7/27/09

Hello Laila


Autumn, 2003. I pick up an album entitled "Laila" featuring a busty blonde who looks like her make-up gun got stuck at "whore". I'm inclined to buy it, but someone reminds me that I can't buy something "just because I like the cover".

Fast-forward to autumn, 2008. Sweden's Idol panel is fired and completely replaced with songwriters Anders Carlsson, Anders Bagge and his ex-wife, Laila. Something bothered me about that last one - I knew I had seen her face somewhere, but I couldn't quite place where. Until it dawned on me - the woman who was now supposed to judge talent used to have a singing career! One where she was made to look like a two dollar hooker! I just had to get it. Surprisingly, it was relatively easy to find - although listening to it it's not that surprising really. 



The album is a trashfest of dodgy production trying to cover up for the fact that Laila pretty much has no vocal talent whatsoever. Right up my strasse then! The album, rather bizarrely, opens up with a remix of the first single "Here We Go Again" (as shown above) - I guess it shows how much faith they had in the track if the first thing they want the listener to hear is a remix of it! Then again, with Laila's amazing vocal performance on the album, I suspect that it might've been a wise decision. 

In fact, one of the major themes of the album seem to be to try and drown out Laila's vocals with backing singers - although I'm not sure if that it's intentional. I swear she doesn't even sing on the final minute of the ballad "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (no, not a cover of that song). I've even invented a game I like to call "Can You Hear Laila Bagge?", dedicated to the chorus of "It Ain't Over 'Til We Say Goodbye". As you can tell, this album is pure quality! 

While Laila's attempts at ballads are hilarious, it's fair to say that she does better on uptempo numbers. The dancey "It's All About Love" includes a mind-blowing spoken intro which makes me want to petition for a law forcing all Swedish artists to have one - us poor Swedes can't seem to do those damn spoken word intros without sounding drunk, high or both! "Shine On Me" is another good attempt to bring Laila to the dancefloor and the second (and last) promo single "Heaven" is a great lesson in how to do the perfect baby voice. However, hands down the best track on the album, is the fantastic "Say That You Love Me" (below) that almost sounds like an old school Motown record!



At the end of the day I'd probably recommend "Hello Laila" to anyone auditioning for Swedish Idol - when the bitch rejects you, just put down your boombox and blast this shit. It might have lethal consequences though as I imagine Laila would rather forget she ever had a pop career...

Heavy Vee's Got Talent



I'm sorry if I sound a bit upset, but I'm stunned at the fact that my phone wasn't filled with texts and missed phone calls about the Rapper of our Times, also known as Heavy Vee, showing America that she's Got Talent! Yes, the infamous "I Don't Need A Hook" rapper stood in front of the legendary David Hasselhoff, the ugly old hag and plastic surgery victim Sharon Osbourne and some other guy and showed them her best hip-hop dance! Of course the judges were being complete and total haters, but I wouldn't expect them to understand the brilliance of miss Vee. 

Bask in her glory below:

7/26/09

Hangover Misery featuring Sally Shapiro


At first I was just going to do a track-by-track review and be done with it, but then I realised that it wouldn't do Sally Shapiro's sophomore album justice. My Guilty Pleasure isn't a collection of songs just randomly A&R'd together - it's an album, which is pretty rare to encounter these days. That's not to say that the songs don't work individually - it just makes a whole lot more sense as one complete piece.

The instrumental opener "Swimming Through The Blue Lagoon" leading into "Looking At The Stars" is beautiful and sets the tone for the album perfectly. The second single, "Love In July", that's been accompanied by this years most saccharine video (below), seems to have almost been woven into the album and it's hard to imagine it out of context from the album. And that's pretty much the story with all tracks on the album - even the Disco Romance era tracks "He Keeps Me Alive" and "Jackie Jackie" seem to fit flawlessly in. 


Slutty fish seeks whale cock for fun times!

Despite me going on and on about the songs making more sense in the context of the album, there is very much single material on there - the bangin' "Save Your Love" screams out for some club mixes. As do "Moonlight Dance".  Hell, overall I think the entire album could be given the remix treatment, much like Disco Romance was.

However, what I truly like about this album is that unlike a lot of other 'quirky' pop starlets these days, and much like her first album, the air isn't filled with a sense of douchebaggery. It's not overly pretentious, it's not in your face, her image hasn't been put together by a hard-working team - this is Sally, and these are the songs she sings. And with pop acts today trying to cover up eventual flaws by adding some glitter, it's easy to forget that sometimes it should be enough.

