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Monday, April 24, 2006

So i'm back from my road trip, where I spent tons of money at the Downtown Disney Virgin Megastore. That place rocks!! Here is the result of my 70-something dollars spent:

Bananarama - Drama $17.99
I heard great things about this electro pop album, and when I saw the import for this price (the same as Virgin's regular overpriced CDs), I absolutely had to get it. I might regret this if it ever gets a U.S. release, but I doubt it'll come out domestically (unfortunately), and even if it does it's not like Kmart will have it for 10 bucks in the first week. BTW, There's only two members nowadays.
Rules of Attraction

Lindsay Lohan - Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter To Father) $5.99
I bought this single solely for the Dave Aude remix, which I had previously only been able to acquire through a rip of a crappy mp3 stream. It was totally worth it, even though i'm not a fan of Lohan's music career in general. As a bonus, I got the overly dramatic video (directed by her) on the enhanced CD portion!
Confessions of a Broken Heart (Dave Aude Remix)

Various Artists - Help: A Day In The Life $17.99
I thought this was an import, so I got it right away, although it turns out iTunes has it for $11.99. No matter. This is more 'indie rock' type than most of my usual listening, but not that much. It's a charity album with newly-recorded tracks from all the artists.
Hard-Fi - Help Me Please
Mylo - Mars Needs Women

Big Brovaz - OK $0.25
Seriously. The clearance price listed was $1.99, but I was never gonna tell them! This is a pretty good song from the 'cleaner' equavilent of the So Solid Crew, more UK urban-rap-pop. I love Kardinal Beats as remixers, who do a lot of what I would call "hip-pop" influenced mixes of various tracks. Maybe one day i'll do a special of their mixes...they've done loads.
OK (Kardinal Beats Vocal Remix)

Bananarama - Look On The Floor (Hypnotic Tango) $5.99
The title track is on the Drama album, and is great. One time I actually heard it on local radio during the dance specialty show, and I lost my shit! (They also played a new Dannii Minogue song once. Reminds me - i've gotta go cop Neon Nights one of these days, but i've already spent too much on music this month. :P) I bought the single for the b-side. Unfortunately, it's not that good. I'm into tons of dance and trance stuff, but in my opinion this track doesn't seem to have much of a hook.
Live In The Sun

Various Artists - The Relaxing Album $9.99
This is a pretty good 2-CD chill out set from the UK. The title is self explanitory, although for some reason they stuck "Children" by Robert Miles on there. The back mentions that quite a few of the selections come from English TV commercials.
DJ Sammy & Yanou Featuring Do - Heaven (Candlelight Mix) - When I first heard this version years ago, I thought it was pointless. I mean, "Heaven" was already a ballad when Bryan Adams. However, this one works. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the bigger hit on American radio, and it sparked a rash of ballad versions of dance songs that get all the airplay (D.H.T. i'm looking at you).
Deep Dish with Everything But the Girl - The Future of the Future - Two great dance acts, what more can you say? Deep Dish are responsible for some hot club tracks like "Say Hello" and "Flashdance" (not a cover of Irene Cara's "What a Feeling"...well, not really), and while Everything But the Girl have done a variety of styles of music, in the U.S. they are best known for great Todd Terry remix of "Missing". In all honesty, I haven't had the chance to listen to this yet, but I just wanted to post it for you guys.

Sorry I was so damn late with this...these past few weeks it's been all about finals. I'm seeing Fall Out Boy and All American Rejects on Wednesday (not really pop, so I won't post anything else about it here unless people want to know about it!) and my last exam is on Friday. After that i'll be free! I've got another post ready for today, actually. Coming up soon.

