Wednesday, February 29, 2012

CLUB SETLIST: February 2012

In an on-going effort to introduce new article ideas to Melismatic, each month or so I'll be releasing a "set list" of my some of favorite current club jams (that's DJ Melismatic to you...). February is Love Month, so the majority of my cuts are reflective of my current mood: dancing with your (girl/gay boy)friends at the club.

Melismatic's February 2012 Club Set List:

01. Jin Akanishi - Test Drive (feat. Jason DeRulo)
02. Whitney Houston - I'm Your Baby Tonight (Dronez Club Mix)
03. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) (Project 46 Remix)
04. M.I.A. - Bad Girls
05. Far East Movement - Jello (feat. Rye Rye)
06. David Guetta - Titanium (feat. Sia)
07. OMG Girlz - Gucci This (Gucci That)
08. Melissa Molinaro - Dance Floor
09. Skrillex - Bangarang (feat. Sirah)
10. Cassie - King of Hearts

Listen to the entire set via my Spotify playlist (and subscribe), or click the cut below and listen to the entire thing online now, complete with commentary (c'mon, ppl - you know the drill...)

Monday, February 27, 2012

MAILBAG MONDAY: The Strange Familiar, Pati Yang, Dolly Rockers

Want to be considered for future Mailbag Mondays? Send in your jams to (preferably with "MAILBAG MONDAY" in the subject line). Now, on to this week's gems...

Song: "Being Me"
Genre: Pop
File Near: A modern day Pretenders

Mod pop/rock band The Strange Familiar were brought to my attention by a friend, and I'm so glad she did! The group aren't exactly new kids on the block -- lead singer Kira Leyden and guitarist Jeff Andrea also led the unsigned group Jaded Era, who released two albums in the early 00's. Their first real big break came in 2006 when Ashlee Simpson covered their song "Invisible" (you know,  her supposed 'comeback' song after her multiple live performance snafus). In Jaded Era's wake, The Strange Familiar was born, and the group has already been featured on a multitude of television shows, most notably on the breakaway ABC Family hit "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" with the Top 10 iTunes single "Courage Is". The group's official debut single, "Being Me," is the fruit of picking up yourself after doubting yourself in favor of "being me". Kira compares herself to Janis Joplin and Lady Gaga in the same verse. If the modern popaudiophile can't relate to that, I don't know who can. Their debut album will be released in late March. Take a listen to "Being Me" here. For free downloads, check out their official website at

Song: "Let It Go"
Genre: Alt Pop
File Near: a more mainstream friendly Bjork meets a less synthy Robyn

Polish pop musician Pati Yang is another one who's in the process of re-inventing herself. She was a member of band Children and electro-rock duo FlykKiller. Her fourth solo project, WIRES AND SPARKS, was released in Poland last May and is now gunning for UK release this April via an EP of the same name with a shortened tracklist. One of the songs featured on both versions is "Let It Go", my favorite of what I've heard so. It's one of those anthematic pop songs that is so large, it feels like it could fill a stadium. Take a listen below.

Song: "Get You Alone"
Genre: Pop
File Near: The Saturdays or Kelly Clarkson-esque Power Pop

I'm a longtime fan of the UK quirky girl group The Dolly Rockers. While their "quirky" genre title may less apply to their musical style these days as it did pre-member switchups and Red-One inclusion, there is no denying just how darn catchy their latest cut, "Get You Alone", is, Red-One production tag be dammed. It's also boasting a Ryan Tedder (of OneRepublic) writing credit. It's decidedly American pop in sound, even more indicative of their newly re-focused sound direction. Any way you look at it, it's all good in the Melismatic hood so long as the pop is good, and it is here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

WGO: Chart Watch (3/2/2012)

UPDATE: If you're curious as to why there have been no posts over the past few days, I wasn't feeling too healthy this past week. Posting will resume in the next few days. I appreciate everyone's concern on Twitter -- I love you all, too!

Below denotes songs and artists of note featured on the Billboard Hot 100 (USA), Hot Dance/Club Play (USA), Heatseekers Singles Chart (USA), UK Hot (UK), Japan and KPOP (South Korea) Charts. Italicized items have been discussed on Melismatic.

Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart:
1. Katy Perry - Part of Me (DEBUT)
2. Adele - Set Fire To the Rain
3. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (DIGITAL GAINER)
4. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You...) (AIRPLAY GAINER)
5. Adele - Rolling in the Deep

6. fun. - We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae)
7. Adele - Someone Like You
8. Rihanna - We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)
9. Nicki Minaj - Starships (DEBUT)
10. Chris Brown - Turn Up the Music (DEBUT)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

WGO: Chart Watch (2/25/2012)

Below denotes songs and artists of note featured on the Billboard Hot 100 (USA), Hot Dance/Club Play (USA), Heatseekers Singles Chart (USA), UK Hot (UK), Japan and KPOP (South Korea) Charts. Italicized items have been discussed on Melismatic.

Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart:
1. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) (AIRPLAY GAINER)
2. Adele - Set Fire to the Rain
3. fun. - We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae) (DIGITAL GAINER)
4. LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It
5. Flo Rida - Good Feeling
6. Rihanna - We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)
7. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (RE-ENTRY)
8. David Guetta - Turn Me On (feat. Nicki Minaj)
9. Tyga - Rack City
10. Madonna - Give Me All Your Luvin' (feat. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

BUBBLING UNDER: Cady Groves, Martin Solveig, Frank Ocean, Gotye

Today is my Mom's birthday! Happy Birthday, Mom! ;)

CADY GROVES - "This Little Girl"
Oklahoma youngin' Cady Groves was already two self-released EPs deep into her country-flavored pop career prior to her very recent EP release, This Little Girl, her debut major label bow. Her drive and ability to craft singable songs on her own minus the label help is what gained her an intense amount of public interest, a slot on the Bamboozle tour and a deal with RCA.

Her first single, "This Little Girl," (brilliant hook of "Every girl is capable of murder if you hurt her" and all) still has a slight country bend with a pop sheen and is a promising nugget of what could be coming down the pike. She's already logged time in the studio with Cheiron alumn Kristian Lundin. Fingers crossed. I mean hey, it worked for Taylor Swift. And in my humble opinion, Cady's unique voice is just as pleasing (if not more so)...and pop friendly.

MARTIN SOLVEIG - "Ready 2 Go" (feat. Kele)
Quirky French DJ Martin Solveig was first introduced me to the lovelies in Dragonette (another artist that deserves so much more!) with 2010's "Hello". It appears the gears are really starting to turn in Martin's favor in terms of mainstream success, as his dance single "Ready 2 Go," off his fifth album Smash, has charted in France and the UK, and sounds hand-crafted for America's new found dance meets dubstep obsession.

Oh, and did I mention the fact that he was recently announced as a producer for Madonna's upcoming MDNA album?

JAY-Z/KANYE WEST - "No Church In the Wild" (feat. Frank Ocean)
The song hasn't even technically been released as a single from Watch the Throne (yet) but it was far and away my favorite song from the album when I first heard it. The song was recently featured in a trailer for an upcoming Denzel Washington movie, which could contribute as to why it popped into the Billboard Hot 100 this past week.

No matter the reasoning -- this bass-heavy thudder immediately commands attention (hence its use as the opening cut in the album itself). It also features Frank Ocean on the hook, who's name has been tossed around for several months now as a potential "next big thing". He's already written cuts for Queen Beyonce, Brandy and John Legend, and was runner up in this year's BBC "Sound of 2012" Poll. His formal solo release is expected in early 2012, but for now, he's been touring in support of his mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra.

GOTYE - "Somebody That I Used To Know" (feat Kimbra)
Gotye (go-tee-eh) is hardly a new artist down under (and he recently hit #1 in the UK), but on the back of the hype surrounding the excellent hype single "Somebody That I Used To Know" with Kiwi artist Kimbra, he's starting to gain traction in the States. Once again, American jumps on the bandwagon late, as the song has already scored the coveted 'Single of the Year' title at last year's ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards (the Australian Grammy's). (It should also be noted that Gotye won Best Male Artist, and Kimbra won Best Female Artist.)

The minimalist sound featured in "Somebody That I Used To Know" definitely stands apart from the surge of loud, in-your-face brash dance music that is soaking our charts, and has gained him comparisons to Sting. Heavy stuff indeed. What drew me in to the song was the story told through its four minutes -- it's proper crescendo build-up of instrumentation perfectly melding in counterpart. I'm also a sucker for a creative use of an "odd" instrument (xylaphone anyone?).

