Saturday, November 24, 2012

PLAYLIST: Delving Into What's New with The Faves

If you've ever happened to take a gander to my Spotify profile, you'd see I'm a little bit of a playlist ho. It's just the way I roll. And trust me, there's about 25 other playlists that are hidden for my eyes only, mostly because to people who aren't moi they would make zero sense. I've always been the type to categorize my music seemingly arbitrarily (when I was in high school, one day I decided to arrange my CDs by release date, down to the month and day -- no jokes). One of my most abused Spotify "hidden" playlists is my "Itching To Talk About" playlist. So today is all about satisfying that urge without creating 85 mini posts. You're welcome.

"I'm moving to the beat of her heart/I was so lost until tonight"
The boys of the UK's other big boy band, The Wanted, have taken another stab at breaking off a piece of One Direction's US dominance in the ace dance single "I Found You". Complete with fluttery, buttery falcetto, "I Found You" was written by Steve Mac and Wayne Hector and sounds like something out of a 90's dance days of yore, mixed with The Wanted's current penchant for Ibiza-sounding audio samples (also prevalent in "Glad You Came" and "Chasing the Sun"), although it's much less in your face than in prior singles. And that bridge -- you sing it, boy. Perhaps it's my age, but I find this song along to be more of a jam than 1D's entire US sophomore release combined.

"You're from the 70's/But I'm a 90's bitch//I. Don't. Care./I love it!"
Aino and Caroline of the duo group Icona Pop are already legit icons of pop in their homeland of Sweden (the land of the Best Pop). "Manners" was their big breakthrough here in the States but "I Love It", which features UK hype artist Charlie XCX, puts them on a whole new level entirely. Their latest EP, Iconic, is a pure heaven for pop dance enthusiasts, so if you haven't heard it, please remedy this quickly. "I Love It" is repetitive, driving and completely relentless. Insert the obvious here when I say, "I Love It". Fave Remix of the Moment: surprisingly the Cobra Starship offering. Who would have thought?

"We are all misfits, living in a world on fire/Singing for the people like us, the people like us"
It's been ten years since Ms. Kelly Clarkson became the very first winner of the very first American reality singing competition. Greatest Hits: Chapter One is a reminder of what a bright light she is in the pop world with three ace new songs tacked on toward the end -- single "Catch My Breath", country-soaked duet "Don't Rush" with Vince Gill and the power pop sum-up of her entire career, "People Like Us". "People" was produced by The Bird & The Bee member Greg Kurstin and features a rhythm guitar underlay that is notably reminiscent her breakthrough hit "Since U Been Gone". She sounds much more in her vocal element here than she does with "Catch My Breath", as "People" sounds like it very well could have been a single itself from Breakaway or Stronger.

"You make me feel like/I've been locked out of heaven/For too long"
The lead single from Bruno's upcoming sophomore release, Unorthodox Jukebox, is a bonafide worldwide smash for a multitude of reasons. The main one is it sounds like nothing else on the radio, choosing to harken back to the New Wave 80's pop. Depending on who you talk to you, folks will say it either sounds like a blatant rip off of The Police's "Message In A Bottle" or Michael Jackson's "Beat It". In an attempt to bridge the gap, let me just say -- there are worse things to try and sound like, mmkay? The song is a toe tapper and manages to take that vintage feel and still make it feel new and exciting. There is no denying Bruno's incredible vocal talents, put on perfect display with this groove. Another notch in the proverbial Win Column for The Smeezingtons production gang, in collaboration with -- excitingly enough -- Mark Ronson.

"One of me is Wiser/One of me is Stronger/One of me's a Fighter"
When it comes to Xtina's latest album, Lotus, where exactly should I begin? "Your Body", a long overdue collab with Max Martin scored so high and after the fumble that was Bionic (or at least most of in anyway), I so ardently hoped for more just like it. Unfortunately, it was a red herring. Lotus in itself isn't a bad album as it is a safe album, too muddled down in ballads that sound too similar. Christina is still caught in that weird middle ground where she sings these self-deprecating, emotional powerhouse songs and then compliments them in the same breath with harsh, petulant shlock like "Shut Up" or "Circles". It's a waste of her obvious talent and it makes me mourn for what could have been. Is Lotus better than Bionic? Yes. Is that saying much? From a overall view of her talent and back catalog, no. I was hoping for more of a Stripped headspace and Lotus only manages to get halfway there. It does have some very high moments, like with "Your Body" or "Just A Fool", her duet with Blake Sheldon. Another spotlight is "Army Of Me", produced by Brit team Tracklacers (P!NK, The Saturdays). The first real cut on the record, it reads a bit like "Fighter (Part 2)" and its biting anthem call is actually believable in the wake of so much swirling criticism flung her way. Not only does she sound incredible, the song's tempo doesn't need to be at a snail's pace to prove it.

