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cos friday i'm in love

Well well well! Your file server screws up and posts mp3s at 32 bit rate (whatever that means) and it causes all sorts of fuss ;) Still all sorted now! Am just packing ready for my little break - but don't worry people... i have some pre-saved posts to publish every couple of days while I am off, plus at least one by a kind guest writer :) And I can't believe that when i am back it will be December and my much anticipated (by me) 24 Days of Christmas posts can begin. Of course there will be all the usual stuff, but christmas songs, movies and books will feature daily as well. Ah, i feel like i'm walking in a winter wonderland already. It's because the cups are red now at Starbucks. Once the toffee nut lattes come out, you know it's into festive season... Today's post is pretty mega, so grab a muffin, strap yourself in and as Maria Serneholt once and wisely said "Enjoy The Ride"...
Pop is a fickle mistress. She hooks you in with her choruses and catchy beats and ensnares you in her chains (Kinky bitch!) Then she goes and changes her mind and suddenly it's not chains, it's candle wax. Um, or something. Ok the point is that sometimes "pop" isn't really what is popular at all. 5 years ago, Britain was awash in the dance moves of Steps, the drug addled haze of SClub and the cheesiness but aren't i brilliant brilliance of Geri Halliwell. Now its all electro-clash this and guitar music that, and the pop of yesterday can't get a look in. And that's not always a bad thing, because i think you'll find that if you look for it, pop, actually, is all around... Take Darin for instance. Now I was a bit late on the whole Darin thing, and then convinced myself that actually if Shayne Ward or Gareth Gates had recorded his sophomore album, they would have hovered at the top of the charts for nigh on a year. His third set Break The News continues in the same vein - sweeping ballads mixed with club-tinged pop tracks. And it works - there are at least 5 singles here: Lead off track Perfect has this great universal appeal, catchy chorus and foot tapping beats; Insanity has great chants, spoken verses over a slightly menacing, but effective backing track and a chorus so insiduous it should be twirling a moustache and cackling at it's evil genius; ExtraOrdinary Love is an out and out pop-dance tune that makes my heart giddy to hear, so joyous is it in energy and production; Everything But The Girl is a great piano based ballad that recalls Walk The Distance and sets off Darin's lovely voice. And then I'd probably go for the jaunty Saturday Night as a fifth single :) For me, this album has put Darin as a contender...
Now I am certainly not the first person to write about Young Divas and chances are I won't be the last. Rising from the ashes of Australian Idol (I believe), they have recorded an album of Stock Aitken and Waterman standards (wow, it's kind of exciting that i can refer to those songs as standards!) and other disco tinged classics. The girls have great voices and the songs really haven't been changed that much from when they were first out, other than slightly more up to date production. But again there is a giddy glee in how much fun the songs are, and if - like me - you grew up with and loved S/A/W, there is a certain pleasure in hearing them lovingly recreated with no irony. Just an acknowledgement of what perfect little pop pieces they actually were. Will be interesting to see what these l'il sonias and lonnies do next...
Now let's talk about Dyyce. Yes another band who have come up with creative spelling for their name, which at first i raised my eyebrows too. Then when i saw there were six of them, i begrudgingly admit it's quite clever. Ish ;) I actually remember Dyyce from their performance at this years wet and windy Birmingham Pride. 6 good looking lads with impeccable vocals, a great look (you know i am loving the shirt/tie thing at the mo), complementary harmonies and songs that admittedly start off sounding like any other vocal group. But therein lies the trick - the songs grow and evolve into tunes that wash over you and before you know it, you're mesmerised by the r'n'b grooves, the smooth vocals, the lush arrangements and radio ready hooks. Be sure to read their profile on myspace page - it sounds like there will be some great songs on the debut cd. And listen to More Than A Woman - a lovely ballad that deserves to be in the charts this Christmas. For sure we will be keeping an eye on these boys...
LINK: Purchase Darin's Break The News Album
LINK: Purchase Young Diva's debut album
LINK: Dyyce's myspace site
MP3: Darin - Insanity
MP3: Young Divas - You'll Never Stop Me Loving You
Aaah, avenue. It certainly is a popular name among groups of the pop and rock variety at the "mo". And it's possibly because you can do almost anything with it. Add a word in front that no one else has used and suddenly you have a unique group name. Bonza! So, in one of those "it seemed like a good idea at the time" moments, here are some of the groups that have come to my attention with the word Avenue in their group name...
First up is a group I have written about recently - Avenue. Seemed the simplest way to kick things off. They are most famous for being kicked off the XFactor for having some sort of deal going on at the same time. And as i've said before, it's a real shame as they seemed the archetypal boyband I'm so desperate for this country to embrace again. On the other hand, that situation meant my lovely Eton Road are in the final five of The XFactor so can't grumble too much. But still, i hope these boys do well - check out the sparkle in their performances at the links below. Plus we posted an extra pic of Scott cos he does the popstar look so well :)
Next up is the irish group Fifth Avenue. They were originally put together as Louis Walsh's answer to Steps and actually fit that bill quite well. There were five of them, they had a decent range of pure pop tunes, covers and ballads and they seemed to embrace their cheese factor. Stand out songs include the Madonna sampling Infidelity, their storming cover of Sometimes When We Touch, the lovely mid-tempo Spanish Eyes and the acoustic tinged The One. Now if anyone can send me their album, i'd be super grateful ;)
Another group we have written about before are the excellent Pacific Avenue. Indeed they are part of our "prestigious" 7 to watch in 2007 ;) 3 nice guys who auditioned for X Factor, didn't get through and instead of being all bitter, went away, looked at why they weren't good enough and set about improving themselves. Songs like I'm Still Dreaming show that they can produce choruses huge enough to be sung back to them by thousands of fans in arenas, while ballad Don't Look Back owes a debt to Take That and is another song that definitely deserves to be a big hit. I'm certain we will hear more from these boys...
I've had Sunrise Avenue's album On The Way To Wonderland for a while now, but not got round to listening to it properly. Silly me. Their tunes are more rock than boyband yet snap crackle and pop with an effervescent energy, a vocal that recalls Mark Owen, an addictive passion and unstoppable melodies. More 3 Doors Down than Take That, I was going to say they are older than your average boyband but with the return of the That and BSB still doing the rounds i'm not so sure anymore! Debut single All Because Of You and follow up Fairytale Gone Bad are definitely the best of the bunch and would probably appeal to people who grew up with BBMak and appreciated A1's Make It Good cd :)
LINK: Avenue's myspace site
LINK: Avenue singing Back For Good
LINK: Pacific Avenue's official homepage
LINK: Sunrise Avenue's official homepage
MP3: Fifth Avenue - The One
MP3: Fifth Avenue - Sometimes When We Touch
MP3: Pacific Avenue - I'm Still Dreaming (clip)
MP3: Sunrise Avenue - All Because Of You
I'm not sure why I call it Dad Rock - possibly because it is music designed to appeal to the middle of the road, lowest common denominator average joe. Whatever the reason, when I am in the right mood, i actually really enjoy some "Dad Rock" and some of this years most successful American acts are chancing their hand in England in 2007. But before those two acts are addressed, lets give thanks that Elton John is wisely following up The Bridge with the quite lovely Tinderbox as his second single. I am loving The Captain and The Kid album the more and more I listen to it. Meanwhile hoping for some of that top ten action they have had stateside are The Fray, who most bloggers despise, but i actually like. Possibly by association - they have soundtracked Grey's Anatomy and support The Feeling here in Feb... How To Save A Life is a Blunt-esque tune that will probably do quite well over here. Similarly Five For Fighting release there addictive song The Riddle early next year. Gorgeous piano, sweet vocal and radio ready chorus means that with the right backing this song could be huge...
LINK: Purchase Elton John's Captain and The Kid CD
LINK: Purchase The Fray's How To Save A Life CD
LINK: Purchase Five For Fighting's Two Lights CD
MP3: Elton John - Tinderbox
MP3: The Fray - How To Save A Life
MP3: Five for Fighting - The Riddle

