukebox classic and I say that with love and affection. I love how it tries to stay true to the original before giving up and catering to the gays. Hearing "I'm so hood wit dis" over trance synths makes my life. I worship it and can't wait for the full extended mix. You know it's only a matter of time until you see an army of shirtless gays doing the Pantsula to this!

Born This Way - Album Review

I usually don't feel the need to justify myself before writing a review but I have been taking the piss out of Lady Gaga rather frequently around here due to her sticky fingers, so I thought I'd start by bringing your attention to this link. It's my 2009 'best of' countdown. As you can see, I ranked "The Fame Monster" the second best album of that year and hailed it "the new measuring stick for dance-pop". And I still stand by that. When Lady Gaga is making solid pop music without desperately trying to be outrageous or groundbreaking, she is almost unbeatable. Like a demented cross between Madonna, Britney and someone with actual talent - she lifts pop to dark and dangerous new heights. Take "Bad Romance". To this day that song gives me chills. Strip away the "rah rah rahs" and you're left with one of the most honest 'Dear John' letters ever committed to music.

I guess that's half the reason the beginning of the new era has irked me so much - it's all image and hype. Lady Gaga can talk about tackling the big issues until the pointy implants in her face explode but nothing she has released since "Dance In The Dark" - her last great single - has connected with me at all. Happily, there is a lot to like about "Born This Way" when you dig beneath the unnecessary trappings but it doesn't change the fact that the album crumbles under the weight of her own ego. Mother monster needs to stop advocating for minorities that (she mistakenly believes) imbue her with credibility and put together a cohesive album. She's so busy trying to prove she can do everything that she ends up doing very little right. One minute the most powerful woman in pop is bringing back 90s house, then reviving disco, before moving on to 80s soft rock and the industrial rave scene. Her fans call it eclectic and Lady Gaga herself has gushed that this is the album she has always wanted to make. I'm sorry bitch but that doesn't make it good. Just unforgivably self-indulgent. At its worst, "Born This Way" sounds like the soundtrack to a beginner's party at the Hellfire club. At its best, the album reminds me of a mixtape my mum might have made back in 1987 with heavy lashings of Starship, Laura Branigan and Foreigner! It's no masterpiece but definitely salvageable. Here is my track by track review below:


Marry The Night

This is the song Lady Gaga premiered on Facebook application Farmville. I'm guessing people who tend to imaginary sheep don't hit up the club all that often but whatever. "Marry The Night" is a rather inoffensive if somewhat stillborn opener. Which is surprising because I love Fernando Garibay and he usually brings the best out of Gaga. The explosive introduction is exciting and raised my expectations until the song changes pace and becomes a rather strange mish-mash of 80s Bruce Springsteen and bad 90s techno. It definitely has its moments and has grown on me immensely but the track lacks the catchy hook that Lady Gaga usually does better than anyone.

Born This Way

I've already said enough about this heinous mess. "Born This Way" makes me ashamed to be gay. If we've reached the point where we need a middle-class, heterosexual attention seeker who looks like a 47-year-old transvestite to advocate on our behalf with the supposedly uplifting message that we're all freaks but still deserve love and acceptance then I'm out. There is nothing joyous or inclusive about the lyrics and Gaga can deny ripping off "Enjoy Yourself" all she likes but the similarities are undeniable. Everything about this makes my skin crawl.

Government Hooker

Yuck. If any song sums up what is wrong with Lady Gaga circa 2011 then this is it. "Government Hooker" is the most pretentious song you will hear all year. From the pointless lyrics to messy production, this is one big cry for attention. I could probably cope with an instrumental because there are some interesting flourishes but what exactly is the point of this? To prove that Gaga is cool and edgy and can write lyrics about sex workers and dead presidents? Bitch, please go back to riding that disco stick and leave the faux intellectualism to someone with more to say. I will give her credit for the high camp operatic intro though.

Judas

The fame monster's unauthorised remake of Loli Lux's stunning "WannaBE" is the biggest flop of her career. And for a while looked like it would derail the incredible momentum she had built over the past two years. The problem is that "Judas" is a massive step backwards. It's a fairly standard RedOne production that sticks to the tried and tested "Bad Romance" formula without bringing anything new or fresh to the table. Even the religious imagery that pervades the lyrics in getting boring. Madonna and the Pet Shop Boys did this shtick better in the 80s - it's not shocking, just lazy and boring. And then there's the chorus that sounds like the worst song Aqua never released. Having listened to the rest of the album, Gaga must have been smoking crack when she chose this as the second single. There are so many better songs on "Born This Way".

