Thursday, May 31, 2012

My New Obsession Is "My Car Pay (4 My Bitch)"

My new jam is called "My Car Pay (4 My Bitch)". Yes, I'm now officially one of those tragic white guys that drive around the suburbs blasting hood anthems in their cheap Korean vehicles. Fuck my life. If I had any shame, I'd be embarrassed but I don't and the infectious club-banger is the year's guiltiest pleasure. In addition to stunning lyrics like "my car pay for my bitch, my bitch pay for my dick" and a backing track that I'm pretty sure I heard in Ibiza in the early noughties, the video remakes Michael Jackson's "Thriller". So who is this modern poet? Genasis is a G Unit rapper - 50 Cent's crew - and he clearly has a sense of humour. Or perhaps he is just completely delusional. Either way, this is a lot of fun and I'm completely obsessed.

Luciana - Jump (Rocket Pimps Mix)

It's a big week for Luciana. The dance deity kicks off her Australian tour on Sunday, her collaboration with Tiesto and Wolfgang Gartner "We Own The Night" is predicted to top the UK club chart and she's releasing a brand new single called "When It Feels This Good". On top of all that, "Jump" - her Cube Guys feature - looks set to climb into the UK club chart top 10 this week. When you're hot, you're hot! To celebrate the impending arrival of Luci, I've posted one of the new UK remixes. They're all good but I prefer the Rocket Pimps mix (below). It erases the original's goofy house elements entirely, which will sit well with dance fans who like their Luciana vocal hovering above dirty electro beats. Expect a review of one or more of the diva's Australian shows very soon!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Calvin Harris Does Florence

I've been a huge fan of Florence + The Machine since the beginning but Ceremonials just doesn't float my boat. It's not a bad album by any means but the spark - and quirky pop sensibility - that made Lungs one of the best debuts in recent memory is missing. That's not to say it's a complete waste of time. I have a soft spot for "Shake It Out" and "What The Water Gave Me" is a mysterious delight. You can now add the Calvin Harris mix of "Spectrum (Say My Name)" to that list. While the Scotsman appears to have completely lost the plot as a producer (that hideous Scissor Sisters' single is Exhibit A), he can still knock out a decent remix. Florence now has a towering club anthem to plug and it could be just what she needs to get European fans back on board. It's probably a little too dance for Australian radio but I approve and think a remix album is now officially warranted. Listen to Calvin breathe some life back into music's moodiest bitch below.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Toy Toy!

56 years ago a beautiful angel called La Toya Yvonne Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana. It didn't take long for her earthly mission to become apparent. Toy Toy was sent from above to spread a message of peace, love and big backdoor-rubbing through a collection of uplifting songs that simultaneously soothe the soul and inspire random chest-to-chests. With so many classic anthems under her belt, it's hard to single out just one for her birthday celebration but, after much deliberation, I've settled on her iconic 1988 US 12" single "Such A Wicked Love".

The Full Force-produced urban-pop jam is an absolute triumph. La Toya delivers one of her finest vocals and shows her edgy hood credentials with a stunning rap. It's an extraordinarily catchy piece of fluff that should have gone straight to number one. And probably would have for anyone else. Instead, it was destined to become a cult classic. That status was helped by an unforgettable performance on a Bob Hope special in 1989.

According to legend (and Wikipedia), Toy Toy's electric performance was censored for prime-time viewing. It seems her sensual dance moves were too much for American viewers. I can understand why they were overwhelmed. The thinking man's Jackson delights with choreography that would paralyse Beyoncé and, bizarrely, spends an inordinate amount of time handing out hats to unimpressed spectators. You know your fave could never - so take a seat, shut up and bask in the magic of a master entertainer.

Here's to the next 56 years, Toy! x

Monday, May 28, 2012

Jack Vidgen Destroys Beyoncé's "I Was Here"

I draw the line at bashing children. Australia's Got Talent winner Jack Vidgen seems like a nice kid and I wish him all the best for his career but please leave the Beyoncé songs alone. Especially something as meaningful as "I Was Here". The Diane Warren-penned ballad is the love-it-or-hate-it song on 4 but after hearing King B's emotional rendition at Roseland, I'm definitely in the former camp. Most of the criticism directed at the power ballad focuses on Bey's age. A lot of people simply feel she is too young to interpret the reflective lyrics. I wonder how those same bitches would feel about a 15-year-old boy tackling the song. But it's not only Jack's age that is cause for concern. Insipid is the best adjective to describe the underwhelming production and the teenager doesn't quite have the vocal prowess to hit the high notes, dragging the whole thing into comedic territory towards the end. Listen to the cold-blooded murder of a modern classic below.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Loreen Remixed - Eurovision Winner Gets The WAWA Treatment

I really don't give a fuck about Eurovision. I know that's an unpopular attitude among pop fans but the competition is less relevant than Melanie C. However, the odd gem still pops up occasionally and this year produced two stellar songs. I've already expressed my admiration for the flawless French entry by Indonesian superstar Anggun and there's no denying that the winning anthem is something of a triumph.

"Euphoria" by Swedish Idol flop Loreen encapsulates everything right about Eurovision. It's a beautifully crafted piece of pop with a powerful vocal and volcanic chorus. There is an element of camp but - importantly - it's not a parody like the vast majority of entries. I'd like to think that "Euphoria" would have been a crossover hit without the competition.

Loreen's UK record label obviously thought so. They commissioned a remix from Polish house-maestros WAWA before the show aired (below) and I've been spinning it on repeat. I love how loyal it is to the original and think the mix would work in clubs from Adelaide to Atlanta. Could "Euphoria" be the biggest Eurovision hit since that Ukrainian tranny snatched everyone's wig in 2007? Time will tell but I'm hopeful.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kylie's Time Bomb - Song & Video Review

When I first heard "Time Bomb" my blood ran cold. I imagine Madonna fans must have experienced a similar feeling when they were first ear-raped by MDNA. But Kylie's cheap and cheerful electro-anthem is a grower and by the third or fourth listen I was on board. However, I stand by my initial evaluation. If anyone else recorded the song, I would be tearing it apart. "Time Bomb" sounds like a Rachel Stevens B-side from 2003 - only with worse production. What was Dada thinking with those tragic electric guitars? And I'm not even going to comment on the lyrics, which make Dannii's domestic abuse-themed club-banger "Love Fight" song like "War & Peace". Luckily, I'm hardwired to love Kylie and this effort proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could listen to her fart over a death metal instrumental and still enjoy it.

But enough with the criticism. While "Time Bomb" is far from the Queen of pop's best single, it is one of her smartest. The song is already top 10 on iTunes around the world and could turn out to be one of her biggest hits in years if radio plays along. Kylie has finally woken up to the fact that the mainstream doesn't really care about her experimental output or mid-tempo dance anthems (ie. 90% of Aphrodite) and dropped an incredibly commercial lead single. It's generic and sounds like everything else on radio. That's not a criticism but a compliment. She can still do current - unlike Madonna. I also hope they're lining up a bunch of remixes from low-rent DJs that actually get played in clubs instead of the usual too-cool-for-anyone-not-living-in-Hoxton crap they usually serve up.

And then there's the video. If you ignore the first minute, which looks like it was filmed on Dannii's iPhone, it's rather brilliant. I love Kylie's lipstick-lesbian makeover and the scene where she's writhing around on the motorbike is the hottest she has looked since the Fever era. It's dumb fun that appeals to the lowest common denominator. So it might even be played outside of gay bars. I know this post might sound negative but "Time Bomb" has really fired up my enthusiasm for her new album. Jake Shears' fag hag is coming for your faves this time around. Even if she has to sacrifice a little on quality.