I'm all aquiver about my 24 days of Christmas posts - 24 seasonal posts starting on the 1st December all peppered with festive songs, books, films and other goodies. As a little taster of what to come, it seems that Christmas tours are now all in vogue. One of my favourite Christmas books, The Forgotten Carols, is touring Utah this December. Basically, it's the story of a nurse who is looking after an old man at Christmas and discovers the joy of the season through the stories of the people who are not often sung about but played a large part in the nativity. The music is lovely - i'll be returning to this later in December...
Utah seems the place to be this year as Deborah Gibson is also touring there with some geezer called Kurt Bestor. Deborah recorded what became one of my all time favourite Christmas songs and will be used to kick off the post on Friday. For now, here is a perky little ditty from when she was merely Debbie... And who knew that Salt Lake City would be the place to be for religious themed holiday concerts this year ;)
Finally, bsb-er Brian is also getting in on the touring act this holiday season with Rebecca St James. No doubt he will be singing some of the more religious themed tracks from his debut cd as well as some Christmas favourites. Bring your eggnog people and if any of you go to any of these concerts, be sure to let me know!
LINK: The Forgotten Carols tickets
LINK: Tickets for Deborah/Kurt
LINK: Tickets for Brian/Rebecca
MP3: Forgotten Carols - I Cannot Find My Way
MP3: Debbie Gibson - Sleigh Ride
MP3: Brian Littrell - Angels and Heroes
~ Just because we can, here is a great pic of Stefan from Switch22 in a mock up poster done as a sample of what the Casino Royale poster would be like. So it's a superhero of pop masquerading as a secret agent. Cunning! I like it :)
~ Daniel Kirkley has a behind the scenes look at his video for the powerful My New Dawn over at his myspace site. Poor lad looks bloody freezing :(
~ Ugh, my loathe affair with Heat continues. Emotionally immature Pete has now proposed to some girl he's dated for like 2 minutes. Mentally unstable Nikki also gets more column inches. When will these people be done?
~ I'm still paying attention to Dan's Pay Attention blog. Check out his 13 Madonna Tour memories :)
~ The ever reliable Sun reports on the war of the albums this week - it appears that Westlife are outselling everyone. If they beat Oasis to the top then i'll be happy, but i was hoping that The Beatles would sell a bit more and Matt Willis a lot more :( Elton favours la Life...
~ the increasingly brilliant (stupid Syler killing the wrong cheerleader; stupid cops arresting Peter Petrelli; stupid Jessica shooting that dude) Heroes is coming to BBC2 as well as SciFi in the UK...
~ I was discussing in comments with Poppostergirl how Idol songs seem to be recycled round the world - and now reports leak that the winner of X Factor's single is A Moment Like This. So perfect for Leona, so rubbish for everyone else...
~ ever the beacon of all that is good in the world of pop (!), PJ has his own views on whether a boyband could launch at this time. Have faith i say (blind faith maybe, but faith all the same!)
Coming soon - as I am not around as much next week (hello GC!), here is what you will have to keep yourself going with:
Monday - a post that is being written today and is really a bit of a logical extension of this one
Wednesday - my top songs at the mo, plus a guest writer gives TheZapping some European culture...
Friday - 24 Days of Christmas mini post 1
Saturday - 24 Days of Christmas mini post 2
Feel free to leave comments while i'm off and i'll check in and say hi from time to time :)