Americano

By this point I was lamenting the death of my love affair with Lady Gaga. I thought the time had come to throw my paws into the air one last time and leave the monsterhood for good. "Americano" is so fucking lame it needs a walking stick. A sad re-imagining of "Alejandro" that combines Mariachi music with bad Euro-disco, the track apparently tackles heady issue of illegal immigration. It's as hideous as it sounds. If the prospect of a white woman singing chunks of a song in bad Spanish before breaking into the occasional burst of "la la la" then this is for you. If not, do your ears a favour and press delete. This is the worst song Fernando Garibay has ever put his name to. Shame.

Hair

Just when I was ready to write of "Born This Way" as a total trainwreck, along came "Hair" and instantly revived my interest in the project. One of the many buzz singles released to promote the album pre-release, this got lost in the circle jerk over "The Edge Of Glory" but I think it's every bit as good. Although not quite as amazing as Ashley Tisdale's genre-defining song of the same name. But back to Gaga. This is just a solid, I am who I am pop song that I can imagine Cydni Lauper belting out in the 80s. It's fun, catchy and genuinely uplifting. RedOne is such a strange producer. He's done more for recycling that Planet Ark but occasionally he pulls one out of the bag and I love this odd hybrid of 80s Starship-esque pop and dance elements. Great use of sax too. This has to be a single.

Scheiße

As it turns out, Lady Gaga - I can speak German and your pathetic attempt at butchering my mother tongue in a bizarre bid for Teutonic chic is an epic fail. It doesn't even make sense. Is this some kind of anthem for scat lovers or just a lame attempt to revive late 90s house? Whatever the case may be the title accurately describes the song. This is shit.

Bloody Mary

The dubiously talented DJ behind "Government Hooker" returns for "Bloody Mary" - a song that has been singled out by many critics as one of the album's highlights and a future single. I'm not that enthusiastic about it but it is definitely one of the most straightforward floorfillers on "Born This Way". It's like a less intense but more authentic "Judas". The lyrics are less ambitious but they work and there's something hypnotic about the simple chorus. Not great but not bad at all. And if the rumours about this becoming a single I implore Lady Gaga not to ruin it by sitting on a crucifix shaped dildo in the video. Because we all know that's the moment she's been waiting for her whole life.

Bad Kids

"Bad Kids" is everything I want from Mother Monster - a fun pop song with a catchy chorus and universal lyrics. This encapsulates the sentiment I think Lady Gaga wanted to say with "Born This Way" until her pretentious streak got in the way. "I'm not that cool and you hate me, I'm a bad kid that's the way that they made" sings the diva against the crispest 80s beats to hit the airwaves since the glory days of Stacey Q. Who didn't feel like that as a teenager? There's something organically anthemic about "Bad Kids" that makes it a standout on the album. I know that Lady Gaga likes to sing about being shunned and different but more often than not it strikes me as a marketing exercise. This, however, no doubt comes from a time in her past when she was just a mannish teenager called Stefani. Credit must go to producer Jeppe Laursen (of Junior Senior) for bringing the diva back down to earth.

Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)

This has singled out by some critics as the worst song on "Born This Way" but I kind of like its 80s hair band on acid sound palette. Sure, the lyrics are completely inane but I love the hands in the air chorus and I can imagine singing along to this in the car. As long as I was sure no one was listening. The production meanders and it's generally a bit of a mess but I find this kind of good natured experimentation a lot more forgivable than something like "Government Hooker" or "Scheiße".

Heavy Metal Lover

"I want your whiskey mouth all over my blond south" is the worst lyric of the year. I'm sorry but a song about eating Lady Gaga's pussy was always going to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Pun intended. I get the frenzied monster response to this. It's pure filth and the sleazy beats are great - I'd love to hear a dub - but it's nothing but distracting filler for me.

Electric Chapel

Now I know bringing up plagiarism claims are a big no no when it comes to Gaga but damn this reminds me of The Cardigans' classic "Losing My Favourite Game". Those "do do dos" are so familiar and I think she's lifted the guitar riff too but whatever. This is a nice song and sometimes you don't have to break new ground to deliver a decent pop song. Ever since "Speechless" I've been wanting Lady Gaga to explore her inner rock chick and she almost does it here but her current obsession of mixing guitars with electronic elements takes over yet again. My problem here is the lyrics. What exactly is this song about? I just get visions of Elvis weddings in Las Vegas but knowing mother monster it's probably about resolving the Middle East conflict or famine in Africa.

