Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ariana Grande Is The New Teen Queen

Victoria Justice and Jasmine V are probably doing shots off the hood of a car somewhere in the dark heart of Los Angeles right now, sobbing on each others' shoulders and screaming "fuck my life!" to random passersby. On the other side of town, Selena Gomez is begging Justin to make a sextape to promote her new album. A couple of blocks away Demi Lovato is parked outside McDonald's meticulously sterilizing her razor with a cigarette lighter, while Bridgit Mendler sits inside, building up the courage to ask for a job application. What has thrown the current crop of teen queens into such a tailspin? Two words. Ariana Grande.

My only exposure to the Nickelodeon star until now has been her contribution to the Victorious soundtrack. I knew she could sing but I wasn't expecting her to drop anything as good as "The Way" and definitely didn't expect it to shoot to number one on US iTunes within hours of release. Ariana has broken through faster and more comprehensively than any of the girls mentioned above and they must be concerned. There's only room for one Queen and this new bitch means business.

It only takes one listen to understand the appeal of "The Way". It's a blatant Mariah Carey rip off that harks back to the late '90s when production took a back seat to vocal ability. I had no idea Ariana had pipes like this. She has real talent and chooses the perfect vehicle to show it off. Produced by Harmony Samuels, an English producer who has crafted hits for Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and Nas, the track sounds like it was lifted straight from Mimi's Butterfly album. It's a subtle mid-tempo pop song with the slightest sheen of urban credibility thanks to Mac Miller, who tones his usual act down with an age appropriate rap.

While I still prefer Demi's epic "Heart Attack" and live for Selena's reed thin vocals, there's no denying that Ariana Grande has arrived in true diva style. "The Way" is a great single that avoids most of the overproduced teen pop cliches. She even gets the cute and colourful video (below) right, having the world's tamest party with Mac Miller. Why is she twirling around in a room full of balloons like a 12-year-old? Where's the keg? These are questions for another day but it's kind of nice that she's not twerkin' like a stripper.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Spain Is The Cradle Of Human Civilisation

You know, I thought I had scraped the bottom of the pop barrel several times on this blog over the past eight years with tranny divas and fisting anthems but María Lapiedra reaches a previously unimagined new low with, quite possibly, the most terrible song and video ever shat out by a thirsty attention whore. And by terrible, I obviously mean amazing! So who is this hot fucking mess? I don't really know and, to be honest, I'm scared to find out. I already love her like a mother and I'm afraid I will lose all self-control if I witness any more of her despicable antics.

All you really need to know is that your new favourite vocalist is an ex-porn actress who releases a new song every Summer to uphold Spain's rich cultural heritage. This year's offering is called "Maribombo" and is utterly horrendous from beginning to end. My Spanish is pretty bad but I think María is singing about the joys of being pregnant when she squeaks "algo se mueve en mi interior, no es una polla es otra sensación" - literally "something's moving inside me, it's not a dick but another sensation". I can't think of a nicer way to describe the miracle of childbirth. Hallmark, please put this touching sentiment on a card.

But the Spanish siren's words of wisdom don't end there. I think she's talking about hand jobs and cum but those topics never covered that in my semester of Mexican studies, so I'm only guessing. The video, or the best film since Citizen Kane as I like to call it, makes the dubious subject matter fairly obvious. We get to watch the heavily pregnant icon dance in a club, writhe on the bar and give birth. Oh and there's a random white man in black face just so there's something to offend everyone.

Watch below and join me in preparing for the end of days because this is surely confirmation that they Mayans were right.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Iggy Azalea Can Stay

About a year ago I wrote an article for Idolator about rising Australian pop stars. It was actually quite difficult to piece together because, let's be honest, the vast majority of local acts have a better chance of winning lotto than making the slightest ripple in America. Iggy appeared to be the glaring exception. She was already hyped as the next big thing and had a hotly anticipated major label debut album on the way. But it never came.

Instead, Mullumbimby's finest expert began modelling and soon fell into mixtape hell. She basically became Cassie with an Australian accent and lighter tan. That's when I stopped checking for Iggy. It was like she had been exposed as a gimmick and the whole world had finally woken up to it.

But this bitch is a fighter and proved me very wrong. The blond bombshell signed a new deal in the UK and scalped hoes with the sheer quality of her official debut single. Azealia Banks and Angel Haze are now the rap chicks with something to prove. Iggy has already delivered above and beyond expectations.

