Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm Trying To Be Cool But You're Making Me Hot

TrueBliss, Bardot, Velvet Empire, Sugar Jones, No Angels, Girls Aloud, Hear'Say, Bro'Sis, Monrose...Room 2012?

What do these bands have in common?

They were all formed by various versions of the television show 'Popstars.' The show began back in 1999 in New Zealand with the creation of girl group - TrueBliss. The show concept was then sold internationally and over the next 5 years the airwaves and charts were inundated with 'Popstars' acts. Eventually the shows popularity waned and the show was dropped in every country except for one. Almost 10 years after its debut the show is still creating new bands and is still successful. That country is Germany! Although it was also announced last year that the 'Popstars' show will return to France this year as well.

The latest band to come from Germanys 'Popstars' are Room2012. The show started last summer and were announced the winners in December 2007. Room2012 are the 6th band to win the German competition but are also the first band to win that did NOT have their debut single or album go to number 1 in the charts. In fact their second single bombed when it peaked at #52 last month.

So what does this mean for the future of the show? I have to admit that I was sort of shocked to hear that the format was still being used... I guess those Germans really do love their popstars! But the lack of success for Room2012 has me asking the question... how important are record sales to shows like this?

Look at American Idol which is on it's 7th season in the US. For the first time in it's run the show is starting to show it's age. The show is still a powerhouse in the ratings... but thsoe ratings have started to dip this year. Of the 6 previous winners how many of those winners have truly had any real success? The list is extremely short. I would argue that the only true success has come from Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Of coarse I'm not including some of the other finalists that have had a lot of success such as Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler.

Are these shows really about the best singers? Do the right contestants win these shows? And if the public is choosing the right winners why are they not more successful?

Check out a list of the best selling American Idol contestants Here.

I do know this... American Idol isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I believe the entire cast of Judges and Ryan Seacrest are under contract until 2010.
Check out the latest single from Room2012 below:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Broken Hearts and Fading Dreams...It's Not So Easy As It Seems


I've spent a lot of time posting about artists who are immensely talented but for whatever reason never really saw the success that they deserve. Evan is one of these artists. His two albums are probably the most amazing albums I've ever owned. It's dissapointing that he never really had the success that he should have. His music is so unlike anything else around it's the kind of music that should be celebrated for breaking away from the same old typical sound that every other artist copies over and over.

The introduction on his website reads:
"Do you like your music tasteless and restrained? If so, don't read on... because Evan is the very opposite."

"Less is more? I don't agree. More is more" Evan suggests with a smile. And that is exactly what you get when you listen to his songs. His passionate songs, romantic lyrics and rythym make songs like Queens "Behemian Rhapsody" seem pale in comparison.

In 2003 Evan sent out a demo of his songs to record labels across Sweden. By chance someone had left his cd in the player and it was discovered by the head of music and programing at RIX FM. This lead to his being signed to 'Stockholm Records' and his debut single was released in July 2003. Besides a few small guitar parts, every intrument on his debut album was performed by Evan himself. Besides writing, singing, mising and recording his own music, he's also produced remixes for artists like BWO, Alcazar and Agneta Faltskog of ABBA.

In 2006 Evan made his debut in Melodifestivalen with his song 'Under Your Spell' which would become the first single from his second album. Although he didn't make it out of his semi-final, the esposure created a new fan base and kick started the promotion for his second album.

In 2007 Evan decided to focus on writing and producing for other acts and that decision led to his return to Melodifestivalen this year when his song 'When You Need Me' was chosen to compete in this years competition.

The first time I heard Therese Andersson sing 'When You Need Me' I immediately thought that it sounded like the kind of song Evan would sing. So I wasn't surprised to hear that he did in fact write the song. The song is typical of his style; grand and pompous music, filled with tragedy and romance that has really become his calling card. With his music the lines between genres are blurred and you get a musical experience that no other artist has the guts to release.

