Friday, September 30, 2011

Win A Signed Elen Levon Promo

To celebrate the release of Elen Levon's awesome debut single "Naughty" - available on Australian iTunes NOW - I'm giving away 10 incredibly rare signed promos. Only 50 were printed, so these are harder to find than Rihanna's dignity. They are numbered and include the following tracks:

1. Naughty (Radio Edit) Ft. Israel Cruz
2. Naughty (Radio Edit) (No Rap)
3. Naughty (Vandalism Remix)
4. Elen Levon (Back Stage Interview)


To enter, you need to be following Elen on Twitter and like her Facebook page. Once you've done that just tweet me saying you want a promo and you're in the draw. It's that easy! Double your chances by also entering The Prophet's competition. Australian residents only.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rihanna's Latest Desperate Scam

RiRi's sad desperation for chart success knows no bounds. The shadiest woman in pop is on something of a roll this week. After flashing her flat pancake breasts around the Irish countryside in the name of publicity whoring art, the label puppet has gone into major damage control stateside after "We Found Love" failed to top the iTunes chart - it has already tumbled down to #5 - by bundling the song together with her "Loud" album for the bargain price of $7.99. I don't know why I'm surprised. She reduced the price of "Only Girl (In The World)" to get a number one in America before pulling out that tacky Britney remix to achieve the same feat with "S&M". To think people have the nerve to criticise Lady Gaga and Katy Perry for manipulating the charts! Hypocrites.

Zoë Badwi - Album Review

Zoë Badwi's album has been out for a while now but as Sirens' biggest (and possibly only) fan, I feel it's my duty to preach the virtues of this wondrous listening experience to anyone who will listen. There's another reason why this project is close to my heart. A long time ago in galaxy far, far away I did some work for Neon Records and one of my first tasks was putting together digital promos for Zoë's early club hits like "Don't Wan'cha", which didn't make the album, and "In The Moment", which did. Since then I've followed the blond bombshell's career closely and know how much hard work has gone into this extremely impressive album. Here is my track by track review:

Freefallin'

Zoë's irresistible commercial breakthrough needs no introduction. Co-written by legendary three-hit wonder Amy Pearson, the uplifting dance anthem rocketed into the national top 10 and ruled the airwaves for months. Everything about this is perfect, from the uplifting lyrics to Denzal Park's perky production. It was always going to be hard to duplicate the magic but a couple of tunes come close.

Until You're Over Me

I love DNA. The songwriters behind Marvin Priest's "Own This Club" - among other hits - team up with the omnipresent Amy Pearson to create another epic floorfiller. This is being bandied about as the album's next single but I'm not convinced it's the right choice. "Until You're Over Me" is lovely (and I've always had a soft spot for bittersweet dance music) but it's a bit too soft and pretty for commercial radio.

Release Me

This fucking song could survive a nuclear war. Three years after it was released, I still hear "Release Me" every time I go out. And that's the way I like it. The TV Rock-produced anthem is insidiously catchy and easy to sing along to while inebriated making it a true Oxford street classic.

Carry Me Home

Zoë's cover of Sarah Connor's "Carry Me Home" is the kind of classy, mid-tempo electronica that rarely gets made in this country. The song's thoughtful dance overhaul works a treat and it has a rich, dreamy quality that sets it apart from the usual club fare. I still don't get the video but you can't have everything.

Accidents Happen

Time to come clean. I never liked this clumsy pop tune and only pretended to be mildly enthusiastic to avoid offending anyone. Sorry!

Never Let You Go

I swear Amy Pearson's butterfingers are all over this album. The British sex symbol has songwriting credits on 8 of the 12 tracks. Unfortunately, this is easily her worst contribution. "Never Let You Go" isn't awful. It's just kind of there. The lyrics are generic and Zoë inexplicably sounds like Alison Goldfrapp with a head cold. Only slightly better than "Accidents Happen".

Reckless

After a couple of underwhelming cuts, the album bounces back on track with this killer anthem. Another DNA production, "Reckless" is furiously upbeat and extremely catchy. I love the chorus and sentiment of the lyrics. This sounds radio ready and should be a strong contender for the LP's next single.

One Step Behind

This is great too! I love the spacey production - courtesy of Grant Smillie and Nordean - and the quirky sound palette. It's thematically odd but I'm twisted so I kind of like that. From what I can tell "One Step Behind" is a darkly romantic stalker anthem. Play this loud the next time you're having a Single White Female moment!

In The Moment (Denzal Park Edit)

I love "In The Moment" but the original trance-tastic version is infinitely superior. Download that from iTunes instead and brace yourself for the magic of this fabulous 90s flashback.

Believe You

Zoë Badwi tackling a pared-back ballad is like hearing Barbra Streisand experiment with death metal. Somewhat disconcerting. It took me a couple of listens to wrap my head around this startling development but ultimately "Believe You" is as satisfying as a freshly cooked cheesy nugget. Exquisite!

Relapse

And the award for my favourite song on the album goes to "Relapse". If Nicki French covered ABBA the resulting masterpiece would struggle to be as camp as this piping hot mess. On an album heavy with sleek floorfillers, this poptastic gem stands out like a sore thumb. In a good way. This would be my choice for the next single. It's big, dumb fun that gets stuck in your head after one listen. I'm obsessed.

The Other Side

Happily, "Zoë" ends on a high note. "The Other Side" covers similar lyrical ground to "Freefallin'" - it's about moving forward with your life - but it has a distinctly darker edge. I like the brooding production and understated chorus. This is further proof of Zoë's growing versatility and depth as an artist.

8/10

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Laura Imbruglia!

By now you're probably used to my Laura Imbruglia obsession. I have reviewed both EPs, ranked her debut album the 5th best of 2007 (in retrospect, she was robbed) and named her sophomore effort the second-best offering of 2010. I've even waxed lyrical about her stunning Microsoft Paint wizardry! Then there was the time I got drunk and wrote the counter-culture icon a long email, explaining that we were destined to be best friends because I've also worked with gay vegans, love The Carpenters and dream about white goods. Shockingly, she never replied but I'm sure it's on her to-do list. Anyway, my future boo is back with the lead single from album number three and it's a triumph. "Why'd You Have To Kiss Me So Hard" is probably Laura's most commercial track since "Looking For A Rabbit" and I have high hopes this will extend her fanbase beyond me and the five depressed lesbians I see at every show. It took a couple of listens to get into but the chorus has well and truly wormed its way into my head. I love the song's simplicity and think the avalanche of guitars will help the thinking man's Imbruglia grab a slice of the JJJ pie. Download "Why'd You Have To Kiss Me So Hard" from iTunes now. You won't regret it!

Move Over Willow, China's Got This!

