Charlotte Church is back to promote her latest self-released EP ‘TWO’, the follow-up to last year’s ‘ONE’ (obviously) – and the lead track is something of a surprise.
The singer, who started out doing classical stuff before making a brief foray into mainstream pop, has finally seemed comfortable in her own sound since her excellent 2010 album Back To Scratch; and ‘Glitterbombed’ pushes her even further from the commercial radio-friendly pop sound of ‘the moment’.
The FoxyBingo.com Celebrity Mum Of The Year nominee performed the tune on Jonathan Ross’ chatshow a couple of weeks ago, causing a stir with her brilliant costume and make-up. Apparently the full EP follows in March.
‘ONE’ was released last September and included the songs ‘The Rise’, ‘How Not to be Surprised When You’re a Ghost’, and ‘Say It’s True’, though she’s obviously been more easily affiliated recently with the phone hacking scandal that led to the demise of The News Of The World back in 2011. She recently finally reached a settlement and appeared on Question Time to discuss the whole Leveson Inquiry business.
Check out ‘Glitterbombed’ below.
It’s definitely a far cry from the ‘Crazy Chick’ and ‘Call My Name’ days, right?
Some interesting results have been collected for Britain’s Ultimate Festival Line-up, compiled by ticket marketplace getmein.com. Over 12,500 Twitter votes were registered. Tasked with one simple question – who would you want to see performing at your dream festival? – voters have piled up an A-list amazeathon of hitmakers guaranteed to make for an absolute stormer of an event. If only it were real.
Check out the survey results in their entirety here.
Despite the ongoing media presence of The X Factor and its related artists, the most wanted acts for the fantasy Pop Stage are The Beatles, Jessie J, Rihanna, Beyonce and Lady GaGa (in that order); with Queen headlining the Rock Stage and Coldplay topping the bill for the Alternative genre. Ed Sheeran ranks quite highly on the latter as well.
The ‘Price Tag’, ‘We Found Love’, ‘Single Ladies’ and ‘Born This Way’ stars are excellent choices for the Pop Stage. Not only are they all the type of artists who have enough ‘credibility’ with fans of other genres to appeal to the larger crowds, but they’re also notoriously good at putting on a show. With Jessie’s stadium-ready voice, Rihanna’s ability to churn out Number 1 after Number 1, Beyonce’s borderline iconic status and Lady GaGa’s overwhelming critical acclaim, without a doubt they’d make for one of the best pop line-ups of all time. On top of all that, what better act than The Beatles to headline the whole thing and show the newer boybands how it’s done?
Speaking of the boybands, contemporary all-male groups may have failed to make the final line-ups, but they certainly weren’t without their support. Take That, The Wanted, Lawson and JLS all make appearances on the Top 100 most voted-for acts, but it’s One Direction who lead the charge, coming in at No28. Not only are they the highest-placed modern boyband, they’re also the top Reality TV graduates. And it’s interesting, actually, to note how few X Factor stars are actually in the Top 100. Aside from the 1D and JLS lads, the only other alum is Olly Murs – meaning none of the show’s eight eligible winners have made the Top 100 at all.
Obviously we would have loved to jump around in soggy mud to Little Mix’s ‘Wings’, but when you look at the rest of the Top 100 it’s noticeable how unnoticeable the lack of reality contestants is. The X Factor may generate an impressive number of bonafide popstars, don’t get us wrong; but it’s interesting to look at this list and remember it’s not necessarily the be-all-and-end-all of popular music. And besides, when you have The Beatles (amazing), Queen (amazing) and Coldplay (AMAZING) as your headliners, is anyone really going to notice the absence of anyone else?
It’s finally official – the original Sugababes are back together, and they’re known simply as Mutya Keisha Siobhan.
And they’ve already had a chat with Popjustice about their feelings towards the current Sugababes – Amelle, Heidi and Jade – and what will happen if someone quits again. (Hint: It’s not looking good for Heidi).
