Monday, February 28, 2005

Hanson - Get Up & Go  

If the film Harry & Max ever gets released and becomes everyone's all-time favourite, there are many reasons that this song should be on the soundtrack. Firstly, Max in the film is quite clearly based on Zac Hanson. The lyrics of the song could also be (mis)interpreted to fit very nicely with the 'brotherly love' storyline, particularly "Just a guy like you, and maybe just a, just a guy like me, maybe we could take a walk on the wild side". The only flaw in this otherwise brilliant theory being that my little foray in the world of Googling song lyrics reveals that they actually sing "Just a girl like you", but it sounds so much more like "guy" and it's still my favourite non-single song on Hanson's new album! However, Zac is looking more and more worryingly like my cousin. But even more worrying is why there is an extra horizontal Taylor in this photo. Perhaps he thought, now he's married, he'd better clone himself so the fans can still think they have a chance with him!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Anouk - Nobody's Wife  

I don't know that much about Anouk but I have loved every one of the few songs I've heard by her. I usually can't be doing with shouty angry songs but European girls seem to do anger so much better. She still manages to show that she's a very talented singer whilst conveying her deep hate of some boy who's mistreated her. Forget Christina Aguilera, this is the song of a truly strong woman. I particularly love her laugh at the end of the first verse. Anouk isn't going to sit at home and cry, she's going to go out and get on with her life, her way. After all, "it ain't the first time that a man goes insane"!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Ari Hest - Caught Up In Your Love  

There's something about the steady bouncing rhythm of this song that really grabs me, particularly the chorus, "I'm looking out my window at blue sky above, caught up in your love". I also absolutely love every word of the lyrics. I'm not a particular fan of New York singer-songwriter Ari Hest, he's just another John Mayer substitute so 16-year-old American girls can say they like more than just John and Maroon 5 without admitting their adoration of the new Hanson album. However, he has a very nice voice, is very good at the high bits and even does a pretty good version of the usually untouchable unless you're impossibly cool and gifted, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen.

Dream - Pain  

Dream were quite possibly the least innovative girlband of all time but they made some very cute pop songs. They were best known for their mentor, P.Diddy (or whatever he's now called), and their debut single He Loves You Not. My favourite Dream song by far was this track, Pain, from their debut album which is very reminiscent of Robyn's Show Me Love. In the style of Cleopatra's Theme, this song boasts a very wishful thinking rap (well, talky bit!): "I'm going on tour and I'm about to blow up, you'll see me on TV and know you messed up, so remember the song and remember my name, it's Ashley from Dream and we'll change the game". Still, it's a very sweet mid-tempo pop song that had it been released in the late 90s would have been a bigger hit, but by the time Dream came out the rest of the American pop world had sadly moved on from the Swedish sound so their brand of cute pop was redundant.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Elisa - Come Speak To Me  

Whenever someone enquires about good Italian pop music on the Popjustice boards, they are inevitably met with a chorus of people singing this young lady's praises. This track, Come Speak To Me, was released as a single in the UK a few years ago. It's an absolutely lovely song and my personal favourite by Elisa, but she does have many other unusual but enchanting songs to her name. Her delicate accented English, emotive lyrics and beautiful singing voice combine to make an amazing, heartfelt song. She recently released a new album, Pearl Days, in Italy, with the first single Together which goes for a rocky sound but is still really good (click here for the video).

Monday, February 21, 2005

Smoke 2 Seven - Envy  

This girlband are known in my household as 'the Romanians'. They're not Romanian or at all Eastern-European as far as I know, but they're so weird-looking it was impossible to believe they could be English or in fact from this planet at all. Their names turned out to be Bev, Jo and Vikki. Definitely English. They also seemed to be stalking me, appearing at every pop gig I went to between 2002 and 03, but they did have this one brilliantly feisty 2nd single. Angry, threatening girl pop at it's best! If you like the rockier tracks by Lindsay Lohan you'll love this, cos it's kinda like that but a million times better. They also did a pretty good version of the song everyone from D-Side to MIA has sampled recently, Push It by Salt'n'Pepa.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Venke Knutson - Love Explains It All  

I have posted a song called Panic by Venke before, but it was quite a while ago so I shall re-introduce her. Venke Knutson lovely Norwegian singer-songwriter in her mid-twenties who used to be a teacher. She is often compared to Lene Marlin but she's much sweeter and lighter, so more accessible to pop kids like me. This is more of a ballad as opposed to the pop/rock sound of her first 2 singles, Panic and Scare, which I believe to be her biggest hit so far. She's not well known outside of Norway, perhaps because her songs aren't all that original or unusual, but her singing and her songs are both so utterly charming you can't fail to love them. She sounds like a more Earthy version of Annie and looks a bit like her too. Go to Sweden for the camp and endlessly fun Alcazars and Pay TVs of this world, but when you need something sweet and cheering, Norway seems to be the place to go. This song is quite solemn and reflective but also absolutely beautiful.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Rosie Ribbons - Good Thing  

Blink and especially A Little Bit were surprisingly good pop songs considering I never liked Rosie much on Pop Idol but to truly know why Rosie's dumping was such a tragedy you need to hear this album track. It was going to be the next single at one point but as you know she never got that far. It's so cool and punchy, and poppy of course, with the same slight r'n'b flavour and ace backing track of the other singles - it really is an excellent song on which she also sounds excellent. She may have had more success if she had sung in the warbly ballad style she was famed for on Pop Idol, but it wouldn't have been half as good as this.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Kate Ryan - Libertine  

This is Kate Ryan's cover of "French Madonna" Mylene Farmer's 1986 hit Libertine. I first heard it on my holiday to Germany in 2003 and soon couldn't stop singing the "ehohehoh"s and brilliant middle 8 which goes something like "papap-naohway-papap-diggadamdam-ehohehoh". It is a very cheerful piece of French trance-pop with much emphasis on the pop. This is foreign language pop that you can sing along to because the lyrics are simple and sung in such a forceful way you can easily pick them up. It also have a great beat running through it. I challenge you not to dance or throw yourself around the room in a crazy dancing rage, at least!

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