Poor Willow Smith. She's already a hair-whipping has-been at the ripe old age of 10. While her flops are gathering dust in Will and Jada's home studio, 13-year-old China Anne McClain is scalping divas three times her age with the top 60 US iTunes smash "Call All The Monsters". Before you reach for a knitting needle and violently pierce your eardrums, let me reassure you that this is NOT a tribute to Lady Gaga fans. Instead, it's a catchy electro-pop anthem with a Halloween theme. Refreshingly age-appropriate subject matter for a child. I love the song and think China shows some serious diva chops in the elaborate video (below). She can actually sing and dances up a storm. So who is this stunning triple-threat? In case you've already gone through puberty or actually have a life, the Disney queen stars in A.N.T. Farm and previously released a cover of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite". Which was pretty awesome. I'm impressed by this girl. So far, so good.

Shannon Noll - 'A Million Suns' Showcase

For a while there Shannon Noll was Australian Idol's biggest success. And based on sales - he probably still is. The 36-year-old's first three albums went nine times platinum between them and he had a run of ten straight top 10 hits (eleven if you include "Rise Up"). Unfortunately for Nollsie, his brand of perky pub-rock fell out of favour and he's been quiet for the past couple of years. But the rest seems to have done him good. "Switch Me On" (below) was a real return to form and the nicest man in the music business has plenty of other tricks up his King Gee sleeve if last night's album showcase is any indication.

Nollsie kicked off the acoustic set with the album's Benji Madden-penned lead single. I love "Switch Me On" and I love his pared-back live version even more. I don't think Shannon's ever sounded better. He followed that with "A Million Suns". The album's title track sounds like a real gem - as does his next single "My Place In The Line", which closed the showcase. After that, Universal played the album and liked what I heard. There are a lot of similarities to his first two offerings - that would be the influence of Bryon Jones - but the songs have a grittier feel this time around. Pay particular attention to the contributions from DNA and Adam Reily, which sound very promising. "A Million Suns" is released on October 14. Pre-order it now for the bargain price of $15!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Elen Levon Covers Britney

With her debut single set to drop on September 30, Australian pop princess-in-waiting Elen Levon is ramping up the promo with a series of shows around the country. I caught the first of them on Friday night at Sydney's RNB Superclub and the 17-year-old delivered the goods, overcoming the dodgiest sound system in Australia. The setlist was pretty much the same as her recent industry showcase. She belted out a note-perfect rendition of "Naughty", while burning up the stage with her trademark killer choreography. It was amazing to see the audience response. One guy was literally crying and shaking. Elen has her first stan! The Year 11 student also dusted off the James Ash-penned "Like A Girl In Love" and "Ooh Yeah".

The big surprise of the night was the aspiring pop diva's energetic cover of Britney's "Til The World Ends". It seemed an appropriate choice given the comparisons that have been made between them. Elen did an amazing job with Ke$ha's quirky lyrics and Brit's robotic phrasing. In addition to performing the song live (something Ms Spears has never accomplished), she also knocked out some cute choreography with a little help from her always-flawless dancers Morgan and Carly. Listen to a one minute clip of the song below. The sound and visual quality isn't the best - it was taken on my crappy phone - but you get an idea of how the teenager's version turned out. "Naughty" hits iTunes this Friday. Pre-order your copy now!

Rihanna - Pop Music's Biggest Fraud

The lead single from Rihanna's sixth studio album since 2005 was released on Friday. If you had a big one last night and are still feeling a little fuzzy, let me do the math for you. That is 6 records in 7 years. If you include her two remix albums and multiple re-releases, the tally is closer to 10. And yet, Fenty Forehead gets no flack for flooding the market with her generic tunes. It wouldn't be so bad if she was growing and evolving as an artist but the ultimate label puppet just tries on a new look and pretends to be someone else for each era. The least credible woman in pop was dark and edgy for "Rated R" but - guess what? - when that flopped, she bounced back nine months later as the carefree and colourful "Loud" clown that has polluted the airwaves for most of 2011. You would think the success of that sell-out would have allowed her to rest on her laurels for five minutes but Rihanna is terrified of leaving the spotlight and, as a result, she lifted her leg and shat out "We Found Love". Joy.

This record has no redeeming feature. I like Calvin Harris and he definitely knows his way around a good pop song - see Kylie's "In My Arms" - but "We Found Love" sounds likes a reject from "Ready For The Weekend". The lyrics are empty and repetitive, placing additional emphasis on RiRi's drowning goat voice. Which is never a good thing. "We Found Love" wouldn't be such a bitter pill to swallow if it were an album track or some fluff she recorded for a soundtrack or compilation. But why exactly did this extremely generic and underwhelming floorfiller need to be rush-released as a single? And more to the point - why is everyone being so apologetic about its mediocrity? If this were anyone else it would be a blood bath. So I guess it's up to me to call this bitch out.

1. Take a fucking holiday!

Some deranged individuals have the nerve to criticise Beyoncé for over-working but the rules obviously don't apply to her competitors.

2. Leave the shitty collaborations alone!

Nicki Minaj is roasted for being the ultimate feature creature but Rihanna will jump on any old shit, at any old time. From Calvin to Coldplay, any excuse to be on the radio will do.

3. Stop rigging the charts!

Katy Perry has been maligned for manipulating her chart positions with so-called dirty tricks but she learned them from RiRi, who discounted "Only Girl (In The World)" to get a US #1 and dropped that hideous remix with Britney to repeat the feat with "S&M".

4. Find something you don't want to advertise!

From coconut water to Armani, the 23-year-old will pimp out anything if the price is right.

5. Wash those sticky fingers!

Lady Gaga is dragged across the web for lifting ideas from Madonna but Rihanna can steal an entire video from David LaChapelle and be praised for pushing boundaries. Speaking of thievery, her latest single cover was done by everyone from Yazz to Bros in the 1980s. Shady.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Listen To Luciana's Duet With Betty White

The most eagerly-awaited duet of the century is here! Luciana's stunning collaboration with Betty White hit US iTunes on Friday and I've finally managed to upload a LQ version of the song to share with you (below). As expected, the fabulous re-imagining of "I'm Still Hot" - currently sitting at #1 on the US club chart! - is camper than Kylie's bedazzled vagina. Amazing lyrics like "I'm Betty from the block, I hide my Emmys in my beatbox" crack me up but please remember that this is an elaborate advertising jingle for a life insurance company. Hence the random mention of Lifeline. Not that it matters. This is ridiculously enjoyable and the video, which I'm told drops next week, promises to be a life-changing experience. If you live in America, you can download the edgiest duet since "Telephone" from iTunes now. Gift it to your grandmother today!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nicole Scherzinger - Wet Interview

Along with reviewing Beyoncé's "4" showcase at the Roseland Ballroom, the professional highlight of my LA trip was definitely interviewing Nicole Scherzinger. I was sent along to cover the former Pussycat Doll's appearance at the Hard Rock Cafe for Idolator. On my way there I got a text saying I might be able to talk to her. Needless to say, the prospect of speaking with the iconic diva behind "Puakenikeni" kind of threw me - so my dear friend Bruce dragged me across the road to Hooters to calm my nerves with a couple of stiff drinks. After being exposed to all that cleavage and vodka, I was ready for Nicole. She is an absolute sweetheart and apart from the awkward exchange at the beginning (I was told to go into the room and tell her which publication I was writing for but there was a bit of a misunderstanding), the interview turned out really well. If you're interested in reading my review of the show click here and if you're wondering why the chat is so short, each journalist was allotted five minutes. Good times!