Last Updated @ 2:07 PM

She's qutting the music industry. :( Official statement:
As we said, we have some news... as you all know, the official site was hardly ever a reliable source - so this is the nearest thing to an official word you'll get, so on behalf of Jo, we're gonna release this statement for her.
Sorry to have to be the ones to break this to you - but Jo will no longer be releasing anymore singles, albums... no nothing. We're not going to speak out of term about anything that what has gone on, as we were told in confidence and basically she has been let down by a LOT of people, whom she put the trust of her career into.
Before the rumours start - Jo was NOT dropped by Sanctuary, she left them as she was no longer happy with them, and was unhappy in what she was doing... for now she's just gonna take some time out and work out what she wants to do, and she's happy doing that right now - so at the end of the day, thats all that matters - and as a result, the weekend at Thorpe Park was the last public appearance she is going to make.
Now we just have to look on the positive side, Jo's happy and she's healthy - and as long as she is that, then thats all that counts. At least we can still appreciate the music that she bought to us over the past 7 years that shes been a part of our lives.
One thing that we were told - and which we will share is that Jo realises that she will upset a lot of people by quitting, but she appreciates ALL the support she has received from every single one of you over the years.
As for this site, I have been running it and supporting Jo for years and I can promise you I am going no where! It wasn't just Jo's voice and talent we all admired, it was Jo herself and her amazing, fun and friendly personality. So she may not be singing anymore but she will still be around out there, which is all that matters to me - so this site and the forums will remain permanently open! Totally Jo are doing the same too, you can't get rid of us that easily! I will continue to update as, like Jo said to us herself... "it's not like I'm dead!" - which is true... and there is means of staying in contact with her, which we will do and if anything interesting crops up we will of course, share it.
Thanks for all the support - not only for Jo, but of course for the forums and fansites... we all hope you'll stick around.
~ So from all your fans here Jo, and around the world - thank you for everything... and we all wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide to do. We will without a doubt miss you and your voice loads, but we will ALWAYS be here! ~

She was always my favorite member of S Club 7. As kick-ass as Rachel Stevens' last album was, Jo was by far the best singer and most talented in the group. Hell, their only American hit "Never Had a Dream Come True" was basically a solo single for her! (Their appearance on TRL was funny, because she was the only one who did anything). She had several health problems with her back, etc., which didn't allow her to fully capitalize on her S Club fame, so she only released her first, ballad-heavy solo album last year. This isn't completely unexpected, as the album and single didn't sell. However, she was on an independent record label that was slightly more forgiven, and Jo appeared to be having somewhat of a resurgence due to being a contestant on the TV show Just the Two Of Us, which featured professional British singers (also including Natasha Hamilton of Atomic Kitten) paired with non-singing celebrities of various types and forced to sing. Unfortunately, I guess it was time.

I'm posting some songs of hers as a dedication of sorts.

Relentless (Blue Collar Extended Mix) - Before she decided to retire from the business, the title track from her album Relentless was on several release schedules in the UK, and it apparently got far enough for there to be a promo-only remix made. This one is good.
Let's Love (Metro Mix) - A remix of one of the handful of uptempo/midtempo songs on her album. It's pretty nice.
What Hurts the Most -
Her first and only solo single was originally a country song by Mark Wills, and having it covered yet again by Rascal Flatts and becoming a U.S. smash was probably a blow. I think it works in both genres, but the lead singer of Rascal Flatts' voice can get annoying at times, so I prefer her version.
S Club 7 - Never Had a Dream Come True (Mike Rizzo Dance Mix) - Like I said, it's practically a solo song for her anyway. This remix brings out the bittersweet aspect of the song; sounding happy despite the sad lyrics.
The First Time - Another ballad; b-side to "What Hurts The Most" co-written by Ronan Keating and the Metro team (same as the remixers of "Let's Love"; they also did "Believe" by Cher but this sounds nothing like it at all).

Last Updated @ 11:45 AM

Thursday, April 20, 2006

...of crap.

something I found at Beall's Outlet for $3 (region-free, no less!). Top 40 Hits (DVD): A bunch of music videos from the late '90s and early '00s, mostly from UK acts. It has some people i've heard of (Spice Girls, Kelis, Shaggy), some people i'd never heard of (Sean Macguire, Imaani, Dana Dawson - the last two songs are good), the mighty Scooch and what i've just discovered is the mighty Louise, and the holy grail of Popjustice crappy videos: "No Way No Way" by Vanilla. Honestly, when reading about them, I didn't believe that they were AS bad as described. Surely they were just another bunch of nondescript attempts at marketing a new Spice Girls, who sucked but were no better or worse than any other cynical clones that came out during that period.

But no. They were that bad. They couldn't sing for a hill of beans, they weren't cute, and the music video makes Girls Aloud's look like million dollar masterpieces in comparison. I watched this in the car DVD player on the trip home because I just couldn't wait. I was giddy with watching the trashy swimsuits, the ripping off of the Muppet Show's "ma na ma na" for the chorus, everything. Apparently they were a bet between two A&R heads that they could take the most untalented, unattractive group ever and get a #1 hit out of them. Luckily, that didn't happen. From what I gather, they released one more single, one of original members quit, and now they are apparently using their "stardom" to pitch for a liberal political campaign in England. "No pay, no way" is their slogan for increasing the minimum wage. Don't get fresh with them!

