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The future of pop...

For some reason yesterday, I had my highest "viewing" figures ever. By a long shot! 1000 people visited the page – so if you are new or returning, welcome. I hope you enjoy what I write…The rainy day is kind of reflecting my mood today. I feel like I am going through a period of uncertainty. Both dazpanteloons and I are considering making changes to our jobs, which may take us to other parts of this fair land. It's a lot of effort to organise and it's something that may not happen. Still time will tell, and the prospects are quite exciting! Anyway, enough about me – how are you??? I want to focus on a few artists today that I think could be really big in their own separate ways…

THE RESSURECTION OF POP:



I'm not really sure how I first happened upon Simon Curtis, but I am certainly glad I did. Not only does he seem a thoroughly nice chap, but his music has a certain edge and drive that you wouldn't expect from such an angelic faced individual. I really believe that his forthcoming album Alter Boy could provide the kick in the arse that pop music needs – certainly in England and hopefully in America.

Mr. Curtis has managed to produce an album that is thematically cohesive, lyrically deft and utterly addictive – blending together a number of styles that produce a fresh, pop friendly, club motivated sound. Religion, war, betrayal, sex and friendship are themes that run through all the 18 songs on the album – but unlike recent bloated offerings from Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera, the songs never outstay their welcome thanks to catchy choruses, political opinion and often deliciously malevolent lyrics…




The album opens with Simon declaring that this is his work as he is now – it represents his journey through his youth and documents every heartache, every stab in the back and even the betrayal of his countries values through the war in Iraq on the politically charged Left Right Left. Careful listening to lyrics is a definite requirement of this album, but on this song in particular in order to get the most rewarding listening experience you possibly can. Candy Store is a thinly veiled metaphor for the joy of sex and if you have a slightly dirty mind like me, then it's practically pornographic pop heaven! I just love the line where he says since he found the candy store, he's stopped having to jerk ;) And Vicious may be the greatest break-up song ever, far outranking Cry Me A River. The issues of hurt and betrayal and deception are evident as Simon describes a seemingly ideal girl who ended up not as she seemed. The chant "vicious bitch" over the dark thumping bass is about as macabre and justifiably vindictive a pop song I've heard in recent years. Just painfully exquisite…

In an album full of classics, there are a few definite stand out highlights. Bones is a prince-esque club thumper that defies your ability to keep you toes untapped as it insinuates it's way into your brain. Broken (including album version and show mix) is just simply one of the best pure pop songs of the year and if there is any justice in the world, will be leaping up charts fairly shortly. These two songs in particular definitely deserve to be singles. Religion is addressed in more detail in Religion Reduced, Alter Boy and Halo – three tracks that examine the preconceptions and judgements that society makes of individuals. Heavy, but delicious stuff. Finally for further example of Simon's talent for a good tune, check out brand new song Put Your Make Up On, which was his entry for the popjustice writing competition. Simon himself describes it as very prince/scissor sisters with great production from xenomania.

Overall an outstanding debut album from a talent that I recommend you all keep an eye on…

Link: Simon Curtis official site (click on buy music to purchase cd single)


THE POPSTAR IN WAITING:


By his own admission, Gavin Mikhail isn't your average blue eyed popstar. He isn't in it for the fame (although I assume the money will come in handy. Who is going to say "no more money! I couldn't take another dime!"). As a happily married dad, he's certainly not in it for the chicks. He is definitely not in it for the sports cars (he drives a gold minivan). He is, however, in it to make the best darn songs he possibly can that will touch people and be relateable all over the planet. And judging by his sophomore album Like Normal People Do, he is darn well succeeding…

It's easy to pass Gavin off as a Daniel Powter clone, but that would be utterly unfair. For one, Gavin has been going longer (his debut album came out in 2003). He may write piano based pop songs and ballads, but the similarity ends there. There is no woolly hat in sight. Gavin is far better looking. Much like Simon Curtis, he knows how to wear a loosened tie and make it look cool rather than like he has had a rough day at the office. And unlike Daniel Powter (who I do actually kinda like, but find a little bit "corporate"), Gavin pours his heart and soul into the 10 tracks that make up this very likeable collection.

Whereas Mr Curtis is the real person bringing sexyback to the charts, Mr Mikhail does very much what my beloved Deborah Gibson does… that is, he writes music from the heart that utterly transcends the current boundaries of pop and has this gorgeous, timeless feel to it. I really feel Brave – an ode to how that special person in your life can make you into a better person – is one of the most beautiful love songs of the year. If I had heard it in June, it definitely would have featured in Darren and my civil partnership. Lilting piano, multi layered harmonies and a chorus Simon Cowell would kill for make this track a stunning opening to the album and one that will have the listener coming back for more, time and time again…

Thankfully, it's not the only winner on the album – it's ultimately an uplifting and motivational listening experience. It's about the love that makes you a better person, the chances you take to follow your dream and the things you do to get through the difficult moments in life (Back For Me is a great song to soothe those break up blues and has the most lovely melody; God In This Moment seems to be answering those uncertainties whether it be a personal dilemma or national catastrophe). The album finishes with One Of These Days – a song with hope and belief baked into the very core of it and essentially bookends the album. It may sound like this album is emotional or cloying – it's really not. It is the feelgood experience of the year…

