Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Erugghhh! I have such a love/hate relationship with the UK X-Factor finalist Cher Lloyd. There's something about her that turns me off and "Swagger Jagger" (Erugghhh!) did nothing to strengthen that resolve.

However, given the sudden interest and influx of X-Factor finalists here in the States, particularly from Cher's season (which also included Rebecca Ferguson and One Direction), her third official single, "Want U Back," is officially being prepped for US release. It's literally brimming with petulance and snobbiness -- and because of the image Cher projects, she makes it work effectively. Oh, and its ridiculously catchy with its summer time groove, repetative chorus and that hooky bit sprinkled all throughout that recalls a young woman who pouts when she doesn't get her way and stamps her feet in disgust. (Erugghhh!) It's kind of as if Lily Allen and Lady Soverign were one artist that was 18 years old and released a catchy Top 40 song with a reggae influence. Or something.

File this one under Summer Guilty Pleasure. (Erugghhh!)

Remind me again why the USA is getting barraged with X-Factor finalists and yet all is quiet on the Western Front when it comes to Girls Aloud and most of Xenomania's breathren? (Erugghhh!)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The long awaited sophomore disc by left-field pop darling Santigold is officially available for rapid consumption and it's a must get. Spanning genres with a recurring tribal-inspired drum motif, Mast of My Make-Belive really cooks in a dark and seductive way. So much so, it's almost difficult to choose my favorite cut. It usually vacillates between the etheral "Fame", electronic stomper "Freak Like Me", the hype single "Big Mouth" and the fabulousness that is "Go!"

Santigold is one of those artists that falls under the 'Hipster Heading'. You either get it and adore it or its just a little too beyond the Mainstream Scope to get into it. One of the main reasons why I started listening to her is because she was different and willing to bend the rules of what counted as 'pop'.

That blurring of what is 'mainstream' is perfected in "Go!", which features Karen O (a collaboration that is the stuff of Hipster's Dreams, honestly) of another buzz band Yeah Yeah Yeahs ("Heads Will Roll," anyone?). It takes a lot of inspiration from the upswing of hard-bass-dropping rap cuts (think The Throne's "N*ggas In Paris" or "No Church In the Wild" or even Kanye's "Mercy" or "Power"), and while it's catchy to be sure, it's the musical accompanyment and how it accents the monotone, anthematic, chanty feel that really pushes this to the next level.

Monday, May 28, 2012

HEAR THIS: GOSSIP GETS 'JOYFUL' in the right "Direction"

Beth Ditto & Co. in Gossip have recently dropped album #5 in A Joyful Noise, exclusively produced by Brian Higgins, known for his godly work in Xenomania for the Queens in Girls Aloud. It's easily the most listenable front-to-back Gossip album, in my humble opinion, and is noticably looser and slightly more relaxed than their previous works (the flawless driving guitar of "Pop Goes The World" or "Heavy Cross" come right to mind). In a sense, Gossip, much like the Scissor Sisters, are an artist I really adore because it's about creating good, listenable, dancable pop without chasing the Mainstream Hit.

First single "Perfect World" was a mere taste of what was to come from an album chock full of good 'uns. My faves include "Involved", "Horns", "Love In A Foriegn Place", the slightly more familiar (Gossip-wise) "Get A Job", and, obviously, the second single, "Move In the Right Direction."

"Move In the Right Direction" is the big rallying cry push for Top 40 success (a la "Heavy Cross"). Whether or not it will work, we'll just have to wait and see. Clearly, that's not the main thought on Gossip's mind -- whatever they do, they look like they are having a blast. And that is the way to do it, in my book.

Also, if Beth ever wants to wow with another solo dance/electro EP/LP, I'd totally be cool with that, too. Just saying.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Summer is officially in full effect here in NYC and that means (amongst other things) lots of parties, unbearably hot weather and blaring Spanish/Reggaeton rhythms from the streets below my apartment here in BK. I may not be Latina (Jenny from the Block, I definitely am not), but I'm always a sucker for a hot beat and these cuts have all that and them some. So with that said, here's a look at a few of my faves from this Dancehall-inspired genre. Get ready to dance...

A popular song of choice right now is the latest from Wisin Y Yandel, a Puerto Rican group that falls into the Reggaeton genre who have dominated the Latin music scene, particularly since the mid-00's. The song, "Follow the Leader", features the aforementioned Jennifer Lopez and was recently performed on American Idol in the hopes to push it for a more mainstream breakthrough.

(It amusese me that when you view this video on YouTube, even the commercials are in Spanish...)

I know that Jennifer Lopez frustrates a lot of people who are "hip" to the Latin scene, mainly because she has gone so mainstream, it's hard to reconcile her back to her Latin "roots". Still, "Follow the Leader" scorches because of its use of more traditional Latin sound, and sounds especially good played VERY loud.

