Monday, August 27, 2012

HEAR THIS: Kat DeLuna "Wanna See U Dance"

With the returning rise of samba-sampling and influenced work edging it's way back onto the Top 40 (and the dance floor), it's about time some attention returns to everyone's favorite "Whine Up"-er, Ms. Kat DeLuna.

If anyone deserves an 'Underappreciated' tag, it's Kat. Breaking onto the scene with 2007's "Whine Up", a scorcher of a dance track that earned her a Best New Artist trophy via MTV Latinoamerico, Kat essentially introduced to America an up-and-coming producer in Nadir Khayat -- we better know him now as RedOne. While RedOne's career took off -- thanks in large part to a collaboration with Lady Gaga via The Fame -- Kat was forced to spin her wheels. Despite releasing quality dance cuts in "Run the Show", "In the End", "Unstoppable" (with a featured tag by Lil Wayne), "Push Push", "Breathing Your Love" (with the amazing Darin), "Dance Bailalo", "Dancing Tonight" (a #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart) and most recently "Drop It Low", Kat has struggled to gain much attention and her sophomore album Inside Out never even saw release in the US.

While the setbacks must be difficult, the Kat DeLuna style has continued to filter out into the ether. "Push Push" was "covered" (in a sense, at least) by Korean quartet SISTAR as their debut single. 2011's Rise of Pitbull and the return of Jennifer Lopez to the mainstream market (thanks to RedOne and one crazy good sample), plus the Caribbean-influenced sounds featured in recent works by Rihanna and Nicki Minaj (again, RedOne), what better time is it than the present for Kat to return to the airwaves? That answer would be none. None better time than now.
Enter "Wanna See U Dance (La La La)", Kat's latest single off her upcoming third overall album, Viva Out Loud, set for release this "fall" (so...any time now, really). In typical Kat fashion -- the song is an earworm thanks to the counterpoint of a catchy chorus with a strong musical accompaniment fitting like proverbial hand in glove. The song's video was premiered via Ryan Seacrest (.com) and features a jungle-inspired motif complete with short-haired, blonde Kat writhing around in the rain.

While the song isn't as instanteously punchy as say "Drop It Low" or "Whine Up" before it, it instead blends a bit more into the sound popular at the moment while still retaining Kat's unique timbre, sexuality and sense of identity. The song straddles clubby dance music during the verses with a downright Brazilian feel straight outta Rio during the chorus (and a snappy dubstep breakdown in the bridge...but it's not as cliched as you'd think). Will it be enough to give Kat her due with the mainstream populice? We can hope.

"Wanna See U Dance (La La La)" is now available for purchase on iTunes.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

WGO: Chart Watch, United World Chart, Hot Debuts

Below denotes songs and artists of note featured on the Billboard Hot 100 (USA), United World Chart, CHR/Top 40 (US Radio), Hot Dance/Club Play (USA), Heatseekers Singles Charts (USA), UK Hot (UK), Japan and KPOP (South Korea) charts. Italicized items have been discussed on Melismatic.

New Additions to the Charts of Note:
Emeli Sande - Read All About It, Pt. III (#3, UK Billboard Chart) (listen here)
Emeli's latest single was performed live during the Olympics closing ceremony and is a "continuation" of a Professor Green single that featured her that went to #1 in the UK in 2011. It's a soft piano ballad that really allows Emeli to vocally swoon. It's the type of big ballad Leona Lewis or Beyonce would salivate a very good way.

Bridgit Mendler - Ready Or Not (#14, Heatseekers Singles Chart)
The latest protege off the Disney Conveyor Belt, adorable Bridgit got her breakthrough in a supporting role on Disney Channel's "Good Luck Charlie" along with a starring turn in their made-for-TV musical Lemonade Mouth. She's signed to Hollywood and just released her debut single (the album's due in October). The song is suprisingly mellow for a Disney kid (perhaps it's the Carly Rae effect) and is already starting to make serious moves at Radio. It was co-written by Mendler herself (brownie points) with Evan "Kidd" Bogart, namechecks Prince William & Kate Middleton and has a unique kind of quirk to it that makes her pretty likeable.

