Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pop Panel - Week 14

It feels like I only just posted last week's Pop Panel but it's already that time again. I guess time really does fly when you're passed out on painkillers. Actually, this edition of the Panel has been one of the few bright spots in a pretty terrible week. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that it's probably my favourite Pop Panel ever. A great song won (although my heart is really with the bridesmaid), a rubbish anthem got deservedly trashed, I managed to rope in some classy guest bloggers and we have a truly amazing celebrity guest judge this week. A lot of fabulous people have volunteered their time for the Pop Panel over the past few months but this is the first (and probably only) time that a multi-million selling dance icon has joined the team - but more about her in a minute! First, I need to introduce the other judges:

D'Luv (US) writer of Chart Rigger
Mike (Aus) author of this classy blog.
Moogaboo (US) much loved contributor to Chart Rigger
Rob (UK) writer of Don't Stop The Pop
Tommie (Sweden) writer of Donna Martin Graduates
The Prophet (Aus) writer of The Prophet

It's always great to have my Swedish partner in crime on board and I'm excited to have poached D'Luv's right hand gay for this week's proceedings. But now for our celebrity guest judge! Chances are if you're over 25 and have ever set foot into a nightclub, you've probably danced to one of Gala's anthems. The strikingly beautiful Italian diva catapulted to fame in 1996 with the club classic "Freed From Desire". That song topped the charts in 8 countries, reached #2 in the UK (spending two months in the top 10) and sold over six million copies worldwide. Few tracks can claim to be genre defining but "Freed From Desire" changed the dance music landscape forever. Gala followed that up with a batch of fabulous floorfillers including the much loved gay anthem "Let A Boy Cry" and her last UK top 40 hit "Come Into My Life". Since then she has remained quite but Gala is on the precipice of a fabulous comeback with "Tough Love", her first album in over a decade, slated for release on the 6th of September. Before getting on with the votes, I took the opportunity to do some probing!

Gala, where have you been hiding? Your fans miss you!
I have been embarking on various adventures. After a period in Italy and in the UK signed to a record label that didn't release anything for 5 years, I moved back to NY where I originally wrote my first hits and where my home is now in Brooklyn. I have always been writing, creating and exploring all sorts of music and other arts; photography, video, dance, choreography, writing etc... NY is the world brought down to size, you can learn and grow from some of the most talented people here.

I love to learn. I will be an eternal student and continue to learn all my life. I am also very eclectic and dream of living in the Renaissance period where an artist could write poetry and paint and make music without having to specialize obsessively in one thing like they do now, selling an image and branding it like a Coca Cola bottle. Unfortunately these days it is necessary because nobody sells records anymore.

Is it true you're about to embark on a comeback? What can we expect from your new sound?
Yes, I am releasing my new album "Tough Love" through my independent label Matriarch Records. I don't expect millions of sales, I am aware that comes with money invested in PR. I am doing this completely independently so there is not a label pushing the release. It will be hard and challenging, but I believe that my music, done with DEDICATION, LOVE, HONESTY AND PERSEVERANCE will slowly but surely reach people. That is what I care about, reaching people.

"Freed From Desire" is a true 90s classic. Did you realise at the time that you were recording a track that would define clubbing for an entire generation?
I didn't realize it at first, but it was a personal goal to create something that would have a lasting impact. I was studying photography at the time and my goal was to create photos that in 50 years would still look timeless. For example I would photograph in black and white, because colors often give away the time period. I would photograph only faces, so that there was no reference to a time period in the clothes or the surroundings. I would try to capture 'classic' photographs.

And that is what I did when I wrote "Freed From Desire", I gained inspiration from people like Bessie Smith and a book of spirituals; things that for me are eternal. Eternal influences such as these are the basis of music. African music especially comes to mind. "Freed From Desire" was actually dedicated to an African man, his community and all they taught me.

What do you make of the current state of dance music? Who are your favorite acts?
I really don't follow new music too much, I still listen to the classics. But I would be very interested to hear YOUR favorite remixers and DJ's so perhaps my fans can collaborate with me in this elaborate internet era to create some remixes for "Tough Love". I like Basement Jaxx and Sinden as remixers, but I'm not really an expert, I listen to all sorts of music from classical and country to blues, rock, soul and dance. Sometimes I'll check out a band my friends recommend to me but I don't really follow names or the latest news and gossip. Right now I am listening to Bill Withers.

