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Friday, March 20, 2009

Alienhits loves... Adam Lambert!

American Idol is one of my favorite shows on TV, including all of its various iterations around the globe. One of the most exciting aspects of the show is when a contestant comes on and does something completely different. It happened with Blake on AI, Rhydian on X-Factor, Jenny Gear on Canadian Idol, Johan on Swedish Idol, etc etc. These types of contestants rarely win the entire show, but they make things interesting.
Adam Lambert is the most unique performer American Idol's seen yet. And we're only two weeks in. Better still, he actually has a chance to win the whole thing. The reason? His uncanny, do-those-notes-even-exist vocals. It certainly doesn't hurt that he's willing to experiment with genres and think outside of the box. Not only would he be America's first openly gay idol, but he'd also be hands down the most interesting. I've included a link at the bottom of this post to the studio version of his middle eastern take on Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire. If hearing this doesn't give you chills, then I'm sorry because you're completely missing out. The performance has more similarities to respected artists like Muse and Darren Hayes' solo work than to the typical copycat karaoke we're used to with idol.
The American public worries me when it comes to Lambert's chances. There's a reason artists this interesting are relegated to cult status in the US. When it comes to popular music, we're just not that open-minded as a whole (well, it's not just popular music, actually). There are a number of things that could stand in Adam's way to victory, though I'm happy to see that he's established quite a base on the American Idol messageboards. That's what these types of artists usually do best: polarize and amass a fringe, highly obsessive fan base.
So please, America. Do not go with Danny Gokey, easily the most annoying contestant of the season. Didn't we learn our lesson with Taylor Hicks? We do not need the sequel to that. Ditto with Lil' Rounds, who sounds like every other Mary J Blige wannabe on the radio. Go with something original this time. Please. We got the whole, admittedly more important, Obama thing right. We can do this too.

Adam Lambert - Ring Of Fire

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hell. Yes.
The regal, majestic, epic video for Cassandra premieres next month.

Click on this link to play the video... otherwise it plays automatically and gets on my nerves :)
And I can't allow it to get on my nerves.

"It's not the same as kissing you but that's how it will stay"

Alex Roots is a new singer from the UK that reminds me of a rockier version of Lily Allen. She lists Queen and Cyndi Lauper as influences, which was enough for me to check her out a couple of months ago. It turns out her music is extremely varied, and there are definitely songs I like better than others. One of the best is Don't Stop Looking, which is one of the dancier tracks and really does belong to the same genre as Cyndi Lauper. I'm not sure why she's gone with the rockier Fake as her first promo single, because I think this is the one to get her radio play. There's some fantastic guitar here and a relentless 80's beat. I'll be interested to see what kinds of styles she sticks with on her debut album, due out this summer.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to more here.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"So watch your evil attitude"

Though it's been...ahem...available for a few weeks now, I haven't mentioned anything about Kelly Clarkson's new album yet. She's always been the best American Idol, the only one that's released more than a couple good singles. Her new album's more of a collection of "songs Kelly's label hopes will make them money" than a proper record, but that doesn't mean there aren't some stunning highlights. My favorite track on the album is the most out of character for Clarkson, a gritty rocker that involves just as much shouting as it does singing. Whyyawannabringmedown reminds me of the great disbanded UK group Do Me Bad Things (remember them?). I love when pop singers go crazy like this. It's also the perfect song for one of those itunes commercials where the silhouette people dance all crazy. That's pretty much what the song's designed for. It's about as far away from Idol as you can get.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Roxy is the one who gave it to me"

I had always liked Salem Al Fakir's soulful pop singles, though it was never enough for me to give his debut album the attention it probably deserved. Little did I know that he had a masterpiece like Roxy up his sleave. Perhaps inspired by the remix of his song It's True, Roxy turns his music upside down and transforms him into a synth-loving, 80's pastiche-writing, naughty-lyric singer. It's a mega-hit in the waiting, and actually sounds like a Melody Club single (maybe with some Elton and Toto thrown in). The kicker is that, after a somewhat subdued lead single, his new album Astronaut experiments with a ton of different genres. I haven't had a chance to really delve into it yet, but right now it's looking to be another Erik-Hassle-type surprise from Sweden. It's smart, daring pop music that breaks down genres, excelling in many different sounds. I hope he's encouraged to continue branching out. I guarantee this song will be a smash this spring or summer, and I have my fingers crossed that it will coax him to write more songs in this style.
PS: I'm glad he has short hair now. He doesn't look like that blind guy from American Idol anymore.
EDIT: My god, this song is about an STD, isn't it?

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Melody Club!

Last night while surfing around, I just happened to come upon a link to a Melody Club interview. Imagine my surprise when, about 4:48 minutes into the audio, they play a new track off of the upcoming album! Needless to say, it was a fantastic surprise. The song's called The Only Ones and it's classic Melody Club, more so than their latest single, I'd say. If this is any indication of what the rest of the album's going to sound like, I'm even more excited now. April's gonna be one hell of a month for music.

Listen to the song here (about 4:48 minutes in)

"Sometimes I think of you, it just gets all complicated"

I was pretty ignorant about the whole Alcazar thing. I knew a couple of their singles from hearing them on radio, but it was never enough to tempt me to listen to any of the albums. That is, of course, until their 2009 Melodifestivalen entry utterly blew me away. It's on another level than all of their other songs. Thankfully, the rest of their new album, Disco Defenders, follows suit. It's a fantastic pop album... probably the best of the year so far. I really struggled to decide which song to post today because they're all so good. It ended up being between the gorgeous Pet Shop Boys collaboration Baby (which you should definitely listen to) and the kooky, fun disco of My My Me And Mine. I ended up going with the latter, only because I felt it was more Alcazar-ish. It's a song that relies on attitude, which is something the band has to spare. Both melodically and musically, it's an interesting piece. Very pop (of course) but very different, too. It takes them one step further to being the Abba of the 00's.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)