Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012: A Year In Review

The end of the December always translates to one thing to music bloggers: Year Recap lists. I've given up on this a long time ago, as what is my favorite song at the moment, could be #14 tomorrow (yes, I'm flippant. Deal with it.). Instead, here is a list of my most listened to KPOP songs as captured by my BFF, Last.FM. Below this, you'll find my live concert reviews for this year and a full timeline of what I've been grooving to month-by-month. It doesn't get more recappy than that...

You tell me. What was your favorite song of 2012?

KPOP Fave Cuts of 2012:
01. Super Junior - Sexy, Free & Single
02. Wonder Girls - The DJ Is Mine
03. TVXQ! - Android (OK, it's in Japanese. Whatever, they are Korean.)
04. SHINee - Sherlock (Clue + Note)
05. TaeTiSeo - Twinkle
06. Big Bang - Fantastic Baby
07. TVXQ! - Catch Me (yes, TVXQ! gets two entries, as one is in Japanese, the other is in Korean)
08. f(x) - Electric Shock
09. NU'EST - Face
10. Xia Junsu - Tarantallegra
11. Nine Muses - Ticket
12. SISTAR - Alone
13. MBLAQ - This Is War/It's War
14. miss A - Lips
15. 2NE1 - I Love You

Live From New York in 2012:
-Pastele, Benatton, Jay Saint & Flawless
-Meeting Lil Jon in Soho
-Wonder Girls @ the Hard Rock
-Madonna @ the Garden

Quarter 1:

Quarter 2 (April, May, June):

Quarter 3 (July, August, September):


Quarter 4 (October, November, December):


For an extended look at Billboard's recap as it pertains to Melismatic, click the cut below.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HEAR THIS: Vanquish gets "Too Close"; Stockholm Syndrome says "Don't Worry"

My girls in UK girl group Vanquish are quickly gaining on Little Mix to be my fave new British girl group. And considering the UK is Ground Zero for stellar girl pop, that's really saying a lot, isn't it. They recently covered Alex Clare's breakthrough hit "Too Close", turning the brain-melting dubstep into a lush, four-part harmony ballad. Gorgeousness awaits you...

Meanwhile, over in Sweden, if you recall the girl group Love Generation who broke through with some ace pop tunes produced by RedOne ("Love Generation", "Love Alone") and were also a part of his fledgling label -- they have re-emerged with a new name and a few members short as trio Stockholm Syndrome. Their single, the petulant club-tune "Pretty Girl", is available on iTunes and Spotify. I'm more interested in this gorgeous acoustic-y cover of Swedish House Mafia (appropriate)'s grandiose dance hit "Don't You Worry Child".


Monday, December 10, 2012

HEAR THIS: La Satz Say "What About Us" (aka, Drinking with Mel)

This is probably going to be the weirdest hodge-podge hot mess of a Melismatic post I've done yet and honestly, I regret nothing.

The Saturdays. Left to Right: Frankie, Mollie, Rochelle, Vanessa & Una.
Level with me: you're reading this blog, which probably equals itself to being a fan of quality pop music, meaning a lot of it comes from Europe (I'm not Anti-American, ya'll -- it's just the way it is).

My long-standing hearts for the ladies of The Saturdays has been documented here since the blog started back in 2008 (can you believe it's been that long?!?). Finally, the group is putting on their sequined heels and attempting to walk the path carved by One Direction. Yes, they are attempting an American take over. But because they are a group of five glamtastic, perfectly coiffed chicks from the UK with a smattering of UK Top 10 dance hits, what better place for their American take over than the American E! network. Their debut American "reality show" set to be called "Chasing the Saturdays," and will air January 20th at 10PM Eastern.

In a promotion that correlates to I'm not really sure what for their upcoming TV show, the group has been tweeting about the Twelve Sats of Christmas on their Twitter account (#TwelveSatsOfXmas) and a few weeks back, what should land in my Melismatic Inbox but a promise of "Low-Cal Holiday Cocktails from The Saturdays". You know I just couldn't resist...

Now, it may surprise you that a high-rollin' Brooklyn gal like myself doesn't have a complete liquor cabinet (who am I? Ke$ha?). So of the five drink recipe choices, I chose the only non-alcoholic option (because I'm family-friendly like that) in my girl Mollie's "Special Egg Nog". 

