Thursday, November 29, 2012

STOP PRESS: Nicole Scherzinger Is Finally Going To Happen


She's baaaaack!

Lock up your faves! Nicole Scherzinger is back for her third crack at solo stardom and this time it's really going to happen. No, really!

I'm so excited I can hardly speak. The prettiest Puakenikeni in pop is such an underrated talent. Her Name Is Nicole is the best album never released and Killer Love deserved a lot more respect than it received. I still listen to tracks like "Don't Hold Your Breath", "Say Yes", "You Will Be Loved" and "Try With Me" on a daily basis. Hell, I even blast "AmenJena" on occasion!

I'm hopeful things will be different this time. For starters, Nicole is now a critically-acclaimed actress and the veteran of multiple talent shows on different continents. She has this in the bag! The Pussycat Doll triple threat is returning with a new single called "Boomerang" in late December - watch it sell out on iTunes. Given the title I'm hoping for an Australian influence. I'll even dust off my thunder sticks for the video.

While we wait for Nicky to revolutionise pop music yet again, check out this amazing live performance of an unreleased track called "Pretty". The song was utter perfection. Only Queen Nicole could record something this flawless and still have it never see the light of day. Could your fave?

Will.i.am + Britney = The Worst Video Of 2012


Seriously, what is this shit? I feel like I just watched the world's worst commercial for electronic goods. These two fools are all over Twitter carrying on like they just filmed The Matrix and then deliver this green-screen nightmare? BYE. I can't even be bothered reviewing it. Will.i.am looks embarrassed, Britney thinks she's doing a photoshoot for middle-aged women gone wild and the director just wants his name removed from the credits. Deluded Spears fans will love it. The rest of us will just scratch our heads and wonder why Christina is the one with having a career crisis. After all, she's never put her name to anything this tired, lazy and dated.

0/10

Canada's Favourite Lesbians Take Pop To Soaring New Heights On 'Closer'


"Closer" might not be the best song of 2012 but it's definitely in the running. The irresistibly perky pop anthem has been burning up my iPod for months but I thought Tegan and Sara had decided against filming a video. The song was released in mid-September! Anyway, sanity has prevailed and Greg Kurstin's cutest production since Kylie's "Wow" now has a suitably fun clip. That looks like it cost $10 and took ten minutes to film. Whatever.

I'm just elated "Closer" is finally getting a commercial push. Canada's favourite lesbian twins get everything right. This is what The Veronicas would sound like if they worked with decent producers and weren't complete shit. The chorus is pure bliss, their harmonies are perfection and those slinky synths were dragged kicking and screaming out of the '80s. If you haven't heard "Closer" yet, brace yourself for a career-best offering from the much-loved indie-pop legends. Love this.

10/10

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jessica Mauboy Rules Sony Showcase


With the ARIAs looming, labels are parading all their prize ponies at showcases this week. Sony chose The Beresford for their event and presented their register of hitmakers. Justice Crew warmed up the crowd with their massive number one hit "Boom Boom", Johnny Ruffo was less embarrassing live than I expected and Timomatic "did it for Nigeria". Represent! The reality show-raised trio put on a great show but the label saved the best for last with the ever-impressive Jessica Mauboy.

I've always loved Jess but there was a time when her live performances were a little awkward. It's been a while since I've seen her strut her stuff but on the evidence of last night, she's a completely new woman. The reigning Queen of Aus-pop looked amazing, sounded incredible and moved around the stage with a new confidence. She's no longer Australia's answer to [insert random American diva here]. The Sapphires star is now ready for the international stage.

Jessica kicked off her set with a stripped-back version of "Inescapable" - one of the best pop songs of last year. I loved her soulful interpretation. She then delved into The platinum-selling Sapphires soundtrack but really blew me away with an impeccable rendition of Frank Ocean's "Thinking About You". I need this as a B-side on  her next single! Jess closed the show with "Gotcha" (below). The song never really clicked with me on radio but works so much better in a live setting.

It was a winning display and put the rest of the industry on notice. Jessica is not fucking around anymore. Expect great things from album number three (I don't count that Australian Idol compilation!)

Nicki Minaj Is Officially A Flop - Tickets Heavily Reduced For Sydney Show


Now this is embarrassing. It looks like Nicki Minaj has traveled all the way to Australia to be greeted by a half-empty crowd at Sydney's Entertainment Centre on Friday night. While fellow American Idol judge Mariah Carey sold out the much-larger All Phones arena in just 4 minutes last week, Onika's flop concert has been on sale for months with next-to-no interest. In a desperate bid to save face, promoters are now offering tix for $60 - a huge discount. Shame. To be honest, I still think that's too much money to spend on Nicki's basic show. Earlier this year I reviewed her gig at the Hordern Pavillion for Idolator and was less than impressed. But if terrible miming, bad wigs and tacky sets float your boat, you're in for the night of your life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Is This Not The Most Beautiful Thing You've Ever Seen?


Lana Del Rey is the official queen of limited edition shit. The Paradise boxset had me mesmerised for days and now I can add her exquisite "Ride" CD single to my collection of stunning memorabilia. I'll never understand why pop stars - and labels for that matter - don't do this more often. At least the Born To Die diva understands that fans still want to connect with their faves and spend money on random crap.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gimme A Rihfund - Unapologetic Album Review

Rihanna is yet to release a truly great album - or even a moderately good one, for that matter. It's no surprise then that Unapologetic is a monumental failure on every level. The captain of the world's most incompetent Navy has always been a singles artist. That's fine. Some divas have mastered the art of the three and a half minute pop song but don't have the depth or talent to hold your interest for 40 minutes. Look at Madonna and Britney. They have only produced one good album between since 1983. The sad thing is - Rihanna doesn't even try. She probably spent more time shooting the cover than recording Unapologetic. And it shows.

Album number seven is a wildly uneven batch of soulless, disconnected tracks that - somewhat bizarrely given its lacklustre sales - picks up where Talk That Talk left off. The label is making a concerted effort to distance the 24-year-old from the commercial dance-pop that made her a superstar and reposition her as a gritty urban diva (albeit with enough electronica thrown in to keep radio happy). It's an uneasy fit. There are a couple of excellent tracks and some amazing production courtesy of the best knob-twiddlers in the game but even those gems are bogged down in tired filler and spoiled by the broard-foreheaded diva's increasingly unappealing attitude.

We get it. You're a bad bitch. But surely there's more to you than bragging about your tits and hits? I wish Rih would just realise that she's manufactured pop star and get on with churning out the generic floorfillers. Trying to cover up her shortcomings with increasingly pornographic photoshoots and invented scandals is becoming less convincing by the minute. Rihanna is less involved in her music career than Heidi Montag. She's just the puppet that Def Jam dusts off once a year to entertain basic bitches and ratchet gays. And we all know it - some of us just don't care.