His rise to relevancy in America is of the meteroic kind, and makes me lament that this very well could be the kind of 'One Hit Wonder' success that many international acts are subject to. Whether or not that is the case, at least we'll always have Gotye with "Somebody That I Used To Know".

Thursday, February 16, 2012

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Livin' Joy "Don't Stop Movin'"

Perfect opportunity to introduce yet another new column idea in Thowback Thursday -- differing slightly from the Back in the Day format, in these are just 90's jams that you might have forgotten about that have been subject to recent blackhole repeat on my iPod. For our debut session...

Livin' Joy was a eurodance group from Italy that only have a handful (as in two) main hits to their name. My personal fave -- "Don't Stop Movin'" -- was the later of those two, released in 1996. The song went Top 5 in the UK and Top 3 on the US Dance Charts, but where I first heard it was thanks to that ubiquitous CD compliation series that everyone in my elementary/middle school seemed to have -- Tommy Boy Records' Jock Jams. "Don't Stop Movin'" was one of my favorite cuts to spin while dancing around in my room, for obvious reasons. The cheerleader chant interlude that it was paired with on the disc, however, I could have done without. ;)

I'm so predictable. Even back in the day, I was into the positive affirmation dance jams. The unrelenting oompt-oompt bass and hi-hat combo, the vogueing and aggressive choreography, the C + C Music Factory-esque power vocal...they just don't make 'em like this anymore, do they?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NOW KPOPPING: Block B Returns with "NalinA"

"Just look at me, lady
Don't you wanna go crazy?
Wherever I go there are shouts
Coming out of people's mouths...
It's my own thing
Do not copy what's mine
And make it yours...
Because everything about me is perfect"
-Block B,
rough English translation of "NalinA"

The sophomore rookies of Korean boy band Block B made their official debut onto the scene last year with their album, New Kids on the Block (yes, I know the joke is right there in front of me - I'm choosing to ignore it.). In a sense, their style is a fusion of YG's Big Bang and JYP's 2PM, a hip hop meets pop idol feel -- and I stood behind them mostly because out of all of the male rookies, Block B stood out in terms of sound, energy and appeal. Also, their song "Halo" (sonically, ha-low) is really effing catchy.

What's interesting about Block B is their amount of creative input into their music -- leader, Zico, actually serves as a producer for much of their sophomore album's content (not totally unlike Big Bang, which is clearly a huge influence). Also - given their hip-hop-influenced sound, their main stumbling block appears to be the banning of a lot of their music on main music platforms, often because the content is deemed too sexual and therefore too inappropriate for broadcast. (It goes without saying that "too inappropriate" in Korea definitely does not equal "too inappropriate" in the USA -- so clearly I'm not in the right mindset to judge...but you get where I'm going with that one.) In my opinion, this only serves to bolster their "bad boy image", but let's be truly fair. Being blocked on major networks in South Korea is more than just a mere difficulty that can easily be overcome (case in point: JYJ). Without having a medium to promote yourself, it becomes that much harder to connect with an audience -- especially when you're still a relatively young and inexperienced artist.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


This is the part where I write something cheesy about it being 'Love Day' and all, but then I get all cynical like it's only 'Love Day' if you're in love which I'm not. Then I get depressed and want to rant about that until I remember this is a music blog. Le sigh.

Happy Valentine's Day to those of you are able to celebrate it for the Hallmark right reasons. You are all so cute. I'm just so darn happy for you. And I sincerely mean it with no sarcasm.

But for everyone else who's a lil' bit like me, I vote we have our own Valentine's Day party, which involves a lot of dancing, a lot of friends and a lot of attractive photos and videos of the sex you're most attracted to. This year's Cupid of choice...

Swoon. You may be my #2 Bias in KPOP, Super Junior's gorgeous Lee Donghae, but that doesn't mean you have to be #2 all of the time. Something tells me you're exactly the right person to think about on mushy days like these. Excuse me while I go buy chocolates for my imaginary hunky boyfriend, and then envision this, to the tune of "Marry You"...

If you watch it enough times, it looks like his lips are saying "I love you, Mel" in English. No? It doesn't? OK, maybe it's in Korean. Shut up, you probably don't know Korean!

Anyway, readers -- Happy Valentine's Day. And seriously, I do love you.

FYI - If the gifs don't move, click on them. Just saying.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

RIP: Whitney Houston

Honestly, never would I have ever thought when I woke up this morning that I would be sitting here typing these words.

