D'Luv (US) writer of Chart Rigger and Idolator
Mike (Aus) author of this classy blog
Paul (UK) writer of Fizzy Pop
The Prophet (Aus) writer of The Prophet
We are also joined by the following guest judges:
Tommie (Sweden) is a Pop Panel regular, part-time stalker and infrequent blogger. Check out Donna Martin Graduates for more of his wit. Tommie kindly stepped in to fill the void when someone had to pull out at the last minute. Cheers, bitch.
Now this is very cool. J-Step (Aus) is a big wig in the local music industry and the son of an 80s pop diva. Who I would gladly feature on the blog any time. Hint! Anyway, I was very surprised to discover his taste for trashy pop and downright shocked when he offered his services for the Pop Panel. It's an honour.
And now for our celebrity guest!
Chris Sorbello is Pop Trash royalty and currently on something of a tear. Her debut single landed in the top 40 and she recently supported Akon, Kelly Rowland and Eve on a national tour. She is also working on her debut album and putting the finishing touches on her follow up to "So Lonely". And now she can add Pop Panellist to her long list of accomplishments! But before we get on to that I thought I'd do a bit of probing.
Chris, it's great to finally have you on the Panel. It's not every week that we're graced with someone who has actually had a top 40 hit! So tell me, #39 - ecstatic, disappointed or somewhere inbetween?
Hello Mikeeee and everyone! I have a feeling this Pop Panel stuff could become addictive! I am actually really ecstatic about how my little track has gone on the charts. It's only the beginning, so I'm grateful just to be here.
I hear you're already putting the finishing touches to the second single. Is it going to be "Dangerzone"?
I can reveal that it is going to be "Dangerzone"! It's sounding really hot and I'm really excited about shooting the clip. The song is so kitsch and fun that we really have lots of places we can go with the shoot.
Now for the question on everyone's lips - Can I make a cameo in the video? It's a little known fact that I once played a homeless man in a TV commercial!
Sure! What do you look like as a Femme Bot? White catsuit okay with you?
I'd better start dieting! Now, spill the beans on Supafest! Did you touch Eve's nasty weave? Was Kelly Rowland a complete bitch?
It was honestly a very memorable week. I didn't really know how I'd be received by all of these amazingly talented artists, but they were all so welcoming and friendly. I was like the baby sister of the bunch, which was really nice and unexpected. Actually, Kelly was really lovely to me! I don't know what went wrong with those Qantas hostesses.... Tanya Fierce maybe?
What are you listening to at the moment? Well, apart from these 8 "gems"....
Hmmmm... I'm loving the JT & Timbaland collab "Carry Out", however, I've been really losing myself into some classic stuff recently like Muddy Waters, Smokey Joe and The Pointer Sisters. I've been in the studio writing a lot the last couple of months and these artists are hugely inspirational for me.
As usual the results are ranked lowest to highest.
Dennis Ferrer - Hey Hey (Video)
Club smash featuring the vocals of that hot bitch from the Noisettes.
Chris Sorbello: I love her vocal! Shame about the clip. It's a bit of cheese on toast really, isn't it? She's super hot though. 3/5
D'Luv: This is alright. Kind of reminds me of that 2003 jam "Breathe" by Telepopmusik. Jesus, whatever happened to them, by the way? Anyway, "Hey Hey" would probably sound better in the club with some dude trying to touch my butt. But just sitting here at the computer and listening, I feel like something's missing. Maybe I'll start touching my ass myself. 2.5/5
J-Step: While the track begins as if it's going to be something bigger than it is, I couldn't get over how bored I was after it ended. Possibly good for some 2-9am chilling after a big one (mainly because the brain isn't comprehending or analysing anything then anyway), but other than that I wouldn't bother too much with this. 2/5
Mike: I know most of you haven't set foot inside a nightclub since the 90s but times have changed since the hey day of Corona and The Real McCoy. This is now what passes for a dance anthem. Just swallow a disco biscuit and go with the flow, boys. 3.5/5
Paul: Oh it's one of those house anthems that starts off all subdued and then gets a bit hands in the air, I'm mad me... Not really my cup of tea but I do really like her voice and there are parts of the song that scream to come out from behind all the dance insanity! 2.5/5
The Prophet: Uh, well, some of the people in the video are very attractive, so they can have a couple of points for that. 2/5
Tommie: Utterly boring. I was waiting for this to take off until the very end, but it never did. Like having sex without an orgasm. 1.5/5
Monrose – Like A Lady (Video)
Germany's favourite girlband unveil their latest anthem.
