Hey!! I'm back from vacation, but i'm still pretty beat and have to check up on things, so I won't be updating for a few more days, I think. Just some news tidbits:
- THANK YOU for everyone that commented on posts while I was away, both old and new. I promise i'll try to put back up any songs previously posted that have gone down...again, eventually. ;)
- If you have noticed lately, it appears that while I was gone, YouTube decided that I had gotten too many copyright violations (ironically, the last was the very first video I uploaded), so my account (splitchick59) was deleted. I've got a new one now, and i'll try to start putting back up what was lost (the Vanilla video was taken off the site *sob*) sometime in the next few weeks. If some older links/embedded videos don't work, i'm sorry.
- I had a couple of minor pop sightings while on vacation. Our first hotel gave free copies of USA Today to guests, which is where I found out (in a tiny blurb) that Top Of The Pops has been canceled, which is totally bullshit. It made me slightly depressed when I first read it...where will the pop acts go to promote their stuff now?!? There's Popworld and that's basically it. Yes, TOTP2 is continuing, but it's mostly older performances with the ocassional new song, but who actually thinks the rare modern performances will be pop?? The other music shows BBC have wouldn't touch them. Thankfully, CD:UK appears to be coming back, but on the lesser-watched Channel Five, which will put it on about the same level with its just-launched U.S. equavilent, which is solely on one satellite provider. I have cable, so I can't watch it...boo. Also, I was bored in the supermarket and leafed through tabloids, where I saw one with a column talking about how the lovely Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud is dating Jesse Metcalfe from Desperate Housewives (which I don't watch), and another had ex-Atomic Kitten singer Natasha Hamilton (where's that solo career, man?!?) in what looks like French kissing Prince William on the cover. I don't really care, but it just made me chuckle. Combine that with McFly getting the most publicity they ever have in the States (which is a short sub-minute segment on the E! Channel) for writing a song that is ostenibly about having sex with Lindsay Lohan, although the video is homoerotic enough to fool me...c'mon, naked dudes literally in a closet?)
- Also, Popjustice got new boards (yes, again) while I was away, and I had to sign up again. If you were on the last ones, you'd have to, too, I guess. I hope they'll stay up this time, though. When I left for vacation the site was completely dead, and I was like "great, so pop is dying EVERYWHERE"? But it's not. At least not totally.
- The new Jessica Simpson single, "A Public Affair" is amazing. Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" (from the 12-second clip I heard, at least) blows chunks, but it will probably be the bigger hit because he's Justin. In my opinion, he's pretty much overrated, with "Cry Me A River" being the only thing he's ever done that's lived up to the hype, except his appearance on Saturday Night Live. ("I'm Ashton Kutcher, and i'm AWESOME!" and Omletteville were classics.)
First off, i'm going to be gone for awhile; for like a week and a half. The family (including me, lol) is going on a road trip, tomorrow morning. Virginia, the Carolinas, i've never gone. Anyway, I won't be able to access a computer or anything, so I won't be able to update this blog.
The least I could do before I leave is reupload, yet again, those new Bananarama tracks that seem to keep skipping that some people asked for very nicely.
Live In the Sun - Dancey b-side to Look on the Floor single. It sounds better listening to it again, than I thought I did the first time I heard it. Rules of Attraction - from the Drama album, just released in the U.S.! Thankfully I didn't spend too much on the import. The backing music to it is cool, sounds very Richard X although it's not a production of his.
And something I didn't post the last time around: Look on the Floor (Hypnotic Tango) [Radio Edit] - I guess this sounds slightly different from the album version? It's one second longer and might have a very faintly more prominent beat. Whatever, it's a great song either way.
Just posting to post, I guess. I don't have anything prepared, but enjoy what's here because it rules. This has even less of a theme than my last hodgepodge post, just some (mostly recent) stuff I found that I thought was cool. Now for the music!! :)
Rescue Me From the Toxic - Britney Spears vs. Rihanna. I'm a fan of mash-ups. Sometimes they turn out amazingly cool, sometimes they don't. This one doesn't stand up to the best i've heard, but it combines two of the best pop songs of the past few years, so how can you really go wrong?!
X (Demo Version) - Liberty X. I think this is the third single from their third album, the pop group that never gives up and never seems to get dropped no matter how little they sell. I still like them, though. This version is different from both the one on the album and the single edit, and I think it's better than both. It has the horns of a Rich Harrison production, so it has that pop/r&b/almost big band combination. It features different lyrics, too, so it's almost like a new song!
Maneater (DJ Cruze Funkfinder Remix) - Nelly Furtado. I've never heard of this guy, but it seems like he might be German. Either way, this is an AMAZING club mix, and not crappy like the slow hip-hop remix featuring Lil Wayne and some idiots in the background yelling "Yup!" like they're Dem Franchise Boyz or something.) Chelsea - Stefy. Now this song was a surprise. A catchy electropop band signed to the same record label as Creed?!? Believe it or not, it's true. This debut single was just released this week, and is on the soundtrack to upcoming teen flick John Tucker Must Die, which looks hilarious from the preview. The lyrics of this song are funny too! Check out more great songs on their MySpace.
