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Well, a very happy Thanksgiving Thursday to all of my American readers :) I've been in Las Vegas for a couple of thanksgivings and they have always been lots of fun :) Even if i did feel a bit uneasy being British ;) But what I usually love most about Thanksgiving in the States is that the day after is such a major shopping day and all the big stores in the malls give you little gifts just for turning up. Really, that should happen every day of the year shouldn't it? Here in England it is just another regular Thursday and if i wasn't off work still, I would be all bitter that I don't have the day off. But i do so i'll just stop bitching and get on with the post...
EDIT: MP3s for tues and weds now fixed. Todays will be fixed on Friday :)
EDIT2: Check out this newspaper mention of TheZapping!!

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THE SPICY THANKSGIVING TREAT:
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Ah, whatever you think of those girls formerly known as Spice, they have had a lasting impact on pop culture and at least 3 of them have crafted semi successful yet different to each other sounding pop tunes. In my mind, Harri Gelliwell was the one who most closely mirrored the Spice Girls sound. In fact her 3 albums were much more of an extension of the first two Spice albums - more so in fact than the patchy Forever cd. Let's face it, none of Geri's offerings are perfect slices of pop, but they were always full of fun and sparkle and to me, that's important in the pop world. And after one single from Scream If You Wanna Go Faster didn't make number one, the label panicked and future singles were managed with extreme caution. This meant a lot of gems were left on the shelf instead of gracing the singles chart. What about Strength Of A Woman? Don't Call Me Baby? Surrender? The lovely So I Give Up On Love and Loving Me Back To Life? And in her back catalogue, Geri had 2 songs that she could've re-recorded to make a stunning greatest hits - Heaven & Hell and Feel The Fear. So ladies and gentlemen, here is what a Geri greatest hits should have looked like:
  • Look At Me
  • Mi Chico Latino
  • Lift Me Up
  • Bag It Up
  • It's Raining Men
  • Scream If You Wanna Go Faster
  • Calling
  • Strength Of A Woman
  • Circles Round The Moon
  • Ride It
  • Desire
  • Surrender Your Groove
  • I Give Up On Love
  • BONUS: Live and Let Die (mp3)
  • BONUS: 100% Pure Love (mp3)
  • BONUS: Heaven & Hell (mp3)
  • BONUS: Feel The Fear
Melanie Chisolm took a different approach to Geri - she moved onto a sound that was as far away from Spice as possible. She pitched herself as the Robbie of the group and to a certain extent it worked. All three of her albums had great energetic pop songs on, helped by thrusting guitars, singalong choruses and a good vocal from Sporty herself. Unfortunately, when the singles stopped performing (and Mel due to a leg injury) the label lost confidence, and like Geri, many great tracks were left on the albums that would have made excellent singles choices. Mel knew how to have a good time and "rawk" out as much as she knew to reign it in and give us tender ballads. One colossal mistake - that dreadful If That Were Me song: "i cannot live without my phone, yet you do not even have a home"? Shudder... Should've been greatest hits below...
  • When You're Gone
  • Going Down
  • Northern Star
  • Never Be The Same Again (the first song Dazpants and I smooched to!)
  • I Turn To You
  • If That Were Me
  • Independence Day (mp3)
  • Here It Comes Again
  • On The Horizon
  • Positively Somewhere
  • Yeah Yeah Yeah (mp3)
  • Melt
  • Next Best Superstar
  • Better Alone
  • Last Night On Earth (mp3)
  • Little Piece Of Me
Now it's a little too early to speculate on an Emma Bunton greatest hits, but after a shaky first album, Emma seems to have adopted that sixties pop kitten style that (while not generating huge styles) worked so well for Cathy Dennis on her seminal Am I That Kinda Girl album. Free Me may well be my joint fave solo Spice album (with Scream...) and was filled with joyous little ditties swathed in strings, beats, percussion and harmony. Just lovely. Her dreadful cover of Downtown aside, her new disc Life In Mono seems to be a natural extension of this. I have already discussed the deliriously lovely title track here, yet there are other tracks that take you back to those heady bygone days of 60s pop - all done in a timeless manner that could make this album another treasure. Check out the playful, languid So Mischevious, the perky I'm Not Crying Over Yesterdays and swooning All I Need To Know. Will Emma break the curse of the third spice girl album flop? Seems that way...