Here is my track by track review of Unapologetic:

Presh Out The Runway - 1/10

"How could you be so hood but you're so fucking pop?" muses Riri in this pointless piece of noise pollution. Someone like Azealia Banks could have pulled this off. Rihanna just sounds like she's reading quips a cracked-out drag queen smeared on a napkin while doing lines with her in the club. The production is awful too. David Guetta and The-Dream sounds like an interesting combination on paper but it's absolutely painful in reality.

Diamonds - 5/10

I've already written about this Sia B-side at length, so I'll keep it short but I will admit that the song has grown on me. I think it's the Toto sample that holds my attention. Regardless, "Diamonds" is still a dreadful lead single that only got to number one on momentum and sheer marketing acumen. No one will remember this in 5 years.

Numb - 0/10

"Love The Way You Lie" is one of the greatest hip-hop/pop collaborations in recent memory. I feel every word of that song, so I was actually looking forward to Ms Fenty's reunion with Eminem. It turns out to be the album's lowlight. Download this shit if you want to hear the poor man's Shontelle say "numb" 30 times over a sterile beat.

Pour It Up - 2/10

Mike WiLL Made It is one of hip-hop's hottest producers. I loved 2 Chainz "No Lie" and Juicy J's "Bandz A Make Her Dance" but he really needs to stick to rap. The beats come thick and fast but there's no variety and Rihanna's endless bragging about her bumper bank account (thankfully) gets drowned out. It's an unsuccessful experiment but I'd take this over the generic Guetta tracks every single time.

Loveeeeeee Song - 5/10 

Leave it to Future to get the album back on track. I love the production on this. It genre hops effortlessly and the random electric guitar is a great touch. Think of this as an updated version of Prince and Madonna's "Love Song" from 1989 - only with lots of talk about niggas and bitches. Again it sounds forced but this is a solid record.

Jump - 7/10

UK dance act Chase & Status take Rihanna on a dub-step adventure and collect some major scalps. This is an irresistible club record that proves the Barbadian diva is at her best when singing inane lyrics about burning up the dancefloor. The sample of Ginuwine's "Pony" is inspired and I love how mental the breakdowns are. For everyone's sake I hope this is a single.

Right Now - 0/10

Generic David Guetta-produced dance trash for the lowest common denominator of homosexual.  

What Now - 7/10

The only thing I know about this producer is that he is responsible for Jessie J's "Do It Like A Dude". Which is a good thing because that song tricked me into thinking that heinous British bitch was the real deal. "What Now" is a towering, over-the-top electronic ballad that keeps on building and building to the point where it's kind of ridiculous but also rather amazing. Again, the production is great and I like Rih's vocal on this.

Stay - 8.5/10

Hats off to Rihanna's A&R team for stealing this gem from alt-pop maestro Mikky Ekko. No shade. They know a great song when they hear one. This pares things right back to basics for a semi-acoustic piano ballad that is actually rather gorgeous and, dare I say it, classy. It's inevitable that this will be released as a single and I won't even grumble when the pretty love song becomes her 217th number one hit. "Stay" is a quality and will hopefully be a powerful shot in the arm for Mikky's career.

Nobody's Business - 10/10

The star-crossed lovers gave everyone indigestion last year with their unfortunate "Birthday Cake" and I was really against Breezy lowering his standards to sing with Riri again but - to my great surprise - this is truly flawless. The-Dream's slinky, Michael Jackson-sampling production is a treat - I love the '90s vibe - and Chris' smooth vocal caresses your ears like a sex offender grabbing your butt on a crowded train. He really is the new King of pop. But the main reason I approve of "Nobody's Business" is the fact that it's genuine and sincere. I actually believe what Rihanna is singing for the one and only time on the album.

Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary - 1/10

Best leave the sprawling 7 minute pop songs to Frank Ocean. This tries so hard to be deep and meaningful but it's a bigger misfire than Battleship.

Get It Over With - 1/10

Brian Kennedy produced Jessica Mauboy's "Saturday Night" so you know this is going to be shit. A boring mid-tempo mess that goes absolutely nowhere.

No Love Allowed - 1/10

I usually like Rihanna's dancehall-flavoured grooves but "No Love Allowed" makes "Man Down" sound like "Pon De Replay". No ID sucks the life out of the Caribbean queen on this cure for insomnia. It's obvious that the label were trying to show their cash cow's versatility but it just comes across as calculated and played out. This is the worst kind of filler.

Lost In Paradise - 4/10

My friend Labrinth gets a production credit on this intriguing if somewhat unsuccessful dub-step excursion. I would love an instrumental of "Lost In Paradise". The music is great but Rihanna's vocal gets swallowed by the bone-marrow shaking beats. The end result is well-crafted but unconvincing and ultimately pointless. Much like this album.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Madonna To Record Lana Del Rey Tribute Album


Joking! I just needed an excuse to post this pic. I hope she gets the hint.

Another Day, Another Kelly Rowland Video


Kelly Rowland is now the undisputed queen of refined pussy-poppin' rap collaborations. Congrats! In the past couple of weeks the former Destiny's Child backing vocalist got Ludacris all hot and bothered on "Representin" and sang about putting frozen water in her vagina with Lil Wayne. Unfortunately, neither of those songs have scaled the upper reaches of any chart but she might have more luck with Big Boi's "Mama Told Me". I really like this perky jam. For starters, there are no sordid lyrics about examining your gash in the mirror and it has a catchy pop chorus that would sound great on radio.

The video (below) isn't bad either. I'm not sure about the gimp suit - please tell me that isn't Ms Kelly - or some of the other dubious outfit choices but it's cute and colourful. The flopmaker looks like she's actually having fun instead of trying and failing to look sexy. Fingers crossed "Mama Told Me" takes off. I just worry that having two other videos out at the moment - with another (Future's "Neva End") on the way - might work against her. At least she's still working. Get money, Kelly!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lock Up Your Faves - Cher Is Back!


Words can not describe what this song is doing to me right now so I'll keep it short. Cher just unleashed the first taste of her forever-in-the-making 26th studio album and it's everything I was hoping for and more. "Woman's World" is basically "Strong Enough 2012", which is fine with me. I love that she's staying true to the gays by releasing ridiculous dance music with lyrics about burning up the club. She's 66! Is she singing about an RSL? More excitingly, the living legend has obviously worked with some decent producers because "Woman's World" sounds fresh and fabulous. I'm not sure if this is the lead single or just a buzz track but who cares? It's a fitting return for the evergreen diva and proof that she can still slay all our faves without trying. Welcome back!

