dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: All The Single Covers For PSY's "Gangnam Style" Are Fucking Creepy

PSY's "Gangnam Style" — aka this generation's "Macarena" — has inevitably topped the UK chart (it's currently #2 in the US), after already hitting #1 in countries like Australia, Canada, Finland, Norway and South Korea (duh!).

I just love how it's like the old days, when a single like this would have 4,028 different versions of the cover art.

And with every single one, PSY looks completely ridiculous and actually kind of menacing. Like, "I'm going to hop on my imaginary horse and bounce my tubby ass over to your house and give your children The Inappropriate Tickle" creepy.

This one is my favorite. It's Mermaid PSY, and, yeah — you can expect him to blow bubbles down your shorts in your nightmares while shoving the handle of the toilet scrubber up your can, starlet.

Heeeeeeeeeeeey, sexy lady!

The UK Top 10:

1. "Gangnam Style" - PSY *1 week*
2. "Hall Of Fame" - The Script feat. will.i.am 
3. "I Cry" - Flo Rida
4. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
5. "Let Me Love You" - Ne-Yo
6. "Say Nothing" - Example
7. "Some Nights" - fun.
8. "She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)" - David Guetta feat. Sia
9. "Turn Around" - Conor Maynard feat. Ne-Yo
10. "You Bring Me Joy" - Amelia Lily

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Christina Aguilera's "Your Body" Video: Her Most Artistic Triumph To Date

Two years ago I had to spank Christina Aguilera when she released Bionic by giving her some sage career advice, and I'm glad she took it to heart and got back to basics — i.e. being a trailer park skank who looks like Barney (yes, that Barney) blew his load all through her rat wig while she was affixing her press-on nails with Elmer's Glue in the dumpster behind her trailer park.

"Your Body" is her classiest video to date, with some truly artistic shots that underscore just what a glamourous icon Aguilera has become over the years.

What Christina does here is not just ascend to the ranks of visionaries who came before her like Michael Jackson, Salvador Dali, I. M. Pei and Hoku — rather, she truly creates images that capture our minds in the culture we live in now, and will inspire generations that traverse this world long after we're gone.

Flawlesstina, take it away!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

US Chart Roundup: Christina Aguilera Returns From The Pop Hooker Graveyard

K-Pop fans hoping PSY's crossover smash "Gangnam Style" would fly to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week will be disappointed to see the song land in the runner-up position. I'm just annoyed that Maroon 5 are still at the top with their tuneless attempt at reggae, "One More Night."

A far better Max Martin/Shellback co-production is Christina Aguilera's "Your Body," which crashes into the chart at #34. This marks the curvy Voice ho's first Top 40 solo hit since "Not Myself Tonight" kicked off the disastrous Bionic campaign two years ago and peaked at #23. Of course, last year she made her way to #1 by chirping for about 14 seconds on Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger."

Next up we have Pink, whose second The Truth About Love single "Try" debuts at #56 while her current hit "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" is still soaring at #5. And speaking of the pink-wigged faux lezzer's latest album, it becomes her first to hit #1 on the Top 200 after moving 280,000 copies last week — the third-largest opening for an album in 2012 so far. 

God bless vagina.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "One More Night" - Maroon 5 *2 weeks*
2. "Gangnam Style" - PSY
3. "Some Nights" - fun.
4. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
5. "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" - Pink
6. "Whistle" - Flo Rida
7. "As Long As You Love Me" - Justin Bieber
8. "Good Time" - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
9. "Too Close" - Alex Clare
10. "Lights" - Ellie Goulding

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Steps To Release 'Light Up The World' Holiday Album In November

Christ, just what I need — for my dormant Steps obsession to be resuscitated once again, a la when that trash reality show first aired last fall. Turns out the UK pop act will release a Christmas album called Light Up The World on November 12, preceded by a same-titled single . The band will also play six live dates throughout the UK in late November and early December.

For those keeping track (i.e. me and two or three thirtysomething broads in the English countryside), this will mark Steps' first new material since 2000's Buzz.

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Pet Shop Boys' "Leaving" Release To Come Packed With Several Goodies

Pet Shop Boys' second Elysium single "Leaving" gets its official UK release on October 15, and will arrive in several formats: three digital bundles, two CD singles and 12" vinyl.