Of course, this means I finally figured out how to convert my DVDs! I use Videora iPod Converter to make them mp4s and upload them. Before I managed to understand that, I uploaded a huge .vob file of this video, although I have no clue why anyone would want to see this up close and keep it for posterity. Maybe you want to make a compilation of the worst music videos of all time, who knows?

Download link (195 MB - no longer works)

Tomorrow, a huge post about all the music I bought on my trip to Orlando, with lots of actual good songs to cleanse your ears. As for the visuals, I can't help you there.

Last Updated @ 9:23 PM

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Here it is! I'm back and I got the response from Nigel, which is really cool. Since Don'tStopThePop did a Clea album review and linked over here, I felt that I shouldn't procrastinate!

1. How would you describe the sound of your upcoming album, Trinity?
AIMEE: Its a cool mixture of every great sound that makes up pop! Its got a little bit of r'n'b, rock, and dance all put into the one album.

2. What are your favourite songs on the new album?
LYNSEY: We all love 'the lie' which is on of the original songs off the first album.
EMMA: And we love another up beat song called 'Playing the wrong game'.

3. What albums are you listening to at the moment?
AIMEE: I'm listening to Corrine bailey Rae, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, and a bit of the Sugababes too!

4. Emma, Lynsey, and Aimee: what is your favourite song of all time?.
AIMEE Its got to be 'When Doves Cry' by Prince.. or 'Kiss'!

5. What was it like filming your latest music video, "Lucky Like That"? It looked really fun.
EMMA: It was great fun. We loved getting the chance to be 4 different characters with four different looks in this video as we've never done that before!
LYNSEY: And the Clea car I was very excited about.

6. I know "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" was released in several European countries. Are there any more plans to release your new music
LYNSEY: Yes definitely, if we get the chance to bring our music out worldwide that is definitely the plan. it been great releasing in Europe so far and we look
forward to travelling more!

7. Tell one fact about yourself most people wouldn't know about you!
AIMEE: I am allergic to garlic, it keeps me awake all night if I eat it!

8. How is it being signed to an independent record label? Do you feel more freedom and support than being on a major label?
LYNSEY: Being with an independent label has given us a really close relationship with a record label that you wouldn't normally get. Usually your just another band on their books, but this gives us a chance to have a say in what we do and a lot more freedom too.

9. These days, the pop music scene in the UK hasn't been as successful as it used to be; great songs, including yours, struggle to get high chart positions. Do you think your new single "Lucky Like That" can do well in a climate that seems to be hostile to that type of music?
EMMA: Its true. pop music is a very hard business in the UK at the moment and a lot of great music gets missed. We want to bring some fun back into the charts!
LYNSEY: Lucky Like That is out little baby and we really hope its the one that will break us into the charts, given the right promotion and exposure we need!

10. What would you say to critics that say that your current sound is too bubblegum or dated?
EMMA: We have tried the whole mature pop cool thing in the beginning and it wasn't working for us. We're three young girls who enjoy pop music and that's naturally the direction we chose to go in.
LYNSEY: Like fashion, styles go around in one big loop and we think its time pop came back around. It may not be to everyone’s taste but nobody can cater to everyone!

11. How many tracks off the Identity Crisis album have been re-recorded on your new CD, other than "Download It" and "The Lie"?
AIMEE: All together we have included 5 songs off the original album. There is 'Stuck in the Middle', 'Pretty Little Bad Girls', and 'Butterflies and Rainbows.

12. "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off" had a bunch of hot guys in the video wearing nothing. If each of you had to pick any male celebrity to serve you hand and foot (in the nude!), who would it be?
AIMEE: Ohh how special does that sound! It would be Wentworth Miller from Prison Break! he is too hot.

13. What's the best part of being in Clea?
AIMEE: Working with my girlies Emma and Lynsey. there great girls to work with and have become like sisters to me.

14. You girls are really talented! How do you feel about miming/lip synching in live TV appearances or PAs?
LYNSEY: Its one of those things that in a lot of cases you have to do. Especially if you have a full on routine or if they don't have the right equipment for live vocals. Were not against it because we do it ourselves at some gigs, but we would prefer to sing live when we have the opportunity to.