Brandy - Put It Down (feat. Chris Brown) (#96, USA Hot 100)
While I'm not so fond of this particular single choice (or it's featured artist choice, to be honest), I'm happy to see Brandy back on the charts...even if it is in the lower echelons.

Billboard Hot 100:
1. Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (NEW #1)
2. Flo Rida - Whistle
3. Ellie Goulding - Lights
4. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
5. Katy Perry - Wide Awake
6. fun. - Some Nights
7. Maroon 5 - Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
8. Justin Bieber - As Long As You Love Me (feat. Big Sean)
9. Maroon 5 - One More Night (DIGITAL + STREAMING GAINER)
10. David Guetta - Titanium (feat. Sia)

CHR/TOP 40 Radio (USA): 
#1: Katy Perry - Wide Awake
#1 Recurrent: Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)
Most Increased Plays: Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Most Added To Radio: Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (104 adds)

United World Chart:
1. Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (New #1; HOT SHOT DEBUT) -- USA
2. Flo Rida - Whistle -- USA
3. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe -- CANADA
4. Maroon 5 - Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa) -- USA
5. Katy Perry - Wide Awake -- USA
6. Owl City/Carly Rae Jepsen - Good Time -- USA/CANADA
7. fun. - Some Nights -- USA
8. Maroon 5 - One More Night -- USA
9. P!NK - Blow Me (One Last Kiss) -- USA
10. Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra) -- AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND

Friday, August 24, 2012

YOU CAN CALL IT A COMEBACK: 98 Degrees Is Back To Make You Swoon (Again)

I'll be honest. Back in the early 00's during the last teen pop boom in America (aka my youthful days of yore), the boys in 98 Degrees were somewhat tertiary in my boy band music listening habits. (First came *NSYNC, obviously; then came 5ive, because I was a bit of a "rebel" when I was 13; and then came soulful 98 Degrees.) However, I am proud to say I owned all three of their albums (I don't count Christmas records...and neither should you), saw them live in concert (co-headlining with Britney Spears at the New York State Fair with No Authority and my beloved PYT opening) and even owned a "JEFF" necklace from Claire's (yes, I also owned a "JUSTIN" one for my fave *NSYNCer...they probably still sell those now...except it's for a different Justin....sobs quietly).

Hence the silly grin that is plastered on my face when I hear word that the quartet will be officially reuniting for not just a one-off Today Show performance, but for potentially new music! (5ive is also on the comeback trail, so they say, but I'll take that for what it's worth because...well, it's 5ive.) This also comes on the heels of my own Twitter conversation with the real Jeff Timmons (@jefftimmons98 -- follow him now) -- not once, but twice. I know. I know.

The bros 98 officially reunited via the Today Show here in grand ol' NYC (fitting, as their last official performance as a group was also here in New York eleven years ago, just prior to 9/11). They sang a handful of their hits, including "I Do (Cherish You)" and "Because of You",  but none better than the best 98 Degrees jam of all time -- also known as "The Hardest Thing" from their sophomore album, 98 Degrees & Rising. Check it all out below:

From Left to Right: Jeff Timmons, Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre & Nick Lachey.

Sigh. Good times, fam. It's unsurprising that they still sound good (and look good -- I mean, come on!) but perhaps this time 'round they'll work a bit more on their choreography. The 98 was always known as the soulful boy band of the early 00's (with hot bods -- remember it how you want to if 98 wasn't your boy band choice at the time, but no one else was as ripped as these dudes were), but that doesn't mean they have to model themselves after The Temptations. Let Jeff lead the way, guys -- he was a Chippendale during your time off, after all. Drew can help out, too -- he's now officially a "Dancing With the Stars" All-Star...

Any who, as all of us "seasoned" boy band lovers sit back and wait for another temperature-rising session with 98 Degrees (show us what the 98 can do!), here's my list of my fave 98 Degrees jams you might have forgotten about...

- INVISIBLE MAN - (music video here)
True fans of the group will know this song was the group's debut single back in 1997, but it was largely overshadowed to the general populace for its slick 90's slow-jam feel (by a white quartet, no less! How strange! she said sarcastically) in a market bending toward more upbeat boy band fare by the Backstreet Boys and my beloved *NSYNC. (Side Note: How sexy is this other guy if the girl in question is "not seeing" hunky Jeff or Nick? I mean, really...)