Song = 7/10, Video = 8/10

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Luciana - When It Feels This Good - Video Review

Luciana dropped the video for her brilliant new single "When It Feels This Good" earlier today and it's absolute winner. The high-camp visual extravaganza finds the holy Queen of clubs rollerblading down Hollywood Boulevard with a gaggle of scantily-clad gal pals in hot pursuit. The duchess of dance then steals Richard Vission's van, poses saucily in a bright orange Louise Brooks wig and goes on a massive bender. So it's basically a gritty, fly-on-the-wall documentary about Ms Caporaso's lewd LA lifestyle! I love everything about the clip. It captures the diva's irreverent attitude perfectly and has a distinct '70s aesthetic that sets it apart from similar girls-gone-wild videos. But enough about the year's best short film. How amazing is the song?

Over the past six or seven months I've heard previews and even an unfinished demo but nothing prepared me for this triumph. This is Luciana's best single since "I Like That" and, with a bit of luck and radio airplay, it could be just as successful. Richard Vission's beats come harder than a porn star and that topline is a work of art. Luci has written the chorus of the year! More importantly, "When It Feels This Good" represents a step away from the electro-shouting that has become super-songwriter's trademark. There's a bit of that but the official follow-up to "I'm Still Hot" is first and foremost a pop anthem with broad commercial appeal. The song formerly known as "Swagga" is already climbing the ARIA club chart and will no doubt feature prominently in Luciana's setlist when she tours Australia next month.

I'll let you know when it hits iTunes. In the meantime brace yourself for RSI from hitting the repeat button below.

Kate Ryan On The Pop Panel

Sunday night's Pop Panel was a lot of fun but there was something missing. A few days earlier I had invited Kate Ryan to take part but didn't hear back from her in time and just assumed the pop icon was too busy. Imagine my surprise when I found her votes in my inbox this morning. And what amazing commentary! Belgium's third most famous export after chocolate and sex offenders is a natural. She says exactly what she thinks and isn't afraid to throw some shade. I shouldn't be surprised. After all, I only got to know Kate after she dragged me up and down Twitter for this post. Could your fave? Since then, we've become cyber lovers. I stan for the dance diva's duet with Charlotte Perrelli and I'm really excited about her upcoming Electroshock album. The first two singles have been great but the latest cut is even better. "Robots" finds Kate moving in a sexy new direction. I love everything about it and the video (below) is a revelation. It's like a cross between Kylie's "Wow" and Lady Gaga's "LoveGame" - only with more class and style! Now  brace yourself for Kate's stunning pop analysis.

Spiritus – Lisa Mitchell (Video)

Kooky ex-Australian Idol contestant is about to go on a tour of churches to promote her new spiritual EP.

Nothing special. Reminds me of a similar ex-Belgian Idol winner Kato. Check out her clip. 2/5

Eric Saade Ft. Dev – Hotter Than Fire (Video)

Swedish hunk has remixed his latest single for the UK.

This will not stand out anywhere I'm afraid. I also don't like Dev's look in this video. She's too plain. And what's up with announcing each other at the start of every collab? That's so 2010! 2/5

Rita Ora – How We Do (Party) (Video)

Rita is blowing up the charts in Europe with "RIP" but this is her US/Australian debut.

I absolutely loved "RIP", especially the pre-chorus "can you-ou-ou-ou fee-hee-hee-hee-eeel". This one is a decent pop song trying to hide in a "bad girl" video. 2/5

Kate Miller-Heidke – I’ll Change Your Mind (video)

Australian indie-pop diva gets bloody in the video for her stalker anthem.

Video = 5/5. Well done Kate! Cool video. Song = 3/5. Production + mix =  0/5. Sorry!  

Trey Songz – Heart Attack (video)

R&B god calls on Kelly Rowland to star in his video. So you know it has to be good.
The world needs more R&B instead of those Americans wanting to make dance! 4/5

Clark Owen Feat. Lena Katina – Melody (Video)

That Russian chick from t.A.T.u. is back to voice a generic club anthem.

Decent '90s Eurotrance. All those sounds are now being used in the new urban productions. Good for them to still release "original style". 4/5

Flight Facilities Ft Grosvenor – With You (video)

Sydney duo get animated for latest clip.

Love it ! Great vibe to it. Reminds me of chilling out on the beach in Ibiza after a wild night. Well done, wanna work with them! 5/5

Kate's Single Of The Week

Gangkiz – Honey Honey (Video)

Korea's trashiest girlband unleash 7 minute debut video. That noone can understand.

Love IT! Disco, kitsch, glam all the way. Go girls! Korean Bananarama! 5/5

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beyoncé, Rih & Baby Blue - 5 Years From Now

Consider my entire existence slayed. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

La Toya Reveals The Secret Of Beauty

When the going gets tough, I always ask myself - What would La Toya do? Admittedly, the strategy hasn't got me very far in life but the empress of pop, dance, disco, R&B and country never fails to brighten my spirits with her poise, grace and insightful words of wisdom. Need further proof that Toy Toy is the deluded thinking man's Deepak Chopra? Check out the vocal giant's stunning exposition on the importance of beauty (below). This iconic clip is everything and more. I don't even know where to start - every second is a revelation! But here are some points:

1. How brilliantly scripted was Counterstrike? The dialogue is incredible.
2. Has a woman ever looked more lovely? La Toya is the epitome of elegance and class.
3. Toy's computer is bigger than my car!
4. These words turned out to be eerily prophetic for the Jackson clan.
5. Madonna's cameo at 1:35 minutes is the best thing she's ever done.

Watch. Worship. Wallow in her magnificence.

Pop Panel 2012 - Volume 5

Another week, another outpouring of catty comments and general bitchiness. Yes, friends - it's time for another edition of Pop Panel! This time around I tried to feature a broader spectrum of pop. There's an Australian contingent, some Euro-pop, American superstars and more stunning K-pop divas. I'm pressed at the treatment some of my faves receive but I'm here for the winner, who attains the highest score thus far in Pop Panel 2012. It's not surprising because the song is flawless. Ok, let's get started. Tonight's Panel consists of the following acid-tongued hoes:

Bobby (UK) writer of Don't Stop The Pop
Jacques (Aus) writer of The Prophet
Mike (Aus) author of this classy blog
Robbie (US) writer of Chart Rigger
Toya (UK) writer of Toya'z World

We are also joined by the following guest judge:

Adem Ali (Aus) writer of the amazing Adem With An E, diehard Madonna fan, Drag Race enthusiast and Geelong celebrity.

As usual the results are ranked from lowest to highest.

Trey Songz – Heart Attack (above)

R&B god calls on Kelly Rowland to star in his video. So you know it has to be good.

Adem: Not even the aid of Queen Kellendria Trene Rowland in the video clip can save this song and MV from sounding not only like everything else playlisted on radio, it also sounds about 18 months too late. 0/5
Bobby: Chris Brown comparisons aside, this is like watching paint dry. Incredibly shit. 0/5
Jacques: This is so fucking middle-of-the-road nothingness and seeing K-Row in the music video just made me wish she was singing on the track too. 2/5 
Mike: You just know a song is gonna be massive when Kelly takes time out of her hectic hitmaking schedule to appear in the video. Right...? I love Trey's voice and appreciate Rico Love's 2008-all-over-again production. There just needs to be a remix featuring Tenitra for this to get full marks. 4/5
Robbie: Imagine if either of these two flops were relevant? 0/5
Toya: It's just there isn't it? Not horrible. Not amazing. Just a typical R&B album filler that does not feature him singing from his penis. I hope his next single slays me because this really isn't IT. 2/5
Total = 8/30

Rita Ora – How We Do (Party) (Video)

Rita is blowing up the charts in Europe with "RIP" but this is her US/Australian debut.

