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So, it was first day at work today and I had to wear a suit to work for the first time in about a million years ;) First day in a new company is always weird – everyone sizing you up, people wondering why they didn’t get your job, everyone asking you a million and one questions without trying to seem to nosey... you know, the usual! But it all went ok – fancy new laptop, sexy new blackberry, i would say great new office, but it’s being painted so I had to share (oh the indignity of it all). And talk about being thrown in at the deep end – I have a hundred and one things to go through, which is all good as I like to keep busy. Still, it’s a bit of a culture shock after having two weeks off and being able to jet off to NYC at a moments notice!! DazPitabread also started work today at the place I used to work at until about 18 months ago... I knew everyone was lovely there, so i had no worries about my little muffin of stud fitting in. We were both exhausted and ravenous by the time we got home, so marks and spencers ready cooked meals it was (Cat will be so annoyed – she is always trying to get me to cook more in our kitchen!!) before quickly typing up this blog and now i am off for some serious spooning in bed. And it’s only nine pm! I am getting old before my time, i tells ya! Anyway, lots to write about today so I should let you get on with it!! PS, very disappointed that funky new laptop was ordered in advance for me so doesn’t have new Windows Vista on it. Does have adobe on though so expect some darling new attachments from me to this blog soon...
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THEZAPPING RECORD COMPANY PROJECT - WEEK FOUR:
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After taking a break from “releases” last week (due to the fact that I was in NYC – did i mention that??), there are two – count ‘em, two! – releases from the fictitious (at the moment, but one day – who knows?) thezapping record label this week. First up is the rather delicious Take Me Home Tonight by Bliss. This US girl group could quite easily fill the hole that will soon be left no doubt by Girls Aloud and Sugababes with their funky grooving pop tunes. I have written much about them in the past couple of weeks so I will let some of the other guest panel take a blog at them...
NICK: I like this… don't love it, but it was a good choice for a dancey cover version. It feels a bit like a demo, though… like there's something missing. I can't put my finger on it, but with a little noodling, I think this could be absolutely fantastic.
DIGITAL TECHNIQUE: A great pop/dance song - the kind of song that the UK charts are crying out for in 2007. Hopefully Bliss, can change the fate of girlgroups in the UK, where only Girls Aloud and the Sugababes have had any real success, while other groups such as Clea and Nylon have had very limited success. Another great artist that you've introduced me to Paul - thanks!!
POPPOSTERGIRL: I absolutely loved this from the moment I first heard it, but now I'm worried that I've gone off it somewhat. It's still good, especially the chorus and the way the voices overlap in the middle 8, and has that distinctively Jadion style. Why doesn't it get me excited as it once did? I don't know, but I want that feeling back...maybe it's just a phase I'm going through...I hope so.
DAN: I was in high school when the original version of this song was released. And it was one that I really loved. Eddie Money and Ronnie Spector recording a good pop/rock song that was very difficult to resist. And also impossible to avoid, they played the video non-stop on MTV back in the day. And while I'm not usually a big fan of covers, when they're done right, they can be exceptional. I don't think that this one is exceptional, but it is very good. For me, it's not different enough from the original version - it doesn't put it's own stamp on it. But perhaps I'm biased because I am so familiar with the original. Back when Kim Wilde redid "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and my parents said the Supremes did it better, I thought "Dear Lord, how backward!" I guess I have officially turned into my parents! :)
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And next up is Conor – an Irish lad with a love of all things 80s sounding and pop. My choice for his first single is the wham-tinged Club 55 which should easily shake off those early winter blues with it’s summery soulful vibe, relaxed beat and laid back yet catchy chorus. I can see a plethora of remixes doing this track the world of good in the clubs and a top notch video concept could help it straight into the charts. But enough from me – back to the guest panel for their input...
NICK: I'm not crazy about this. There's just nothing really spectacular that hooks me in. It sounds a lot like something that would have come out in the late 90's/early 00's when the teen pop movement was in full swing.
DAN: Conor channels George Michael a la "Fast Love" in the beginning. This is not a bad thing. It is a bit of a slow groove that I think would benefit from a good remix, but it's a very capable little pop tune and it makes me interested to hear a little more of what he does.
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LINK: Vote for Conor’s single here and Bliss’ single here...
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THE OTHER SONGS THEZAPPING REALLY LIKES THIS WEEK:
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Scissor Sisters ~ I Can’t Decide (thanks xo for pic)