15. On PopWorld.com recently, Aimee said that Emma was the only member in the group without a boyfriend. (As a fellow single girl, I'm with you!) Has that status changed?
EMMA: No I’m still a single gal and loving it!

16. Your last single was done with dance act/remixers Da Playaz and had a lot of alternate versions. Are you planning to release dance remixes for "Lucky Like That" or future singles, and what do you think of remixes of your songs in general?
AIMEE: They are wicked if we don’t mind saying so ourselves! ha-ha. there will be an enhanced single that includes four awesome dance mixes by different dj's including Uniting Nations.

17. What location in the world have you not yet visited that you'd like to go to?
AIMEE: I would love to visit the far east or Australia. They are such different cultures over there and it would be an amazing experience.

18. This comes from robpop, who loves you guys - Why aren't you releasing "Kick Back Relax" or "Don't Go"?
LYNSEY: We loved both of those tracks so much. We couldn't get the sample cleared that was used in Don't Go which was a real shame. As for Kick back Relax, we had some trouble getting it cleared with the writer of the song. Lots of politics as usual!

19. Finally, do your best advertisement for my UK readers to inspire them to buy your new single!
EMMA: Lucky Like That is such a fun pop'tastic record that is bound to get you on the dance floor this summer! Its a feel good track that should appeal to everyone and have you singing away. So make us lucky like that by buying our single and getting us our first Top 10!xx

Major thanks to Nigel and the girls!!

Last Updated @ 6:33 PM

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Okay, you guys got me. I'll let out the
surprise right now: I'm going to be doing an interview with British girl group Clea!!

If you have any questions for Lynsey, Aimee, and Emma, just leave a comment on this post or email me from the link on the blog! Depending on how many I get, i'll pick some or all of them to send over via email. I'm going to be leaving to Tampa for the weekend on Thursday afternoon, so you've got until tomorrow (Wednesday) at midnight EST to send them in!

Picture: behind the scenes of "Lucky Like That" music video (thanks to Nigel from the Clea team)

Last Updated @ 6:20 PM

Monday, April 10, 2006

Last Updated @ 7:30 PM

Sunday, April 09, 2006

This is an African commercial for a local brand of condoms. I've never actually seen a TV ad for comdoms in the U.S., though I think they'd be a good idea. I busted a gut laughing because of the soundtrack. "One Love"? Seriously? I know Blue were huge in Italy, but were they at all popular in African nations, or was this a joke by the marketing department? That song has absolutely nothing to do with condoms, except for the fact that Lee Ryan sure as hell better be using them.

Anyway, here's my favorite song from the new Pink album. I don't feel guilty posting it because US iTunes are being dumbasses and only allowing you to download the full album instead of individual tracks. I suggest you buy it. I can deal with Rascal Flatts outselling her, but "Collection of Overplayed Songs that Have Been Out For Months" 21 and the Disney TV movie High School Musical? No way!! (Honestly, i've been starting to think that America needs a seperate compilation album chart like there is in the U.K.) This song is Max Martin, but a variation on the new sound, and more electro pop.

'Cuz I Can

Last Updated @ 12:12 AM

Friday, April 07, 2006

As a rule, I'm not a fan of J-pop. I don't think it sucks or anything, it's just that I have no clue about it other than Utada's English album, and don't know what's the good in any genre is. I guarantee i'll never post it again. However, through Livejournal I discovered this girl Koda Kumi. From my research, she released a club single or two in the United States without success early in her career. Actually, they weren't very successful in Japan either...her career got saved when one of her songs got on the Final Fantasy video game soundtrack, therefore making her the toast of Japanese fans as well as American anime devotees, who flock to the occassional U.S. conventions she performs at. On livejournal they talked about her and how she apparently ripped off an American song, much like the Korean singer whose songwriters are being sued by Britney Spears' for copying "Do Something" for one of her singles. Links to YouTube videos turn into more YouTube videos, and here we are. These songs are pretty good, although they have the required one snippet of English words and the rest of the song in Japanese. One thing I can say is that they mostly keep their songs poppy.