Yoü And I

This has been doing the rounds for a while now. Lady Gaga has performed it during her Monster's Ball tour for the best part of a year and the studio version isn't all that different. Produced by Mutt Lange, "Yoü And I" - what is with that fucking umlaut? - is this album's "Speechless" or "Brown Eyes". An overwrought piano rock ballad that is supposed to highlight the diva's versatility but just sounds like a Richard Marx B-side. I can't help but think Mutt would have been better off giving this to his ex-wife. Shania Twain would have nailed this. Gaga tries so hard to imbue it with pathos and meaning that it ends up being an empty exercise of vocal acrobatics. If nothing else it gives her something new to sing behind a flaming piano on the next tour. Distinctly average.

The Edge Of Glory

First things first. This does sound very similar to Soraya's iconic 2008 smash "Sin Miedo" with a bit of Cher's "Song For The Lonely" thrown in for good measure. But they are two of my favourite songs of all time, so anything that borrows elements from them was always going to be a winner. I'm not convinced that this is the masterpiece that some have held it out to be (now that I've listened to them back to back a couple of times I think I prefer "Hair") but there's no denying it's a great song. There's a real sense of melancholy that permeates the verses, which only serves to make the explosive chorus all the more joyous. I love the now or never theme that runs through the lyrics and applaud Gaga from not making stupid noises or randomly singing in a different language. She has treated this song with the respect it deserves and Fernando Garibay moulds the craziest mix of Eurovision ready pop with "Born To Run" Bruce Springsteen. I even love the crazy sax solo. "The Edge Of Glory" is a worthy addition to Gaga's cannon of hits and deserves to sit proudly next to "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance". I just hate the fact that she will ruin the video with those stupid face implants but whatever. This is a reminder of what Lady Gaga is capable of when she just lets the music flow. It also underlines how sub par the vast majority of the rest of the album is.

6/10

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Run The World (Girls) - Video Review

I must have started this "Run The World (Girls)" video review at least 30 times. But every time I sit down to write it, I get the urge to watch Beyoncé's Francis Lawrence directed extravaganza one more time without having to analyse each and every frame. It goes without saying that my expectations were high. I agreed with Kanye when he called "Single Ladies" one of the best videos of all time and justifiably ruined Taylor's moment. That clip is already an important piece of modern history and I hoped lightning would strike twice. Because - to be brutally honest - another video phenomenon is about the only thing that can reverse the fortunes of "Run The World (Girls)". As it turns out, Bey doesn't quite pull it off but damn she comes close. There is so much to love about this epic clip. Brilliant photography, breathtaking choreography and a pair of fucking hyenas. It's completely demented in an America's Next Top Model meets Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome kind of way and shows why Mrs Carter is still the fiercest diva on the block even when she's pushing a single with no chorus that sounds like five songs thrown into a blender.

The opening of the clip is immaculate. I defy anyone to name a more impressive introduction. I get chills watching Beyoncé ride that horse through what appears to be a post-apocalyptic landscape like Xena if she wasn't a lesbian. The cinematography is eerily beautiful and there's a real sense of foreboding as the soldiers pile in, while warrior B stands on a burned-out car and her model friends, who prudently held on to their curling irons and couture after the apocalypse, writhe around in the desert. And then, at the 30 second mark, the queen of pop appears in that gorgeous red dress with a lion at her feet looking like something from a renaissance painting. By this point I had a semi and was about to faint from the sheer ferocity of my fave but it only got better. I live for the scene where she slowly lifts her face towards camera in that metallic headdress and her slinky walk towards the soldiers makes Rihanna's entire career instantly redundant.

And then the real magic happens. Bey starts shaking like she's having the most glamorous epileptic fit on record and breaks into the best dance routine featured in a music video since "Single Ladies". I love that Francis Lawrence keeps the camera still in a long shot so you can see that this all Beyoncé - my only gripe is the fact that you would need superhuman powers to duplicate these moves without breaking something. The influence of African tribal dance in the choreography is blindingly obvious and works brilliantly. Next are those hyenas. I just can't. It's the most fabulous thing I've ever seen! While the mirrored outfit and exploding car come a very close second. By the time the choreography returns at about 2:35 mins I thought Beyoncé had pulled a rabbit out of her House of Dereon wig and delivered another flawless masterpiece but unfortunately the final quarter of the clip is a bit of a let down.

