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the whirling dervish

Greetings pop pickers and welcome to this fine if somewhat rainy sunday. Where on earth did saturday go? It whizzed by in a whirling dervish of starbucks, preordering Playstation 3 (darren), a few episodes catching up with those zany gilmore girls (me), some chicken and asparagus risotto and a retro evening watching Big Business with Bette Midler. My car shopping didn't get very far other than i told Darren just to drive out of one place in a direction he shouldn't have driven and may have seriously damaged the underside of his car, though it seems ok :O I could tell from his eyes that he wanted to blame me, but he has freedom of choice so he could have driven another way ;) Choosing a car is incredibly hard - they are either not the right colour or the wrong make or too many miles or they don't make me want to love them. I need the Kirsty and Phil of the car world to help me out :) Still, am sure i will find the car of my dreams soon!! Anyway, sunday is update 11 in 07 day so I had better get on with it hadn't i???
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THE 11 TO WATCH IN 2007 UPDATE #5
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Hurrah! Some of my lovely 11 have been most industrious this week so I should just get on with talking about them instead of me...
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Ah, let us count the ways we love Simon. He is never too busy to email you about stuff. He has a cool producer and manager. And obviously he already has more than an album's worth of amazing pop tunes, and still keeps churning them out. About a month ago, he was kind enough to send me a track to listen to called Resist, which originally was written for Jadion produced girl group (and fellow 11 in 07s) Bliss. At this point it was a demo version, but the production values were still top notch and I had to stop myself physically from listening to it in case I got addicted to it. Possibly his most "pop" (along with Broken and Put Your Makeup On) song to date, this amazing tune starts off amidst a whirl of swirling electro beats and stacatto synths that are complemented by a smooth vocal "ooos" from Simon before leaping into a breakneck verse that is reminiscent of Janet Jackson's If that holds back on the beats thru the first few lines before building them up into the chorus. Talking of which, the chorus puts to shame some of the insanely catchy hooks of Max Martin (and that's a high compliment coming from me!) all about the forbidden allure of someone and the difficulty in not succumbing to that! Interesting point - the demo version (Written for girls) has the lyrics "I must resist you boy" while the new official Simon version has "i must resist you now". Both work well of course, but i like the fact that actually you could market two versions, one to the gay clubs and one to radio and please everyone :) Hurrah! Anyway, rumour has it that this song will soon be available as a free download on the internet, so wanted to make sure you all knew about it - i would describe it as Overprotected having a down and dirty sordid affair with If, yet with enough style and individuality to make it something new and exciting for today. Is there no end to this man's talents?! (PS ~ no one at my school looked like that in the pic above, as the tie is remarkably similar to my school uniform! Well Manning Butts did but that's another story...)
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And my my those Digital boys are working very hard at the moment aren't they. Beefing up their numbers with new members, getting their official website all up and launched (be sure to sign up for newsletters and for their forum), making me flirt inappropriately with bar managers to get them contact details to book gigs (hehe) and most importantly churning out more stomping pieces of pop for us all to enjoy. This week, two new songs hit the myspace - let's address TKO first. This song signifies to me that Digital will have no problem proving they are the new male Girls Aloud in the world of boyband pop (as opposed to say, the new One True Voice or Upper Street). TKO has a pulsating beat, great use of the voices in the verses (these guys know how to complement each other rather than focusing on one singer or drowning the others out) and a chorus that refuses to give up. And if you think that was good prepare for some spine ting-dingly goodness with Get Your Kitt Off with some inventive electroclash sounds, some essential boyband chanting and some slightly arousing filthy pervy lyrics. The chorus is the sort of tune that will appeal to drunk boys down the pub, gay boys down the club and have teen girls across the country screaming in anticipation for the hopefully half naked oil based video. First single material if ever i heard it. PS - the club mix ups the ante to the nth degree and reminds me of the very best of 5ive, Girls Aloud and V all on one single. RAR indeed!!
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Blimey! Conor had a new song up over Christmas, a new one called Fool For Loving You last week and this week wants to hypnotise all his fans with a song called Hypnotise. (You didn't see that coming did you!) I think young Conor is doing everything that Shayne Ward didn't on his debut album - let's face it Shayne's album was a showcase for a very strong voice but had little variation in it and churned out ballad after ballad. Conor has already shown us his club chops (Club 55) his pop sensibilities (Play With U) his dreaminess (Heart of Stone) and now his ability to seemingly effortlessly churn out Since U've Been Gone/Because of You type numbers in these two latest tracks. Hypnotise is somehow grittier and more guitar based than previous efforts but no less effective for it. Conor's voice seems to be able to adapt to different styles and one can't help but feel a live show would be rather entertaining because of his flexibility. Check it out at his myspace...
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Justin Lanning has finally put his first single proper online for us all to listen to. Entitled Take My Breath Away, it's a rather pensive affair featuring a strong vocal from JL and some minimal instrumentation. In these days of high production values, it's nice to see someone not going too over the top on an elegant and simple ballad - just let the voice power the emotion and connect to the listener. I can see this appealing to people who like Snow Patrol, The Fray, James Blunt etc, all of whom have sold copious amounts of records to date. It's on his myspace player now along with the more poppy upbeat Voices which i still vote for as a potential single... PS Justin's World 7 is also online! Hurrah!
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And the new songs keep on coming - let me tell you, along with Baz from Digital, Simon Curtis, Stefan from Switch22, Ste from Billiam is one of the nicest people you could come across. And likeability factor for me is a big plus in pop - hence my dislike of Amy Winehouse for example. Plus Danny from Upper St seems a total cock. Anyway, Billiam are all jacked up to a four piece, looking very jizzworthy (!) and have a poppy new song out called Funk With me - very Wham-esque, it appears only as a short clip at the moment so it's hard to get a full impression of it, but it showcases the range of the boys voices and absolutely screams out for a stomping club mix... more tracks coming from the lads soon. Can't wait to hear 'em!
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And on my mother's birthday (67!) - Feb 17th - the superheroes of pop are saving the retail world with an appearance at Harrods. So switch22 your asses down there and support them if you can - i'm not allowed. I'm banned from Harrods for eternity for reasons i can't go into right now. Darren should be banned - he was once in there and said "ew, their sandwiches are no better than Marks and Sparks". *Shakes head*!!
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THE NEW ADDITION:





As I mentioned earlier this week, I am quite sad that Lockdown have split up - luckily one of the main vocalists in the group is continuing solo and working on his debut album. Chris Tolley has been in the industry for a while and been tantalisingly close to success on several occasions. Now solo, i'm hopeful that he will fill the void currently left by Shayne Ward and Gareth Gates. Indeed, he can belt out a ballad that would stand up alongside the best those guys had to offer (That's My Goal; Say It Isn't So) as demonstrated on the dreamily swooning When You Look At Me that has a soaring chorus, a solid vocal performance and a nice arrangement of piano and strings to charge the song to it's emotional climax. Similarly How Do I Say Goodbye would be a shoo-in to soundtrack teen dramas with it's slight shuffling beat and slightly sinister yet elegant chorus. The tempo shifts upwards on Stay Another Night with some industrial sounding drums and sparse percussion leading into a urgent powerful refrain (yet the vocal is always the centre of the song and carries it well). And then there is the frankly genius cover of Poison, which i've already written about when it was part of Lockdown's act - part electrothrash classic in waiting, yet has the appeal of classic pop covers like Tragedy, Xanadu and One Night In Bangkok with a more contemporary edge to it. Be sure to check out Chris' website and myspace. Perhaps he could hook up with producer Jadion if he is still looking for talent to work with??
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THE OTHER ACTS I LIKE THIS WEEKEND:
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If British Airways hadn't decided to strike (and then not to strike) I so would have been at Stewart Mac's showcase at the hard rock cafe. Luckily he has some more gigs coming up (check his myspace) and has put a couple of videos and some pics on his site so I can live vicariously through those. Pop needs a good looking boy who knows his way round a guitar and looks good in brown ;) Hurrah!
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Robert O'Connor whose Spend The Night/Ten Years Time single release just keeps growing on me has popped a clip of his new song on his myspace site and most pleasing it is too. Robert is one of those people whose talent just shines through and I really hope his following continues to grow and grow. I look forward to his podcast which launches with new website LostinLimbo this very week...
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Finally, I wrote about Shane Butler repeatedly a while ago and it's quite exciting to see that his website has been updated and his debut album is now forthcoming. I look forward to reviewing his classic brand of catchy guitar pop at the earliest opportunity :)
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Coming tomorrow: the singles selection committee and whatever else i can think of, including something about dancing on ice!

5 Comments:

  1. Stu said...
    I can't believe that a fellow pop nerd like yourself has not made comment on how Hilary Duff managed to transform from the most annoying person on the face of the Earth to stealing the song that should have launched Britney's comeback...and managed to do it better than Britney would have...

    E.g. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bikK6OWNiOY
    Poster Girl said...
    Ooo, exciting to hear about Shane Butler--I really like the songs of his you wrote about earlier!

    The Digital boys really are getting better--the expansion must have helped them! Good work :) Plus, stuff appears to actually be happening with them and Billiam, which is nice (updates are always good).
    Paul said...
    stu - aaaahhhh, check out mondays single selection reviews :)

    PPG - i really like the Get Your Kitt Off song, it's insanely catchy!! Plus yeah things finally seem to be happening for people which is great!
    J'ason D'luv said...
    Isn't it the worst feeling when you drive over something and hear that scrape come from underneath your car? I bet it was instant DazPanic!
    Paul said...
    d'luvly - it was not good. i live in fear today of dazpunishment telling me it is permantly damaged :( Sob

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