On a related note, I'd also like to add that it's the perfect antidote against hangover misery, even if I'm sure it's good for other occasions. Do yourselves a favour and pre-order it today.

7/24/09

She's Back!

Freestyle Goddess Debbie Deb is back! Well, apparently she's been back since January, but it's news to me at least. While "Everytime You Come Around" isn't as genius as "Lookout Weekend" or matches the lyrical brilliance of "went to the disco / couldn't believe my eyes / looked on the dancefloor / saw SO many guys", it's still a nice enough record that certainly deserves a higher popularity bar than the current zero it has on US iTunes. I would've at least thought the internet fags would've championed this, but alas. 

Here it is in it's low-quality YouTube glory - if you like it, buy it and support an old timer:

7/22/09

The Original K


You might have to be Swedish to fully comprehend the greatness that is Leila K - even if it's easy for most Swedes to forget that she was one of Sweden's biggest pop forces during the late 80s and most of the 90s when you think about the current state of her career, but more on that later. 

Ain't down with no crack... GER #3, #8 UK, SWE #10

Miss K was first discovered by Rob'n'Raz at a singing contest and offered to make an album with her - which resulted in Leila's biggest hit to date, "Got to Get" and was followed by the hit single "Rok the Nation" and an album - "Rob'n'Raz featuring Leila K". Leila, however, was already getting restless and started doing concerts of her own, eventually breaking up with Rob'n'Raz to pursue a solo career.


Clip of "Time" and interview in Swedish

Her first solo single, "Time", was a big ole' flop - or as Dannii's droids would put it - "stores ran out of stock". The song itself is a funky dance tune, quite typical of the early nineties and while not bad, not really worthy of miss K. She followed "Time" up with "Magic Ball", another bomb and things started looked dim. Luckily for miss K, she was on the verge on scoring a European smash hit!


$ucce$$! GER #3, SWE #21, UK #23

While "Open Sesame" didn't fully break her as a solo artist in Sweden, the rest of Europe was much kinder and it seemed like Leila's career was finally taking off; it can also be noted that "Open Sesame" was co-produced by Denniz Pop, who happened to be mentoring a young Max Martin. She followed it up with a slightly frantic cover of Plastic Bertrand's "Ca Plane Pour Moi", another European hit and an album, "Carousel", was released. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, she was also the highest-selling female in Europe in 1993 - take that Madonna!

Leila K in da houseeeee! SWE #8, FI #2, BE #37

Not showing any signs of slowing down at this point, Leila K quickly followed this up with the Denniz Pop / Max Martin collaboration "Electric", which also sampled Shannon's "Give Me Tonight". Peaking at #8 on the Swedish single sales chart and at #2 on the Tracks chart, it's a Swedish classic! Well, at least in gay clubs - you can't enter a club without this playing at some point during the night. "C'Mon Now" (below) was the next single and while it wasn't a huge hit, it can be noted for sharing similarities with a certain teenage whore anthem. Tsk, tsk Max!

Britney Spears is a thief! FI #3, SWE #21

During this time she was also followed around by film-maker Göran Olsson, who had been commissioned to do a documentary about her for SVT. I'm not going to go into depth about it, as I plan to do a separate post about it in the future, but let's just say that the result became infamous for showing what a huge mess miss K was. "Fuck You, Fuck You Very Much" is a Swedish trash classic!


Unsurprisingly, her career at this point started to unravel and it wasn't helped by the fact that her partner-in-crime Denniz Pop died in August 1998 - just two months before Max Martin had his big break with "...Baby One More Time"! While she did continue to work on a few tracks in the late 90s, bar a brief appearance in Daisy Dee's cover of Open Sesame, Leila K seemed to have vanished into pop oblivion! 


Rumours started spreading about Leila being a homeless drug addict and in 2003 she confirmed it in one of Sweden's biggest newspapers. Her former record company then tried to release a "Greatest Tracks" compilation to help her out, but sadly, it bombed and only sold about 5000 copies in Scandinavia. At this point I could go on about the various rumours of her going to jail, changing her stage name to Samira, reports of her being dead, 'comeback' rumours and more rumours about the crimes she supposedly commited - I would however, like to end this post with one of my favourite bonus/unreleased tracks off her Greatest Tracks compilation; her completely bonkers cover of Madonna's Burning Up where she basically screams her way through the song. It shouldn't work, but she managed to capture that youthful energy that Madonna has been chasing for the past few years. So enjoy it and fuck you, fuck you very much!

