Sunday, May 18, 2008

Like A Flower Leaning Toward The Sun...

WOW! 4 months ago I was lucky enough to see one of the biggest acts of all time re-unite when I flew to L.A to see the Spice Girls on their reunion show. Last night I got the chance to see Mel C on her solo Canadian tour. It's so odd that only 4 months ago she played to 15'000 screaming fans, doing dance routines and wearing a dress... when last night she rocked out to an audience of about 200 people at a local night club.
Mel C is a born entertainer, she performed last night as if she were in front of 15'000 fans. But even more important was that it was clear she was having a lot of fun. She played a great show with songs from all 4 of her albums with a 5 piece band. While she sang almost every track from her new album (which was just released in Canada) she also sang most of her biggest hits, including the dance remix of 'I Turn To You' which will go down in history as one of the best remixes of all time. She proved last night that she can sing a fun pop song, jam to a rock song or bare her soul in a touching ballad. If you ever get the chance to see her perform it's a show you won't forget.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quand tu l'as tu l'as

Kate Ryan's new single is really fun and the more I listen to it the more I like it. I've never been a huge fan of her stuff. I mean it's good, and I listen to her songs but besides Je T'Adore the rest of her songs just don't really stand out for me. I think Ella Elle L'a may be my second favorite song of hers now... plus her poptastic video for it helps. She's definitely channeling some Scooch in the vid!

The song is a cover or an 80's French hit and you can actually check out Alizee doing her version on French television acouple years ago.

Kate Ryan - Ella Elle L'a

In other news... I'm Mr. technology lately as I recently bought Tivo; which I never would have thought that I would need... and now that I have it... I don't know how I ever lived without it.
Also, I got to take part in a marketing survery recently where I got to test out a new accessory for my iPod. I got to test out Energizer's 'Energi To Go' kit which basically allows you to charge your iPod no matter where you are with a simple device that is powered with 2 double A batteries. So yesterday I was on the bus, watching video clips on my iTouch when sure enough the batteries died. I plugged the Energi To Go right on to my iPod and went right back to watching the videos. By the time I was finished not only did the ipod not die... but it ended up being fully recharged even while I was using it to watch video. Since I spend about 3 hours a day on a bus for my commute this little device has officially become my new life saver.
So there is my product placement for today... Tivo is my new best friend... and if you do any kind of travelling with your iPod... you should check out the Energi To Go kit.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tell Me When The Morning Comes

Jarvis Church

I don't post songs from Canadian artists too often but I have posted about a Canadian band 'Prozzak' that had some big hits back in 2000. Well the 2 guys of 'Prozzak' come from a Canadian band called 'The Philosopher Kings' who peaked in the mid-90's are released an album as recently as 2006. The lead singer of the Philosopher Kings is Jarvis Church who has achieved some success in Canada as a solo artist and as a producer.

Anyways, I was listening to David Jordans album recently and his voice and style reminded me of Jarvis Church. His name may not sound familiar to you but he's worked with fellow Canadians Esthero and Nelly Furtado. So I dug through some of my old Mp3's and found a gem of a song - Who Will Be Your Man. It was probably the poppiest thing on his album which was released back in 2002. The song is catchy and he has a great voice. This may not be your typical cheesy pop song, but is definitely worth a listen to.

Meanwhile David Jordan is set to release his new single - Move On in the Uk which is a fantastic choice after the amazing 'Sun Goes Down.'

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Here In This Place I Never Thought We'd Be Today...

So now that everyone has had some time to reflect on Melodifestivalen I think It's a good time to bring this topic back up.
Why did the public turn on Carola and Andreas, two of the biggest singers in all of Sweden?

I think more than anything it was the publics way of pulling both artists back down to earth. I mean Carola had won Melodifestivalen in 2006, and Andreas had placed 3rd and 2nd place in the last two years. They each received massive amounts of publicity and success over the last two years because the public voted and supported each of them.