Earlier this morning, while folding laundry and listening to the radio (which to be fair, I don't do so often anymore - I just felt compelled), I found it strange they would play three Whitney Houston songs back to back. It was only once I turned on my laptop and saw the news of her death at just 48 years young that things started to register.

It's almost impossible to put into words what Whitney Houston's influence has meant to me, as a ardent fan of music and of vocal talent. The love affair began with the 1992 soundtrack album The Bodyguard. I wouldn't see the film until years later -- remember, I was just five-six years old -- but the power, the strength, the intensity behind her voice was striking to me, even at such a young age.

When describing what vocal talent is to my ears, what bowls me over, what makes my skin raise up in goosebumps -- that X-Factor is usually related to one person. She is the woman who not only was a huge part of my musical history, but she's tended to be the common denominator in terms of influences for the majority of the female (and some male) artists I would gravitate to. And now, she's no longer with us.

It goes without saying her power will go on, will never be forgotten and will be memorialized through song -- especially with this generation and with future generations who will have grown up listening to her music and the music of other's she's influenced. She was a vocal role model who set a benchmark for pop music.

It is truly, truly difficult to choose the right words in this kind of situation, but vocally, Whitney Houston always was and always will be a hero of mine. Without her, I most certainly would not be who I am -- there'd be no Melismatic itself, as she was part of the reason why I named this blog what I did to begin with.

Rest in Peace, Whitney. I hope you are in a happier, safer place now. Know that your influence will remain, and for now, that will have to be enough. Without further ado, presenting to you -- the greatest rendition of a love song of all time.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

WGO: Chart Watch (2/18/2012)

Below denotes songs and artists of note featured on the Billboard Hot 100 (USA), Hot Dance/Club Play (USA), Heatseekers Singles Chart (USA), UK Hot (UK), Japan and KPOP (South Korea) Charts. Italicized items have been discussed on Melismatic.

Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart:
1. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You...) (AIRPLAY GAINER)
2. Adele - Set Fire To the Rain
3. Flo Rida - Good Feeling
4. Rihanna - We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)
5. David Guetta - Turn Me On (feat. Nicki Minaj)
6. Jessie J - Domino
7. Tyga - Rack City
8. Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa - Young, Wild & Free (feat. Bruno Mars)
9. LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It
10. Bruno Mars - It Will Rain

Friday, February 10, 2012

HEAR THIS: Chris Brown Says "Turn Up the Music"

"Turn up the music
Can I hear it til the speakers blow?...
Just turn it up loud...
I need it in my life, yeah"

-Chris Brown, "Turn Up the Music"

For the lead single off Chris Brown's upcoming fifth record, Fortune, it really doesn't get more simplistic. But combining a basic call to the dance floor and a repetative and singable chorus with stomping synth certainly served him well before. I mean, "Turn Up the Music" is the most pop-radio friendly nugget we've seen from him since "Forever", and that was forever ago (2008!).

I'll be honest when I say I'm still not sure whether or not I'm ready to "forgive" Chris, but the reality is -- the boy's paid his penance. If we can let Rihanna prance around with cuts like "S&M" and "Rude Boy", it would be completely hypocritical to not let him (whether or not she should be warbling on and on about said topics is another debate -- but then again, we can't tell artists what material to record). He's an incredibly talented vocalist and performer. I could do without the petulant attempts to display his "swagger" (and that goes for Rihanna as well, I'm not biased), but perhaps that's why "Turn Up the Music" appealed to me so much -- its direction is very simple and clear. It's a paint-by-numbers party song for the clubs. And to be honest, it's perfect fautter to kick off the weekend.

So with that said, TGIF, fam (seriously). Go "Turn Up the Music", and turn it up loud.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

COVER WARS: Pastele vs. The Wanted, Mike & Cody vs. Nelly, Glee vs. MJ, Jayesslee vs. Wonder Girls

One of the greatest things about pop music on the whole is that it is universal and open to new expressions and interpretations. Creativity is a beautiful thing, and when an artist adapts a song that is not their own into their own style and the result is effective and captivating, I'm a very happy camper...