Adem: Urgh, this bitch pretending to be K$. Not here for your skanky minge Rita, sorry love. 0/5
Bobby: A vast improvement from her last single but I get the feeling I've heard this all before. Still, isn't Rita from Maida Vale. Where the hell did she get an American accent? Did she steal Madonna's? 3/5
Jacques: I just cannot with this Rihanna knock-off singing this hip-hop version of a Katy Perry B-side. Gay-Z need to stop trying to create these boring-as-fuck artists like Rita and Alexis Jordan and focus his energy on writing shady cheques to Z100 and Hot 97 so they'll spin Beyawnce's shitty records. 0/5 
Mike: Now this is better. I liked "RIP" but it was as dead inside as Britney Spears. "How We Do" is a big dumb party anthem with an epic chorus and cool sample. It doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel but the queen of Albanian pop needs a hit on the board before getting too experimental and this should do nicely. 3.5/5
Robbie: I'm all for three-dollar prostitutes getting off the streets and having success in the mainstream, but, at best, this sounds like a Willa Ford B-side from 2001. Actually, that would imply some merit to the song. It sounds more like a Lolene B-side from 2010. 0/5
Toya: Fun, carefree party track with a catchy sing-a-long chorus and some fun chants. At first I thought it could easily have been sung by Katy fucking Perry but after a few listens, you don't hear anyone but Ora. A bit generic. 3/5 
Total = 9.5/30 

Eric Saade Ft. Dev – Hotter Than Fire (Video)

Swedish hunk has remixed his latest single for the UK.

Adem: “And Eric Sa-ah-dae!” The song may not be as good as Saade's monumental "Popular" from last year and it may also include the slightly horrifying Dev but "Hotter Than Fire" actually goes alright. But can anyone explain to me why Dev looks like a slightly-femme mash-up of Stockard Channing and Tracey Thorn? 3/5
Bobby: I hate it when "pop stars" wear sunglasses in videos indoors. 3/5
Jacques: "She's hotter than fire"? How original. And my God, how many songs does Dev fucking feature on? Every week there's something new. I could understand it if she was actually any good, but she's got a voice that makes La Toya Jackson look like Celine Dion by comparison. DEVoid must give a really good blow job. 0/5 
Mike: Seriously, I won't stand for La Toya shade! I'm deducting points from Jacques' K-Pop selection as revenge. But back to Eric. The song is actually better than I expected given that this Swedish douche is utter shit and Dev is the least convincing pop "star" of all time. The video is awful and the lyrics make me want to laugh but I've heard a lot worse. 2.5/5
Robbie: Instead of shooting a kid out of her taco box, Dev should have just shoved Eric Saade up it. 1/5
Toya: Prince charming has the suave moves to make even the most shiteous electro-pop song tolerable. 2/5
Total = 11.5/30

Spiritus – Lisa Mitchell (Video)

Kooky ex-Australian Idol contestant is about to go on a tour of churches to promote her new spiritual EP.

Adem: Remember when Mitchell released that "Coin Laundry" single and everybody was pelting her with silver coins at gigs? Sadly none of that happens in this video but the song itself is not all that offensive even if it sounds like it should come from one of the cheap Lion King sequels that get released straight to DVD. Perhaps I'm still bitter about the abortion she operated on Blondie's "Heart Of Glass" for Australian Idol all those years ago? Whatever the reason, I am really not here for this. 1/5
Bobby: I love this so much. Delicious vocals with a lovely melody. I cant wait for the album! 5/5
Jacques: Lisa Mitchell is just somebody I can't help but hate. Her music makes drives me crazy. Not that I think it's bad or there's anything wrong with her. It just annoys the shit outta me. And I can't believe she's from my hometown, Albury! 1/5 
Mike: Lovely. "Spiritus" took a few listens to click for me - I prefer her quirky pop moments like "Neopolitan Dreams" and "Coin Laundry" - but this wafts over you like a cool breeze on a sunny day. I just wish the video was better. It's an embarrassing concept done badly and the styling is horrendous. Lisa looks like she just escaped from a Big W catalogue. 4/5
Robbie: So a bunch of hippies go into a field and have an orgy in the video, and this broad wants to do a tour where she performs at churches? May she be condemned to having Our Dark Lord Satan gnaw on her wicked lady cake for a century. 2/5
Toya: Lisa's voice is really angelic. Heavenly, even. I like how it nicely flows over that summery, tropical-influenced drum production. 3/5
Total = 16/30 

Flight Facilities Ft Grosvenor – With You (above)

Sydney duo get animated for latest clip.

Adem: This cruisy mid-tempo EDM ballad from Sydney's Flight Facilities is one of the better local releases of the year. Borrowing elements from Daft Punk and Hercules & Love Affair, Flight Facilities are on point with this twister of a French-House jam. 4/5
Bobby: The video is brilliant. The song required a second day to sort out the production. In love with the sparse electro synth feel but the vocals sound a little dodgy and the lyrics are dreadful. Shame. Needed another creative week in the studio to perfect it. Want the album though. 4/5
Jacques: At first I that this was lame, but then I started stanning as it progressed. I'm deducting points though for the fact that Dev isn't featured. 2/5
Mike: Effortlessly cool synth-pop anthem that taps into French house without sounding contrived or desperate. I just have issues with vocal - courtesy of the lead singer from Hot Chip. His voice doesn't suit the genre and the chorus falls flatter than Rihanna's chest. Almost there. 3/5
Robbie: I'm used to people throwing themselves at me because they want in my pants, so I totally relate to this song. 4/5
Toya: I don't like the vocal but this lighthearted, pop electronic goodness would make a pretty awesome instrumental. Great bassline! 3/5
Total = 20/30  
Gangkiz – Honey Honey (Video)

Korea's trashiest girlband unleash 7 minute debut video. That noone can understand.

Adem: Korea's Gangkiz hang out in the diner from Spiceworld: The Movie in their seven minute video for "Honey Honey", a song that wouldn't sound too out of place on an album by In-Grid or Alexia. It's very euro, and I guess the clip is very euro too because I've watched it three times now and still don't understand what exactly happened. I'm fairly sure the girls bukkake the poor man at 5 minutes 12 seconds with water guns. Is that what they're doing? 4/5
Bobby: Points for originality and oddity. Sounds somewhat like an extended dub mix of a Betty Boo cut from her much adored 2nd studio album. Goes on a bit but that's the point. I hope. 4/5
Jacques: This is the biggest trash ever. A Euro-pop club anthem that knocks off T-ara and features a lesbian-themed video that makes no sense and runs way too long. Stunning! 5/5 
Mike: I'm with Toya as far as the song is concerned. It's not very good and makes me pine for edgy K-Pop girlbands like INY. However, I'm obsessed with the video. Think the worst Asian sex worker documentary ever to grace SBS and you'll know what to expect. Having said all that, they are better than T-ara and I like the fact that it's so Euro. 3/5
Robbie: This is amazing on 37 different levels — not the least of which is that I *still* can't figure out how these dudes tuck their cocks so well. 4/5
Toya: Horrible song. With a shit name like that, how can anyone take these K-pop tarts seriously? They deserve to be blacklisted. As far as I'm concerned,  if they can't be arsed to subtitle a boring 7-minute video, why should anyone give them the time of day? 1/5 
Total = 21/30 

Clark Owen Feat. Lena Katina – Melody (Video)

That Russian chick from t.A.T.u. is back to voice a generic club anthem.