Chris Sorbello: Is this where Nicole Scherzinger is?! Ok, firstly, can we get my Femme Bots in those outfits? Hot shoulder pads. I'm actually liking the clip and I like the synths they are using in the song. The vocal hasn't got me sold though or the lyrical content. 2/5
D'Luv: Where to start with the swagger-jackin' in this jam? Maybe the rip of the melody from Rihanna's "Please Don't Stop The Music"? Or the Lady Gaga "Poker Face" disco ball masks? Or maybe it's the copying of both Kylie's "In My Arms" and Robyn's "Handle Me" videos? Plus, that transman singing looks like she went to Cheryl Cole's plastic surgeon and got the cheapo lift. Anyway, the song's ok. 2/5
J-Step: Well, after laughing like I haven't since re-watching Scandal'Us' "Me, Myself & I" video on YouTube last week, I came to the realisation that I don't hate this as much as I probably should. Fun, boppy and very much Eurovision-esque, here's to the start of the Week of the Vision! Is anybody else finding the classic comedic value in the track's title and the fact that none of them actually look like women? You gotta love that! 3/5
Mike: You should all be ashamed. These stunning angels have been sent from heaven to brighten the world with their refined artistry and unprecedented ability to rip off Kylie videos. Monrose, you have my love and admiration! 5/5
Paul: That is one bonkers switch one of the girls is wearing. The first part of the verses are really good, then it goes a bit unnecessarily electro and then the chorus is quite good again. So it's ever so slightly uneven but a decent if not standout bit of pop from the German girl group. 3/5
The Prophet: It's like Courtney Act formed his own girl group and wrote a universal anthem for transvestites everywhere. The trannilicious weaves are this song's only saving grace. 1.5/5
Tommie: I'm guessing there's already been a string of tranny jokes this week, so I'll skip that, although I am keen to point out that Kylie did it better in 1997. Otherwise a pretty average pop track. 2.5/5
Margi Clarke – Like A Memory (Video)
Nothing like a 50 year old soap star turned electro-diva!
Chris Sorbello: Really? 0/5
D'Luv: And people gave Nicki French shit for her "Total Eclipse Of The Heart 2006" video…! I don't know where you dig this shit up, but this is pretty fantastic. 4/5
J-Step: Now this is when we can reflect on the true success of Nicki French and her ability to inspire other 'slightly' older women to do what they want to do. Yeah, well, either that or this was her Make-A-Wish 'wish'! I am especially digging the other-worldly gaze in the 56th second of the video, which is where she gets her point from. Kudos, Margi, kudos indeed! 1/5
Mike: I think poor Margi lost a bet but that's beside the point. Pop needs more menopausal soap stars. Irene from Home & Away please take note! 3/5
Paul: Oooh Tyrone's mum from Corrie! How ace. She's like Lady Gaga in 10 years time (ie when Lady G'Gah really turns 50) and more youthful than Madonna! Her lovely vocals are so paper thin they would slide under a door frame and yet there is something entirely engaging and bonkers about this song! 4/5
The Prophet: I wanted to love this but the acid trip video left me feeling like I had just been drugged and abused. And no you dirty bitches, I don't mean that in a good way! 2.5/5
Tommie: What happens when you take Gillian Anderson's Exodus, age her about 50 years and do it on a Nicki French budget? You get Margi Clarke! 5/5
Alicia Keys – Unthinkable (Video)
The third single from "The Element of Freedom. Video stars Chad Michael Murray.