I'm sure we can recommend some good DJs! Why do you think your music has struck such a deep chord with the gay community?
I believe in bisexuality; I always wanted to bring the sexes together, I don't believe in sex roles like male and female. It is an act of feminism for me, but a lot of gay boys and girls felt a connection to what I was saying, because it was a new way of saying things, a new feminism that includes men too and their liberation - the freedom to be sensitive, 'LET A BOY CRY'!!! I suffered as a kid because I loved some of my girlfriends as much as the boys in the class, but it was 'forbidden'. I hate rules to LOVE. Rules for violence, rules for war, but not to LOVE.

Gala's latest single "Tough Love" is now available to download from iTunes. Check out the hot video below. Gala just keeps on getting sexier! The EP includes a great new rock remix of "Freed From Desire" as well as her recent European single "Faraway". I'll post more details about the album as they come to hand.

Ok, so now for the Pop Panel. As usual the songs are ranked from least to most popular. Here goes:

Mika – We Are Golden (Video)

Mika's much hyped comeback single.

D'Luv: The Feeling do it way better. 2/5
Gala: Not my kind of song, the video is fun though! 3/5
Someone force feed this skinny cunt a Big Mac - that video just turned my stomach. Mika is about as appealing as anal herpes and "We Are Golden" is no exception. 0/5
Moogaboo: So youthful. So colorful. So glam and gay and ... yeah, I hate it. I should love it but I really, really hate it, and him. Fuck off, Mika. Fuck off with your toodle-ee-OO-HOO high parts and your Freddie Mercury fetish and your shoes. Just... fuck off. 0/5
Rob: I love the Calvin Harris remix of "We Are Golden" but the original is okay. While he is still determined to bleed dry the Grange Hill theme tune I love this. 4/5
Tommie: Shite. 0/5
The Prophet: You know I've purposely avoided hearing this ever since it leaked because I hate Mika so much, and now that it's in the Pop Panel I have no choice, so here goes. *3 minutes later*. I was so angry because I started liking this, but the "we are golden" part ruined it all for me. 2/5
Total: 11/35

Madonna – Celebration (Video)

The lead single from Madonna's upcoming greatest hits compilation.

D'Luv: Shameless plug - MoogaBoo and I did a whole Madge banterview this week on Chart Rigger. It's nice to hear the old broad having fun again. This is better than at least 10 of the other singles she's released this decade. 3/5
Gala: Nothing new. As a kid, I listened to Prince... but I never bought a Madonna album only the 45 of "True Blue", the only song that to me sounded "true" from the heart. I think she was really in love for the first time when she dedicated it to Sean. Who knows... but that's what I thought. All her songs are good because they make us dance and I appreciate that, but this is really nothing new. Another money maker; as usual, still the material girl. I'm impressed by real rebellion and spirit, like Bob Marley when he performed. He connected with something that inspired him, not at all concerned about looks. Whereas Madonna is ALL about appearences. 3/5 Mike: I've been referring to this crap as a Dannii B-side for weeks but I think that's an insult. To Dannii. Even she would steer clear of a spent force like Paul Oakenfold. Sad and pathetic. 1/5
Moogaboo: Madonna always mines the underground for high-minded, artsy inspiration, so it's no surprise she'd turn to Queen of the Clubs Dannii Minogue in her latest bid for continued relevance. Flattering though it must be for Dannielle Jane, the rip-off is a bit shameless. What next, Koala Cupcakes for Malawi? 3/5
Rob: Mike compares this to Dannii. I compare it to Mel C's "I Turn To You" which is ten years old this year. Happy Birthday! Despite the awful lyrics, this is a really good song. Well done Madonna. 3/5
Tommie: Lame. Someone get this Alzheimer hag a dictionary! 0/5
The Prophet: I actually don't mind some of her music but I just hate her personality. The song is pretty catchy but I don't support it since it sounds like a damn remix and not an actual song. It's also way gay, like as in obviously gay I'm dying for a hit gay. 2/5
Total: 15/35

Sneaky Sound System & Tiesto – I Will Be Here (Video)

Sneaky Sound System team up with one of the world's biggest DJs for this floorfiller.

