Friday, October 26, 2007

Bits and Bobs

Those who have visited this blog long enough sure knows I appreciate a well-crafted pop record just as much as some offbeat indie music. And since I haven't posted anything pop-related for a while, I think it's apt that I weigh in my thoughts on some of the most important pop releases in recent weeks.

Firstly, the Roisin Murphy album 'Overpowered'. Undoubtedly, the first two singles are killer, however, in an album context, it seems she isn't fully commited to being a commercial pop dance diva yet. It is a fine album, indeed (in this case, a rather high 3.75/5 stars), but some tracks just didn't win me over instantly, some left me scratching my head a bit, to be honest. So it's not the tremendous album I hoped it would be, but it doesn't make me love her any less. 'You Know Me Better' as a third single would be nice, I guess, as it is the only other immediate track I can think of. Maybe some are meant to be growers etc. By the way, check out her Gossip live cover, woman can sing live (thanks to XOLondon for the heads up).

Roisin Murphy - You Know Me Better
Roisin Murphy - Standing In The Way Of Control (The Gossip Cover)

Kylie's comeback single '2 Hearts': hit or shit? Obviously, it's a guaranteed number one, and I acutally like it. Yes, it sounds like a Goldfrapp b-side, and the Paul Harris extended mix didn't lead me into thinking otherwise, but it is still a sexy, faux-glam-rock track. Maybe the fact that I'm quite an indie head these days made it easier for me to digest it? It's just not the bang everyone expected it to be. Anyhow, the remixes did gain my interest in the song, especially the outstanding 7-minute remix done by Swedish electro outfit Studio. They brought their balearic style to the song, and aced it.

Kylie - 2 Hearts (Studio Version)

Question of the week: is Brittany Spears' new album 'Blackout' amazing? Unfortunately, I may be one of the few to find it leaving me cold (not cold as fire...). I admit I walked into it with not much of an open mind, secretly wishing that it's crap so that it'll tank so hard Jive will have no choice but to drop her this time, so that she can disappear off the face of the Earth, get her shit together and never to be seen in any tabloids again. So much for wishful thinking, because, let's face it, even if the album is crap (which I think it is), it will still climb to the top spot it its first week, since this is Britney we're talking about. The amount of press coverage on her latest antics is enough to pique people's curiousity. 'Gimme More' is quite decent, yes, but the only track on the album that I can see as a single is 'Break The Ice'. Her voice never sounds so heavily processed before, and with all these producers saying they saved the best tracks for her, is this all they can come up with? It's all very samey and tiring, going electro for the sake of being trendy, and it is not even the good kind of disposable pop. Maybe I just wasn't in a good mood then? I just don't get what all the fuss is about. Britney IS a performer, and if she can no longer be bothered with lip-synching and doing choreographed moves properly, and making decent music videos, then what's the point? Does she really need our money? Hopeless trainwreck. I'm not that fond of FutureSex/LoveSounds either. Maybe I am losing my pop appetite. Maybe I'm just a few steps away from collecting limited 7" singles of obscure indie bands, obsessively and religiously. A mere 2/5 stars for now.

Now, about that Emmy Rossum album, 'Inside Out'. Sure no one saw this coming? For me, it's like an odd vanity project for her to add to her budding career. Okay, she can sing, and the music's pretty much unique in the mainstream market now, but it's more Enya than Imogen Heap, and she just doesn't possess the quirk of Imogen or the depth of Kate Havnevik. Her vocals were mixed so densely, it almost seems like an acappella affair. It's just a bit weird for me. I respect her nerves, though, and 'Slow Me Down' is a good choice for a lead single. Did you know she used to star in a Disney Channel original movie? Um, don't ask me how I know that...

Moving to the two most famous girl groups of the UK. 'Change' was a pretty conventional album for Sugababes, it's missing some edge, and some sparks, however, there are some excellent singles materials here, 'Never Gonna Dance Again' and 'Denial', in particular. Can't stop listening to those two...As for Girls Aloud, the new single 'Call The Shots' is quite nice, I do like it, but it seems they're getting stuck, desperately in need for a mindblowing track to get back on top again...

Surprise ! The Vines, of all bands, has done a cover of The Veronicas' hit '4Ever', for a compilation released in Australia called No Man's Woman, in which male artists cover women's songs. And it is very good, a bit psychedelic, but the harmonies are sweet. By the way, The Veronicas' new single 'Hook Me Up' is one electro corker. Nice change in the twins' direction...

The Vines - 4Ever (The Veronicas Cover)

Bjorn, of Peter, Bjorn & John, has done a good remix for Robyn's 'Handle Me'. It's a bit military. I find it strange that even though I love all of the three singles to date, (Konichiwa Bitches, With Every Heartbeat, and this), I still haven't checked out the album. Maybe it's about time.

Robyn - Handle Me (Bjorn Remix)

I've been on a Carpenters kick lately, embarassingly. And someone's been downloading pilots of all these vintage '60s shows like Bewitched, I Dream Of Jeannie or Twilight Zone. I start to suspect that some old dead soul is taking control of my body...It's all a bit scary. Funny though, the one Carpenters song I kept going back to is also coincidently the one recently butchered by Emmy Rossum.

Last but not least, Pushing Daisies is the best show on tv this fall. Period. The excess of cleavage's clearly helping the ratings, as it's now picked up for a full season. Woot. Somehow Anna Friel just reminds me of Jenny Lewis. Just the kind of show I can get into.

Oh and Halloween's around the corner already? I should start working on a mix already...

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