Lupe Fuentes - Porn Star Turned Pop Diva


I've featured a few dubious divas on this blog over the past couple of months - think Liza Monet and Noelia - but Lupe Fuentes is probably the most notorious. She is an extremely popular Colombian porn star, who is best known for her height or lack thereof. The pint-sized sex worker is only 4 foot 9 inches tall. Her other claim to fame is being threatened with deportation from the United States after appearing on the Howard Stern show. The logical next step was to embark on a music career. 

It's fair to say that Lupe wasn't blessed with a lot of vocal talent. She's been doing other things with her mouth for most of her adult life. So it's not surprising that "We Are The Party" is a hot mess of epic proportions. Ke$ha and T-Pain haven't used this much autotune in their entire collective careers and the lyrics set a new low for popular music. That hasn't stopped the song becoming a viral sensation. The hottest party anthem of 2012 has racked up 11 million+ views in less than a month - making it the 9th most watched music video on the site. Take that, Justin Bieber!

Watch the already-iconic video below. Is it too soon to call her the new Madonna?

Xtina's Legendary AMA Performance


I know I'm late on this but I just had to pay tribute to the best live performance of 2012. Christina Aguilera's Lotus medley shook my world to its very foundations earlier this week. I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or fall to my knees and worship. The performance is such a piping hot mess that it transcends criticism and becomes something quite magical.

There's nothing wrong with Xtina's vocal. She sounded fine and I approve of her eating for two since becoming a TV host. You'd take solace in food too if you had to listen to those cunts on The Voice all day. But what was that outfit? Who is responsible for the Madonna-circa-1997 choreography? And which fuckwit picked the songs?

Christina has only performed "Your Body" once on Jimmy Fallon - acoustically with office supplies, no less. Someone needs to tell the lazy bitch that it's not 2001 anymore. The buzz is gone. She is going to have to work for a hit. The AMAs would have been a nice promo opportunity for the track but she sings the "Lotus intro" instead. What the fuck? And then teams it up with "Army Of Me" and "Let There Be Love". Why not just belt out a "Woo Hoo"/"Vanity" mash-up? It would have been just as relevant.

The performance is infuriating but absolutely mesmerising. I can't get enough of this and pray for a Lotus tour. You just know it will redefine so-wrong-it's-right entertainment for decades to come!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Samantha Jade Wins X Factor, Gets A Second Chance To Shine


A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about Samantha Jade's utterly fabulous but completely unsuccessful pre-X Factor career and mused: "I'd be surprised if Sam wins - her stunning beauty and flawless vocals will no doubt alienate the frumpy girls who have nothing better to do than vote!" I'm happy to say I was wrong. The 25-year-old beauty won the competition last night and now has a second chance at the pop stardom she deserved the first time around.

Sammi's victory is notable for several reasons:

1. The budding diva breaks the pretty girl curse becoming the first attractive talent show winner - possibly ever
2. She is the only winning act that had a legitimate pop career before the show. Flops like Mahalia Barnes and Prinnie tried out for The Voice but were sent packing.
3. SJ actually has a chance of lasting longer than one album. Unlike previous winners, she is the total package - good looks, good voice and sweet personality.

I guess that takes us to her winner's single. "That's What You've Done To Me" is another excellent DNA production - this time with a bit of help from Swedish songwriter Jörgen Elofsson (he wrote Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger") and former Bachelor Girl vocalist Tania Doko. It's a brilliant pop song with an atomic-powered chorus and always popular angry girl lyrics. This version of the track sounds a little Eurovision to me but I  mean that as a compliment. It's very catchy and could work internationally!

Watch Samantha perform "That's What You've Done To Me" live on X Factor below and download the song from iTunes now. It's already number one by a giant margin. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Britney & will.i.am = Big Fat Bass-ics


Is this it? Are you sure it's not an unfinished demo? No? Shit. I can't believe the intern pretending to be Britney on Twitter has been raving about this awful will.i.am collaboration for weeks. A high-profile feature is a good way of regaining some of the ground she lost when Femme Fatale tanked but this is the X Factor judge's worst single since... "Hold It Against Me". I thought it was humiliating for a legend like Nicole Scherzinger to sing about butt injections on another, vastly superior track from #willpower but "Scream & Shout" makes "Hoola Hoop" sound like something from 21. Eva Simons is laughing at both of these bitches right now while taking orders at her local McDonalds.

There's not a lot to say about this mess. I like the beat but it would have been better as an instrumental. The rap is uninspired and Britney sounds like she's leaving a message on someone's answering machine. It's just bad. The annoying thing is that will.i.am knows his way around a good pop song - Fergie's debut album is flawless from beginning to end - and his solo material can be decent (see the aforementioned Eva Simons collab for example). He should have just reworked "Big Fat Bass". At least that had a chorus. Who knows? "Scream & Shout" might be huge. Britney's fans are notoriously undiscerning and she is actually promoting the stinker unlike songs from her own album. But excuse me while I go and play some Ke$ha to cleanse myself of this musical abortion.

2/10

Monday, November 19, 2012

Queen Thalía Is Back To Reclaim Her Throne


Paulina Rubio is huddled in a ball somewhere in Mexico City, crying bitter tears of sadness and frustration. The poor bitch spent all that money recording an album with RedOne, while her nemesis Thalía releases a random ballad produced by a nobody and effortlessly snatches her wig. Don't worry, Pau. You're still big in Chueca! I have to admit that Thalía isn't my favourite Mexican diva. I worshiped her English language album - particularly "I Want You", which was a reasonably big hit in Australia - but her transformation into the Mexican Celine Dion left me cold. It's funny then that I absolutely love "Manías".

Maybe I'm just in the mood for a soppy ballad but the 41-year-old's latest single has been ruling my iPod for weeks. Thalía sounds lovelier than ever, the production is classy and that chorus will have you air grabbing like a drag queen at a Whitney tribute. The video, on the other hand, is a complete mess. All we get is a glimpse of the superstar in the recording studio wearing a sweatshirt and cap. What the fuck? Even Fey can afford special effects! And those clothes. Is she a lesbian now? Whatever. "Manías" is amazing and we will all just deal with the shit visual (below). Welcome back.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Further Proof That Warrior Will Revolutionise Pop - Ke$ha Unleashes 'C'mon'


If you're a total failure of a human being and not counting down the seconds until Warrior is released, here's yet another reason to get correct and accept Ke$ha as the one indisputable truth. "C'mon" has been released as a buzz single to remind the world that she is - without doubt - the greatest electro-pop star on the planet. I have no doubt her future Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum smash will change the way we think about music forever. "Die Young" took K$'s signature sound to the next level by throwing subtle rock elements into the mix. The Max Martin/Dr Luke-produced follow-up sticks to the same formula.

