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when 7 became 11...

Boo, I tells ya. Boo! As I am leaving my job in the middle of January (YAY!) for a foxy better paid, closer to home new one (DOUBLE YAY!), I don't have any leave left so had to drag my arse out of bed today and haul it into work. On public transport no less. Shudder! And as I was on the first train to London since Christmas eve (though I get off at Coventry), it was jam packed to the gills. And I mean packed!! I could barely breathe. Well, ok I could breathe and I was even able to watch an Ugly Betty on my foxy new archos, but I didn't have much elbow room. And that's all that counts. Or something. And as I am the only person in my office today, it's a little boring so I am blasting out tracks from my 7 in 07 (see below) and typing up this very blog in word, to paste into blogger later. Ooo now it's like you are all here with me. Or something. Oh god, there I go again. On with the post!!!
. Well golly gosh. Thezapping (I'm not sure why it's all one word, but I sure do like it like that) has been going for almost a year now and 2007 will (hopefully) be it's first full calendar year. And I feel that, while it sometimes has the schizophrenic feel of Robbie's Rudebox, I have settled into a nice little randomised groove. So I have picked out some of my favourite features and decided to make them more regular. There are a few new features I want to try out too. Hopefully, you will all let me know what you think – and please spread the word. I enjoy writing this thing and want people who enjoy pop to read it :)
~ THEZAPPING MUSIC MONTHLY: For years now, I have been making mix tapes and now cds (and sometimes zip mp3 files) for my friends on a monthly basis of some of my favourite songs for that month. Usually I go with singles from acts, but sometimes I'll chose singles I think they should have gone with instead. There are usually between 20 and 22 songs on there and I will be posting it at the beginning of every month.
~ THEZAPPING POPTASTILICIOUS 21: Each week, somewhere on the blog (possibly on the side column like Electroqueer does) I will be posting my favourite 21 songs of the week. With the British and American charts in such a state of boring disarray, it really will be the only charts that counts. If I have time, I may even do commentary on it (a la much imitated but never topped – allegedly, wink wink – chartrigger)…
~ THE SHOULD'VE BEENS: Pop is a fickle bitch, no? For every raving success like Girls Aloud and McFly, there are those who are left languishing in the rafters. Some deserve to be there, but there are some who embraced ever facet of pop and created bright shiny tunes to hug and embrace (e.g. V and All*Stars). There are many zapping faves yet to cover, so expect mucho from the vaults…
~ THE SINGLES SELECTED COMMITTEE: Every week, we will do a round up of the latest singles to be released in the UK – main tracks, b-sides, remixes, cd covers, videos, etc. The whole package, including where they may chart. If you would like to contribute to this on a regular basis, please email me at the usual address ;)
~ THE SINGLES SELECTION COMMITTEE: But sometimes (and quite often), record companies get it wrong. So when new albums come out or when we feel popstars and their management need a helping hand, there will be suggestions of what tracks should be future singles and when. Again, I'd love to have more people involved in this, so please email if interested ;)
~ THE GREATEST HITS DONE RIGHT: I'm a stickler for a proper greatest hits package – all the singles and double a sides, in chronological order with 2-3 new tracks. This is so rarely done nowadays, that I feel I have to go back and correct history. And sometimes rewrite it a little bit, if an album has been abandoned too early (a la Gareth Gates 'Go Your Own Way' or anything by Liberty X that wasn't their debut).
~ THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS: Then of course there will be all the other bits that randomly pop up – what I'm reading, what I'm watching, the latest fashion tips, any new pop act that catches my eye and anything else I feel like writing about. Plus there will be random theatre reviews and other stuff over at the spin off blog, and holiday stuff (both past and present) over at Holiday Diaires. You can't get much fairer than that can ya?!
~ SUBSCRIBE TO THEZAPPING: If you are on myspace, you can subscribe to thezapping myspace blog. Basically it will be the same as this, but you will get little extras thrown in… random pics, new music, news on how my novel is coming along and some other stuff I haven't even thought of yet…So what are you waiting for?! Go ahead! Subscribe dudes!
All the stuff above means that I am hoping that thezapping will become an exciting place to be – and a place that is utterly devoted to bringing you the very best in new pop music, and putting it back into the British charts. I'm not trying to emulate Popjustice et al, because they have their own style and I love it, but I want to create something that is a little bit pop and a little bit me. With this in mind, two of my biggest features for 2007 have been merged into one…The 7 to watch in 2007 feature has been running in the background for a while now, but will be bigger and better come the new year. Plus, when we started it, there were only 7 acts we liked and now there are more. Considerably more. So suddenly, 7 has become 11 to watch in 2007. Which fits in nicely with what we were planning for thezapping record company project idea. Basically, all 11 of these acts have been "imaginary" signed to the fictitious (til I win the lottery) thezapping record label… Here's what will happen:
~ each of the 11 acts will release one single per quarter. Yes there are 13 weeks in a quarter, but I am giving myself time off for holidays, etc.
~ One single per week will be "promoted" vigourously on this site with ideas for video, cover, b-sides, remixes and live lounge performances.
~ you, the reader, then have all week to vote on where you think it will chart in the top 40 if it were really were being released that week.
~ During the year, points will be accumulated based on voting numbers, "chart" positions, etc. In the last two weeks of the year, these points will account for 50% of a vote – you then get to vote for your favourite of the 11 (which will be the other 50%). The winner will be thezapping best new act of 2007…