Earlier this month I had the chance to interview Evan and ask about his experience in Melodifestivalen this year:

Listening to your albums and other songs you've written and remixed, you have a very unique sound and style that comes across in the songs you write. How would you describe your sound? What is your inspiration?

"I want my music to be timeless and maybe a bit dramatic with a touch of both fairytale and reality. I guess my inspiration comes from everything that touches me in real life and I try to have my 'own' sound."

Your song 'When You Need Me' was selected to take part in Melodifestivalen this year and was sung beautifully by the amazing Therese Andersson. What was it like working with her? What did you think of her performance?

"I think her performance was great but even better in Kiruna than in Linkoping. She was really easy to work with both in the studio and 'live' and I hope we get to work together on more songs in the future."

You have participated in Melodifestivalen in the past with "Under Your Spell," did you feel less pressure this year since you didn't have to perform the song yourself? Do you prefer to be on stage or behind the scenes working with other artists?

Of coarse there was less not being an artist this time, no pressure at all actually because I felt that Thérèse was such a great artist, I was so relaxed, knowing she would make a great performance.
Even though it would have been better in an economical point of view to be an artist in the show, it felt really good to "only" be a writer and producer this time.

If you could write a song for any artist, who would you like to write for?

I have recently "discovered" the band Within Temptation from the Netherlands and I think they are playing the kind of music I am pretty interested in. A mixture of metal and symphonic stuff. I used to be a pretty soft music guy but now I feel I have found a harder side of myself that i want to discover more.

Melodifestivalen is obviously a great opportunity for a lot of exposure in Sweden. You've entered the competition twice now. Would you consider submitting songs in the future?

Yes, of course.

Next month Eurovision will take place and a lot of countries have resorted to sending songs that can best be described as a joke i.e. Dustin The Turkey from Ireland. Do you think the Eurovision Song Contest is still relevant in 2008? Are the right songs winning or has it become too political?

Let´s say I prefer to have Italy in the show rather than Turkey and "friends", but I find it pretty amusing hearing very different kind of music but i don´t think the quality always is top of the line, unfortunately. Maybe it will be a good final this time with two semifinals.

In only 5 years you've had a successful career singing, writing, producing and remixing. What would you like to achieve that you haven't yet?

My initial goal in my music career was to sell 5 million albums... so I guess I still have a long way to travel...Joke aside, I will work really hard to reach out with my music outside sweden for the next years to come.

Your albums continue to be two of my favorite albums of all time. What is your favorite song from the albums?

My favorite song if I had to pick only one is "Afterglow" which has a moment of magic. There are other songs that mean a lot to me but maybe are not among the "best" song.Like "Everything I´d ever do", "The way we used to make love" and "Farewell" which are among the first songs I wrote where I started to think that my music was maybe qualified for being on a record...of course a lot of people don´t agree with me on that point... ;-)

Finally, did you vote for Sanna or Charlotte?!

I vote for Charlotte.

A massive thank you to Evan for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can purchase both of Evan's albums Here.

Evan - Farewell
You MUST listen to this song entirely. It's simply amazing... it's like 3 songs in one and really explodes at the end!

Evan - Dance With Me

Evan - Turn The Lights Down Low

Therese Andersson - When You Need Me (SoundFactory Club Mix)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Music Monday... On A Tuesday!

Hey Guys...
So I haven't done a new music monday post in awhile... but I've been sitting on some songs that aren't exactly worthy of their own post... so I'm just going to compile them all in one for y'all!



Eurovision is less than a month away now and the artists are busy promoting their singles across Europe, doing interviews, releasing videos and performing for anyone who will listen.


When I first heard Icelands entry I wasn't immediately sold on the song. It seemed too much like a generic dance track from the early 90's. But I've gone back and listened to it again and I'm LOVING this song. It's everything that's perfect about pop music. It's fun, cheesy and extremely polished. Euroband is made up of two Icelandic singers who truly love Eurovision and everything it stands for. Both singers have tried to enter Eurovision in the past as solo artists and this year they finally get their chance.