Hi Nicole, nice to meet you.
Thank you. Where are you from?

Idolator.
Where?

Idolator. It's a pop blog.
No, which country? Your accent...

Oh sorry. I’m Australian.
I love Australia!

Nice. So, we posted your "Wet" video today. It's great!
Thank you so much!

What was the theme or concept behind it?
The concept behind it was... basically, we went against the lyrics of the video that were just kind of stereotypical which was being wet. It's about me and a group of friends that are just kind of in this total radical underground world. We find this warehouse. There's a pool in it and we drain the water out of it and we just have a party in this abandoned warehouse, we do graffiti and we just do whatever we want and then the cops come and break it up and then we leave but we left our mark on the place so it's cool, it's edgy, it's fun.

There's an amazing choreography breakdown around the two and a half minute mark where you're just dancing on your own. How important is choreography these days? You've got Beyoncé taking it to the next level with "Run The World (Girls)". It seems to be important again.
For me it's very important because I don't know a lot of artists that are doing it and doing it hard... like full throttle like Beyoncé. I've been working with Jacquel Knight he's been inspiring and pushing me even more, so the choreography that I've been doing in "Wet" for example is the hardest choreography I've ever done. Way more advanced than what I did with the Pussycat Dolls. So it's important for me in every aspect not only choreography and dance but to always be growing and challenging myself as an artist in every aspect.

That solo is brilliant...
Thank you I really appreciate that because I injured my neck learning it.

What happened?
It's not normal for a human to do a back bend and land on their shoulders gracefully and I had to do it twice. And it was a really, really hard dance to learn but I didn't give up and it came out swimming.

"Killer Love" has been a big success in Europe. Is the tracklist going to be different in America?
It is. It's going to have a good chunk of different songs that are catered more to my US fans. So it's going to have more urban, hip hop infused songs.

Will "Don’t Hold My Breath" be released as a single in America?
I think that's going to be my second single in the US. I'm really excited about it.

I also really love "Say Yes".
Yeah that's a really fun song. It sounds like 80s rock to me.

[Assistant tells me time is up]

Thanks for the chat.
Thank you. Have fun in America.

Another Flawless Destiny's Child Fashion Moment

Could your faves?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Australian Pop Update

Since re-opening the blog, I've written about a number of Australian pop songs - from the sublime to the ridiculous - but there are too many noteworthy singles to comment on individually. So I thought I'd do a round-up post. Here are some random musings on the latest tunes by some of the country's best (and worst) purveyors of pop music.

Stan Walker feat. Static Revenger - Light It Up (Video)

I love Stan and know Dennis (Static Revenger) through Luciana but this unlikely pairing turns out to be a little underwhelming. While "Loud" was slightly generic, it was on trend and positioned the 20-year-old as Australia's answer to Taio Cruz. The track was also fun, catchy and memorable. Three adjectives that don't really apply to "Light It Up". Perhaps it's a grower.
B-

Anthony Callea - Oh Oh Oh Oh (Video)

No.
F

Darren Hayes - Bloodstained Heart (Video)

There's something about Darren Hayes that I just don't like. Maybe it's the fact that he looks like a serial killer. Or it could be those hideous Savage Garden power ballads that mum used to torture me with on the way to school. But I digress. This is first song from Darren that I've liked since "Crush (1980 Me)". It's beautiful and I think everyone should buy it.
A-

Tonight Alive - Let It Land (Video)

These punk/pop rockers are being hailed as the next big thing and they have already amassed a loyal following of crazy stans. I'm not convinced but "Let It Land" is easily their most commercial single to date and at least they're not Short Stack. Keep an eye on these guys.
C+

Shannon Noll - Switch Me On (Video)

Shannon can switch me on anytime he likes. This is a good, old-fashioned pop/rock tune that would have been a massive hit five years ago. It's a little too dated for 2011 but, ironically, that's the main reason I like it so much. "Switch Me On" is a warm and fuzzy flashback to less complicated times. I can't wait for his album.
B+

Gotye feat. Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know (Video)

Having already notched up six weeks at number one, there's not much left to say about "Somebody That I Used To Know". Apart from labelling it the "Someone Like You" for underfed hipsters.
A

Marvin Priest feat. Wynter Gordon - Take Me Away (Video)

I really like Marvin and sang the praises of "Own This Club" months before it charted. Furthermore, everyone knows that I worship at the alter of Wynter Gordon. So it pains me to admit that this leaves me cold. The song is fine, the production is tight and the video is a winner but something is missing. Bring on single number three.
B-

Washington - Holy Moses (Video)

This is the bad, indie version of Lady Gaga's "Judas". Seriously, Megan. From "Rich Kids" to this shit?
D-

Architecture In Helsinki - Escapee (Video)

AIH is one of those bands I never mention on the blog but like. A lot. This is a typically clever and well-crafted pop song from one of the country's best pop acts. I love the video too. They are due a commercial breakthrough.
B+

The Potbelleez - Midnight Midnight (Video)

My old friends copy pay homage to the Black Eyed Peas' "Rock Your Body" on the latest single from their sophomore album. Not as embarrassing as it sounds.
C+

Living End - Song For The Lonely (Video)

Unfortunately not a Cher cover but still amazing. The iconic punk rockers continue to be better than your faves 17 years after their debut. Admittedly, this is not their best single but there's better on the album.
B-

Emma Louise - Jungle (below)

"Jungle" is that rarest of finds - a smart, quirky and catchy pop song that isn't so far up its own arse that you automatically want to hate it on principal. Kimbra, I'm looking at you. Emma Louise is starting to get some serious buzz with good reason. She's got the voice, look and sound to cause some serious damage. I can't wait to hear what she does next.
A+

Pattyboy, I Take It Back

You are no longer the worst pop star of all time. Brandon Hilton snuck up behind you in his bargain basement Lady Gaga ensemble and snatched your wig. Look on the bright side, babe. You'll always be the queen of NZ iTunes!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ms Kelly's Fisting Anthem

Reviewing Kelly Rowland's latest album has been on my 'to do' list since returning from LA. The problem is I still can't decide if it's a lazy collection of soulless club-bangers and babymakin' slow jams or a tight R&B offering that I subconsciously begrudge for overlooking killer tunes like "Rose Colored Glasses" and "Forever And A Day". I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in between and I'll keep listening to "Here I Am" on repeat until I get some clarity but there's one song that demands immediate attention - Kelendria's amazing fisting anthem "I'm Dat Chick". We all know Kelly likes to get her freak on but this is some next level shit!