  1. Robpop said...
    EXCELLENT POST!!! missed ya!
    xolondon said...
    Starbucks should give you a lifetime supply of free coffee!

    I like that Dan blog - he has a Stevie Nicks fetish I can tap into. Hola Dan...

    Are the MP3s working? Elton is not, sadly. :(
    KulPop said...
    Hi Paul,

    Check out the DigitalEargasm blog for a naughty photo of Deborah and the "Only In My Dreams (2006 denovia 3foundation club mix)" download.


    J'ason D'luv said...
    Pablo, enjoy your trip to the Canaries... what's the draw of that place with you Brits? Guess it's like the Hawaii of Europe...

    I, too, am in the festive spirit thanks to the red Starbucks cups! I'm such a whore for that dive...

    I love that you're coming out as a SAW fan... I never knew.You'll never stop me from loving you, now.

    Interesting that The Fray have flip-flopped and are now taking it in the...oops... I mean, supporting The Feeling on their UK tour. Glad I got to see said Feeling sans Fray, though, here in LA. They're a bit more like Grandma Rock for me. Or Grandma cock.
    HotstuffFiles said...
    Hope you have a great trip Paul; and in other news - fuck - I can't believe I forgot to write/send etc. that stuff to you.

    Robpop said...
    Eton Road were good this time. But again only the guy with the shaved hair can sing. He looks a bit like Shayne Ward too...
    Robpop said...
    Have fun in Spain!
    Dan said...
    I truly do love that Darin song and the Young Divas as well. Forgive my ignorance (that's what being in America will do as far as pop music goes) but is that "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" a S/A/W? If it is, I haven't heard it, but, like I said, that might not be saying much.

    J'ason D'luv said...
    Hey, Dan, this should answer your question.

    And any fans of pop music should pick up Stock Aitken Waterman's three-disc Gold boxed set from last fall. God, those old geezers should really pay me at this point...
    Dan said...
    Hey J'ason - Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Stopped by your blog and it looks great. Will be stopping by there more frequently.

    xolondon said...
    You're going to be busy with the blogs Dan!
    Poster Girl said...
    The Darin album sounds great! I can't wait for my copy to arrive. Five singles would be excellent, though.

    Who knew Avenue was such a popular part of a name? And that it was connected to so many good songs? When I was looking at a bunch of Finnish download sites, I noticed Sunrise Avenue's "Fairytale Gone Bad" pretty close to the top for a lot of them and felt rather ahead of the times, since I'd got to hear that song a while ago thanks to your blog :)

    I finally saw an episode of Heroes, and wow! Thank goodness NBC has the old episodes up on their site to watch!

    Have a great vacation!
    Paul said...
    Good lordy people, that is an awful lot of comments! Having fun in GranCanaria - stay tuned for more pre written blogs this week!! I knew that as soon as i left thecountry Eton Road would be kicked off the XFactor. AM devasted - boo!
    photographer said...
    hey paul sum new pics of the pac ave boys up,form a few local xmas gigs in glasgow.

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