Keep reading for more latin-twinged goodness...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I'll be honest with you all. Rye Rye's loooong awaited debut album, Go! Pop! Bang!, finally saw release last week. Verdict? Personally, I was completely dissapointed.

However, if you've yet to dabble in Rye Rye's quirky style (it's a little bit M.I.A., her mentor who is heavily featured on the disc; a little bit Nikki Minaj; a little bit Kid Sister; a little bit Azealia Banks; a little bit dance floor schitzo), you definitely should. I highly suggest her hype single with M.I.A. "Bang", which got my interested in her in the first place. Also, her collab with Robyn (via a heavy chorus sample of Robyn's hit "Be Mine!") in "Never Will Be Mine" is a total must.

But other than that, and the cheesy fluff that is her current single "Boom Boom" (which samples the Venga Boys "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!"), much of the material on Go! Pop! Bang! fell flat to my ears -- basically for being too much brash, not enough substance.

However, I am quite partial to this unexpected collab with RedOne protegee and up and comer Porcelain Black ("Naughty Naughty Naughty, we like to party!") in "DNA". The combination is so perfect. Let's get this one serviced to Top 40 Radio asap, Interscope.

Monday, May 21, 2012

HEAR THIS: BLUSH Are Literally 'All Stars'

If you aren't already on the BLUSH train, prepare to jump on the bandwagon.

Playing off the teen pop appeal so prevalant in our current dance-focused Top 40 pop markets, FarWest Entertainment collected a literal "All Star" calvalry of talented, strong and relatable females from five nations in South East Asia, gave them catalogue of poppy tuneage that lends itself quite well to the dance market and said let's go. The result was two Top 3 Singles on the Billboard Dance Charts (their debut, "Undivided", featuring Snoop Dogg -- and on my January 2012 Club Set List --, hit #3; their second, "Dance On", hit #1), with a third single ("All Stars") gunning for mainstream success.

Besides the bankable pop singles to their name (I've yet to hear one from these chicks I can't dance to -- all three singles are win and so its their soundtrack single "Up Up & Away" from Disney Channel's Shake It Up), it's the girls themselves that are so endearing (not totally unlike my other fave young girl group, Girls Nite Out). The focus is on their catchy sound an drespective talents. There is no forced, in-your-face innuendo; just good natured fun. And it really looks as if they geniunely enjoy performing and just hanging out together as friends, and isn't that what global internationalism is all about at it's core?

Take a gander at their most recent music video, the just-released "All Stars", an homage to being strong with your chicas.

The rallying cry "All Stars" is appropriate. The group is comprised of five young women who are already relatively recognizable and well-established in their respective countries. Alisha, from India, danced backup for Cantonese popstar Eason Chan. Ji Hae, from South Korea, participated in the television singing competition Superstar K, similar to 'American Idol'. Nacho (yes, that's her real nickname), from Japan, is my unabashed fave. She took part in several major dance competitions with her crew, SpongePants. Angeli, representing the Philippines, ranked high in the official Pinoy version of the 'Idol' reality series. And Victoria, from China, is another accomplished dancer, performing all across Asia, including at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

It's hard not to root for these young ladies. I feel a stanship coming on. Their mini EP, Blush, is available for consumption on Spotify so be sure to peruse. I can't wait for a more complete release. While all of their material so far is enjoyable, I think my fave will remain to be "Undivided", if only for the multi-lengual outro of repeated "I Love Yous" in different languages:

Saranghae - Korean
Mahal Kita - Tagalog, language of the Philippines
Aisiteru - Japanese
Mein Tumse Pyaar Karti Hoon - Hindi, spoken in India
Wo Ai Ni - Mandarin, spoken in China

Which BLUSH is your fave?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

RIP Donna Summer

I would be very much remiss to not express sorrow for the loss of the Queen of Disco Pop, Donna Summer, this past week. She was just 63 years young, and provided us with a plethora of danceable material that truly changed the face of the music industry.

Do yourself a favor and take spend some time with her back catalogue. There are so many gems, it's almost daunting in terms of where to start: "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls", "She Works Hard For the Money", "I Feel Love", "MacArthur Park", "Love To Love You Baby", "Last Dance". All Primo.

And also this gorgeous sparkler, which runs the gamut of tempo and feel -- 1979's "On The Radio...

Monday, May 14, 2012

NOW KPOPPING (KSpazzing): HyukSu Gets Sexy

The Korean Boy Band Gods have been good to me, friends, and by me, I also mean you in extension.

