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22 days til christmas

Greetings to one and all. I am operating on about 4 hours of "airplane" sleep, which lets face it, isn't really sleep at all is it, especially when then oversized gentlemen next to you (not DazPlane) is "mushrooming" over into your seat. So my post may be a little rambling at times today... what's that? Oh, it already is? Oh leave me alone! I have endured crappy airplane food and bathrooms - their bathrooms are tiny aren't they? How anyone can have sex in them is beyond me - I could barely fit myself in, let alone DazPotato (we tried). And it's slightly disconcerting that there was a large mirror in there too, so that when you peed you could see exactly what was going on. Which i don't particularly want to. I realise some people are into the showers of gold, but not moi. Ew. I didn't even know they existed until that episode of Sex And The City where the foxy older politician wanted Carrie to widdle on him. Shocker. I don't really know how my mind boarded this train of thought, but it's certainly not what i bought a ticket for! On with le post...


Honestly, you leave the country for two saturdays and everything goes to middle of the road hell! It's true that reality pop tv has produced some real duds in the past, but there have always been sparkles of hope that have gone on to bigger success - William of Young, Girls Aloud, G4 and (sophomore album with a bit more variety pending) Shayne Ward (rar!). They all had that elusive star quality that set them aside from the people who didn't make it like Michelle McManus, Steve Brookstein and er, the rest of the bunch. Which takes us to the expulsion of Eton Road from this years personality free X-Factor competition. More than any other contestants this year, they embodied the fun and joi de vivre that this competition so needs. It looks most likely that the finale will consist of boring Ben and least interesting Leona. Yes both have great (in Leona's case - outstanding) voices and both deserve to win. But then what? They won't know what to do with Ben and Leona's voice will be wasted on vapid ballads that mar all idol debut albums. If vocal accomplishment were the sole key for a successful pop career, we would never have had Kylie, Madonna, Steps et al. So it will be with passing disinterest that I watch the few final shows while i live in vain hope that Eton Road will go on to have some success after all (but i'm sadly not holding my breath!).
PS ~ Please check out the Bitch Factor blog - its often more entertaining and always as funny as the brilliant Chart Throb book by Ben Elton, which is consistently engrossing and a right "hoot"!
LINK: The Bitch Factor blog site
LINK: Buy Ben Elton's Chart Throb
MP3: Eton Road - Everybody Needs Somebody
MP3: Eton Road - Circle Of Life
Regular readers of this site (all 11 of you ;) ) will know that i fancy my chances at predicting what would be good singles and when for groups and singers. Often, i continue imagining my alternate pop universe long after record companies have given up on the albums in question. Here are some thoughts on recent boyband albums... solo singers (male and female) to come tomorrow!

I love little G (for gay?)4. Bless. In fact, I was at their house recently and there was Jon (the cute blonde one) who looks like a "bottom" but has elected himself leader of the group and rather domineeringly takes all the lead vocals. The 4 of them were in their giant bed (i won't divulge what I was up to!) and Jon was giving his opinions on the album..."Well, really our songs fall into 3 categories so we'll call it act 3 and because it's our third album, it works on so many levels. First up we have the classic standards of yesteryore and opera that those bummer boys Il Divo (my backside still aches) favour like Volare and White Cliffs of Dover. Then we'll do some signature bombastic stuff which can be our second single, like Queen's Somebody To Love. What do you think boys? Boys? Cat got your tongue eh? Oh well. Then we could release some of our comically genius harmonised-no-one-will-expect-us-t0-cover-this tracks as third and fourth singles such as I Don't Like Mondays and that ubiquitous Crazy that we made sound so eerie with strings and stuff. And lets throw in a new Christmas song so Paul can put it on thezapping later in the month. In agreement boys? boys? Oh maybe if i took off your ballgags?!?!" And so on. I think you get my drift. (legal note! This may not actually have happened :O )