"Work" is such an impressive achievement. It took a couple of listens to click with me but now I'm completely obsessed and play the hypnotic jam at least 10 times a day. The production (courtesy of The Invisible Men and 1st Down) is spot on and Iggy's flow is slicker than ever but its real greatness lies in its authenticity.

The catchy track basically tells the diva's life story. The catchy track references the red sand of her hometown, the line about scrubbing floors is a nod to her stint as a cleaner, she raps about her move to America, that disastrous first record deal and the judgement she receives as a white, non-American rapper. It's honest and strangely universal. All of a sudden I like Iggy. She's a bad bitch.

And then there's the video (below). Who paid for this glorious extravaganza? Madonna is filming clips on her iPhone while a relative unknown gets a beautiful Jonas & François-directed opus that references Death Proof and, adorably, The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert.

It's audaciously cinematic and reminiscent of old school Missy Elliott with its bright colour palette. Most importantly, Iggy looks like a star. Her body is ridiculous and the styling is fantastic. I don't care how this performs on the charts. It's brilliant. Iggy can stay.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Belinda Carlisle's Triumphant Return

Isn't this photo flawless? That fur. Those cheekbones. Sure, it might be a couple of decades old but Belinda hasn't aged a day since 1983 - so I think I can get away with it. If you don't follow the iconic diva on Twitter, you might not be aware that she is embarking on a major comeback, releasing her first US single in 15 years.

It came as a surprise to me too. I knew the yoga addict had been working on new music for what felt like an eternity but "Sun" seemingly dropped from the heavens and landed on iTunes with little fanfare.

The, as it turns out, pleasantly contemporary dance-pop tune was produced by frequent Dannii collaborator Ian Masterson and is distinctly amazing. "Sun" is a synth-drenched floorfiller that sounds better than 95% of the shit currently polluting radio. I love that Belinda has bequeathed her loyal army of gays with something they will actually want to listen to - without sacrificing her own personality.

There's something peculiarly authentic about "Sun". That voice is unmistakeable and the chorus could have been lifted from any of her late '80s albums but it's more than that. You can take the girl out of Cali but there's something undeniably chilled and breezy about Belinda's music that is quintessentially West Coast.

"Sun" is lifted from a new greatest hits compilation, which has just been released on US iTunes. Belinda has promised an international release in May - along with more new stuff. In the meantime, check out her glorious dance anthem below. Let the Carlisle revival start here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dragonette - Still The Most Underrated Act In Pop

Can someone please remind me why Dragonette isn't one of biggest bands on the planet? Martina and the boys have never released a bad single (that I'm aware of) but remain - with the exception of "Hello" - hitless and largely underground. The thing is, I'm guilty of ignoring them too. I downloaded Body Parts when it was released late last year but never got around to listening to it. To be honest, I completely forgot it existed until I stumbled across their latest video on a blog and fell in love with the trio all over again.

"Run Run Run" is an early frontrunner for the best song of 2013. It's the kind of instantly memorable pop triumph that beguiles with its apparent simplicity and deceptively perky lyrics. That might be an odd description but underneath the sparkling chorus lies a bittersweet core that lifts Dragonette's latest synth-adventure to a higher plane. "Run Run Run" positively seeps with sepia-tinged memories and nostalgia, which makes it both beautiful and sad. You basically need it on your iPod. Now.

Having seen the light, I made listening to Body Parts a priority and, as expected, it's breathtakingly good. With any luck "Run Run Run" or another single will save it and bring the band the attention they deserve. In the meantime, revel in the brilliance of their new single and check out the video (below). It's a fairly simple affair. Martina basically gets drunk, smokes cigarettes and walks around the streets with blood on her dress. Just another Sunday afternoon for one of pop's most underrated divas.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pitbull & Xtina's Feel This Moment - Video Review

Christina Aguilera's unbreakable lotus has finally been set free! After a couple of chart misfires, the iconic diva is rising up - back to the beginning - with another international smash. I wrote about "Feel This Moment" last month and basically called it a hot mess. That opinion still stands but the song has become something of a guilty pleasure and it warms what's left of my dead heart to hear Xtina's glorious pipes back on the radio.