Will the song win Eurovision? No... but it's definitely going to be a bright spot in the competition! I just listened to the song 5 more times since writing this and I love it even more now.

Also if you haven't seen their HILARIOUS music video for this song you need to look it up on youtube right now!

Euroband - This Is My Life




I had hoped that US record labels had finally given up on creating new teenage boybands, but just when you thought it was safe 'Varsity' have hit the scene. Their record label has tried extremely hard to set themup for success. They've recorded songs from Timbaland and Ryan Tedder (Of OneRepublic). I find their songs to be too "safe" and a little boring. If you're going to make a new boyband at least try and give us something a little different. They're nowhere near as good as bands like Busted/McFly/Phixx/V. Also their outfits remind me of Steps if Steps were a boyband and trying to be cool. What's with all the matching bright colors? I'm sorry but these guys just don't do anything for me at all. The songs are extremely bland/boring/un-inspired/American.


Varsity - Future Love



Jonas Altberg, AKA. Basshunter is a perfect example of the opportunities that have opened up for artists because of the internet. Jonas started to produce music from home back in 1999 and in 2004 he released his own album via his website.


Before long he was receiving job offers from clubs across Europe and eventually won a record deal with Warner Music. His music is best described Eurodance and he's had considerable success throughout Europe. His big hit was of coarse "Boten Anna" which eventually became the english hit "Now You're Gone."

Basshunter is currently trying to build on the international success by releasing a cover of 90's dance hit - Please Don't Go.

Basshunter - Please Don't Go


New Kids On The Block


Does anyone really care that New Kids On The Block are back? I vaguely remember songs like Step by Step and Hang Tough, but I guess I'm too young to really appreciate their reunion? I think the problem with NKOTB is that their songs really aren't timeless and don't really mean anything today. I think the band realises this as well and this is why the band are really focusing on their new material which they say is the reason they're back together... the songs were simply too good to pass up.


A few songs have leaked onto the net including 'Click Click Click.' I have to say this one really grew on me. I'm really interested to see what the rest of the album will sound like. I've always had a soft spot for Joey McIntyre and I really like the way their voices sound together on this track. So time will tell if the new album stands up to all the hype they're trying to create around it.


New Kids On The Block - Click Click Click

Monday, April 21, 2008

In My Darkest Hour You Surely Give Me The Power...

So I'm a little behind on this but I needed acouple days to really listen to Sannas album and give it a chance before I judged it.

My final verdict is that this is an extremely strong album (Which fits the title perfectly) and a great step towards becoming a star outside of Sweden. As much as I would love to see more schlager tunes from Sanna, when she sang Empty Room at Melodifestivalen this year, she really proved that she has what it takes to really be an international artist.

So this album is the first step in that direction. For an in depth review check out what PPG had to say on her blog. The album has ballads, songs with a hint of country and upbeat radio friendly tracks as well. This album could easily fit in on the music store shelves here in North America and 'Empty Room' could potantially be a hit here if she played her cards right. Do I think it'll ever happen here in North America? No... but there are a lot of doors that will be opened for her because of this album.

The shining star on the album is 'Nobody Without You' which I predict will be one of my top 10 songs of the entire year in 2008! Another track that I'm really happy with is 'Strong' which can best be described as a really nice song.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Erik + Mattias + Danny = E.M.D

Super boyband E.M.D's second single - Jennie Let Me Love You debuted in the top 10 this week in Sweden. If they boys play their cards right they could turn that into another #1 single over the next few weeks.

If you still don't know who E.M.D are they're a relatively new act made of up 3 swedish singers, two of them being ex-Idol contestants. Danny and Erik both had relatively successful solo careers before joining E.M.D. so you may wonder why they put their solo careers on hold to come together as E.M.D. Well let's be honest... these guys could stand on stage and read me the dictionary and I'd still buy their album. So I imagine the record companies saw dollar signs in their eyes when they realised they could put 3 good looking and popular singers together to form a band that would have an immediate fan base. Even if the band dind't work out the boys could easily return to their solo careers.

