Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Songs of 2010

Heya, I put together a Top 25 of some of my fave songs of 2010. I'm pretty sure I forgot some. Also it's only one song per artist. :o)
Robyn – Dancing on My Own. The best stalkerish dance pop song ever? ;o)

Arcade Fire – We Used to Wait (followed by Month of May, Ready to Start, Modern Man, City with No Children and the rest of the album lol). This song simply takes me back to my internet & gadgets-less childhood in the 90’s...

Scissor Sisters – Invisible Light (followed by Fire with Fire and Sex and Violence). Have to admit that for me his song wasn’t an instant favourite but among this year's dance records it definitely stands out. Yet it has the potential to be more than just a hit.

Elton John & Leon Russell – If It Wasn’t For Bad. The Union is full of great music. This, the opening song, was love on first listen.

Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill. The whole Plastic Beach is great and it’s not easy to choose one song from it. In the end I’ll have to go w/ one of the shortest, poppiest and Damon Albarn sung ones.

Hurts – Sunday (followed by Better Than Love, Wonderful Life & Stay). Sunday couldn’t sound more like a Pet Shop Boys song if it tried (whatever the Hurts guys say…) but at least it makes up for the s*** (at least by PSB standard) that they released this year. „Together's amazing, together we're blazing…“, yeah right, Neil. ;o)

Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow – Shame. Might be MOR but the song rulez nevertheless for so many reasons. One of them beying Robbie’s lyrics.

Amanda Palmer feat. The Young Punx – Map of Tasmania. A catchy Bow Wow Wow-ish tune w/ lyrics supporting Dr. Miranda Bailey’s (Grey’s Anatomy) case of taking care of her down under using only water and soap.

Rufus Wainwright - Who Are You New York? Voice, piano & New York. Magical combination.

Macy Gray (feat. Velvet Revolver) – Kissed It. Macy going back to basics – a mix of disco, r’n’b and rock. And sex, of course.

Kylie Minogue – All The Lovers.This is such a great pop song. Neither the lyrics nor the production go in the way of its brilliant melody (catchy enough but not annyoing). And, well, Kylie is a sweetie. :o)

Kanye West – Runaway. An example of a brilliant song w/ some downright stupid lyrics. „I sent a girl a picture of my dick“ (well, good for you Kanye!) on the other hand they do help him show that the song’s chorus is defoinitely dedicated to himslef and others similarly impaired. „Let’s have a toast for the douchebags, let’s have a toast for the assholes.“ The truth is this little eegit is a musical genius.

Brandon Flowers – Magdalena. Now Brandon released a good album (Flamingo) on his own, slightly uneven but w/ plenty of good songs to choose from. But as this hasn’t been an easy year for me I choose the most upbeat from the album. Who cares it’s about a pilgrimage. It's a joyous song and catholics are cool people too! (Some of them.)

Cee Lo Green – Fuck You. Yes, this is ne of those songs which can become annoying after a while but I somehow always keep coming back to it anyway!

Antony and the Johnsons – Thank You For Your Love. Sublime, beautiful.

Marc Almond – Intro. Is it bad that from Marc’s latest album it’s the ukulele Intro I like the most?
Bryan Ferry – Heartache by Numbers. Co-written by the Scissor Sisters guys this is a standout good song on an album full of good songs. Its modern sound fits Ferry perfectly as do the lyrics. Ferry gives away an impression of a guy looking for love since his divorce 7 years ago. He does go to clubs and keeps dating younger girls but ultimately, at 65, it would be no surprise if he wanted to settle down for the second time. Seems to me his is probably the truest lyric he’s sung in a while.

Cherry Ghost – Black Fang (closely followed by Kissing Strangers). While The Divine Comedy’s latest album was slightly disappointing, another sonically similar music project caught my ear. This guy’s really good at coming up w/ killer melodies.

The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio. I have to confess I wasn’t so crazy about the whole album (High violet), maybe I would if I was a 40-year-old guy. ;o) But this song is undoubtedly one of the best if not the best song that came out this year. Great melody, the singer sounds like a proper man (deep, sexy voice). What more could I want...

Evelyn Evelyn – My Space. An album recorded by a fictional siemese twin couple is probably not for everyone but pop culture references in this song will probably make smile – and think - almost everyone. It’s got a cool tune, too. „You can’t always want what you get when you’re looking for love in a café on the internet.“

MGMT – Brian Eno. „He promised pretty worlds and all the silence I could dream of Brian Peter George St John Le Baptiste De La Salle Eno.“

The Tallest Man On Earth – King of Spain. What can me more amusing than a Swede sounding like Bob Dylan singing a catchy tune about wanting to be the king of a warmer country?

Take That – What Do You Want From Me? Yes, there are more inventive pop songs on the newly reunited Take That’s latest album (The Progress) but as much as I like Robbie Williams I have to choose this Mark Owen written & sung song. You can just feel that he means every syllable & note. This is the first time I actually feel touched by a song by a boyband.

