Here is a playlist of about 55 tracks comprised of 100% Ace Pop that is – mostly – from 2012. Let’s have a look at some of the songs on this Very Good Playlist Even If I Do Say So Myself. If the above widget isn’t working (or is curiously not displaying 55 tracks) then point your browser hurr.
PURPLE CRUSH – Basic Bitch
Brooklyn duo Purple Crush are a big favourite of mine. Their 2011 EP “Welcome 2 The Underground” was one of my most played last year and, if I ever decide to finish my 2011 year round-up’s, a number of songs (including this one) feature throughout that end of year songs list. You should also take a gander at their excellent homage to Madonna’s “Reductive” moment from earlier in the year and also their GREAT cover of Fischerspooner’s “Emerge.” One of the brightest emerging acts (ho ho!) in Pop.
FLORRIE – Shot You Down / To The End / Every Inch
Florrie, as featured in my fun new banner next to Queen Madonna, has released what is by far-and-away the most exciting bunch of pop songs of her career. The frantic soundscapes of “Shot You Down”, to the no-prisoners rave-up of “Every Inch”, to the monumental “To The End” – her defining moment – Florrie is a properly amazing pop star and with each release she trumps herself greatly.
MADONNA – Gang Bang / I’m Addicted / Love Spent / I Don’t Give A
How different a campaign Madonna’s “MDNA” would have been with “I’m Addicted”, the superior dance moment, as its lead single. “I’m Addicted” is the best, freshest thing Benny Benassi’s produced since “Satisfaction” and could have given Madonna the club-pop crossover hit she deserved with this album. Even the Nicki Minaj feature “I Don’t Give A” would have made for a better, more striking first single than “Give Me All Your Luvin’”, which – all things considered – failed to do what it should have for Madonna on the charts because it was the wrong single. The singles should have played out with “I’m Addicted” as the first, “I Don’t Give A” as the second, “Gang Bang” as the controversial third and “Love Spent” as the albums final single. “Love Spent” is one of the most underrated Madonna songs in a very long time; the fact that it contains two completely different choruses has seemingly been lost on its critical detractors. It’s also the most lyrically vulnerable song on the album. And the thing that I love the most about “Gang Bang” is its obvious tribute to that iconic early 2000′s German Hard Trance sound. People teetered with German techno from the 90′s but nobody has really taken direct inspiration from that truly golden era of early millennium rave and that is something Madonna needs to be commended for. The song itself is a little like Madonna doing Neils Van Gough’s stadium-rave anthem “Pulverturm“, but with a lot more vitriol and anger. It’s also the most experimental and forward-thinking thing Madonna’s done since the American Life record and is said to be the final single from the MDNA era.
VAN GO LION – Glow
Portland duo Van Go Lion are another of my big favourites from 2011. This song in particular encapsulates everything brilliant about their pop songs and their “Body Moves” EP from last year is something worth chasing up. Big things coming for them in 2012.
VAN SHE – Sarah / Coconuts / Radio Waves I & II / We Move On
“Sarah” is Van She’s big Fleetwood Mac moment from their incredible sophomore album “Idea of Happiness.” Vocally Nick hasn’t sounded better and on a production front this is their grandest moment to date. A massive review of this excellent album is on the way, I just have to get it right y’know? There’s a lot to say about an album as good as this one, and the other four tracks amongst this playlist that are lifted from the record are a great sample of what to expect when you eventually invest and Buy The Album.
PET SHOP BOYS – A Certain “Je Ne Sais Quoi”
I’m not the biggest fan of PSB’s new single “Winner” but this B-Side is where the money is at. Non-apologetic classic Pet Shop Boys pop. How Very.
GOSSIP – Move In The Right Direction
After “Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix)”, this is the Gossip at their very best. A stomping pop song with Xenomania on production credits – not exactly a terrible fusion is it? And the album “A Joyful Noise” delivers exactly what it says it does on the tin.