Tenitra is praying for Ms Kelly's soul


"I be the one that they love to mention," announces Bey's BFF at the beginning of Tricky Stewart's catchy club-banger. No wonder. "Work your fist, I'm dat chick" demands the DC diva repeatedly in filthy chorus. I thought all that talk about dripping over Lil Wayne in "Motivation" was an exaggeration but now I'm convinced that when Ms Kelly rains, it really pours. Because she has no control of her pelvic floor. Regardless of the health and safety implications of the 30-year-old's favourite hobby, this is a hot song and one of the standouts on "Here I Am". An aspiring director has even taken it upon himself to pitch a video. Unfortunately it doesn't involve Kelly in stirrups surrounded by dancers dressed in head-to-toe Latex but the idea is cute enough. And this really needs to be a single. There's only so many times fetish clubs can play NIN's "Closer"!

The Second Coming Of SSS

Ok, that headline is a little dramatic but "Big" is so breathtakingly brilliant that it feels like a whole new beginning for Sneaky Sound System. Over the years, the electro-pop pioneers have been a regular feature on the blog - I still maintain that "2" is one of the best Australian albums of the noughties - but I almost lost interest with "We Love". The song isn't as jaw-droppingly awful as Rogue Traders' "Love Is A War" or Vanessa Amorosi's "Gossip" (two notable hari-kari lead singles from hit acts) but it was a generic bore with the year's most pretentious and embarrassing video. It was enough to put me off their whole third album until I randomly heard "Big" in a shop and stopped dead in my tracks.

This is the kind of euphoric electro-pop that sets Sneaky Sound System apart from the competition. Miss Connie and Black Angus deliver a sweeping dance-ballad with dreamy synths and a devastatingly gorgeous chorus. It's easily one of the best songs of 2011 and a stunning return to form. I'm just not sure how a soft and pretty love letter of a song like this will compete against the formulaic club bangers and cheap RedOne knock-offs currently clogging the airwaves. "Big" is probably too refined and sophisticated for its own good but all of a sudden I'm counting down the days until "From Here To Anywhere" drops. If the rest of the album is this good, we're in for something special. And happily, the video is also a step in the right direction. Basically Miss Connie stands on a balcony looking wistful but at least there are no anal beads this time around.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stellar > Your K-Pop Faves

I don't get to feature as much K-Pop as I'd like on this blog but then I've always gone for quality over quantity. Cough. While less discerning blogs like The Prophet and Pop Reviews Now write about has-beens like KARA and 2NE1, I keep it classy by ruminating on the brilliance of underground icons like LPG and INY. You know, fearless pioneers whose artistry and elegance will stand the test of time. It's been a bleak couple of months in the K-Pop world but an act has finally come along that not only meets but exceeds my lofty standards. Stellar is - quite simply - your new favourite girlband. These four angels have the smouldering talent of Destiny's Child and the hood credentials of Electrik Red. Throw in the exquisite pronunciation of the iconic Ping Pong lady from Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert and you are left with the future of popular music.

Stellar is comprised of Ga-young, Jeon-yul, Lee Seul and JoA. They must have impressive connections because they somehow managed to nab Eric Mun of Shinhwa to produce their stunning debut "Rocket Girl". It doesn't matter that they can't actually pronounce the title ( it sounds like locket gur) and have the vocal prowess of an unautotuned Scarlett Belle, this is an addictive triumph that blends Eurohouse elements with dub-step to create something utterly ridiculous amazing. I particularly love the chorus and riveting rap. These girls are way too edgy for Korea! Proof in point is the fact that the video (below) was banned for sexual overtones and violence. Come again? My angels simply stun bad guys with water pistols they picked up from Toys R Us between killer dance moves. I smell a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top! Stellar clearly has the competition stressed, pressed and totally obsessed.

Remembering Jinny

I don't think Jinny gets enough credit for singing along to an anonymous black woman's vocal on this genre-defining '90s anthem. Does anyone know what she's up to these days?

Ness Ness Is Back On Track... Kind Of

I'm angry at Vanessa Amorosi. After a seven year gap between top 20 hits, Ness staged one of the decade's most unlikely comebacks in 2007 and has been on a roll ever since. It's been a treat to witness her career revival but the perennial underdog of Australian pop took ten steps back with "Gossip". As a card-carrying fan since 1999, I've supported Vanessa through some bad decisions - her unconvincing R&B phase springs to mind - but I can't find a single kind word to say about the lead single from her fifth album. And neither, it seems, could anyone else given the track's abysmal chart run. The only saving grace of the whole debacle was the much appreciated physical single.

So what's a down-on-her-luck diva to do next? Go into major damage control by releasing a virtual remake of her 2008 smash "Perfect". It's hard not to be disappointed by "Amazing" (below). It's so safe and predictable. Is this the same woman who sang about dating a meth addict and the joys of masturbation on "Hazardous"? But despite those misgivings, the track has grown on me. A lot. Vanessa's status as the country's best singer is undisputed - at least until Tina Arena comes back from France - and the sweeping chorus lets her unleash those powerhouse pipes. "Amazing" doesn't quite live up to its title but it is very nice. For her sake, I hope it's massive.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Martika - The Pop Trash Interview

In August I caught up with my friend Joe in Chicago. He's the visionary behind Milk Carton Pop Stars and Martika's undisputed number one fan. I think I'm demented when it comes to La Toya and Beyoncé but Joe takes stanning to previously unimagined heights. He has boxes of merchandise, thousands of clippings from around the world and even Martika's phone number! Which came in handy when we drunkenly decided to interview her. Some of our conversation has already appeared in an article I wrote for Idolator but fans have been asking for the full thing, so here it is. I'd like to thank Joe for all his help and Martika for being a total sweetheart. I can't wait to hear her new stuff! Oh and before I forget - make sure you follow Martika on Twitter and check out her glamorous new website.

Hi Martika, how are you? I'm a huge fan so this is really exciting for me.
Thank you so much. I was on your blog site and it's so much fun. I had a really good time exploring.

That's really sweet. Thank you. I guess where we’d like to start is by asking about your comeback. Everyone is excited that you're making another record.
Well thank you. I’m glad to hear that people are excited about it, so am I. Part of the reason to do it is just because over the years I’ve always received such good vibes from people I’ve come across. Just really wanting to hear another Martika record. So now I am just in the studio working on new songs for the new release. We just started and we’re having a blast. Really fresh and exciting new vibes for everybody to enjoy I hope.

Could you maybe tell us what kind of sound you’re going for?
Going for dance-pop. Back to my roots.

Sounds great! Have you noticed that there’s been a bit of a revival from artists from your era? Recently I saw Debbie Gibson and Tiffany on TV, they’re doing their reunion tour.
I am. Totally have noticed that resurgence. It seems the 80s has kind of been long enough now, it's cool, it's in fashion. People are enjoying revisiting that time from when I was out. I know there's lots of tours going on. A lot of artists from the 80s and 90s that are out. People just need the happiness from it now. I absolutely have been inspired by that and being able to be a part of that. As well as bringing new music into the mix.