And, it seems, I'm not alone. Despite minimal promotion, the '80s classic-sampling club banger is shooting up the charts worldwide. It would have been nice for one of the many great tracks on Lotus to get this kind of attention but I guess you need Pitbull's insightful musings - "I'm a genius, I mean brilliant" - to get bitches to click download. But that's a complaint for another day.

A belated video dropped over the weekend and it's as low brow and seemingly low budget as the song. There's a lot of tour footage, Mr Worldwide looking moronic but sexy (shut up - there's something about him!) and Godtina redefining flawlessness. I love her ridiculous wig and the fact that she's wearing more make-up than a Mexican tranny.

But most of all, I live for the parts where she's mouthing the words to Pit's rhymes, like she's collaborating with Jay Z or someone vaguely relevant. Christina is so awkward that it's endearing. I really hope she gets her groove back and reminds everyone how a real diva does it. This is a step in the right direction.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Neon Nights 10 Year Anniversary

I remember March 17, 2003. As a life-long, demented Dannii fan I had been anticipating Neon Nights for months. This was back in the olden days when albums didn't leak and fans still rushed to record stores on the day of release. Even then there was a feeling that we were in for something extraordinary. After turning unwarranted flopping into artform in the late '90s, things were finally looking up for my childhood idol.

"Who Do You Love Now?" reintroduced the younger Minogue to Australian nightclubs in 2001 and the holiday connoisseur took things to the next level in late 2002 with the then extremely raunchy "Put The Needle On It". That brilliant pop tune was a well-deserved top 20 hit and, more importantly, a rebirth of sorts. Dannii was now the sexy, edgy Minogue and radio ate her new sound up.

It seemed improbable that she could maintain this level of quality over a full album but then "I Begin To Wonder" dropped and I got the sneaking suspicious that Kylie's wig was about to snatched by her own sister.

As it turns out, I was right. Neon Nights was the album everyone wanted Body Language to be. It picked up where Fever left off but took a more colourful path. For all the moody synths and pouty photoshoots, Dannii's fourth opus is a remarkably fun and carefree affair.

I can't think of another album that makes me as inexplicably happy. And while the lyrics never stray far from clubbing and bedroom antics, the production is wildly adventurous - tapping in disco, '80s pop and the emerging French house movement. 10 years on, Holidannii's masterpiece holds up brilliantly.

Idolator recently asked me to write a retrospective to celebrate the birthday of 2003's best album and I hope I did it justice. Dannii and Kylie both tweeted the link, so I'll take that as implicit Minogue approval.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bow Down, Bitches. Beyoncé Is Back!

It's hard to type while crying and shaking and holding prayer beads but I'll bravely soldier on because today needs to be documented for future music historians. Earlier this morning, Beyoncé nonchalantly put a new song on Soundcloud and the internet almost melted. "Bow Down/I Been On" had an immediate polarising effect.

The Hive lost consciousness and woke to find their collective wig cleanly snatched, while the usual haters went to town on the highly unconventional first taste of era V - calling it ratchet, uncommercial and disrespectful. And to be honest all three adjectives fit. The track is ghetto as fuck, sounds like an intro or snippet (more about that in a minute) and ruthlessly drags every bitch in the game.

I still can't deal with the lyric "I know when you were little girls, you dreamt of being in my world. Don't forget it". It's the shadiest moment of Bey's career since that line in "Survivor" about selling nine million. You just know Rihanna, Keri and Ciara are currently reevaluating their entire existence! The thing is - B has the receipts to support every sliver of shade she throws.

Mrs Carter is the measuring stick for musical excellence, chart success and career-longevity, so I'm glad she finally snapped and put the pretenders in check. Trust me, I've listened to the edgy anthem at least three dozen times and I still detect no lies.

"Bow Down/I Been On", as it turns out, is actually two separate songs mashed together to generate buzz for the new album - mission accomplished. The former is produced by Hit-Boy, while the latter is the handiwork of Polow Da Don, Timbaland and Planet VI. Bizarrely enough, I think they work brilliantly together and almost wish this was the lead single.

The production from all involved is breathtaking. I love the staccato beats and exaggerated bravado of "Bow Down", while "I Been On" incorporates operatic elements and morphs Bey's voice into a fucking man. Who else does that shit? The sound is so fresh and experimental. This era promises to be one hell of a wild ride!

