Saturday, 31 October 2009

iPod shuffle game #1

An interesting idea, or perhaps a disaster!?! In this feature I shall put my iPod on shuffle and discuss the first two songs that come up. Will this shame me, or make me seem respectable? Here goes;

Sebastian - When The Night Comes Falling

Not too bad! Former Swedish Idols contestant Sebastien's Melodifestivalen 2007 entry reached the final where it finished 8th with no public support whatsoever and a fairly weak jury vote. Shame, as it's actually a fairly excellent pop song, albeit one which I could imagine Andreas Johnson doing slightly better...of course he was in the very same final himself singing the vastly superior A Little Bit Of Love. Love the Paloma Faith lookalike on the piano in the live MF performance though! Onto shuffle number two...

A Fine Frenzy - Blow Away

This is a good choice! American singer songwriter Alison Sudol, is rather underrated I think. Then again, perhaps deservedly so. Her singles are absolutely excellent (see Almost Lover, Come On, Come Out, You Picked Me) and Blow Away is by far her most commercial single but both of her albums have been letdowns. Released a few months ago as the lead single to her (hugely underwhelming) second album Bomb In A Birdcage, this is probably the poppiest thing she's done, and would undoubtedly be a huge commmercial radio hit here, perhaps her Love Song or Bubbly. Hopefully one day she'll get the push that she needs becuase if she made an album full of singles rather than an album full of filler, she could be very good indeed!

Such a Hassle to get this single released...

Afro redhead Swedish singer Erik Hassle has already become a major star in his home country with Hurtful becoming absolutely huge, staying in the charts forever, going up and down like a yo-yo, yet never reaching the top ten, peaking at #11, rather the same as how Jason Mraz's I'm Yours is one of 2009's biggest UK hits yet never reached the top ten...Either way, I was hoping that this gorgeous ballad was on its way to becoming a UK #1 single but alas, after one week on the Radio 1 playlist it was removed...Did they not think the public would like it? They supported his debut UK single, Don't Bring Flowers, for a brief time and it became a top 300 SMASH but I was hoping that this would at least reach the top 40! Some sources report that it's due out on Monday and others say that it's out on Feb 1st 2010, two weeks before his album (now titled Pieces for the UK, rather than Hassle) on Feb 15th...That later release date would make more sense seeing as the next two months are filled with X Factor charity singles and huge comebacks from the likes of Leona Lewis, Britney Spears, Lady GaGa, Rihanna it might slip under the radar a bit. Either way, if this really is released on Monday, even despite the fact that he's been touring schools recently and supporting Little Boots on tour (gutted I didn't get tickets for that!), I don't see this scraping the top 75 :(

Absolutely nobody remembers this lady...

For the past two weeks, Vanessa Amorosi has been sitting on top of the Australian ARIA charts with the new single, This Is Who I Am. Having discussed her with a few people, it seems that few people even remember who she is, making this incredible comeback story (this is her first #1 in Australia, 10 years after her debut single was released!) quite remarkable, Robyn-like if you will. I can't think of any other examples where a near enough one hit wonder has returned after a huge gap to score a #1 single, and this is of course what happened with Robyn who went to #8 in 1998 in the UK with the Max Martin, Britney/Backstreet Boys-esque, Show Me Love, only to return in 2007 with the haunting dance anthem, With Every Heartbeat, which topped the charts here.

Vanessa is of course not a complete unknown here. Her debut single Absolutely Everybody was a top ten hit in 2000, a feel good pop song which appeared on Now 47, so it's not like it wasn't popular. However, follow up single Shine wasn't released here and she was left a one hit wonder. Her career was slightly longer in Australia where she had hits with Shine, Have A Look and The Power before returning in 2007 with the underwhelming Kiss Ya Mama, and the ballad Perfect, which reached the top five there. But it's this No.1 success for the brilliant This Is Who I Am, that marks the true comeback for one of music's most underrated voices, she really is a powerhouse when she's belting it out, as she does at the end of this Pink/Kelly Clarkson like song. With Radio 1 support, this could be a UK hit, and another remarkable comeback story next year, but they probably didn't even support Absolutely Everybody back in the day, I don't ever recall hearing it on the radio, the only time I heard it was when I played the CD single, or was watching The Box! Either way, it's a great song she deserves the success in her home country which has seen her beat both Britney Spears and Robbie Williams to No.1!!!

Not just a pretty face...

So...Finnish idols contestant Anna Abreu returned last week with her third album, Just A Pretty Face, and being a huge fan of first single, Music Everywhere, I decided to invest in the album, to find that it's one of the most brilliant pop albums of 2009!!! So here is my brief review.