When the two of them decided to join forces for Melodifestivalen 2008, anyone would admit that they seemed like a sure fire winner. I think that's where the problem lies. What makes the competition so great is that anyone can enter and anyone can potentially win. When two of the biggest stars in Sweden join forces simply to take home first place it's almost like the public doesn't have a say anymore.

When they didn't make it directly into the finals and instead only qualified for the second chance round, the Swedish media had a field day! It didn't matter that they were beat by two fantastic tracks that deserved their spot in the final... suddenly people got excited that they could tear down the two singers. It was no longer a competition for best song... it was about ensuring that they didn't make it into the finals.

When they performed in the Second Chance round against Nordman they really stepped up their game. No other artist in the competition changed their routine like Johnsson and Haagkvist did. But for the first time in Melodifestivalen history... while Carola and Andreas were performing their competition were receiving an immense number of votes before they had even started to perform. Never has another artist received such a high influx of votes while the other act was performing. People weren't voting for Nordman at this point... they were simply voting against Carola and Andreas.

Once Nordman beat Carola and Andreas in the first round they never received the same number of votes again. What is even more unfair is that in all, Carola and Andreas received over 200'000 votes at the Second Chance round. Meanwhile Sibel received just over 100'000 votes and yet she qualified to the finale.

So what is the point of all this? I don't know that there is one. I'm sort of proud of the message that was sent by sending the duo out of the competition. It sends a message that it doesn't matter who you are, just because you're a big name, doesn't mean you'll win it all. Was it fair? I don't think so. At the end of the day the song was fantastic although I still would have voted for Charlotte. Finally, I can't help but feel bad for Carola. The media were seriously cruel to her while I was in Stockholm with her photos splashed across the front page of newspapers every day.

Will Carola ever do anything with the song contest again? Only time will tell... but perhaps the public simply need a break for awhile. I for one would love to see her surprise us all by taking some time off and then proving everyone wrong by re-entering with a fantastic song... perhaps a power ballad?!

'One Love' continues to be one of my favorite songs this year and the more I listen to their song 'Lucky Star,' which was meant to promote the duo in the lead up to the competition, the more I like it as well.

Johnsson & Haggkvist - One Love (SoundFactory Radio Edit)


Sunday, May 04, 2008

This Is The Last Glance... Now We're Through

Recently I've fallen in love again with one of the best pop bands since 'Steps' took their final bow back in Dec. 2001.

The band is 'Six' and they were formed via the Irish 'Popstars.' After writing about Room2012 the other day I dug up my old Six album and have fallen in love with them all over again. I remember the day I received their album in the mail directly from Ireland. There was a big rainbow on the cover and all I could think was... this is going to be an AMAZING album. Boy was I right!

When the final 6 members were announced back in 2002 the band included 'Nadine Coyle' who is currently a member of 'Girls Aloud.' At the time Nadine had auditioned her way onto the show and ended up being chosen for the band. That was until she finally admitted that she had lied throughout the show and that she was only 16 years old when she auditioned for the band (Contestants were required to be 18 years of age.) As a result she was disqualified and replaced. Obviously she isn't upset because she went on to become a member of one of the best selling british girl bands of all time.

So in February 2002 after months of hype and build up the debut single was finally released. 'Whole Lot Of Lovin' stormed up the Irish charts and to this day remains the biggest and fastest selling Irish single of all time. The single was eventually released in New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Iceland and Sweden where it reached top 5 in all markets.

When their second single 'Let Me Be The One' hit number one in July 2002 the band looked to be on the verge of a the big time. The band toured with Westlife, released a top 10 album and were told that they would be launched in the Uk. The band were keen to break away from the "Irish Popstars" label and break into the Uk market based soley on their music.

As Louis prepared to launch the band in the Uk rumours began to surface that the London record label was pushing to have the band change their name. Apparently the name 'Six' was not very original. Not only was the record label unhappy with the bands name... they weren't convinced that 'Whole Lot Of Lovin' should be the first Uk single as it sounded "too Steps-Like."