"C'mon" is like listening to an Animal-era party anthem after washing down a handful of Xanax with a bottle of Tequila. All the raucous elements that we've come to know and love from the Anti-Kri$t are there but it's a more mellow, organic listening experience. There's definitely a psychadelic '70s influence at play, which I hope she explores further on Warrior. I adore every second of this. The chorus is bliss, the lyrics are typically brilliant - "feeling like a saber-toothed tiger, sippin' on a warm Budweiser" - and the dreamy production makes this the perfect soundtrack for a sun-drenched roadtrip. With the windows down and the radio up.

10/10

Remembering Christina's Reflection


So I dropped into JB Hi-Fi this afternoon to buy Lotus, most likely doubling sales in NSW. As one of the few people that actually like Xtina's new album, it was nice to finally hold a physical copy in my hands. The experience got me thinking about the first time I bought a Christina Aguilera CD. That was, scarily enough, way back in 1998. I vividly remember stumbling across "Reflection" in the music section of Grace Bros (these were the days before Myer) and thinking who the fuck is this bitch?

I never heard the big-lunged diva's contribution to the Mulan soundtrack on Australian radio or TV. It certainly didn't chart and she wasn't mentioned in any of the teen magazines I used to obsess over. But like so many times before (and since), I was intrigued by the cover and bought it on a whim. I don't know what I expected but it wasn't an over-the-top Celine Dion-tastic power ballad. There's nothing particularly unique about the song - that sound was everywhere in the late '90s - but it was love at first listen and I still rank "Reflection" as one of Xtina's finest moments.

Not that it did anything. "Reflection" only peaked at 19 on the US Adult Contemporary Chart. The track did help Christina secure a record deal with RCA, so I guess it was a milestone of sorts. Time has been pretty kind to the Lotus flower's debut single - probably because it wasn't very cool to begin with. The zero budget video (below) cracks me up and I love her Jennie Garth-inspired hairdo. Maybe she just needs to record another song for a flop cartoon to revive her career? No?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mariah Carey Is Coming To Sydney !!!


*plays Daydream on repeat*


Ricki-Lee's New Video Is Not Crap


My feud with Ricki-Lee is officially on hold. I really like "Burn It Down" and think the video is her best effort since "Don't Miss You" - you know the one where she gets drunk on a boat? Fuck, I love that song. More importantly, I respect the fact that she's still promoting Fear & Freedom despite its chart run. Hopefully, this song can turn it around. "Never Let Go" is equally amazing - so there's some life left in the album. I also approve of her releasing a signed physical single of "Burn It Down". More pop acts should do this. I'm hoping for a personal dedication!

Anyway, here's why Ricki-Lee's "Burn It Down" video is not awful:

1. She has ditched the scary blond zombie look from "Crazy"
2. There's no awkward choreography
3. The storyline is authentic - I totally believe Ricki-Lee would throw food in your face and steal your car
4. Kudos to her for picking up a hot hitchhiker and fucking him on the hood of her car
5. I totally identify with the scene where she wakes up half-naked in a strange place after a big night out

See you on New Year's Eve, sweetheart!

7.5/10

Kelly Rowland's Vagina Takes Centre Stage - 'Ice' Video Review


Beyoncé's favourite backing vocalist had an epiphany a while back. Her voice wasn't getting much attention, so she shifted the focus to her vagina. It turned out to be an inspired career move. "Motivation" delayed her seemingly inevitable exile to Ashanti's island of failed R&B singers and she's been working those golden pussy lips ever since. Fair play. I like the vast majority most of Kelly's racy sex anthems - strippers need soothing background music too! - but her reunion with Lil Wayne is just too vulgar. Even for me.

Some of the lyrical highlights of "Ice":

- I leave that pussy smokin' like ice
- Pillow underneath my back, got me up against the window
- He hates it when I use my hands
- The mirror up on the ceiling got things so visual

It's basically the worst Xtube clip of all time set to music. But is the video any good? Unfortunately for Kelly's three remaining Rowl Dogs the answer is no. Sure, there is a really hot guy in it and Tenitra's mentor looks beautiful - particularly when she's rocking that huge Diana Ross wig. Apart from that, it's incredibly boring.

The "Party" video star wins points for revisiting some looks from earlier videos and the choreography is nice but I just don't buy the sex fiend routine. Let's not forget that Kelly is a really bad actress. I mean people clapped when her character was murdered in Freddy Vs Jason. I just wish she could be herself. Which is good enough for me but obviously not for the basic bitches downloading this garbage.

Song: 1/10, Video: 5/10

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Carmen Electra Returns To Pop Music After A 19 Year Break!


Is this real life? Mariah is coming to Australia, two fifths of the Spice Girls have reunited and Carmen Electra just slayed all our faves with her first single in 19 years. It's more than my brain can handle! I had no idea Carmen - Baywatch beauty and Aerobic Striptease workout mogul - was even back in the studio but I guess a girl has to pay the bills somehow. Well, time has not wearied the triple threat's vocal genius. "I Like It Loud" is an absolute triumph!

Carmen's 1993 Prince-produced debut album is an undeniable trash classic. "Go Go Dancer" has stood the test of time with its fabulously slutty video and incredibly bad lyrics, while "Fantasia Erotica" is as amazing as the title suggests. The album bombed and the now 40-year-old eventually found fame "acting" but I think she missed her calling. "I Like It Loud" is the best Luciana song not recorded by Luciana. It's a fast and furious club anthem with a killer chours. She even raps about Lana Del Rey's pout!

I really hope there's a typically classy video on the way. You can download Carmen's future smash from US iTunes now. The rest of the world will have to wait a while.

Christina Aguilera's Lotus - Album Review


I spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to Christina Aguilera's Lotus over the weekend, so I could let it all sink in and review it with an open mind. The usual cunts have already written it off citing the failure of "Your Body" to set the charts on fire but I don't get why everyone is so concerned about sales. It's like you all became accountants just to drag Xtina. Surely it's more important that big-lunged diva has regrouped and delivered her best album since Stripped? There's a lot to love on Lotus if you can look past the half a dozen or so songs about her army of haters. The two Max Martin/Shellback dance songs are great but Adele 2.0 really comes into her own with the power ballads. "Sing For Me" and "Blank Page" (below) are the standouts and should have wide-appeal. Hate if you must but I give Lotus:

7.5/10


Melanie C & Emma Bunton Record The Gayest Duet Of 2012


^ Deceased at "you might meet Melanie in London!"