Selfish - This is good. I wouldn't call it rock/pop...it's more like an uptempo dance/pop song using guitars (or guitar sound effects). It's all attitude-y.
Butterfly - Not the Mariah Carey song of the same name; this one is a fluttering upbeat (almost frantic), bubblegum extravaganza. I can see this song in a musical or something.
D.D.D. (feat. Soulhead) - This song was compared to the Moulin Rouge remake of "Lady Marmalade", and I can see that, because it's another song with attitude, a rap break, and a racy video. This song was released last December, during a promotional gimmick that had Koma Kudi releasing twelve limited edition singles back-to-back for 12 straight weeks. (I knew Asian acts were prolific, but damn!) They all did well, and now she is releasing her second (!) greatest hits collection featuring the dozen songs, I guess for those who didn't want to waste their money.
Shake It - This is the song that I first heard, and I honestly don't like it that much. It supposedly rips off a 3LW song titled "Is You Feeling Me" ("what could they expect, they already made the title in Engrish" - someone at LJ). It's more of a hip hop/r&b wannabe thing, and the music video features hilarious, slutty dance moves as part of an ill-advised belly dancer theme.

Music videos featuring varying degrees of sluttiness over at YouTube. Some aren't any worse than your average Christina Aguilera or modern Jessica Simpson video, butsome make you wonder how the hell they got on air, as they are basically BET Uncut material (however, no nudity, blurred or otherwise, which I am personally thankful for, though you might not be) except with more hyper audio accompianment and superior production values.

Last Updated @ 11:55 AM

Monday, April 03, 2006

I got my first comment spam today! If that wasn't enough proof that people are actually reading =) Heh.

No songs today, rats. Anyway, I wanted to give a shoutout to Kimiko, who managed to find and upload a great-quality copy of the Mynt remix of Kelly Clarkson's "Behind These Hazel Eyes" that I was begging for awhile back. If it's not a CD rip, it sounds damn close. Here it is for anyone else who wants it! Thanks!

Which leads me to another request, if anyone could help me with i'd be extremely thankful. Do any of my esteemed readers know of free software that can rip DVD video? I have one that does audio, but i've got some cool stuff on DVD (like old school TRL performances) that i'd like to upload on YouTube for you all, but I can't find anything that would work. A 5-minute limit on the trial/shareware on DVD would be great. It's okay if it has a little watermark on the side, but it can't have huge logos all over the screen. I know this is a lot to ask, but i'm at a loss right now. (Either this or PayPal me the money to buy a full version of something :P) THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Funny random shuffle on iPod: Pink, "Dear Diary"; Blue, "Guilty"; Green Day, "Give Me Novacaine". Colorful!

Last Updated @ 8:06 PM

Sunday, April 02, 2006

This post is about Marie Serenholt. She used to be in the A*Teens, a Swedish group who started out doing a bunch of ABBA covers but then branched out in doing their own great pop songs. They broke up a few years ago, and Marie is stepping out on her own, with her debut solo album, Enjoy The Ride. This is very much a throwback to the teenpop of the end of the last decade, and ocassionally it's too cheesy even for me. It definitely sounds dated (in the best way, but still), and would probably find little success outside of Scandinavia these days, although i've heard rumblings of a UK release.

The album was released in her native Sweden last month, and is short (only 10 tracks), but with some gems. Lead single "That's The Way My Heart Goes" is almost pre-Britney Britney, if you could call it that. The music video that makes her out to be a fembot Jessica Simpson clone freaks me out, but the song itself is nice. That one's been posted elsewhere, so here are some of my favorite album tracks.

Enjoy The Ride - The title track, great sort-of-breezy song that combines some slight guitar work with the pure pop. She doesn't have the best or strongest voice, but her wistful vocals work for this song and some others.
I Love Making Love in The Morning
- Described as the "happiest song ever" on the Popjustice boards, it's upbeat and '60s inspired, much like Emma Bunton's last album.
The Boy I Used To Know - My favorite song on the CD! It's bubblegum stomping joy. I don't know how to describe it, but if you were only going to download one of her songs, i'd recommend this one.
Calling All Detectives - Slower, more mid-tempo track with some "rhythmic talking" (I refuse to call it rapping) and an interesting spin on the cheating boyfriend theme, including a CSI shoutout.
Can't Be Loved - The beginning almost sounds like a semi-jazzy/big band song, until it gives way to another stormer.

Next time, who knows? I think i've got another performer from a far-flung location next, but i'd like to keep it a surprise :)

Last Updated @ 10:20 PM