Adem: Mindless vocal trance with Lena off-of the t.A.T.u. serves as the best track on Pop Panel this round. There's nothing incredibly groundbreaking about it, although when you're giving us Amyl-Nitrate-Realness who cares if it's groundbreaking. 5/5
Bobby: Although Tina Cousins will be pissed Lena has stolen her schtick, I can't help but love this. Lena, if you continue to release music like this you might become a star worth watching. I love how she sounds like Geri Halliwell on the verses. For this reason alone this gets full marks. 5/5
Jacques: This is such a cheap flop but I love it. Lena Katina is the new Kween of the Clubs and you haters will deal! 4/5 
Mike: Who knew that Yulia was the one with all the talent? Lena has the vocal prowess of Cheryl Cole and the sex appeal of Dev but I'd dance to this bogus trance anthem after a couple of drinks (laced with G). 3.5/5
Robbie: Only sexy people should be allowed near a flip cam or a recording studio. 2/5
Toya: Lena from Tatu? Wow. It's been a while. The track? A common electronic/dance song with repetitive sounds. Nothing new or noticeable. It would benefit slightly with a bigger, spunkier chorus. At best, it's a grower. 2/5 
Total = 21.5/30


Kate Miller-Heidke – I’ll Change Your Mind (below)

Australian indie-pop diva gets bloody in the video for her stalker anthem.

Adem: This flawless stalker-anthem now comes complete with a bonza-bonkers video clip and Miller-Heidke looking more like a pop star than she ever has. Great song, great video, excellent lady. 4/5
Bobby: Natalie Imbruglia wants her bonus Dutch track back. 4/5
Jacques: I can relate to this more than I'd like to... 3.5/5 
Mike: Kate Miller-Heidke did the double this week. She somehow succeeded in making QANDA watchable and called Anthony Callea a fuckwit on Twitter. For those stunning achievements I would have given her full marks regardless of the song but "I'll Change Your Mind" is her best single since "Last Day On Earth". The lyrics cut close to home and she looks absolutely gorgeous in the demented video. This is what Marina wanted Electra Heart to sound like but couldn't quite pull off. 5/5
Robbie: This song strangely doesn't suck as bad as every single other one on the Pop Panel this time around. I actually like this quirky ho and her creepy co-dependent jam. She looks like Madonna circa 1992, after getting dipped in a vat full of skank sauce (so basically, Madonna, period). When she stabs herself, it makes me think of pussy. 5/5
Toya: I like this stalker anthem and that video is morbidly interesting. I hope it doesn't give any mentally unstable chicks still pining over their exes any ideas. 3/5
Total = 24.5/30 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Emma Louise Can Do No Wrong

"Jungle" was one of my favourite songs of 2011 but Emma Louise raises the bar even further with "Boy" (below). The beautifully restrained alt-pop anthem is a revelation. Brisbane's best export since XXXX has delivered a gloomy folk song wrapped in a murky blanket of electronic bleeps. It takes a couple of listens to process but eventually unfolds into something quite spectacular. I love Emma's understated lyrics and am convinced that the pixie-faced singer has one of the best voices in music. She creates mood and taps into emotions with an ease that astounds me. "Boy" is probably too subtle to set the charts on fire but it's only a matter of time before she does some serious damage. Perhaps the gloomy songbird just needs the right visual to reel people in? While we wait for the video, download one of the year's best songs from iTunes and snap up a ticket to Emma's soon-to-be sold-out tour of the East Coast.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Luciana's (Latest) Australian Club Tour

The last time I wrote about the Queen of clubs, she had just dropped a video for her Bodyrox collaboration "Bow Wow Wow". Since then the busiest woman in pop somehow found the time to record "We Own The Night" (check out the video below) with Tiësto and Wolfgang Gartner and line up the follow-up single to her Gold-selling Australian smash "I'm Still Hot". It's called "When It Feels This Good" and will be released on Vicious Records very soon. Exciting, right? Brace yourself because it gets better. Luci is coming back for another tour of Aussie nightclubs in June. It feels like five minutes since her last visit but I guess that was November! Here are the dates:  

June 1 - Adelaide (Red Square) 
June 2 - Sydney (Ivy) 
June 9 - Darwin (Mindil beach) 
June 10 - Brisbane (Brisbane) 
June 16 - Melbourne (Crown)

I can't wait. I love hanging out with Luciana and the dance icon always puts on a great show. It will be very interesting to see if "When It Feels This Good" takes off. It's a killer club anthem, so I'm hoping for another "I Like That"-sized smash. Fingers crossed radio plays along. They came around to "I'm Still Hot", so there's no reason they shouldn't. Prepare to be rocked!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

11 Questions With Carrie Underwood

Last week saw the release of Carrie Underwood's hotly-anticipated fourth album. Blown Away is another flawless affair that showcases the 2005 American Idol winner's powerful pipes and evolution as an artist. The sound is still very much contemporary country but the 29-year-old shows her dark side on the positively Hitchcockian "Two Black Cadillacs" and lands an emotional knock-out punch on "Good In Goodbye" (ie. the country "Someone Like You"). There's even a reggae-tinged country-pop explosion called "One Way Ticket" that has crossover hit written all over it. Carrie is heading our way to promote the album with her first Australian tour in late June. I saw her perform an industry showcase in Sydney last year and she was brilliant. It's not too late to buy a ticket. I'm seeing her in two different cities! The Oklahoma-born beauty did some local press to promote the album and I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions. An edited version of this interview appeared on Idolator a couple of days ago but this is the full conversation.

“Good Girl” is adorable crossover country-pop song. Was it a conscious decision to spearhead the album with a more commercial track?
I really don't get into that whole "which song gets released when" game. I just try to make great music and, hopefully, can give everyone 14 tracks that could all be singles to choose from!

With the exception of “Good Girl”, “Blown Away” explores some dark themes on the title track and epic revenge-fantasy "Two Black Cadillacs". What inspired the change in direction?
We just seemed to go in that direction. It wasn't on purpose. I heard "Blown Away" and loved the song. Plain and simple! Then we ended up writing a couple more that were a little edgier. Like I said, I didn't make a conscious decision to sing songs that were darker. That's just the way the album wanted it.

You co-wrote most of the album. Was it exciting to bring your own point of view and life experience to the lyrics?
It's always fun to write. I love creating a song out of thin air. That said, I submit my co-writes like everyone else and the best songs are the ones that make the album. I love to write, but it's not imperative that I write every song on the album. I just want the best album possible.

You’re leading the CMT award nominations – who do you think is your main competition?
You never know who's going to win awards. But, we're such a tight community of performers, that we all support each other and love to get together and celebrate country music. That said, I do hope I take home something!

Your duet with Brad Paisley “Remind Me” is up for a couple of awards. How did the collaboration come about and what was it like working with him?
Brad and I know each other pretty well. We toured together a few years ago and have been hosting the CMA Awards for the past four years. A duet was inevitable at some point in time...we were just waiting on the right song. He came up with "Remind Me" right before he wrapped up his album and asked me if I would come sing on it. A few days later, I was in his studio laying down my part. He is such a great guy and I am happy that I can call him and his family my friends.

You look amazing on your new Billboard cover. Tell us about your new super-glamorous image!
Thank you! I love fashion and love to try new things. It was all about "stepping it up" this time around! I wanted this album to sound, feel and look different from my previous three albums. I got to create more drama in my looks and play around with some styles that I haven't tried before.

Despite your initial reluctance to use Twitter, you already have a huge presence due fan accounts. How do you feel about that level of fan loyalty and do you read tweets that people send you?
The whole Twitter experience has really opened my eyes to fans that I have in other countries. So far, I am having a lot fun with it. It really can be a great way to communicate instantly with fans.

What was it like touring with Keith Urban. Is he as nice as he seems from interviews?
You guys should really be proud to call Keith Urban your own! He is a very nice, talented guy who truly loves music. Touring with him was so much fun and was an experience that I learned so much from and will never forget.

You’re about to embark on a huge tour. What can fans expect from the show?
We have a lot of fun on stage and we want the people in the audience to do the same. I think people can expect to show up and have a great time! I love singing and I think that it really shows in our live concerts.