What's interesting is that, in additional to the usual round of remixes, we'll get two new B-sides — "Hell" and "In His Imagination" — as well as the original demos for "Leaving" and the song "Baby," which was written for and recorded by Alcazar back in 2009.

Ah, "Baby" — such a hot tune. But, Jesus, where the fuck did the last three years go?

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It's Rihanna's New Single "Diamonds"

Thank god Rihanna has chucked the generic dance thump of many of her previous singles (though I still dig "We Found Love") and switched up the sound for her lead offering from her 723rd album, which is due out this November.

Sia wrote "Diamonds" (it was produced by Stargate and Benny Blanco), and the lyrics therefore display a bit more maturity — and far less of a sexual overtone — than RiRi's more recent offerings. The mid-tempo beat reminds me of slower '70s disco like "Love To Love You Baby" for some reason.

Anyway, really loving this track. Nice switch-up for Rihanna. Don't fuck it up with the album like you did with that grating pile of cack Talk That Talk, though, hooker.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Ke$ha's "Die Young" Single: Listen

Soul icon Ke$ha's new single "Die Young" surfaced online this evening, and I have to say that, musically, it's a totally catchy synth-pop jam — albeit one that sounds not unlike Flo Rida's "Good Feeling"/Avicii's "Levels".

But as for the vocals, K-hole comes off sounding like she hasn't progressed an inch since the release of her debut smash "Tik Tok" three years ago. The verses are delivered with her signature talk-rap-singing, and unfortunately, she ain't really saying all that much new.

Ultimately, what saves "Die Young" are those synths. But other than that, it doesn't have me looking forward to Ke$ha's upcoming LP Warrior all that much. You?

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: The Script — More Like The Snooze

Can you believe we're living in such lobotomized times where The Script and will.i.am are having hits?

The UK Top 10:

1. "Hall Of Fame" - The Script feat. will.i.am *2 weeks*
2. "Say Nothing" - Example *new*
3. "Gangnam Style" - PSY
4. "Let Me Love You" - Ne-Yo
5. "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" - Pink
6. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
7. "Wings" - Little Mix
8. "You Bring Me Joy" - Amelia Lily
9. "I Cry" - Flo Rida
10. "Good Time" - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen

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Friday, September 21, 2012

One Direction Get Shirtless In "Live While We're Young" Video

Here's One Direction's video for "Live While We're Young," the first single off their upcoming sophomore album Take Me Home. Enjoy the boy banders as they sing about "getting some tonight," pile on top of each other, wave a giant banana in the air and get shirtless in a kiddy pool.


Pet Shop Boys, 'Elysium': My Full Review

You may have caught my small writeup of Pet Shop Boys' new album Elysium in Instinct this month, but I finally got around to doing up a full review, which you can read over at Idolator.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kylie Minogue Did Pink's "Try" Cover Art Better Five Years Ago

Above: Pink, 2012. Below: Kylie, 2007.

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Ke$ha's New Album 'Warrior' Out December 4

Look what Santa's going to be vomiting up this December, chyldryn!

1. Warrior
2. Die Young
3. C’Mon
4. Thinking Of You
5. Crazy Kids
6. Wherever You Are
7. Dirty Love
8. Wonderland
9. Only Wanna Dance With You
10. Supernatural
11. Beautiful Life
12. Love Into The Light
13. Last Goodbye
14. Gold Trans Am
15. Out Alive
16. Past Lives


US Chart Roundup: Maroon 5's Worst Single Ever Is #1

One Max Martin and Shellback co-production replaces another atop the Billboard Hot 100 as Maroon 5's "One More Night" bumps Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" down from #1. And I have to say, it's probably one of the worst, blandest and most utterly shit songs to top the chart in recent memory. Then again, "Whistle" was pretty bad too.

This is Maroon 5's third #1 single, following "Makes Me Wonder" in 2007 and "Moves Like Jagger" last year. Clearly the pattern here is three-word titles with one of the words starting with the letter M. Fascinating.