That's What Love Can Do (Club Mix) - Boy Krazy. Now for some retro. Possibly the one Stock/Aitken/Waterman song that was a bigger hit in America than in the UK, in the early '90s (thought to be past their prime) nonetheless. This is an extended version of the original, a mid-tempo cheesy pop number that I think stands up to the best of Rick Astley and early Kylie. An ill-fated UK trio called Toutes le Filles covered this song in '99, which is how I first heard of it.
I Can't Hate You Anymore - Nick Lachey. If you have this song and "What's Left of Me", there's no need to buy his new album, because all the songs sound the same. This has a good hook, but inexplicably, Jive Records seems to be going with "Resolution" as the follow-up single. Obviously, this song is about his divorce.
A.M. to P.M. (Hex Hector Mix) - Christina Milian. She got dropped from Def Jam recently, after her latest album sold almost nothing and she reportedly rejected "SOS" when presented to her before Rihanna. This is from back when she used to be pop while the American music scene was all urban all the time, and they refused to release her first CD in the States. (Ironically, now that the U.S. is more open to pop music than any time since the glorious teen pop era, Christina starts trying to be hardcore r&b and pretending she's a 'gangsta'. I like "Say I", but i'd buy that so much more from someone like Keyshia Cole. Milian's just too 'cute' for me to buy it.) I actually have a promo pack for this song, featuring a radio single, a 2001 (I think) calendar, and stored in a flimsy clear plastic suitcase with her logo on it.
Back very soon (and I mean it)!
P.S. I'm not going to post that new Beyonce song "Deja Vu" because a) I might get sued, and b) It's not that good. Of course, it's no doubt going to be the most successful and most overhyped song of the summer. Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man" is far better, but I don't think that matters when radio will play a recording of Bee farting the alphabet.
Sofia Loell is someone I had never heard of until about a month ago. I think I was looking at something on iTunes when she was recommended to me, and I loved the clips. Amazon.com has her album (which appears to be her only American release, at least) for $5.95, but in limited quantities. Right Up Your Face was released in 2002 by Curb Records, and sank without a trace...as a pop fan, I had absolutely no recollection of her whatsoever. Last year she released a single in Scandinavia called "Unfreeze Me", but from what i've heard, it isn't as good as this album. This year she released another European single called "War of Life", which I haven't heard and am therefore assuming isn't a modified Billie Piper cover. :P
She's Swedish! That pretty much means she has to make good pop as a rule, I guess. This is slightly more "roots-based" pop in the sense that they are mostly based on actual instruments, and at times both the music and vocals sound slightly Irish in character. She wrote all the songs on the album, most by hersle.f Her English lyrics are a bit awkward some of the time (as in the "hit" spotlighted by the album cover sticker, "Right Up Your Face"), but I think she has a good way around a melody. If you're into the Corrs' poppier moments, you'd probably like this CD, but if you don't, it's still good. Most songs are relentlessly happy-sounding, even when the lyrics aren't.
Utopia - Apparently this was a single somewhere, because I saw a single cover. It starts out slow, and then speeds up to chug along on an upbeat pop-rock track. The horn effects are great. There is only one ballad on the album, and this isn't it. Lover Undercover - On an album of upbeat songs, this is one of the most boppy ones of all. It's quirky, and I like quirk! Will You Move On (Heaven's Not Enough) - An even more fast-paced track, like an Avril Lavigne (who debuted around the same time) with a sweeter vocal sound. The lyrics are completely worthy of any of the current 'independent' pop/rock chicks, saying that although the guy in question is nice, she needs to be alone to find herself. Somebody Else - This has bells in it! It's like really good 1998 Eurovision. I don't know a lot of Eurovision songs, but it gives me the vibe that i've heard about. This also has a great melody, and like many songs on this album it especially hearkens back to Abba somewhat, combined with the guitar sound. Right Up Your Face - The only U.S. single to promote the album, i'm assuming. This is the best song to get a peek of her unusual wordplay, telling a guy to go away, "right up your face". Hmm. The song itself is pretty catchy, and more of a "typical" Michelle Branch-esque sound, but the words (and a lack of payola $$$) probably killed it.
On another note, why the hell does Nick Lachey have a VH1 Behind the Music show?! I remember when they only did those for either legends, or infamous disasters like Milli Vanilli ("Blame It On the Rain" kicked ass). The 98 Degrees stuff is interesting, though; about how they went from r&b to pop music when the former wasn't selling. It got us "The Hardest Thing", so it wasn't that bad.
I'm not sure what the hell is up with the Bananarama songs, because it seems as if every time I rip them they're skipping and crap. I'll try to get them up again, ok?
LeAnn Rimes' new album, Whatever We Wanna, dropped in Europe this week. (That's a dumb title, but in a year seeing future releases such as Janet Jackson's 20 Years Old, Beyonce's B-Day, and now Justin Timberlake's Future Sex Love Sound, it doesn't sound quite so bad in comparison). Of course, the album leaks after I already ordered it from Amazon.co.uk. I recieved the shipment yesterday, and i'm not completely sure if it was worth $20, but there are some good songs on it. It's a pop album aimed at the European market (and therefore won't be getting a U.S. release, especially as she is still promoting her last country album This Woman, which just sent a #1 single to country radio this week.). However, it's more of an adult contemporary sound. The vibe reminds me a lot of Delta Goodrem, right down to the duet with Brian McFadden!