- DON'T STOP THE LOVE - (listen here)
A Boyz II Men-esque (complete with spoken intro by bass-voiced Justin) co-written by Robin Thicke.

- TRUE TO YOUR HEART (feat. Stevie Wonder) - (listen here)
Here is a Boy Band/Stevie Wonder collaboration you can stand behind (I'm looking at you, Jonas Brothers). If Stevie were to collaborate with anyone, it made the most sense to work with the 98 Bros anyhow, as they were also signed to Motown and made vocals their main spotlight. Comes complete with Stevie's trademark harmonica playing. It was also featured on the soundtrack to Disney's Mulan right alongside pre-"Genie" Christina Aguilera's "Reflection".

- HEAT IT UP - (listen here)
Why this wasn't a single, I don't know, and I still lament it -- but I do know it was an immediate and instant favorite to my ears when I coped 98 Degrees & Rising in 1999. It also hinted to their push toward more up-tempo material in the boy band-soaked market of 2000. It was also produced by the TrackMasters and is HIGHLY reminiscent of their other main hit at around that time -- Will Smith's "Miami". I'll always be down for this version of 98 Degrees.

- THE WAY YOU WANT ME TO - (music video here)
I desperately wanted this to be the single to follow up 2000's "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" (which went on to actually be their biggest hit) instead of the mushy ballad "My Everything" that Nick wrote about a certain now ex-wife of his that I remain to be quite fond of. Instead, it became single #3 and never charted on the Hot 100. Oh well, another loss for the American public. This one is ever relevant for that acapella-ish intro alone. As for the video -- good gravy, could this be any funnier? A video game concept. That's a good idea. (Sigh.) Oh well - as least the fact that Nick and Jeff were shirtless made "sense" (no complaints from the peanut gallery there).

- DIZZY - (listen here)
A Revelation album track that was hyped to fans because it was co-written by Drew, and actually features him singing lead vocals for a change. I liked it then because of that sizzling, urgent, swirly backbeat that sounds oh-so-very 00's boy band pop (think *NSYNC's "It's Gonna Be Me" with power punched chord changes). I like it now because I love the dark, smoked-out, sensual vocals. Oh, and it has a "rap" by Justin. What's up, KPOP?

- HE'LL NEVER BE... (WHAT I USED TO BE TO YOU) - (listen here)
Let's label this as a note of caution to all of the girls (and boys) who came to age during the late 90's/early 00's teen pop boom and are just like me -- indulging in the boy bands/teen pop(/KPOP) of now, but often comparing it to how it used to be. Another early favorite from the Revelation album that never became a single, this one was co-written by my 98Hubby Jeff. Best Part? That bridge.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

HEAR THIS: Travis Garland "Loves" Me

Another day, another Travis Garland YouTube cover. This time, Ne-Yo's latest "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)" gets the T.G. Velvet Vocal Treatment. And it's predictably lovely.


Um, World? Why have you not let Travis be a proper popstar yet? It's it about time already?
PS - Return of the Red Hat brings me back to the NLT glory days of yore. Also, wifebeater for the winnnn.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

WGO: Chart Watch, United World Chart, Hot Debuts (8/25/2012)

Yes, I know. I've been neglecting. Back on track now...and just in time to see "Call Me Maybe" get ousted from the #1 position after what feels like eons (because it was...) and fun. jump back into the Top 10.

Below denotes songs and artists of note featured on the Billboard Hot 100 (USA), United World Chart, CHR/Top 40 (US Radio), Hot Dance/Club Play (USA), Heatseekers Singles Charts (USA), UK Hot (UK), Japan and KPOP (South Korea) charts. Italicized items have been discussed on Melismatic.

New Additions to the Charts of Note:
AKB48 (sub-group NMB48) - Virginity (#1, Billboard JPOP Charts)
Think of AKB48 as the Japanese Girls' Generation with a memer count times five and with the saccharine bubblegum feel amped up to 13. NMB48, a subgroup of the original, officially debuted in 2010 and currently stands with 25 members. Yes, you read correctly. 25 members. In a SUB-group. ::shakes head:: "Virginity" is the subgroup's fifth single, and follows the bubblegummy aesthetic popular in Japan, complete with cutesy outfits and a rock band back up. The overall feel is very late summer, and feels slightly vintage with occasional horn blasts. Soon they will be headlining their first solo concert performance at the Tokyo Dome, the Japanese equivilant of Madison Square Garden.

