Huge Christmas post coming up later (apoligies to all non-Christians). I just wanted to post this freshly leaked yet old promo from Girls Aloud (shown here in an vintage pic).
"You Freak Me Out" was on the soundtrack of the Freaky Friday remake starring Lindsay Lohan, at least in the UK. As is usual for GA's soundtrack contributions, it wasn't on the U.S. version. I'm not sure who produced the song, but it's more straight forward pop-rock than most of their material. It later was also put on the re-release of their debut album Sound of the Underground.
This promo CD features the song itself, an interview, and an audio Q&A session (not sure what the different between those two is). This is especially cool for American fans like me that have barely heard them speak in the past, but it's cool for everybody. ;)
I don't know a lot about Sam Obernik. All you need to know is that she's from Ireland, was on two dance music smashes, and had a kick-ass album unfortunately shelved in 2003. Fortunately, it happened to be on U.S. iTunes, so I have it here for you! Her vocals and sound are really unique; she just didn't fit into the pop climate of the time. Being somewhat older than other pop stars (and a divorced mother) couldn't have helped. Ironically, I think Sam would have done better today, when left-field pop-ish stuff like Gnarls Barkley has been successful. She's more poppy than that, though. Somebody who played backup guitar for Britney Spears (speaking of, anyone want in for a gift of underwear this Christmas?) certainly has the credentials! After the single "Mr. Butterfly" flopped, reaching 50-something in the UK singles charts, her album was officially shelved. Now she's in a band called Barefoot, not to be confused with the Creepy Dad Simpson (of Jessica and Ashlee fame) boy band with instruments project Barefoot. (Yes, very confusing. Neither managed to snare the domain name "barefoot.com", which believe it or not, belongs to a technology company as opposed to an adult website.)
It Just Won't Do - The '02 dance smash with friend Tim Deluxe that rose her to prominence and inspired Warner to give her a lucrative multi-album contract *sigh*. Even though this isn't representative of her solo material, it still has that quirkiness in lyrics, instrumentation, and vocals.
Now I present the album, Stellify! (Is that a real word? I'm not sure. No matter.)
1. Here Come the Girls - A mid-tempo with some ambient-type string touches. It evokes spring, as does a lot of the album and it's cover art.
2. Mr. Butterfly - The single, using the semi-formula of acoustic guitars with electronic pop backing. Sam's voice is a bit unusual, which could be a reason for the song's general lack of success. With a few tweaks, it could have been done by another pop star and had greater success. For some reason, Billie Piper circa Walk of Life comes to mind.
The music video is pretty inventive:
3. Single - I guess if there was a song representative of her sound (which there really isn't), this would be it. Another mid-tempo number, with some sweet harmonies from her own backing vocals in the chorus. Like most songs on the album, it has a good melody.
4. Little Mistakes - This is more of a ballad. It features strings and a sitar. Somebody needs to snap this up for one of those chill-out compilations by Ministry of Sound or Ultra. (I like those...)
5. Solid State - One of her favorites off the album, it's an acoustic ballad with some electronic effects, which blossoms into an orchestral ballad that has flutes and electric guitars. One of my favorite elements of this album is the varied instrumentation, which was unique for pop in the early '00s.
6. Sweetness - Probably one of the most "typical" songs on the album. It's an acoustic guitar-driven mid-tempo a bit reminiscent of Hepburn, Madasun, etc. but with her own twist and lyrical wordplay on it.
7. Things That Make You Scared - Another favorite of mine; this one is more beat-driven and another one that could be made 'mainstream' with few changes, though it's fine the way it is. It continues the mid-tempo pace of a lot of the album. it's almost "alternative r&b", in a good way.
8.Sunshine - "Does your sun shine on the moonlight". Slower and acoustic, though it briefly speeds up for hand-clap percussion during the bridge before KT Tunstall brought box percussion to the mainstream music world.
9. Not Enough - One of the poppiest songs on the album (again) and a great one. Another "beat" song; the CD is evenly split between those and the more guitar-influenced ones.
10. Just Won't Do - Yes, it's the previously posted dance smash; except completely reinvented in an acoustic style with guitar and drums. Pretty cool.