Between the fits of hysterical laughter and tears of embarrassment, I'm finding it quite hard to type - so this is going to be a short post. Former Spice Girls/failed pop stars Emma Bunton and Melanie C have joined forces to record an insanely tragic cover of "I Know Him So Well". You know that ridiculously over-the-top ballad from Chess? No? Ask your mother. Anyway, it was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (ie. half of ABBA) and is about as camp and uncool as it gets. Which is probably why I love it.

I'm not even going to deny spinning the craptastic original or Barbra Streisand's classy cover after a few wines but you need a big voice to pull it off and these sad bitches can barely hold a note between them. The Spice disaster is kind of amusing and the best thing about Mel C's musical theatre-inspired flop Stages, which recently peaked at #50 in the UK. I know the song is complete rubbish but I can't help but enjoy it on some fucked-up level. Hell, it's worth checking out for cheesy video (below) alone. Make no mistake. This is the gayest thing you'll hear all year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mariah Carey To Slay Australia In 2013


After spending the last few days locked in my room playing "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" on repeat, I'm finally able to compute with the life-changing news that Mimi is coming back to Australia for the first time in 15 years. What's more - she'll be here in less than two months!

Yes, Lambs - Mimi is spending NYE in Australia with Nick and dem babies before performing two exclusive shows.The record-breaking diva will do an intimate gig on the Gold Coast and a full-blown stadium concert in Sydney. I believe the dates are Jan 1 for Gold Coast and Jan 3 for Sydney. From what I hear she's going all out, so this will be the hottest ticket in town. We'll know more details in the morning when the tour is officially announced.

Now excuse me while I go listen to Rainbow and cry. A last word of advice - keep your eyes peeled for pre-sale ticket links. This is going to sell out FAST! If you're a total failure and need any convincing that this will be the most triumphant tour of 2013, watch Mariah destroy your faves live (below). Good night.

Q&A: Lianne La Havas Talks Older Men And Great, Great Music


If you haven't checked out Lianne La Havas yet, you need to get correct and buy her album today. Is Your Love Big Enough? is one of those rare critically-acclaimed debuts that actually lives up to the hype. She blends elements of folk and soul from different eras to create a timeless collection of songs that document a young woman with a clever wit and a big heart. I was lucky enough to have a quick phone chat with the rising star as she headed to Paris for what I'm sure was an all-conquering performance. Lianne was absolutely lovely and told me she'll be in Australia early next year. I can't wait to hear gems like  "Don't Wake Me Up" and "Au Cinéma" live! Read when she has to say about Prince, older men and the state of R&B below.

I hear you’re on a tour bus. Where are you now?
I’m just travelling to Paris from Oxford.

That sounds pretty good to me.
It’s a lot of fun.

Perhaps I should start by asking how you found your sound? 
[Laughs]. Well, I like to think it was natural. I always just wanted to play whatever I liked the sound of really. Eventually I arrived at the sound of the guitar I have and the subjects I chose to sing about. I guess it was also influenced by the music I was listening to growing up, the music I still am listening to.

Can you name a couple of the artists? 
There were lots of different things but I always remember responding to strong female voices. They made me really want to sing myself. I cite singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday and Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. All of these women share a strong sense of identity in their songwriting as well. So that really influenced me.

You mentioned a number of great soul singers. When Beyoncé came out with 4 she implied the genre had taken a wrong turn somewhere. Do you think that’s true? 
I do agree. The genre has moved towards dance music. That does seem to have happened but at the same time I think it’s become very broad. I always avoid putting things into a genre box because music itself is always growing and always developing. Music feeds other music. I can’t really explain why the change has happened but I think we should embrace it.

Who is making great music now? 
Laura Marling. I love her. I just don’t think she’s ever written a bad song. It’s always amazing what she can do with her voice and where her train of thought takes us, the listener. I love her. I’m also a very big fan of Little Dragon.

How good is “Sunshine”?
Yeah, great. Again that’s a voice that I really respond to. Their sound is just so… it makes me feel really warm and fuzzy. It also makes me want to dance. There’s a real purity and soul to it and you can’t put your finger on it, you can only say that it sounds like Little Dragon – the warmth of their sound. So I love Little Dragon. They’re my two favourite people who are around now.

Both of those acts are great storytellers like yourself. How much of your own experience went into the lyrics of your album? It sounds extremely personal. 
All of my personal experience! Each song is, in some way, based on a true event and has come from a real place. I don’t know how I’d make that up. [Laughs]. The thing that compels me most to write is the stuff that happens in my actual life. It’s such a great pleasure to me when other people want to hear that because I was just singing to express myself. To make myself feel happy. It’s a good job to have!

I guess Is Your Love Big Enough? is something of a diary then – capturing all the things going on in your life?
Yeah. Exactly. That’s exactly what I wanted to put across. To me when I listen to it, if you know me, you can listen to the journey – from me coming out of my late teens to my early twenties. Just the rollercoaster of emotions that you feel as a teenager and then the complexities of love and relationships once you’re not a teenager anymore. If you think it’s complicated then [laughs]… so I like to think of it as that but also I think it needed to be so candid because it’s an introduction to me as an artist and as a musician. So I wanted to offer the listener something that would help you get to know me and maybe wonder what else I could do.

I think you definitely achieved that. 
Thank you.

So “Age Is Just A Number” (below) was also based on real life? It really makes me laugh. I think it’s so cheerful but also oddly romantic at the same time. 
That’s a true story also. I wrote that a few years ago now actually. When I was 18 I wrote the first verse and I finished the song when I was 19. So I wrote the chorus a year later because it turns out I had chosen the older man in fact. So I needed to live of all that and decide what I wanted in order to finish the song. I always giggle at the same point in that song too. It’s always going to be close to my heart and my boyfriend’s heart.

So you’re still with the older guy? 
Yes. I guess that proves he wasn’t some weirdo [laughs]. He’s completely not. He’s a lovely guy. He just happens to be… what seemed a lot older than me when I was 18. But now I’m 23 and we’ve stood the test of time. It feels normal and cool. Our families completely accept it and love us.

How much older is he? 
He’s 14 years my senior.

It’s not that bad. I thought he was going to be 60. 
He's not that old! But we do make a lot of jokes about it. [Laughs]

You threw in one cover on the album. Was there a reason you chose “Elusive”
I love it. I remember first hearing it when I was about 14 and I was in my bedroom just listening to the radio. It came on and it’s almost like everything around me stopped. It was just me and that song for however long it ran for. I’ve just always loved it. I loved the delivery of Scott’s voice on the song. The atmosphere – everything. It really moved me.