I guess the main thing we can take from Queen B's latest pioneering masterpiece is the fact that she clearly has zero fucks left to give. She will throw her shit on Soundcloud in the middle of the night without as much as press release and rap about being better than your faves if she gets the urge. If you were expecting a generic or RedOne-produced club banger to guarantee radio airplay, you were dead wrong.

Bey remains in her own lane and that's the way I like it. 4 was one of the top 10 best-selling albums of 2011 in America with no hits, which proves that mainstream success is largely irrelevant to Beyoncé. She's above that now. Who else could sell out a world tour with no new music? Bow down and salute the Queen! Trust me, you're not worthy.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mia Martina Steals Carly Rae Jepsen's Canadian Pop Crown

As a die-hard Raepist it kills me to admit that Carly is no longer Canada's leading pop diva. Her wig has been ruthlessly snatched by Mia Martina, who is currently burning up the lower reaches of her national top 50 with a brilliant track called "Heartbreaker".

So who is this ravishing vixen and why isn't she a household name? The first part of the question is easy. The 29-year-old Canuck scored a top 10 hit with a cover of Edward Maya's "Stereo Love" in 2010 and released her debut album a year later. I haven't heard Devotion but hunting down a copy on eBay is currently on the top of my to-do list.

As for the dance deity's relatively low profile, I'm really not sure. Maybe the world just wasn't ready for Mia but that could change with "Heartbreaker". The first time I heard the bone-rattling club anthem, I thought it was Wynter Gordon's "Dirty Talk". There are some similarities but it's not a copy. The Canadian's track goes harder. That bassline is heavier than Adele and the beat never lets up. I particularly love the insightful lyrics about being sexy and the hands-in-the-air chorus. This could work in Australia - record companies take note.

I'll leave you with the stunning visual, which plays like music video equivalent of Sin City. It might as well be animated given all the special effects but it's different. I'll give it that. Prepare to be slayed.

Luciana's New Video Is Very Odd

Luciana's "U B The Bass" video dropped today and I think it's fair to say that none of us were ready for its Bad Romance-meets-The Ring aesthetic. Australia's adopted club Queen always keeps it interesting - whether she's prancing through the desert in heels or rollerskating with hookers - but this is some crazy shit.

Creepy ballerinas pose in fatsuits, while the dance icon rocks a pair of shoulder pads that would break Joan Collins' back. There's also a homeless guy, a box of wishes and enough fake hair to make Blue Ivy's first wig. It's all very arty but Luci's tongue-in-cheek humour shines through with the colourful streamers and cardboard heart.

So the video is great but what does it mean for "U B The Bass"? It obviously struck a nerve, reaching the top 100 without a shred of promotion but where are the remixes and radio adds? As far as I know there isn't even an official cover.

Hopefully, the debut of the film clip is a sign that Ministry Of Sound is about to get serious and give this amazing track the push it deserves. Luciana's latest has serious hit potential. If only she had the right machine behind her. On a slightly different note, keep your eyes and ears peeled for her husband's new single. Nick Clow is the new King of clubs!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Keep On Running With Mike & Andy Bull

Have you ever had an epiphany as brutal as a punch to the face? Been so overwhelmed by a situation that you don't know whether to laugh, cry or just inhale another beer and shrug your shoulders? My weekend was full of such fun moments and while it felt like a rollercoaster ride through the rotten bowels of hell at the time, it turned out to be strangely cathartic. I finally woke up to the fact that I've simply chosen a different path to most of my loved ones. And while they bow out of the race to settle down, have kids and get sensible jobs, I'm not ready to stop running.

So what the fuck does this have to do with Andy Bull? Not a lot, I guess. Apart from the fact that the lyrics to his latest single could have been lifted from my diary. "Keep On Running" is another brilliant indie-pop gem from the Aussie songsmith that basically sums up how I feel about life. It's not the first time we've been on the same wavelength. His joyous, retro-soul debut "Small Town Girl" ruled my iPod with an iron fist in 2008, while "Dog", his 2010 duet with Lisa Mitchell, remains the catchiest song about depression ever recorded.

