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Friday, December 03, 2010

Fenech-Soler - Stop And Stare

"I see the stars on the horizon"

I first wrote about Fenech-Soler ages ago (about a year and a half, actually) and I'm pleased to see that they've released a full album since that time. LA Love, the song I posted, is still by far my favorite track on the album, but Stop And Stare is definitely worth a mention too. These guys have an elastic, heavily electronic sound that, in this song, is a little reminiscent of Calvin Harris. It's a big club track, mixing elements of pop and indie into the fold to make things interesting. I'm not sure that these guys will find mainstream success outside of their niche (LA Love would be the best chance, I'd say), but they're very good at what they do. And for many people, that'll be more than enough to satisfy.

Fenech-Soler - Stop And Stare by alienhits

(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, December 02, 2010

Hurts - All I Want For Christmas Is New Year's Day

"I'm not supposed to feel this way"

They're not the most likely band to record a Christmas single, but from the title to the sound, this is a perfect release from Hurts. It's exactly what you'd expect from them -- a big, melancholy ballad with orchestral (in this case, Christmas bells) influences. Holiday theme aside, it would fit perfectly on their album. I'm not sure if it's a proper single release or just an extra little curio, but if given a push I think this could do well for them. At the very least, it's bound to enjoy cult status among fans. They do soaring very well, and the chorus to this certainly fits the bill. And can I just suggest that more pop songs employ the use of bells (Christmas or not)? I'm not sure what it is about them, but I'm convinced that they make everything better.

Hurts - All I Want For Christmas Is New Year's Day by alienhits

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


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pop Blitz - X-Factor Edition: The Semifinalists

UK X-Factor is approaching its end for the year, and it's been as all consuming in 2010 as it always is (in fact, personally, it's been more consuming). Rather than rate the remaining contestants (though this is more or less my preference anyway), I've decided to put them in the order of how successful I think they'll be after the contest is over, since that's all that really matters anyway.

1. One Direction - The market is ripe for a new boyband and I can't imagine any group doing better than these guys. Manufactured by the program, they were brought together for a reason. They look the part and gel extremely well together while still retaining individual personalities. They've got their "lead singers," their "funny one," their "serious one," etc etc. It's no surprise they've already amassed the fanbase they have. Give them the right songs and they'll be huge. Bonus point: they're the youngest on the list - they've got room for growth. (my prediction for the contest: 2nd place)

2. Cher Lloyd - She's been hailed as the most unique act in the competition. She probably is, though as far as the real world goes I'm not sure she's quite as unique. However, she is what's going on in music right now. And it's not just because she raps. She's got the voice, the attitude, the style, and most importantly, the charisma needed to embark on a very successful solo career. (my prediction for the contest: 4th place)

3. Rebecca Ferguson - I think her future success hinges entirely on the album she releases. Apparently Amy Winehouse has already offered to write her a song, which is definitely a step in the right direction. That's the sound she should be going on. She will have to rely on her voice as personality and charisma is a bit lacking, so it's a plus that she's got one of the most marketable sounds in the competition. Problem is, I'm not sure that particular sound's popularity isn't starting to fade. (my prediction for the contest: 3rd place)

4. Matt Cardle - The chosen winner since the very beginning (I can't begin to tell you how much it annoys me when the early frontrunner wins), coming number one is probably the worst thing that could happen to Matt. Yes, he's got the voice (best voice in the competition), but he's also got the charisma of a piece of cardboard (see: Leon Jackson, Joe McElderry, etc - we know how that worked out). There has never been a long-term successful male winner of X-Factor. Add to that the fact that the music Matt will want to make (judging by his previous band) is not the type of music that the winner's label (Syco) knows anything about. He'd do better to be voted out early, but it's not gonna happen. He'll win and everyone will forget about him next year. (my prediction for the contest: 1st place)

5. Mary Byrne - X-Factor will undoubtedly be the high point of Mary's singing career, as after the contest is over it'll be gigs, a bargain-bin collection of Shirley Bassey covers and (if she's lucky) a stint on the West End (but can she act?). She's a lovely woman, but the world's already got a Susan Boyle. And even though I prefer her to Susan (controversial opinion, I know), lightning won't strike twice. Good for her, though. All this media coverage is a far cry from Tesco! (my prediction for the contest: 5th place)


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tove Styrke - High And Low

"Where's the truth when I need it?"

Time for a belated Tove Styrke post. I had meant to write about this song a few weeks ago when I first heard the album, but it (wrongfully) got lost in the shuffle. As a whole, I've been a little underwhelmed by the album. It's perfectly nice, but the standouts are definitely the singles (especially the closing track). High And Low is my favorite non-single by a mile. It's got a subtle disco-sheen and one of the catchiest melodies on the album. It manages to be slinky and poppy and kind of cold at the same time. Tove's music isn't anything strikingly different than most electro-pop, but she's got the coolest aura about her. From the vocals to image to performance, she is way too cool to come from a reality show. Maybe that's why the album hasn't quite hit me the way I hoped it would. If it's possible, it might just be a little too cool.

Tove Styrke - High And Low by alienhits

(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.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Foxy Shazam - Heaven On Their Minds

"I've been your right hand man all along"

Foxy Shazam, one of my favorite bands of 2010, have released their cover of this Jesus Christ Superstar classic on the 2nd volume of the Christmas-themed Gift Wrapped compilation. It's one of the best, most dramatic songs from the musical and fits the band perfectly. As expected, they totally rock out on this, bringing an urgent punch to the show tune. Eric Nally sounds great (honestly, when doesn't he?) -- and this is not an easy song to sing, either. They're moving further into Queen territory with every release. This is, of course, a very good thing. On another note, what is it with my favorite singers and this musical? First Ola Salo from the Ark plays the titular character in Sweden and now this. I guess I can't blame them. It's a pretty epic soundtrack.

Foxy Shazam - Heaven On Their Minds by alienhits

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