ICONA POP – I Love It
Imagine if this had been the new Veronicas single instead of “Lolita”? Get this on Australian radio at once.
MARINA & THE DIAMONDS – Lonely Hearts Club / Teen Idle / Valley Of The Dolls / Fear & Loathing
Marina’s “Electra Heart” is one of 2012′s best records and these four songs are a great slab of the cream of the crop to be lifted from it. “Lonely Hearts Club” sounds like it’s been ripped right out of a 1980′s Molly Ringwald movie, “Teen Idle” is pretty much the most incredible thing Marina has ever penned, “Valley Of The Dolls” is eerie with its end-of-the-world talk and Illuminati undertones therefor making it one of the most interesting and captivating pop creations of the year, and then there’s “Fear & Loathing” which, funnily enough, seems to follow similar themes. A full (and completely schizophrenic – you’ll understand what I mean when it goes online), rather lengthy piece reviewing this complexly wonderful album is on the way.
LADY GAGA – Scheiße
Shoulda been a single, my god. The best moment during Gaga’s epic Born This Way Ball.
NO DOUBT – Settle Down
I am here for this song and comeback, yes I am. This is 6 minutes of bliss.
WILLAM BELLI & FRIENDS – Let’s Have A KaiKai / Love You Like A Big Schlong / Chow Down / The Vagina Song
The break-out controversial star from RuPaul’s Drag Race and literally every TV show ever created is also one of the best pop stars to come from the series. Willam’s update on the Scissor Sisters song “Let’s Have A KiKi” manages to outdo the original, her stunning tribute to Selena Gomez and Enormous Cocks is truly touching, her collaboration with Vicky Vox & Detox, a take off-of Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” that lyrically pays tribute to Chick-Fil-A Chicken, is Current, and of course “The Vagina Song” which really speaks for itself. I am a proud Willam Belli Stan and I will not Rupologise for it.
CASSIE – Queen Of Hearts
How has this not been the biggest Urban single of 2012?
LANA DEL REY – Off To The Races / Blue Jeans (Kris Menace Mix) / This Is What Makes Us Girls / Radio
I had the honour of seeing Lana live a couple of weeks ago and then the extended pleasure of meeting her afterwards (Full review with photos incoming) and I can’t get her out of my mind. “Born To Die” is obviously the album of the year and the tracks I’ve picked from the record for this playlist don’t even do the majesty of the whole record justice. If you haven’t yet, then you should. Lana is EVERYTHING.
ROGUE TRADERS – Girl In Gold
This flawless tribute to Deborah Harry is a truly lost gem from the Rogue Traders incredible final album “Night Of The Living Drums.” Second only to “In Love Again” as the bands finest creation.
SANTIGOLD – Pirate In The Water / Fame
Santi’s new album “Master of my Make-Believe” is a revelation, but these two tracks in particular are the records biggest slabs of self-assured Jamaican-tinged punk-pop. “Pirate In The Water” is the lighter pop moment but “Fame” is the lyrical clencher.
THE PRESETS – Youth In Trouble (Green Velvet Remix)
This incredible remix of an already bonza dance song from Australia’s very own is hopefully a nice example of the kind of anti-radio dance music the band started out creating. In its original form, “Youth In Trouble” is this acid-house rave explosion that is exactly the kind of rave I want to be hearing in 2012 and exactly the kind of rave Australian radio weren’t expecting from the boys. An inspired club-cut.
SNEAKY SOUND SYSTEM – Really Want To See You Again
Connie & Angus bat it completely out of the park once again. Lifted from my favourite Album of 2011.
SANDRA BERNHARD – Perfection
I’m not entirely sure what this electro-infused Chicks On Speed-esque dance bomb is all about but it came on at the end of Sandra’s excellent stand-up album “Everything Bad & Beautiful” and I just had to share it.