For all I know, "Keep On Running" could be an ode to upping your cardio at the gym but I interpret the surprisingly synth-heavy track as a mantra to help keep the self-doubt at bay while pursuing your own personal happiness - whatever that may be. Ironically, Andy might be a lot closer to his destination than he thought. "Keep On Running" is a hit on alternative radio and rapidly approaching the top 100 on iTunes. With any luck, Australia's most underrated musician could be on the brink of a major commercial break through.

Rant over. I think the people in my life know how much I love them and respect their choices. I just ask them to pull up a chair and cheer me on as I stumble towards the finish line.

Listen to "Keep On Running" here and download it from iTunes today.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mimi And A Wind Machine

I keep waiting for "Almost Home" to catch fire on radio and propel Mariah to iTunes glory but bitches are too busy downloading the latest shit from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Whatever. Mimi does things differently. She's above chores most stars take for granted - like promotion, working with new producers and standing. When will your fave? And while part of me wants to hear her contribution to the Oz soundtrack on the airwaves, I'm happy for it to remain my precious.

There's something about "Almost Home" that makes me inexplicably happy. Sure, it's an uplifting tune but the connection goes deeper than that. Maybe it's the fact that Mariah is on the grind again or hitting notes that seemed to have escaped her forever only a couple of years ago. Either way, the Stargate-produced track is my own personal time machine to the late '90s when the pop legend churned out beautiful ballads faster than Rihanna copy and pastes albums. It taps into a well of nostalgia that I didn't even know was there.

With modern classics like "Auld Lang Syne (Fireworks Edition)", it's fair to say that Mimi is the reigning queen of music videos and she doesn't disappoint with the visual for "Almost Home" (below). Mariah basically sits on a stool looking flawless before battling a ruthless wind machine. My favourite moment is when she shocks fans with some high-energy hand choreography. It's everything and more.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Rita Ora & Azealia Banks - Live In Sydney

In the last week I've had the pleasure of seeing two of music's hottest new talents play the same venue. Rita Ora and Azealia Banks are in Australia as part of the Future Music festival but both found time for Sydney side-shows at the Enmore. They were great but the proximity of the gigs highlighted their comparative strengths and weaknesses - and confirmed my suspicion that neither lady has really found her niche just yet. Let's start with the Yung Rapunxel. I love this girl and don't give two fucks if she sits on Twitter 24/7, calling people faggots and feuding with Z-grade rappers. She is living, breathing entertainment - and brought that raw, borderline-manic energy to her live show.

You know you're in for wild ride when the people standing next to you look like escapees from the Jerry Springer set. There were the desperate bitches in hot pants, grinding away like the world wasn't watching their shimmering muffin tops. The suburban white boys dressed like 50 Cent and the indie-gays prancing around like Drag Race contestants. Oh and let's not forget the marijuana fumes that hovered over the crowd like rain clouds at Mardi Gras. It redefined hot mess but I honestly didn't expect anything else and secretly reveled in the ratchetivity.

The show was brief but vibrant. Azealia mostly performed songs from her Fantasea mixtape and 1991 EP, delivering a non-stop stream of '90s dance-infused hip-hop. Highlights included the Diplo-produced "Fuck Up The Fun", a sleek and sexy rendition of "Van Vogue", the hit single that never happened ("Esta Noche") and, of course, her signature tune - "212". As much fun as it was, the weave addict still has work to do on her sound. After a while the songs all bled into one. She is currently a bit of a one trick pony. Happily that one trick is pretty amazing and she has the extra something. Anyone that comes out to twerk in the crowd pre-show is alright by me.

Rita Ora is a more polished product than Azealia. As a graduate of the Roc Nation school of superstar grooming, she is perfectly presented and well-equipped with a designer purse full of tracks from the hottest producers in the music business. I know some people have a problem with Albania's greatest export - she's too similar to Rihanna, has no personality, cheated on Rob Kardashian with 20 men etc - but I enjoyed her debut album and, unlike the woman she's accused of imitating, she has genuine vocal talent. It's too early to predict Rita's future but I'd like to remind the haters that it took Breezy's punching bag three albums to develop her own sound. Give her a break!

There isn't a lot to say about the production. Roc Nation's third lady (behind Beyoncé and Kylie) only had a couple of projections and a microphone. That's enough when you have less than an hour to play and a killer debut album to pull songs from. She played all her hits - "R.I.P.", "How We Do" (complete with a Notorious BIG medley), the incredibly catchy "Shine Ya Light", current single "Radioactive" (below) and my personal theme song "Roc The Life". An unexpected highlight was "Hello, Hi, Goodbye", which is a no brainer for the 28th single from ORA.