What are your expectations with the new album? Are you going to tour it? I really want to know if you’re coming to Australia. I am not sure if you’re aware of how popular you were there.
Oh thank you so much. Australia is really big star in my memory bank. I had such a wonderful time there. Love your country. Love the people I met there. Would love to go back. Touring...yes, absolutely yes. If there are venues that work, definitely would love to come there. Play, perform. Play some of the old stuff, the new stuff. Obviously touring is based on what fans can afford in these economic times. The expectation really is to make something fabulous and to get back out there. Play the songs that people remember. Give them some new music. Get on stage again and share that with everyone. Hopefully... Australia... you and I, Mike - we're going to be hanging out. And my husband Michael. We'll be rocking.

As a hardcore fan I know what you've been up to but I guess for a lot of people who remember your two albums, they’ll be like where did that girl go? What has she been doing for the last 15 or so years? Maybe you could just give us a little recap about what happened.
I haven’t been anywhere. I've been right here. Just pulled away from the spotlight, jet set pace at the time. Just really needed to have a bit more of a personal life. That kind of pulled me outside of the public eye. I've always (been) very creative and musical. Writing, contributing and collaborating with different friends. Not so mainstream. Writing songs, jumping on stage here and there. Not really having that Martika machinery to show up for all the time. At some point along the way I met my husband Michael, who’s an incredibly creative musical artist. We started working together and recorded a couple of CDs together as a duo called Oppera. We’ve been touring on that. Also we created a web based internet series called J8ded which I was working on for quite some time. Basically you know I’ve been here. (Giggles) I was really taking time to focus on things in life that were not career oriented but from a more personal perspective. Relationships, everyday life. Learning new things and having different experiences.

You even changed your name though, didn’t you? Are you still going by Vida or are you returning to Martika?
Well, Vida has kind of turned out to be a little incognito name for me. Although people still recognize me, and my face. A lot of times in life I just needed to not be Martika the celebrity all the time. So that's how Vida came about. I just love the name and what it means, which is life. So it's kind of became a spiritual name. I did use it publicly for a while and I just wanted to share that side of myself with the world. Doing this project though, embracing Martika, being my famous stage name. The name everyone knows me as. And now to also bring Martika back with the songs and the catalogue that are associated with that name. Which is really, who I am. It's all good. You can call me Martika, Vida, hey girl!

Over the past years have you actually been performing your back catalogue? Or will this be the first time in a long you've performed those songs?
This will be the first time I've performed any of the Martika material since...Oh wow since back in the day. I've never performed a Martika set since I finished performing the promotions for "Martika's Kitchen".

That’s crazy! It's almost like you almost have to rediscover your own songs again. Have you been listening to your old stuff?
It's been an interesting process. Sort of like visiting your childhood and your youth. Just hearing where I was at that time musically, vocally. Just the energy of what the songs said. To be able to look at them now, after having lived so many new experiences. It's almost like being slightly being removed from that persona and that time of my life. I put the video on YouTube of "More Than You Know" and it's like Martika's performing and I start singing and dancing with that girl. She's not quite me anymore, it's like a new me. It's having to find a way to tap into where that energy of where I was at that time that people came to know. But also be able to sing it to genuinely from where I am at now. It's kind of like bridging that together. It's a whole process. I want to give the audience the Martika they remember. The qualities and the music that people love about Martika. But at the same time also showing them the new grown up Martika that I am now.

Did you have a favourite when you re-listened to the albums? Is there a song or songs that you particularly love?
Well right now I've been more listening to just the singles because that's the starting point. People that bought the albums will know all of it. But the general public that might come out and see me or happen to be at club where I'm playing, I want to make sure I give them the songs they heard of the radio. The videos they saw. I've kind of been in the zone of those records. "More Than You Know" just is so innocent. I love it. It's just happy. So fresh coming from a young girl who hadn't been through that much in life and was just really innocent. That purity and that joy is cool. Obviously "Toy Soldiers" is so cool. I still love the haunting quality of that melody. That hook. Especially the "won’t you come out and play with me" hook going into that. That still has a lot of power for me. "Love...Thy Will Be Done" it really feels, more and more, after all these years like a true spiritual hymn. Which I always love to go back to because it's really the thread that flows through everything. A philosophical outlook on life and existence for me.

I always have a special place in my heart for that song. "I Feel The Earth Move" has such a cool rock energy, high powered dance, with the rock and roll vibe. That song is always so fun to get up on stage and perform. And then "Martika’s Kitchen", I always loved the sassiness of it. The tongue-in-cheek quality of it. This new record will definitely have some of those attitudes. Just sort of not taking yourself seriously and being willing to be playful. I didn't really tell you which was my favorite (laughs) it's kind of what I got from all of it. After looking at it again now that I'm working on putting some of this stuff together, put it on speed and bring it on stage.

Can I ask the flip side of that question? Is there anything that you looked at and just gone "oh, ok maybe that wasn't such a great idea"?
(Laughs). Well I'm the hardest on myself and I'm my worst critic. I can find flaws in absolutely everything I do. Even in just the vocal. I might have a vocal performance and think "Damn I wish I could of redone just that one bar. My tone could have been better". I could pretty much pick everything apart. In hindsight you just do your best and you show up. I did that. In that regard I don't really regret so much the creative stuff. I just gave it all I had at the time and worked with people that I was working with. We all brought it together and collaborated and did something cool. I'm definitely, Mike, not gonna start putting up the things I'm embarrassed about in this interview. (Laughs). You guys can wonder about which moments are the most hideous. You can talk about it later. I don't know.

I was watching Kids Incorporated yesterday with my friend Joe. People outside of America had no idea that even existed. I want to know how you got into that, what that meant for your career. Also are you still in touch with any people from that show?
There were some really talented people on that show. Fergie, of course, Mario Lopez, Shanice, Rahsaan Patterson. There were some really talented people in that cast. We had a lot of really great guest stars that came on the show. We got to work with some legendary people. I actually grew up in LA, in the suburbs. Lived about an hour outside of Hollywood. Fortunately for that, I was able to get out to Hollywood for the entertainment industry more as a kid. Even just being in dance recitals. I was in my little dance studio since I was 4 years old. That's really where I started. By the time I was like 12 I was already out in Hollywood with an agent and going on auditions and on movie sets. I had done Annie the film, as a dancer. I was on that set for about 3 months. The summer of my 12th birthday I think. After that went back to school in September and back to dance class and I was extremely, bored. (laughs).

I wanted to do something musical and creative like that. With more creative people than were necessarily around me. That's when I started looking for an opportunity, an outlet. I joined a kids cabaret called Let’s Put On A Show. The Too Short for Primetime Players is what we called ourselves. There were about 15 kids from the ages of like 5-15. We were a performance troupe. There were varieties, skits, and we all got to sing songs. Groups songs, solos. Really I spent every weekend for about 3 years. We started at the Laugh Stop in Encino, it's a really famous comedy club. Then we ended up at the Roxy for 2 years on the Sunset Strip. We'd come in on Saturday mornings for rehearsals. Sundays we'd put a show, Cabaret for Kids, which were kids could come have their birthday parties, they had big tables. It was just a place where kids could go to a rock and roll club and feel like grown ups. We used to put this show on all the time.