Switching gears to the Top 200 album chart, Pet Shop Boys' Elysium debuts at #44. It's the duo's eighth of their 11 studio albums to place in the Top 50 in the US:

1. Please (#7, 1986)
2. Actually (#25, 1987)
3. Introspective (#34, 1988)
4. Behaviour (#45, 1990)
5. Very (#20, 1993)
6. Bilingual (#39, 1996)
7. Yes (#32, 2009)
8. Elysium (#44, 2012)

Their more floptastic streak in the US was with these albums:

1. Nightlife (#84, 1999)
2. Release (#73, 2002)
3. Fundamental (#150, 2006)

In the UK, Pet Shop Boys' 11 studio albums have all peaked in the Top 10.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "One More Night" - Maroon 5 *1 week*
2. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
3. "Some Nights" - fun.
4. "Whistle" - Flo Rida
5. "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" - Pink
6. "As Long As You Love Me" - Justin Bieber
7. "Lights" - Ellie Goulding
8. "Too Close" - Alex Clare
9. "Good Time" - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
10. "Everybody Talks" - Neon Trees

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Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Calvin Harris' '18 Months' Album Cover

Considering that Calvin Harris has been releasing high-charting singles from his upcoming third album 18 months since about March of 1946, it's going to play like a greatest hits by the time it arrives on October 30.

Included are the following previously-released tracks: "We Found Love" (with Rihanna), "Bounce" (with Kelis), "We'll Be Coming Back" (with Example), "Let's Go" (with Ne-Yo), "Awooga" and "Feel So Close."

Other broads featured are Florence Welch ("Sweet Nothing"), Ellie Goulding ("I Need Your Love") and Tinie Tempah ("Drinking From The Bottle").


Sunday, September 16, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Pet Shop Boys Land 14th Top 10 Album With 'Elysium'

Pet Shop Boys' Elysium has entered the UK album chart at #9, and thus becomes their 11th consecutive Top 10-charting studio album.  As Elysium is, in fact, their 11th studio album, that means all of them have placed in the Top 10. Additionally, the duo also hit the Top 10 with their 1991 greatest hits compilation Discography, 1994 remix album Disco 2 and 1995 B-sides collection Alternative.

That said, Elysium is Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe's lowest-charting Top 10 album to-date. The breakdown is as follows:

* Please (#3, 1986)
* Actually (#2, 1987)
* Introspective (#2, 1988)
* Behaviour (#2, 1990)
* Discography (#3, 1991)
* Very (#1, 1993)
* Disco 2 (#6, 1994)
* Alternative (#2, 1995)
* Bilingual (#4, 1996)
* Nightlife (#7, 1999)
* Release (#7, 2002)
* Fundamental (#5, 2006)
* Yes (#4, 2009)
* Elysium (#9, 2012)

If we want to get even more technical, Liza Minnelli's 1989 album Results — which was not a Pet Shop Boys album, but was produced by the duo — peaked at #6 in the UK.

At any rate, above is a photo of my double-album vinyl copy of Elysium, which arrived in the mail this week. I spent the entire week driving around L.A. playing the LP in my car, and even zipped past Andrew Dawson's Soundeq studio, which is located on Sunset Blvd. in the Crossroads Of The World complex in Hollywood.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Hall Of Fame" - The Script feat. will.i.am *1 week*
2. "You Bring Me Joy" - Amelia Lily *new*
3. "Let Me Love You" - Ne-Yo
4. "Wings" - Little Mix
5. "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" - Pink
6. "I Cry" - Flo Rida
7. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
8. "Good Time" - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
9. "Bom Bom" - Sam & The Womp
10. "Some Nights" - fun.

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Christina Aguilera's "Your Body" Doesn't Suck

I'm glad Christina Aguilera learned a bit of humility over the past four years, came down off her high horse and realized people were bouncing fucks left and right from their account of caring about her retro smoky lady soul/late-in-the-game forays into electro pastiche. Because it's about time she got into the studio with Max Martin.

Personally, I became pretty much maxed out on Martin's sound once he starting doing watered-down, paycheck-whore productions for the likes of Usher and Maroon 5. But the 41-year-old producer and 31-year-old have truly created something memorable — at least in the context of Aguilera's discography — with "Your Body."