Given the frenetic rhythm of the song and the breathtaking choreography that precedes it, the scene where Bey and her girls lie in the sand and deliver some Kylie-esque foot dancing doesn't quite cut it. The moves seem too slow for the music. Then there's the bizarre upside down sand twist. I honestly thought I was watching Kylie the first time I saw it. Beyoncé looks eerily like Ms Minogue circa "Body Language" and rolls around like she's re-making "Slow" in the desert. I actually love the scene visually but it's like they completely forgot the song. It just doesn't fit the aural mayhem that is "Run The World (Girls)". Happily, Bey pulls it together for a truly memorable finale, which again highlights the fact that she is the only big name in music that can sing and dance. The hair whipping is amazing and the choreography is nuts. Taken as a whole this is clearly the best video of 2011 and one of the best clips of the diva's entire career but a little bit of sloppiness stops it from being a flawless masterpiece. Nevertheless, your faves have been scalped and Bey is back on top. The end.

9.5/10

Beyoncé's new album cover

Stay tuned for my "Run The World (Girls)" video review later tonight. Needless to say, the clip is fucking amazing and slays all your faves but, in the meantime, here is the cover of Beyoncé's 4th studio album - appropriately titled "4". Does anyone else thinks this is very Kylie circa "Body Language"? I might pull some pics together to illustrate my point. Bey looks absolutely breathtaking and I feel that the "Run The World (Girls)" video just gave the whole project a massive shot in the arm. The excitement level for the project just rose 200%! So what do you make of this? I prefer "Dangerously In Love" but it's a tie with "Sasha Fierce" for my second favourite B cover.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Belinda Carlisle - Trendsetter

Since seeing Belinda Carlisle perform a killer set at Rooty Hill RSL earlier this year, I've been binging on the iconic diva's amazing back catalogue of hits. There are so many brilliant songs to appreciate and rediscover but one stands out in particular. Well, two but I always rant about (We Want) The Same Thing - so I thought it was about time I moved on to something else. The song I'm talking about is the lead single from her 1999 greatest hits compilation. "All God's Children" sounds like a morose ballad but it's actually an uplifting, inclusive pop song that echoes the sentiments of the biggest trend in popular music at this very moment - the so-called empowerment anthem.

Now this shit can go one of two ways:

1. Done right - these songs can lift your spirits and make you feel better about being different, lonely, shunned or an outcast. They are the musical equivalent of a warm embrace (Katy Perry's "Firework") or a defiant fuck you to haters (Ke$ha's "We R Who We R") that make you feel braver and stronger.

2. Done wrong - well, I have three words for you. Born. This. Way. If I have to listen to that middle-class, heterosexual white woman tell me "don't be a drag, just be a queen" one more time I'm rushing to the nearest branch of Scientology and begging for the homosexuality cure.

It goes without saying that "All God's Children" belongs in the former category and can actually be viewed as something of blueprint for the genre. While Katy and Ke$ha were still playing with barbies and popping pimples, Belinda was bringing people together with her Metro produced feel-good anthem. I usually shy away from lyrics with religious overtones but the song has a simple message about the need to be loved and accepted that I find universal and true despite all that God talk. The track packs an even bigger emotional punch if you know how supportive Belinda has been of her openly gay son.

But I digress. Given its 1999 release date, I'm pretty sure "All God's Children" was a calculated attempt to recreate the success of Cher's "Believe". The same producers were used, an ageless diva who could pass for 20 was given a dance track and the videos both look like they were shot in the dark. Unfortunately, Belinda's jam stiffed at #66 in the UK. Which, reading between the lines of her amazing autobiography, might have had more to do with her personal demons and record company politics. As for the video, I love it. Ms Carlisle looks absolutely stunning. In fact, she's ten times hotter than the frumpy girl in it - so why isn't she making out with the hot guy with the bushy eyebrows?

Enjoy one of the original and best empowerment anthems from a true legend.

The Undisputed Single Of The Year

It's all over, pop bitches. Please pack your bags and go home. Nicki French snatched your wig and is currently using it to stuff her doona for winter.

Listen here. You'll be stunned and amazed - like Dannii in "This Is It".

Monday, May 16, 2011

Elen Levon's first photoshoot

About a month ago I wrote a post about rising Australian pop diva Elen Levon. She had just made her debut performance at Supafest and I pegged her as a future star. The talented 16-year-old is the complete package (great voice, good looks, hot dance moves etc) and is sitting on the best unreleased song of the year. I can't wait until I can post a clip of "Naughty" but here's an exclusive preview of Elen's first photoshoot. Doesn't she look gorgeous? I'm told they are filming her video clip in a couple of weeks, so it won't be long until you see and heard a lot more from this girl. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bag Raiders - Big In Germany!

