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Friday, May 07, 2004

It's coming! It's nearly here...
Here is my take on this year's inaugural Eurovision QUALIFYING ROUND: Part 1 Part 2. Note that I have made the bold prediction that Belarus won't make the final, because all the people who go "Oh my god this is utterly mad, I have to vote for it" will throw their weight behind Ukraine, because that one is extremely extremely nuts indeed, even though Belarus do have the better song. I hope to be proven wrong.

Obviously, you should also read Troubled Diva's Eurovision post because he covers the qualifying round with the same brilliance as he covers the actual event every year. Best of all, Mike has much love for Albania's fantastic "The Image Of You" - a tremendous glittery bit of pop love.
# 2:01 PM []

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I've unleashed a flurry of posts because new posts may be quite infrequent for the next month - though I hope normal service will continue. Due to my inability to get all the Hungarian top 10, I'll have to skip them this round, much like Russia and Croatia missed the first.

But. MP3s then. The lovely Ash track. The extremely wee Kevin Lyttle. And two Estonian pop songs that I mentioned in Stylus. For some reason, although the Unplugged version of Vanilla Ninja's Don't Goo Too Fast is superior, getting your hands on the ROCK! version is quite difficult, so I've put it up. Their forthcoming single, Liar is nearly as good as well, but if you haven't managed to track down this one, here's your chance. Also, Kerli's Alanis-meets-Delta-meets-Avril angstathon Beautiful Inside is certainly a striking pop song, despite its rather cliched subject matter. It works on the spot-on delivery more than anything, and I wuv it to bits.
# 12:37 PM []
Gomez - Silence
I feared I'd gone too far over to the non-Dark Side (i.e. pop) to appreciate this lot anymore. And I really, really liked their second and third albums but Catch Me Up - big nothing. Quelle surprise, this is a bit of a nothing as well. Things to like about it are the cut-off leading to a lovely fuzzy bass moment after the chorus... actually, no, the bass is the only thing of note on this single - two duds in a row, and the new album is really just sort of there. In much the same way as this song plods gamely along, vaguely threatening to be catchy at some point before pulling away, making all the right (or wrong) sounds (depending on your opinion of their past work) without ever threatening to do something interesting dynamically (which they did lots of times on In Our Gun) or craft a really clever song (which they did lots of times on Liquid Skin). Time to polish the Mercury and give up, I'd say.
# 12:27 PM []
Does anyone think that Godhopping by Dogs Die In Hot Cars sounds like late-period XTC (Apple Venus-late, that is) on a copious amount of red cordial causing them to throw all sorts of ridiculously lovely sounds into the mix?
# 12:22 PM []
ROB MILLS - Miss Vanity
For those outside of Australia, "Millsy" was a contestant on Australian Idol, and progressed a large way through the competition despite being savaged by the judges due to his unremarkable, rather dull voice due to a large female following. I suppose he could be summarily dispatched by saying he belongs to the Robbie Williams school of pop charm, and with a sort of pop-rock number in the offing, that's sure to be real good. He canoodled with Paris Hilton, so with a title like Miss Vanity people will probably speculate about what this song's about.

And yes, the single is every bit as crap as you'd expect. It opens with a guitar and a slightly muted drum - I can't stress how much I hate that quiet drum sound these faux-rock singles all use - HIT YOUR DRUM (MACHINE) HARDER PLEASE! - and his voice is utterly without character. When he sings the chorus, though, it almost sounds like he's being vocoded, the way his weak vocals have been multi-tracked and bolstered so he can sing with any oomph. A bit of emphasis is necessary, but not sufficient, as the song itself, god it's dull. The closest comparative point would be the chirpy but utterly meritless late 90s alternarock churned out by the likes of Nine Days and Vertical Horizon.

Shannon Noll's songs might be a bit crap too, but he belts them out like his life depended on it. Guy Sebastian is supremely talented and making the best he can with a quickly-cobbled-together package of some atrocious songs. Millsy just sounds like he's having a bit of a laugh (which he loves doing, evne though it can be hard) between gossip magazine appearances.. remind you of any smug, irritating British popstars at all? Thought so.
# 12:16 PM []
ASH - Evil Eye
How time flies, Ash are on album number five, and still not showing any more than flashes of returning to the heyday of 1977 - like their last album, their new one, Meltdown has some good songs on it, but not enough of them. Actually, some songs like Detonator - with its marching rhythm - are quite good, but Tim Wheeler's voice doesn't sound as melodious and engaging as it once did. We're not talking Numbskull bad here, but he sounded quite a bit better on the Free All Angels album.

Evil Eye is my favourite off the record because it has a rather good explosive chorus which breaks out of nice, quiet verses, and the second of these goes into a rather surprisingly addictive middle-eight. And the trick of cutting the music out completely and then charging back in is reused, because Ash do that rather well. The chorus itself goes "Givin' me the evil eye/I can't den-y-y-y" with each line ending with a hoooky stuttered long-I vowel sound. It's those sorts of details that used to make Ash's singles rather thrilling (i.e. yeah ride, ridethewild SURRRRF! or ooh-wee-ooh--waaah! I feel heaven in you---ooooh!, you know what I mean), so even if their brand of pop doesn't get the pulse racing like an Angel Interceptor this is good, solid stuff, and would make a good single.
# 11:55 AM []

Sunday, May 02, 2004

KEVIN LYTTLE - Dancing Like Making Love
What I love about the Kevin Lyttle album is its refusal to outstay its welcome - most of the songs are under 4 minutes, basically interchangable and relentlessly catchy. Aside from the singles, this is the pick, but I could easily have selected I Got It or Never Wanna Make U Cry. It's all here - well, minus the chirpy Casio synths, but you've got some celebratory trumpet, a quick pace, a fistful of rapid-fire hooks and a chorus that just repeats the line "You keep dancing like you're making love". A great middle eight helps too, and this one has an almost spoken interlude where Kevin hopes his quarry doesn't "have a man". And at 3:16 - the song itself is practically over 20 seconds before thist oo - it's the absolute perfect length for this thing - no fuck-off long paeans to luuurrve, it's just quick aural sex.

As a postscript, the song Call Me which I mentioned all the way back here has been retitled If You Want Me (Call Me), tarted up sonically, tweaked lyrically and as as a result improved immeasurably.
# 7:53 PM []
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