― Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Wednesday, 8 February 2006 21:08 (7 years ago) Permalink
I also noticed that Ashlee's "Boyfriend" sounded way muddier than it does on CD or on Launch Yahoo, which may indicate that Smash Hits have a defective track, or may indicate that you can't trust the fidelity on anything they play.
In any event, here are my notes:
Anastacia "Sick and Tired" - My Anastacia album from a few years back is strong-voiced disco-soul with almost all boring songs. This track, though, is sweet-tuned pop, Anastacia's voice giving the music a bright-rough "character" (not unlike Alanis) without sabotaging the sweetness. Not totally great on first listen, but a nice surprise.
Friday Hill "One Night Alone" - Blah '90s harmonies. [What did I mean by "blah '90s harmonies"? Not sure, since the track didn't stay in my mind. Similar to the harmonies in "Hey Jealousy" if "Hey Jealousy" had been blah instead of nonblah?]
The Cribs "The Modern Way" - Affected Brit sadboy voices: I don't always hate 'em, but I never love 'em.
Sugababes "Ugly" - No, not ugly, just plain, and really disappointing compared to "Freak Like Me" and "Blue" and "Round and Round." My one Sugababes album is unique in being the only one I've heard that goes from great on the first few tracks to not-so-great on the next few and continues on a perfect gradual decline through mediocre, tepid, barely tolerable, and, by the last track, terrible. On that album they get worse the closer they get to "real" r&b. "Ugly" isn't r&b but still lands in "tepid." I don't remember why I think so, actually; something about the harmonies having been through the wash once too often.
[Track order on U.S. alb may not match up with that on the British.]
McFly "Ultraviolet" - Band already denounced on this thread, but I enjoy this. '60sish Yardbirds or Hollies–type harmonies but with no '60s zing, which can be a drawback if you insist on zing in you sing, but likable nonetheless.
Shayne Ward "That's My Goal" - Agh! Gawd! Horrible! I'll go for ten of Robbie Williams to avoid one of these. Amazing that human beings choose to listen to this. It's a ballad, but it's not even "safe" and "gentle" and "comfy" in its zinglessness. It's loud and slow and pelts and pummels you with feeling.
Rachel Stevens "Sweet Dreams of My LA Ex" - Damn, maybe she's as good as the Poptimists say. [But I was so busy tracking down the performer name and song title - the Smash Hits site doesn't show the title of the song being played so I have to do a quick google on the lyrics while a song runs - that I didn't attend to what it sounded like or why I loved it so much. Maybe love it 'cause an ex of mine is from L.A.]
Girls Aloud "Biology" - My first Girls Aloud song! And it's... tuneful... and OK, I suppose. It's a fuller-sounding Robyn-type number, strong beat, but not a melody in the class of "Be Mine!" You think maybe Robyn knows what she's doing in her slightness?
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Thursday, 9 February 2006 02:07 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Thursday, 9 February 2006 02:49 (7 years ago) Permalink
"We Think It's Love" - I hated this at the time, it represented everything I disliked about Australian pop at that point, very much in the mould of Bachelor Girl (who were themselves like Savage Garden with all of the manic energy, the oddness and the expansive production removed, replaced by unthreatening mushy guitar backdrops derived from 90s Tina Arena), but even more straightforward and anonymous in feel. Quite memorable chorus though, but maybe it's just that I used to send it up a bit.
"Taking Back What's Mine" - this definitely sounded like Cheiron, a sort of hard juddering plastic pop groove in the vein of N'Sync's "It's Gonna Be Me" or Britney's "Stronger" or (perhaps closest) Britney's "Don't Go Knocking On My Door". But - and maybe this was just my biases at work - it seemed unconvincing, a really awkward chorus and a general tinge of desperation obscuring the pop dynamics. Soon after this local boyband Human Nature also went down this route with similarly lacklustre results.
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Thursday, 9 February 2006 03:13 (7 years ago) Permalink
But otherwise, yes to what you said.
News to me: Lacuna Coil covered Dubstar's plum trip-hoppy confection "Stars." before my hyphen key wears out--trip-hop-secular-teen-goth?
(LC is playing with Rod Zombie. I'm sorely tempted to go, for the Coil, I mean. Has anyone seen them?)