Thankfully they've released some decent music to go with their looks. Their debut single (A cover of the classic - All For Love) was a number 1 hit ... although it was a bit bland and really didn't add anything to the original. Things have changed with their new single though which is a great pop/rock track.

If you're a fan you can expect a full album from the boys on May 14th! If the song writers are any indication, this is going to be a HOT album! The best place to purchase that album would be Here.

Also, check out this great performance below!

Monday, April 14, 2008

I've Been Sitting Watching Life Pass From The Sidelines...

"Sometimes the world tries to knock it out of you...
But I believe in music, the way that some people believe in fairy tales."
If you are a fan of music that moves you... music that is epic, haunting, sweeping and dramatic; if you are a fan of movies that have the power to make you cry even if they are really sappy and maybe even far fetched... you need to see the movie 'August Rush.'

The movie was released recently on DVD and has basically been dismissed by film critics across the board. Despite the reviews I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this movie is probably one of my favorites this year. Sure the acting is superb and I'm not ashamed to say that I may have even cried a bit... ok I cried a lot!!

What really brings the whole movie together and makes it really special is the music. The music is filled with so much emotion. If you pay attention to the Oscars you may have noticed that one of the songs was nominated for "Best Original Song." This week the soundtrack has shot up the iTunes album chart into the top 5 overall! The song has been on the billboard top 100 albums chart for the last 14 weeks!

I rarely post this kind of thing... but I'd love to see what any of you think of the movie/music. Check out some amazing tracks from the soundtrack below. I had a hard time picking my favorites but there you are:

This song makes up the dramatic finale. This is the reason I bought the soundtrack... I cannot get enought of this track.

This haunting ballad is sung by the lead actor who you may recognize from various movies and TV shows.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ace of Base - Redefined

New Look, New Site, New Management, New Tour, New Album, New Line Up

Ace of Base - Redefined

THeir brand new website has just launched. Soon they will have a section where you can personally remix their videos and songs!

The band will be on tour from now until the end of 2009. If they come to a country near you you MUST see them!

Check out their new site at

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Girls Who Want Boys Who Like Boys To Be Girls

Sister Love

My bud over at Don't Stop The Pop just did a fantastic post on a small Swedish record label 'Hitworks' and their amazing line up of pop artists! For his extensive review of each artist check out his blog Here.

After checking out the Hitworks site I've discovered my new guilty pleasure! Move over Caracola because 'Sister Love' are here! Despite an extensive biography on their website, I can't read a word of it because it's in Swedish and I'm too lazy to translate it. So their music will have to speak for itself i'm gonna take an educated guess here and say they're sisters?!

They're everything great about Caracola but a little more edgy and more dance influenced than cheesy pop. Their debut album was released today and if you like what you hear be sure to download their album from the 'Hitworks' site. Great news is you can download the album from anywhere in the world!

I sort of wish they had ended up with a bigger record label, I'm not sure how mainstream they're going to get with 'Hitworks' and I think these guys deserve some success with an amazing album like this. Their song 'Boys and Girls' is actually a cover of a song from 'Blur' so it might sound familiar.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'll Play This Song For You As I Am Your Singer...

Haven't heard of Kostas Martakis?! Something tells me that's about to change very soon!

Kostas is only 23 and comes from Greece. After working as a model for some time he shot to fame on a reality tv program in Greece - "Dream Show." He instantly became a star and signed a record deal soon after his appearance.

His debut album was released in Greece and has had a number of hit singles from the album. He has become so popular in Greece that he recently took part in their National Final to represent Greece at Eurovision 2008.