Chris Sorbello: It's a pretty song. I'm not sure it screams 'RADIO' but it's another beautiful, emotive delivery from AK. I'd turn for her... 4/5
D'Luv: Alicia usually bores me, but I'm liking the past couple singles off her latest album. I wish the Pop Panel was in session when "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart" was out, 'cause that was a 5/5 jam. This one's a 3, but gets an extra point for the plot and Chad Michael Murray's fine ass being in the vid. 4/5
J-Step: Yawn! More reconstituted beats from one of the most overrated 'artistes' in the world. Bitch, please - the girl can do nothing but play the piano and piss me off! At least Monrose had me entertained! 2/5
Mike: Dark, brooding and beautiful. AK has more talent in one hairy armpit than the rest of your faves put together! Deal, bitches. I'm following D'Luv's lead and awarding an extra half a mark for the video. Chad is looking a bit rough around the edges but I'd still climb his one tree hill any day of the week. 4.5/5
Paul: I was ready to be bored silly again by Alica. Oh look a piano. And her very good voice. But where's the excitement? However, I was so enamoured by the end of the song I had to rush back and play it all over again. Quite heavenly really! In your face scrapped Bouncey duet!! No not really that's what I wanted to happen. I really was bored silly. 2/5
The Prophet: Mike viciously tried to sabotage the Pop Panel by sending us the wrong Alicia video because he's still sore that AK's duet with Bukkake Trolls "Put It In a Shit Song" bombed, but his hating can't keep Queen Keys down! "Un-thinkable" is one of the best R&B songs of the year so far, and one of the finest musical moments in Alicia's career. I just really fucking hate the bridge of this song! 4.5/5
Tommie: Yawn! I've never liked this hairy closet lesbian. 0/5
Amy Meredith – Lying (above)
Australia's next big thing. Apparently.
Chris Sorbello: Poor Christian gets slammed for his vocal but I actually like it. The 'Rockabilly' girls are cute. I like this song. 4/5
D'Luv: I'm confused… Amy is a guy's name? Maybe the music will be better after the full sexual reassignment? 1/5
J-Step: LOVE the song, HATE the video. That being said, I still think Christian Lo Russo is sex on legs. Good seeing him promote the fact we share the same ratio of chest to hair... loves it! 5/5
Mike: This is hard. I've been a fan of the band since they supported Dash & Will on their national tour (LOL) but "Lying" isn't the song to break them in this country. Perhaps it's time to dust off "Running". At least that had a chorus. Oh and is that Lola for Australia's Next Top Model in the video? 3/5
Paul: Oh I was expecting some woman, not a hot guy with some facial jewellry. It's like a man version of Stefy and it's very good indeed. Is it true Australia hasn't fallen in love? It's a shame because I really do love this track and am going to hunt down more... 4/5
The Prophet: The guy looks pretentious, but I like the song. 2/5
Tommie: The biggest surprise of the video was when the guy started singing! Too bad the video ended up better than the actual song - although it isn't too bad in a "generic radio fodder" kind of way I suppose. 2.5/5
Rihanna - Te Amo (Video)
RiRi sings about a lesbian stalker on the 4th single from "Rated R".