Some of you might remember Bag Raiders' amazing "Shooting Stars", which was a surprise Pop Panel winner back in 2009 and went on to become something of a sleeper hit in Australia. It never broke into the top 50 but the song hung around the iTunes top 200 for the best part of a year and turned up in the strangest places - most recently as a warm up song at Katy Perry's Sydney concert. The band went on to score a top 10 album and tear up the summer festival circuit but I had no idea they had broken into the European market until a friend in Berlin asked me about them. Their recent single "Way Back Home" is being used in a commercial over there and is currently rocketing up German iTunes. I'm excited about this! I love the song and was pissed when it stiffed at #77 in Australia. Not only that but it's getting a physical release over there, so I'll have something to add to my rather pathetic Bag Raiders collection. Now that I think about it, Empire of the Sun were also huge in Germany. I think Gypsy and the Cat, Miami Horror and Muscles need to jump on the next plane to Hamburg because Deutschland is clearly the way forward! Fingers crossed, "Way Back Home" gets a re-release at home.

Natasha Bedingfield relaunches "Strip Me"

Daniel Bedingfield's incredibly annoying horse-faced sister is gearing up to relaunch her mega-flop 4th album in Europe. "Strip Me" must rank as one of the biggest chart disasters in recent history. It peaked at a not-so-lofty 103 in America - exactly 100 places below its predecessor! The album might have been chart poison but it's the first NB opus I can listen to from beginning to end without wanting to retch, so I'm kind of glad she's giving it another push. Now called "Strip Me Away" - it's basically the same album with her 2008 top 5 US hit "Pocketful Of Sunshine" tacked on for good measure. Somewhat surprisingly, they're also going with that as the lead single. I don't know what it says about the state of your career when your record company promotes a three year old track ahead of new material but fuck it - "Pocketful Of Sunshine" is actually a decent song and it seems to be working. At least in Germany, where it's a top 50 hit. Here's the tracklist in case you're one of the 10 still interested in this increasingly sympathetic nobody.

Disc 1

1. Pocketful Of Sunshine
2. Little Too Much
3. All I Need
4. Strip Me
5. Neon Lights
6. Weightless
7. Can't Fall Down
8. Try
9. Touch
10. Run Run Run
11. Break Thru
12. No Mozart
13. Recover
14. Weightless (Less is More Version)
15. Put Your Arms Around Me
16. Unexpected Hero

Disc 2

1. Strip Me (live video)
2. Weightless (live video)
3. Can t Fall Down (live video)
4. Run Run Run (live video)
5. Pocketful of Sunshine (music video)
6. Strip Me (music video)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Aphrodite Tour Editions!

With Kylie's "Aphrodite" tour less than a month away from reaching our shores, Warner Music Australia has suddenly remembered they have Kylie on their register and rushed out not one but two tour editions of the album. There's the "Aphrodite – Les Folies Tour Edition", which is a 3 CD opus that includes the original album, a remix CD and a megamix party disc. Check out the tracklist below:

Disc 1:

Standard "Aphrodite" album

Disc 2:

1. Put Your Hands Up (Pete Hammond Remix)
2. Aphrodite - (Denzal Park Remix)
3. Cupid Boy - (Stereogamous Dub)
4. Get Outta My Way - (Paul Harris Vocal Mix)
5. All the Lovers - (WAWA & MMB Anthem Remix)
6. Put Your Hands Up - (Muscles Club Remix)
7. Better Than Today - (Bimbo Jones Remix)
8. Higher - Taio Cruz feat. Kylie

Disc 3:

20 Minute Megamix Party Disc

On the bright side, this is an improvement on the heinous "X" tour edition, which was probably thrown together in 5 minutes by a drunk intern. I'm glad there's a new cover and some new locally commissioned remixes. I featured the excellent Stereogamous Dub of "Cupid Boy" on the blog a while ago and I'm glad my former flatmate MMB made the cut! New mixes by Muscles and Denzal Park are also a nice touch. It's nice to see that some thought has gone into the project.

However, is Warner Music completely unaware that the majority of Kylie's fanbase is heading towards 40 and no longer tears up the club on a regular basis? Perhaps sticking on a couple of unreleased "Aphrodite" tracks instead of two remix CDs would have been a good idea. They could have started with "Change Your Mind" and "Broken Hearted (Love Love Love)". Or how about the amazing Japanese bonus track "Heartstrings"? That song easily ranks as one of the finest moments of Kylie's entire career. Even better - why not show some confidence in the the album and push a new single to radio in a bid to properly revive it instead of putting out a tour edition for a quick buck? A cheap live video and a handful of remixes is all it takes and that would pay dividends for longer than the two weeks she's in Australia.