Lawson - Taking Over Me (#3, UK Billboard Chart)
"Taking Over Me" is UK pop/"rock" outfit Lawson's second single. I'd be quick to label them a boy band (because they sort of are), as the lead singer used to be in Avenue and is BFF with the hot one from The Wanted -- as they play their own instruments, they are a bit like the 2012 BBMak. "Taking Over Me" is  tight little pop diddy, complete with hooky "ooh-oooh-ooooooh" bits. I quite like this.

V6 - kEEP oN. (#4. Billboard JPOP Charts)
V6 is a six-piece JPOP boy band that debuted back in 1995 (!) and "Keep On" is their 40th single. Their last five proper singles went to #1 in Japan, but that's change in a bucket to them, as they overall have 25 #1s to their name (and the rest were all Top 5). The group is a "Johnny idol band" (standing beside the likes of Arashi, NEWS, SMAP, HEY! SAY! JUMP, SEXY ZONE, KAT-TUN and Jin Akanishi). This song is more bipolar and random than Super Junior's attempt to be "SPY"ies. Take that for what it is.

Redlight - Lost In Your Love (#5, UK Billboard Chart)
Redlight emerged from his beginnings as a remixer and DJ out of the UK to release a handful of stellar dance cuts, the latest of which being "Lost In Your Love" which debuted in the Top 10 over in the UK. The video is a trip. The clubs are gonna go bananas for this.

F.T Island - Top Secret (#14, Billboard JPOP Charts)
F.T. Island (Five Treasure Island...because there are five members, get it?) is a bit like the Korean Lawson in that they have an idol/boy band feel but also play instruments and are marketed as a pop rock band. (Also, the leader singer is BFF with Super Junior's requisite "Big Space Star" Heechul, who is currently serving in the Korean military. They debuted in Korean in 2007 but jumped into the Japanese market in 2010 -- "Top Secret" is their latest and features a Leggo sort of set not unlike the White Stripes. It's pretty catchy.

ERU - I Hate You (feat. Junhyung of BEAST) (#15, Billboard KPOP Charts)
We reviewed this for The KPOP Panel this week, and it was honestly my favorite of the bunch.

Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (#72, Billboard Hot 100)
Taylor totally outdoes herself in petulance with this one, her latest single from her upcoming fourth album. The song is a Max Martin/Shellback collab so you'd think I'd be all over it but I just cannot get over the lyrical nonsense. Much like "My Life Would Suck Without You" before it, this version of M.Martin is just not for me.

Green Day - Oh Love (#100, Billboard Hot 100)
Remember when Green Day was everywhere on the Hot 100 and couldn't be avoided at radio cerca American Idiot? "Oh Love" is proof positive they can continue to write catchy pop rock, so it's a shame it's taking a while for America to warm up to it. It's definitely not their most classic song, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Billboard Hot 100:
1. Flo Rida - Whistle (NEW #1)
2. Ellie Goulding - Lights
3. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
4. Katy Perry - Wide Awake
5. Maroon 5 - Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
6. Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)
7. David Guetta - Titanium (feat. Sia)
8. fun. - Some Nights
9. Phillip Phillips - Home
10. Rihanna - Where Have You Been

CHR/TOP 40 Radio (USA):  
#1: Ellie Goulding - Lights
#1 Recurrent: Havana Brown - We Run the Night (feat. Pitbull)
Most Increased Plays: Neon Trees - Everybody Talks
Most Added To Radio: Neon Trees - Everybody Talks (23 stations)

United World Chart:
1. Flo Rida - Whistle (3 Weeks @ #1)
2. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
3. Maroon 5 - Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
4. Katy Perry - Wide Awake
5. AKB48 (sub-group NMB48) - Virginity (HOT SHOT DEBUT)
6. Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)
7. Owl City/Carly Rae Jepsen - Good Time
8. P!NK - Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
9. fun. - Some Nights
10. Maroon 5 - One More Night (BIGGEST INCREASE)

Monday, August 13, 2012

NOW SPINNING: New from Dragonette, JoJo, Pet Shop Boys, The Veronicas & More...