1) Music Everywhere --> Absolutely fantastic song, one of the cheesiest, 'in-yer-face', yet brilliant pop songs of the year, this MUST be released in the UK, the Disney crowd would love it, yet she brings her own attitude to it too, and the lyrics are just too hilarious to miss! 10/10

2) Liquid --> A thumping electro bass, this is very different to Music Everywhere, a lot darker in sound, but also very good. 8.5/10

3) Aural Exam --> Sounds like something Mira Craig would sing in all honesty, it sounds very tribal somehow, yet with Anna's expected pop charm and cheeky lyrics. Good but not amazing. 7.5/10

4) Impatient --> The token ballad, this is absolutely gorgeous and showcases Anna's voice perfectly. The piano melody isn't too dissimilar to Britney's Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman, but this song feels more authentic to me somehow. Gorgeous. 10/10

5) Mr Perfect --> A more subtle intro leading to one of the rockier influenced pop/dance tracks on the album. Very good but not my favourite. 8.5/10

6) 7 Days, 7 Nights --> Very catchy again, has some bizarre vocal effects half way through the song which make it rather standout. Another infectious chorus but not single material. 8/10

7) Letting Me Go --> This is again a very different type of song. An almost minimalist electro dance bass gives way to another brilliant chorus complete with almost operatic backing vocals in the chorus which make it a bit more original. Very good. 9/10

8) Shine --> On first listen, this rather reminded me of a Timbaland production with the thudding bass and the slightly darker feel to the song. I absolutely love this though, the piano in it is excellent and the broken chords make it sound like something out of a Disney horror film. 9/10

9) Slam --> One of the more out and out pop songs on here, this is a fast paced stormer with another highly memorable hook, but lacks something to make it one of my absolute favourites. 7.5/10

10) Capital C --> Now I love this even though I probably shouldn't. It sounds like an ode to cheerleading and sounds like Anna may have written it especially for High School Musical 4. Like Music Everywhere, it's charmingly young sounding but with a slightly more mature edge than the run of the mill Disney popstar. The 'We're cool with a capital C' after the chorus really adds to the feel, and this is probably her best choice for single #2. 9.5/10

11) 2nd Chance --> Slowing down the tempo a bit, although not to ballad levels, this wouldn't sound out of place on a Saturdays album, in fact, it would fit very well onto the Wordshaker album. Good song but not one of the best on here. 8/10

12) Do Avesso --> Love love love this! Showing off her ability of singing in Portugese, this new-age pop track owes as much to Enya as it does to Timbaland with another very heavy bassline yet very soft vocals, made even more dainty by the warm Portugese vocals. Very nice hybrid type song, excellent way to finish the album. 10/10

Overall --> This is just fantastic, an absolutely unexpected surprise, I was expecting an absolute mess if I'm honest but this is an incredibly well produced, fresh sounding album that should cement Anna as one of Finland's finest popstars. Highlights for me are Music Everywhere, Impatient, Shine, Captial C and Do Avesso but the whole album is worth a listen, I can't think of many pop fans that wouldn't like at least one or two tracks on here. 10/10

If my dreams get real bizarre

Somehow, against all odds, US electro act Owl City have managed to jump from #7 to #1 in the elusive American Billboard Top 100 chart, replacing British act Jay Sean's Down. This feat is even more incredible in that it has been done mainly based on sales where it led the digital chart by around 50,000 copies. The fantastic song has been slowly climbing the chart over the past few months but even I didn't forsee it going to No.1 in the heavily urban and country dominated chart climate over there. I first heard the song over two months ago and I'm delighted that it's gone to the top there, and I only hope it can follow suit here next year, even if the act only become another HelloGoodbye, Sara Bareilles type one hit wonder...

and here is that brilliant song;

Top Songs/Albums; WB 2/11/09


1. Lady GaGa - Bad Romance
2. Michael BublĂ© - Haven’t Met You Yet
3. Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love
4. Anna Abreu - Music Everywhere
5. Vanessa Amorosi - This Is Who I Am
6. Britney Spears - 3
7. Anna Abreu - Impatient
8. Owl City - Fireflies
9. Anna Abreu - Do Avesso
10. Cheryl Cole feat - 3 Words
11. Calvin Harris - Flashback
12. Leona Lewis - Happy
13. Robbie Williams - Bodies
14. Cassandra Steen feat Adel Tawil - Stadt
15. Agnes - I Need You Now
16. Kim-Lian & Linda Bengtzing - Not That Kinda Girl
17. Black Eyed Peas - Meet Me Halfway
18. Anna Abreu - Capital C
19. The Saturdays - One Shot
20. Kesha - Tik Tok


1. Anna Abreu - Just A Pretty Face
2. Cheryl Cole - 3 Words
3. Alphabeat - The Spell
4. The Saturdays - Wordshaker
5. Nerina Pallot - The Graduate
6. Shakira - She Wolf
7. Madonna - Celebration
8. Radio 1 Live Lounge Volume 4
9. Annie - Don’t Stop
10. Alexandra Burke - Overcome