These people saw us perform. We got write ups in the L.A. Times. It was the thing in Hollywood, all these kids doing this show. These producers saw us perform and they wrote another show called Dimples which was animated mixed with live action. They brought me and a few other cast members from Let’s Put On A Show to that pilot. That pilot ended up being seen by K-Tel. They did the Kids Incorporated pilot and when they put the break down out, which is where they ask for the talent, looking for a certain typecast. They actually put my name in the breakdown "looking like a girl like this girl" cause they had seen me before. It all kind of lead to Kids Incorporated, so in a way it was sort of designed by the performance I had done at the Roxy. Then they actually wrote the show for me to star in. They just didn't know where I was. So when a friend of my Mom said "you know they are looking for your daughter" I went to the audition.

I sang a Pat Benatar song and I got it. They hired me for the pilot, after that was when I found out the whole story I just told you. That they had seen me perform at the Roxy and actually had me in mind for this character. For this musical, like a Mickey Mouse Club meets a young Fame kind of vibe. That's how I ended up being on Kids Incorporated. It took about a year from the time we did the pilot to actually get picked up to do the series. I think I was 14 or so, pretty much just starting high school. Next thing I know I was on a TV set/soundstage, probably about 8 months at a time. Singing and dancing, learning lines, hitting marks. Pretty much school for music videos. We did recordings, I learned how to be in the studio, sing in the studio, how to get on camera and lip synch to your recording and perform the song. Getting to work with the dancers and tying in the choreography. It was incredible training.

Was there a cast member that you were particularly close with or that you had a friendship with?
Everyone was cool. They try and do these reunions occasionally, but everyone is all over the place. We've all kind of moved along and not so much hanging out like we did. Over the course of the years there have been times I've hung out with different people from that show or other shows I did. But the nice thing about being in the industry and working is that even if you don't see them. It's really easy to turn the TV on or go online and see what people are doing. We're all kind of spread out, and everyone is touring. So it's kind of hard to hang out now, like back in the day, when we were all in LA.

Your first album just blew up. That was huge, not only in America, but also all around the world. It was really big in the UK and Australia. How did it feel - even though you have been working from the time you were 12 - to be this massive overnight success? How did you deal with that at such a young age?
Not very well (laughs). It was pretty shocking and overwhelming. You start out getting recognised at amusement parks from being on a kids show and then all of the sudden you go out promote your single at radio. You're introduced to everyone, try to get them to notice you. "Hey I’m Martika check out my new record, blah blah." Meet & greet. Try to get people to know who you are. But at some point, I remember getting to London and there was a huge group of young fans outside of my hotel when I showed up. The cameras, I just think it was very overwhelming. I guess I never thought about how it would actually feel. I think I was comfortable with a certain level of being recognised in certain places by kids, or their parents or their older brothers & sisters. Because they had no choice but to watch Kids Incorporated on Sunday mornings. Things like that.

But to be thrust into the mainstream on a global level no less, was pretty overwhelming. I think just having a platform and a voice like that, and being so young, and not realizing that now I am going to be expected to comment on everything under the sun. To have so much interest placed on me felt extremely shocking. I don't think I was really prepared for how to handle that. I don't think I had people around me who understood it either. So I think that's really important to deal with that level of fame, to stay grounded and to understand how to navigate. I know that had a lot to do with me sort of shying away from that. It's a huge responsibility and you don't want to take it too lightly. The level of influence you wield. I really didn't want to be irresponsible with that. I was just a girl who wants to sing and dance really.

I love your second album "Martika’s Kitchen". I think it's so much fun. But it wasn’t as successful as your first album. Do you have a theory or a reason why you think that turned out to be the case?
It’s really simple. I wasn't here to promote it. It was more from a business perspective and also a promotional aspect of it. When I went overseas I loved it so much, I just wanted to stay overseas. When "Martika’s Kitchen" came out I was overseas more than I was in America. That really didn't help with the promotion of "Martika’s Kitchen". I spent at least a good 8 months solid on the promotion for the singles in the States on the first album. So when "Martika’s Kitchen" dropped I was overseas more so that's obviously why it had more success in other territories than in the States.

At the time were you really disappointed by that or kind of relieved to be out of the spotlight?
Yeah more relieved. Unfortunately, disappointed later. It was the demands of the itinerary, and the schedule and the pressures were getting to me already. It was definitely a conscious decision to pull back. Which isn't really good in a business sense, obviously, and career decisions. But at that time in my life I was making decisions what weren't based on what was good for my career. More based on what I need to do for myself. I really couldn't show up for a career if I didn't show up for myself in some other ways that really were distracting from the focus required for a career on the level that I had attained.

There were rumours that a third album was planned?
There was a third album planned. I did go into the studio a few times to try to make it. You know, it just never gelled. It never felt right. There was some really really cool stuff out of a lot of different sessions that I did over the course of time. It just didn't all come together. Musically, creatively and also from a business perspective, it never really came to be. At some point along the way I really stopped trying to make that third album. Just decided to chill out and stop putting pressure on myself.

What kind of sound were you going for on that third album? It would be interesting for the fans to know. Was it going to be the same mix of pop and dance - or were you trying to be more experimental?
I was in way more experimental phase for a few years. Working on a lot of things. Some really cool directions, just not what I thought the world would want from Martika. I did some stuff that was super musical. There were some great songs, one of them sounded like it could have been on a Bonnie Rait record. Stuff that just came out, that was just so outside the box of what the audience would expect from me. It just didn't seem right to be a Martika album. Some stuff that had a lot more gospel and R&B influence, funk. Some underground hip hop stuff. Jazzy stuff.

Then there were some singer/songwriter things that had a lot of folk elements. I think just because I started so young, and was kind of thrust into the whole process of being a songwriter. The first 5 songs I ever demoed were on my first album. "More Than You Know" was like the second songwriting session I had ever been to. I just really wanted to understand and learn how to do that. In that process there was just a lot of different styles. Then at some point I just decided to write songs, not necessarily for a Martika album. Just to build my catalogue. Some things did end up on other projects. Now, there's just a new focus in my life with the sound and direction which is just right on point with pop dance, back to my roots. I think it should hopefully be well received and go over well. Of course always trying to put some musical substance in the mix.

Do you have any idea that your song "If You're Tarzan I'm Jane" is an underground gay classic?
It sort of just come to my attention recently. I've heard this from other gay friends and people I know. I guess I get it. It didn't click with me at the time. Let's just put it this way, I didn't realize I was making THAT record until way later. OK I totally get how this record is a gay anthem, type of club record.

It's a camp classic. It still cracks me up when I hear it!
Oh that's so cool. I had so many camp ideas for that video. But the label didn't want to go with that single. I was really a club kid. I mean I was gonna be rocking across the stage on a vine and everything. I have that campy side of myself. At the time, being 18 and in clubs for the first time and loving that new wave and club music. Being into fashion, the gay club scene, the style and music. Being influenced by that, but at the time not understanding the sexual implications of it all (giggles). Being very campy and clubby. The label really saw me as a different pop artist, with "Toy Soldiers". They never understood that side of me which is on that record. Especially "If You're Tarzan, I'm Jane". That's the first song on my album and for me it was just being theatrical and really over the top. Fun, not taking yourself seriously at all.

