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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Repeats are: Avril Lavigne (8), O-Zone (9), Anastacia (10)

1. BEBE - Malo. Lacking an understanding of the nuances of Spanish pop, I would say that the closest comparison for the verses would be Nelly Furtado. However, this is not useful because the chorus with its thumping Iberian percussive bang has been flown in from a completely different song, and is actually quite marvellous, especially at the end where it actually goes a bit mental. The problem is that the verses are long and the chorus is a sweet but short treat. 5

2. ALEKS SYNTEK - Duele El Amor. There is apparently a "version techno" that I wasn't able to find, boo hiss etc. Anyway, the verses in this are very good indeed, the second half of the first and the first half of the second of which have a female singer over some tinkly piano bits, and in classic duet fashion they wait until the chorus before they sing together. It sounds good, but some problems are in that the chorus isn't particularly catchy and that it takes nearly two minutes to get there. I still think it's quite good in an imperfect, stirring kind of way. 8

3. PASTORA - Lola. Floats along a bit drearily for the first minute or so, but some beats come in and it becomes quite agreeable, mixing what sounds like quite a dated percussive arrangement with a semi-spoken vocal line and this really great disco bassline which if it is not taken from some 70s song should be sampled immediately for a massive floorfiller. Which this itself is not, and the sparse bits at the end don't really work. Still, quite good. The bassline is genius. 6

4. DAVID BISBAL - Oye El Boom. Oh god, this is MUCH MUCH more like it. Very, very nearly as good as previous blistering, blustering single Buleria, this has the word "corazon", a massive, sweeping pre-chorus with the word "passion" reaching into the stratospheric heights of the ABSOLUTELY GIGANTIC ADDICTIVE HOOKY CHORUS OF DEATH. Horns everywhere, nimble guitars, a bit with only drums and this other great bit that goes "BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!". Songs with "Boom" in them are almost always great (I can think of at least five examples), and this is absolutely no exception. My god, this is brilliant and if you don't like it you hate fun. 10 [MP3]

5. ANTONIO OROZCO - Quiero Ser. Ooh, this is a crunchy wall of guitar. For some reason some of his singing is somewhat 80s Bryan Adams-esque (now, if I'd said 90s that would not be so good), and the melody is catchy. Also, the intro makes you think it's going to be an awful ballad or a stale dance number and it is neither. 6

8. CANTO DEL LOCO - Insoportable. It does strike me that Spain may be the only country in the world were its own rock-pop bands routinely clog the top 10 with fairly upbeat songs. I like the chords at the end of the chorus, the instrumental break and would happily nod along with the chorus. They can't all be David Bisbal, I suppose. 6

10. THE CORRS - Summer Sunshine. A neat but unremarkable Fleetwood Mac pastiche, certainly not a patch on Breathless, but not as bad as Irresistible. 5

73 points, easily the highest score recorded in a single round. Total: 216, average 54.
# 3:12 PM []

Monday, June 21, 2004

I can't be alone in finding something deeply uncomfortable in The Hidden Cameras music, and it has nothing to do with the frank sexuality or the brazenness of the appropriation of a church-folk style that by all rights should not work. And given that I freely post my love for all manner of bad pop, it's got nothing to do with what liking it might say about me.

It's possibly due to the fact that as far as celebratory odes to life and love go, they're a bit bleak, almost as if to say "This is what we have/are. This is all we can do about it, we're just making the best of it." and the sense of resignment is a bit of a downer. Probably deserves a longer article, if I ever wrote the things. Since I love wine, this was an obvious choice for the standout on their new album even if reading a denotative meaning into Hidden Cameras lyrics is a dodgy business.

As ever, the axis is a chorus where one word is extended melismatically until it sounds the exact same as every other chorus, but while this doesn't have the frantic, stamping pews feel of Ban Marriage, it's a good deal faster than most of the songs off the debut, and melodically - and crucially - dynamically, there seems to be more going on - particularly in the percusion, and the menacing sense of doom and sorrow isn't there. [MP3]
# 7:47 PM []
Repeats: Mario Winans and Everyone He's Ever Met In His Life (4), O-Zone (9). I really feel Europe is moving toward boring consensus. Make it stop, please.

1. BRITNEY SPEARS - Everytime. Yes, I did this one already, but the fact that this has got to Number One in a country containing people so eager to cut her down AND DESPITE HAVING BEEN AROUND on radio and video for yonks shows that people still like Britney and what she does. And it's very good, even if she should release Brave New Girl and likely won't. 9

3. 4-4-2 - Come On England. I don't even like Come On Eileen that much, it's an extremely good song but it doesn't resonate as a COMPLETE classic to these ears. And its aura is being dimmed every second by this monstrosity. I hate football, anyway. 0

5. KELIS - Trick Me. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know that anything with Kelis on it gets 10 (except if Enrique Iglesias features) and every time I will also say that even without Kelis it would be worth 10. This is no exception. It is skankariffic, lots of great lines, an air of sleaze and hate in the air and by gum, you can have a lot of fun dancing around your living room to it. 10

6. BRANDY/KANYE WEST - Talk About Our Love. Two of my least favourite people in pop. Oh yay. Marginally better than the last singles by them individually. 1

7. JESSICA SIMPSON - With You. See, I like the idea of Jessica. Pretty girl, nice voice, pretends to be dumb, does airheaded, pointless songs. No, wait, not liking the last one. She should be doing massive dance numbers, enormous ballads that could drown everyone and generally being a caricature. Not this. 3

8. CASSIDY featuring R KELLY - Hotel. I have no more tolerance for R Kelly after hearing his horrible song If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time excruciatingly warbled out on Australian Idol once. And Cassidy... who? Sorry. 1

9. RAZORLIGHT - Golden Touch. Amiable, decent indie-rock pop sort of thing. Sounds like good-period Blur in parts, but who cares. 5

10. FRANKEE - FURB. The second worst song of the year. (The worst is Mass Destruction by Faithless. 0

Plop. 42 points, total 207, average 51.75.
# 2:04 PM []
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