The other super stan "Aphrodite Goddess Edition" looks much more promising. It comes with an incredibly fabulous pop-up booklet and exclusive new photos. Check out some pics of the booklet here. Some real TLC went into this glamorous and original package. I'll have ten! Both tour editions apparently hit stores on June 3 to coincide with the tour. Here's my friend's remix of "All The Lovers":

Dannii leaks

And no, I'm not referring to the legendary diva's battered, post-birth pelvic floor. Nafensays must have left his holy iPod lying around the gay sauna because an unreleased "Neon Nights" track from 2003 has found its way online. "Weak" has always been high on my wish list of Dannii demos due to the involvement of Henrik Korpi, who is responsible for some of the fertile Minogue's best songs including "Put The Needle On It", "Creep" and my fave track from the entire NN era - "For The Record". Unfortunately, "Weak" turns out to be an appropriate title and I'm glad it was given the chop. Not that it's a bad song but "Neon Nights" remains of the most perfect pop albums of all time and this would have tainted it with mediocrity.

Holidannii's latest leak, which I expect Nafensays to monetise any second now with a re-release of "Unleashed", is a fairly dark ballad. It shows a different side of the diva and her vocal is lovely but the production is very underdone (it's a demo, after all) and the track lacks the hook it needed to be great. Anyway, this is more Kylie's area of expertise. She can pull off the occasional darker moment but Dannii is too fabulous for misery and this doesn't quite cut it. Having said all that, I've listened to "Weak" 20 times on repeat and like it more with each listen. If nothing else, it reminds me how much I miss the former queen of clubs. Dannii, forget about reality TV and return to your true calling - music hasn't be the same without you!

Listen to "Weak" - HERE

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thiefga strikes again!

Lady Gaga's brazen thievery is becoming a recurrent theme on my blog. I got the ball rolling by explaining how Mother Monster stole La Toya's entire career before exposing "Judas" as a Loli Lux re-make. I then noticed that poor Sheena Easton had also earned a seat at the next Victims of Lady Gaga support group meeting. Well, the latest diva to be fleeced by pop's favourite kleptomaniac is Soraya Arnelas. Her usually placid fans are up in arms over the similarities between "The Edge Of Glory" and the club queen's 2008 Spainwide smash "Sin Miedo". If you can read Spanish, check out this post over at Fandemia. Gaga has basically stolen the backing track and sung some shit over the top. I'm disgusted and appalled. It's one thing to steal from a relative unknown but Soraya is an international superstar who came 23rd at Eurovision and once scored a top 20 hit in Poland. Did Gaga really think no one would notice? I've been giving this a lot of thought and I honestly believe Soraya has inspired the Grammy winner's entire career. The parallels are uncanny:

1. They are both blond.

2. Their families both hail from Europe.

3. I can't be sure but I suspect they both have vaginas.

I rest my case.

Compare "The Edge Of Glory" with the vastly superior "Sin Miedo" below. Don't worry, Soraya. Justice will be served!

VS

Beyoncé update - album details & video preview

Beyoncé's non-existent "Run The World (Girls)" promo campaign finally kicked off today with an insightful interview with Billboard magazine, the first album review and a longer video teaser. It's a lot of information to process - so here are the most important tidbits:

1. Bey's soon-to-be-all-conquering 4th album will be called "4". The title isn't going to win any awards for originality but at least it isn't an embarrassment like "B'Day". It's also a cute nod to fans who nicknamed the project "Round IV", so I'm on board.

2. The more I hear about this project, the more I'm convinced we're about to embark upon the 16 time Grammy winner's "Impossible Princess" phase. Everything from the line-up of producers to the scheduled rock festival appearances and list of influences screams edgy and experimental.

3. My gut feeling was pretty much confirmed by B's riveting Billboard interview, in which she said:

"I love... mixing different cultures and eras — things that typically don’t go together — to create a new sound. I can never be safe; I always try and go against the grain."

Truth!

4. She then listed her influences for the album as DeBarge, Fela Kuti, Adele, Lionel Richie, Muse, Teena Marie (YES!), Jackson 5, New Edition, Florence + the Machine, Prince and Rage Against The Machine. This is so exciting! I'm picking up on a strong retro R&B vibe with a little rock thrown in for good measure.