If I had to chose a favourite, it would be "Love Thy Will Be Done". As you were saying before, it's quite a deep pop song. It's beautiful. How did the collaboration with Prince come about?
It was a prayer that I wrote. One night just by myself. It was a prayer I wrote in my notebook. I just wanted to have my own language for praying. I showed that to Prince and he put the music to it. I have to go now but before we hang up, I got to tell you how much I love Carlos Lizalde's Kisses With Wings hats and earrings. We got to give him a shout out to promote. Those black feather earrings were on me half the time. I just loved them.

Thanks for your time. It's been great chatting with you.
Well thank you. I really appreciate it. I'm humbled. We'll speak again for sure. Thank you so much for the support. We'll get together soon and have some fun.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Havana Brown, I Really Don't Get It

I've spent the past couple of hours trying to make sense of the new Havana Brown single. And I still have no idea what's going on. "Get It" sounds like "Firestarter" mixed with every dodgy house record released in 1997 - finished off with a sprinkling of the superstar DJ's trademark reed-thin vocals. Who threw this mess together? D:Ream? It's so disappointing given the double platinum success of her stunning Cascada knock-off "We Run The Night". That gem established Havana as the nation's hottest dance diva. A niche she could have made her own with a smart follow-up. Instead, she shat out this noise. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure clubbers will love "Get It" - after their third vial of G - but the crossover appeal of her debut is completely MIA. Fingers crossed the video is hot or the busty beauty's pop career could be over before it started. Someone please drag Dannii out of retirement. Australian nightclubs need her now more than ever!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beyoncé's Mystery Third Single

As much as I worship at the alter of "4", there's no denying that the album's promo campaign is the year's hottest mess. "Run The World (Girls)" sat on iTunes for a month with no video or promotion before being thrown away like a used condom after Bey's iconic BBMA performance/ground-breaking Oprah appearance. She then rushed out "Irreplaceable 2011" within weeks - but not before performing "1+1" on American Idol and "End Of Time" at the BET Awards. "Best Thing" didn't exactly set the charts on fire but it was a top 3 hit in the UK and climbed into the US top 20. However, instead of performing it at the VMAs, Queen B announced her pregnancy by belting out "Love On Top" despite naming "Party" as a possible single and releasing a random video for "1+1". Is anyone else confused?

I kind of love that Beyoncé is promoting the album as a whole instead of focusing on individual singles but this is getting ridiculous. "Love On Top" exploded on US iTunes after baby-gate but has steadily fallen with no promotion or video. Meanwhile "Best Thing" has got a second lease of life on urban radio - it's currently sitting at #2 - and "Party" is finally starting to gain some traction. That jam debuted on the urban airplay chart this week at #37. In Australia it's just as confusing. "1+1" is on high rotation on Channel V, Max and MTV but "Love On Top" is rocketing up iTunes after the diva's surprise appearance on X Factor. For the record, I think "Love On Top" or "End Of Time" are good choices for single number three but I'd be happy with anything. I'd just like to know!

On the bright side, Bey can take some comfort in the fact that she hasn't been reduced to opening for Chris Brown like Ms Kelly. Her former Destiny's Child bandmate looked at bit worse for wear in Toronto - maybe she finally saw the sales figures of "Here I Am" - but I'm glad she's still out there working it. As Khia would say - get money, bitch! And damn, if she doesn't have four of the hottest male dancers in the business. Fast forward to the one minute mark for the year's best sausage fest. Someone is going to lose an eye!

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Jessie J?

I have a confession to make. After months of soul-searching and deep reflection, I think I'm ready to come out... as a Jessie J fan! Her album was a bit average but the woman can sing and sure knows how to pen a hit. I even like the fact that she looks like a East German Olympian circa 1983. So why I am so embarrassed? It could be her painful appearance at the VMAs, where she sat in a chair and destroyed other people's songs between ad breaks. Perhaps it has something to do with her increasingly desperate tweets begging fans to download "Who's Laughing Now" because she really wants another UK top 10. Or maybe it's just her status as pop music's least convincing bisexual. Whatever. If I knew I'd write Jessie's management a strongly worded letter because there would be no stopping her if she didn't come across as such a tit.

Fuck Pitchfork and their assessment of the 23-year-old Brit's debut album as the nadir of popular music. I agree that she needs to pull back on the vocal acrobatics and dislodge the chip from her shoulder but "Do It Like A Dude", "Price Tag" and "Nobody's Perfect" were all good singles. Then there's her latest Dr Luke-produced anthem "Domino" (AKA that song that sounds like it really should be on "Teenage Dream"). I don't care if it is a blatant Katy Perry knock-off. It's cute, catchy and has amazing, non-sensical lyrics like "dirty dancing in the moonlight, take me down like I'm a domino". Come again? Better yet is the recently leaked "Without You", which is the best ballad Jessie has ever over-sung, and her amazing David Guetta collaboration "Repeat". Dance music is the diva's future! I love this track and hope it's a single. Check out the second best song on "Nothing But The Beat" below.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Adele's Scary Man-Hands

Don't get me wrong. I'm down with Adele. She is the new and just-as-overrated Norah Jones but I've sobbed along to "Rolling In The Deep" and "Someone Like You" like everyone else with a beating heart. It's nice that housewives have something pleasant to spin at dinner parties again. However, this bitch needs to sit on those scary man-hands while singing. Seeing her at the VMAs was like watching Edward Scissorhands play charades. Or seeing Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama (above) perform sign language to music. The contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race have daintier paws! No wonder she's fast becoming a lesbian icon. Those babies are the lady equivalent of a 12" dick. Anyway, great song and kudos for notching up another US number one hit. Just buy some gloves or something.

Luciana & Betty White - Best Duet EVER!

By now I'm sure you're all aware that legendary club queen/inventor of electro-shouting Luciana Caporaso has teamed up with iconic comedienne Betty White for a re-worked version of her stunning floorfiller "I'm Still Hot". A video has already been filmed and is expected to debut very shortly. From what I've been told it sounds amazing. The delicious duo wander around LA zoo, feed each other cheesecake in the back of a limo and hang out with six studs. It's already too fabulous for me to compute and I haven't even seen the fucking thing yet! Interestingly, the original version (below) is just being released in Australia now - it's currently number 47 on the club chart - and the English stunner has a string of Australian shows planned for October and November. In addition to recording the gayest anthem since "It's Raining Men", Luciana has been busy collaborating on another record with Dave Audé, lent a hand to the new Pussycaty Dolls and has written a song for a certain pop icon's next album. No rest for the wicked!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Songs of the (American) Summer

In case you're wondering what I've been listening to for the past couple of months, here are ten tracks that formed the soundtrack to my American trip. They are clearly all defining anthems of the highest quality, so don't pay too much attention to the rankings. An honourable mention should go to DJ Khaled's "I'm On One", which I was obsessed with for a couple of weeks before coming to my senses.