Link: Official Gavin Mikhail website

THE SHOWGIRL:

I alluded to this album in my post on Monday, but was slightly too ashamed to come out and admit that I had bought it. Certainly the words "Andrew Lloyd Webber presents…" emblazoned across the top actually fill me with fear. As much as I love musicals, I'm not a particularly big fan of that weird little troll. But Connie Fisher is something else – a startling voice that won the hearts of the nation (as they say) when she won the right to be Maria in the west end revival of The Sound Of Music that opens in November…
The album may well be a little bit of a rush job – it is after all, barely three weeks since she won the show. All the songs on here are covers – either of songs she sang in the show or (probably forced on her) Lloyd Webber "classics". There are some standout moments however – her version of Cabaret's Maybe This Time and Chicago's All That Jazz show her at her most mournful and her most energetic with sparkling results. No Matter What is a song that is pretty hard to ruin and Connie does a great job on that too. The Sound of Music suite that closes the album, however falls a little flat – maybe they are saving the juicy stuff for the cast recording later in the year. Overall though a fine debut from Simon Shepherds latest west end co-star

THE LIVE LOUNGE RE:FRESH (1):

By popular demand here are some of the live lounge moments from yesteryear whose links have now expired. Well no longer will you miss out on this cover classics - i'll be posting 5 a day for the next few days so just right click and save people ;)


MP3: Arctic Monkeys - Love Machine

MP3: Corinne Bailey Rae - Munich

MP3: Daniel Bedingfield - Somebody Told Me

MP3: Editors - Feel Good

MP3: Franz Ferdinand - What You Waiting For

THE ZAPPING FRANCHISE:

Just in case you have missed out, here are some other features on some of the other zapping run sites:

Link: PinkieDust does The Little Mermaid
Link: Holiday Diaries May 2004 Day One
Link: Holiday Diaries May 2004 Day Two (Part One)
Link: Holiday Diaries May 2004 Day Two (Part Two)
Link: Holiday Diaries May 2004 Day Two (Part Three) ~ ALL NEW!

HOT LINKS:



~ If Gavin Mikhail's album is the feelgood experience of the year, then The Feeling are the feelgood band of the year. And don't they look dapper on the set of their new video Love It When You Call…

~ The Killers don't get the number one album in America? Shut up!

~ If you are in a reviews state of mind after today's post, check out XO's thoughts on the Depeche Mode live doc...

~ October 23rd is going to cost me a fortune - this, this, this and this are all out. Sheesh! And a week before payday...

~ the nightmare before christmas 3d has new songs? Colour me spookily excited :)

coming soon ~ how to dress like Adam Levine and other fashion tips! Why the ordinary boys may have the best album cover of the year (if it was a mens clothing catalogue)! Upcoming boy singers! Something on Lois and Clark! Lots more...

7 Comments:

  1. Poster Girl said...
    Amazing, amazing post (it's great you finally got around to it ;) )! I loved the album reviews--I couldn't agree more about Simon Curtis--it has so many tracks, but it's never even close to boring. The album is completely brilliant, both musically and lyrically. There's so much emotion and social and political commentary in it, backed by fabulous hooks and fascinating soundscapes. "An album full of classics" was the perfect way to describe it.

    I may have to buy Gavin's most recent album now--I adore "Brave" and your review may have pushed me over the edge :)

    Congrats on all the visitors--you totally deserve it!
    Poster Girl said...
    P.S. I hadn't realized Simon had a new song up--ooo, how exciting! I can't get MySpace to play it right now, but I'm sure it will as fabulous as all the other songs there and on his official site :) And really, really "ooo" for him finally releasing it! If it's digital, then hopefully that will help his popularity spread...everyone must must must buy it when it comes out!
    KulPop said...
    Great post. Canadian Daniel Powter released his debut cd "I'm Your Betty" back in 2000, so he has been working towards success for quite some time.

    Cheers,

    KulPop
    xolondon said...
    Congrats on your 1000 served! Slut! :)

    The Feeling are really taking that album all the way huh? They just keep churning out singles. Good for them! I predict the final single will be Strange.
    J'ason D'luv said...
    OMG! The Feeling are playing LA tomorrow, and doing a CD signing of their EP at Borders in Hollywood :) So there!
    Paul said...
    PG - yay! there is such a zapping/PG love in going on at the moment! Its nice to find an online buddy with near identical music tastes and myspace ripping skills. That song on Simon's MS only worked once for me - maybe there's a problem with it? Have you heard the song he did for Disney?

    Kulpop - i didn't know about the Danny P album! Is it still available? I may well just have to go and check it out...

    XO - me a slut? Who told? The rudeness! I too am routing for Strange as final single...

    J'Ason - colour me dark green with envy. Knock Dan a little peck on the cheek for me would ya??
    Poster Girl said...
    The Zapping helps me keep my cheesy tastes grounded, though--you actually feature some classy acts here :) I haven't heard Simon's Disney single yet--worth picking up?

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