The problem with Rita is hard to pinpoint. She has a great voice, amazing style and access to all the hitmakers. But so did Alexis Jordan and look where it got her. I have higher hopes for the unnatural blond but she needs to find her own voice. Why not explore her heritage with some world beats? Kind of like Shakira but without the growling and otherworldly flawlessness? Chances are she won't get that adventurous but Rita needs to find her own lane if she wants to shake the highly offensive poor man's Rihanna title. Fun gig though.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Shit I Like - March 2013

I know I've been terrible at updating my blog lately but I'm still trawling the net for the best in high quality pop. No, really. And after an incredibly slow start to the year, the drought has finally broken and a steady trickle of great music is slowly reviving my stricken iPod. In a perfect world I would write individual posts on all of these amazing tunes but I honestly can't be fucked. So here is a summary of the music I like at the moment. In no particular order.

Something's Got A Hold Of Me - Jessica Mauboy (Video)

The footy returns this weekend - I'll be there to see my team defeat the Warriors on Saturday. See you in 72 hours, Sarah! - and I'm praying they blast this year's theme song on a loop. Jessica Mauboy never fails to impress and her dance cover of Etta James' "Something's Got A Hold Of Me" is seriously epic. The only drawback is that it covers familiar territory. Avicii and Flo Rida both sampled this track recently and it feels a tad stale. Oh well, I'm still loving it.

Falling - Haim (Video)

America's hippest girlband rocked my world with "Don't Save Me", which landed in my top 10 singles of 2012. Their dreamy brand of Californian-pop pushes all my buttons and their latest single is another triumph. Ladies, I'm ready to be slayed by an album. I haven't been this excited about a new act since Lana Del Rey.

Save Myself - Sophie Ellis-Bextor (Listen)

Oh how I've missed Sophie's sophisticated brand of dance-pop! Nobody's voice sounds better hovering elegantly above icy cold synths than the "Murder On The Dancefloor" diva. Her latest offering comes from the new Brian Cross  - think Spanish David Guetta - album and it's devastatingly brilliant. Even if it sounds like every other track she's ever record. Pay close attention to the lyrics. This is the classiest raised middle finger I've ever heard!

Who Am I? - Tiny Dancer (Video)

Everyone knows how much I love Luciana. Well, Tiny Dancer is one of her side projects. This song was written by the Queen of Clubs and husband Nick Clow, who has his own single coming out next month. I don't know much about the actual performer but "Who Am I?" reminds me of Danish alt-pop diva Oh Land. It's quirky and jarring and all sorts of wonderful. I can't wait to hear more.

Don't Let Me Down - Solange (Live)

Don't get me wrong. I loved Solo's EP when it dropped late last year and included it in my top 10 albums of 2012 but I don't think I had enough time to fully digest the flawlessness of True. Each track is superb and becomes richer with each listen. Take "Don't Let Me Down". I didn't think I could love it anymore but then Solange performed it on Letterman and I played it on a loop for three days. Beyoncé really has a lot to live up to.

Tangled Up - Caro Emerald (Listen)

Think of Caro as the Dutch Adele. And no, it's got nothing to do with her figure. The diva's jazztastic debut album broke sales records in her homeland and shipped more than a million copies across Europe. Her breezy tunes are perfect background/driving music - I mean this as a compliment - and I particularly love it when she dabbles in poppier material like she does on the amazing "Dr. Wanna Do". The first taste of her sophomore effort is more sedate but grew on me after a couple of listens. Bring on The Shocking Miss Emerald!

In My Head (Promise Land Radio Edit) - Loreen (Listen)

You know how Loreen's album was really quite good but nothing quite grabbed you like "Euphoria"? Well, someone has remedied that by commissioning the exquisite Promise Land remix of Heal highlight "In My Head". This is dark and foreboding but builds and builds into an old school dance anthem. If she released more songs like this the Swede would have been a lot better received at Mardi Gras. My favourite quip from a baffled partygoer: "Vanessa Amorosi has lost weight". Bye.