The Avett Brothers – Kick Drum Heart. Who said country couldn’t sound cool? This song is uptempo, punk-rocky, fun.

Josh Ritter – Change of Time. Josh Ritter is my discovery of 2010. He’s been releasing albums for a while now but So Runs the World Away must be the best one yet. This album is meant to be listened to as a whole but songs like The Curse or Change of Time work very well on their own as well.

Friday, 26 March 2010

First Contact...aka Star Trek 8

So I saw another Star Trek film last night. I only watch Trek films with my two friends who are Trekkies, the only exception is the latest restart Star Trek fim from last year which I've seen countless times already (countless in my case = cca 6 or 7 times) and always on my own (be it on a large cinema screen or my on 17'' screen laptop).

Tim Bisley (Simon Pegg) of Spaced said about 10 years ago that every odd-numbered Star Trek film is shit - and at that time he was basically right. So I let my hopes get a little bit higher about The First Contact and the film didn't disappoint.
More than the story, tho, I enjoyed the actors, most of all James Cromwell and Alfre Woodard. These two were a really nice surprise.
Seeing young Neal McDonough with different hair was a bit distracting, tho. It made me think about Desperate Housewives a bit too much. ;)
James Cromwell was obviously enjoying every second of the film - or at least that's how his screen presence came across - and he was a joy to watch.

Haven't seen the Borg since my childhood (on our tiny black&white TV)...just me or are they wonderfully boring? But then, anything's better than the Daleks, annoying metal shits.

Sorry, got carried away...

Overall it was a good film, Captain Pickard is still a bit too serious for my taste (it's sci-fi for fuck's sake!) but then there is Data - and thank god for him. I don't think I would have enjoyed this film as much if James Cromwell's character wasn't in it, tho.

FV

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

#1 Hit Songs that Don't Suck

Inspired by last night's terrible Billboard Hot 100 Number One's American Idol theme evening, I put togther an unsorted list of number 1 songs that would actually not be boring or just plain suck.
I'm in no mood to find songs for each of the contestants (because honestly, I don't give a fuck about at least half of them) but I love music and I don't diss a song just because it is a hit. I love pop. Pop can be good.
So why on fucking earth do the contestants on Idol choose the same old same old even when they no longer have to?
Some of the no. 1's that could be used on Idol (West End Girls not included, for many reasons):

Just Dance - GaGa (check out Orla Gartland's version*)
Poker Face - GaGa (piano version, of course)
My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly
Viva La Vida - Coldplay
Disturbia - Rihanna (check out the guitar version by Orla Gartland*)
So What - P!nk
Umbrella - Rihanna (I know, I know...but Manic Street Preachers' version rocks)
Hey Ya! - Outcast (Kris Allen-style version?)
Maria Maria - Santana & co. (did Gokey sing it last year, tho?)
Take A Bow - Madonna
Vogue - Madonna
/Listen To Your Heart - Roxette (Yes, I think I do like this one. Sue me.)/
Got My Mind Set On You - George Harrison
Faith - George Michael
Man In The Mirror - MJ (OK, I admit, this one is one of singing competitions fave, isn't it)
Need You Tonight - INXS (rocker guys don't need to sing Nickelback, really)
I Think We're Alone Now - Tiffany, whoever she is. I know the Lene Lovich version - the Japanese one is the best. Apparently Girls Aloud have covered it too. Proof this song is timeless (was written in 1967).
Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel (better than Superstition, Siobhan?)
True Colors/Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper (Didi, maybe?)
Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears For Fears
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This - Eurythmics
Say Say Say - Macca & MJ (group number?)
I Love Rock 'n' Roll - Joan Jett & co.
Rapture - Blondie
(Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon (Tim, providing he'd sing it the same way as he did Under My Thumb...? *wicked laugh*)
Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carness
Call Me - Blondie
Coming Up - Macca & Wings
Heart of Glass - Blondie
How Deep Is Your Love - Bee Gees (love. this. song. no shame)
Let's Dance - David Bowie
Silly Love Songs - Wings
Philadelphia Freedom - EJ
Fame - David Bowie
Bennie and the Jetts - EJ
Band on the Run - Macca & Wings
My Love - Macca & Wings
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) - George Harrison
American Pie - Don McLean (Crystal, pretty please?)
Heart of Gold - Neil Young
My Sweet Lord/Isn't It The Pitty - George Harrison (personally would prefer the latter)
Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves - Cher (eat it, Cowell)
Let It Be - The Beatles (Crystal, no-one else)
Get Back - The Beatles (Lee, maybe?)
(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding (Casey)
Mrs. Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel
Wild Thing - The Troggs
I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles (the T.V. Carpio version) /I know it was buchered already earlier this season.../

and what about Wannabe by Spice Girls? Tim Urban and Katie Whatshername could make a duet. Would be perfect in so many ways!

