Friday, June 17, 2011

MIXTAPE: On Mel's Birthday

As much as I like to completely deny its existence everytime it likes to roll around, today is officially June 17th. Which means yours truly is officially one year older (and wiser? hmmm). Rather than moan and groan about becoming one year older, I've decided to accept the inevitable defeat. 24 Years Young isn't too terrible an age to be -- I'm still young enough to do silly things, but I also think it's pretty definite I am officially an adult. So now when I'm asked which college I go to, or -- even worse -- which high school I go to (yes, it happened, and it happened recently), I can smile and say, "None, I'm 24," and not feel awkward. Or at least that's what I tell myself. Yeah yeah yeah -- I'll appreciate it when I'm 40, blah blah. 

Anyhoot -- rather than harp on and on -- here's a larger look at what's blaring in my ears on the day I turned the big 2-4..

NICOLA ROBERTS - "Beat of My Drum"
Baby in the Corner, learning quick
Keep up, Keep up, Keep up
Graduation, take a bow
Look how strong you made me now...
L! O! V! E! 
Dance to the beat of my drum!
Dance to the beat of my drum!

We can all finally rest assured that the case of mediocre post-Girls Aloud albums are over. Sure, Chezza's "Promise This" was fun for awhile and Nudeen's got a killer set of pipes on her, but Nicola was always the coolest Alouder, mostly because she wasn't afraid to be herself. And herself is pretty damn cool. "Beat of My Drum" is everything that a solo dalliance from a Girls Aloud should be -- it's brashy, it's bold, it's a little quirky, and it's very strong in a "I'm a cool, confident woman" kind of way. That and it makes good use of Diplo's truly genius production talents, without sounding like a Robyn knockoff. Well played, Nicola. Very well played. (Dear Beyonce, take notes.) It's not for everyone, but then again, truly intelligent pop rarely is. (Oh yes, I went there.)

ANJULIE - "Brand New Bitch" (or "Brand New Chick" for the more radio-friendly)
And now I'm singing
Oh, been feeling so fly since you've been gone
My face to the sky
Sunglasses on
Turning up the beat so sick
I'm like a Brand New Bitch

A post-David Guetta-takeover dance summer anthem if I ever heard one, and it's from one of the most unlikely candidates to do something in that vein, at least to me. Anjulie is a phenomenal find and has been a personal fave of mine since I first caught wind of her a few years back (thanks to Ms. Audio Diva herself). In addition to her stellar brand of offbeat indie pop, she contributed to the Fame soundtrack somewhat recently ("Big Things" was a secondary theme to the film). "Brand New Bitch" is her most commercially viable and relevant release yet. The change in sound (many will read it as a departure) is both striking and surprising, and I know for a fact that many people may find it in a negative light. But I say pop shouldn't be taken too seriously, and the theme of this cut certainly spells out what might be a very bright new chapter in Anjulie's grand future ahead.

SIMON CURTIS - "Laser Guns Up"
You and me, we got a little secret in our playbook
A little something that'll really shake the game up
Something for the people who don't think that you deserve
Now you gotta seek the weapon that'll take over the Earth
Put your guns up, put your laser guns up...
Take a laser gun and put it in the air
And fire to the sky like...ay ay ay!

Yes, I just talked about R∆ rather recently (if you haven't yet downloaded your copy yet, what the hell are you waiting for? Download it NOW on iTunes and do it as a birthday gift to me. You won't regret.). "Laser Guns Up" is the perfect cut to kickstart a killer album, and is also the perfect cut to kickstart a brand new year taking over the Earth. Party on, fellow Robots, and get your f*ckin' guns up...

Bang Bang Bang, I'm breaking in
Stealing all my love back; giving it to him
Bang Bang Bang, this time I win
I thought your love was all that
Until I let him in

Oh, Selena Gomez. I tried to resist the pop with you, but with each single I realize that denial is kind of ridiculous. Sure, "Bang Bang Bang" isn't quite as poptastic as "Naturally" or "A Year Without Rain" before it, but it's certainly one gem of a track all the same. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise from a Toby Gad co-write (and Priscilla Renee to boot!), but the 80's-esque synth kind of was. Selena is officially the only Disney chick I could see myself hanging out with on a regular basis (minus the Bieber arm-candy third wheel, but whatever floats your boat). In fact, I'm even willing to forgive her for the grinning use of the 2010/2011 hype word of the moment ("swagger"...::shudders::), and to admit I'm totally looking forward When the Sun Goes Down.

I'm a woman, I'm a woman, yes I am
Ain't nobody else can do it like we can
It ain't easy walking in stilettos...but somebody gotta do it...

Kind of an obvious placement if only for the true anthematic, girl power concept coupled with Jordin's strong delivery (I'm a sucker for the "Go Girl" cuts, aren't I?). Jordin has risen to become one of my very favorite American Idol exports, and I can't applaud her enough for being a real girl in a ocean of young women trying to flaunt sexuality for sexuality's sake. She's got the voice, and the confidence -- and it all comes to a very nice head in this fun little romp.

THE SATURDAYS - "Notorious"
I'm the outlaw, I'm the big boss
I'm a gangster on the dance floor...
I la-la-love this track
So if you wanna come with me you should know
I like it, like this beat, yeah
Crazy and infectious
I'ma get my business
But boy, my resume says I'm a bad girl

I've had my quarrels with La Sats of late, but it's hard for me to hate on "Notorious". It's as close to coming full circle to the "If This Is Love" and "Up!"s of years yore as I could have hoped for (minus the Duran Duran references that came up short -- and I was so looking forward to it, too!) after the missteps they took with Headlines! Honestly, I like to pretend that entire "era" was a bonus EP -- I really, really do. Admittedly, "Notorious" was initially in the "grower" category for me, but as the lyrics kittenishly state, it's hard to deny an infectious pop beat, and this one's got one. It has all of the pieces to be a killer girl group record to my ears -- clear 80's influence (although they look a bit more disco 70's on that cover, no?), a big 808-infused bouncing back beat (say that six times fast), a get-it-girl kind of attitude, several spout-worthy lyrics and a hook that won't quit. I'm this close to stating it's a return to the form that made me such a fan of them in the beginning, but only time will tell once the true third record drops. (It also goes without stating that since this is a Saturdays song and I like it, it probably won't ever be considered a "major" hit for them. I tend to be back luck for them in that way...Oh well.)


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!! Hope you had a great day! xxxxxxxxxx

I obviously absolutely love the Nicola single. Also enjoying The Satz single and currently love Whiplash by Selena Gomez especially the spoken bridge after resisting her too!

Myfizzypop said...

happy birthday! I am adoring Nicola but so sad it didn't do better in the UK... The Saturdays continues to grow on me too!!

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