Then I grew up and lived my life and then I rediscovered the song very recently – like maybe 10 months ago – and I just had that same feeling again and I just thought it would be really nice to have a cover of it on the album and it turned out to be the thing I felt completed the album because it was going to be 11 songs but I wasn’t quite sure about the order of the songs. With the cover, I knew exactly where I wanted to put it and then it felt like the album was complete. And just because of the way I interpreted it, it was a way of showing my sound.

Maybe you could tell me a little bit about your experience with Prince. I read in an interview that you had the chance to go and hang with him. 
Very crazy. Very surreal. Amazing.

He’s such a legend. 
He is! A living legend. One of the very few. It was a great honour. It turned out we got on very well and he’s lovely. We just hung out. We played guitar. We talked about music and we listened to music. It was wonderful.

*Dude from record label tells me I’ve spoken for too long*

Sorry. One last question. How do you compute the buzz surrounding the album? 6 months ago you were relatively unknown and now a lot of people are calling you the next big thing. 
That’s really nice. I love it. I’m happy about it. I always wanted it. I’m so thrilled knowing I made an album that I was happy with and then just knowing that other people like it. It’s just amazing. So I’m just going to enjoy that for as long as it lasts. It may not last forever!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Don't Judge Me For Loving Breezy's New Smash


Chris Brown is a complete mess - won't someone think of poor Karrueche! - but I learned to separate an artist's personal life from their chosen profession when Michael Jackson started having sleepovers at Neverland. And Breezy's music is, more often than not, completely amazing. I'm mildly obsessed with Fortune and think it's one of the year's most underrated albums (by a woman beater). Songs like "Don't Wake Me Up" and "Sweet Love" are expert examples of their respective genres but fifth single "Don't Judge Me" could be the aluminum-selling gem's best offering yet.

"Don't Judge Me" is one of those rare tunes that sounds equally brilliant as a mid-tempo urban ballad or remixed into a flawless floorfiller. Dave Audé always delivers but he does a particularly impressive job transforming Breezy's slow jam into a surefire club hit. I'm not surprised they went with this version in the UK - they should do the same over here. The bizarre video (below) will only help its cause. Chris is catapulted into space on a suicide mission to destroy alien invaders. Don't ask me how the plot relates to the song but it's riveting in a how-did-they-get-the-money-for-this-shit? kind of way. Like him or not, Breezy still has the Midas touch. 

Anastacia Returns. Remains Irrelevant And Embarrassing.


Full disclosure. I was never a big fan of Anastacia. I think I was always turned off by her stupid sunglasses and grating voice. But she was unavoidable in the early 2000s and I somehow ended up buying all her albums - even Heavy Rotation, which defined career-ending flop well before the release of MDNA. My favourite was definitely 2004's self-titled effort, which boasts two of the diva's best songs - "Left Outside Alone" and "Sick And Tired". She pretty much became irrelevant after that but is now on the comeback trail, promoting It's A Man's World - a collection of cover versions first performed by men.

Excuse me but didn't Cher do this first way back in 1995? Furthermore, who leaves four years between albums and then return with this shit? It's not like she's 100 and has no other option. Anastacia could still get away with a fun dance-pop album and it would probably sell on nostalgia alone. Oh well. I won't lose any sleep. The first taste of It's A Man's World (that I've heard) is an abysmal cover of Foo Fighters' "Best Of You" (below). It's really bad but words can't describe how terrible the accompanying video is. Why is she acting like my drunk aunt at karaoke? How can she move her mouth with all that botox? Who really gives a shit about this bitch anymore?

Song: 0/10, Video: 0/10

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bionic Revisited - Hideous Mess Or Misunderstood Masterpiece?


In 2010 I reviewed Bionic and pretty much teared Xtina's experimental offering apart. My opinion has softened over the years - the ballads are really very good - but I did my best to pretend the album didn't exist until earlier this week when Idolator asked me to revisit the much-maligned opus to celebrate the release of Lotus. I was terrified at first and had a bottle of holy water ready to throw over my laptop if needed but the album holds up rather well and I think I can finally judge the music on its merits. Click here to read my retrospective review of Bionic but first enjoy the magic of "Desnudate" below!

Rihanna's 'Diamonds' - Video Review

unfortunately she doesn't drown

Britney was terrifying during the Femme Fatale era. That vacant stare, those robotic interviews and her complete and utter lack of involvement made it uncomfortable to watch. However, Rihanna is turning manufactured pop-puppetry into artform with Unapolgetic. Did the poor man's Shontelle even know she had an album coming out until her label announced it on Twitter? It's not like the lazy bitch has a single songwriting credit or needed more than a couple of hours to add her bleating goat vocal to the nearly-finished demos. But whatever.

The Navy doesn't give a fuck about Rihanna's involvement (or lack thereof) in her own career. They probably think "Diamonds" is a high-brow musical triumph instead of a tacky Sia B-Side howled over a sample of Toto's "Africa". At least the big-budget Anthony Mandler-directed video showed promised. His recent work with Lana Del Rey has been breathtaking and he was responsible for some of Riri's best videos ("Te Amo" and "Man Down"). Unfortunately, history doesn't repeat. I'm sure this mess was supposed to shine like a diamond but it just ends up stinking like a turd.

For starters, the plot is more confusing than Inception. Can somebody please tell me what the fuck is going on? One minute the original Rita Ora is floating in water like a piece of badly-dressed driftwood, the next a couple of horses are breeding in the great outdoors. Sorry bitch but Mariah did horse porn first and better way back in 1997! She then wanders the streets - clearly still wearing her Cassie costume from Halloween - during a riot or revolution. Sure, why not. "Diamonds" is beautifully filmed and there are some impressively-staged set pieces but, like Rihanna herself, it has no substance.

The fact that Ke$ha unleashed her era-defining "Die Young" visual at the same time doesn't help Rihcycle's cause. Say what you want about the Jack-swilling pop icon but that clip embodies everything she stands for - sex, drugs, parties, free Nokia phones and glowing Illuminati triangles. Rihanna, on the other hand, looks like an extra that wandered onto the set and then hung around for free food. K$ wins the video battle hands down.

Rating: 1/10

Friday, November 09, 2012

Mylène Returns With The Moody 'A L'Ombre'


Add another sure-to-be-amazing pop album to the long list of blockbusters being released over the next few weeks. French icon Mylène Farmer is about to unleash her 9th studio album upon the homosexuals of Europe and it's shaping up to be another winner. Initial reviews of lead single "A L'Ombre" have been surprisingly mixed but I like it. A lot. Roughly translated as "In The Shadows", the eerie track is a typically classy affair with poetic lyrics and lush, electronic production.

