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Saturday, July 10, 2004

Too busy for full write-ups, here are some snapshots:

Help! Lena PH has changed into Laura Brannigan! Change her back... no wait... this is Gloria plus Xanadu except in Swedish except for the odd line in English and equally as brilliant as that sounds. Great chorus and there's an absolute wall of cheap early 80s keyboard noises over the end of it. I like very much. [MP3]

This is one of two pretty rubbish UK "rock" singles that are going to be massive in the coming months no matter what you do (the other is Keane's Bedhaped), and despite the fact that the chanted L-O-V-E bit is a definite earworm, it doesn't seem to have a chorus to speak of to go with it, it's as if someone thought "Yes! We, some kind of indie band, have improbably stumbled upon a hook! Let's yelp over it". Try again.

With the exception of No Good (Start The Dance) I hate The Prodigy, but I have to concede that this is pretty spectacular. Massive, spacy and bassy and lots of great sounds all over the place - clearly a retreat (and a wise one) back to their rave-dance roots.
# 2:33 PM []

Thursday, July 08, 2004

IVANA BRKIC - Njezno, njeznije
Described quite accurately as "icy, sweeping eurotrance pop" by my ever-reliable source of all things Cro and Pop, this is not quite going to be in the next Croatian round of the Cross Europe thingo, so I wanted to say something about it in case I missed it.

It's one of those records that reminds me how misleading labels can be. "Eurotrance" is one of those labels that gets tossed around, to cluster together a bunch of records that have a common element even though they may be completely different in almost every way, and the normal reason for doing this is that the listener doesn't like them. But a song like this shows what broad churches Eurotrance and Europop are. In the absence of being able to say anything about the lyrics, I can merely praise Ivana's delicate, frosted delivery for the way it sells its trance melody as being longing and desirous rather than vacuous, and admire how well it goes with the pumping bass and beat. Instrumentally, for want of a better word, this is very strong too, and the deeply buried, almost choral male backing vocals make it a good headphones listen and rather than being a straight thump all the way, the percussion breaks and reenters when it should. It's definitely one of my favourite dance-pop singles of the year so far and I wish I had the language to explain why - both to understand what it's saying and to articulate its glacial charms. [MP3]
# 7:01 PM []
And it's going to be another round of heartbreak and Blogger-mangled international characters, isn't it? Anastacia (10), Royal Gigolos (5)

1. SARAH CONNOR - Just One Last Dance. Looking back over previous things I have written about Sarah Connor reveal that she is the least interesting popstar on the planet. Really, I have nothing to say about this woman and her workmanlike stabs at R&B - and SWEET JESUS IT BEARS REPEATING THAT THIS SONG IS "UNBREAK MY HEART" IN DISGUISE AND I REALLY HATE TONI BRAXTON - that are so limp and anodyne that I can't really imagine anyone feels passionately about them one way or another. I mean, if it came on the radio I wouldn't leap to change the station like I would with something that hurts my ears, but really, did this heap of crap need to be made? The answer is: no. 0

2. LIMP BIZKIT - Behind Blue Eyes. As above, in that it didn't need to be made, but I certainly would change the station if I heard this. Actually, I'd likely bomb the station. 0

5. DJ ?py? - ??y??????? ?????. In case the Russian characters are mangled, it looks something like this: Dj RpyB - CĎ€y*e6Hb|N. This appears to be the simplest home-baked dance track imaginable with some spoken Russian on top of it. Possibly the most pointless thing in existance. I could have made this, seriously. Except I would have had the decency to delete it immediately. 0

6. Denise - Straight Up. Mind-drillingly rubbish remake of the Paula Abdul classic. Yes, I do mean "classic" - go back and listen, it's great. This has absolutely no dynamics whatsoever - the same plodding, lifeless, DATED beat goes through the whole thing except for a slightly interesting rhythmic diversion in the second verse and some stomping after the second chorus, meaning that the chorus itself has no impact at all and Denise sounds thoroughly bored throughout. 1