So without further delay, and in alphabetical order, here is the all new, updated, 11 in 2007 list (except one…)
. Who are they? BEYOND
What do they sound like? Imagine Steps, buffed up with some Liberty X cool and dipped in some irresistible pop beats that sparkle brightly from start to finish…
Why I like them? well, we haven't had a decent boy-girl combo for ages (then typically two come along at once) and Beyond are suitably stylish, have no fear about telling you about their drunken nights out (and therefore will end up all over the pages of 3am in true popstar style) and even go to photoshoots when they are possibly dying from flu. That's star quality right there!
Key tracks – A little bit of ooh; just don't have the heart
. Who are they? BILLIAM
What do they sound like? Take That circa Everybody Changes period. Quality polished pop tunes with killer choruses and an injection of pure glee that makes the songs a lot of fun…
Why I like them? well for starters, Jazz is from Birmingham and I have to support the local boys. Plus they clearly have a love of all things pop if you read their bio, so they are doing this music because they love it, not just to get them famous. There's no irony. PS – check out their videos on myspace, girls (and gays presumably) already adore them... plus i'm pretty sure i saw them in the december issue of AXM...
Key tracks – Check It Out; Beautiful Ones
. Who are they? BLISS
What do they sound like? Now that Jadion and co have got their hands on them, they have amped up the funk factor and now the adorable Bliss girls sound like they are itching to step into the shoes of Sugababes and Girls Aloud, with saucy, sassy tunes.
Why I like them? Because they ARE saucy and sassy. They have just the right amount of flirtaciousness, coquettishness, sex appeal and girl next door smarts. Plus you just know they would whip the disco boys at G-A-Y into a frenzy! Plus we are a little in love with Iced Entertainment...
Key tracks – Take Me Home Tonight; something I can't mention yet ;)
. Who is he? CONOR
What does he sound like? If George Michael were having an affair with William Young and Stock, Aitken and Waterman delivered the baby, while Darren Hayes cut the umbilical chord, then Conor would be that baby. Only with a more charming Irish brogue…
Why I like him? All his songs have a deliciously, sunny 80s pop vibe to them, without sounding like he is mining that period. He looks like a jolly nice and fairly trendy chap in his photos. He can pull off popstar hair even with a visor on – trust me, not an easy thing to do! He's one of a number of male popstars embracing the frankly, ridiculously sexy shirt and tie gone casual look :)
Key tracks – Play With You; Club 55
Who are they? DIGITAL
What do they sound like? A great big lesbian orgy of music from Girls Aloud and Sugababes, only with penises. So, Phixx, but more exciting and up to date. It's all electro clash beats, swirling synths, too cool vocals and something that just makes you want to thrust your groin. In a good, non pervy way.
Why do I like them? Well, because for ages I have felt we need a male Girls Aloud. And they deliver that in spades. They make slightly ridiculous song titles like San Frandisco into something genius. Baz has a rather nifty looking make up stripe under his eye. And they covered Boys and Girls by Blur. Do I really need to go on?!
Key tracks – Boys and Girls; San Frandisco
What does he sound like? Can you imagine if Ronan Keating were good? Or Daniel Powter had a bit more of an edge? Or Elton John and Billy Joel were young again and not so weighed down with being famous? That would be Justin Lanning – pure piano-guitar pop at it's sing-a-long finest…
Why do I like him? Because music is his life. And it's a big part of my life. And while Justin gets to sing about it, I get to write about it. And Justin really embraces myspace culture by interacting with his fans, producing regular blogs giving his unique perspective on life, but isn't too serious that he can't do cheesy but aces photos like above and blog while drunk on his 21st birthday. Now that's our kinda boy!
Key tracks – Voices; Without You
. Who are they? LOCKDOWN
What do they sound like? The other boy-girl combo on our list, but both different enough to stand out and be unique. Basically, this funky foursome have dry humped pop into submission, deconstructed it and built it again as a pulsating mix of cover versions (Poison? Genius!), original dance tracks and tender ballads. It's almost a greatest hits package waiting to happen…
Why I like them? Well, not only did they very generously do a funky photoshop Christmas card (exhibiting web skills far beyond my own), but they are a talented bunch who have an active fan community and during their recent group makeover have got a pretty nifty style thing going on (I am so stealing Chris' look in this pic for my new years eve outfit if he'll tell me where he got that scarf!).