While the band have gone for She’s My Man as their next single, I’m ignoring that choice and plumping for this honky tonk inspired ditty as the third single from Ta-Dah. A highlight of mine ever since I heard it at V Festival in August 2005, I knew it would become a favourite as soon as I saw it on the album tracklisting and have had to physically restrain myself (usually DazPosse’s job) from listening to it too often.
NICK: Oh, brilliance here! One of the better tracks off of one of 2006's best albums. Only the Scissor Sisters could record a song this odd and lace it with such a great pop edge. I doubt whether this will ever be released as a single, but it is definitely one of the catchier efforts from Ta- Dah.
DAN: This is a song I did not fully appreciate until just recently. It seemed a bit out of place on the CD - and the honky tonk piano! I just couldn't get into it. But then suddenly, it all fell together and it worked for me. I think what I love most about this song are the lyrics. And the part about burying the person alive, only to have them crawl out and kill Jake when he's sleeping - well, it almost qualifies as a zombie song! And as most know - I can't resist anything zombie.
Stefy ~ Chelsea
Thanks to popjustice this group are increasing in stature here in the UK and are bringing their No Doubt brand of ska-pop circa 1996 to rock our worlds this very month. Awash in synths, strong vocals and catch chorus, everything about this track makes it a winner
NICK: Though I was a bit let down by the actual album, Chelsea remains one of my favorite tracks from this summer (American release was in the summer, not sure about elsewhere). Somehow the obviously cribbed Eurythmics synth riff doesn't end up sounding lame. The song's just that good.
DT: One of my favourite songs of 2006, finally gets a UK release in 2007. It is a brilliant pop song with an 80's sound and a bassline that reminds me of the Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics at times. Hopefully, this song will be a huge success in the UK, so that they can release the album and the beautiful song, Orange County as a single, so that more people can hear it!!
PPG: synth-based pop-rock that, great as that backing is, owes a lot to the attitude and glamour conveyed by its singer. If Chelsea's "the kind of girl that's cold as ice/beautiful with nails filed sharp as knives," this song is perfect for her, cool and able to convey a sense of danger despite the glitter of those synths.
DAN: This song if fabulous with a capital F! It starts out with a very "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" riff, and it is VERY No Doubt as Paul pointed out earlier this week. I wish that Gwen Stefani would record stuff like this - rather than what tried to pass as good music on The Sweet Escape. OK, I'm probably being overly harsh on that CD - there are a few good songs, but this track is everything Gwen should be doing. With a chorus that refuses to be dislodged from your brain, it's headed toward a place on my best of 2007 list already.
G4 ~ Somebody To Love
If anyone should be covering Queen songs (apart from McFly) then it should be G4. They have more than enough poppera in their act to give it the right amount of pomp and circumstance that such a heady song deserves. I am crushing on this tune big time this week and it’s clear that these four lads are the real winners of the inaugural X Factor back in 2005.
NICK: I am not a fan of this "popera" stuff, and I thought I'd hate this, as this song has been covered to death. It does lend itself well to this genre, though, and I find myself enjoying it. Not even close to the original, mind you, but a good cover nonetheless.
DT: Have always been more of a fan of G4, than their 'popera' rivals Il Divo. They don't seam to take themselves as seriously as Il Divo, shown by their recent interpretation of the Big Brother theme tune on CBBLB. They always choose brilliantly unexpected songs to reinterpret such as this Queen classic, many of which I love anyway!! Probably the most successful act to come out of a UK reality TV series since Will Young and Lemar back in 2002, with 3 hit albums - it is shocking to think they were actually beaten in the final bt Steve Brookstein!! Who???
DAN: For me, nothing will top George Michael's version of this at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert. And at first, I balked at this version, especially the opening. But I do like it - quite a bit in fact. It's very "show-tuney" and I say that with love and esteem. A lot of Queen songs really were over-the-top and I think the treatment that G4 give it is appropriate. Plus, they do really sound good together!
BWO ~ Obsession
I think BWO are what steps and s club would be doing if they were still together and they had some sense. I love this type of pop music at the moment and i think it is utterly amazing. This tune could be played all day and i wouldn't get bored of it. Well not all day...
NICK: This is definitely one of the highlights of BWO's sophomore release for me. It sounds a lot like the stuff they did on their debut, and it's got a killer chorus. Is this to be released as a single? It would be a perfect capper for the album.
PPG: I don't care if this is a cover--it's still brilliant! It's not exactly a warm song--in fact, you could make a case for it sounding slightly soulless at points--but it's not supposed to be some affectionate ode to true love, and isn't obsession--real obession--at least the slightest bit scary? And draining? This song captures that perfectly, while also being catchy and almost dangerously addictive itself.