Also a late disclaimer: I don't give a fuck about "current".

x

FV

P.S. Didn't include the Stones or ABBA, the former were killed last week, the latter are way too good for Idol. Can't imagine any of the contestants singing Dancing Queen. ;o)

* Orla Gartland's mashup of Disturbia and Just Dance:
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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

23-02-10 American Idol Top 24...Girls' Night

The Beatles were butchered two times on the American Idol's girls' night last night. Oh my.

So far this season seems to be just kinda boring. I mean, when I look back at Kradison's performances from Top 24 last year...they all may have played it safe but they definitely shone...even that early on they already possessed what I came to like about them. Especially Kris and his Man In The Mirror, which is still my favourite cover version of that particular song.


With the help of EW's Michael Slezak's recap/review and YouTube, let me write a few words about every performance.

Crystal Bowersox – I honestly can't imagine a way Crystal could make Alanis's Hand In My Pocket any more her own than she did last night. No idea. If she sounded like anyone else, then MAYBE like young Janis Joplin singing an Alanis Morissette song! I loved the performance... Hands down the best performance of last night. 90%

Didi Benami – great singing, a song I didn't know and I don't think I'll run to 7digital to buy... I wasn't a huge fan of her before and this performance definitely didn't make me love her but she was one of the few who actually sang and in her own way she sounded like she enjoyed it – and therefore so did I. 70%

Siobhan Magnus – great name, very interesting voice...not a bad performance at all. The song isn't really my cuppa but I have to say that even tho she didn't wear anything MGMT/Cyndi Lauper-y last night she still sounded like an 80's outsider highschool kid and I actually find that very refreshing.
P.S. She reminds me of The Breakfast Club's Allison... And that's a very good thing. :o)) 70%

Katelyn Epperly – I just didn't like this. a) Oh! Darling needs to be shouted, otherwise it just doesn't work – at least for me, b) Katelyn was off on a couple of notes, c) the way she was singing and moving was just so cheesy. She doesn't have a bad voice and you could find some good moments in there but for me personally not a very pleasant listen. 45%

Lilly Scott – I was wondering why anyone would choose Fixing A Hole for an American Idol debut live performance but as soon as Lilly got into the song I understood. She chose the song because she liked it and you could just hear it in her voice so well. Yay. As for the singing...she started off off-key but in the end she sounded great. Too bad she messed up the beginning. 75%

Michelle Delamor – not bad. Predictable choice of song but at least she could sing. I'd like to see what kind of songs she's gonna choose in the future – will she be able to take the judges' criticism (about being more creative in that department) to heart..? 60%

Katie Stevens – I don't know what it is, I just don't like this girl, especially when she sings. There's just something annoying about her. Also I don't like the facial expressions she makes while singing. She isn't a bad singer (except for last night) but there just isn't ANYthing interesting about her voice. And yeah, she didn't sound well at all last night. Singing Feeling Good at 17? Really? 40%

Janell Wheeler – unike some people I wans't hugely into her before this performance BUT I definitely heard her sing much better before. Interesting voice, her singing was all over the place, tho. 55%

Haeley Vaughn – hands down the worst Beatles' cover of the night. I know she was probably going for something in the direction of Across The Universe's version of I Want to Hold Your Hand but unlike T.V. Carpio she doesn't posses such a beautiful clear voice or even the ability to stay in tune. She's cute but listening to her is a bit of a torture. 25%

Ashley Rodriguez – jeezes. You know, it means something if a performance makes me wanna listen to the original by Leona Lewis (whose ability to convey emotion is hiding somewhere deep down below zero...I call her Leona Iceberg). Ashley's vocals could be easily described by the lyrics of the Happy song she sang: she sings "take me out of here" and I believe her (and I pray someone will do so soon), she follows it up by "I can't stand by your side" and I don't doubt her. What a mleh performance. 10%

Paige Miles – after reading Michael's review I expected something way way worse. She probably wasn't in tune the whole time but she rocked... There was this energy in her performance...the evening went kinda downhill from there - in the energy department. She had the perfect mix of spark and listenability. I guess there's something wrong with Michael's ears...or mine. Dunno. :o)
That being written, I wouldn't buy her CD or long all day to listen to her but I think she definitely delivered one of the better performances. 70%

Lacey Brown – I really like her. Ooh, and I love her hair...but her singing was the worst of the night - even worse than Haeley's - who doesn't seem to actually hear she's off-key. Lacey was nervous or at least that's what I heard in her vocal and I think she could hear she didn't sound well – and that made her even more nervous. :-( 20%

This is the first time I've looked up all preformances from one particular American Idol night and I have to say the lift off wasn't very exciting. I get more well sung notes and "artistry" when I go to Orla Gartland's YouTube channel... ;o)

xxx

FV