― Ian in Brooklyn, Thursday, 9 February 2006 07:12 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Thursday, 9 February 2006 07:25 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Thursday, 9 February 2006 07:37 (7 years ago) Permalink
― William Bloody Swygart (mrswygart), Thursday, 9 February 2006 11:19 (7 years ago) Permalink
Yep! Saw them open for Moonspell at late lamented L'Amours in Brooklyn maybe four or so years ago. Four monkish looking guys, banging heads in unsion, with a beautiful Italian girl up front. Much more fun live than Evanescence (whose US audience I still hope Lacuna Coil get, but I'd be surprised if they do.) By the way, Ian, if you like Lacuna Coil, you should really check out the Gathering sometime as well. They're still the genre template as far as I'm concerned. I list a bunch of other such bands upthread, but my latest obsessions in the genre are unsigned bands Persepone's Dream from Pittshburg and Twelfth of Never from Massechusetts, both of whom I discovered via cbbaby and I discuss on the metal thread.
― xhuxk, Thursday, 9 February 2006 19:37 (7 years ago) Permalink
― xhuxk, Thursday, 9 February 2006 19:38 (7 years ago) Permalink
― xhuxk, Thursday, 9 February 2006 19:41 (7 years ago) Permalink
Where did Frank make this assertion? I missed it. (Weren't they a shoegaze band, though?)
― xhuxk, Thursday, 9 February 2006 19:43 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Abby (abby mcdonald), Thursday, 9 February 2006 19:45 (7 years ago) Permalink
Oh and the new Pink single will most likely grow on me. Saw the video for it. Girl power, bitches.
― Je4nne ƒur¥ (Je4nne Fury), Thursday, 9 February 2006 19:47 (7 years ago) Permalink
I had to go to google to figure out this joke (assuming that it was intended as a joke).
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Thursday, 9 February 2006 19:56 (7 years ago) Permalink
It was to assert her goth cred.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Thursday, 9 February 2006 20:00 (7 years ago) Permalink
(One of my favorite Xgau reviews ever is his pan of White Zombie's Soul-Crusher: "People consent to fascism because they think fascism will be more fun than this. They could be right. D+")
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Thursday, 9 February 2006 20:06 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Thursday, 9 February 2006 20:13 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Je4nn3 Æ’urÂ¥ (Je4nne Fury), Thursday, 9 February 2006 20:41 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Je4nn3 Æ’urÂ¥ (Je4nne Fury), Thursday, 9 February 2006 20:44 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Thursday, 9 February 2006 21:22 (7 years ago) Permalink
(My guess is that they're better to look at than to hear - aggressively "fun" and "satirical" bands that are "taking the piss" almost always bore me, unless they're the Sex Pistols - and I won't spend precious dialup time downloading until someone else does first, but the bandname is excellent, as are the...)
[Eligibility for this thread is vague association in my mind between what they and Morningwood do. Also, twelve-year-old boys will love them on principle.]
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Friday, 10 February 2006 14:21 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Friday, 10 February 2006 14:26 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Friday, 10 February 2006 16:31 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Friday, 10 February 2006 16:36 (7 years ago) Permalink
"I'm the singing voice for the new Barbie movie 'the Barbie Diaries'... totally rad right? Who doesn't love Barbie? C'mon she's my hero!"
(Song's kinds disappointing, though; sorta halfway betw. "Billy S." rehash and Lohan-Duff imitation, which isn't bad in principle except "Billy S" is her worst song and there are better Lohan and Duff tracks and anyway we've already got Lohans and Duffs.)
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Friday, 10 February 2006 17:09 (7 years ago) Permalink
Proper album pushed back to mid July, but word on the street is she's recording some songs with the Matrix (possibly just a rumor). I imagine she didnt have much say in the writing/production of the Barbie tracks, but she wrote and recorded everything on the new one (not sure about the re-recorded version). Billy S her worst song? I don't really hear it in the Barbie track.
― nameom (nameom), Friday, 10 February 2006 20:41 (7 years ago) Permalink
you were right about the kelly clarkson song, but i think that the best proof of its country tendencies is its obsessive seeking of solution wrt domestic melodrama
We're talking about "Because of You" (most of the discussion was on last year's thread), which I'm now trying to make sense of since it's only been on the charts for half a year and gone double platinum as a single (not to mention the 5 million the album has sold). When I first heard it I pretty much dismissed it as an OK adult-contemporary heartbreak song, suitably quiet and sad but not up to the Kelly's previous three singles. Now, having paid attention to the lyrics and thought hard about where its music is coming from and so forth (and finally doing what I can to study the video on the postage-stamp screen that Launch Yahoo gives you in dialup), I'm hearing a completely different song, something of intensity, something that feels loud even with the quiet accompaniment and the controlled singing. And I think it is out of bounds for country. Which is to say that though I can imagine Faith singing in this style she probably wouldn't go for this melody or these words; and though I can imagine LeAnn going for both the melody and these words and totally nailing it in performance, she'd probably decide that it would be bad for her career at this point to release it.