Welcome to the Casa de Melismatica.
Egg Nog was always a must in my house growing up around the holidays, pretty much from Thanksgiving (it's in late November, for you non-Americans) straight through the New Year. Imagine my Euphoria after discovering the mixture of my favorite holiday drink with my favorite beverage in general via Starbucks Egg Nog Latte, but then that's another story for another time, I suppose.

Mollie's "Special Egg Nog" (seriously? no better titles than this?) calls for:
1 ¾ Cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 Cup of Egg Beaters
1 Tablespoon of sugar
½ Teaspoon of brown sugar
½ Teaspoon of vanilla

It also has bragging rights of being just 83 calories, the second "skinniest" of The Satz holiday drink collection. I made a few changes to the above recipe and figured I'd pass them along to you, too -- so I suppose you can consider this "Mollie and Mel's Special Egg Nog":

-The above recipe makes a full large glass of egg nog and it is rather sweet, so suggest "half"-ing the recipe so it's can fit into cute little glasses like you see in my picture.
-Rather than using vanilla extract, I just purchased Vanilla Almond Milk as it is my personal preference anyway. 
-Many people shake a bit of nutmeg on the top of egg nog, mostly so it looks pretty. I never was much for nutmeg when it's being drunk, so instead, I use cinnamon.
-Whether or not you add rum, brandy or even cognac to your Egg Nog, that's your prerogative. You lush.

Lest we all forget the reason why I (and therefore you) should ship La Sats so darn hard, I present to you, their latest single and American debut, "What About Us". The song made it's grand debut in the US this week via the Billboard Dance Club Charts at #41, and one version features reggae-rapper Sean Paul (I guess this explains this song's reggae-esque vocal cadences, then). Because I love these girls, I'm choosing not to feature that version (you're welcome).

"What About Us" is a total grower, but the more I play it the more it gets stuck in my head. Does it need 85 different versions (including one with Sean Paul)? No. But does it get me 'All Fired Up'? Uh, duh.

Try and tell me everything about this campaign is not flawless. Go ahead and try. OK, so the video was shot back in August and yet will come out in January on the back of a brand new album that will be apparently released world-wide. And yeah, apparently "30 Days" was just thrown out there as a single for fun and has no real home in La Satz overall discography. Yes, somedays I do think, "Ladies, whatchu doin' with my heart? Na na na na na!" But it's alright -- because it all boils down to the fact that I have a very real chance of seeing the girls perform live without having to book a flight and cough up the dough for a ticket to the Wembley.

Happy Twelve Sats of Xmas, everyone!

For the rest of The Sats recipes, click the cut.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

WGO: Grammy's '12, KPOP and Chart Shakeups

Before I tried to commit to legitimate chart listings, I actually talked about music news in bullet points and since I feel that shows a better view of "what's going on" (the meaning behind 'WGO') in my own obviously stellar opinion (I kid, sort of), I'm thinking we should get back to that for 2013 and beyond. Without further ado...

-In a turn of events I really did not see coming (sincerely), that unlistenable "Scream & Shout" single by and Britney Spears has topped the heap in terms of single sales this week. Personally, I'm just glad it's not 2NE1 supplying the call-and-response vocals for that but even still -- is Britney British now? What the hell is this...

-Ke$ha continues to remain surprisingly relevant (and trashtastic in a Dr. Luke sort of way) as her single "Die Young" is officially the most spun single at Top 40 radio in the US. Also -- Olly Murs' new single "Troublemaker" with Flo Rida is officially the most added new single. That song is currently #1 in the jolly ol' UK.

-My guys in the indie troupe Mike & Cody have just released a fresh YouTube cover, this time of Usher's "Climax" and it's lush and fan-freakin'-tastic. How do you dudes keep out-doing yourselves?

-The Jonas Brothers continue to try for some momentum post-"Married To Jonas" (Yes, it's one of my guilty pleasures. I know, I know.) performing live for the Jingle Ball hodge-podge concert in Los Angeles whose lineup also included Joe's famous ex Taylor Swift (more on her in a sec). My love for the JoBros is well documented here so to say I'm stoked for the new album would be putting it mildly.

-The JoBro's boy band replacement (I guess) in One Direction caused some serious mayhem here in New York this past week, playing to a sold out crowd at Madison freakin' Garden. And guys -- this isn't even their first time playing the Garden. Does this takeover feel like it's crept up on anyone else? Seriously. But their concert reign got a bit drowned out with the scandal that member Harry Styles (you know, the one with the super floppy hair) was spotted hanging around the City with Taylor Swift, including going back to her hotel with her not once, but twice (can't you just hear the 1D fan heartbreak?). This one stinks of collaborative publicity, however, I'm just biding my time till the inevitable T.Swifty "I hate you so much" song hits the radio waves, this time complete with British slang. Girl, I get it, you're "livin' while you're young" and all, but your bag of songwriting tricks is starting to get a bit stale at this point. You should try dating outside of the spotlight. Just for a little while. Just sayin'.