This is just straight up disco. It's brainless pop that's somehow smart and sexy — something Xtina lost sight of around the time of the try-hard "Dirrty." That said, I still love "Not Myself Tonight," off her massive flop Bionic LP from two years ago, but I think my standom for that trash was the kiss of death.

The best bit in "Your Body," aside from, obviously, the woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohs, is when the song seems to be concluding about three minutes in, then erupts again with the hooker yowls and electronic beats and trudges on for another 40 seconds.

"Your Body" is on iTunes next week, and will be the first single from Xtina's new album Lotus (out November 13).

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Friday, September 14, 2012

US Chart Roundup: Where Have I Been?

Sorry for the lack of updates here lately. I'm traveling this week and I've just been inundated with trash. Sexiness will resume tomorrow.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift *3 weeks*
2. "One More Night" - Maroon 5
3. "Whistle" - Flo Rida
4. "Some Nights" - fun.
5. "Lights" - Ellie Goulding
6. "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" - Pink
7. "As Long As You Love Me" - Justin Bieber
8. "Everybody Talks" - Neon Trees
9. "Good Time" - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
10. "Too Close" - Alex Clare

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pet Shop Boys' 'Elysium' Out Today: Watch Their Olympics Parade Performance

Pet Shop Boys' new album Elysium is out today in the US. Here's a bit of a catch-up on their activities lately:

The Chris Lowe version of the "Leaving" single art. (Catch the Neil Tennant cover here.) I may actually have to go old-school and buy the physical CD singles for this class.

The duo performing outside Buckingham Palace yesterday during a victory parade for Great Britain's Olympics and Paralympics athletes:

PSB concert in Berlin from last week, which was streamed live on YouTube. They performed a bulk of the tracks off Elysium, as well as their cover of the Bee Gees' "I Started A Joke" and the Andrew Dawson Extended HappySad Remix of "Winner".


Sunday, September 09, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: ...Because Clearly The World Needed More Ne-Yo In It

Mediocrity triumphs again!

The UK Top 10:

1. "Let Me Love You" - Ne-Yo *new* *1 week*
2. "Hall Of Fame" - The Script feat. will.i.am *new*
3. "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" - Pink *new*
4. "Wings" - Little Mix
5. "Bom Bom" - Sam & The Womp
6. "Good Time" - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
7. "Harder Than You Think" - Public Enemy
8. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
9. "How We Do (Party)" - Rita Ora
10. "Some Nights" - fun.

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Thursday, September 06, 2012

US Chart Roundup: Flo Rida Blown Back To #1

A fairly ho-hum week on the Hot 100, as Flo Rida's oral sex hit "Whistle" flip-flops with Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and returns to #1. Meanwhile, Neon Trees' "Everybody Talks" (#6) becomes the band's first Top 10 hit, and Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Good Time" crawls up one position to #8.

Outside of the Top 10, Alex Clare's "Too Close" and Demi Lovato's "Give Your Heart A Break" climb to new highs of #15 and #16, respectively.

And that, as they say, is that.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Whistle" - Flo Rida *2 weeks*
2. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
3. "One More Night" - Maroon 5
4. "Lights" - Ellie Goulding
5. "Some Nights" - fun.
6. "Everybody Talks" - Neon Trees
7. "Wide Awake" - Katy Perry
8. "Good Time" - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
9. "As Long As You Love Me" - Justin Bieber
10. "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen

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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Pet Shop Boys Live Streaming Concert In Berlin: Watch

This is happening right now in Berlin — Pet Shop Boys performing songs from new album Elysium in Berlin. The concert is being streamed globally.

Songs performed so far include "A Face Like That," "Leaving" and "Invisible."


Kylie Minogue To Release 'The Abbey Road Sessions' In October

Those orchestral versions of her past songs Kylie Minogue performed late last year at Abbey Road will finally get a proper release on October 29, via new album The Abbey Road Sessions. (Better late than never, eh?) According to Kylie's official site, there will be 16 tracks, including the following:



Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Kiss' Sounds Like A Summer Album: Listen To Preview Clips

Carly Rae Jepsen's debut American album Kiss sounds like it should be released in the spring or summer, and, okay — technically September 18, when it will be out, is still summer. Still, the preview clips below indicate that this will be quite the pop blowout.