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THE DAY THE MUSIC SURVIVED:
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Thinking of the 60s influence on Emma Bunton triggered a whole host of thoughts in my mind about how pop is cyclical and often influences modern day acts. Of course, this isn't a new theory or particularly startling. People will always make the type of music they like and this is always bound to be influenced by something or other. But my new found appreciation of The Beatles reminded me of The Bishops who i posted about a couple of times earlier this year. They really embraced the wonder of the beatles inspired two minute pop jam almost to the point where they were a tribute band, yet always just managed to avoid crossing that line by injecting enough of their own personality and energy into their tunes. They are great energetic listens particularly Menace About Town...
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Similarly, it's no secret that McFly and The Click Five are influenced by The Beatles, but thanks to the marvy site Music Lovers i was reminded of that great Tom Hanks movie That Thing You Do about a band who become a one hit wonder in the 60s - The Wonders. If memory serves me correct, Tom wrote the title track for the fictitious band to perform and listening to it today makes me think that maybe, just maybe The Click Five are The Wonders reincarnated. Listen to the tracks below and see what you think ;)
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LINK: The Click Five Myspace Site
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THE GENERAL UPDATE FOR BANDS I LIKE:
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~ The Feeling just get more and more brilliant by the second. Check out their live performance on BBC's Children In Need last Friday. Dan Gillespie (Sex) Sells is looking as fine as ever, despite having a rotten cold. Poor Lamb...
~ Hurrah! Probably because they know how much i love Christmas, NME reports this week that The Killers have recorded a Christmas tune called A Great Big Sled. I remain tingly with anticipation...
~ Also in NME is the Cool List - best part? The description of why Gwen Stefani is no longer cool..."Because what is pop's sassiest woman doing a) yodelling and b) trying to sound like Fergie?" Spot On that mag...
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~ aw we love it when nice people we have featured in the past like Not Your Hero and David Hughes end up more famous than before. And what could be more exciting than ending up in a magazine as a buff musician? Feel free to nominate me as hot buff blogger people ;) PS - be sure to listen to David's song Angel. It's quite the epitomy of lovely!
~ Oy vey! The destruction of Keane's career continues. They have announced that their next single will be A Bad Dream (like most of the second album then. ZING!) and a live version is on their myspace page. Stick to the covers boys...
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~ And The Pipettes were at Children In Need too. Pulling shapes and all sorts of things no doubt. Must listen to their cd again...
~ The ever lovely Jason Mraz is doing a one offf concert in the New Year to welcome in 2007. As it's in Lake Tahoe it's a bit far for me to go, but anyone near by can get tickets here!
~ Remember when Marit Bergman did a cover of Justin Timberlake's current hit My Love? Well she has released an alternative version of it which you can download here. Golly!
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QUICK BITZ/BLOG WATCH:
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~ Parade of Pop has become the place to be to catch up on pop gossip - take that in gay drama? Nadine and Jesse gossip? new Sophie Ellis Bextor tracks? All here wrapped up in a pretty pink bow :)
~ Sweet Lord! An American Upper Street? D'Luv has all the sarcastic details...
~ Kudos to L'il Henry for turning his fab Fetch Me Some Music blog into a lively forum where people can talk new releases, swap the latest Christmas tunes and "preview" new albums. Bravo that man :)
~ an all new Justin's World episode up at Justin Lanning's myspace site. Love the ninja mom at the end!
~ Paris Hilton puked at her own performance? Now she knows how the rest of us feel. Vacuous tramp.
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Coming soon: More dad rock! A walk down the Avenues! Young Divas! Darin! Dyyce! Christmas Tours! Musicals! Anatomy of pop! More new singers! Some guest writers while i'm on holiday! the 24 days of christmas! more greatest hits done right! an AMAZING feature with Simon Curtis!! And so much more it will make your head spin :) See y'all soon!
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8 Comments:

  1. Pierre said...
    It's nice of you to decrease the quality of the mp3 files you give on here. I'm sure the artists are delighted but 32 kbits/s is really too low-quality.. if only because those low-quality files are unplayable on my DVD player, which accepts only 64+ kbits/s files and is my only way to listen to the mp3s I download and burn on CD.
    Your blog has suddenly become a very frustrating read. :/

    Cheers.
    Leon said...
    Oi! Mister!! How is it a frustrating read?? I find it very enjoyable thank you very much and so do many others. So what if the mp3's are low quality? Paul isn't doing this just to give us all music to listen to for free, I rather call it 'alerting us to stuff we would not have necessarily stumbled across and then exploring further'. Give the guy some credit for taking the time out to write entertaing and thoughtful pieces for us to enjoy!

    Gosh! I got angry then but come on........

    Keep up the good work whatever bit-rate it is!
    Paul said...
    ah thank you Leon - i was just formulating in my head how to respond diplomatically to that!! Actually truth is i don't know why the mp3s came up as 32 bit rate - they said they were being uploaded at 96, so i guess i will go back to filexoom and as most of these were on that server also i will just switch the links around. But i have to say i really appreciate your comments Leon. I am sure people just come to my page to scan for what mp3s are up - and thats bound to happen when you post music, but yep, as i say on my side panel - i love these acts and want them to succeed so music will only be up for a limited time anyway, and links are there to encourage purchase. For those people that stick around to read my random ramblings I am really glad you do so and hope you enjoy what i write, because i certainly enjoy doing it :)
    Poster Girl said...
    Oh, wow! That newspaper article--fabulous for you! Congratulations!

    The Wonders--I like them! Another movie for me to add to my ever-growing list of ones to see...

    By the way, I love how, with the Click Five and McFly combined, there are now two amazing songs called "Friday Night." Sadly, when I was playing the McFly song for someone in the car while they were driving, they thought the background sirens were from a real ambulance and pulled over to the side of the road to let it pass. Actually, maybe that was more funny than sad...
    (Oh, and Darin's album has a song called "Saturday Night," which I have not heard yet, but add that in with McFly's "Saturday Night" [which I actually didn't like that much] and you're set for the weekend!)

    Unrelatedly, I love that Mika is the UK iTunes free download of the week--the more publicity for him, the better!
    Pierre said...
    I really can't see how you could imply from my comment that I don't read your posts. The problem is precisely that I read them and then feel frustrated that I can't compare your views with mine by listening to the files.

    It's been five years since I have bought a newly released album without listening first to at least a few tracks (and it made my album-buying budget go through the roof). So, for me at least, those low-quality tracks mean I probably won't buy anything you talk about here. I need to be able to decide for myself if I like it first. That's how I use music-blogs.

    I'm sorry if you took my previous comment as a dig at you. It wasn't malicious in any way.
    Zeon said...
    Uhm Paul, the girl covering 'My Love' is Marit Bergman from Sweden, not Marit Larsen of M2M from Norway. You've got it messed up.
    xolondon said...
    The dls are working for me again, from what I can tell!

    I think for the Mel C hits I would add the Orbit-tastic "Go" and the Paul Buchanan written "Soul Boy." I prefer her version to Blue Nile's!

    There is a great remix of Lift Me Up - do you know it?
    Rose said...
    Congrats on the newspaper mention :)

    Melanie is my favourite Spice. I love the songs you picked. Love Emma too, can't wait for the new album. Not a fan of Geri but I like her 1st album.

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