WGO: Long Hot Summer

She lives! Well, as Girls Aloud themselves have said, I am currently enduring a beast of a summer in the City where it's "95 Degrees In the Shade". Not fun stuff, especially when you have no air conditioner! Hence I'm writing to you, my very favorite people, from the comfort of where else -- Starbucks (whoa, total surprise...not). So much has been happening since I've written last (literally eons ago), but I'm here to cover some of the bases as to where my head has been at. Just a reminder to you all -- follow me on Twitter, as no matter the circumstances detaining me from this blog, no one can keep me away from the Tweet-O-Sphere.

  • MAKE-UPS, BREAK-UPS and CHANGE-UPS: Have you heard the news? STEPS is reuniting! (Insert nostalgia-inducing Euro-Frothpop Playlist here.) Admittedly, I wasn't the biggest fan of Steps when they were popular in Europe back in the early 00's, but I did own the US Version of the "One For Sorrow" single (and still have it). ~!~ It's official. Purple Reign, a Darkchild-produced girl group who released a series of seriously ace acapella covers on YouTube as well as a bad-ass mixtape last year are officially no more. Member Toya remains to be the last woman standing in Darkchild's Camp from the group, so check her out on Facebook for the latest deets on her project. ~!~ Pasquelina is officially in the midst of officially changing her artist name once again to Pastele, a short-form nickname of her original solo artist name. I got the news from Pastele herself in person earlier this week when I finally got to meet her in person (after about five years of support spanning back to the Candy Coated Chaos days, if you can believe it!) to discuss some really exciting promotional opportunities. Her first major set of solo performances are coming up next week.
  • IN ALBUM NEWS: The new Selena Gomez & the Scene album, When the Sun Goes Down, is the business. I'm not kidding. There are literally NO duds on it. At all. Period. Believe the hype -- who would have thought we would have such a brillo pop star in faux-witch from the Disney Channel Brigade? But I'm loving it!

  • IN SINGLE NEWS: Several months after checking herself into rehab for her own set of personal issues, Demi Lovato has bounced back into the pop world with her highest charting single to date, the epic ballad "Skyscraper". The song is truly gorgeous, and follows more on the path forged by "Don't Forget", my favorite cut from her debut album. Kudos to Demi. ~!~ Girls Aloud belter Nadine Coyle isn't done with her solo efforts, hence the dancey "Sweetest High". It's a bit of a 360 from her earlier "Insatiable" effort, and is serving as her "debut" into the American market. I'm not quite sure if it's just because I have such high expectations because of her GA background or what, but I'm not jumping up and down over it. Still, it's a fun summer cut. ~!~ The middle Jonas Brother, Joe has finally unleashed on the world his debut solo bow, and while it's not as poptastic as I desperately envisioned it being, the plunky string background is kind of awesome. The fact that Chris Brown wrote it is it's downfall for me, as when I listen to "See No More", all I can "see" is Chris belting it out, and there is no question that he's much more vocally capable than Joe will ever be. Still, it needs to be said that Joe really has improved by leaps and bounds in the vocal department and the song definitely proves it. I'm still willing to hear the full project (due in September) before I make final judgment. ~!~ I know it's suspect, but I'm liking the new Jason DeRulo single, "Don't Wanna Go Home", if only for the 'Beetlejuice' reference.

  • NOW KPOPPING: I honestly never thought I'd be typing this, but I'm kinda digging the new MBLAQ single. Yes, really. I was surprised, too. Blame it on the "say YES!" repetition (subliminal messaging, I think) and the utterly fabulous Spanish guitar strings (and guitar-miming choreography). ~!~ While I was hoping that the summer months would bring us new SHINee to squee over, it appears they will be focusing more on the Japanese efforts. Instead, early August will bring us new Super Junior (RETURN OF THE SUPERIOR!), and given my recent obsession with all things "Bonamana" and "Sorry Sorry" (yes, I'm late, shut up), I'm 'super' psyched (get it?). ~!~ 2NE1 have returned and continue to be the 'best' girl group in Korea, or in fact the world. Oh yeah, I said it. ~!~Duo!TVXQ (or rather Two-hoshinki, since it's Japan....ah, I crack myself up) are in the midst of releasing their first official Japanese bow since "Keep Your Head Down" with the one-two punch that is "Superstar" and "I Don't Know". They are both amazing (duh), but that deserves it's own post... ~!~  I've been finding it difficult to keep up with the reams of rookie (read: new) groups that keep cropping up in Korea, but so far, have found myself quite taken by the likes of the boys in Block B. If you dig Big Bang and vintage (as in 2009) 2PM, methinks you'll be just as in to the 'B' boys. Check out "Freeze" (very American-friendly in terms of sound) for a snapsnot of their style or take a listen to "Halo" which I'm also fond of.
  • ON THE CHARTS: I am SO dissapointed in you, America. For the past three weeks, LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" has been the hottest song in the country. No comment. Just...excuse me while I cry in the corner.

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