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Friday, April 05, 2013

Flashback Friday: Daniel Küblböck - Love Is In The Air

"Can you feel it?"

I have been searching out this album for months, and I finally got a hold of it. Daniel Küblböck was the flamboyantly cartoonish runner-up in Germany's first season of the Idol franchise (in 2003). Widely panned, his debut is a complete novelty pop disaster/masterpiece. For those Melodifestivalen fans, I can describe it best as being chock-full of songs that would've come last place in their Heat only to become favorites later on. This is super-catchy, super-cheesy FUN pop music. Küblböck sings/speaks in an overdone German accent and rips off classic tracks throughout. This one takes influence from one of my favorite 80's songs, You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon. Another sounds quite similar to It's In His Kiss. This is no bad thing for fans of weird, trashy pop--and under the right circumstances I definitely consider myself part of that camp. Küblböck has now moved on to "credible" (ie: boring) singing, but for a brief shining moment the world was visited by the supremely bizarre persona that shows up on this album. I'm happy to have it as part of my collection!

Love Is In The Air by Daniel Küblböck on Grooveshark

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Top Ten Singles By... BigBang!

In the world of K-Pop, there is one band to rule them all. BigBang released the best Korean album of last year, and now that their leader G-Dragon is back with a new single, I thought it was a good time to look back on the band's discography.

10. Gara Gara Go! (2009) - Most of the group's English singles suck. This is only partially English (it's mostly Japanese), and it's pretty corny, but there's something about that beat. It's really difficult not to like, even though it seems so simplistic compared to what the band's doing now.

9. Tell Me Goodbye (2010) - A dramatic ballad with an equally cinematic video, this single has one of the group's most beautiful melodies in the verses. Taeyang shines on this, especially.

8. Dirty Cash (2006) - I have a real soft spot for this cheesy, rock-infused track. It sounds nothing like any of their other material, but that sugary pop melody is incredibly durable. Funny video, too.

7. Bad Boy (2012) - Revisiting one of the band's favorite themes, this is an addictive throwback to late 90's r&b/hip-hop with a sweet--if subtle--melody that brought the group to a new level of success.

6. Lies (2007) - The first track to really show off my favorite Bigbang sound--a mix of melancholic piano, rousing hip-hop and explosive production. The template for songs four, three and one on this list.

5. Blue (2012) - As soon as that comforting, seesaw instrumental kicks off, this song instantly soothes. Not their flashiest single, but certainly one of their most melodic.

4. Haru Haru (2008) - One of their biggest hits, and deservedly so. The combination of TOP's gruff rap and the explosively lush chorus is a masterstroke. One of their best videos, too.

3. Love Song (2011) - The band at their most confident and world-conquering. Achingly melodic, with an English hook that builds into a gorgeous, wordless post-chorus. Very dramatic.

2. Fantastic Baby (2012) - The band's biggest and best dance track, and likely the one that most newbies will find first. The huge sledgehammer beat and out-of-this-world visuals marked a new transition, especially in the post Gangnam Style landscape of K-Pop. But this came first, and it's better.

1. Monster (2012) - The song that sealed the deal for me. It's their most dramatic, most cinematic, most emotional and most gorgeously produced single to date. It's got me absolutely aching to see what they do next.

So there you go! But here's the thing, no list is complete without hearing what you think! Leave your top ten BigBang songs in the comments!

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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Kensington - Home Again

"We're running a long way home"

I don't feature nearly enough modern music from the Netherlands on this blog. I say "modern," because if you've been reading for awhile, you'll know that I have a special place in my heart for the uber-cheesy wave of pop that hit the country from the late 70's to the early 80's. This song, though, is not cheesy. In fact, it's a galvanizing soft-rock track that sounds a bit like a sequel to Eagle Eye Cherry's 90's hit Save Tonight, mixed with a Kings of Leon-esque anthemic hook. And as awesome as that chorus is, it was the melody of the verses that first caught my ear. It's got this twisting, sing song sound to it that proves to be instantly catchy. Then the hook hits you like a sledgehammer and there's no doubt to the band's awesomeness.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

G-Dragon - Michi Go

Some things just defy explanation. I'm not a big fan of hip-hop and I don't speak even a bit of Korean, but over the past year, I've been obsessed with K-Pop rapper G-Dragon. As the leader of the band Bigbang, he's responsible for most of their hits and is a ridiculously talented songwriter and producer himself. More than that, though, he's got the kind of charisma and way-out-there style choices that we don't see enough of in male popstars these days. I maintain my thinking that he could be enormous in the West if he decided to pursue an English music career. I don't mind if he stays in Korea, though, because his stuff, from Heartbreaker to One Of A Kind to Crayon, is amazingly fun and interesting (and varied). Michi Go is his new single and it's a bonkers mix of hip-hop and dubstep that nearly goes over the edge of craziness without turning into a complete mess. I hope there will be an accompanying music video, because that's where his music really comes to life. I'm aware this won't be to everyone's tastes (hell... sometimes I'm surprised that I like it!), but I'm thrilled to have new music from G-Dragon and can't wait for the upcoming EP.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Download the track (in a very confusing way) here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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