DAN: There's something oddly retro about this song. It reminds me of something that I might hear out at a bar 15 years ago, but from what I've been able to gather - that's simply not possible, right? I love the synths, the minor key, the killer chorus. What's not to love about this song? I realized that I had one other of their songs on my computer ("Open Door") so I checked out their stuff on Amazon (import only) and on iTunes (nada in the U.S. store) but I'll definitely be looking into them further.
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McFly ~ Translyvania
Another group that cover Queen exceeding well are my cheeky little McFly scamperoonies. But instead of doing another Don’t Stop Me Now, they have just created their own Queen sound and are releasing one of the best songs on their album. Just try telling me that the video won’t be one of their most spectacular yet. I am doubtful but really hoping that this will boost their lacklustre album sales... NICK: Probably my favorite McFly song, and one of the handful that converted me into a fan. Experimentation is a must when it comes to pop music, and this strange little rock opera certainly has that quality. Dougie wrote this, right? If so, they should let him write a lot more of the group's songs.
DT: When I bought the album, this was definitely my least favourite song on the album and I would skip the song when listening to the CD. It was only after it was announced as the 4th single, that I decided to give the song another chance and thank god I did!! What a great pop song and finally you get to hear Dougie sing a bit!! It is just as catchy as all of McFly's previous singles but like the Kaiser Chief's song, probably won't win over any non-McFly fans.
PPG: it's only the beginning, but I already know that this is going to be one of the singles of the year (let's just hope the British public recognize that!). Showy and dramatic, I've heard people compare this to "Bohemian Rhapsody," and, you know, I don't know if I'd disagree with that. At times, "Transylvania" sounds like three separate songs ripped straight out of a haunted house, though admittedly a very fun one, but by the time you get to the end--where Tom and Danny's overlapping question-and-answer session is joined with Dougie's singing (he's the writer of the song, and this is also the first time his singing has been featured on a McFly single), adorable in a slightly odd way but a perfect fit for the song--it all comes together and you're in complete music paradise. I don't know if I can fully convey how brilliant this song is without breaking into an extended essay, but for goodness sake, people, buy it when it comes out in April!
DAN: Wait a minute, isn't that the opening from Blondie's "No Exit" (a coupling with Coolio that is a total guilty pleasure mostly because I love it when Debbie Harry raps!) Ah, no matter, I have really no more to say about this other than it sounds like something out of the late 70s AM rock meets 21st century pop sensibility.
The Killers ~ Read My Mind
The Killers album Sam’s Town has been a real grower for me and each single off it improves on the last one. NME wrote last year that this would be one of the stadium anthems of 2007 and I can’t disagree with that statement. Everything about it just screams arms in the air massive tune and I can’t wait to see them at V Festival as headliners later this year...
NICK: A fantastic choice for a third single from these guys. If this song isn't a worldwide hit, I'll be very surprised. It just has that soaring, anthematic quality to it. Plus, from the pics I've seen from the video shoot for this track, the music video should be a lot better than the lame (sorry, but it was lame) clip for Bones.
DAN: I'm not a huge fan of The Killers - the only thing that really did it for me on their last album was "Mr. Brightside", and that I discovered via the Jacques Lu Cont remix. Consequently, I didn't get too worked up when they released a new CD last year - it just didn't really interest me all that much. This song, however, is pretty good. I think what I don't like about the Killers is how disinterested Brandon Flowers seems - but for whatever reason, it works every now and again. And it works here. Plus I really enjoy the melody of this song - musically, it's very solid. It probably won't make me change my overall opinion on The Killers, but this will probably take a place alongside "Mr. Brightside."
Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
Everyone was blathering on about how the Kaisers were going to lose the whooooahs and nananas from their choruses and that bothered me. Luckily this perfect little pop rock gem proves that pop doesn’t need to be dancey to succeed and actually has a great sing a long chorus without the so called gimmicks. Just waiting for McFly to do it on the live lounge then...
NICK: An excellent taster of what's to come from this exciting band. From the sound of it, they haven't lost any of the verve that has made them so much fun and such a success. This sounds like it could have been lifted right off their first album, though it does have that undeniable quality that screams "single!".
DT: A brilliant comeback from the Kaiser's, it's almost like they have never been away. It sounds like classic Kaiser Chief's with catchy sing-a-long lyrics, that will get stuck in your head whether you like the song or not! Really looking forward to hearing the rest of the album, as Employment is still an album that I listen to regularly. If you weren't a fan of the band, the first time around, then this song probably won't win you over, but if you were one of the millions who were, then you will love it just as much as Oh My God, I Predict A Riot or any of the songs on Employment.