KATHY GRIFFIN – I’ll Say It
The theme-song from Kathy’s new talk show is all kinds of fun and literally makes Carrie Underwood completely redundant. Bitch bye! There’s a MIAMI MIX (!!!!!!) on its way too which you can hear in this video of Kathy & Gloria Estefan singing it together on stage. Amazing.
The playlist also features songs by Muscles, Azealia Banks, The Saturdays, Garbage, iamamiwhoami, Justin Bieber, Queen of Hearts, Loreen, Ricki-Lee, Nicki Minaj, Kylie Minogue, RuPaul and Jessica 6. Each month (or so) I’ll attempt to create a new playlist to share with you on the blog; let me know what you think!
I’m taking a mild break from The Top 30 Albums of the Year countdown to throw some much deserved shade. I’m not one to usually do Worst Of Lists but for every great thing in music for 2011 there were another 5 things that needed to be live-binned. So, what were the 10 absolute shittest, diabolical things of 2011?
I feel as though Glee was at its most annoying in 2011. Easily the single worst television show in the history of moving picture, this dog and pony show continues to rope idiots into watching a next-to-nothing storyline with songs that were better sung by the original artists. The LAST thing I want is Lea Fucking Michele singing Barbra Streisand showtunes. In fact, the last I thing I want is Lea Fucking Michele singing at all. And as for Kurt? He can go fuck himself too. Never have I wanted to lunge into my own TV and punch the living daylights out of TV characters as much as I do with those two – it’s actually depressing. Glee is the reason the suicide rate is so high across the world.
02. JESSIE J
Speaking of suicide, did anybody else reach for the bottle of bleach the first time they heard the god-awful “Price Tag”? You’d be forgiven if you thought this hypocritical cunt sounded like Sandi Thom; with her wailing about how much better it used to be in Ye Olden Days when she was just a middle-class-hooker in Tottenham and the Internet didn’t exist. If only the Internet didn’t exist; this bitch would still be scrubbing toilets at her local KFC and giving gobbies to record label execs trying to get her songs commissioned. You know; the old fashioned way! To add even bigger insult to injury some stroke of genius (or rather, stroke victim) at Future Music Festival has seen fit to add J to the line-up in a bid to snag the kind of crowd Ke$ha rallied up for her set at the festival earlier this year. The difference between Ke$ha and Jessie J (other than Ke$ha’s obvious longevity and J’s obvious radiation) is that Ke$ha was able to put on an amazing, entertaining live show and secure what would normally be a very tough festival crowd, whilst Jessie J is going to be heckled, abused, attacked and spat at – and that’s just what I plan on doing to her, I can’t speak for the other 30,000 people that will be there who have it in for her as well. And don’t even get me started on the whole “Oh I’m a bisexual but let’s not ever talk about it” thing either because my blood pressure is high enough as it is.
03. BRUNO MARS
I couldn’t believe it when they got this illegitimate wanker to sing the hits of my dearly departed Amy Winehouse at the MTV VMA’s. Wasn’t it bad enough we had to endure Gaga dressed as Jo Calderone (more on that later)? Isn’t it enough we have to put up with this idiots songs all over radio and TV? Isn’t it enough that AMY WINEHOUSE IS DEAD? The most offensive of all black-magic warlocks this year.
04. JESSICA MAUBOY
This bitch, seriously. Jessica Mauboy is so unconvincing as a pop star that she makes Margaret Thatcher look like ABBA. The harder you try to find life in the eyes of Mauboy in one of her videos the deeper you get sucked into a black hole of nothing; I imagine interviewing her would be akin to tweezing every single hair on my body, including the ones on my head and face. Sure, anybody can have lovely songs (which she does) but at the end of the day – she’s not convinced of herself as a pop star so why should we be? The best thing she ever did was Young Divas.