7. Julia Savicheva - Believe Me. That Avril-esque lass who warbled vulnerably (i.e. so out of tune even I could tell) through this year's Eurovision and inexplicably came 11th. It appears to have been given a teensy bit of an overhaul for radio, involving some quite yelped singing that Julia would have made an even bigger hash of live, and, bizarrely, by de-emphasising the song's best points - the descending chords in the chorus, it loses nearly all of its impact as it's revealed to not have that interesting a tune. On the plus side, it no longer sounds like she's saying "Bulimia. Just don't care.". Curious. 5

8. Evanescence - My Immortal. It's summer for most of you, but it's winter here, and this sounds perfect right about now. You'd have to be unfeeling to still resist the charms of those strings all this time down the track. 8

9. Boogie Pimps - Sunny. I actually vastly prefer this to Somebody To Love, although given that I was programmed to love Boney M theirs is still the definitive version of Sunny for me. It is very swirly and roller-rink-y indeed, so conjures lots of images of falling over and hurting myself badly due to no sense of balance. Eh, you can sing along to this one and you already know the words, so why not? 7

10. Benassi Bros feturing Sandy - Illusion. Basically, the same deep bass throb you would expect with a Faceless House Diva added, minus the enormous, pleasurable sense of "What the FUCK is this?". Thing with a lot of dance acts is that basically you only need the best application of the template and obviously this isn't it. 4

That is 40, and this seems rather generous. Total is 153, but that's three rounds. Average = 51
# 2:02 PM []

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Repeats: Ruslana (9), Mario Winans (3), both Dragostea Bin Teis (9+5), Brit Brit (10), Eamon (0) and Kelis (10). Also, Cha Cha Slide is in there, and I refuse to comment on it again even though this is its first appearance this round. You guessed it, it's a boring one. Of interest, the mighty I Promised Myself - that is, the original version by Nick Kamen has been re-released and is at Number 15, either as a spoiler or a piggy-back on the A*Teens version, possibly due to some kind of Kamen Kompilation.

3. NATALIA - I Want You Back. Ah, her last two singles were great disco numbers, this'll be good. No, wait, it's a ballad. It is at least of rather high quality until the chorus, which is all too predictable. Lots of authentic 70s AM radio ballad touches, reminds me a little bit of that Fastball single Out Of My Head actually. The massive payoff at the end you're expecting - where it goes all stirring and massive, doesn't actually come, which is a disappointment. 7

9. SPRING - Met De Trein Naar Oostende. Sounding exactly like the opening number in a very, very bad one-off variety program with the horns, the cheesy melody, the female backing vocals going "chicka chicka", you wonder how exactly it's going to fill its 3 minutes and 24 seconds and then a slowed-down bit comes in and does the job and nothing more. 4

That'd be 57, total 237, average 59.25.
# 9:50 AM []
On an album as varied as Shaznay's Open which seems to reveal further treasures upon further listenings, this is perhaps the song that perhaps sounds like All Saints, the bass-and-beat strut recalls the chorus of their last #1, Black Coffee. Not to say that it sounds like a single, if you're looking for one of those, try You or Mr Dawg (which sounds like it would have fitted, bizarrely, perfectly on the Martina Topley Bird album), but Radio itself is the most immediate song, for better or worse. Actually, on first listen it is worse, but subsequent listenings have shown it to be rather catchy. Each verse seems to be split into two distinct parts, with the second climaxing with Shaznay crying out "I like it! I like it!" before the chorus, which is fairly insubstantial melodically, but the groove is taut and tight and just before the third, there is more lovely yowling from Shaznay, and the whole thing is as compact in length as it is in construction, with it stopping unceremoniously at 2:51, just as the song itself starts immediately without fanfare. [MP3]
# 9:13 AM []

Monday, July 05, 2004

OK. MP3 from Sweden then, and who is this at Number 20 but my new favourite funky Stockholmers, Teddybears STHLM? Their previous single Cobrastyle got one of the best responses of anything I've posted this year, so perhaps you will appreciate this thumping, squelchy, ridiculously bassy affair even if it is ever so slightly naff. I like it, but then again I would. [MP3]
# 5:41 AM []
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