Keisha said: “When everyone else found out I wasn’t in the group is pretty much when I found out. I will say that we had a great relationship, me and the girls; I’ve never had an argument with Amelle in my life. I was really shocked by the things that they were saying because I’d always been there for them, and they were there for me as well.
“But, you move on, and you learn, and I learned valuable life lessons during that period… I feel like everything has gone full circle and right now I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. And I genuinely wish them the best of luck.
“To be honest with you I was very hurt and disappointed and I did feel betrayed by the whole thing. But I feel like when you don’t forgive people and when you’re very bitter it’s not really doing anything for you. But I’m in a great place, and that’s all I care about. Onwards and upwards.”
Very well said. Last month, Amelle had told Maximum Pop that she feels similarly: “I’ve got no bad blood; I’m not someone who’s like that. No, I think they’re all very talented… Mutya’s obviously got one of the best voices I’ve ever heard. And Keisha, a very talented person who’s also got a great voice. I’m intrigued, I’m intrigued…in a good way!”
But back to now, and if someone quits MKS it’ll apparently just be curtains for the whole thing.
Siobhan said: “That would be the end of that.”
Keisha, who seems to be doing 90% of the talking, said: “We’ve had discussions. We have a way of working: we trust each other. We look after each other. We are genuinely there for each other. If we were unhappy we’d tell each other and we’d figure it out, between ourselves.”
Unless Janet Devlin’s planning a below-radar launch for the autumn, it seems like this year none of the top-placed X Factor finalists are hanging around until the new bunch of live shows to get off the ground.
With Misha B bringing out ‘Home Run’ next week, Marcus Collins already pretty much been-and-gone and winners Little Mix due to release ‘Wings’ on August 19, Amelia Lily has now kicked the wheels into motion for ‘You Bring Me Joy’, out one week after the champions on August 26.
It’s had its radio debut on The Hits Radio today, and at the moment all we have of it is the below super-low-quality recording.
But it sounds great. It’s a Xenomania track (if you don’t know what that means then A. YOU’RE A MORON; and B. they’re the outfit who produced all-but-one of the Girls Aloud singles) but it doesn’t sound like ‘the Amelia Lily sound’ (basically Kelly Clarkson-like hi-octane rock-ish pop) has been sacrificed in the process.
PopJustice said in their recent review that the song is good in that, at a time when everone is trying desperately to be “not your typical X Factor contestant”, someone is just cutting the pretention and bringing out a great down-the-line pop song. I completely agree.
It’s hard to get a grip on it from this rip but things sound very promising indeed.
UPDATE: Here (until it gets taken down) it is in high-quality form.
There are many years when the runner-up of The X Factor has done better than the winner. This is not one of those years.
‘Wings’, the first official single to come from Little Mix, is basically one of the best girlband singles for YEARS.
I love The Saturdays, but there’s a strong sense of identity and “POW THIS IS WHAT WE’RE ABOUT”-ness of this song that’s been missing from most of Frankie, Una, Vanessa, Mollie and Rochelle’s work, especially recently.
Basically, despite fears that it would waste the potential of a really exciting X Factor-winning group, this song is a fucking tune.
With the end of June comes the end of the first half of 2012. So soon?!
The commercial pop world has, as ever, been coughing up enough tuneage to keep us occupied, and before the next six months forces the last six out of our memories, let’s take a moment to remember 2012′s finest songs so far… in, naturally, alphabetical order.
‘Boyfriend’ Performed by Justin Bieber Written by Justin Bieber, Mike Posner, Matthew Musto, Mason Levy Produced by Mike Posner and Mason Levy
Bieber went a bit Timberlake with the first cut from his second proper album Believe, and a right tune it is too. Shunning the big kitchen sink synths and just sticking to a bog-standard R’n'B/pop production style, it is undoubtedly the best release of his career so far, and also one of the best of 2012.