5. I love that Beyoncé is taking risks and growing. She could have easily phoned up Max Martin and Dr Luke like every other ho in the game and picked up 10 radio ready hits but that's what separates a legend like Mrs Knowles-Carter from manufactured pop stars like Britney and Rihanna - the drive to try new things and grow. It might be a total disaster but I'd prefer she experiment than play it safe and just be another number in the pack. This is all or nothing. And my money is still on Bey.

6. The highest earning pop star on the planet is feeling older and wiser. In another interesting Billboard quote, she says:

"I'm approaching 30, and finally took a break in my life, which I’ve never had. I took more than a year off: I traveled around, spent time with my husband, woke up in my own bed, ate whatever I wanted, went to museums and Broadway plays, watched documentaries, and just had life experiences."

In a typically biased and unnecessarily hateful post, my frenemy The Prophet desperately clutched at straws by citing a couple of random features as proof that Bey never got off the grind but truth be told she's been keeping a low profile since "Telephone", singing the occasional verse for friends and releasing a video for "Why Don't You Love Me?" that probably took 30 minutes to make. Apart from that she's just been snapped going to restaurants, hanging out at music festivals and travelling around Europe. I'm glad she's had the chance to recharge her batteries and bring fresh ideas to the table. Her increasingly stale rivals should try it.

7. The only child of destiny that counts confirmed she will star in a re-make of "A Star Is Born" - a role previously played by gay icon Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland. Bey now walks in the company of legends while Brit Brit is desperately trying to pitch "Crossroads 2" to Doll Phace.

8. A listening party was held in New York overnight and Just Jared posted the first review. It sounds amazing - particularly the song with the Boys II Men sample - but again I'm left with the impression that there are no instant radio hits on there. Which excites and scares me in equal measure.

9. I'm really excited that Beysus is embracing a more organic, instrument based sound. That kind of accompaniment will really compliment her glorious voice and produce a timeless album.

10. The first real look at "Run The World (Girls)" arrived today and it's absolutely flawless. I generally ignore YouTube comments but I agree with the stan who said "Sorry Gaga, but THIS is what $10 million should look like!" Francis Lawrence has crafted something truly epic. It's too early to start raving like a lunatic but - from the teaser alone - this is already the video of the year. The post-apocalyptic scenario is audacious and compelling. There are fucking hyenas in it. Bey's lacefront slays my life. That's all you really need to know.

Get ready to cry and shake!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The most terrifying pop song... EVER

Now this is some scary shit. Just when I thought I'd seen it all, along comes a 13-year-old boy with a creepy hymn set to banging techno beats not heard since the glory days of Ya Kid K. Normally I'd be amused but "Mary Did You Know" is frightening on so many levels. Not in the least because little Johnny Hammer reminds me of Damien from The Omen - if he had been brought up by a gay uncle with a killer collection of S'Express vinyls. Then there's the chilling video and almost ominous lyrics. But the most disturbing thing about this future floorfiller - well, apart from it actually being kind of catchy ("baaaaaaby booooy") - is the fact that it's not a piss take. Technopraise is an American collective that specialises in Christian dance music. You know, for those moments when you feel like getting a little closer to Jesus by hitting up the club. I want to hate this but I'm completely hypnotised by its grandiose awfulness and eagerly away the next smash from the Justin Bieber of holy electro. Praise him before he eats your soul!

I'm coming out... as an Avril stan!

I've always liked Avril. She might come across as a miserable bitch with a chip on her shoulder the size of Lady Gaga's penis but her music is hot. I never got around to reviewing "Goodbye Lullaby" on the blog but it would easily place in my top 10 albums of 2011. Thus far. Admittedly, it's not quite in the same league as her brilliant 2004 opus "Under My Skin" - which is one of my favourite albums of all time - but in comparison to the soulless shit being served up by Britney and Rihanna, it's a fucking masterpiece. At first I thought it was a little light on singles but with each new spin, I become more and more convinced that songs like "Push", "Wish You Were Here" and "I Love You" could be hits. A lot is riding on the second single. If "Smile" takes off, Avril has a (small) chance of snatching her pop/rock crown back from Pink. If not, it's only a matter of time before we see her co-anchoring The Voice next to Xtina. Actually that would be kind of amazing! But back to "Smile". The perky Max Martin/Shellback produced brat anthem is a total winner. Catchy, radio friendly and infused with enough attitude to keep the kids happy - this should do well with a decent video and a bit of promotion. Now Avril just needs to drag her bony arse back to Sydney for a tour. Nobody mopes around stage looking bored shitless better than her!