We Get High - Justina (Video)

I've stanned for New Jersey's realest rap chick since profiling her for Idolator and she is yet to let me down. "We Get High" is the perfect anthem to bump when you're blazed and driving to the nearest McDonalds to combat the munchies. Justina is one lucky break away from making a huge splash in the music world. I'm keeping the faith and getting high on her music in the meantime.

Hearts Go Crazy - Parachute (Listen)

The last time I checked this American band made shoe-gazing indie-pop, so imagine my surprise when they dropped this gorgeous electronic track. "Hearts Go Crazy" is my jam at the moment. If Depeche Mode ever sold out and recorded a party anthem it would probably sound a lot like this. It's dark and brooding enough to be interesting but ultimately makes me want to grab a drink and push people out of my way on the nearest dancefloor.

Con Fuego - Soraya (Listen

The Queen of Spanish - actually, fuck that - European pop is back with another club banger. It's a harder dance sound than we're used to hearing from Soraya but she could sing the Nicki Minaj Songbook and I'd still be in heaven. The rent-a-rapper, however, is questionable and sounds completely out of place on an otherwise decent dance track.

En La Obscuridad - Belinda (below)

Belinda is the most underrated pop diva on the planet. Sure, she's huge in Mexico but a talent this towering should be number one all over the world. "En La Obscuridad" is a brilliant pop song that crosses the language barrier faster than Taylor Swift's eyes scan for dick. Play it loud.

Monday, March 04, 2013

I'm in love with a diva called Plumb

I'm in love with a woman called Plumb. I only met her on the weekend but it's real and we're already going steady. She's a 37-year-old Christian from Indiana but don't judge me. You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you hear a song or album for the first time and know you just found a new fave? It hasn't happened to me in a while but two songs into Need You Now - the American diva's sixth album - I just knew I had found a new friend.

The Christian music scene baffles me and, apart from Michelle Williams' two flawless gospel albums, I've managed to avoid it until now. Is this kind of music really considered inspirational? Plumb's songs are dark and pensive, exploring non-uplifting themes like depression, loneliness and loss. She works her way through genres as diverse as rock and dance with a keen sense of observation and an undeniable melancholy that will appeal to fans of depressed divas like Aimee Mann. Admittedly, there is a subtle strand of hope that shines through on many tracks but there's no Jesus talk that I noticed. Not that it would put me off.

There's not a bad song on Need You Now and at least half a dozen highlights but it's hard to go past last year's club single "I Don't Deserve You". The gorgeous Paul Van Dyk collaboration is one of the prettiest pieces of EDM I've heard in a long time. It's bleak and beautiful and should be the kind of song they play at weddings. So why does it sound more suited to a funeral? And why does she die from a bullet wound in the Bonnie & Clyde-inspired video. I cried! I guess it's about time I jump into her back catalogue. Recommendations?

Where the fuck is Beyoncé's new single?

Back off, Hive. This pic is everything to me!

At first I was highly amused that King B did Super Bowl just for the fuck of it. Who else delivers a devastatingly brilliant performance on the world's biggest stage without having something to hawk? That is some boss shit and it's a revelation to see an artist not chasing promo the way Juicy J hunts ratchet pussy. But then things started to get weird. It felt odd that Beyoncé would sit down with Oprah and unveil her critically-acclaimed, cinema-changing documentary with no announcement of a new single. But the announcement of tour dates and subsequent ticket-selling frenzy confirmed new material was on the horizon. Right?

Well, the Mrs Carter Show kicks off in Serbia - could your fave? - next month and we don't have as much as the title of a new song. Let alone a new album. At the moment it feels like we're going to get the 4 world tour, which is fine with me, but would probably annoy some classless punters. The thing is we know she's been in the studio and radio stations have been advised that a new single is imminent. But how is she going to promote it when she's slaying the former Yugoslavia? You have to do the rounds these days. Bey just can't perform on one show and then disappear for a couple of months. Actually, the 17-time Grammy winner can do whatever the fuck she wants - as long as she's happy with an underperforming lead single.

I have faith in my lord and saviour Beyoncé Giselle Carter Knowles and I'm sure she has a plan. I just don't want another debacle like the 4 era when the lead single was thrown on iTunes a month before the video dropped and her two-day promo blitz began. If she pulls that shit again, I'll drag her myself. Anyway, let's all watch the jaw-droppingly amazing Mrs Carter Show advert again and bask in the Queen's flawlessness.