PPG: though I've got the Kaiser Chiefs album (or, more accurately, I checked it out from a library and ripped the songs off of it), I've never listened to more than "I Predict A Riot," which is admittedly quite good. Maybe that's why all the complaints that this sounds like their old stuff don't hold true for me; I don't know what most of their "old stuff" sounds like. It's the chorus that seals the deal here, with that repetition and those backing vocals adding up to something pretty catchy.
DAN: Another song with a killer chorus (something that seems to be a common thread in the songs this week.) And a great lyric "Due to lack of interest/Tomorrow has been cancelled." This is the first I'd heard of Kaiser Chiefs. It won't be the last.
Take That ~ Shine
I will just rave incessantly about this amazing amazing track if given the option so I'll let the bloggers do it for me :)
NICK: I've avoided this comeback album for some time now, but if there's more like this song on it I've made a terrible mistake. I love this track! It's like the perfect mix between Scissor Sisters and The Feeling (I'd say Laura meets Fill My Little World).
DT: Possibly one of my favourite TT songs ever, tho perhaps not quite as good as Back For Good!! It is nice to hear Mark Owen performing lead vocals on the track and has made my dig out both his most recent solo albums again!! To me it sounds like, they might have been inspired by the Scissor Sisters when writing this song, as I could easily imagine Jake singing it!
DAN: Opening with a beat reminiscent of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" or Scissor Sisters' "Laura", this song is so relentlessly upbeat that it's pretty much impossible to hate it. Here in the U.S., we really never got on board with Take That apart from "Back For Good." This single wouldn't fly in the States, that's for sure. But I'm glad that it's out there - proving yet again that all the best pop is coming from overseas these days.
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Thank you so much to the guys above who all make this feature amazimg. Anyone else want to contribute just email me at the usual address :)
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THE 11 TO WATCH IN 2007 NEW ADDITION:
I was very choosy about my beloved 11 to watch in 2007 line-up. And i am still pleased with every single choice I made. Sadly, in this fickle and tough world of pop, things happen and people with zest and talent and great fun songs don’t necessarily make it. Boo! So it is with some sadness that I announce that the lovely Lockdown call it a day :( As PPG pointed out in her comments yesterday, they were one of the few mixed-sex groups to allow the males to take lead vocals on the majority of the tracks. Luckily one of the main songwriting talents behind the group Chris Tolley has gone solo and is promising some funky pop-grooves to get us on the dancefloor later this year. You can check out his myspace page here, and i’ll be writing more about this fine young lad on Sunday’s 11 in 07 update...
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THE TOP FIVE SINGERS THEZAPPING LOVES (MALE AND FEMALE):
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And finally onto a feature I have wanted to do since I started this blog! So it’s only taken me nearly a year then! Eep! My top five male and female singers of all time. And both were really hard to do. Men because I don’t actually listen to that many solo male vocalists; female because i listen to a lot and both because it was hard to judge whether current acts were clouding my judgement over older ones i loved for many years. So here they are in descending order:
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#5 ~ Jason Mraz: I was surprised by how much i liked Jason Mraz. His two studio albums and a smattering of live releases, contributions to soundtracks and enjoyable live shows have meant that since about 2003/4 I have been enjoying one or more of his songs on a fairly consistent basis. And often it wasn’t his “big” lead off singles that had me enchanted – I was more wooed by Curbside Prophet and his cover of Melt With You than I was by his still excellent debut single The Remedy. And his second album had the glorious life-affirming Life Is Wonderful as well as studio outtake, the dreamy I’m Yours. From his clever faux-rapping, to creep up and grab ya choruses and his distinctive vocal stylings, this is one young dude who seems to be far too unappreciated in my book.
Best Song: Life Is Wonderful
#5 ~ Mariah Carey: There will be no huge surprises in my top five ladeez other than to say they are all singers who were just huge for me in the 90s and while I have fallen in love with many a female singer in the new millenium, none have come close enough to unseat my power 5. Mariah basically was the new Whitney when she emerged in 1990 with the extremely gorgeous Vision of Love. Everything she did for about 7 years seemed to be gold for me. Can’t Let Go, hero, always be my baby, all i want for christmas is you, fantasy, etc. Her list of ballads and r’n’b tinged pop songs in the first half of the 90s remains unbeaten for quality music. It all went a bit slutty and hiphop after the Butterfly album, and though i still follow her career, the music doesn’t grab me like it used to. Still, for the many hours of enjoyment she has provided, Mariah places at number 5.
Best Song: Always Be My Baby
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COMING SOON:
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A sneak peek at the all new zapping (see part logo above); why keane are the old feeling; should we give duncan james a chance; and possibly on the best boyband album ever - by a girl group :) Plus number four on the men women singers countdown. NYC coming soon too, i promise :)