7/19/09

Sweden's Stock, Aitken & Waterman!

In the late 80s Stock, Aitken and Waterman were the production house that everyone wanted to work with, and if they couldn't work with them they'd settle for some cheap carbon copy of it. Much like Sweden's following the Lady Gaga sound at the moment, we weren't late on copying S/A/W's sound. Most notably we got our own production house in the form of Norell, Oson & Bard consisting of producers Tim Norell, Ola Håkansson and, of course, Alexander Bard that later became famous for his work with Army of Lovers and BWO.

While they did evolve much more than Stock, Aitken and Waterman ever did, they pretty much just followed whatever trend that was en vogue at the moment, providing a cheaper alternative for Swedish artists that couldn't afford the real thing. Despite clear influences, they still managed to create some of the best pop tracks that Sweden's ever churned out. Here's a few of my favourites: 

Lili & Susie - Oh Mama (SWE #1)

Most younger scandipoppers probably first noticed the sister duo Lili & Susie with their recent comeback in Melodifestivalen, but the blondes are probably best known for causing a minor outrage in the late 80s with their skimpy outfits and catchy songs. For some reason they decided to prominently feature their backing singer Anki Bagger in the video for "Oh Mama", why I'm not sure. I almost think they were trying to fool people that they were some sort of Swedish Bananarama. Anyway, more on Anki later...




Secret Service - I'm So I'm So I'm So (In Love With You) (SWE #DNC)

Ola Håkansson's own band that peaked in Sweden in the late 70/early 80s, but kept going into the late 80s due to success the old Soviet Union. I'm not sure about the later claim as it sounds suspiciously like Alexander Bard's claim that BWO is huge in Eastern Europe, but since when was Wikipedia ever wrong? The song itself is a fine piece of catchy late 80s pop that Jason Donovan would've killed for.




Anki Bagger - Where Were You Last Night (SWE #13, NL #72)

Initially, Where Were You Last Night was largely forgotten until 2004 when a Finnish metal band called Nightwish decided to do a cover of it. The Nightwish cover, of course, was terrible, but it did seem to bring some relevance to Anki's version again. I think this is an example of how N/O/B were at least a bit more versatile than S/A/W who were pretty much churning out the same songs again and again at this point.




Troll - Jimmy Dean (SWE #1)

A true case of One Hit Wonderitis, Troll pretty much seemed to disappear from the public eye after their huge smash hit "Jimmy Dean". I honestly don't know much about what Troll did after, or even before "Jimmy Dean" but at least they left a mark on Swedish pop culture before fucking off to the pop dumper. 




Kajsa - Angel Eye (SWE #28)

Kajsa (Mellgren) was a television presenter/model turned singer - essentially the 90s version of a reality star trying to have a pop career. "Angel Eye" is, to my knowledge, her only release as a solo singer and despite having an album ready to go, it was never released. The tune itself is a typical mid-nineties floor filler designed for less-talented singers. Also note that the video was done by a young Jonas Åkerlund before Madonna dug her fangs into him!


Despite the fact that I think Alexander Bard is a complete cunt, I can't help to wonder what they would sound like if they reunited today - would it be a complete disaster like The Sheila's or could they actually adapt to today's pop sound? I guess we'll never know and perhaps that's good all things considered...

7/18/09

The Sound of Missing You

Usually, most forums I visit tend to worship the same boring run-of-the-mill "divas", but every now and again someone happens to discover something great. "The Sound of Missing You" is seemingly the debut single of emerging dance diva Ameerah - while it's hardly groundbreaking in it's genre, it's a well-crafted dance/pop tune with competent vocals. 



The Dave Ramone remix does its job nicely, but the true stand-out in the single package is the Candlelight mix that just further proves what a great song this is. If there's any justice in this world, this'll be this summer's big cross-over tune, but I fear they might've waited too long to release this for it to happen. In any case I'll keep watching Ameerah, because I have a feeling there's a new dance diva in town, so those other bitches better watch out!