Forgive the relative lack of updates. My BFF and I threw a bachelorette party this past weekend (related post coming soon) for a mutual friend, and between that, work and the return of The KPOP Panel (yes, it really happened! -- check it out!), my creativity took a beating this past week. Luckily, there's lots of new music from some pretty huge and stellar artists to squee about, so let's get right to it...

DRAGONETTE - "Live In This City"
Bouncy, crisp and a twinge of a retro, summer feel,  "City" is the second official single from Dragonette's upcoming third album, Bodyparts, due in late September. The more electronic "Let It Go" set the bar very high for this project, but to be honest, Dragonette is a band that is built to never fail when it comes to good tunage. By the time the chorus is re-spun with the bass/drum bottom dropped out around the 2:10 mark, you wanna scream the hook loud and proud. This has quickly become one of my favorite Dragonette songs ever, in with a catalog like theirs, it's literally like picking a favorite out of your own children. Seriously. Seriously. Please Music Gods, let this be the song that finally gives Dragonette their due at American Pop Radio.

KARMIN - "Hello" (watch the brand new music vid here)
Hi. Konichiwa. Are you a believah?
Karmin attempts to reign in the latebuss success they are currently still enjoying with their debut original single "Brokenhearted" (officially released back in February) via the equally kitchsy (and Stargate-produced) "Hello". The song is, in my opinion, the other main spotlight from their Hello EP and does the job well once you're a bit overtired of "Brokenhearted" (which I literally wore out). "Hello" features a lot more of Karmin's trademark pop meets hip hop influence via vocalist Amy Heidemann's "rapping" during the verses/pre-chorus ("Don't they know that I came from Nebraska/Am gonna quit?/Nice of you to ask, but/Mama told me go and chase what ya aftah/I'm on track so I'm gonna rap fastah"). Therefore, it's probably not for everyone, but if you dig it, you really dig it and you have to admit -- there's nothing else really like Karmin on the radio...

JOJO - "Demonstrate"
So, if around mid-July you heard something crashing and burning, it was probably my heart as it was formally announced Ms. JoJo's upcoming third album -- originally titled All I Want Is Everything, then retitled to Jumping Trains, and featuring such baller cuts as "Lie to Me" and "Sexy To Me" -- would be...wait for it...shelved. Here's my heart, JoJo. Feel free to stomp on it. Sad feels aside -- ya'll, I've waited years for this album -- it makes me happy that JoJo is standing up for the music she wants to make. You can forget about the project's former first single, "Diaster" (aka "Too Little, Too Late", part 2), as it will not be making an appearance on whatever Jo decides to call her third record this time 'round, and to be fair, it makes sense. It was certainly a far cry from the tunage she released gratis via the mixtape Can't Take That Away From Me. This was why when the "real" lead single -- the slower, darker, sexier "Demonstrate" -- made the rounds, it felt much more organically JoJo at this stage in her musical life than "Diaster" did. The song was produced by a former collaborator of Alicia Keys, who clearly knows how to wrangle a bit voice without losing it's power and intensity. The song will be available on iTunes at the end of the month.

JoJo - Demonstrate by FUTURESOUND / BGR

PET SHOP BOYS - "A Certain 'Je Ne Sais Quoi'" (listen here)
I don't know if you all know this or not, but the Olympics are currently going on in London. Oh, you're aware? OK - just checking. Pet Shop Boys are one of the UK's trademark longevity pop acts, and they recently whipped out the Winner EP featuring the single "Winner" to go hand in hand with the games. I found the song a bit too cheesy (and me saying that really says something, now doesn't it) but the more slinky "A Certain 'Je Ne Sais Quoi'" b-side really cooks. Both songs will be featured on PSB's upcoming Elysium album, due next month.