D'Luv: ...and I'll be way over there. 1.5/5
Gala: The music is not interesting, it's like noise to me... but the guy can move... I like that!!! Original dance moves and music video. 2/5
Mike: Finally an anthem! I don't care what the rest of the Panel thinks, this is one of my favourite songs of 2009. Miss Connie delivers a killer vocal and I love the uplifting yet still slightly depressing chorus. The production is typical Tiesto but I'm all for the return of trance. 5/5
Moogaboo: So this is music for, like, computer tech assistants who want to kill themselves, right? Listening to it once has filled me with the urge to fix a screen saver, then throw myself in front of a bullet train. 1/5
Rob: Wow. The return of Infernal. Only crappier and more boring. 0/5
Tommie: This will be fun to have lesbian romp to in Ibeefa! Dannii's already having secretions thinking about it! 3/5
The Prophet: Hot. I'd give this a spin if I was in a mood for this type of music. 3.5/5
Total: 16/35

Pixie Lott – Boys & Girls (Video)

The follow up to Pixie's #1 hit "Mama Do".

D'Luv: It's like someone injected Duffy with whore and then tasered her snatch till she agreed to wear Samantha Fox's leather jacket. 0.5/5
Gala: Good photography in the video, very trendy, fashionable, like a Details magazine. The song is fun, but she is too girly blonde for me. Doesn't add anything to what I see in fashion magazines. She's not daring. 3/5
Mike: "Mama Do" was a cure for insomnia, so the fact that this doesn't make me sleepy is a step in the right direction. I like the video and her saucy image but the song is very average. The chorus is too bland and her voice utterly generic. 2/5
Moogaboo: Like Pixie, I'm a whore for anything with a tambourine in it. Just kidding! I'm sure she obtained this song chastely. The video copies the Lady GaGa look a bit more successfully than Mumsy Imbruglia's offering, and it also contains one cute guy. That's all it takes. 4/5
Rob: This is the kind of music that Heidi (of the Sugababes) should be turning out rather than the paltry RedOne crap she's been reduced to singing. Okay, this ticks all the boxes. Amazing choreography, great song and great lyrics. I have been Pixied. One note of caution: hate the Skins-esq finish to the video. It looks like a smelly nightclub in Hoxton, London. Which is fine but seeing that kind of trope enter pop videos is weird seeing as I live in Hoxton and the skinny-jeans clones you see walking up Shoreditch High Street sometimes make you wince inside. So, in short love everything about this but the video and styling. 5/5
Tommie: Why so much shite this week, Mike? Do you hate me that much? 1/5
The Prophet: Yeah she's cute, but brit pop sucks unless it has the trash factor amped up. And was the GaGa swagga jacking and sitting in a teacup really necessary? 2.5/5
Total: 18/35

Natalie Imbruglia – Wild About It (Above)

A "promo" single from Natalie's soon to be released 4th album.

D'Luv: I'm always game for new Natalie music ever since she won me over with "White Lilies Island". This is getting royally trashed by folks online, but I don't mind it. Not her best, but better than Mika screeching in a G-string. 3/5
Gala: Bland. 2/5
Mike: Someone needs to put this sad cougar down. "Wild About It" is further proof that her younger sister Laura got all the talent, while Natalie was just blessed with an unprecedented ability to publicity whore. 1/5
Moogaboo: I normally love mid-tempo songs about being "wild," but this one raises too many questions. What is Natalie doing cleaning up after those kids? Why do they let her hang out with them? Does she buy them beer? What the hell is she thinking? 2/5
Rob: The more I hear this the more I love it. It's certainly a grower. I don't like "Want" but this is glorious. The video is brilliant too. 4/5
Tommie: I've never been a huge fan of Ms I'mfuglia but I'm excited about her new material. It's surprisingly good! 4/5
The Prophet: Absolute mess, but at least it isn't as bad as "Glorious". I didn't realise how lame she was until I picked up her greatest 'hits' during an impulse buy and I've had to live with the awful memories of that horrid day ever since. 1.5/5
Total: 18.5/35

Paloma Faith – New York (Video)

The second single from Paloma's hit debut album.