‘Call Me Maybe’ Performed by Carly Rae Jepsen Written by Carly Rae Jepsen, Josh Ramsay, Tavish Crowe Produced by Josh Ramsay
Oh God, it’s so simple – why didn’t anyone write it sooner? ‘Call Me Maybe’ is, on paper, absolutely awful. A saccharine voice, lyrics that would fit right in in one of those made-for-TV Disney movies and a daft video to boot, it inexplicably became one of the big hits of the year thanks to support from Justin Bieber and enough radio airplay to ensure it cemented itself in the heads of a nation for weeks on end. Somehow this is one of the most basic-yet-amazing pop records in a very long time.
‘Call My Name’ Performed by Cheryl Cole Written and produced by Calvin Harris
You hear Calvin produced it, and you immediately compare it to ‘We Found Love’. ‘Call My Name’ does have all the basic ingredients of that Rihanna enormotune, yes, but once you shave away what you think it should sound like, it’s another ace to add to Cheryl Cole’s collection of mega-selling hits. Plus the choreo in the video is, to use a technical phrase, SIIIIIIIIIIICK.
‘Can’t Say No’ Performed by Conor Maynard Written by Conor Maynard, The Invisible Men, Sophie Stern, Jon Mills, Joe Dyer, Kurtis McKenzie Produced by The Invisible Men and The Arcade
Now that Bieber has revolutionised his image, the differences between ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘Can’t Say No’ aren’t as vast as Conor would perhaps like to admit. But here arrives a young British popmaker with some real potential. His demographic-crossing hip-pop sound is unlike anything any other British male soloist is offering in the mainstream at the moment, and the debut album should make for an interesting spin.
‘Charlie Brown’ Performed by Coldplay Written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin, Brian Eno Produced by Markus Dravs, Daniel Green, Rik Simpson
Enhanced even more by those amazing glowing wristbands, ‘Charlie Brown’ is a prime example of Coldplay-Does-Euphoria. It may not have scored the big chart points that No1 hit ‘Paradise’ did, but this follow-up is just as worthy of the public’s affection. Proving the band have still not lost their mojo, much as they may have altered it a tad since their indie beginnings, ‘CB’ is another brilliant addition to the sizeable Coldplay canon.
‘Dance Again’ Performed by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull Written by AJ Junior, The Chef, Enrique Iglesias, RedOne, Pitbull Produced by RedOne
I think it was Popjustice who coined a term for ‘Dance Again’s breed of pop that is pretty spot-on: Lamazing. As in lazily amazing. It’s unlikely that a lot of time or effort went into this tune. It’s not like RedOne reinvented himself after making his name with songs that sound more-or-less identical. And yet ‘Dance Again’ has that same homosexual-baiting magic that ‘On The Floor’ did last year. “REAL MUSIC” bores be damned, it just works.
‘Dark Side’ Performed by Kelly Clarkson Written by busbee, Alexander Geringas Produced by Greg Kurstin
Pushing sales of album Stronger past those of predecessor All I Ever Wanted, ‘Dark Side’ is Kelly’s second consecutive single release to be helmed by Greg Kurstin, and her inifinite-th consecutive single release to be incredible. ‘Dark Side’ is a midtempo classic that is both a ballad and anthemic; a song about embracing a lover’s weaknesses as much as their strengths. Oh Kelly, you are fucking good.
‘Do It Our Way (Play)’ Performed by Alesha Dixon Written by Nigel Butler, Alesha Dixon, Ray Hedges Produced by Madman
OH GOD THIS ONE’S SO HARD TO DESCRIBE. Imagine if all the annoying bits of Jessie J and all the annoying bits of Natasha Bedingfield’s songs came together… and the result was good. I don’t even know why this is good. Maybe it’s the chorus. Maybe it’s the fact that Alesha representing Weight Watchers is a little odd. Maybe it’s just the fact that Weight Watchers even released an official single. I don’t know. But this song is GOOD.
