Hurts

I thought I’d written about Hurts ages ago but seemingly not. Nevertheless this video, now from April, remains ridiculous & amazing:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kuwdw7KmGwA[/youtube]

They’re a Manchester band signed to Sony whose members used to be part of the slightly blogged up Daggers. They seem to have kept their fondness of black & white photos, Richard Stannard, tidy hair and italo disco. The only other song I’ve heard ‘Witnesses’ is a bit more bouncy and guittary, but essentially both songs make you want to walk through the rain in Manchester. Your life would be in black & white and you’d be on your way to work in a factory with a frown on your face, pretending you’re in a tragic music video, as Melanie Sykes walks past you dressed as a Scottish Widow. Sound of 2010 voters – this should be on your list!

The Decade In Music: 2000

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47g9_THTGCg[/youtube]

With 10 weeks left until the change of the decade, people who enjoy making lists are beginning to crank out their favourite songs of the naughties and talk about their lives as if someone cares. Thank goodness we can finally put that the horrible ‘naughties’ term away, but what do we call the 2010s? The moody teens?

And so to 2000. In 2000, I turned 18 and started going out to clubs, spent a lot of nights in a then brilliant club called Heaven & Hell, and discovered much more music. I got disillusioned with my gradually crumbling school which eventually shut down as my year left, but not before somehow buggering us all up thanks to sacking various teachers midway through my exams (THANKS, STILL BITTER. MRS HOLDEN 4EVA). My best friends were girls called Joanne and Helen.  Joanne and I stay in touch but as we moved away Helen and I gradually lost touch but I really wish we hadn’t. She was ace. I worked at Index which I LOVED and everyone always laughs at me for being so enthusiastic about it, but seriously a billion times better than sucky Argos. I was also a lot more quiet and geeky at school. Someone recently commented they were glad I had ‘found myself’ which is a bit weird, but I guess true.  This was caused probably by moving down away from the Northwest to the Midlands for uni but didn’t really get to grips with it and found the change hard. The only thing that really kept me going was joining the student radio station and trying to infiltrate the social group there. Of course, doing student radio would go on to give me the most fun ever, some of my best friends (even if some, sadly, only for a short time), a love of all types of music and my career.

These are the songs that define that year to me. There’s quite an obvious split between songs from the Blackpool clubbing experience, and uni tunes.

Listen to them on spotify or see the list after the jump:

(more…)

Happiness!

Look at the state of this:

jeremiah

It doesn’t always have to be shiny pop and a synth to get me interested in a new artist, but when you’re emailed about a hundred of them every day it helps. In fact if you’re a singer songwriter with authentic musician hair and a ‘journey’ I’ve probably dozed off before I’ve even got through the email. Hold up though, as this all goes out of the window for London boy Jonathan Jeremiah.

We’re going to pretend he’s called just Jeremiah because it’s much more fun and well, there aren’t enough pop stars out there named after prophets. Originally from North London, he’s been on some kind of perfect for press release journey that’s taken him from working every hour god sends, to travelling across America on a bus and convincing cool people like Bernard Butler (‘cool’) and The Roots to work with him. I don’t really care though, as all I’m interested in is the way his new single ‘Happiness’ has the power to transport me straight to the bit of rocky beach outside Cafe Mambo and make me go all dreamy. And that’s even before the soft waves and Late Night Tales vibes of the Quiet Village Remix kick in.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRG8ccr1TYM[/youtube]

Of course, it is nothing compared to this, one of the actual best songs in the world ever:

Stephen Gately: 1976-2009

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TejcZJSIy4[/youtube]

Growing up I was just the right age to be there in the heat of the Boyzone explosion. As it turns out I wasn’t that keen, mainly because at that time I was obsessed with hatred when one person did all the vocals and the rest of the group never being allowed to sing. Finally when Stephen Gately was allowed to bust a groove ‘No Matter What’ happened, was perhaps Boyzone’s biggest hit, went on to be one of the finest Andrew Lloyd Webber songs of the modern day, and is just an utterly brilliant pop song.

Hearing about the death of a famous person in 2009 has meant two things for me. First, you see the news break on twitter and aren’t sure whether to believe it or not. With MJ I was in Ghetto Brighton with some friends when the first reports of a heart attack came through, then lots of refreshing later Colin & I sat on the prom eating fish and chips as the first reports of a death washed in via twitter with no reliable source. This time round the shocking news came in the early hours from NOTW Showbiz Editor Dan Wootton who called it ‘the saddest story I have ever broken’ (and plugged his link a little too much, but I get – it’s his job!) On the other hand social media gives you almost too much access into the reaction of your friends or acquaintances. Seeing them make jokes about the death of a 33 year old moments after his death, just because they think he was in a ‘comical boyband’, leaves me with somewhat of a bad taste in my mouth.

Coming straight out of the glory days of pop that were the 1990s, I remember with a smile the numerous Smash Hits or Top Of The Pops magazine stories which back in the day tried to pair him up with Emma Bunton constantly – the two babies of the biggest group of the day. I can’t claim to be a massive fan, but the only time I saw him live was wonderful. He performed at a big charity gala Rocky Horror show performance at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2005 and managed to turn my least favourite Rocky song ‘Once In A While’ into something brilliant. Boyzone might not be your cup of tea, but there’s no doubt Stephen was an excellent vocalist.