D'Luv: I didn't realize there were any scraps left on Amy Winehouse's corpse for these chunky skanks to chew on. 2/5
Gala: Amy Winehouse was last year. It looks like a caricature of Amy. Good voice, great hair color and style. The boy is cute and WHO DOESN'T LOVE NEW YORK!!! Good title too. 3/5
Mike: This is every bit as derivative as Eva Simons' stunning effort last week but apparently it's ok to be an amoral swagga jackin' thief if you stick to ripping off Amy Winehouse and her army of second rate clones. 0/5
Moogaboo: Somebody get this girl to Broadway!!! For real -- get her there and lock her up in a new, endless revival of Grease 2, where she can't hurt us with her strained metaphors, Winehouse-lite torching or her bowling. (Seriously, BOWLING is an acceptable concept for videos now?) 1/5
Rob: Haunting, beautiful and iconic. Nearly everything about this is perfect. I don't think Paloma will ever manage to convey the tragedy that the lyrics she writes demand but this is absolutely stunning. I think the problem with Paloma is her voice. She can't do ballads or sad songs. She is more of a "I Will Survive" kinda vocalist. She can't quite capture fragility despite the amazing inclusion of the gospel, the strings and gorgeous overall melody of the song. I love this but I feel another female singer might have suited Paloma's song more than the writer herself. 5/5
Tommie: I was expecting to hate this, but the intro reminds me of Twin Peaks and the whole song is really gorgeous! But I'm a sucker for a twinkly piano. 4/5
The Prophet: Smash! 5/5
Total: 20/35

Samantha Jade – Secret (Video)

This plucky Australian diva tries to crack America with her latest pop jam.

D'Luv: Something tells me this helium-voiced stripper's talents lie elsewhere, like in being able to touch her ears with her toes. 1/5
Gala: I like the song, but we have Britney already, why do we need another? I don't like girls who imitate porn stars. You can be sexy without selling sex. I like women like Annie Lennox, that's more my style. 2/5
Mike: Oh bless her. It seems like Samantha has been hailed as Australia's next pop superstar since Dannii had all her original body parts. "Secret" probably isn't going to be the song that does it for her either but this is still a faux Britney trash anthem of the highest calibre. The video's subtle gay subtext is also really clever and completely unexpected. I love her. 5/5
Moogaboo: Samantha knows how to work it like a slut fatale, with relentlessly sexy synth stabs and a vocal performance just shy of meowing for three minutes. This song is super catchy and, most importantly, super slutty and trashy and fun. Is she really trying to make it in the States? We can only hope! 5/5
Rob: This is mental. I don't know where to start with this. The song is boring. The video is weird. Is it a social comentary on the 1950's & 60's were gay men had to hide their sexuality or they'd face prosecution? A time when the police would round men up after crashing "queer" jazz venues and question their right to exist? It certainly looks like it. It's a shame about the song being so utterly boring as I can't provide marks for the video rather primarily the songs. So with a heavy heart, I give this 1/5.
Tommie: A cheap hooker singing a "Womanizer" rip-off? I love it. 5/5
The Prophet: I hate that I love this but I'm literally obsessed with it. "Somebody's got a little secret!" Love it! 4.5/5
Total: 23.5/35

The Gossip – Love Long Distance (Below)

Beth Ditto & co return for the 2nd single from "Music For Men".

D'Luv: Much like when a hooker cries, I'd never pay for this but I don't mind hearing it. 3/5
Gala: I LOVE BETH DITTO GOSSIP! She is the closest to my spirit and we actually have friends in common here in NY. She is powerful and free, I love women like her... A true rock and roll FEMINIST. 5/5
Mike: I dream of spoon feeding Beth scoop after scoop Häagen-Dazs before sensuously rubbing baby oil into all her nooks and crannies. She is a diva that deserves to be worshipped. As for the song, I don't love it as much as "Heavy Cross" but a Fred Falke remix would jazz it up no end. 4/5
Moogaboo: Okay, either my Skyy & Diet is kicking in or she's deliberately sounding like Lady Miss Kier. Love her now. This song is a disco monster. Minus one point for doing that "she's fat so let's disguise her in the video" thing. (Even if they do it in an adorable way). 4/5
Rob: It's nice to hear The Gossip step out of the box they've constructed for themselves. However does it make it any good? No. It starts ever so promising but you soon realize they've got nothing more to give. It transcends into boring. 2/5
Tommie: I'm not a huge fan of the fat bitch, but this is... okay. 2.5/5
The Prophet: Another smash from one of my faves. Not only is the song amazing but the video is incredible to! Love them. 5/5
Total: 25.5/35


Justin said...