GLEE CAST - "Smooth Criminal"
I've said it before and I'll say it again. While I enjoy Glee's musical renditions (especially their inventive mashups), on the whole, I'd much rather listen to the original if they aren't even going to try an effective, unique twist on the material (isn't that the point?). Their recent homage to Michael Jackson had some high points, and some indifferent ones (because even a cover of Michael is still good stuff if the singers are competent, and in the case of Glee, they usually are). "Smooth Criminal" sees the pairing of the show's godsent in Nayer Rivera and rival Sebastian Smythe, with a stripped down verbal sparring match set to aggressive acoustic cellos. Oh Nayer, please release a pop album already!

PASTELE - "Glad You Came"
The adorable Pastele has lend her pipes to a ballad version of The Wanted's "Glad You Came" (and offered it up for free download at her website), complete with a techno-color video accompaniment whilst recording in the studio. The tempo is cooled off, the Ibiza-influenced synth is stripped out, and the boy band sweetness is replaced with Pastele's husky cooing & attitude-drenched delivery. So basically, it's awesome.


MIKE & CODY - "Hot in Herre"
I first mentioned Mike & Cody last month with their unique brand of 8-bit synth pop and penchant for unexpected covers (TLC's "No Scrubs"), but they have recently trumped themselves with a relaxed version of Nelly's "Hot In Herre". Yes, really. These guys have to be the kings of "What the...?" on paper, and then you hear the final product and you're jamming. I can't wait to hear what they come up with next!

JAYESSLEE - "Nobody"
is a Korean-Australian acoustic duo that has garned a lot of attention for their YouTube covers. The ladies, Janice & Sonia Lee (hence J-S Lee, get it?), are twins and are currently recording their debut EP independantly. Despite being on their own, they've garnered over 250,000 "likes" on Facebook. Their dreamy, sweet, acoustic harmony is instantly charming and captivating. They've got lots of covers to choose from on their YouTube Account including Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are", The Script's "Breakeven" and the (criminally underrated) Jonas Brothers' cut "When You Look Me In the Eyes" with 'American Idol' cast off Andrew Garcia (better known as that guy who did that ballad cover of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up"). But my current favorite is the balladized version of the Wonder Girls' big hit "Nobody" (in Korean!).

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

OVERHEARD ON TWITTER: Girls' Generation "Slays", Teddy Riley Loves KPOP, SHINee's Comeback

This post will be all over the place but I regret nothing.

For those of you who don't follow my Twitter account (for shame!), you might not have caught me spazzing a bit last week regarding some upcoming SM Entertainment-related KPOP goodies...

The nine ladies in Girls' Generation returned to New York this past week to promote their one-off English version of "The Boys", an urban-KPOP fusion produced by Teddy Riley. The group appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman" (how they all managed to fit and dance around provocatively on that tiny stage will forever be a me-ster-ee) and "Live with Kelly" (complete with loud fanchats -- KPOP fans are so awesome and Soshi's are kinda a good way, I promise) performing "The Boys" live on American Network Television for the first time. For more on the song, see my post about it following SMTown New York last November.

While they got some flack for lip synching at SMTown New York (although I swear they performed it live when I saw it - it was just synched for the YouTube "music video" provided by SM), the girls were very much live during these two performances (get it, Taeyeon!). They even had a short interview with Kelly Ripa and guest host Howie Mandel -- and both were floored by how enthusiastic the crowd was, clearly impressed by KPOP's frontrunner girl group. (Hyoyeon -- how you dance like that in those heels, I'll never know, but you're my hero.)

A lot of people were freaking out about the group's official hat toss into the American market, including Paris Hilton, Katy Perry, and even my fave in Simon Curtis who apparently got Ro Danishei hooked on it! Some will bemoan SM for their lack of promotion of the group, but I'm not. Interscope Records managed to nab them two huge coups in performing on live television, something their unnie sunbae in BoA never received (and definitely deserved) during her stab at American success when SM was going at it alone.

Objectively, this is clearly SM/Interscope's attempt to not do what the Wonder Girls did. "The Boys" is the only English offering on the full The Boys album, which is now available for American consumption on iTunes. They are not trying to overly sell the group with an American sound, and instead are promoting them based on the fact that they are very popular in Asia -- take it or leave it. Unlike the Wonder Girls, who came to America with the intent to record an entire album in English (while the progress the group made in Korea became eclipsed by other artists, including GG themselves) only to still have tangibly little success-wise to show for it in the US market years later, Girls' Generation are spinning out an English version of a song that worked in the Asian market, produced by an American producer who is both familiar and to some degree trusted by the music-buying public. If it works, more will follow. If it doesn't, then it doesn't
We are still in a Tastemaker Phase with this whole KPOP Going Global trend. KPOP fans need to remember that. Just because we dig it, doesn't mean Joe America will. Still, "The Boys" producer Teddy Riley was, of course, over the moon by the press & success the group received, stating...