A date was finally set for their the Uk release of 'Whole Lot Of Lovin' but that day came and went without a word. Their website went dormant and the band was mysteriously never heard from ever again.

At the end of the day you have to remember that Six were only the second Popstars act to from from the United Kingdom. When the band were launched the only other act around was Hear'Say who at the time were the biggest act England had seen in some time and there were no 'failed' popstars acts at the time.

When the band was launched they were told by their management and their record labels that they were a surefire hit, the songs sounded great and they were going to be rich. When you're 18 years old and you have people around you telling you that you're going to be massive and all your dreams are coming true you have no reason to believe that things could go horribly wrong.

What happened? Where did Six go? Who is to blame for their downfall?

The answer comes down to one man - Simon Cowell who at the time was the head of the BMG Uk. When the time came to finally release their music in the Uk Simon Cowell pulled the plug on the project when he decided that the band were noth worth the financial risk and that they would not be successful in England. Although the band were still being managed by Louis Walsh, the group was under contract to BMG Uk who still owned the rights to release music from the band if they chose to. The problem was, although Simon Cowell had no intention of releasing music from Six in the Uk... he did not release them from their contract which meant they couldn't sign with another label.

So for one year back in 2002 the world was at their fee and Six were on top of the world. If you missed all that was Six you can download some ace tracks below.

*Hopefully I'm not the only one worried about this happening to Same Difference? Their single has been delayed for a second time and looks like it won't be released until the summer.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Show Me A Mountain i Can't Climb

YES! So I woke up this morning... opened my mailbox to find a signed copy of Charlotte Perrelli's new album - Hero.

I've given it a quick listen to and here are my initial thoughts. First of all this is the first time I've ever really listened to a lot of her material. I know Take Me To Your Heaven of coarse... and I've heard the odd single here and there, but I've never listened to one of her albums before.

My first thought is that I really like her voice. She really is a versatile singer and really can sing anything. Like Sanna's album I would describe this as an international sounding album. It is not an album full of Schlager songs unfortunately... but there is something on here for everyone and it's going to appeal to a broad audience! You have 'Hero' and 'Bullet' for the schlager fans. There's a wide variety of ballads and then you get some mid-tempo treats like 'Not Alone' 'Addicted' and 'Slowly.'

Is it the must have pop album of the year? Not even close, but it's a nice album, easy to listen to... but not overly catchy. Besides 'Hero' and 'Bullet' you won't have these songs running through your head 24/7. All I can say is thank god for Fredrik Kempe who wrote half the songs on the album. This man is a pop genius and I cannot wait to hear his new group that PPG mentioned on her blog while back.

If you haven't heard Bullet you are missing out! It's going to be her next single and is FANTASTIC! Really hard hitting and the perfect follow up to 'Hero.' A ton of blogs have already posted it so instead you can check out this one which is also a bright spot on the album.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Just Like The Sun In Heaven... We Will Be Glorious!

So I've been super busy lately and not posting as often as I'd like to... I have a stack of songs that I wanna post so please bear with me and I'll get to them eventually.

I know Melodifestivalen JUST ended and Eurovision isn't even over yet... but that hasn't stopped me from speculating over who will enter Melodifestivalen next year!

There are new artists that enter every year, acts that are looking to expand their fan base by entering the competition and then there are the established acts that return to the competition after a few years away.

Who will enter in 2009?! I have a wish list going already and one of those artists is Shirley Clamp. She has turned her back on schlager but I think that by next year the timing will be right and it would be the perfect time for her to launch a new album.

Of the 4 albums Shirley has released, the first two are fantastic pop albums that any pop fan would be proud to own; songs like Att Alska Dig and Lever Minna Drommar are timeless!

If songs sung in Swedish aren't your thing... she has a track from her debut album called 'Champions' that is worth a download. The song was Sweden's official soccer world cup song in 2004. Can I just say that I love the fact that the world cup song in Sweden is a really gay pop song... sigh... only in Sweden.
Who do you want to see back in the competition next year?!