You guys, it's been almost five years since The V-Ron's brilliant, electro-fuzzy album Hook Me Up hit shelves. That is literally an eternity in the pop realm. Thankfully, the Australian twin duo is back finally with "Lolita", the lead single from their upcoming third album, Life on Mars, which have been hearing glimmers and whispers of since mid-2010. If you liked the V-Ron's more straight-ahead debut (beyond the lead single "4Ever", which was a bit of a red herring), perhaps you'll be a bit bluesy about this, but "Lolita" suggests that the third album will continue to pull from the Hook Me Up kind of electropop headspace. But for folks like me, I could not be happier about that fact. "Lolita" itself begins sounding a bit Elle Goulding "Lights"-esque before barging into a familiar feeling hook ("I'm your Lolita/La Femme Nikita/When we're together/You'll love me forever"). Life on Mars, please don't pull a Jumping Trains on me. Get the hell on with it already. I feel so Veronica Deprived!

MADONNA - "Turn Up the Radio (R3hab Remix)" (listen here)
Obligatory MDNA reference: Remember back in February when everyone was abuzz about Madonna's latest album campaign? Where the hell did that energy go? "Turn Up the Radio" seemed like a pretty snoozy track on the record (despite it's title) and yet was chosen as a single over the likes of "Gang Bang" (shot you down). I didn't really get it until I heard the more exciting remixes (although, collabing with Far East Movement? I love FM as much as the next person but YOU. ARE. MADONNA. First, LMFAO and now this? What in the...). R3hab is my fave of the lot. Also - I do have tix to see The Queen of Pop perform at the Garden this November...

JOSS STONE - "(For God's Sake) Give More Power To the People"
I was one of those kids who first discovered Joss Stone through her debut The Soul Sessions idea back in 2003 (mostly thanks her cover of White Stripes's "Fell In Love With A Girl") and lost (most) interest with her original material. Her big bluesy voice is just undeniable though, which is why I was so psyched here what she had to offer with her Soul Sessions sequel release a weeks back. "Power To the People" is a Chi-Lites cover and her huge vocals really make it sound anthematic (that opening growl alone is enough to give you goosebumps). She also covers Womack & Womack's "Teardrops" -- also worth perusing.

ELECTROVAMP - "Hands Up" (with Keenan Cahill) (listen here)
Oh, Electrovamp. Me and these Welsh sisters go way back on this blog (holy 2009 flashback!). The duo opened for Girls Aloud back in the day and "Drinks Taste Better When They're Free" and "X Larger" were my jams when I first moved to the City back in early 2009, but time came and went and with no full album to peruse, I lost interest. I'm happy to report they are still cranking out the dancefloor jams -- the most recent being "Hands Up," a fun little corker of a song. Hopefully their official album release is truly on the horizon now...

ALUNAGEORGE - "You Know You Like It"
Are you seeing a pattern yet? What is it with me and duos lately (Karmin, Pet Shop Boys, The V-Rons, ElectroVamp)? Anyhoot -- AlunaGeorge is a new duo from London (named Aluna and George, get it?) and they are utterly fantastic. Their sparse, electronic-esque sound in "You Know You Like It" coupled with Aluna's baby-pitched voice will draw obvious comparisons to Robyn (when is that a bad thing ever?) -- think "Anytime You Like". The rest of the EP is also fantastic. "Just A Touch" is a bit more straight-ahead poppy feel while handclappy "Put Up Your Hands" is refreshingly soft and slinky despite its decieving dance-party title (I feel a Kylie moment coming on...). These ones are seriously ones to watch. Love love love.

JESSIE WARE - "Running"
Gorgeous British singer-songwriter Jessie Ware is being hotly tipped to be the next big thing across the pond. I usually roll my eyes when most artists are hyped in such a way -- except when they are being exported from the UK because let's face it -- their track record is pretty solid. Marina & The Diamonds, Elle Goulding, Emeli Sande, Charli XCX...I rest my case. Jessie Ware fits in somewhere between the last two. Her vocals ooze with sensuality and soul, set to a ever-so-slightly electro-trussed backbeat making something slightly retro and classic feel distinctly 2012. "Running" is instantly addictive in its subtlety (and it has electric guitar!). Her debut album, Devotion, is set for August 20th.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

INTERVIEW: A Quick Chat with Parade

Parade's "Light Me Up" is the song of the moment here at Melismatic. You can read my review HERE.