-I'm not much for the US version of the X-Factor, but I am proud to say the US is finally giving pop someone to really root for with girl group Fifth Harmony. I feel a new stanship coming on. I don't know which member I want to emulate most...

-I think it's official that "Gangnam Style" has jumped the shark in relevancy here in the States (or at least with the idiotic populace that make up so much of my great nation). After it became the Macarena of 2012 literally out of nowhere, Americans are just now gaining wind of PSY's Korean back catalog and are stunned by one song in particular called "Dear American" that was released back in 2004 in Korea. The song is a passionate war anthem that was actually by a metal band in Korea called N.E.X.T. after American soldiers in South Korea got off scott-free following an accident that ended in death for two young Korean girls. PSY participated in a performance of the song during a concert benefit to protest the Iraq War. Now -- let's not get into politics too deep, because this is a pop music blog, after all, but please, America -- think before you speak. All of you saying PSY should get off our TVs and go back to Korea: you do realize we were the ones who created the PSY demand, right? "Gangnam Style" was never aimed at a US or even a World audience -- most English speaking folks still have no clue what the song means despite him giving interviews on its meaning in English. We even have idiots like Rush Limbaugh saying the song is bad for our country and is made up of "gibberish" (it's in Korean, you idiot). While for a split second, I thought maybe we were ready for KPOP in America, I'm starting to realize I may need to rethink this...

-Speaking of Korea, the 2012 MAMA Awards (MNET Asian Music Awards) -- aka the "sort of" KPOP Grammy's (errr, kinda) was held in Hong Kong about a week ago. Pertinent to Melismatic winners included: SISTAR winning "Best Female Group" for their single 'Alone' (hoo hoo hoo hoo!); Big Bang winning "Artist of the Year" and "Best Male Group" for "Fantastic Baby" (boom shakalaka); KARA winning "Best Global Female Group" for "Pandora"; Super Junior winning "Album of the Year" and "Best Global Male Group" for "Sexy Free & Single" (I'm ready to BINGO!); HyunA/JS winning "Best Collaborative Performance" for "Trouble Maker" (even though that came out last year...but OK); PSY winning "Song of the Year", "Best Music Video" and "Best Solo Dance Performance" (lol) for "Gangnam Style"; SHINee winning "Best Male Group Dance Performance" for "Sherlock" (I'm so curious chyeahhhh); and f(x) winning "Best Female Group Dance Performance" for "Electric Shock" (side-eyeing you for that, SM). Where does TVXQ! fit into all of this? Good question -- they won nothing. Yep. ... I'm not mad. Not mad at all. Let me just throw this computer across the room a few times then I'll be good. Sigh.

-Before I get into Grammy nods, it's always fun to look at the biggest "snub" of the year (it really is an unofficial category in itself) and according to manager Scooter Braun, the obvious choice is Justin Bieber. While I don't agree in whining itself (because really -- Justin has had an incredible few years and has already grabbed quite a few award accolades), I do somewhat agree he was pretty conveniently left out. This is pretty surprising considering the Grammy's just loves to throw the teen idols a bone so they can ask them to perform and increase their viewership. And I mean, they gave "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" a Record of the Year nom. Grammy's, really? I mean, really? I think it would have been fair to give one of Believe's singles a Pop Performance nom, considering those contenders include an Adele single from an album that already won a slew of Grammy's last year, a Katy Perry tack-on single and a Rihanna single that underwhelmed.

-And now to the 2012 Grammy Noms that "matter":

Record Of the Year
Black Keys "Lonely Boy", Kelly Clarkson "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)", fun. "We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae)", Gotye "Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimba)", Frank Ocean "Thinkin Bout You", Taylor Swift "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

Album Of the Year: Black Keys El Camino, fun. Some Nights, Mumford & Sons Babel, Frank Ocean Channel Orange, Jack White Blunderbuss

Song Of the Year: Ed Sheeran "The A Team", Miguel "Adorn", Carly Rae Jepsen "Call Me Maybe", fun. "We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae)"

Best New Artist: Alabama Shakes, fun., Hunter Hayes, The Lumineers, Frank Ocean

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