Ah the lovely Take That. How I adore them, and you will too as there are several more posts on them coming your way! They have returned after a ten year break and it certainly has made them a slick, tight unit. As Gary's autobiography mentions, had the that continued they would have gone in the direction of his solo albums and his 2004 Donny Osmond collaboration. Although they all contain flashes of polished pop genius, self doubt had infiltrated his work and at best they were a mixed bag. Beautiful World is a worthy addition to the TT canon. The boys have slipped back into a comfortable rhythm and the collaborative effort gives the new tracks and sparkly sophistication. I've already said much about lead off single Patience and it seems confirmed somewhere (I forget where) that the second single will be the radio ready chorus of Reach Out, which has a distinctive maturity that is grown up pop at it's finest. From there, Hold On - with vocal from the vastly underrated Mark - would make an ideal release thanks to lush production values and a soaring vocal that make it this album's Babe. And finish off with the album highlight, the Laura intro-d (if you ask me) Shine, that glitters with jaunty beach boy homage from start to finish. Then just watch those album sales roll in...

The Rose has proved that Westlife are pretty much unstoppable and are going to be around for as long as they want to be. So why not just succumb to it and embrace it as i have. Although i'm a little narked that the best looking one has his back to me in this picture. Rudeness. I think they should push for the classic Total Eclipse Of The Heart for a valentine release. The fans will lap it up and if the boys were feeling particularly inventive, they could even commission a remix. They may have to lie down after though. Then for May we could move onto the Delta duet (cos Lord knows that someone in the McFadden household should be a success) as by then the dreadful live vocal on the XFactor will have been forgotten. Then why not finish off the album in the summer with The Dance. Ronan can attest to the success rate of unknown (over here) Garth Brooks covers have in the charts. And that is one of my faves. Then just enough time for a few weeks off before the behemoth starts all over again for Christmas 2007....

At first I was a little annoyed that those adorable McFlown scamps had ignored my explicit advice to release Bubble Wrap next, but you know what? Sorry's Not Good Enough is an epic track that confirms the boys status as Britain's biggest niche act. The gentle and gradual crescendo of their middle 8 plea "Don't go changing..." sees the little rogues at their most powerful and effective. And they make great use of the piano in it. And if they do release Bubblewrap next, can we throw Transylvania onto the AA? I know it's already been a b-side but it's such a great fun song that more people deserve to hear it. Both of those songs show the transition from Busted-lite comedy songs to accomplished songsmiths is complete. Bravo those boys :) Their album down to 40 in its 3rd week? Shame on you Britain!
LINK: Purchase G4's Act 3 CD
LINK: Purchase TT's Beautiful World
LINK: Purchase Westlife's Love Album
LINK: Purchase McFly's Motion In The Ocean (please?!)
MP3: G4 - Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover)
MP3: G4 - Somebody To Love (Queen cover)
MP3: Take That - Shine
MP3: Take That - 6 in the Morning Fool (bonus track)

The Killers have gotten a little lazy. Or maybe more likely their record company has. Bones has been released in barebones format of the album version and an album track b-side. ooo, that will have us rushing to the store. Sarcasm aside (damn it, because i'm so darn good at it) and because it's Christmas, I'll let it slide because they have only gone and recorded a Christmas record for charity. Despite the fact that it sounds exactly like a Killers record with some sleigh bells in the back, i am preprogrammed to love it long time and am happy they are joining such festive rock luminaries as Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins and er, My Chemical Romance. Who says Christmas can't be grungy? Sigh. It's still the MOST wonderful time of the year :) And as it is, here's a rather super cover of the Killer's very own When You Were Young reimagined by former Blue boy Simon Webbe...
MP3: The Killers - Great Big Sled (web rip)
MP3: Green Day - Christmas
MP3: Smashing Pumpkins - Christmastime
MP3: My Chemical Romance - All I Want For Christmas Is You
BONUS MP3: Simon Webbe - When You Were Young (thanks Jessica)

Well haven't the boys been busy while i've been away. Let's go through them one by one...
~ Justin Lanning turned 21 (happy birthday dude) and put a rather smashing new demo (without you) on his myspace page...
~ Pacific Avenue turned on the Christmas lights in Glasgow and azzy was there to capture all the necessary images here...
~ Conor still has the excellent Play With You for free download on his myspace and has some exciting news coming in the new year. Viva!