I saw you perform at a record label showcase in Sydney last year. You were brilliant and won a lot of fans that night. Were you surprised by how well you were received?
I was so happy that we had such a great time in Sydney and in Australia in general. Now I'm happy that I get to actually perform for the public there. I can't wait to get that opportunity! We will be performing at the Sydney Opera House (where I got to take a tour the last time I was in Sydney) on July 2.

“Jesus Take The Wheel” is one of my favourite songs of all-time and has really struck a chord with fans around the world. Why do you think it has connected with so many different people?
I think we've all had those moments in our lives that we realize we need to change some things about ourselves or change the way we've been living our lives. It's a very real sentiment that everyone can relate to. It is certainly one of my favorite songs to sing!

Blown Away is in stores now. Download it from iTunes now. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Re-Birth Of CD Singles?

This time last year I was mourning the death of CD singles in Australia. Major retailers like JB Hi-Fi, Big W and Target stopped selling them and labels stopped producing them. It was a sad - and unnecessary - end for what was a much-loved item for many music fans. Some of my favourite childhood memories involve riffling through CD racks in record stores. Owning a physical copy of a song somehow made it less disposable. I would examine at the artwork, read the credits, listen to the remixes and check out the B-sides. The digital revolution killed all that. But it didn't have to. There's no denying that the way most people consumed music has changed but there is still a place for multiple formats. As the renaissance of 7" vinyl releases in the UK proved - collectors and crazed fans still exist. There is a definite market for CD singles and Australian record labels appear to be paying attention. Finally.

It started off with the smallest trickle. A random CD single would appear out of the blue every few months but now there's a mini-revival on the way. And we have Sony to thank. They started releasing card singles for their Australian Idol/X Factor contingent - Stan Walker, Jessica Mauboy, Reece Mastin and Timomatic - last year and have continued to delight collectors with physical releases for One Direction and Delta Goodrem. This is smart business. Those acts have loyal followings and CD singles can and do help with chart positions. Reece Mastin would not have a second top 3 hit on his resume without the $1.99 "Shut Up & Kiss Me" physical (check out the video below). CD singles also build a bond with fans that can not be underestimated. That CD is now an advertisement that will, in many cases, be moved around someone's bedroom for the next couple of years.

Interestingly, the other labels are starting to catch on. Universal released a physical for Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend", while Warner is dressing up their recent run of CD singles - for Flo Rida and Lisa Mitchell as EPs. Good for them. That comes with the added bonus of an inflated price tag but I'm happy to pay extra for an 8 and 5 track respectively. The next step has to be doing limited runs for major international acts. It's crazy that Beyoncé, Britney, Lady Gaga, Madonna and Rihanna are not getting physical releases here. Not only would Australian editions appeal to their international fans - jump on eBay to see how much Australian prints of "Poker Face" and "If I Were A Boy" now sell for - but their local fans grew up buying their singles and still hunt them down. Mostly, from Germany. Do a limited run and sell them online. It's not rocket science.

And if you do release a physical, please let us know about it. If I wasn't a full-time Twitter stalker I wouldn't know that half of the recent CD singles existed and I really want to give you my money.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Madonna's Best Single & Video In Ages

At first glance you could be mistaken for thinking Lisa Gail Allred is Madonna's vastly younger sister. But the menopausal beauties share more than strikingly good looks. They also boast a similar vocal range and talent quota. Just check out the country queen's viral smash "3 Second Rule" (above). I haven't heard notes like this since... actually, I've never heard anything like this before. Lisa is a truly unique talent and isn't constrained by boring conventions like singing in key. She's above that. Then there's the epic video, which puts her doppelganger's recent effort to shame. "Girl Gone Wild" had gay men dancing in heels. Who gives a fuck? "3 Second Rule" stars the most alluring woman in music and a bunch of uncoordinated boot-scootin' cowboys. The new Shania Twain wins! Shockingly, the future smash isn't available on iTunes yet. I think it's clear who's responsible. Why won't Madonna let Lisa be great?

Serena Williams Is The New Nicki Minaj

Poor Onika. Her reign as the hottest hoe in the rap game is over before it started. It was inevitable with more talented divas like Azealia Banks on the horizon but I'm guessing noone expected Serena Williams to be the bitch that snatched her crown. But that's exactly what happened yesterday when the tennis star dropped her first hood anthem. The as-yet-untitled future classic is the hottest of hot messes but I love her stunning rhymes. Serena's flow is heavier than Janet's first day period with epic lyrics like "on the court I serve them up, no subpoena" and "I cook the track up like a frozen pizza". Iggy Azalea is locked in a room somewhere taking notes. There isn't a lot of information about the athlete's budding music career but I need this to happen. Listen to the hottest urban jam of the year below.

Kat DeLuna's Latest Belgian Pop Triumph

It's time for your fave to take a seat and hand over her wig. Pioneering pop legend Kat DeLuna is back with another Belgian club-banger and, as usual, she raises the bar for popular music to previously unimagined heights. Since re-locating to Europe, the Dominican diva has been on a roll. "Push Push" was one of the best songs of 2010, "Party O'Clock" was stolen by Jennifer Lopez and re-released as "On The Floor" and "Dancing Tonight" shot Queen Kat to the top of the US club chart. Could your fave?

She's currently putting the finishing touches to her next album but somehow managed to squeeze this feature into her busy schedule. "Had A Dream" is reminiscent of recent collaborations with Jean-Roch and Nicola Fasano in that it's squarely aimed at clubbers but this is a vast improvement on those disappointments. Basically a re-worked version of a Belgian trance record called "Producelast", the nuclear-powered dance track sounds fresh and current. I love the chorus and think Kat could have a pan-European club hit on her hands.

The video (below) is a simple affair but RedOne's muse looks amazing and takes the attention away from flop rapper Fo Onassis. Bow down.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Nelly Furtado's Big Hoops Video Is As Crazy As The Song

Nelly Furtado can do no wrong in my eyes. I love her quirky voice, genre-hopping ways and bad Spanish. I also seem to be one of the few people that love her comeback single - at least if its non-existent chart run is any indication. The Canadian's camp must be concerned. Her last English language album sold ten million copies around the world and spawned era-defining hits like "Maneater", "Say It Right" and "Promiscuous". Meanwhile "Big Hoops" is yet to crack the the US iTunes top 200. That's what happen when you wait 6 years! It also doesn't help that the song is crazier than Courtney Love. Darkchild and Nelly were clearly smoking the good stuff when they settled on a half-spoken, chorus-free jam about earrings as a calling card for her new album.

The bizarre thing is that it works. Kind of. Rodney's production goes hard and there are enough little hooks to pull you in. Unfortunately, you need to hear it ten times for shit to click and most people obviously can't be fucked. It will be interesting to see if the video (below) helps her cause. I love how demented it is but I'm sure a lot of people will be scratching their heads. In a nutshell - Nelly walks around on stilts, dances (very) awkwardly, makes weird hand gestures and turns into a Godzilla-sized creature. Oh and there are some random American Indian hoop-spinners. Why not? Fingers crossed it takes off because I need this album to work so we get an Australian tour!

And if the original version of "Big Hoops" doesn't push your buttons, check out the Wideboys remix (bottom of post). This is the gayest shit I've heard in ages. Needless to say, I'm mildly obsessed.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Cancel Eurovision, San Marino Has Already Won!