"I hope to work on more SM projects. Where ever or whatever projects they assign for me I will do. So I hope to work with SNSD again. 'The Boys' was a learning process and first time SM project for me. It was my chance {sic} to learn The SM Way of doing things, at the same time learning what the kpop fans like. I'm a true student of kpop."

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

HEAR THIS: Chris Richardson Stops "In The Name Of Love"

I can't explain the magic
That we happened to obtain
And now you know we got that something
That will make me stay
The perfect addiction, baby
See what I've been missing
You can have the best of me like no tomorrow
All I need is what you got to get me high

-Chris Richardson, "In The Name Of Love"

Oh, the fangirl crush. How quickly it comes flooding back. Chris Rich - I just knew you wouldn't let me down!

Let me refresh your memories. The year was 2007, and American Idol was still a popstar delivery machine (or so it seemed). Chris Richardson, an amiable pop/r&b singer who was quickly likened to Justin Timberlake, broke through to the upper ranks in the show's sixth season, which also spawned winner Jordin Sparks, runner-up (and bitterly underrated) Blake Lewis, vocal powerhouse Melinda Doolittle, and yes, Sanjaya Malakar. Chris finished fifth, and is best known for his BFF-ery with Blake and for making Jason Mraz's b-material ("Geek In the Pink", anyone?) relevant pre-"I'm Yours". I fell for his honeycomb voice, his winning smile, his humble appeal -- he had the whole poptastic package.

Post-'Idol' Chris's future looked bright, but as the years slid by with still no tangible release, my dreams of my fave male contestant from that year (well, if you count him as a tie with Blake) becoming a household name started to fade. The leak of his quiet and somber "All Alone" could only hold me over for so long. Little did I (and Joe Public) know, Chris was taking his time -- writing, recording and paying his dues. He reappeared last year, collaborating with up-and-coming rapper of the moment Tyga with his single "Far Away" which charted on the Hot 100's lower echelons. It was shortly thereafter announced he had signed with Cash Money Records (Tyga's label, and also home to another artist close to my heart, Ms. T-Lopez). Footage also leaked last year of him in the recording booth with Nick Jonas of all people. Be still my beating fangirl heart...

It's clear 2012 is the year to ramp up Chris's promotions -- and it's long overdue. First on the dock is the dreamy, falcetto-drenched ballad "In the Name of Love". The music video popped up on YouTube a few weeks back, and an official iTunes is pending "very soon" per Chris's Twitter. The stripped-down sparkler is accented by the cinematic video, shot in black-and-white. I'm so glad that Chris kept on the grind, in pursuit of a style that was reflective of him rather than caving to what could have been. Check out the video below.

Dear Chris, why must you turn me into mush with your falcetto, huh? Why? Every damn time, too. Keep making us proud of you, bb. Love, Mel

Monday, February 06, 2012

MAILBAG MONDAY: Dirty Little Billy, POB, Starrah, Chanelle Ray

Want to be considered for future Mailbag Mondays? Send in your jams to (preferably with "MAILBAG MONDAY" in the subject line). Now, on to this week's gems...

"Give It To You"
Genre: Pop with a R&B lean
File Near: Jessie J
With a name like Dirty Little Billy and her Dev-esque promotional photography, I wasn't really expecting the throwback 90's-esque R&pop that Homegirl was supplying on her latest disc, Put Your Love On Me, but that's what I got. The record is a dalliance from her business as usual (which is electro, which makes more sense), but you gotta respect an artist that likes to experiment. "Give It To You" has a great R&B lean to it that you just don't see much in mainstream pop artist these days, and I really dig it.


Song: "I'm The One"
Genre: Synthy Club Pop
File Near: Darin, Simon Curtis

Brit 'lectropopper POB has some really promising demos, both production-wise and in the hook capacity. Hype single "Shout It Out Loud" is an early favorite of mine in terms of commercial sound, but the slightly more relaxed "I'm The One" is perfect for the dance/trance crowd.