7/16/09

Brooke Hogan's search for Redemption


I've got to admit - I wasn't paying any attention to Hulk Hogan's stunningly gorgeous daughter Brooke (or BroHo, as we shall from now on refer to her by) until the other week when I first heard her random Heidi Montag diss track "Ur Not That Hot". Of course, the whole concept of someone taking the time to diss Heidi Montag and inadvertently comparing their own music career to Heidi's was too ridiculous to pass up on!




Before we get to the actual album, there were a few things I had in the back off my mind about BroHo's amazing music career - for example, I remember blogs reporting a few months ago that she just didn't have the proper funding to continue on with music, so what happened? At first I just assumed she blew away any money she made off VH1's Brooke Knows Best on this, but at the same time it didn't seem very likely that VH1 would pay her enough to even cover for the extensive photoshopping on the album cover!

Digging further, I discovered that she had recently signed with a company called "SoBe Entertainment" and surely, a newly started indie label couldn't afford all the fancy producers on this? Well, as it turns out SoBe Entertainment is owned by rich kid turned rapper Stack$, who also happens to be BroHo's boyfriend. Mystery solved! 

Now onto the album itself...

1. Intro

The intro is every bit as ridiculous as you'd expect - lots of news reporters sampled here with BroHo announcing that this is, indeed the redemption! This leads into...

2. Strip

Considering the intro, you'd think that the second track would be some kind of commentary on being a celebrity today yadda yadda whine whine, but thankfully BroHo's too classy for that and follows it with this stripper anthem. It wouldn't sound completely out of place on Britney's Blackout, in fact I think there would at least be a hundred videos with fagbois 'stripping' by now if this was a Britney track! 

3. Hey Yo! featuring Colby O'Conis

The album's second single and currently heating up the lower regions of the US iTunes Pop top 100. If there was any justice in the world, this sweet mid-tempo duet would break them both into the mainstream, but I suspect it's off licking GaGa's boots for Colby and more reality whoring for BroHo. Life's just not fair.




4. Trust Me featuring Urban Mystic

Seemingly starts off as a ballad only to start up about 40 seconds in. With a name like 'Urban Mystic', you'd think that this would be a tiresome RnB 'jam' that's been polluting Janet's album the past decade, but this is pretty enjoyable. 

5. Falling featuring $tacks

The lead single from the album featuring her boyfriend and label boss $tacks. It's alright, but completely wrong choice as the first single. Nevertheless it features some classic rap from her boyfriend, including the line "you play wit fire it will get yo like a K-Fed".




6. All I Want Is You 

Possibly one of the more random tracks on the album, "All I Want Is You" is a dated pop/rock number. It's not horrible by any means, but where did she dig this up? Kelly Clarkson's reject pile from five years ago? Upon further investigation - it turns out that this track is indeed five years old! It was due to be on her scrapped debut album "This Voice" in 2004 and for some reason she decided to randomly include it on this album.

7. Dear Mom

After two filleresque tracks, the album returns to form with this open letter to momma Hogan about her scandalous ways. Unlike her mother, BroHo is a responsible adult who ain't down with that fucked up shit. Ma Hogan betta get correct and change her misbehavin' ways!

8. Handcuffed

A hot club track about BroHo's love for S/M. Janet wishes she could write poetry like this instead of digusting incestious ballads about being fucked by papa Joe! I expect this to become a staple at gay leather bars around the world! Make it happen queers.

9. Ruff Me Up featuring FloRida

Think Britney's "Womanizer" featuring the lyrics to Dannii's "Love Fight" - except you know, good. Clearly, Brooke was having a dildo party with her girlfriends while listening to Dannii's Tits & Behind, realising that Dannii's vision of hot domestic violence would never come true with that mediocre production and decided to help her out! Thanks BroHo, now we can all enjoy getting beaten up while getting off on it! 

Boyfriend and label boss $tacks likes ruffin' up BroHo

10. B D Dable

A tiresome urban 'jam'. Yawn.

11. You'll Never Be Like Him

Another pop/rock track that seems completely out of place on the album - much like earlier track "All I Want Is You". This didn't appear on the tracklist of her scrapped debut album, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was from those sessions - either way it's decent but completely out of place!

12. One That Got Away

Oddly enough, the album randomly jumps right back into mid-tempo urban mode after the last track! It's better than "B D Dable" and features her boyfriend again. However, not one of the better moments on the album.