"I'm a tornado/Looking for a man to break"
I'm gonna go ahead and blame my recent infatuation with Fleetwood Mac circa Rumors for my overwhelming interest in country-flavored harmony rock at the mo'. This overhaul seemed to rear its head during the crazy weirdness that was in aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, so how appropriate would it be that a recent inclusion into this lovefest would be Little Big Town's latest single, the title track from their latest album Tornado? It's not as instantaneously earwormy as lead single "Pontoon" but it still really cooks.

"I'm the guy with the bass and drum/Goin' around like 'bom bom bom'"
"Bom Bom" is the debut single from UK group Sam & The Womp. It was released back in August across the pond and went straight to #1. I'm still undecided whether or not this irreverant style will gain a mainstream stronghold has in the UK (and leaning toward the feeling that it won't, but anything's possible), but it's still a fun little womp none the less (get it?). I mean, trumpets and driving dance beats with a nonsense chorus? I'm in. It reminds me a bit of those vaugely creepy 90's dance hits like "Groove Is In the Heart".

"Don't act like  you don't know who I am/You just mouthed it to your friend/Ain't no question/You only wanna f*ck me 'cuz I'm famous"
I don't know much about Katy Tiz, other than she's a labelmate of Jessie J and she sounds a bit like a poppier Lily Allen mixed with P!NK's bold attitude. Part of her appeal is in her quirkiness -- in the second verse alone, she states, "You coulda been a keeper/If you weren't such a creeper/Go look for Justin Bieber".

"Be careful how you play your cards/That's what Mama told me"
I'm convinced the reunion of Outkast proper will never happen. But if Big Boi continues to put out jams like this one, the pop world might be okay with that. Enlisting the help of Kelly Rowland, "Mama Told Me"'s real star power is in that doo doo doo doo dooda doo motive -- an earworm in itself -- mixed handslappy rhythm structure feeling both familiar and refreshing. Big Boi's sophomore solo release, Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors, is due in December.

JAY DABHI - "STOP MY HEART (FEAT. JADA)" (snippet "preview")
"Can you stop my heart from breaking?"
DJ & Remixer Jay Dabhi, arguably best known for remixes featured in the Dance Dance Revolution video games, enlisted my girls in JADA ("Beantown Beauties", haha) for his song "Stop My Heart", featured on his latest compilation, The WeekEND. Any new music from JADA is welcomed to the ears of yours truly, and this follows up on the strides they made with their Supersonique EP.

"I'm on the darkest road to nowhere/And you're the better part of me"
Released back in August, Taryn's latest single is a dance h-i-t, peaking at the top spot on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs Chart. Three months later, it's still ranked in the top 15. A true bright spots for the club circuit, every remix of this jam sounds better than the last. My current fave is the KDrew version, which is a bit more piano-based, making it sound a bit like a DJ Sammy cover hit of old...until the dubsteppy bit stomps in after the chorus.

"Ehhhhhhhh, sexy lady!"
Because, I meannnnnn. The little KPOP song that could that literally stole America's focus to become the Macarena of 2012 mixed with one of the early 90's best guilty pleasures? (Funny Story -- I vividly remember my two older male cousins physically fighting with each other over who was better and would "last longer" -- Vanilla Ice or Hammer. I always enjoyed when this would happen, as it would mean I would have the original Nintendo at my aunt's house all to myself. Oh, to be five again.) Hell yeah. PSY, I'm so happy you get it, bro.


John said...

"I Found You" is already on my best of 2012 list, so of course it's not going to be big in the US. "People Like Us" covers the gay portion of Kelly's audience, just like "Catch My Breath" gets the poppers and "Don't Rush" gets the Country all three. I'm enjoying almost all of Lotus, and "Tornado" instantly replaced "Pontoon" on my current playlist. But the most exciting thing on this list is the PSY/Hammer collab. I am BEYOND excited for the PSY album. Something tells me it's going to be gimmicky without being corny, and I couldn't be happier.

Lilly said...

very nice list, Mel :). I especially like one in particular. my annual top 50 will be coming soon :)

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