"Break Your Heart (feat. Chanelle Ray)"
Genre: R&B/Hip Hop
File Near: A female version of Drake
Starrah is a newbie in my books, but when I saw she collaborated with my girl Chanelle Ray on her most recent mixtape, dubbed Songs For You, I was immediately interested. Their soft, candle-light collab, called "Break Your Heart", sounds like an indie version of a prospective Drake/Rihanna song a la "Take Care" or "Marvin's Room" ('cept - it's a girl/girl version). Chanelle digs deep with one of her more vulnerable  performances. You can snag the full mixtape for free here.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

HEAR THIS: Madonna Cheers for "Give Me All Your Luvin'" with Nicki Minaj & M.I.A. + BONUS! Mel's Fave MDNA Tunes

So today is kind of a holiday here. It's Super Bowl Sunday, a time-honored tradition of getting together to eat an obscene amount of snack food and watch a football game. Oh, America.

Throughout the years -- since I'm such a sports buff -- I've tended to root for whatever team is closest mile-wise to my home state of New York. This year makes things super easy -- as the "home team", the New York Giants, are themselves being televised. That wraps that up. So you can pretty much expect I will be doing my American duty -- gorging myself on port wine, chips & dip, occasionally pumping my fist and saying "Go Giants!/Go Big Blue!/Go Eli Manning!" while watching essentially several hours of grown men in tight clothes chase each other over a ball like it's life or death.

For the rest of us who could really care less the outcome of tonight's game, the main attraction of the Super Bowl is: 1) the "clever" advertising campaign commercials (some years are better than others), 2) the Half-Time Show. In the interest of Melismatic, that is of course, the latter, because who is performing tonight but the Queen of Pop herself.

While I'm hardly a Madonna "stan" persay, to say she's not a truly influential woman in music listening history would be a complete and utter lie. Mostly I'm interested because she will be premiering the first official live performance of her latest single, off her hotly anticpated new album (due in March). The song was premiered in video format a few days ago, called "Give Me All Your Luvin'". And I've kind of become blackhole obsessed with it.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

WGO: Chart Watch (2/11/2012)

Below denotes songs and artists of note featured on the Billboard Hot 100 (USA), Hot Dance/Club Play (USA), UK Hot (UK), Japan and KPOP (South Korea) Charts. Italicized items have been discussed on Melismatic.

Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart:
1. Adele - Set Fire To the Rain
2. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) (DIGITAL GAINER)
3. Rihanna - We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)

4. Flo Rida - Good Feeling
5. David Guetta - Turn Me On (feat. Nicki Minaj)
6. Bruno Mars - It Will Rain
7. LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It
8. Jessie J - Domino
9. Katy Perry - The One That Got Away
10. Tyga - Rack City

Friday, February 03, 2012

HEAR THIS: Santigold Opens Her 'Big Mouth'

Big mouth, big mouth
My, my, my
You've said enough
Got a big mouth, big mouth
My, my, my
You've said enough

-"Big Mouth", Santigold

Everyone's fave underrated alt-popstress Santigold is officially back for Sophomore Seconds, people! Our first taste of her upcoming record, dubbed Master of My Make Believe, is via buzz single "Big Mouth", which you can snag for free at her website by signing up for her mailing list.

"Big Mouth" is everything we were expecting from Santi and then some, hitting up that noisy single trend that went mainstream last year. It's dubstep set to a tribal stomp, a la Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls)" or Nicola Roberts' "Beat of My Drum", but because it's Santigold, who's past body of work is much more in synch with this type of sound, it feels that much more authentic. While at first, it felt like a lot of noise, by the time the chorus comes 'round, you're unwittingly tapping your feet and by the time it comes 'round a second time, you're both hands in. Around the 2:30 mark, synth is added into the aggressive, tribal bombast for a whizbang of a finale conclusion. And then it's over in what feels like a blink. And you want to hit repeat. Again and again and again.

Remember, this is Santigold we're talking about. If the past proves anything, "Big Mouth" will only be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

HEAR THIS: Stooshe Says "Love Me", I Say OK

Oh! Oh! Oh!
Turn it up and I'll go
'Cuz I won't need you no more (no)
Your play's fine but I ain't got the time
Why don't you hurry up, yeah
Hurry up
Yeah, hurry up
Love me...(ha!)