If any of you follow my KPOP columns here on Melismatic (or read my Twitter account), you're probably already very much aware just who my main biases are in the two groups I've spent the majority of my spazzing. I've overstated my Cassie/ELF devotion so many times, it almost doesn't even bare repeating. However, because this post is in fact not about my top two male biases in Korea (shock), I feel its important to assert from go that my loyalty lies with TVXQ!'s Shim Changmin and Super Junior's Donghae.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, it's time to get on to the main topic of today, which is of course, my #2 biases in my respective fandoms. That would of course be JYJ's Kim Junsu and Super Junior's Lee HyukJae ("Eunhyuk"). The fact that these two men are actually very close friends since a young age is a concidence...I think...but it's clear that whatever was in the water in Gyeonggi-do should be bottled and marketed as a serum for supreme confidence and sex appeal.

Also, this gif is appropriate.

Read on for the spazzing regarding Super Junior's recent appearance at Japan's Tokyo Dome and Kim Junsu's official foray into the solo market with his debut album Tarantallegra.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

POP ASSEMBLE!: An 'Avengers'-Inspired Playlist

So, fam -- did you see "The Avengers" this past weekend? For the six of you in the entire world who didn't (seriously, get on the stick), let me be the millionth person to tell you you're seriously missing out. And not just on the delicious eye candy that is Chris Evans. The movie itself is sincerely really well done -- a perfect popcorn-smacking fusion of action, plot and humor.

Watching "The Avengers" inspired my latest in semi-pointless playlists, which you can peruse as you'd like via my Spotify. The entire list is available, sans my boys in Super Junior & TVXQ! (sad face), so if you'd like those two as well, just give me a shout in the comments and I'll send them your way. Check out the tunes below and beyond the cut...

Robyn - Konichiwa B*tches
A great way to kick off an even greater record...

Sunday, May 06, 2012

HEAR THIS: Kimbra wants a 'Cameo Lover'

As Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" continues to soar with radio airplay here in the US (his career beyond that of a one-hit-wonder remains questionable, but that's another thought for another day), another star seems on meteoric rise thanks to helping hand she recieved via a featured tag with the Australian Sting(-sound-alike).

Kimbra, the quirky poptart from New Zealand who surprise the female vocal counterpoint to Gotye's big hit, has put her American career in the driving seat of the folks at Warner Music Group. Her debut album, Vows, was released in late summer last year down under in her homeland and in Australia, and is set for a May 22nd releases here in the States, featuring all three of her major single releases in "Settle Down", "Cameo Lover" & "Good Intent."

In my opinion, Kimbra is laying the ground work right -- coming into American counciousness through associations with the likes of out-of-left-field Gotye & her collab with Foster the People frontman Mark Foster and DJ A-Trak via the one-off "Warrior". The American public tends to enjoy putting their popstars in boxes, with those boxes usually being marketed to a specific niche. To be a female popstar in the US, you're almost expected to be beautiful with blatant sex appeal with a straight ahead, singable, almost familiar pop sound. The formula works for Rihanna, for Katy Perry, etc.

Kimbra is exciting because she doesn't quite fit into those molds and yet still is very much pop. If anything, she'd stand more along the lines of a Bjork, a Fiest, a Florence + the Machine, than a Katy Perry. And with the success of "Somebody That I Used To Know" on the Hot 100, Kimbra's potential success could open the door for more mainstream success for other artists like her.

My favorite of her past singles, "Cameo Lover", seems to lend itself best to American radio, complete with a grandiose, almost Motown-esque feel to the drumkit bassline (boom. boom boom. KICK.) and the excessive use of tambourine. The chorus is instantaneously memorable ("Open up your heart/Open up your heart/Open up your heart and let me pull you out of here!"). Sure, she rocks the pink babydoll dress with an "irreverent" hairstyle with a vivid array for a makeup palette, but to me, she feels much more like Kylie Minogue than Katy Perry. The focus is on the pop being a confetti party crescendo, a mere visual component of a great song rather than a visual that walks hand in hand with the song itself like Perry's "California Gurls" or "Teenage Dream". Even still, an female pop artist that attempts to launch herself in the States needs to steel herself for the comparisons, and Katy Perry appears to be the most common go-to.

Fingers crossed America will embrace Kimbra for her uniqueness, rather than simply a Kiwi import of what we already know and love.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Since my mini-hiatus, so much has happened in my KPOP genre. A slew of boy bands debuted (joy!). SHINee has already powered down the iWatson and put "Sherlock" to bed.  Super Junior's Kangin returned from the military (hopefully just in time to take part in the group's upcoming sixth album). A sixth album releaase in Korean from TVXQ! (HoMin) is set for the end of the year. JYJ's Junsu is releasing a solo record. I'm dizzy. Literally dizzy.

While I wait for my faves to make their respective comebacks (looking at you 2VXQ!, Junsu, SuJu, 2NE1!), here's what has been blaring on the ol' iPod from the electrowizzlers in South Korea. Be Prepared, it's a lot of new faces (to Melismatic the blog, anyway)...

Click the cut to read what I think about 4Minute, SISTAR, NU'EST, TaeTiSeo, EXO-K and -M (yes, I know, finally) and Nine Muses.

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