11. Nobody and You - Clearly the "big ballad" of the album, and the most generic-sounding thing on here. However, the lyrics are obviously very personal and about her failed relationship.
12. Miss America - A Broadway-esque ballad with sarcastic lyrics about the media's obsession with appearance. It's probably intentional that it actually sounds like the kind of song that would be sung at a beauty pageant.
Suitcase - B-side of the "Mr. Butterfly" single. An acoustic track, far more straightforward than the ones the ones that made the album. Pretty.
Stand Back - Going back to her commercial beginnings, Sam featured on this Stevie Nicks cover by dance producer Linus Loves. Her vocal stylings make it more than a cheap dance cover of previous hit songs. It has more traditional house/dance production than the original "It Just Won't Do".
Mr. Butterfly (M-Factor Vocal Mix) - It was on the single of the same name. Unlike the original version, the remixes were hits in clubs. The actual production is good, but this mix is an example of one of my biggest pet peeves - a "vocal mix" that leaves hardly any of the vocals in. Just call it a dub, damn it!! Obviously you can't get a great feel of her strong tunes (prevalent throughout the album) from this, but still, enjoy.
Random musing: Why exactly are they making another Rocky movie? Is Sylvester Stallone kidding?! To top it all off, the rumored Natasha Bedingfield song "Still Here" isn't even on the soundtrack!
Not technically pop, but a pop star nonetheless. I'm fully converted.
Better quality straight from NBC, as opposed to a crappy recording off someone's TV!
The opening skit also featured a romantic ode to Santa by his three girlfriends, which sarcasm and sound reminded me of an American Pipettes. The Pipettes should do a Christmas song for real...I love them. What song do you guys think they should do?
If there's anybody still visiting this thing, i'm sorry for neglecting it for the past several months. I've been busy as hell with school work and dealing with these comments and slacked off as an idiot. If you happen to come across this, tell people to come back! I promise to start updating regularly again.
This is another one of those remix posts. Promo-only, radio length, of current or future pop hits. Enjoy it for your holiday parties!
RBD / Tu Amor (Chico Latino Mix Radio Edit) - These soap stars from Mexico are huge in the Latin pop world. After smash albums in Spanish and Portugese (!!), they're trying to break into the English-language market, after already selling out arenas in Los Angeles, New York, and my Miami. This debut single has been a minor hit, though a bigger one here. The original is kind of dated-sounding, but it makes sense given that it's both a Diane Warren-penned composition and a Jon B. cover. This version makes it more upbeat and happier-sounding. Fun fact: although you can't hear it from this song, there are also girls in this group!
Nelly Furtado / Maneater (Richard Vission Solmatic Edit) - One of the best songs of '06, and this leaves in elements from the original while still changing it up. The morons leave out the chorus in this mix; otherwise it'd be perfect. Still, you can't go wrong with this mix of the UK #1 and unfortunate U.S. flop. (Thankfully, "Say It Right" has gone top 10 in the Billboard Hot 100 this week, so not all is lost. Hopefully a Europe release is also forthcoming.
Justin Timberlake / My Love (Paul Oakenfold Remix Edit) - Another great song and smash hit; one of the best versions i've heard, which I originally came across listening to ipartyradio.com. It doesn't manage to improve on the original, but that's virtually impossible. After tons of radio overplay, it's a nice new spin on the tune, and as a bonus for some, T.I.'s rap has been cut out.
Kim Wilde / You Came (Groovenut Remix) - An '80s song I hadn't heard until this year in a Pandora radio set. Typical boppy amazing pop from that time, from an artist I didn't know outside of her cover of "You Keep Me Hanging On" and "Kids in America" (and that was mostly from the No Secrets version...). Wilde herself remade the song in a more current, Kelly Clarkson-esque style along with other hits as well as new tracks, this year. Both versions are great. Ironically, this dance remix harkens back to the original version more, though I believe it uses the new vocals.
There will be at least one more post this weekend, which will remain a surprise. (And yes, it will come! LOL). For now, I'll just say it's involving a female artist.