10. Say Yes - Nicole Scherzinger (Listen)

After years of throwing around insults like Shitzinger and Flopzinger, Nicole turned out to be a total sweetheart when I met her at a showcase. To make matters worse, "Killer Love" is one of the year's best pop albums and I'm now another crappy, soft porn video away from becoming a Scherzy stan. How fucking depressing! One of the highlights from her stunning opus is "Say Yes" and I probably listened to one hundred times over the past couple of months. RedOne finally gave something decent to someone other than Gaga!

9. Just A Kiss - Lady Antebellum (Video)

I've always had a soft spot for the world's most successful country act but hearing "Just A Kiss" on the radio every day in LA sealed the deal. This gorgeous mid-tempo ballad walks the line between pop and country with the grace and skill of 90s Shania. Bring on the album. I'm sick of waiting!

8. Motivation - Kelly Rowland (Video)

Ms Kelly's fuck anthem was unavoidable in the States. Ladies from Alaska to Alabama are raining over their newly inspired men thanks to the latest jam from the most successful (on the R&B airplay chart) child of destiny. I've already written about "Motivation" but it's still pushing my buttons all these months later.

7. Bang Bang Bang - Selena Gomez (Listen)

All hail Selegend! The thinking man's Disney diva is not only riding the holy cock of Biebus, she's also revolutionising popular music with her triumphant album of Britney rejects "When The Sun Goes Down". While everything Selena touches turns to gold, my favourite song on her third offering is pre-release buzz single "Bang Bang Bang". Sure it rips off La Roux and highlights the fact that 18-year-old multiple Grammy winner (in waiting) has a thinner voice than LeAnn Rimes' bikini body but I dare you not to love it.

6. Let Me Down/Dark Side - Kelly Clarkson

The landslide of Kelly Clarkson demos to hit the net in 2011 is extraordinary. Almost as startling as the American Idol winner's inability to lock her computer when ducking out for a McDonald's run is the high quality of the songs. "Let Me Down" and "Dark Side" are brilliant pop/rock anthems with hit potential. Which makes her decision to go with "Mr Know It All" (AKA that shit Bruno Mars B-side) all the more perplexing. Pray that these tracks make the album.

5. Remind Me - Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwoood (Video)

The best country duet since "Islands In The Stream". Enough said.

4. Lift Off - The Throne featuring Beyoncé

Queen B - most successful artist of the millenium and the slayer of your faves - lends her exquisite vocals to her hubby and VMA defender's joint project "Watch The Throne". I find it a difficult album to get into but "Lift Off" clicked intantly. I love the epic feel, the almost retro 60s vibe that runs through it. And Bey tears up that beautiful chorus like a diva possesed. Rihanna lost her wig just listening to this on the radio.

3. Inescapable - Jessica Mauboy (Video)

Earlier this year I met Jess and told her to stop releasing shit singles from an otherwise great pop album. Instead of throwing a drink in my face, she kind of agreed and said she wanted to release "Maze" but was going with a new song called "Inescapable" written by Dianne Warren. I assumed it would be a ballad but I couldn't have been more wrong. This is pure 80s bubblegum pop and I love every second of it. It's her first song with true international appeal since "Burn". Welcome back, baby.

2. Pumped Up Kicks - Foster The People (Video)

Someone told me this jam is actually about a vigilante killer, which is upsetting because it's my happy song. Hearing this on the radio in America never failed to put a smile on my face. I love the quirky little hooks and the fact that it sounds like it was recorded on someone's iPhone. As for the lyrics, I don't understand them, and to be honest, I don't really care. As far as I'm concerned this song is about wearing shiny new shoes or something equally lame.

1. Gucci Gucci - Kreayshawn (below)

The only femcee worth her fake nails broke big this summer. Kreayshawn made the transition from YouTube sensation to genuine pop star with less fuss than anyone in history. "Gucci Gucci" was unavoidable in America and I'm still obsessed. Time will tell if she's a one hit wonder or the next Nicki Minaj but, for the moment, I'm too busy laughing at her amazing rhymes to care. The basic bitches have been put in their place and for that we should all be very grateful!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Elen Levon - Sydney Showcase & Video

Elen levon first graced Pop Trash Addicts way back in April. At the time I called her demo the best I'd heard in a long time and told everyone to remember her name. Four months have passed and the 17-year-old school girl is all over Australian radio and burning up the blogosphere. Mystic Meg has nothing on me! Her debut single "Naughty" will take over iTunes on September 23 - pre-order it now - but her promotional campaign began last Wednesday with an industry showcase at the Beresford Hotel.

Like most people who have been following Elen's career, I knew she could dance like a demon but wasn't completely sure about her vocal chops. Don't get me wrong. "Naughty" is pure fire but there's enough autotune on that fucker that make Cassie sound good. So, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Elen has an impressive set of pipes. She tore into "Naughty", looking every inch the superstar surrounded by her dancers. Next up was a new track called "Like A Girl In Love", which is a stone-cold smash. The heavy synths show Elen in an edgier light and I love the anthemic chorus. That flowed effortlessly into "Ooh Yeah". Don't worry about the dodgy title. Team Levon has cooked up another radio-ready winner that gets lodged in your brain after the first listen.

Yours truly with Elen

While the songs were uniformly excellent, the most impressive aspect of the short (but sweet) showcase was the budding diva's poise. Elen held her nerve like a veteran, hitting every note - while dancing like a non-gutter whore Ciara. Jessica Mauboy can't move like that. Havana Brown would probably break a hip trying. Only time will tell if she connects with the Australian public but the Year 11 student has the raw talent to go a very long way.

Now in case you haven't seen Elen's recently released "Naughty" video yet, here are five points to mull over while soaking in the visual extravaganza.

1. It reminds me of Amy Pearson's "Butterfingers" video - only with competent dancing and enough financial backing to afford a set.

2. My favourite look is the singlet and pony-tail. Leave the heavy make-up and edgy clothes for sad bitches who need to distract from their face. Like Lady Gaga and Cassie Davis.

3. The "Slow" inspired floor-dancing routine is adorable.

4. Why are these children hitting up the club with no parental supervision? It's clearly past their bed-time and I fear they've been drinking more than Powerade.

5. Choreography is back! I feel like we're returning to the 80s/early 90s when a killer dance moves were absolutely essential.


Make sure you follow Elen on Twitter to get the latest news and check out the following links for more stanning:

- Idolator review
- Toya'z World commentary
- Interview with The Prophet
- The expert musings of Feed Limmy

I'm Back. Again.

The time has come to dust off my blog and start writing again. In case you don't follow me on Twitter - if not, why not?! - I've spent the past couple of months doing my thing in Los Angeles. During that time I managed to see Beyonce, interview Nicole Scherzinger, do lunch with Luciana and chat on the phone with legendary 80s pop icon Martika. All in all, a pretty amazing trip! I would have started blogging again sooner but I wanted to overhaul the layout first. Unfortunately, the place still looks like the inside of Mariah Carey's vagina but you'll just have to bear with me for now. Stay tuned for a flood of typically hard-hitting posts over the next few days. It's good to be back.