I'm rarely lost for words but San Marino's Eurovision entry has left me speechless. The tiny principality will be represented by a flawless diva called Valentina Monetta, who has delivered one of the best/worst songs ever to grace/pollute the competition. I'm not going to spoil the magic of "Facebook Uh Oh Oh" by examining its timeless lyrics ("so you wanna make love with me, am I really your cup of tea?") and big budget video, which showcases Valentina's just-escaped-from-a-mental-institution beauty as well as some of the worst visual effects of all time. Seriously, let's just call the whole thing off. I thought Anggun had it in the bag with her epic "Echo (You And I)" but Eurovision is about to get rocked by a redheaded she-devil with a social media fixation. Watch in awe below.

Natalia Guns For Soraya's Pop Crown

I know what's going on here. With Soraya busy burning up the club charts around the world in Poland and Uzbekistan, Natalia is trying to snatch her superstar countrywoman's international pop crown. Sorry, bitch - it's not gonna happen! Don't get me wrong. I like Natalia and her flop dance anthems but she just doesn't have the vocal prowess to match the pride of Extremadura. Could she place 23rd at Eurovision? I don't think so! Many of you are probably wondering who the fuck I'm writing about. Well, the 29-year-old beauty is best thought of as the Spanish Britney Spears. She can't sing or dance but people kind of feel sorry for her. 

Since leaping to fame on a talent show in 2001, Natalia has released five albums. The first two were successful but the last one stalled at number 55. That basically killed her career but she's on the comeback trail and has released a couple of catchy club anthems. "Indomita" is no exception. It was released last year and was well-received. At least online. Not content with conquering Spain with her lyrical genius, the diva is now hoping to reach a wider audience with an English language version. I'm not sure it's the best idea. For starters, Natalia's accent is heavier than Adele and something was clearly lost in translation. The song makes no sense!

But while I vastly prefer the Spanish version, "Indomita" is not without its charms. I love the bubbly Eurotrash production - complete with tragic D-Mol rap - and stupid chorus. The video is also a treat. Despite being a bigger flop than Nicola Roberts, Natalia is apparently chased around Europe by screaming fans. Who is she trying to kid? Apart from that hilarity, Soraya's new nemesis spends most of the clip dancing like an idiot at the club and lying unconscious in bed while a sexy nun fawns over her. So a typical Saturday night in Spain. Watch 2012 classiest production below!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Jay Brannan On Touring, Dysfunctional Relationships & Angry Lesbian Music

Earlier today I had a quick chat with American singer-songwriter Jay Brannan about his new album and forthcoming Australian tour. Since his star turn in the mind-raping sausage-fest otherwise known as Shortbus, the 30-year-old has carved out a niche as the gay equivalent of Ani DiFranco or Aimee Mann. You know, an insightful wordsmith with a knack for getting under your skin with honest lyrics and pretty melodies. His latest single "Beautifully" is already at radio and his third album Rob Me Blind gets its official Australian release on June 1. Both are winners and should be downloaded as soon as they grace iTunes with their presence. Keep reading to see what Jay has to say about his tour, current playlist and the depressing state of gay relationships.

Hi Jay, how's it going?
I’m alright. How are you?

I’m really good. A lot of people are talking about your tour. Are you looking forward to coming back to Australia?
Yeah I’m really excited. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been there. It will be my third trip. The first two were both a lot of fun. The first time I only went to Sydney, the last time I got to expand to three cities and the shows were all great. The audiences were really supportive, so hopefully people will show up again!

I’m sure they will. What can we expect – is it going to be another stripped back, acoustic tour?
I’m kind of a minimalist. I just like to write songs and sing them for people and I’m able make a living doing it that way, so I don’t have to pay big bands to come with me or anything but I like it. I think it’s fun and people respond to it. It’s intimate, laid-back. I try to create an informal atmosphere with a lot of interaction with the audience. It makes me less nervous and it’s personal. People connect with the songs I write. That’s what I do. It’s my singer-songwriter thing.

I saw you last time and it was a great show.
Cool. What city were you in?

Ok cool.

It’s going to be great to have you back and hear the new album live. I’ve actually had a chance to listen to Rob Me Blind and I think it’s a really meaningful album. I just wanted to ask – what was the inspiration behind it because for me there seems to be a bit of a recurring theme of dysfunctional relationships...
[Laughs] I’m pretty sure that’s the only experience I’ve ever actually had in life. That is very much a theme on the album. Dysfunctional relationships as you put it – not just romantic but professional and familial. Frustration and anger and fear and pain – those are the things that inspire me to write. That’s kind of what I do and that’s where the music comes from. I think there’s a little bit more hope on this album than there has been on previous albums. But just a little bit, not too much. I don’t want to be boring.

It’s funny because I was going to ask about the bio on your website. Is your relationship history really that disastrous?
[laughs] Yes. It’s totally accurate. You can decide whether or not I was raised in the mountains by monks but for the most part it’s pretty accurate. That’s the true story. I haven’t really had a relationship in the past ten years, so that was the last one I had.

I think it’s quite reflective of the gay experience at the moment. I don’t know anyone that’s having happy, healthy relationships. Do you feel like a bit of a spokesman, holding a mirror up to the emotional retardation of the gay community?
I don’t know. I don’t think that’s true of lesbians. I think it’s more about men than it is gay or straight. You know what I mean? If straight men had relationships with each other it would never fucking work out.

I think women in general want relationships more and will put more effort into it, whether that’s because of how we’re conditioned or the way we’re raised or the way society views us because of our gender... I don’t know. All the lesbians I know have relationships. So I think you just need a woman in there to make shit happen.

Maybe that’s the key but I don’t know how that would work for me...

“Beautifully” is being pushed over here as a single at the moment. What’s the story behind the song and the awesome video?
I wanted to write a kind of he said/she said song with country-style storytelling. I wrote it from the perspective of the girl actually because that’s always the position I find myself in. You can’t write a good he said he said song because you can’t always follow it. To me the story is bigger than gender. It’s about falling for someone who doesn’t return the feeling. That’s something universal that everyone can relate to and the video, which I’m really happy with, was the idea of the filmmaker we used. The idea is that it takes place at the end of World War II, it’s on a movie set and there’s this actress who is in love with her co-star who doesn’t love her back and I keep popping up in all of the scenes as an extra. So I guess the idea is that I’m an actor working on the set and I’m sort of the only one noticing what’s going on between the actors and how she’s feeling. It’s intercut with performance footage of me singing the song. I’m observing her story, writing it and then performing it. And that’s my story too on set later after everyone has gone.

It’s very impressive.
Thank you.

You’re welcome. I have to ask, who are you listening to at the moment? I was reading your blog and I know you’ve written a bit about Lana Del Rey, who you recently covered (above). Who else is on your iPod at the moment?
Well another person who made an album with the same producer as me is Ingrid Michaelson. I’ve been listening to that album. She’s super-talented and I really like how her music is put together. Do you know Ingrid over there?

I like her. She’s best known here for “Parachute”.
That’s a good one. She’s done a tonne of music over the past couple of years – I don’t know about Australia but she’s done lots of commercials, so she made an album with the same guy that made my album and it’s really great, so I’ve been listening to that one. I love the Lana Del Rey album. I actually kind of obsessed with Nicki Minaj...

I am! That music isn’t necessarily my thing but I think she’s really awesome, so I listen to that a lot. [Laughs]. I listen to a lot of female singer-songwriters from the ‘90s so there’s a lot of that still on my iPod. So like Ani DiFranco, Tori Amos, Sinead O’Connor – who I just discovered five years ago and her voice just blows me away. Sad women.

So you basically have an angry lesbian’s iPod?
Exactly! Tracey Chapman, you know.

I wanted to ask you about being an independent artist. How hard is it to make a living without a label these days?
It’s really hard. I mean it definitely takes a lot of persistence. I always kind of like to warn people that the best way to ruin your art is to go into business with it and try to monetise it. Then there’s all of these other things you have to worry about. It’s not as pure as when you’re making music for the sake of making music. I do have to remind myself. I like to write songs, I like to sing and that’s what I have to keep at the forefront of the whole thing. It takes a lot of work and getting industry help, industry attention – you know everyone is vying for this very limited amount of support out there and the support comes from people who are very afraid of taking any kind of risk. They’re always the last people on board with any sort of change or evolution as to what’s going on in the world.