13. Redemption

Overly dramatic and obviously trying to go for a 'epic' feeling, the title track is a gem! BroHo is screaming out to God, her parents, former lovers and all people in the whole wide world, informing them that they can't stop her fabulous redemption.

14. Finish Line

The last track on the album is sadly, nothing to write home about. A pretty weak finish.

Overall, the album is pretty patchy, but it features some real gems that most dime divas would be proud to call their own! Tracks like "Strip", "Hey Yo!", "Dear Mom", "Handcuffed" and "Ruff Me Up" makes this worthy of a listen. Hopefully BroHo's third album will be even stronger than this one.


7/14/09

Annikafiore is fierce


I was never a huge fan of Alcazar, but for some reason I've always loved Annikafiore and thought she shat out more star quality than the other three combined. After Annikafiore left Alcazar, it seemed like she was going to retire from the pop scene altogether without much of a fuzz, but thankfully she decided to form a new band with the strange name Avatar versus Eve to unleash future pop classics with. "I've Still Got the Highest Heels in the Room" is exactly what you'd expect - a camp affair with an equally camp video of Annikafiore proudly strutting her stuff like a drag queen. Hopefully she can score herself a hit with this and show Alcazar what they're missing out on!


They also released another single called "Party People" that went unnoticed. Probably because it's slightly crap. You can listen to it here

7/13/09

Stuff I like, week 29

Oh wow, it's been a long time since I updated this blog, no excuses for that really as I can't even lie that I've been busy (if you don't count trolling forums as a meaningful activity)! Anyway, to my surprise there's been a lot of great music released in the past few months which is unusual as I rarely tend to follow 'current' music.



La Toya Jackson - Home

The Jackson family's very own backdoor rubber has been 'Startin' Over' for so long that I don't even think she remembers what she's starting over from! Post-Michael La Toya has been on a publicity rampage, first acting as a private detective when it comes to the Murder of Michael and now releasing a re-jigged 'Home'. Hey, if Chris Brown and his wife-beating entourage can release a horrible cash-in tune, then why can't La Toya release a tribute?
I'm just praying for ultra-tacky remixes...

Listen to it on Bungalo's website

Shakira - SheWolf

I've never been a huge fan of Shakira, but SheWolf is weirdly addictive. It's a shame that MadTv was canned as they'd have a field day with this following their Whenever, Wherever and Obsession parodies! How the hell do you become 'abused as a coffee machine in an office' anyway? I didn't even know that office coffee machines were abused in the first place! Do workers kick on it or something? I think Shakira's touched on a vital issue here.

Listen to it on YouToob

SQUARE1 featuring Siobhán Donaghy - Styfling

Poor Siobhán - probably the most musically talented ex Sugababe seems destined to have flop after flop and this is no exception. I wasn't too keen on this when it first appeared on MySpace two (!) years ago, but it's grown on me. Dark and plodding electronic beats with Siobhán's beautiful voice on top can't go wrong for me I guess. Too bad she doesn't know how to spell stifling.

Listen to it on YouToob

Sally Shapiro - Love In July

Usually, when an artist claims they don't want to be a pop star you usually see the glimmer of desperation twinkle in their eyes going "LOVE ME I'M SO CREDIBLE LULZ" and you kind of come to the conclusion that they're a douchebag. However, in Sally Shapiro's case she literally does not want to be a pop star and is just serving as a muse to producer Johan Agebjörn. The critically acclaimed 'Disco Romance' was always going to be hard to follow-up, but if 'Miracle'  and 'Love In July' are any kind of indication, I think they've done a bang up job doing so. Accompained by a saccharine video, 'Love In July' is sure to be another underground 'hit' for Sally. 

Watch it on YouToob

Bananarama - Love Comes

There are two ways to look at Bananarama these days - either you compare them to what they used to be in the 80s, in which case they're obviously shit, or you can compare them to current girl groups, in which case they're amazing in comparison. I doubt Love Comes will be bothering the top 20, but it's always nice to have them back and I can't wait to learn the half-arsed dance routine to this one.

Lockout featuring Chenai - Bounce

Cheap, slightly crap and released on AATW; in other words I love it! Chenai was supposedly on X-Factor, but no one seems to remember her. Who ever she is, she's at least putting Dannii to shame with her fabulous boob jiggle! Actually, thinking about it, she kind of reminds me Dannii's lesbian lover Jupiter. I begin to wonder...