When the song was originally presented to the press a rock/pop version was previewed. But both Kostas and his record label decided perform the dance version of the song. After a televote and jury vote Kostas ended up in 2nd place with 33.8% of the vote. Despite losing the competition the song has gone on to be a hit in Greece peaking at number 3 in the singles chart.

The great news is that there are currently plans to release an international english alum this year! I am extremely excited for an english album from Kostas and not just because it's sure to have lots of nice photos inside!

If you didn't hear his song for Eurovision you can check out the 3 different english versions below.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Welcome To The Future Of Ace of Base

How amazing is this! The first official promo shots in YEARS have finally been released! Things are going to start getting very exciting for Ace of Base fans! Ace of Base are one of my all time favorite bands and words cannot express how excited I am for a new album. The band is notorious for taking a long period of time in between albums.

A lot of sources online are saying that Ace of Base have re-formed like a lot of other bands that are re-uniting lately. The truth is that although they may not have released an album globally since their greatest hits album. Ace of Base have in fact never broken up! The band has been together constantly since the early 90's. Their last studio album was released in 2003 although it was not released in every country. The band did release a number of singles from the album and I would argue that it was one of their best albums to date.

Ace of Base - Hey Darling
One of my favorite songs from 2003's "Da Capo" album.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Where Have I Been?!

So despite the fact that some of my favorite blogs like PPG and The Blog Formerly Known As 'The Zapping have featured him before... I never really took the time to check him out and see what all the fuss was about. All I can say is... boy have I been missing out!

Jonathan Fagerlund is AMAZING!

His single "Playing Me" is currently a huge hit in Sweden and it seems to have completely passed me by until now. Check out his amazing new sigle below! If his album is going to be anything like this track I'm very excited to hear it!

Without Love... It Aint Much

With a picture like this you'd think that this woman would give us some great pop music!
There's a good chance you may not have heard of this famous Australian, Melissa Tkautz, but she's actually been around since the early 80's!

Like most famous Australians she started her career acting in a soap opera. She immediately became one of the most popular characters in the show. Due to her popularity, the producers had Melissa record a song that would be used as part of a dream sequence for her character. They decided that they would use the show to launch a singing career for Melissa in real life. The idea was a hit and the single - Read My Lips, shot straight to number one in Australia. It didn't take long for Melissa to leave the show to focus on her new found singing career.

After leaving the show Melissa went on tour to promote her debut album, but her futher singles failed to impress fans. In December 1992, after her last single only managed to hit top 20... her final single from her debut album failed to chart at all.

Luckily for Melissa the show "E-Street" took her back with open arms. In 1993 Melissa returned to the show and was a main focus of the season. Despite it's popularity and overall good ratings the network cancelled the show that year.

The poor girl didn't have an acting job or a singing career. After E-Street was cancelled Melissa continued to do guest roles in various television shows and even decided to give singing another chance. She released a single with a new look and a funkier edge but although critics were impressed, the single peaked at a dissapointing #39.

For the next 10 years Melissa worked in various television shows until finally in 2005 she re-launched a career in music with a cover of "The Glamorous Life." The song was destined to be a huge pop hit! Until the worst thing that could happen happened. Another version of the song was released at the exact same time! Despite the fact that there were 2 versions of the song competing for airplay, Melissa's version had some success and she released her first album in 15 years! Despite the success of 'Glamorous Life' her next single charted at #72.

She gave it one more shot in 2006 after recording material in Sweden. 'Easily Affected' was released and was supposed to be the first single from a new album. The song was extremely bland and the vocals were weak... there was nothing really to it. When it peaked at #86 the album was shelved indefinitely.

For someone who has been famous for 20 years it seems Melissa hasn't really had any real success since her first single back in 1991. That doesn't seem to have stopped her though! It all seems a little too "Lisa Scott-Lee" for me. At some point you just have to say enough is enough already. How many bombs does she have to release before she realises people don't want to
hear her sing!?