05. NATALIE BASSINGHTHWAIGHTE
If you thought NatBash’s biggest abortion so far was that hideous and pathetic excuse for an album “1,000 Stars”, you are sorely mistaken. “All We Have” saw Natalie reach an all-time-low; to say Natalie was trying to emulate Jennifer Lopez’s current sound is an insult to Jennifer Lopez because “All We Have” is nothing short of being big, smelly tripe. And the people who say “It’s so bad that it’s amazing”? BISHES GET REAL, let me book you that appointment with the ear, nose & throat specialist because you are as deaf as Marlee Matlin. And if I ever have to see her lunging her ovaries at the camera like she does in the “All We Have” video I am going to kill msyelf.
06. SOCIAL NETWORKING STAN WARS
Whilst iconic website www.Stan-Wars.com is nothing short of incredible comic relief, the Stan Wars that erupted on Twitter in 2011 were pathetic. Incoherent, unreadable, full of grammatical and spelling errors; if you’re a braindead idiot and are going to troll somebody on the Internet you should perhaps start utilising the Grammar & Spellcheck function on MS Word. Grown men picking fights with other artists Stans just for the sake of starting unintelligible arguments; it’s fine to have a Stan War here and there (believe ME, I have thrown my Stan Clout about many-a-time this year) but what is with the people that live for them, that go out intentionally looking to start trouble? It’s like they can’t function without the drama, and they, my friends, are perhaps the saddest Stans of them all.
07. PIXIE LOTT
08. BJORK’S “BIOPHILIA”
WOW. 2011 ushered in the year that Bjork became so much of a pretentious cunt that she released an album full of white noise. I know it’s standard procedure of late to be disappointed with a Bjork album but Biophilia really took that disappointment and amplified it so much that it was far beyond disappointment, it’s just complete utter shit. A total waste of time, money, and patience. Bjork is better off when she’s punching news reporters – at least when she was doing all of that Slippery Gypsy shit she was banging out corker pop songs and killer albums.
09. X FACTOR AUSTRALIA
10. LADY GAGA’S BEHAVIOUR
Oh boy, where do I start? This time last year I was Stanning hardcore for La Gaga and now I’m calling her The Germ. So what went wrong? Well, what didn’t? Things started to head for the worst when Gaga ditched her entire Edge Of Glory video crew so she could dance around a CGI screen coked out of her skull with minimal outside interaction. One of THE songs of the year deserved a much better video than that; it was the first of many nails to be hammered into The Germ’s proverbial coffin. The VMA’s – coming dressed as serial-rapist Jo Calderone and frightening poor Britney Spears to death when presenting her an award for being a Legend… The music still stands but, let’s face it, Born This Way is exactly four songs too long and she is releasing all of the wrong tracks as singles. Yawn & I? No thanks.
Last night I had the privilege of sitting with Rogue Traders co-founder James Ash and having a listen to a bunch of demos for the bands upcoming album, their fourth overall and their first since Natalie Bassinghthwaighte’s departure.
Here’s the thing; it’s really, really good. Some of these unfinished demos sound more fresh and exciting than most of the things on the charts at the moment; I’d even go as far as saying there are some moments so spectacular that they trump certain key-points found on the bands last two albums.
All the stories you’ve heard about it being a dance record are bang on. If you were at all deterred by lead single “Love Is A War”, then you’ll be pleased to know it’s probably one of the less instant moments among the new tracks. It’s also the least straight-up-dance moment as well; there are spikey club-cuts throughout, with mild nods and references to everyone from Blondie, Phil Oakey, the Sugababes (v2.0) and even Madonna. In fact, the new Rogue Traders album is a bit like Richard X meeting up with Rachel Stevens and Lene Lovich in a thumping nightclub.
“Ease Your Mind” is, as James described it to me, like the Sugababes having it off with Justice. Think of “Whatever Makes You Happy” and then essentially times it by 10. One of the more instant moments, the glam-rock meets synth-overdrive of “Would You Raise Your Hands”, was an immediate favourite and is about musical snobbery. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, arms-aloft club-pop banger that smells like a hit single.
