Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sarah McLeod - White Horse (Whelan & Di Scala Remix)  

This remix of a rock song is one of the best dance songs I've heard in ages. If you like Sarah's fellow Aussies the Rogue Traders, you'll enjoy this, and even if not, you've got to listen to it for the great use of a rather unsubtle Kelis reference. I hope she won't get sued for it! It's a brilliantly catchy and feisty song, and with her grainy yet powerful voice it's great to sing along to in angry moments - very cathartic. Her other songs are pretty good too, if you're looking for a mix of Kelly Clarkson and Juliet... well, someone might be! She used to be in a successful group called The Superjesus, who I'd never heard of but they seem OK (quite typical 90s rock-pop) from a bit of Googling, perhaps also worth investigating. Worryingly though, she is a spokesperson for the brand of motorbike my dad rides.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Leon Jean Marie - East End Blues  

I'm not a huge fan of Bed Of Nails, but his new single Bring It On is a bit better, and on his MySpace he has some really great pop songs. My favourite is East End Blues. His style is somewhat like Prince, but an updated 21st century version. If Prince was releasing these songs, he might have a few more top 10 hits. Similarly, Leon may have a few more hits if he was Prince - at the moment he's still a bit of a non-entity, and I'm not sure Bring It On is good enough to change that. However, it does annoy me that David Jordan has had some success, possibly taking up all the space there is for a new version of Prince. Hopefully the annoyingness of David's music and personality is being realised, and space will be made for Leon. That's as optimistic as I can be. The album is set for release on the 30th of June.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Nicole Atkins - Party's Over  

I've known of Nicole by name for several months now, but never got around to listening to her music. Watching The Box the other day I kept seeing her video for new UK single Maybe Tonight, and although at first I wasn't overwhelmed, it grew on me after a few listens and I was intrigued enough to listen to some more of her music. I'm glad I did as I liked all of the songs I heard. There isn't one that I immediately thought was amazing or a potential no.1 hit, but she wins at consistency and has a sound which fits in with current successes such as Feist, Regina Spektor and Duffy, while not sounding exactly like anyone in particular. I think this kind of act does need one song, a 1234 or Fidelity, that gets them noticed, and I'm not sure if Maybe Tonight does that, but it's possible she'll gain quite a bit of popularity by word of mouth. Party's Over is the song from her album which I enjoyed the most, a sassy retro-sounding track in the vein of Duffy, Lucky Soul or the Long Blondes.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Maroon 5 ft. Rihanna - If I Never See Your Face Again  

How exciting - 2 of my favourite acts are releasing a duet! This song appeared on Maroon 5's last album, which I personally thought was a great pop CD with loads of catchy songs (especially Not Falling Apart, my favourite), and now it's been remixed and half of it has been dished out to Rihanna. It takes a while to get used to her presence, but this is such a great song it can't really go wrong. It's going to feature on the re-released albums of both Rihanna and Maroon 5, and will be the new single of the latter. Rihanna currently has the far inferior Take A Bow out, but she really should have gone for her album's title-track, my favourite song on there, joint with Umbrella and Don't Stop The Music. The video for this has just been filmed (as this photo shows), so it should be out soon.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Kerli - Beautiful Inside  

It's all getting a bit Euro-girl-angst around here at the moment, which is thankfully no reflection of my personal state of mind. Like Maria, Kerli's a European singer I've known of for years who is suddenly getting a bit more attention. Kerli is Estonian and is currently being launched as something of a slightly less weird Bjork, but her earlier work is far less obtuse. She even entered Melodifestivalen once, strangely enough. I was really excited to hear that Kerli had been signed by a major label and would release her new album internationally, but I'm quite disappointed by what I've heard so far. It's not bad exactly, but I couldn't call it poptastic. Nonetheless, Beautiful Inside is a great song - a similar style to what was going on in American music at the time, but with a European twist that makes it more interesting sonically. It was her submission to Estonian Eurovision in 2004, but didn't get picked for some reason. The actual choice didn't even make the finals, so it seems they made quite a mistake there!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Maria Haukaas Storeng - Breathing  

Being the Norwegian entrant, Maria probably doesn't have much chance of winning this year's Eurovision, but she is definitely one of the fan favourites for 2008. This is not her entry, but a single from a few years ago, which I always intended to post, but never actually did. It's very easily compared to Kelly Clarkson (and Maria was 6th in Idol 2004), in contrast to her Eurovision entry, which is often said to be very Amy Winehouse-esque. It's a nice rock-pop power ballad, which always grows on me as I listen. I think it would fit in very well on the soundtrack of One Tree Hill or Dawson's Creek. There are a lot of Norwegian pop stars who, in my opinion, are a great deal better than Maria, but this track at least gave her one moment of glory. She sings with feeling, and the chorus is always left in my head for a long time after I listen.

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