It’s not an easy path. It’s a lot of trying to beg people to care and that’s not really my style. It is difficult to find a balance but I’ve been very lucky. I’ve made a living for four years just from music, I’ve traveled the world several times. I’ve seen so much of the world. I chill out in these rooms full of strangers who know your songs and they’re singing along and you know the fact that I’ve even written a song blows my mind. So having all this music on iTunes and getting to tour – I never dreamed I’d get to do stuff like that. It’s awesome but it’s definitely hard work and it’s very scary and I also think what am I going to be doing when I’m 60? I don’t have a retirement account, I don’t have health insurance. There are a lot of practical things that are terrifying but I guess I’ll figure it out when it happens.

That’s a bit grim but I definitely think you’re building momentum. The last time you were here it was a bit underground but this time there’s an awareness about you. Have you noticed your profile building?
It’s good to hear that [Laughs]. It ebbs and flows, it comes and goes. I started off as an actor in a movie that put my music in front of a big audience and got lots of traffic to my website. I got a lot from that and then I released a couple of albums in a row. Then I took of two or three years to make this album but definitely the live audience has been growing. Pretty cool, yeah.

Speaking of Shortbus do you think that helped or hindered you in the long run? You must be sick of hearing about it... 
I have nothing but great feelings about Shortbus. People ask me that all the time. I’m not sick of it. I’m not sick of talking about it. It was one of the most meaningful and special things I’ve been a part of. I made some of the most amazing friends you could ever ask for, they’re still my closest friends to this day. We had an amazing time. It was such a creative, organic, nurturing atmosphere and I got lots of opportunities. I got to travel because of that film making its ways around the world. It opened up a lot of doors. I’m really proud of that movie. I feel really good about it. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I’m happy to talk about it forever. [Laughs].

I love Shortbus. People talk about how explicit it is but for me it’s more graphic emotionally.
Yeah totally.

Porn everywhere, who cares? It’s just a dick. But emotionally that movie really fucks you over.
Yeah everybody goes in thinking of there’s sex in it, there’s sex in it but when you leave the theatre that’s the last thing you’re thinking about. I think.

Do you have any plans to do another film?
Desires, yes. Plans not yet. I’m still working on it. I’ve been focusing a lot on my music because I can sort of push that on my own and because I’m travelling and touring so much I’m not in town a lot to go to auditions but I would like to. I’m still trying.

Thanks so much for the chat. I can’t wait to see the show.
Thank you so much. I’ll see you soon.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Pop Panel 2012 - Volume 4

Sorry if this week's Pop Panel is an Adele-sized mess. I've been crazy busy, so it was pulled together faster than Rihanna's last album. And while it's a bare-bones edition, the judges are in fine form and I threw in a few extra songs. As for the winner, I'm pleased. It's a great song but I'm sure you'll agree - after hearing and seeing the runner-up's genre-defining smash - that someone was robbed. Typical! Ok, let's get started. Tonight's Panel consists of the following regulars:

Robbie (US) writer of Chart Rigger
Jacques (Aus) writer of The Prophet
Mike (Aus) author of this classy blog
Stephen (US) writer of The Middle Eight

We are also joined by the following guest judge:

David Lim (Aus) writer of the amazing Feed Limmy, radio host and aspiring electro-pop diva!

As usual the results are ranked from lowest to highest.

Valerio Pino – GogoStar (Above)

This dude fucked Ricky Martin and hosts a modelling show in Spain.  

David: "Welcome to my body, I'm a GogoStar!" Bitch, I was robbed. This should've been my single. Get me my pocketbook, I'm outta here. 1/5  
Jacques: Finally, some class on the Pop Panel. This should be an easy 5/5, but the diamond underwear in the video didn't accentuate Valerio's pino enough. What's he trying to hide? Is he not livin' la vida loca downstairs where it counts? Poor Ricky Martin wouldn't have felt anything when that little Frankfurt entered his cavernous asshole. 4/5
Mike: Trash is my oxygen but this stinking piece of excrement is quite possibly the worst song of all time. 0/5  
Robbie: Talent. 0/5  
Stephen: I can't. Anything else I say will just get me drummed off the interwebs. 0/5  
Total: 5/25  

Willow Smith - Do It Like Me (Rockstar) (Video)

Pre-teen pop tart unveils the 17th single from her most likely never-to-be-released album.  

David: You know this shit is old news when you're watching a Willow Smith video and thinking, God she was so young then! Why isn't there already a mixtape available with every Happy Meal purchase? Her team is taking this project way too seriously. Let's be real. This caca ain't 4. 2/5  
Jacques: As if it isn't enough that the world is forced to sit through Will Smith's terrible movies, now we have to listen to his spoiled brat of a daughter trying to sing. I'd rather insert a placenta into my asshole than listen to another Willow Smith song again. Somebody needs to take Will, his kids, and his lesbonic beard of a wife, stick them in a plane, and then crash it into the World Trade Center. 0/5  
Mike: This song would have been perfect for Talk That Talk - ie. instantly forgettable and utterly generic. I guess it's time for Willow to fuck off now. 2/5  
Robbie: She hasn't retired yet? I would have assumed her massively successful but exhausting career would have taken its inevitable toll by now. This isn't awful. But it would probably get more attention, at least, if it was called "Do Me Like A (Rock Star)". Too edgy, perhaps? 2.5/5  
Stephen: She did this on her spring break? Why is a ten year old imitating Nona Hendrix? (that dates me, I know). I wonder if lil Willow's next single will be the "Love Theme From Men In Black"? Her daddy should feel bad, making her the youngest one hit wonder ever. 0/5  
Total: 6.5/25

Amel Bent – Délit (Video)

French R&B diva unveils latest single.  

David: Fuck me with a warm baguette. I thought that was Mel B stepping out in the video! I really enjoy mama's raspy vocal tones but am not wet for the "Broken-Hearted Girl" slash "Yesterday" productions. It's a little two years too late. 2/5  
Jacques: Somebody tried to get me to post this crackhead French flop on my blog a while back, and I was like HAIL NO. Songs like this prove why the only relevant French diva in the game right now is the iconic Ysa Ferrer! 1/5  
Mike: Don't pay any attention to these bitchy bottoms. It's clear that their Amel hatred stems from the fact that they're all racist! As for "Délit", it's lovely. She has a great voice and I'm still a fan of the Rico Love circa 2008 R&B synth-ballad. Now, where is her sure-to-be-stunning album? 4/5  
Robbie: I wanted to like this, but it's pretty much pussy. Maybe if she straddled one of the flaming piano legs it would resonate more with the masses? Fuck, I need a drink. 1/5  
Stephen: I kept waiting for the bit where she gets smashed by the lighting rig. Alas she didn't and this was a waste of the precious Saturday night time I usually spend cutting my toenails. 0/5  
Total: 8/25  

Jay Brannan – Beautifully (Video)

Since his frequently nude appearance in Shortbus, Jay has been focusing on music.  