~ Not only are those naughty Switch22 boys rocking my world with the brillo Back To The Dancefloor, but they have a plethora of new snaps up in the pics part of myspace...
~ a HUGE Simon Curtis feature is coming soon including interview and an indepth look at the sheer genius of one of his songs...
~ Something Kinda Ooh! McFly are doing a smaller venues tour next year, so i'll be able to elbow all the 12 year old girls out the way to get to the front. Hurrah! Plus a new Christmas song on their Sorry single? Marv.
People are fizzing at the !@*! (parents reading!) over Robyn and i still haven't checked the broad out properly. Shame on moi...
~ I can't even begin to list all the brillo stuff Nick has been upto, so just pop on over to
Alienhits and see for yourself :)
~ there are some semi professional pics (these boys need azzy) of
Avenue (no Pacific) on their myspace site. Don't they look sweet...
Homoeclectic doesn't share my enthusiasm for the return of Take That, but does sort of agree about the brilliance of Mark Owen...
~ Poppostergirl has some festive Click 5 and Jesse McCartney up. Marvarific!
~ Johnnyli has the cd single of Avril's Eragon contribution. Can't wait to see the film :)
Coming soon: more festive cheer; more single selection committee; something on Cathy Dennis; more Take That; some festive fashion tips; a good gift guide; a revamped holiday diaries of our latest trip with pics and music; older singles now making me dance; more on books and then all the usual fun of the fair. See you there!


  1. J'ason D'luv said...
    I'm so glad you're using the word 'broad' now. What a bad influence I am.
    HotstuffFiles said...
    Welcome back Paul! Great to hear you had a great flight, although that first paragraph was a bit - um, yeah, er....

    Also - can I say that in terms of Eton Road, they will end up nowhere, or as big as Westlife. Only one of the above - no more, no less.

    And did I say 'welcome back' again!
    xolondon said...
    Welcome back! How long was your flight?

    I see the kidz are scared of golden showers. Someday they'll be bored (or blitzed!) and as "Annie Of Lennox" said, Who knows what they'll get up to?

    Take That- Shine has to be the third single, no doubt. They need an uptempo single. Would be nice for late Spring. The track actually reminds me more of ELO than Beach Boys, though all this points to how they can take their sound forward in the future.

    The album continues to grow and I will order a proper copy momentarily.
    Poster Girl said...
    "Shine" is so good...I'm really surprised, though, at how much I love two of the Take That tracks you've posted that aren't even on the real album, "Trouble With Me" and "6 In The Morning Fool"--I really love them!

    The "please?!" after the link to buy the McFly album made me laugh...and yet, it shouldn't. Poor boys :( I'd buy copies to give to everyone I know if I didn't think they'd end up as coasters.
    Robpop said...
    Welcome back!!!
    Anonymous said...
    There is no Green Day song "Christmas"
    You posted "Christmas by the Phone"-
    Good Charlotte.
    Bah humbug.......
    Paul said...
    oops i've been listening to it for a couple of years thinking it was green day. I was as duped as you have been ;) Sorry dude or dudette...

    and thanks for the welcome backs everyone :)
    Rose said...
    Welcome Back Paul :)

    I'm gutted Eton Road are out. I like Leona but I'm starting to get annoyed at seeing her name everywhere. She's got a great voice but there's something missing for me. I hope Ben wins.

    I love how G4 made 'Crazy' their own.

    I hate Take That! I'm mad that their reunion worked and East 17's didn't :(

    I'm glad 'Sorry's Not Good Enough' & 'Friday Night' is the next single. I can't wait to see the video for 'Friday Night'. I'm really happy McFly are coming to Liverpool but I might not go to see them, none of my friends like the guys :(

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