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Friday, September 30, 2011

Rating the New Shows - The Fall TV Season So Far

Previously, I wrote a post highlighting the top ten new TV shows I was most excited about this Fall. I've managed to watch most of the pilots now (some haven't yet premiered, and a couple are still on my DVR) and here's what I think:

1. X-Factor
I knew the most about this going in, since I've been watching the show internationally for years. I like how the audition rounds are shortened and I love the judges (though Cheryl should've stayed over Nicole). The only downside is that the thing seems almost too glossy compared to its companions around the world. Still love it, though, and it's undoubtedly this Fall's appointment show. A-

2. Terra Nova
Who knows if it'll be able to keep up the pace in the episodes to come, but I was very, very happy with the pilot. Sure, it's got its cliche moments, but the sheer audacity of the project more than makes up for that. The entire 2-hour premiere had me hooked. That's rare. A-

3. Ringer
A disappointment. Cheesy, and not in the good way. But more than that, I was just a little bored. I still love Sarah Michelle Gellar, but she needs better material. C+

4. American Horror Story
Haven't seen yet. Looking forward to it!

5. The Playboy Club
The pilot started out promising, but by the mid-way point my attention was flagging. There just doesn't seem to be enough substance to make it interesting. B-

6. Revenge
I loved this! I've yet to see the second episode, but the pilot was the perfect mix of soap opera drama and tension. Madeleine Stowe MAKES this show. (and for anyone reading my book, she'd make and excellent Madame.) A

7. Once Upon A Time
Not on yet, but I hope it's good!

8. Pan Am
Still on my DVR. I'll watch the pilot eventually, but it's not compelling me to do so at this point.

9. The Secret Circle
It's like an old-school WB show, but not as good. Or maybe I'm just getting too old. I like the premise and most of the cast (some of the acting was dodgy), but it had a sense of "been there, done that" to it. B-

10. Suburgatory
I hated this pilot at first, but it ended up changing my opinion towards the end. It's still got a ways to totally convert me, but I'm sticking with it. B

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pop Blitz 9/29/11

Kelly Clarkson - Mr. Know It All
It's a breezy return for Clarkson, and this song goes down real easy. I'm actually surprised how much I like it. Her vocals sound so amazing on the chorus. A-

The Wanted - Lightning
I love this melodically, but I can't help but feel that there's a little something missing in the production. Even so, this easily keeps up their run of brilliant pop singles. B+

Rihanna - We Found Love
It's another big hit, and a new venture into a very European sound. Thank Calvin Harris, whose production is gonna sound very fresh in the US (even though it's getting pretty stale worldwide). Still, this is more anthemic than she's sounded in awhile. A-

Jason Derulo - It Girl
I like how everyone's jumping on the whistle craze now that Maroon 5 have found such success with it. Unfortunately, the whistling is by far the best part of this forgettable slow jam. C+

Bruno Mars - It Will Rain
It's an odd choice for a Twilight soundtrack, for sure. For me, his singles have either been amazing or dire so far. This is oddly somewhere in the middle. Certainly not bad, but it doesn't have that "wow" factor, either. B-

Pixie Lott - All About Tonight
If she's looking for a US career, she would be wise to offer this as her opening salvo. It never breaks away from trendiness, but it's her catchiest single to date by a mile. B

B.O.B. - Strange Clouds (ft. Lil' Wayne)
A lot's riding on this comeback single. It's certainly not the crossover hit he needs for pop radio, but it's not hideously mediocre either. It's a little Tinie Tempah-esque, except not as good. C+

Your Choice: What's your favorite Pop Blitz song this week?

Pop Blitz 9/29/11 Your Choice!
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mohombi - Maraca

"Let me see your body move"

Mohombi is really setting the standard for RedOne produced music right now. In addition to a solid album, tracks keep springing online that suggest he’s just getting started. The catchiest of them all (and really, one of the catchiest songs of the year) is Maraca. It’s ridiculously repetitive, but that little “maraca-ca-ca” bit in the chorus just hits you like a ton of bricks even after the first listen. It’s less a song than a party squished into three minutes of sound. And although this kind of shallow dance music can get a bit tiresome, Maraca easily navigates potential pitfalls due to its immense sound. The drums alone are straight from a high-def movie soundtrack. It just attacks you. It’s been fun watching Mohombi’s steady climb in his native Sweden. I really do think he could break the U.S. if he tried.

Mohombi - Maraca by HOS_Music

(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, September 27, 2011

The 10 Best Singles By... Robyn

So here's the thing about Robyn. All her singles are excellent. And more than that, most of her album tracks are, too. Here's the best of the best.

10. Do You Know (What It Takes) (1997) - The only pre-indie song on the countdown, this is a completely different Robyn. But it's also a laidback, 90's highlight.

9. Dream On (2008) - Initially a duet with Ola Salo, this was later remixed as a solo Robyn track. The subject matter is unexpected, as is the staccato, experimental beat and melody. Even so, it manages to soar.

8. Hang With Me (2010) - A breezy Summer track if there ever was one. The electronics are pure bliss, but it's the lyrics and delivery that truly makes this something special.

7. Girl & The Robot (2009) - A spacey, odd collaboration with Röyksopp, this is Robyn at her most daring. Though it doesn't feature on any of her albums, it's a standout in her discography.

6. Handle Me (2007) - A confident, trash talking Robyn emerges on this single. The spare beat highlights the undeniable charisma dripping from every vocal. It's an underrated track.

5. Call Your Girlfriend (2011) - The melody just screams "anthem," while the lyrics pack a personal edge. This is Robyn at her songwriting peak.

4. Konichiwa Bitches (2007) - The cheekiest single of her career, it's a bit of a rarity in her discography. There's a handful of similar sounding tracks on her albums, but she never seems to release them. It's a shame, because this is totally entertaining.

3. With Every Heartbeat (2007) - The single that (quite rightly) broke her for the second time outside Sweden. It's an epic, orchestral track that ranks among the very best songs of the decade, which means the two above it are bonafied masterpieces. This single is pure emotion.

2. Be Mine! (2005) - This single-handedly introduced a different Robyn. With its Eleanor Rigby style strings and heartbreaking, spoken middle-eight, this is nothing short of a classic pop song. It still gives me chills.

1. Dancing On My Own (2010) - And she keeps getting better. Her standout comes after what some may have seen as the peak in her career. What can I say about this song? I've heard it hundreds of times and never tire of it. Perfection.

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

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Sneaky Sound System - Big

"This is the moment we've been waiting for"

Up to this point, Australia's Sneaky Sound System have exactly two songs I'd consider perfection. Those would be Kansas City and Thin Disguise, and both have been featured on this blog in the past few years. I haven't decided yet, but this new single might just join them as the third perfect track. The only thing that lets Big down a little are the verses, which have yet to really pop with me. However, the chorus totally makes up for it. It's that grand, swirling pop hook that I can never resist--the kind you'd climb a mountain just to be able to play from the very top of the world. It's an anthem, and you all know how much I love anthems. The album from which this is taken is just around the corner (out Oct. 7th). I've yet to be completely won over by an entire album of theirs, so we'll see how this one does down. I've got high hopes!

Big // Sneaky Sound System by cohabit

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