I haven't been impressed with any of her songs besides "The Glamorous Life" which has a great beat and is easily her best single, although probably not worthy of anything better than top 20. If you haven't heard of Melissa Tkautz before then this is the one and only song you need to hear.
Melissa Tkautz - The Glamorous Life

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Felt Myself Magnetized, My Senses They Were Hypnotized...

Brian McFadden

Many times I have posted my thoughts on record labels dropping seriously talented artists. While sometimes I think the record labels are justified in their decisions... often times it doesn't make much sense and fantastic acts are left without a record deal. One of these artists is the amazing Brian McFadden.

When his debut single was released in July 2004 it went straight to number 1 and his album charted in the top 30. While not a stellar debut for the album he proved that he could maintain his success with his next singles when his second single hit number 6 in the singles chart. His 3rd single, a duet with his girlfriend Delta Goodrem peaked at number 3! With 3 top 10 singles is this not the kind of artist a record label wants on their roster?

Not many artists get a fourth single from their debut album, but in May 2005 a final single from his debut album was released. 'Demons' was a dark and haunting choice for a single and only hit #28.

Brian continued writing songs for other artists... he's written songs for Delta Goodrem, Il Divo and Girls Aloud to name a few.

Instead of focusing on a second album, in 2006 his record label Sony released a duet with Leanne Rimes... a song called 'Everybody's Someone." The song was taken from Leanne's album Whatever We Wanna. The track, which received little to no promotion in the Uk, peaked at number 48.

I don't know what happened next exactly but in March 2007, almost 3 years after his debut single hit number 1, he was dropped by Sony records due to "dissapointing album sales and the failure of his last 2 singles."

Something tells me his departure from Sony had more to do with him deciding he wanted more control over his career than dissapointing album sales. Brian has since launched his own record label and already released a self-penned single in Ireland - 'Like Only A Woman Can' which hit number 1 there. Brian is now in charge of his career and there is no one to hold him back. His second album is titled 'Set In Stone' and will be released on April 19th with a new single to be released very soon! Until then you can enjoy these gems!

Brian McFadden - Irish Son
This is my favorite song from his debut album!
Brian McFadden - Pull Myself Away
I never used to like the song - Like Only A Woman Can, but after watching this video and listening to the lyrics one more time I've decided to change my mind. The song is written about Delta Goodrem and how she's changed Brian since meeting her. Easily one of the sweetest videos/songs I've heard in a long time.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

No One Sees Me But The Silver Moon

Enrique Iglesias

In 2001 when Enrique Iglesias released his second english album it immediately became one of my all time favorite albums. I thought 'Escape' was the best of the best. If I was blogging back in 2001 there's a very good chance that it would have been my number 1 song of the year, 'Escape' remains his most successful single to this date!

But he followed it up with a weak third album '7' in 2003. The album failed to light up the charts and none of the singles enjoyed and particular success. Soon after Enrique all but dissapeared from the english music scene.

All that changed last year when he released 'Insomniac' in 2007 off the heels of the debut single "Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song)." While the album doesn't have anything on it quite as good as "Escape" it's really grown on me over the past two months.

In particular I have fallen for his latest European single - "Tired Of Being Sorry." The song isn't being released in North America, but has charted in the Uk, Sweden, Finland and has just been released in France. If you haven't heard this song you should definitely check it out below. The verses are very calm and if you only heard the verses the song would be extremely boring... but I LOVE the chorus. I've always had a soft spot for Enriques vocals and I love the instruments and melody in this. It's one of the best choruses of the year I think!?

Sometimes when artists are releasing singles in different territories it is common practice to have a popular singer from that country feature on the vocals. (This was done previously with Enriques single for You're My Number One; vocals from Russian singer Alsou were added)

This time french singer 'Nadiya' had added a french touch to his latest single. I still prefer the original version, mostly because I prefer Enriques voice, but I don't mind this french version at all. Nadiya has been extremely successful in France with 9 top 40 singles under her belt.