The Gossip and Natalie <333333

Paul said...

sad i missed out this week! I would've boosted Mika's score right up with a 4.5 :P Always in the minority aren't i :) Great read though - you didn't miss me at all :P

tommie said...
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tommie said...

Love that Celebration and Mika finished last.

And I still can't believe you got someone who actually sells RECORDS to this fabulous trashy dump! Movin' on up Mike.

Moogaboo said...

I'm so honoured to be part of Pop Panel this week, especially with Guest Judge Gala. I still rock the Motiv8 mix of "Let a Boy Cry"!

And hooray for the Gossip getting the top spot, although I do wonder now if this will put a crimp in Samantha Jade's world-conquering agenda. Hmm.

D'luv said...

Wow! How classy that you got Gala! I have her single for "Everyone Has Inside," from back when I was on a kick collecting all remixes by Eiffel 65 (of which Moogaboo was the recipient of many mix CDs!).

Fun panel this week, and I feel vindicated that Mika came in last place. Yay!

Mike said...

The Motiv8 mix of "Let A Boy Cry" is AMAZING! I'm unbelievably excited that Gala has come out of retirement to free us from desire all over again.

Poor Samantha. Her plans for world domination have indeed been thwarted. However, the classy diva is apparently working with Timbaland and Wyclef Jean on her 5 years in the making debut album:

So unless she just imagined all those collaborations, there's still hope. Britney has officially been put on notice!

will said...

i am not getting a good feeling at all about this Mika sophomore album and this confirms that i'm not alone!

am v. curious about natalie's new material.

Peibols said...

Gala... amazing!
It's so 90s! I remember dancing to Freed from Desire (like half Europe).

The Pop Panel...if Madonna doesn't gets the frist position it's enough for me.

undisco_me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

I can't believe that VILE CUNT and ancient cameltoe flashing HAG were given such high scores - and that some morbidly obese minger won!

I bought Gala's "Let A Boy Cry" on MC because the bloke on the cover was vaguely hot. It was shite. Not a fan of FFD either...

Robpop said...

Gala sounds glam. She's right! We should never be defined by our gender. They're all social constructions...

Whilst I hate the overall winner (I just dont like The Gossip) I think this week was generally a very strong week.

I am still do not totally get the comparisons between Paloma and Amy. But there you go. You put a horn in a song and immediately people add the two together. Paloma sounds a bit more brassy-like she's going to Bessie Smith, Blossom Dearie and of course Connie for references. She's less about the Supremes like Amy is...

Also...the problem with Paloma is ultimately I think/feel that she's trying to convey tragedy...and her voice simply isn't suited for the songs shes writing. Even Cold Stone Sober.....For sure she has a great voice but something isn't adding up. I know she's done her homework though.

Nice to have you back Mike

Chicago_Sexbox said...

Ok, I will have to go wit hthe obvious choice, and while I do admit it does sound like a Club Disco castaway, "Celebration" is my favorite this week. You really can't blame Madonna for trying to copy the Queen Of Clubs. Madonna is all about $ucce$$!

Mike said...

I'm all for cheap Dannii knock offs but Madonna can afford to work with the who's who of A list producers. "Celebration" is just lazy and that's what I find most unforgiveable about it.

Aaron said...

Brilliant Guest! She fitted in great!

Love the stuff, and I'd push a lot of the earlier stuff up a little!

tidusin said...

I love most of today's songs!

I find funny when some people put 0/5 just because it is a well known artist!

Jamie_movietrip said...

Gala needs to record a song with Beth Ditto without delay, both of them are fierce! Loving the reviews, although I di quite like the lazy Madonna song.