5 Comments:

  1. Nick said...
    Glad to hear the new job went well. Can you tell us where it is, or is that classified information?? ;)

    Speaking of work, I have made it my goal to move to the UK and get a job, but it seems practically impossible. Sigh. Way too stressful. I just want to be where the good music is!
    Poster Girl said...
    I just noticed my comments are in orange--my favorite color! (It's not a very good favorite color to have, though, because you can't use it for too much in the real world) How exciting :)

    Nooooo! Lockdown can't break up! Though I guess we have solo careers...but still, I really loved their covers of "Maniac" and "Poison," and they seemed like they knew what they were doing. That's a shame :(

    Looking forward to the countdown, though there are a couple of givens :)

    Maybe Dan has heard "Obession" before, but the original version? Did they play Army of Lovers songs in U.S. bars 15 years ago? Just checked, and apparently it came out in 1991...maybe that's why it's familiar, or at least why it sounds retro? (Tangentially, I so agree about Maleficent!).

    The all new Zapping? You close the door on one issue of supsense only to open another!
    J'ason D'luv said...
    Glad the new job is going well. The first week is always the hardest, then you feel better about it...
    Electroqueer said...
    Hey Paul - Where you find the time to do such massive posts I have no idea. I hope your new job is going well too and they appreciate they have one of the world's best bloggers working for them.

    OK - now Raj gets back to his boring work....5pm - Soho baby!

    Raj at Electroqueer
    Paul said...
    Nick ~ haha not a secret at all, i am the national business manager for a company that provides care to the elderly. www.claimar.co.uk

    and please move here or visit again :) We will hang out!

    Veronica Mars - more mysteries for you to investigate!! I think Chris Tolley will do fine btw!

    D'luv ~ that was actually just what i needed to hear just at exactly the right time! Cheers! Hugs!

    Raj ~ see todays post for my frustrations (all my own making!) on lack of time! I do have blogging down to a fine art and am an amazingly quick typist :)

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