David: Jay Brannan is probably the only gay musician I have "classy" and "romantic" sex dreams about. I don't even go there with Darren Hayes, y'all. Jay's proven himself to be a bankable, "intimate" acoustic performer over the years. All he needs now is a song placement on a TV show. 2/5  
Jacques: Anybody who starred in that pretentious piece of shit Shortbus gets a zero from me. 0/5  
Mike: I agree with Limmy. Jay is just a song on Grey's Anatomy away from a much-deserved commercial breakthrough. Despite the occasional dodgy lyric, "Beautifully" is very sweet in a Jason Mraz kind of way. Nice video too. 3.5/5  
Robbie: Sorry, Valerio - this is how I like my gay singers: fragile and tortured. Fuck happy and sexy. 3.5/5
Stephen: He's grammatically challenged, but pretty. Still, who releases a single with the line, "Every time she comes she cries" and expects it to get any play? Actually, though, there is an instrumental part on this track (at 2:35) that's quite lovely. 3/5  
Total: 12/25  

Rihanna – Where Have You Been (Video)

Rih-cycle's latest flop.  

David: The only Talk That Talk song I've kept on repeat since the beginning. The beats are slamming, so don't none of you power bottoms lie to me and say you haven't been strutting to this too. 4/5  
Jacques: I like this song, but every time I hear it I just think of it as the less flawless "We Found Love". 3/5
Mike: I feel sorry for the Navy. I can't imagine stanning for someone as creatively (and morally) bankrupt as the Rihammerhead shark. Take this generic piece of shit. In two years it will be sound more dated than your average Captain & Tenille track. But that's what Riri's about - disposable music for the iTunes generation. Meanwhile Beyoncé is single-handedly revolutionising R&B with timeless classics. She wins. Bye! 0/5  
Robbie: Other than "We Found Love", this is the best song on Talk That Talk. And that's not saying much. 2/5  
Stephen: Mike Wass - this track is slaying all yer faves. Epic. And the video is just what we needed: a lot of dance sequences,outfits and wiggery, When Riri keeps it simple, it's a win. Bouncey is cryin' in the corner. 4/5
Total: 13/25

TaeTiSeo – Twinkle (Video)

Girl's Generation sub-unit unleashes first single.  

David: I love the soulful and vampy swag in TTS' vocals here. The production on "Twinkle" is a proper event! I'm slapping this on a playlist right next to Wonder Girls' "Me, in". 5/5
Jacques: Not only is Girls' Generation the #1 girl group in the world, but even their sub-unit shits on your lousy, talentless faves. "Twinkle" is like all that retro shit that Christina Aguilera used to do, but filtered through Max Martin's Bubblegum machine. I love that some random Girls' Generation sub-unit still sells more records than Britain's biggest girl group, The SaTURDays. Who mad? 5/5  
Mike: I'm not here for sloppy seconds from Girl's Generation and "Twinkle" is a total mess. Wonder Girls have already gone down the retro-pop/soul route with much better results. I suggest these flops jump on YouTube and watch 4Minute's infinitely superior "Volume Up" to see how real K-pop divas do it. Somewhere in Seoul Queen HyunA is pissing herself laughing at this crap right now. 1/5  
Robbie: No. I'm tired of this shit. 0/5  
Stephen: A bunch of tweens pretending to be Janet Jackson. The fluffy white dog is the best bit and I bet he's not on the MP3. 2/5  
Total: 13/25

Little Boots – Every Night I Say A Prayer (Video)

British electro-flop tries her luck again  

David: Victoria's vision of nostalgic dance/pop is something I'm keen to explore a bit further. "Say A Prayer" isn't what you'd expect for a 2012 single, what, with all that '90s house keyboard in your face. But that's probably why I enjoy it. Definite grower. 3/5  
Jacques: I didn't give a flying fuck about Little Boots when she came out with her first album, but the songs she's released since then have all snatched my wig. 3.5/5  
Mike: This video makes me cringe more than Valerio's visual abortion. Ms Boots is rougher than a laborer's hands and the "choreography" is clearly inspired by the time Jacques took too much G and did an interpretive dance outside Palms. I guess it's not all bad. I rather like the kooky production. Should we just wait for a dub? 2/5  
Robbie: I kind of like the faux '90s house piano bit. But the song never really happens like it should, does it? And as for the ironic vogueing, someone needs to tell these dancers that Paris is burning just before throwing them into the flames. 3.5/5  
Stephen: The track is a decent slow burn album cut, but the video is literally embarrassing. She has such an awkward presence (and doesn't seem to know that as she poses). And who is not distracted by that twinky blond queen vogueing his hole all over the screen? Bless. 2/5  
Total: 14/25  

Alexandra Burke – Let It Go (Video)

X Factor flop really wants to be a dance diva.  

David: Can we give this a chance, y'guys? I was ready to hand Alexandra her coat and show her the door after "Elephant" but "Let It Go" actually changed my mind. I think if the category was "pedestrian dance/pop", she would get nines and tens across the floor for this. #Backhandedcompliment. 3/5  
Jacques: Nobody finds Alex Burke a more useless waste of space than I do, and her music is almost as devoid of originality and creativity as that plastic whore Nicki Minaj, but God dammit, I really like this song! I know it's generic filth but it just makes me wanna WERQ 'N' TWERQ till the early hours. If only Dannii Minogue had recorded it instead... 3.5/5  
Mike: Something about this bitch makes me vomit in my mouth. She has a great voice and the occasional good song but she's the musical equivalent of a Sao biscuit. Having got that off my chest, "Let It Go" is one of Alexandra's better tunes. Try the Bimbo Jones remix for the total trash experience. 2.5/5  
Robbie: I almost like that this sounds like a coffee pot percolating up her vajazzle basket. But then I realize, oh, right — it's Alexandra Burke. 2.5/5  
Stephen: The production is so dance track du jour that it's hard to write about. But I speak one truth: It's better than that new trash by The Tweedy. 3/5  
Total: 14.5/25  

Jeronimo – One Kiss (Video)

Dutch twink moves in on the One Direction market.  

David: I love his whole "village twink" vibe with them tees he probably bought at a night market that time he sneaked out with his mama's purse. I'm fucking hooked on my first listen. This is a winner in my books. Jeronimo, boo - take the crown and run for the hills. 5/5  
Jacques: Fuck my life this is atrocious. I thought that it couldn't get any worse than Melody Thornton, and it still can't, but this comes close. 0/5  
Mike: Um, Jacques and Stephen are clearly pressed by this future legend's mind-boggling dance moves and spine-tingling vocal ability. How dare they take their insecurities out on the pride of Europe? "One Kiss" is what The Wanted would sound like if they developed some charisma and - erm - came from Holland.Yes, it's that amazing. And available on iTunes now. 5/5 Robbie: FINALLY, a soul singer to put Usher and all those other lame R&B flops on ice. Jeronimo's stunning dance moves are enough to make The Gloved Corpse rise from the grave, combust into a cloud of pink shimmer and die all over again. 5/5  
Stephen: What is it with all the children today? No no no. 0/5  
Total: 15/25

Foster The People – Houdini (below)

Latest singles from Foster The People's mega-successful Torches album.  

David: I wasn't expecting to enjoy Foster The People as much as I have. "Houdini" was an instant fave from the album and I think it works as a sensible companion to "Warrior", that track Mark did with A-Trak and Kimbra. 3/5  
Jacques: I was going to give this a nasty score because I had a computer malfunction that forced me to sit through TWO fucking Youtube ads, but "Houdini" is too funky and fun to shade. I'm dancing on my own to this, Robyn style. 3.5/5  
Mike: Wonderfully catchy synth-rock jam from a brilliant album made even better by one of the year's best videos. Their beyond-the-grave dancing makes my life 4.5/5  
Robbie: Great jam from one of my favorite albums of last year. I love this video, and I heard somewhere that it was actually shot early last year, before "Pumped Up Kicks" became a hit. I'd totally let Cubbie have some D'luvvin'. 5/5  
Stephen: Hmmmm. I bet these boys get a lot of vajayjay. But we're talking about the song? It's an earworm and the video is sick fun. I watched the bit over and over where they get smashed by the lighting rig. I assume this is based on the true story of Britney Spears? 4/5
Total: 20/25