“Skyline” – although sounding nothing like it – is the albums answer to “In Love Again”, in the sense that it’s dreamy electro-pop with EXCELLENT lyrics. There’s also “Girl In Gold”, which is Ash’s tribute to Debbie Harry from Blondie (he told me he was staring at a poster of Deb as he penned the chorus – amazing), “America”, “So Lonely” (inspired by Britney Spears) and “Ease Your Mind.” All very, very good.
And what about Mindi Jackson, the bands new vocalist? Can she fill the shoes left vacant by Natalie? More than capable, actually. It doesn’t take long to hear that Jackson’s voice is stronger and has a lot more texture than Nat’s does; the vocal arrangements on the album are more complex and a little more experimental – a definite plus. I’ve said before that Mindi’s voice reminds me of Lene Lovich; add a very young Gwen Stefani, No Doubt-era into the mix as well. I’m actually REALLY looking forward to seeing Mindi perform with the band for the first time live on stage.
So in summary, If you were at all worried about the album; don’t be. Whether your worries were spawned by the idea you felt they couldn’t go on without Natalie, or because you didn’t quite like “Love Is A War”, cast them aside. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes and in this case, you are.
This album will change peoples minds about the group. Within a few minutes of hearing it I’d almost forgotten about the bands past; it is ALL about the future from now on in.
UPDATE: Album Teaser available on TheirSpace.
The Fame Monster
There’s something about Lady Gaga. Something so remarkably captivating and enthralling that, in the last few weeks, it’s been hard to escape her spell. If you’ve seen the truly outstanding video clip for new single ‘Bad Romance’, you’ll be aware of how much further Gaga has raised the proverbial pop bar when it comes to music video clips. For years we’ve tolerated a lazier blend of film clips from our pop stars; that’s not to say they’ve ALL been lazy, but they’ve certainly all had their moments. And that’s the whole point. From the begining, Gaga has been nothing short of incredibly interesting to watch. The persona, (or rather, the Gaga Enigma) that she has drummed up over the last 16 to 18 months has been truly fascinating. A piece of art-work in progress for everyone to see.
Even if you aren’t taken by her perfect-pop-hooks or incredibly styled video clips, you can’t deny that the creation that is Lady Gaga has changed the current pop climate. And the long-awaited pseudo-sophomore follow-up to last years The Fame, titled The Fame Monster, wipes the floor clean with every other album perched in the charts right now.
Birthing only 8 tracks, The Fame Monster makes up in quality for its quantity issue. First single, the Eurovision homaging ‘Bad Romance’ continues to get better with each listen; its primal chorus and searing shouts from Gaga provide a hungry backdrop of desperation – particularly in the rather full-on but equally as moving line “I wan’t your love, I don’t wanna be friends…” To top it off, the middle-8 is insanely good, and the final one minute and seventeen seconds are some of the greatest closing moments in ANY song of the last 10 years. It’s gorgeous, tragic, sad, energetic, animalistic, passionate, and very definitely the song of the year.
Gaga pushes the Lady Schlager boundaries even further with more Eurovision-esque stompers in the form of ‘Dance In The Dark’, an industrial-goth disco track that combines a gigantic chorus with one of Gaga’s most uplifting riffs to date, complete with a Madonna Vogue/Express Yourself homaging talky-bit where she coos “Marilyn, Judy, Sylvia… Tell ‘em how you feel girls… Find your freedom in the music, find your Jesus, find your Kubrick”, whilst ‘Alejandro’ brings the 1990′s to the naughties in seamless fashion; a semi-central motif through the record.