Cascada is back!

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about Havana Brown, calling her the Australian Cascada. Well, the real deal is back with a new single to put the pretenders in check! Or at least try to. My love/hate relationship with the German trio isn't exactly a secret. They have churned out some truly rancid shit over the years but I love Natalie's child-bearing hips and they occasionally get it oh so right. See "Evacuate The Dancefloor" and "Pyromania". While I don't think "San Francisco" is quite in that league, it is a nice change of pace for the group. The third single from their soon-to-be-released 4th studio album (second if you overlook the scrapped trainwreck that was "Night Nurse"), Cascada's ode to the gayest city in the world is a cheerfully inoffensive pop jam that takes the bpm down a couple of notches. I like the inane chorus and think there's something admirably 90s about the whole project. The video is also typically cheesy Cascada fare that finds Natalie channelling her inner hippy. That fabulous bitch has always looked like her pill just kicked in, so it's not much of a stretch. But that fringed leather jacket was always a no. Oh and for the record, Havana does it better.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Is Pattyboy the worst pop star of all time?

That was a rhetorical question because the answer is clearly yes! Pattyboy is the hottest mess to grace Pop Trash Addicts in its long and sordid history. With the voice of an unautotuned Kim Kardashian, dance moves that Katherine Hepburn perfected shortly before leaving this mortal coil and a wardrobe of outfits that look like rejects from Perez Hilton's short lived fashion line, this gay drags pop music to shocking new depths. But I'm not gonna hate. In fact, New Zealand's self-proclaimed male Lady Gaga - I just can't - is my new hero! It takes balls of steel (or a mental illness) to put yourself out there with this little talent and, let's face it, his music is still probably better than half of "Born This Way".

Take his amazing breakthrough hit "Disco Erection". The stunning club banger finds Pattyboy doing aerobics in his mother's old lyrca gym shorts on the floor of a nightclub while singing saying classy lyrics like "drink it up, bend and suck, get fucked". Doesn't it make you proud to be gay? No? Well, how about his glorious gay pride anthem "Wear Your Colours"? I might need to lay off the marijuana but I actually think there's a nice song hiding somewhere inside this heinous trainwreck. It has a sweet message and is a radical improvement on "Disco Erection" but Pattyboy's non-existent vocal ability and criminal dress sense ensure this will be another entry on the worst songs of all time countdown. Shame. As shit as he is, I'm kind of glad the taste-blind Kiwi is deluded enough to keep at it. And, truth be told, I can't wait to see what new depth he plumbs next!

Third time lucky for Auburn?

Auburn is one of my favourite fledgling pop divas. Her debut "La La La" was a fun slice of JR Rotem produced urban dance - complete with a catchy ATC sample - but it was her second single that really won me over. "All About Him" showed the 22-year-old beauty in a completely different light. I loved the cute retro-pop sound and softer vocal but, unfortunately, it never quite caught on and failed to chart in the US. Fingers crossed she has more luck with single number three. "Perfect Two" is already something of a phenomenon on YouTube, clocking up over 30 million views, and is steadily climbing the iTunes top 200. So far, so good! And it's easy to see the appeal. Auburn's latest jam is so sweet it will rot your teeth. An acoustic love song bursting with quotable lyrics like "you can be the vodka and I can be the chaser", this will be the soundtrack to weddings and anniversaries for years to come. All it needs is a cute video, a bit of promotion and Auburn could have the commercial breakthrough she thoroughly deserves. Put your cynicism aside for four minutes and fall in love with "Perfect Two". Now when is this smash being released in Australia?

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Hoff's new hit

I'm a little concerned that my blog is getting a bit too classy with posts about high brow acts like Lissie, Aloe Blacc and Melissa Tkautz - so I thought I'd write a quick post about David Hasselhoff's latest smash to get back to my trash roots. The Baywatch star is notoriously popular in Germany and his latest album is already a top 30 hit over there. I'm so jealous. They get Kim Gloss and The Hoff? Life just isn't fair. But I digress. "It's A Real Good Feeling" is the lead single from the sexy 58-year-old's new opus and it's as classy as we've come to expect from this undisputed musical genius. A cover of Peter Kent's 1980 number one hit, the track is a hot mess that showcases David's breathtaking vocals and unique brand of crazy. I particularly love the video. Make sure you keep watching until the 2:20 minute mark for the best special effects of 2011! In all seriousness, I worship the Hoff and hopes he keeps churning out the hits (in Germany) for decades to come. Brace yourself for a real good feeling and click below!