Chris Sorbello: Gaga's answer to La Isla Bonita was "Alejandro". RiRi's = "Te Amo". I like RiRi's return to her Barbados roots this album. The pan pipe-esque synths are like ethereal tribal-esque. Well done-esque. 5/5
D'Luv: This a good song, and I'm still baffled why Ri Ri didn't lead her album with "Te Amo" and "Rude Boy" rather than those other two depressing pieces of garbage. That said, looking forward to the next album. More of this, please, girl. 4/5
J-Step: I can see why people like the track, but I can't stand it. I don't give a fuck about your lesbian stalker. Thank the lord you've actually got one bitch, and move the hell on. If I have to sit through the unbearable agony of this pretender's nostrils whinge again, I think I may inflict self bodily harm. Or maybe I could just write a song about it and give it to her, at least I'd be benefiting from suffering it. Stick to your upbeat radio-ready shit, RiRi, you've really got nothing else! 2/5
Mike: As much as it pains me to say anything nice about the poor man's Shontelle, this is the crowning glory of the lump of shit otherwise known as "Rated R". I love the evocative production and deceptively catchy chorus. Rihanna is so much less annoying when she's not trying to be Grace Jones and just does her sexy island girl routine. In fact, "Te Amo" - lesbian lyrics aside - wouldn't sound out of place on "Music Of The Sun". You know, back when RiRi wasn't a pretentious cunt? And Jacques, Tea Tea has no shine to steal! End of. 5/5
Paul: Oh it's only ok. I like the rhythm and beat in the chorus but she just irritates me for some reason. 2/5
The Prophet: This is the bitch who stole Tea-Tea's shine! Booooooo! 2/5
Tommie: While lesbianism is hardly controversial in the post-Katy Perry pop landscape, Rihanna chooses a different approach as opposed to slutting it up with the same sex, she turns it down. Rigid bitch! No wait, it's rather sweet that she doesn't want to lead her on, isn't it? Still, what's the use of overanalyzing a good pop song? Should keep her fantastic Rated R album selling during the summer. 4/5
Ellie Goulding - Guns And Horses (Video)
More icy electropop from Ellie.
Chris Sorbello: I like Ellie and what she stands for: Plain unadulterated pop. My BFF reckons she's the UK's answer to Lisa Mitchell/Sarah Blasko. When she's right, she's right. 5/5
D'Luv: This broad hasn't annoyed me yet. And I'd fuck a couple of the soldiers in the vid. 4/5
J-Step: Definitely a nice little track. On the video front, is it just me or does Ms. Goulding look like she's just stepped into the Twilight movies? Hey, if the track doesn't take off, I think the best thing to come from the video is that she's now a frontrunner to star in the Breaking Dawn film! 4/5
Mike: Sorry Chris but the words 'Sarah Blasko' are banned around these parts - but you're right - Ellie does have a touch of Lisa Mitchell about her. I honestly don't know what to make of this ho. Ellie's lyrics are gorgeous and the production is sublime but her voice is thinner than Sophie Monk's. She's no Marina but I'm feeling generous tonight so 4/5.
Paul: Oh no she did not rhyme forces with horses. Still it's forgiveable as this is quite polished accomplished pop that's quite nice at dinner parties and older people like me can feel they are down with the kids. 4/5
The prophet: "Starry Eyed" was kind of lame but this song is beautiful! One of my favorite tunes of 2010. I have a feeling Ellie will be irrelevant by the time her sophomore album rolls around, so better enjoy her while you can. 4.5/5
Tommie: This isn't too bad, but the chorus needed to be stronger. 2/5
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
Katie Melua - The Flood (below)
William Orbit jazzes up Katie's sound no end.
Chris Sorbello: How can you not love her voice?! It's quite dramatic and the clip with naked guys with great bodies is .... well, yes. She's beautiful and something to listen to when I'm feeling less commercial. 4/5
D'Luv: Seriously, why doesn't William Orbit get more work these days? Oh, right — working with that vampyre hag Madonna probably scarred him for life to the point where he'll only step out of of the house if six buckets of cash are part of the deal. This song's pretty, and the video didn't make me want to turn it off after 10 seconds like the usual shit Mike makes us watch. 4/5
J-Step: Interesting video concept. I still think Katie takes herself a little too seriously. Love what William Orbit's done with the track. It's a perfect mixture of pop and classical. 4/5
Mike: I hated this at first. The eclectic mix of sounds was too jarring and the video gave me epilepsy and a hard on - which isn't as much fun as it sounds. But electro/classical Katie is growing on me. I love it when the song morphs into a demented disco anthem at the two minute mark and she deserves credit for taking a huge risk. Genuinely fresh and innovative. 4.5/5
Paul: Oh this is just heavenly. It's like a more classical version of Girls Aloud "Biology" ie. all sorts of songs rolled into one epic production. I hope this is as huge as it deserves to be because it's utter utter bliss. 5/5
The Prophet: Stunning. Defining. Amazing! 5/5
Tommie: Finally, Katie actually does a song that can connect with people born after 1964. Too bad it's probably a one-off, but at least it's a good one-off. 5/5