First the words: it isn't just that they're unremittingly despairing, since you could say the same about country classics like "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "The End of the World." But those don't feel like despair, or they take a different approach to despair, or something. (I've always considered "End of the World" a beautiful, sweet delight.) In general, country's "life falls apart" story belongs to its standard romance cycle: "My heart is broken, now I'm drunk, now I'm going to fuck up again and again," is mined for a lot of rue and a lot of comedy. It's something country is comfortable with. Whereas "the relationship was fundamentally pathological and has left me unfit to live" is not standard for country, even if it's fine on Oprah and adult contemporary and Radio Disney.
Also - and this is interesting - I'd never thought of it as a domestic drama until last night when I started examining the video: house in the suburban night, we're looking in through the window at a couple arguing, then we're in with them in the fight, a child watches glumly, a man upends a table in anger; then a different scene, the little girl shows daddy something she's made, daddy burns it on the stove; a woman leaves, a little girl leaves.
Before studying the video, I'd just naturally assumed this was a romance-and-dysfunction song like most of the ones that precede and follow it on the album, that the narrator was addressing a former boyfriend who'd left her devastated. In fact, that's a perfectly good way to read the song; the "you" is never identified. But if we factor in the video, the narrator has to be the little girl grown up, and she's addressing her parents: "I heard you cry every night in your sleep/I was so young/You should have known better than to lean on me/You never thought of anyone else/You just saw your pain/And now I cry in the middle of the night/For the same damn thing/Because of you/Because of you/Because of you I am afraid/Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk/Because of you I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt/Because of you/I try my hardest just to forget everything/Because of you/I don't know how to let anyone else in/Because of you/I'm ashamed of my life because it's empty/Because of you I am afraid/Because of you."
Anyway, I don't know of anything like this in country, though that may not be because it's not there but just because I don't know the genre well enough. Haggard's "Hungry Eyes" suggests something difficult (like, maybe sometime mommas are too hurt to try); maybe there's more. (Subject for further research: Hank Snow.) But "Because of You" is more in the territory of Faster Pussycat's "House of Pain" and Everclear's "Father of Mine" and Pink's "Family Portrait" and Lindsay Lohan's "Confessions of a Broken Heart" and Ashlee Simpson's "Shadow." The country equivalent? Maybe LeAnn Rimes' album track "No Way Out" if you decide she's talking about her relationship to her dad. (But didn't the country audience make clear that they didn't consider that album country?)
I'll continue this thought later, but there's something going on - though subtly - in the sound of "Because of You" that also isn't yet a part of country, and that's goth. [Which I have talked about on this teenpop thread but still haven't worked out.]
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Sunday, 12 February 2006 14:01 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Easton, Sunday, 12 February 2006 22:23 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Monday, 13 February 2006 03:05 (7 years ago) Permalink
Also, the way the song is, the way it's sung, it was easy for me to not pay much notice to the words the first 20 or so times I heard the song, and for a while after that not to take much more away from them than "Because of you I am afraid." Whereas "Addicted" nails its point in the second you hear it: "It's like you're a drug/It's like you're a demon I can't face down/It's like I'm stuck/It's like I'm running from you all the time/And I know I let/You have all the power/It's like the only company I seek/Is misery all around."
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Monday, 13 February 2006 03:49 (7 years ago) Permalink
Departure from her 'heavy' pop-rock sound, and the ballad, towards more blues-pop-based sounds; the initial strong chords get buried under the synth beaths. First impressions say not at all as strong as 'Since U Been Gone' or 'Behind These Hazel Eyes'
The verse is pretty much identical to the verse sections of 'Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen' by La Lohan - cadence, rythm etc. even though her enunciation is very pronounced.
Chorus is very familiar to me, I'm sure someone can identify what it's reminding me of...
Aparently written by Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace
― Abby (abby mcdonald), Monday, 13 February 2006 11:27 (7 years ago) Permalink
(My favorite of the remaining nonsingles is "Hear Me," which has probably the greatest wailing quasi-goth torment on the album: the emotions of "Because of You" and "Addicted" amped up to 10.)
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Monday, 13 February 2006 21:58 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Eppy (Eppy), Monday, 13 February 2006 22:40 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Eppy (Eppy), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 00:22 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 10:25 (7 years ago) Permalink
But for all that, the sound is way more tepid than it ought to be. Or that's how it seems right now, with my not yet having swamped myself in her songs.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 22:41 (7 years ago) Permalink
Anyway, this is the Sugababes covering "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor":
― Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 22:52 (7 years ago) Permalink
The song, by the way, sounds good but not great. Nice to hear Pink's voice.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:02 (7 years ago) Permalink
One of the themes of this thread is that teenpop is hardly just play play play joy joy joy kids kids kids fun fun fun.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:09 (7 years ago) Permalink
Tash Bed launched her solo career with a track called "Single", which was a kinda P!nk-esque "I am a WOMAN and will take no shit from you MEN" track with a few catchy bits and an awful video. I always got the feeling that the reason for "These Words" as the second single was so people wouldn't assume she was a lesbian.