So far opening track "Tiny Little Bows", "Turn Me Up" and "Hurt So Good" appear to be standouts, while the Max Martin one, "Tonight I'm Getting Over You" seems like a surprising snooze. Still, these are only clips, so time will tell.

1. Tiny Little Bows
2. This Kiss
3. Call Me Maybe
4. Curiosity
5. Good Time (with Owl City)
6. More Than A Memory
7. Turn Me Up
8. Hurt So Good
9. Beautiful (with Justin Bieber)
10. Tonight I'm Getting Over You
11. Guitar String/Wedding Ring
12. Heart Is A Muscle
13. Drive (bonus track)
14. Wrong So Right (bonus track)
15. Sweetie (bonus track)
16. Almost Said It (bonus track)


Sunday, September 02, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Little Mix Land Second #1 Single

 Just when you thought there wasn't enough slut paste in the world.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Wings" - Little Mix *new* *1 week*
2. "Bom Bom" - Sam & The Womp
3. "How We Do (Party)" - Rita Ora
4. "Harder Than You Think" - Public Enemy
5. "Good Time" - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
6. "Heatwave" - Wiley feat. Rymez & Ms D
7. "Spectrum (Calvin Harris Remix)" - Florence + The Machine
8. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
9. "Read All About It Pt. 3" - Emeli Sande
10. "Lost In Your Love" - Redlight

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Pet Shop Boys' 'Bilingual' At 16: Hit And Miss

Many Pet Shop Boys albums have been released in the fall, and several of them have arrived in September, including Actually, Very, Bilingual and the duo's upcoming LP Elysium. Today actually marks the 16-year anniversary of their sixth studio album Bilingual, which was released in the UK on September 2, 1996 (and in the US a day later).

Bilingual was an album I personally struggled to enjoy when it came out, though I did try for a good year or so. Very — which I've talked about at length before — arrived when I was still an impressionable teenager, a year away from going off to university. It was bright and exciting. Bilingual was darker and, in typical fashion, the PSBs had veered off in a completely different direction, musically. I was now starting my final year of college and, I think, feeling a bit divided over where I belonged — I felt exhausted after 17 years of education and eager to see it end; but I was also unsure of what the "real world" would be like.

Anyway, there was a record store on my university's campus called Vibes, and I stood in line at midnight to buy Bilingual. I stayed up till about 2 a.m. playing it in my room — a single, as it were — in my residence hall. Overall, I think I was hoping the album was going to be Very 2. Which, of course, it wasn't.

Oh, well — "A Red Letter Day" and "Up Against It" were, at least, instant classics to my ears, and I later grew to really enjoy tracks like "The Survivors", "It Always Comes As A Surprise" and "To Step Aside." And now, 16 years later, I think I've even found some appreciation — some — for lead single "Before."


Saturday, September 01, 2012

It's Pet Shop Boys' "Leaving" Lyric Video

As mentioned, "Leaving" is the second single from Pet Shop Boys' upcoming album Elysium. And now there's a lyric video to go along with the song, which features a sun slowly setting — quite fitting given that the tune is about death.

By the way, check out the duo's new interview with The Arts Desk. This commentary alone is priceless:

NT: I looked at the chart the other day and I realised that since the last album, only three years ago, we’ve entered this strange world of somebody or other featuring somebody or other. Every other track is Calvin Harris featuring Nikki Minaj or with Snoop Doggy Dogg or someone.

CL: Or featuring three. David Guetta doesn’t just have one or two.

NT: Well, why would you? And I suddenly thought we are not in that world.

CL: Why not throw Jessie J in there?

NT: Why not throw in Jessie J, why wouldn’t you?

CL: Is it to get each other’s Facebook friends? I bet that’s what it is. You could accumulate everyone else's friend list.

NT: We’re not on Facebook. We think it’s sinister and horrible. Pet Shop Boys are but we’re not.

CL: It’s great watching their share price tumble, isn’t it? I have really been enjoying the schadenfreude.