The girls were so sweet as to exclusively answer some of my questions regarding their upcoming sophomore project, which you can read here:

MEL: Sophomore Jitters can be terrifying for artists, but you are returning to the music scene rather triumphantly. How is the headspace for the band different for this round of promotions?
PARADE: This time round we're doing this our way. We have full creative control, and are in a good place. We're so excited about our new music and are looking forward for everyone to hear it!

MEL: How involved in the production process are you? Both stylistically and musically?
PARADE: We know exactly how we want our music to sound, so it's important that we're involved in the production process. We've been working with some amazingly talented producers, and it's been refreshing to write about some of the crazy things we've experienced together in the past few years.

MEL: "Light Me Up" is a great reassertion track. Whilst recording, was it an automatic a-ha moment between the five of you? What was it like recording in the studio?
PARADE: Our producer, Tim Powell, has really helped us with creating our sound. Recording is fun; it has to be. We take over his studio whenever we go down there... we actually just got back from another weeks' session with him! As soon as we wrote the chorus, we could already hear our fans singing it back to us!!

MEL: Dream Scenario: If you could tour with any other artist in the world, who would it be?
PARADE: We've already been lucky enough to tour some of our favourite artists. Shakira's tour was amazing, as was The Wanted's. Katy Perry's would be a fun tour to be on. And she's hot!!

MEL: What album (besides your own) do you firmly believe should be in every one's music library?
PARADE: Individually, we're split - we have VERY different tastes. The group library would be Rihanna.

MEL: If you could look back and tell yourself any one thing whilst promoting "Louder", what would it be?
PARADE: 'Work, party and ENJOY!' (Although we pretty much did that anyway!)

Thanks, ladies! Be sure to follow them on the ol' Twitter (@Parade!) and go download "Light Me Up" for free here!

Monday, August 06, 2012

HEAR THIS: Parade Says 'Light Me Up'

"You gotta light me up!
I'm not feelin' a romantic, boy
But if you think you're worth it
You gotta light me up!
When you get my head t-turning
Boy, you're learnin', learnin', learnin'
Light me up!
You gotta smoke me like a cigarette
And keep me burnin', burnin', burnin'
Light me up up up!
Light me up up up!"
-"Light Me Up", Parade

We don't really need another reason why the UK just does pop better, but the reasons keep on arriving like some proverbial conveyor belt of greatness. I'm convinced there's something in their water. Truly. Further cementing 2012 as the Year of the UK girl group, Parade has officially returned to join the girl group...well, parade with a brilliant new single in "Light Me Up."

Quick Recap: Lauren, Bianca, Emily, Sian and Jessica joined forces to become Parade back in 2009. Their debut single "Louder" (which I happened to just recently hear blaring at my local Jamba Juice here in NYC, no joke) hit Top 10 in their native UK but despite a decent debut album, the hype derailed, the album "flopped" and things quieted down. The group exited their label, Asylum (a branch of Warner Music Group), but rather than give in and up, the group strengthened their sound and began recording a sophomore album on their own. 

Clearly, it was just the motivation they needed to make Parade an important name in girl group history. With the help of some of the UK's most decorated production in Tim Powell (Sugababes, Girls Aloud and most recently Paloma Faith), Ed Drewett (The Wanted, whom Parade recently opened for) and MNEK (The Saturdays), Parade is almost ready to show us what they've got for their sophomore record. They recently tipped their hand a bit with the official premiere of their new single, "Light Me Up". And it was proof positive the wait for the main event was worth it.

"Light Me Up" is a glossy firework of a pop song (appropriate); a 2012 adaptation of the Parade feel further intensified in a very positive way. It has the similar feel of The Saturday's "Up" -- vocalizing that this narrative girl is doing her own thing and is not willing to share her shine unless her pursuer really proves his salt and "light[s her] up". The song really cooks with simulated strings, an unrelenting electronic drum rhythm and clipped, quick vocal delivery. The song delves into (unobnoxious) dubstep-esque territory around the 2:20 mark before tapping out quickly into a more sparse and refreshing bridge, building back up to the enjoyable chorus.

In all truth, it sounds like a grand Satz cut before the girls went all dreamy glitz or even a more sugary Sugababes single cerca "Round Round". So basically, it's pretty freaking fantastic.