Key tracks – Poison; When You Look At Me
. Who is he? GAVIN MIKHAIL
What does he sound like? Like an American idol winner, if they were good and given great songs to sing. Its power pop piano with uplifting lyrics, catchy choruses, anthemic sing-a-longs and a too lovely voice that powers it all from start to finish. Shayne Ward should only have been so lucky to have tracks like this…
Why I like him? He's remarkably unpretentious. He loves family life as much as he loves singing, doesn't seem to realise how "popstar" his look actually is and has written tunes that can touch you so personally you would swear he was peaking into your diary, hidden underneath your socks so no one else can see it :)
Key tracks – Catch Your Fall; Brave
. Who are they? PACIFIC AVENUE
What do they sound like? If you could take the best elements from your favourite boybands – the heartbreaking ballads, the reality tv shows, the dance routines, the uptempo numbers, the adoring fans, then you begin to have some idea of just how special Pacific Avenue really are.
Why do I like them? What's not to like? A web based reality tv show that gives unique insight into their build up to fame and fortune; the pop star hair; the tunes that fulfil the promise, the active fan forum they participate in and their own photographer in the form of azzy who took the remarkable snap above. Love it!
Key Tracks – Autograph; Don't Look Back
. Who are they? SWITCH-22
What do they sound like? If you were lounging in the sun on a hot summers day and someone threw ice water on you, that's how bracing and exhilarating the tunes of Switch-22 are. Creative, inventive, thrusting, pounding, urgent, sexy and unforgettable.
Why do I like them? Because they are the self proclaimed super heroes of pop and quite rightly so. They sample 20th century fox in their tunes. They have stomachs you could grate cheese on. They are friends with Jean. When we're bored, we idly wonder what a threesome would be like with them and know they wouldn't mind us wondering one little bit. But mainly because they are super nice super hero guys ;)
Key tracks – Back To The Dancefloor; Sweet Dreaming
So that's ten of our eleven. Tune in tomorrow for a special two-part feature with our brightest hope for pop in 2007. It's gonna be a doozy!!
. He's still here! As the only actor in the original 7 in 2007 feature, Jeremy didn't fit into the new 11 in 07 feature once we merged it with the record company project idea. That's not to say though that we no longer love him, because we do. In fact, the play that drew him into our bosom is coming to the midlands again at the Wolverhampton Arena Theatre. The Maids is an amazing play and I shall definitely be going to see it once more. Hurrah, etc. Check out all the details below. If you plan on going let me know what night – it could be a zapping night out. Bonza ripper!
LINK: Jeremy's acting page
LINK: Wolverhampton Arena theatre webpage
~ I'm Always Right proves that he is most always almost right in a great end of year list, that recognises the genius of Emma Bunton's cover of Life in Mono and has made me resolve to love Robbie's Rudebox no matter what (nick had a hand in that too!)
~ Colour us all digital and techniquey. Cos one of our fave bloggers has only gone and posted some rip roaring dance mixes of That's My Goal and Bad Day sung by Deja Vu. I'm cyber hugging as we speak!
Coming tomorrow and Friday - thezapping's brightest hope for pop in 2007...


  1. Poster Girl said...
    The expansion to 11 is a great idea (there are just so many great artists you've featured), and I'm looking forward to this record company voting thing! By the way, Bliss's version of "Take Me Home Tonight," which I really liked to begin with, has continued to grow on me--it's really great! That chorus! Love that particular Pacific Avenue picture, too--great work on Azzy's part.
    PinkieDust said...
    Listening to Mika's album now for the 9th time. let me just his LP is the best thing since, since, since, life begun and realised its possibility. Tracks Like Any Other World and Happy Ending are silk and makes Pinkie cry.
    Paul said...
    i think the bliss track is a real tonic ;) It's fair got me through these dark winter months! Glad you looking forward to the record company thing! I think its kinda nifty! And yes - azzy is a great photographer :)

    Pinkie - i have just been listening to the mika album and it is tres bon!
    MaryMoo said...
    I've not long ago discovered your blog and i LOVE it. I shall be visiting through-out the year!
    Paul said...
    welcome mary! Ps - i read your blog and totally agreed with your thoughts on the vastly underrated mark owen!!

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