Some fans appear to have an issue with the somewhat heavy-handed retro influences and borderline-irritating horn hook but I love that it sounds like Depeche Mode circa 1987. Unfortunately, there's no age-inappropriate video for the song yet and I can't even tell you if it's a hit or a flop. The ever-reliable wikipedia says "A L'Ombre" reached number 4 but I can't see it anywhere in the top 200 of French iTunes, so it's a mystery. Regardless of chart position, the atmospheric anthem (below) has got me extremely excited about the release of Monkey Me.

That opus drops next week and could be a late contender for album of the year if it matches the quality of Bleu Noir. Can't wait for my copy to arrive!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ke$ha's New Video Gave Me Epilepsy And I Fucking Loved It


Stop your entire fucking life! Ke$ha's erection-inducing "Die Young" video has finally hit the net and it's every bit as awe-inspiring as we've come to expect from the Queen of soul and many other genres. So where to start? Probably with a warning. If you suffer from epilepsy or took a lot of drugs in the '90s, you might want to watch the clip through sunglasses. My head was spinning so fast by the end of K$'s Apocalypse-themed visual that I now see Illuminati triangles when I close my eyes. I feel so blessed!

The Citizen Kane of music videos begins with a hearse driving into a deserted Mexican village. Don't worry. Paulina Rubio is probably still alive but there seems to have been a cataclysmic event in that part of the world. Obviously the masses got sick of hearing "Diamonds" on the radio and revolted. But I digress. The first glimpse of pop's fiercest warrior took my breath away. Only Ke$ha could pose under a satanic black veil in the back of a death-mobile and still give me wood. Viagra just went out of business because one glance at this siren will redirect your blood flow in seconds!

After being carried into a cathedral like the patron saint of Gothic transvestites, Ke$ha breaks some shit - because that's what edgy cult-leaders do! - and throws a party with her sexy dancers. Apparently only hot bisexuals survive the apocalyse, so it's reassuring to know that Frank Ocean will be ok if the Mayans are right. From that point on, things get kinda crazy with dizzying choreography and a selection of barely-there outfits.

I particularly love the hilarious Nokia promotion. So the world just ended and the last remaining survivors get on their phones to call... who? Clearly it's just a surreal touch (and definitely not a grab for cash) to underline the fact that Dr. Luke's fave is now a true artiste. So embarrassed for your fave right now! And let's just talk about the raunchy bed scene. How hot does she look? Pray for the uncut version to be uploaded to Pornhub!

Ke$ha could have attacked this clip from a number of different directions but I think she made a wise choice. "Die Young" is darker than her usual fare but still glam, glittery and very much tongue-in-cheek. If Lady Gaga did this video it would run for 23 minutes, be shot in black & white and feature Mother Monster performing an interpretive dance in the children's ward of a hospital. Our Queen, on the other hand, just lets her unwashed hair down and has fun. This is an ocean of win.

Song: 10/10, Video: 10/10

Queen Celine Returns With A Typically Amazing Pop Song


Celine Dion released a new single LAST MONTH? What? I feel like the internet has personally betrayed me. News as world-shattering as this should have been plastered around the web like ads for erectile dysfunction. Instead I have to learn about the legendary diva's return while Googling Mylène Farmer's range of sex-toys? (Don't ask). I will never get over this!

"Parler à Mon Père" is the lead single from the pop legend's new French opus Sans attendre, which is headed my way courtesy of Amazon. I pretty much love everything Celine does but this sweet ode to her father is one of her perkiest mid-tempo pop ballads in years. It reminds me of "Falling Into You", which is a very good thing. Her vocal is sublime and the sultry production hits the spot.

And there's even a stunning big budget video. Canada's gift to the world takes soft lighting to previously unimagined heights, swirling around in front of lens that appears to be covered in enough Vaseline to lube Adele's arsehole. It goes without saying that Celine looks absolutely ravishing parading around the desert like a saucy siren while images of her dead father flash on screen. Subtlety was never her strong point.

I can't wait to hear the rest of the album but I've even more excited to learn that she's releasing new English-language material in April! If it's anywhere near as brilliant as "Taking Chances", I will be well and truly slayed. Join me in welcoming Celine back.

Beyoncé Saves America From Mitt Romney!


It's official. Beyoncé is a living saint! I've suspected as much for a while now but the 16-time Grammy winner cemented her status as the Mother Theresa of soul music by using her celebrity and white people-friendly blond wigs to push Obama across the line. PRAISE HER! Queen B even broke the law by posting a picture of her ballot paper (above). No doubt this already-iconic act of rebellion spurred millions of fans to perform their civic duty and vote. Can the president hurry up and give her keys to New York City? Just imagine the exquisite House of Dereon gown Mama Tina would throw on the Statue of Liberty to celebrate! If winning the election for Barack wasn't triumph enough, Bey also wrote a message for Mitch (below). I'm sorry but I have to ask - Could your fave?

Kat DeLuna Promotes Viva


Kat DeLuna has already started promoting Viva (AKA the best record of 2013). The Dominican diva mentioned the eagerly-awaited opus on the red carpet on her way to Just Jared's Halloween party. Could your fave be this dedicated to her art? The Latin goddess is so sweet. I love how down-to-earth she is and I'm blown away by that stunning outfit. Queen Kat looks amazing and no doubt drummed up a lot of interest in her two biggest hits at the A-List event. It's only a matter of time before she breaks big. RedOne's favourite singer has been on fire lately. "Blaze It Up", "Wild Girls", "Sobredosis" and "Wanna See You Dance (La La La)" are all impeccable club anthems. I swear this woman never disappoints. Bring on Viva!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Ke$ha Performs 'Die Young' On Australian X Factor. Kills The Game.


Ke$ha conquered Australian TV earlier this evening with a game-changing performance of her international smash hit "Die Young". It's always a revelation to see the greatest wordsmith of our time ply her trade but this was particularly breathtaking. The unstoppable hitmaker humiliated your wigless fave with glorious live vocals, dazzling choreography and peerless musicianship. I've watched this ten times and I still can't process her magnificence. How can one woman possess so much charisma and sex appeal? Prepare to be slayed.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Brandy Drops The Cheapest Video Of 2012


What the hell is this? Brandy doing bad choreography in front of 10 people she paid to look mildly interested is not the basis for a video - particularly when the super-catchy "Put It Down" turned out to be something of a sleeper hit. This mess (below) looks like it was thrown together on Windows Moviemaker by Ray J after his second bottle of Patron. I know it's hard to fund big budget clips when you're on the grind - and the D List - but I've seen more interesting visuals from unsigned acts on YouTube.