‘Give Your Heart A Break’ Performed by Demi Lovato Written and produced by Josh Alexander, Billy Steinberg
Reaching the giddy heights of ‘Did Not Chart’ in the UK, ‘Give Your Heart A Break’ follows ‘Call Me Maybe’ and ‘Boyfriend’ along the line of thinking that pop doesn’t necessarily have to be a Club Banger to be amazing in 2012. Just a simple tune about putting a potential squeeze at ease, it showcases a different side to Demi’s voice and deserved to do a lot better than it did. Still, in the US it’s still climbing so there’s always that. Bring on The X Factor USA #teamdemi.
‘Glitter & Gold’ Performed by Rebecca Ferguson Written by Rebecca Ferguson, Alex Smith, Paul Barry Produced by Mark Taylor, Alex Smith
A much more sensible choice for a single than ‘Too Good To Lose’, ‘Glitter & Gold’ has a similar message to Rebecca’s debut ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’, but delivers it in a much more aggressive way. With a stomping beat not dissimilar to Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’, it’s another fine example of Rebecca’s excellent songwriting, and album Heaven’s swift return to the Top 10 as a result of this song was fully warranted.
‘Is This Love’ Performed by Aiden Grimshaw Written by Aiden Grimshaw, Jarrad Rogers, Joel Pott
Despite a warm critical reaction and a loyal fanbase, Aiden Grimshaw failed to launch his recording career with a bang with ‘Is This Love’, which is a real puzzler. It’s an excellent song – another strain of evidence to prove that any kind of artist can come from The X Factor these days, and another strain of evidence that the 2010 series (which also provided us with Cher Lloyd, One Direction, Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson) was among the most interesting.
‘National Anthem’ Performed by Lana Del Rey Written by Lana Del Rey, Justin Parker, The Nexus Produced by Emile Haynie, Jeff Bhasker
Sneaking in just this week, ‘National Anthem’ is arguably Lana’s finest single to date. Pushing her darkly euphoric sound to its maximum, its chorus is inexplicably rousing and its lyrics are some of the best on her Born To Die LP. Match that song with an epic video in which she plays Jackie Kennedy at the time of JFK’s assassination and you’re on to one of the big success stories of 2012.
‘Next To Me’ Performed by Emeli Sande Written by Emeli Sande, Hugo Chegwin, Harry Craze Produced by Craze & Hoax
When Emeli Sande’s second single ‘Daddy’ only just managed to squeeze itself into the Top 20 last autumn, things didn’t look too great for her. But then came a string of one-to-watch prizes and this corker of a single – an infectious slice of piano pop able to appeal itself to fans of many genres.
‘Picking Up The Pieces’ Performed by Paloma Faith Written by Paloma Faith, Wayne Hector, Tim Powell Produced by Nellee Hooper
Paloma Faith finally found her first ever Top 10 single with ‘Picking Up The Pieces’, a heart-wrenching ballad about being your other half’s second choice. Seeing in her second album Fall To Grace, which outperformed the peak chart position of its predecessor in its first week, it remains an enduring favourite.
‘Primadonna’ Performed by Marina and the Diamonds Written by Marina Diamandis, Julie Frost, Lukasz Gottwald, Henry Walter Produced by Dr Luke
Sending Album Of The Year So Far Electra Heart straight to No1, ‘Primadonna’ may have failed by a hairline to secure Marina Diamandis her first Top 10 hit, but it certainly established her as an artist able to tread a well-worn path in her own unique way. Packed with dark lyrics and underscored by a throbbing bass synth, it’s a carefully calculated masterpiece.
‘R.I.P.’ Performed by Rita Ora Written by Drake, Farhad Samadzada, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Nneka Egbuna, Renee Wisdom, Saul Milton, William Kennard, Tinie Tempah Produced by Chase & Status, Stargate
With Jay-Z by her side and Drake writing her breakthrough solo hit, Rita Ora is not a newcomer to be taken lightly. Simultaneously attempting to break both the UK and US markets, all the while serving as a guest judge on The X Factor, she’s made a rapid ascent to fame that makes ‘R.I.P.’ the first of what I assume to be many big hits for her.
‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’ Performed by Kelly Clarkson Written by Jörgen Elofsson, Ali Tamposi, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin Produced by Greg Kurstin
Despite only peaking at No8, ‘Stronger’ is now Kelly Clarkson’s biggest-selling single in the UK – surpassing ‘Since U Been Gone’, ‘Because Of You’ and even her only No1 ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’. And why? Because it’s a CHOON. Opening with a guitar reminiscent of a The xx offcut before exploding into an all-out Pride-friendly anthem, it’s rightfully one of the big radio hits of the year. 10 years in, Kelly’s still on top of her game.
‘We Are Young’ Performed by fun. featuring Janelle Monae Written by Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff, Jeffrey Bhasker Produced by Jeff Bhaskher
Like a showtune, a light-rock song and a pop song all rolled into one, ‘We Are Young’ is, along with Kelly’s ‘Stronger’ and Carly-Rae’s ‘Maybe’, one of the biggest-sellers of the year-to-date on both sides of the Atlantic. And – at least for me, anyway – it still doesn’t sound overplayed, regardless of the ridiculous number of times it gets spun on the radio.
‘When She Was Mine’ Performed by Lawson Written by Andy Brown, Paddy Dalton, Duck Blackwell, Ki Fitzgerald Produced by Duck Blackwell, Paddy Dalton, John Shanks
The best bit about ‘When She Was Mine’ is that their second single, released later this month, is even better. ‘When She Was Mine’ is a pop-rock nugget that mixes the sounds of The Script and The Wanted together to create a tune perfect for a relaxed summer’s day. Its rapid exit from the charts implies they still have a way to go to secure themselves some longevity, but hopefully they’ll get there.
‘Wide Awake’ Performed by Katy Perry Written by Katy Perry, Bonnie McKee, Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Henry Walter Produced by Dr Luke
And lo, one of the longest and most successful album campaigns of all time finally draws to a close. Katy’s Teenage Dream era has now spawned EIGHT massive hit singles, and whilst I was never particularly taken with ‘Part Of Me’, ‘Wide Awake’ sees it out on an emotional high. Who knows if she will be able to match the success of the last two years with her next album, but whatever happens we’ll always have ‘Firework’, ‘ET’, ‘Last Friday Night’ et al. It’s been emotional…
The John and Edward Grimes Phenomenon is a curious beast. They are lively to the point of annoying during TV appearances; their image eye-catchingly bizarre and their larger-than-life personalities grating to anyone who doesn’t consider themselves a full-time resident of Planet Jedward. And yet their music is completely different.
Basically, they are a rare example of a pop act whose image and persona is completely mismatched to the musical styling – at least on this third (yes third) album. You look at the way Lana Del Rey is packaged and you can take a pretty accurate guess at what her music sounds like. Same for Rihanna, same for Conor Maynard, same for The Saturdays, same for JLS, same for Ed Sheeran… the list goes on.
But with Jedward, Young Love is almost boring when you weigh it up against what you would expect. I went into it predicting it to be lively, sporadically likeable but ultimately, over the course of 12 tracks, a bit on the irritating side. I was wrong. This album really took me by surprise – in some ways negatively, in some ways pleasantly.
Ultimately Young Love is a solid album of breezy pop music. Not a classic by any means, but pretty decent. The ballad-ish title track, the slow-building ‘Luminous’ and the superbly catchy ‘Happens In The Dark’ are the strongest tracks; whilst the more pop-rock focussed inclusions like ‘All I Want Is You’ fall pretty flat.
But even at its most pedestrian points, the album is so damn hard to dislike. There’s an innocence to it that’s missing from a lot of pop these days – you get so swept up in the cock-hungry horniness of the Rihannas and the forced sheen of the One Directions that it’s easy to forget how pop sounds at its most (for lack of a better word) ‘basic’. The obvious downside is that it does, at times, sound a little dated – but the huge upside is that it’s incredibly amiable. If only the boys had the budget for some slightly better writers and producers, they’d really be on to something big.