Continuing with the unrivaled passion, ‘Monster’ is one of the greatest 1980′s pop songs that never was actually from the 1980′s. “He ate my heart; that boy is a monster” she sings with such tortured conviction – all through a vocoder. The deceptive ‘So Happy I Could Die’, a stand-out highlight, comes along with its marching band leanings, and takes that mid-tempo ballad feel of the 1990′s and gives it a proper, exciting new lease of life. This is divine electropop at its finest. Then, the only conventionally proper ballad on the album, ‘Speechless’, although sounding a little out of place on the record, serves as a classy piano-led affair (much like her often overlooked yet genius ‘Brown Eyes’ from the first album) that, after the first listen, warms on you instantly. ‘Teeth’, which seems to be leaving some feeling a little cold (I’ve no idea why), manages to do in just over three minutes what Christina Aguilera tried to do – and failed in trying – over a 2 bloody disc CD. That’s how you do it Bitch. To top it all off, “Teeth” sounds like a classy re-rub of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” in places, particularly through the chorus.
One of the most interesting moment on The Fame Monster is Gaga’s collaboration with Beyonce, ‘Telephone’. If you’re looking for a proper club-banger on Monster, then this is it. Like the hotter, younger sister to Gaga’s debut ‘Just Dance’, this is the next single and rightly so; it’s an immediate stand-out on here. Beyonce’s rap sits comfortably; it sounds like it BELONGS to her whilst still very much being Gaga’s vehicle. And what a bloody chorus…
Without a doubt, as the lovely Will Wongster said in his ace review, this is 2009′s answer to 1984’s ‘Like A Virgin.’ Gaga’s been compared to Madonna since the beginning. And whilst taking a quick glance at her portfolio of work taken from that debut album, it can actually be a bit puzzling as to where such claims came from. But then again; there always HAS been that something about her. Whether it was humping a blow-up whale in the ‘Just Dance’ video, or using Eric from True Blood in the ‘Paparazzi’ clip, it’s always been evident that there is a swag more determination and drive running through Gaga’s veins than any of the pop stars vying for our attention at the moment. It’s that drive and ambition some would say they used to see in a young(er) Madonna…
Lady GaGa really is the second coming; possibly even the next generations answer to a Madonna or a Debbie Harry. Pop’s BIGGEST hope at the moment and the only artist who is bringing something fresh and original to the table. Whilst Madonna goes off and works with tired Urban producers (that said, boy did I love Hard Mandy), Gaga’s managed to do what Madonna USED to do; putting unique pop music at the top of the American charts. “Look at that; a white girl singing pop music on the tele mom!!” All of a sudden, everyone wants to work (and is) with RedOne.
She treats her fans with respect which is a lot more than you can say for Britney or, even so of late, Madonna. She is loyal and cares about her fans, and in return, she has a very, very strong fan base – probably more loyal than any other artist in the charts now. And that’s because she has proper pop smarts; she knows what her ‘Little Monsters’ want from her as an artist and, in return, they offer her undying love and eternal devotion. THAT’S how you work a crowd.
Fuck what she looks like; it’s not about what she looks like any more because she’s proven well enough now that there is more to her than just an odd face. It’s interesting to see a lot of hatred spread about Gaga via the internet regarding her image, her bodyweight; a lot of women in particular seem to be the instigators of said volatile attacks. Just like Madonna through the 80′s and 90′s, Gaga’s biggest critics seem to be women. It’s quite frustrating when a strong woman comes along in the pop world, it’s usually the Women who hate on them. It’s an awful reflection on the way society pins women up against other women in all aspects of life, not just pop music, and the way some Women can, unfortunately, do it to each other.
This is a proper, bonafide pop star who is not going anywhere any time soon. She is also the first person that has made me question Madonna’s current stance in the pop climate. Although technically The Queen of Pop (overall), she’s certainly not the CURRENT Queen of Pop, is she? And Gaga is too fierce in her convictions to be saddled off into a Princess of Pop tag. That’s not the work of a Princess; that’s the work of a Queen; MAYBE in Training, which is where the Princess tag should come in… But it just doesn’t suit her, does it? A Queen in Training who seems to be trailblazing her way through the charts (and hearts) with proper, catchy pop music.