It's a shame because "Wildest Dreams" is a great song. I love that Brandy takes it back to her '90s hey-day with a slick mid-tempo R&B anthem that boasts an instantly hummable chorus. Her vocal is great and she sounds a lot more comfortable playing the wide-eyed innocent than the sultry seductress she tries and fails to be on some of Two Eleven's more underwhelming tracks. I'm not sure how "Wildest Dreams" will be received by radio programmers - it's probably too subtle to make much of an impact - but it's the only song on her album (apart from the Breezy duet) with any kind of commercial appeal and deserved a decent video.

Song: 8/10, Video: 1/10

Canada's Finest Pop Export Returns To End Cher Lloyd's Career.


Holy pop icon Elise Estrada won the Pop Panel in November 2010 with "You're So Hollywood". The high-camp number 98 smash proved irresistible to the judges and I became an overnight fan, snapping up her flaw-free album when I was in Canada last year. A couple of months ago the pop pioneer's new single leaked and I was instantly smitten. "Piece Of Me" takes popular music to the next level with stunning lyrics like "I know whatcha wishin' for from Santa, you want me to peel ya banana" and the cutest chorus of 2012.

Elise has delivered a genuinely great pop song but - to my knowledge - it has never been officially released due to a hate campaign by pressed Cher Lloyd fans, who think the glorious anthem rips off "Want U Back". I have two words for them. Get fucked. This woman is too elite and classy to worry about nobodies like Cher. She's too busy ruling the Canadian airwaves! I hope this is just a momentary setback because "Piece Of Me" deserves its chance to shine. Listen to a preview of the Asian beauty's musical poetry below and join me in begging Elise for the full video.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Daniel Bedingfield Flashes Cock In New Video. No One Cares.


You know you're irrelevant when you whip out your dick for a music video and can still hear a pin drop. Poor Daniel Bedingfield. I loved his first album - "Gotta Get Thru This" is one of the best pop songs of the noughties - and I thought he was sex-on-legs around the time his sophomore album Second First Impression came and went faster than MDNA. He basically fell off the pop radar for 8 years but is finally back with a new EP called Stop The Traffik. And he's clearly hell bent on promoting it by showing off his newly buff body.

The Kiwi was butt-naked in the video for the EP's lead single "Rocks Off" and goes one further by flashing his cock in the visual for "Secret Fear" (below). It's an arty affair with lots of stylised violence and nudity but let's face it, we're only here to see what Daniel's packing - so fast forward to the three-minute mark for a blurred full frontal or just click here. What a waste of time. The song is terrible and you can't really see much anyway. Call me when Natasha's washed-up brother comes back with a decent song or a sextape.

No Doubt - Looking Good - Video Review


No Doubt's Push And Shove is another album I've been meaning to review for months but never really got around to. In a nutshell - I love every song but think it's a bit thin on potential hit singles with the exception of "Easy" and "Looking Hot". So I'm relieved that Gwen and the gang have chosen the latter as the album's official second single. This should be a no-brainer. Killer chorus, lyrics that will get sluts dancing faster than free alcohol and superb production that blends genres while never losing its top 40 radio appeal. My favourite part is the dancehall breakdown towards the end. How much have you missed No Doubt?

But back to the video. The first two visuals were a bit disappointing for the band that brought us iconic clips like "Hella Good" and "It's My Life". I thought "Settle Down" was adequately glossy and colourful but "Push And Shove" gave me nightmares. Pop stars of a certain age shouldn't be giving us Blair Witch realness. No one looks good in that clip - and it's an almost impossible task to make Gwen Stefani look anything less than stunning! I'm happy to report they've learned their lesson and gone all glamorous again for "Looking Hot".

At first I had an issue with the mildly ridiculous cowboys and Indians theme. It doesn't really suit the song and struck me as a bit desperate. But then I gave in to the band's eccentric visual and now love it. Sure, it's no masterpiece. The clip looks a bit cheap and the "plot" doesn't make sense but who really cares when Gwen Stefani is rocking Indian fashion with the kind of attitude Cher displayed when she was promoting "Halfbreed"? The styling is absolutely great - love the scene in the teepee with the wolf - and the yummy mummy looks like the pop/rock goddess that she is.

Seriously, why can't Madonna call Gwen's doctor? That man is miracle worker. She still looks 27. Apart from some pretty scenery, a rather cool party scene and the stupid sub-plot about Gwen being captured by cowboys - that's it. And it's enough for me. No Doubt has found their commercial stride again. It will be interesting to see how radio takes to "Looking Hot". If it gets sufficient airplay, this could be the song that returns them to the top of the singles chart. The oddball video (below) can only help. I'm so happy they're back.

Song: 10/10, Video: 8/10

EDIT: No Doubt pulled the video after complaints from Native Americans. Who knew that Gwen Stefani wearing a pink headdress was so offensive? Oh well back to the drawing board.

Sometimes You Just Need A Little Linda Ronstadt And James Ingram In Your Life


I must be having an EXTREMELY premature mid-life crisis because I've been re-watching all my favourite childhood movies lately and rifling through boxes of old records I've had in storage for years. My latest trip down memory lane led me to An American Tail. To be honest, the film is a lot worse than I remember. It's basically an animated version of Yentl with no Barbra Streisand and only one good song. But what an incredible song!

If "Somewhere Out There" doesn't bring a tear to your eye, you're even more dead inside than I am. The iconic Linda Ronstadt/James Ingram duet was a huge hit in the late '80s and featured on every Love Songs compilation for the next 15 or so years. Yes, it's sappy but how can you not connect with lyrics or be turned on by James' sultry voice? There's not even a HQ version of the video clip online, so you'll have to make do with this dodgy version from Mexico. Make sure you have a tissue handy!

Thomas Fiss - Chasing Satellites


File this under songs that should be massive. "Chasing Satellites" is the new "Call Me Maybe" in my little universe. Seriously, if you look past the "We Found Love"-lite backing track, this is 100% pure-pop perfection. I love everything about it from the cheerfully inane lyrics to the smorgasbord of catchy hooks ("wo-o-o-oh!") and the singer's sweet vocal. So who is Thomas Fiss? Well, he used to be in a boyband called Varsity Fanclub - you probably don't remember their only hit but it was actually pretty good.

Since then he's been working with Ryan Tedder and touring with acts like The Wanted and Cody Simpson. Which is pretty amazing company. I love Thomas' guitar-pop meets Eurodance sound and hope the fact that his surname rhymes with piss doesn't hold him back. I haven't listened to the whole EP yet but it's on my to-do list. Until then I'm just going to watch the "Chasing Satellites" video on repeat (below). It's a suitably summery affair and there is some fancy sparkler action. It helps that the 25-year-old is pretty easy on the eyes. So much win.