I think my problem with calling her teenpop is that she always has been, and always has been marketed as, the dance-wing of Dido.
― Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:13 (7 years ago) Permalink
It's about the Sugababes covering "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor"
― Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:14 (7 years ago) Permalink
So, I sort of want to like this mohawked and punkabillified (where, um, "billy" means "ska" I guess) Horrorpops album *Bring It On!* on Hellcat. Bang Sugar Bang made my top ten last year after all. I guess the idea is making the Dance Hall Crashers or early No Doubt rock as hard as the Distillers or something. And I don't *not* like it; it's not *not* catchy; it all sounds perfectly pleasant, but also nothing on it is reaching out and grabbing me. I'm thinking the problem might mostly be the singer (whose hairdo makes it look like she has devil's horns); her voice is probably too thin, but then again the rhythm section is probably too thin too. But at the same time, I'd say both the vocals and rhythm are COMPETENT. Shrug. Jeanne, have you heard this? I have a feeling I'd trust your Horrorpops judgement implicitly. Also possible that they just don't have songs (where Bang Sugar Bang have NON-STOP songs). And if they DO have songs, which they might, the Horrorpops singer just can't put them over, for whatever reason. -- xhuxk (xedd...), February 15th, 2006.
― xhuxk, Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:14 (7 years ago) Permalink
Back to the Pink vid, and to repeat something I said over on the rolling country thread: I may not know much about videos these days, but I know from stupid, and whatever you think about Jessica Simpson's cocktease routine in "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," it's not stupid: Get out of car, swing your hips, prance into rowdy redneck club, get guys to beat themselves up over you, flirt with Willie, sashay out, leaving the joint in shambles. You may not like that version or that vision of girl power, since it's not the one that the enlightened We-who-know-better embrace and doesn't prefigure Our hoped-for social transformation, but it's not stupid.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:21 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:22 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:30 (7 years ago) Permalink
I'm not sure that the U.S. has a Dido equivalent: Sheryl and Alanis would be occupying that social spot, but neither is hitting big at the moment. Maybe the spot is currently occupied by Kelly Clarkson heaving her voice and guts at us. (She seems to be occupying twenty or so spots.) Hooray for us!
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:40 (7 years ago) Permalink
I would also like to ask our English friends for thoughts about Mercury Prize nominee KT Tunstall, whose imminent (here) *Eyes to the Telescope* (especially "Suddenly I See" and maybe "Miniature Disasters" and "Heal Over" so far; "Universe & U" kinda stinks) I have been enjoying this weekend in a sort of vaguely jazz-folky post-Laura Nyro/Rickie Lee Jones stewardess-pop (stole that idea from an old Xgau Quarterflash review!) sort of way, which is to say approx. 15 percent country maybe, though I could see her appealing to an '06 US country audience if they heard her. Have no idea how she's heard or thought of in England. If I pay closer attention to the words will I hate her? I am sort of scared of that. -- xhuxk (xedd...), January 1st, 2006.
The KT Tunstall tracks I don't like are probably more Natalie Merchant than to Nyro/Rickie Lee. Second most energetic and therefore likeable song after "Suddenly I See" (which is a real good dance track) might be "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," with its sort of Diddley beat.
-- xhuxk (xedd...), January 2nd, 2006.
― xhuxk, Thursday, 16 February 2006 14:18 (7 years ago) Permalink
― ESTEBAN BUTTEZ~!!! (ESTEBAN BUTTEZ~!!!), Thursday, 16 February 2006 14:27 (7 years ago) Permalink
Joseph, is "Black Horse and Cherry Tree" really about a horse asking KT to marry him, and she says no? That's what she seems to be singing about. Wacky! Though it would be even wackier if she said yes! Also, tracks # 2,3, and 8 have good power-ballad buldups, I have decided. -- xhuxk (xedd...), January 3rd, 2006.
is "Black Horse and Cherry Tree" really about a horse asking KT to marry him, and she says no?Yup: Her black horse is Joni Mitchell's Coyote, I figure. -- Joseph McCombs (jmccomb...), January 4th, 2006.
― xhuxk, Thursday, 16 February 2006 14:34 (7 years ago) Permalink