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Friday, January 04, 2013

Flashback Friday: PSY - Stay Up Tonight

I'm really interested to see what happens with PSY this year. It's always fascinating to see what an artist does after enjoying such massive worldwide success. My gut tells me that he won't manage another hit in the States, but hopefully he'll still release his Six Rules EP Part II in Korea, as the first one was really good. The best case, I think is that he's got a lot more money and notoriety to fuel future recordings, because one thing that really draws me to his music (well, to his post-2010 music) is the clean, expansive production. The best PSY songs are huge in sound and scope, with a mixture of genres. Stay Up Tonight is from his 5th album and is ridiculously good. This track is all about the recurring chants that make up the hook. It's almost reminiscent of Michael Jackson's Wanna Be Starting Something in that regard. To my ears, it's a bit of an African influence... and those who have followed the blog know that I go absolutely crazy for that. This is ridiculously good stuff.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album (& check out tracks 2, 3, 5 & 6!) here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Krista Siegfrids - Marry Me

"I'll be your queen bee"

Yesterday, Finland revealed their songs competing to represent the country in this year's Eurovision, and as usual, it's a pretty uninspiring bunch. There are, of course, the stock heavy metal bands and folk singers, but definitely not a lot of straight up pop. If I had to support one of the acts, it would be Krista Siegfrids. Sure, the song is super cheesy and comes across kind of like Katy Perry-lite, but I love her voice and the overall catchy production/melody of Marry Me. Krista competed in Finland's version of The Voice, but she seems far more interesting and popstar-ish than the kinds of people they usually get on that show. I'll be curious how she does in the competition, but very surprised if she ends up winning. Regardless, it's a fun song.

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

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Darin - En Apa Som Liknar Dig

On the first regular music post of 2013, it's time to look at a track from the past few weeks that I neglected to mention. Swedish popstar Darin is set to release his sixth studio album later this month. It's bound to be the year's first great pop release. Until then, we've got some covers of his to tide us over. Darin's been participating in the popular Swedish show Så Mycket Bättre (So Much Better), in which artists cover each others' songs, usually in new and interesting ways. It's a concept I wish would make it outside of Sweden. Anyways, one of the songs Darin covered was Olle Ljungström's symphonic ballad En Apa Som Liknar Dig (A Monkey That Looks Like You). He gave it dance production similar to Loreen's epic Euphoria, and turned it into an amazing pop moment. This is a wave of powerful dance, with a hook that's simply mammoth in sound. It stands right alongside his very best work. I hope there are songs on the album as good as this.

En Apa Som Liknar Dig by Va - on Grooveshark

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


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Top 10 Songs I Never Want To Hear Again In 2013 (But Probably Will)

10. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger
I know this is popular with a lot of people, but I've gotten to the point where I just find that chorus mind-numbing. It just doesn't do anything for me and never has, and the damn song is everywhere.

 9. Rita Ora - R.I.P.
Really just a bad song, honestly. One of the laziest melodies of the year, and I'm baffled by her success, musically.

 8. Gym Class Heroes (ft. Adam Levine) - Stereo Hearts
Adam Levine's vocals grate at the best of times, but they're particularly annoying in the hook to this hip-pop track. Catchy in the most annoying way.

7. Emeli Sande - Next To Me/Read All About It (Pt. III)
I couldn't choose between these two tracks, because I find them both really irritating. I realize Sande might be a lot of people's thing, but I find this kind of lifeless, light soul-pop really irritating.

6. Phillip Phillips - Home
This started out okay, but once it was used for every single advertisement in the world, I had to throw up my hands in defeat. Enough already! I feel like this song has been playing on repeat for my entire life.

5. Jessie J - Laser Light
Another year, another insipid Jessie J track. I haven't been a fan of anything she's done (her voice and general persona annoys me to no end), but at least this isn't her worst. That honor goes to the overplayed and uber-obnoxious Price Tag.

4. Nicki Minaj - Starships
This is the year where Minaj became really unpleasant. I find everything she does now to be needlessly attention-grabbing without anything to really back it up. It's the worst when she crosses over to pop, like in this song.

3. Alicia Keys - Girl On Fire
I am simply not a fan of Keys' dirge-like approach to writing melodies. I find her music so ugly sounding just in the composition and production of it. I've accepted that this is just me and my taste, but this track is a great example of that go-nowhere, midtempo, unmelodic songwriting. I realize I might be in the minority on this.

2. Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
SO annoying. I refuse to believe that anyone actually likes this. The spoken bits are easily the most irritating bit of music in 2012. It's the exact reason Swift has always annoyed me. I guess it's supposed to be cute or funny or ironic or something, but what it really does is make her seem like an irritatingly self-obsessed romantic comedy lead.

1. Karmin - Brokenhearted I really don't know what it is with this song. It's probably those ridiculously vile spoken "cheerio" bits. They ring of that "aren't we so clever?" vibe that always rubs me the wrong way. Whatever the case, I think this was the nadir of pop music in 2012. Completely derivative, even as they attempted to have a "quirky" personality. It all felt very forced and patronizing.

So that's my top ten, guys. Agree? Disagree? What song do you never want to hear again in 2013?

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 2-1

2. One Direction - Take Me Home

In the blogger world, it's not cool to be a One Direction fan. Not that I care, but if we're all being honest with ourselves, you cannot be a pop music fan (or more specifically, power pop) and not enjoy this album. Their production team and (credit where credit is due) the band have upped their game since last year, as this second album is really Big Pop Moment after Big Pop Moment. Thoughts on the teeny-bopper culture surrounding them aside, it's the music that counts. They could have easily followed current trends, but instead they've gone for a slightly 80's, classic pop/rock sound that emphasizes huge choruses and hook after hook. Well, that criteria pretty much describes this blog, doesn't it?

1. Foxy Shazam - The Church Of Rock And Roll

Swinging wildly in another direction, nobody can say my tastes aren't varied! Foxy Shazam earns their second number one placement (their 2010 album was also at the top that year), by being one of the only artists this year that crafted what felt like a classic, proper rock album. This is a band with their own voice, not worried about fitting easily in one genre or another. Throughout the length of the album, they move from gargantuan glam rock anthems to soft coffeehouse warbling to anthemic power balladry. The album has something for everyone, and should have conquered the world in 2012. They sound like the biggest rock band on the planet.

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Top 50 Singles Of 2012: 5-1

5. Studio Killers - Eros & Apollo

I didn't think Studio Killers could trump their last effort, but with this sly, lushly electronic warning about guys who seem to good to be true, they did it. Now bring on the album!

4. Darin - Nobody Knows

Darin at his most bombastic. Though he's had plenty of tracks I've liked in the past, this was a new pinnacle for him. It's huge. Just mammoth in sound.

3. EXO-K - Mama

Speaking of "mammoth in sound"! In my world, there is no such thing as "overproduced," and this track has it all. Choirs, strings, guitar, shout-rapping, dance breaks. It's like an entire album in one song.

2. Loreen - Euphoria

No title in 2012 better described the sound of its accompanying song. This really is pure euphoria. It's so deceptively simple, yet somehow gets better every single time you play it.

1. Bigbang - Monster 

I cannot think of a better song this year. Everything just clicks, from the orchestral production to the gorgeous, sweeping melody, to the flawless, motion-picture-quality music video. It defies language, though the English hook assures that the meaning is clear. Utterly affecting, and a dynamite pop song to boot.

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