-"Love Me", Stooshe

Oh. My. Days. I'm all over this. Imagine, if you will, the lyrical sass of Lady Sovereign (and the accent), the quirky production of Lily Allen, the cartoonish in-your-face bravado of the Spice Girls, a nice round harmony a la En Vogue and the soulful pipes of Aretha Franklin, mashed together for the year 2012 in a package of three live-out-loud Brit females. Then stop imagining.

Stooshe, a trio signed to Warner UK, are currently touting around their second official single, "Love Me" (the original explicit version being, of course, "F*ck Me" -- but the redub does the same job without the expletives just fine), featuring the surprisingly ubiquitous (in the UK at least) Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes fame, and it is a wallop of a pop song indeed.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

MIXTAPE: Hot 100 Style with The Wanted, Adele, Rihanna & Florence

THE WANTED - "Glad You Came"
UK five-piece Boy Band The Wanted are already at household name status in their home country and on album numero dos, but "Glad You Came" marks their official entrance into the States and it's doing surprisingly well for a boy band of the most typical sense.

"Glad You Came," originally released as the second single from the group's sophomore disc  Battleground last summer in the UK, opens like it would be a typical swoony boy band ballad, but quickly flips the script with dancey beats and a markedly caribbean-y (new word) feel. I'm guessing that might be part of its real appeal -- as it has a very "party on the beach" kind of sound. Apparently, Americans are in the mood for a summer beach party, as it has officially made a dent in the Hot 100, landing just outside the Top 50 at #64. Not bad for a bunch of lads that Joe American has never even heard of (save for a recent appearance on The Ellen Show and a handful of current live dates in major cities).

"Glad You Came" written and produced by Steve Mac (5ive, Westlife, JLS and The Wanted's other big UK hit "All Time Low"), and debuted at #1 in the UK and in Ireland. Now that the song has charted within the Hot 100, time will only tell whether it will rise or sink...


ADELE - "Set Fire To the Rain" (listen here)
America's love affair with the UK songstress continues. I think we've all agreed that Adele is the real deal -- the breath of fresh air in a commercialized, AutoTuned Society of Pop Music. "Set Fire To the Rain", the latest release Stateside from the beauty that is 21 is just more fuel to add to the "fire". Hopefully, it will also permanently set fire to Rihanna's "Love" chart run -- I think we're already for something new, yes?

Personally, I find all of the songs on 21 difficult to judge on their own, as they are all equally massive and fantastic. More applause and enjoyment courtesy of one of UK's finest. Cheers, Ms. Adkins. Please continue to read all of our minds and remain as incredible as ever. That is all.

RIHANNA - "Drunk On Love" (listen here)
I'm not really sure when Rihanna sleeps, as she somehow managed to release two records in the space of a year. 2010's Loud spawned seven singles officially (while only a handful of them seemed to work in the States), and her most recent release Talk That Talk threatens to do much of the same.

I'm putting aside the ubiquitous "We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)" (see above comments), which continues to slay the Hot 100, and is doing battle with "Umbrella" for the biggest hit of her career. While I do love the song (despite it starting to become more than a little overplayed), its sound is a bit of a red herring to her usual style and what appears overall on Talk That Talk. From the minute I heard the record in full, the song that stood out most to me was "Drunk On Love." The song samples The xx's "Intro" and really gives her room to belt it out.

I much prefer the optimistic and honest RiRi to the posing and posturing stance she prone to rocking ("Talk That Talk", "Cockiness (Love It)", "Roc Me Out", "Rude Boy", "Hard"). Fingers crossed for it to appear as an upcoming single.


FLORENCE + THE MACHINE - "No Light, No Light"
"No Light, No Light" is the third official single from Flo's much celebrated sophomore disc Ceremonials, released this past October. While there is no denying Ms. Welch (and her musical machine) is a huge hit with critics and musicians alike (Kelly Clarkson is covering "Heavy In Your Arms" on her current tour to support her fifth album, Stronger; Katy Perry did a parody homage on SNL; etc. etc.), mainstream and chart success seems to be alluding her on the Hot 100, as second single "Shake It Out" still undeservedly flounders in the lower echelons.

"No Light, No Light" is truly anthematic in its own right, complete with etheral falscetto, power (organ) chords, heavy tribal drums you feel in your gut and a resounding chorus hook. It's another stunner in the Florence hit machine -- and either you love it or you're indifferent. In my case, I adore it.

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