If you love what you hear, you can download the song for free HERE thanks to the girls Parade and their sweet generosity (particularly useful if you live outside the realm of UK iTunes, which I do). You can also follow them on the Twitters via @parade .

P.S. -- The choice in title is a funny coincidence for yours truly, as my favorite Parade cut prior to "Light Me Up" was their album cut "Stars", who's chorus goes "We're looking like Stars in here/Let's light it up". Ahhh, see. I can predict the future...

Thursday, August 02, 2012

HEAR THIS: Little Mix Debuts With A CLAP, Sprouts "WINGS"

"Mama told me not to waste my life
She said, "Spread your wings, my little butterfly
Don't let what they say
Keep you up at night
They can't detain you
'Cuz wings are made to fly"
And we don't let nobody take us down
No matter what you say -- it won't hurt me
No matter if I fall from the sky
Wings are made to fly"

-"Wings", Little Mix

Reasons UK Girl Groups do it best #483: Little Mix.

Get to know these names, America: Jesy, Perrie, Leigh-Anne(!) and Jade. They are the four chickies that make up UK girl group Little Mix -- yet another UK X-Factor creation. But before you hem and haw and say we've seen it all before. Halt. Stop. Listen. They officially became the most successful girl group to be spawned from the now legendary showcase, winning the Season 8 competition.

They take the sass of early Sugababes, the quirk and style of Girls Aloud, the vocals of Stooshe and the danceability of The Saturdays and put it all together. Perhaps that's what they mean when they decided to call themselves Little Mix.

I had high hopes for them ever since I saw this performance, covering the obligatory girl-group-who-harmonizes ballad in En Vogue's "Don't Let Go (Love)". What did we get from that? Intensity, confidence and most importantly -- it's hard to choose which is the strongest vocalist because they are all so strong. (Song begins at 2:04).

Goosebumps. Straight goosebumps.

After the competition, the group released their cover of Damien Rice's ballad "Cannonball", which went to #1 in the UK, Ireland and Scotland. The ballad underwhelmed me, mostly because I wanted something more youthful and uptempo for such a fresh faced group. Luckily, I didn't have to wait too long. "Wings", the group's proper debut single, is set for release in late August with a debut album set to follow featuring tunes by Biff Stannard amongst others.

"Wings" itself is such a great feel good summer song -- complete with handclaps, bouncy choreography, hook after hook after hook, strong harmonies(!) and such a positive overall feel. (The Acoustic Version ain't too shabby either..)

Look who's earned themselves a place as a '100% Supports' Artist at

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

HEAR THIS: Eva Universe Remixes Berlin, Takes "Breath Away"

Don't hold back for a minute
Take me to your heaven
I want all the girls like,
"I'll have what she's havin'"**
"Breath Away", Eva Universe

**= If you know what film that line is a reference to, kudos. Let's hang out some time.

A lot has been happening for dancefloor bangstress (new word, trademark 2012 Melismatic) Eva -- now credited as Eva Universe (perhaps to avoid confusion with another Eva...Simons, perhaps?) -- since I last checked in with her this past January. Her last single, "Body On Mine" (feat. Tyga), went Top 10 on Billboard's Dance Charts. She recently shared the stage with Australian DJ phenom Havana Brown. And -- best of all for 80's lovers like moi -- she recently unleashed her most recent single in the form of the dancey "Breath Away," a 2012 "revamp" of sorts to Berlin's 'Top Gun' classic "Take My Breath Away".

Now, before you get all up in arms about homegirl covering Berlin -- the song is definitely not a strict cover per say. The song itself is all synth and 808 weeble-wobbles fit for clubthumping and just when the pre-chorus should kick in, gears shift, tempos change and along comes the epic "Take My Breath Away" hook. No sooner does the final echo of "Take My Breath Away" fade does it go right back to dancefloor bid-ness as usual with slinky "Oh! Oh! Ooh-whoa whoa! That sh*t takes my breath away!" before hitting verse dos. And so on and so forth. It also includes a rap-talkin' bridge reminiscent of a Fergie or Ke$ha.

With just the right hard hitting remix, the clubs could eat this one up. Who doesn't love "Take My Breath Away"?

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