And It Feels Like (Hi-Tack Remix) - This was the first UK single from the album, which charted somewhere in the 20s this week. (The rest of Europe got "Strong" instead.) It's a pretty good song, and although this remix hasn't recieved the best reaction from some corners, I like it. Headphones - This is one of the more upbeat songs on the album, with an almost subdued electro-pop influence. One of the songs LeAnn co-wrote, it has some wierd lyrics, but it has a good melody. Save Myself - With a slightly different arrangement, this could fit perfectly on one of her country CDs, which makes sense as most of this album was produced by Dann Huff, known for working on those albums and with many other country artists, including Carrie Underwood. As it is, it's the kind of mid-tempo pop/rock number you'd expect from someone like Michelle Branch, or Avril Lavigne when she isn't trying to be angry on purpose. Destructive - Now this one is angry. I love the lyrics, and this is another song she co-wrote (she did most, including one song that also has a writing credit from her husband, dancer Dean Shermet). Some of the vocals in her lower register can get annoying, but it's a convincing pop song with electric guitars, with some electronic backing...think Girls Aloud's "Wake Me Up". Not quite that good, but I still love it. Break Me Down - This song is more representative of the rest of the album. It's a nice ballad that would fit on AC radio, and I think it's the best of that kind on the CD. It might be considered boring to some, but i'm into this kind of thing to a degree. It's where the Delta elements come in full force.
First things first: I forget who requested this, but someone anonymous in the comments said that the mp3 file of Bananarama's "Live in the Sun" that I uploaded a while back keeps skipping. I'm sorry; here you go!!
Alrighty then! :) Jennifer Love Hewitt. Best known as an actress, first in the '90s TV show Party of Five and teen movies like the kick-ass Can't Hardly Wait, and now in the hit CBS show The Ghost Whisperer, she has also had a less-successful singing career. I wouldn't rank her voice among the best by any means, but it's usually pleasant to listen to, and at times she exhibits more vocal range and power than I expected. Amazingly, she has managed to release four albums. The first, 1992's Love Songs, is from when she was a little kid and was released only in Japan. Two non-descript mid-'90s U.S. albums on Atlantic Records followed in order to capitalize off her television fame, notable mostly for her covering a Bread song and failing to create a dance craze with "Let's Go Bang". I don't have those albums, so we'll move past them.
Between those albums and her last, she released what I believe was possibly her biggest hit, "How Do I Deal" off the I Still Know What You Did Last Summer soundtrack in early 1990, the movie which she also starred in. Her music career took the back burner again until 2002, when she signed to teen pop incubators Jive Records (ironically when the boom had passed), hooked up with singer-songwriter Meredith Brooks of "Bitch" fame, and released the album BareNaked, which was either a symbol of Love pouring her heart out in song (she co-wrote six songs and wrote one by herself) or a crass marketing attempt for people to buy it in hopes that there would be a nude poster inside. (There wasn't.) Either way, the album flopped, like her others, and she returned to focusing on her acting. She was probably one of the better actress-to-singer crossovers, not that that says much; i'd definitely rather have a new CD of hers instead of one by Paris Hilton.
How Do I Deal - Can you believe this song isn't on U.S. iTunes? Most likely due to label issues, this song hasn't shown up on any of her albums, and the CD single is long out of print. It's kind of like post-Lillith Fair female singer-songwriter meets teen pop, with both acoustic guitars and electric ones. It's catchy. Sorry for the abrupt cutoff, but the only place I got it from is a mixed MTV compilation (that surprisingly also includes an extended version of "5, 6, 7, 8" by Steps!). Can I Go Now - The second and final single off BareNaked, that did even worse than the first. Like several songs off the album, it has a mild wanna-be reggae backing beat underneath the pop rock, but I think it works here best. First Time - Another mid-tempo, sounds a bit like Michelle Branch, who was popular around that time. The "doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo"s near the end add a fun touch. Stronger - The song written solely by Jennifer is way better than I was expecting. It still has the same basic formula as most of the other tracks, but with more of a gospel influence to go with the uplifting lyrics about someone getting out of a bad relationship. Barenaked - Title track, first single, and minor hit. Not too fast, but not too slow. Some energy is added by the flourishes of organs and horns, especially in the chorus. Just Try - Japan only bonus track time! I think this song was good enough to make the worldwide release, especially over the pointless remake of Janis Joplin's rendition of "Me and Bobby McGee" included on the American release. Yes, it's yet another mid-tempo (hmm...maybe varying the styles would have helped, but while the ballads are okay, most of the semi-up-tempo songs - which aren't really that much faster than these - are somewhat subpar.), but it's more flirty, floaty, and airy. It resembles something Mandy Moore would have recorded around that same period.