[Edit: Unfortunately the youtube video has a screengrab of Ronan looking a bit special]

Cheryl Cole ‘3 Words’ kind of review

cheryl_cole_three_words_cover_art

Earlier this week I made a complete meal of writing a proper Cheryl Cole ‘3 Words’ review, but here are the random notes I made during my first few listens. This is not exactly award winning writing, it’s just random thoughts I made while trying to figure out if it was amazing or rubbish. It was hard to disassociate my love for Cheryl’s shiny hair in her new L’Oreal adverts from the music and just before writing it she annoyed me a bit by kicking Ethan and Duane out of X Factor. I’m so easily swayed. It’s very girly, all about being in love and is pretty sad. There’s no Xenomania, there’s lots of Will.I.Am and it’s far, far away from a Girls Aloud album.

1. Three Words: Strange guitar opening, sounds a bit like Foals, before the bass builds up . Bizzaro. Will.i.Am/Cheryl co-write and Will.i.Am is all over it – it’s a duet! The three words are indeed ‘I Love You’. Very brave opening track. “It wasn’t complicated, wasn’t pre-meditated, to you I’m dedicated.” Anthem for Chuck & Blair.
2. Parachute: Awesome military drumming. Cheryl sounds sad. About a secret love ‘I won’t tell anyone your voice is my favourite sound’. Her love is the parachute that will catch her if she falls. Nice, strong 90s rnb chorus. Brilliant little pointing finger breakdown “I won’t fall out of love.”
3.Heaven: Another wibbly electro Will.I.Am song and he’s on it again. Most annoying bit is Cheryl totally aping his accent and singing ‘My heaven’s with you’ as ‘My heaven wit you’. No need. Best bit – Will I Am sounds like he’s telling Cheryl she’s immature at one point.
4. Fight For This Love: Best song on the album. The drums on this are amazing now. SOLDIER.
5. Rain On Me: Madonna-ish, teeters along before you have some very odd synthesised oboe (?!) sounds and it blows off into a big midtempo dance chorus. Tears in my eyes while raving kind of affair. Not a will i am track so no idea who is singing along in the chorus. Co-written by Livvi Franc!
6. Make Me Cry: Nice 70s Chic type of bassline. “Are you trying to make me cry?” Fierce, talk to the hand. Cheryl says shit! Doesn’t really go anywhere but pleasant.
7. Happy Hour: Ridiculous, yet adoreable analogies. Bad boy she needs a taste of, he’s an addiction. Co-written by Priscilla Renae, originally a Rihanna demo. Nice layering up of vocals without any Nadine style warbelling. Type of song I think Cheryl would sing along to in the shower. Middle Eastern vibes – K-Ci & Jojo esque piano topline. “Some days I can be sweet and some I’m sour, but I can’t help but drink you up cos you’re my happy hour.” 2nd best song.
8. Stand Up: The only upbeat song, only one that doesn’t sound like Cheryl is the saddest person ever. Taio Cruz penned and he features on it during a rap where he bigs up his advance and his bloody Rokstar shades. Makes me want to crouch to my knees and then fascinatingly ‘Stand Up’ in some kind of never before considered dance routine.
9. Don’t Talk About This Love: Cover of a Nikola Bedingfield song. CUT YOUR EARS OFF AWFUL.
10.Boy Like You: Opens with a sample of Fleetwood Mac ‘Little Lies’. Random. Another Will.i.Am track. Clapping / electro drumbeat. It’s a shoulder wiggler.
11.Heartbreaker: Identical to the single release, no Cheryl mix or anything. Is that FIVE Will.I.Am duets??\
12. Got To Be Real: Amaz-Oh no, this is Cheryl Lynn. Thanks iTunes!

Cheryl’s Hair: 10/10 ; Album 7/10

Mr Discopop’s heard it too.

Glee!

glee1009

Buffy, Angel, Veronica Mars, Doctor Who, Gossip Girl, Pushing Daisies True Blood and now Glee. These are the shows that have / would make me cry actual tiny tears should they be cancelled.

One of the major things I want in life (save love, peace, a new Billie single, unlimited crispy aromatic duck) is to join a choir that sings pop songs. Earlier in the year I had singing lessons for the first time and now I feel a little bit more confident about singing in front of others. Though if you ask any of my Singstar pals I’ve felt confident in that for years. So pop choirs are you out there? I’m Jewish – so I didn’t do choir at my CoE school and I don’t want to start praising the lord or anything like that now, I just want straight down the line Girls Aloud, Abba, JLS, Mamas and Papas, Sean Kingston style nonsense with over the top harmonies and my name in lights. London – can you sort this out please? One exists in Barnes, but unless I move into Jack’s, it seems an unlikely distance. It might as well be in Wigan.

Anyway, back to the seemingly random list of TV shows. Fox’s Glee is yet another show to make me want to go back in time and redo high school but be in America. The notion of a glee club in US high schools seems to be a choir but with choreography who take part in country wide championships like a sport. This is where I want 15 year old me to be.

The show will be on E4 later this year, and is the first of the new US season shows to be picked up for a full 22 episode series with massive ratings and twitter trending insanely.

Here’s an idea of what you should expect. It’s quirky and often laugh out loud, I could bang out about how hot Matt Morrison is or blah blah blah but I don’t want to spoil anything:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzWrnsASi3c[/youtube]

And in this week’s episode Kristin Chenoweth guest starred. Olive Snook! The way she hits the chorus of ‘Alone’ is jawdropping. She also performed a brilliant version of ‘Maybe This Time’ but it’s probably better to see that in context.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmj6Vdlteo8[/youtube]

If nothing else, it will make Helen ridiculously happy.