The Apples In Stereo will steal your girlfriend in a most tuneful manner

Free Downloads And Streams, Pop Heaven / Pop Hell, Video

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Fans of The Apples In Stereo’s earlier garage-jangle pop masterpieces (e.bloody.g., “Seems So”) might not have imagined there would ever be a sun-snogged patch of ELO’s picnic area where the band could be seen flinging a frisbee around and sipping cold ones with The Feeling.

But such is the vision their more recent stuff brings to mind, thanks to a 70s sensibility which, thankfully, does nothing to diminish the melodies which main chap Robert Schneider apparently produces more easily than you do saliva.

New album Travellers In Space And Time beams down several such tunelets. Get your listening tackle round “Told You Once”, f’rinstance:


The bonniest tune you’ve heard about nabbing someone’s girlfriend in a while, I’ll wager. While there will be lots of folk who have never hoid the thing, there will be many others who recognise it from a computer-based music simulation experience called Rock Band.

Yawanmore?

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THIS BLOG IS STILL ALIVE

Pop Heaven / Pop Hell, Video

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So what it is, yeah, is I moved flat, yeah, and lost internet, yeah, and then when I got internet back the server broke, yeah, and then my laptop broke, yeah, and then the one I got to replace it broke, yeah, and then the World Cup was on, yeah…

But now all these things are out of the way, and all I have to worry about are the disasters yet to come. Marvluss.

So if you’re one of the three people who read this thing on a semi-regular basis, hello, back now.

To celebremate, let’s enjoy a spot of Aloe Blacc. This song is called “I Need A Dollar”*, it soundtracks some TV show or other in “the States”, and if you don’t like its hard-luck-uplifty charm you deserve to have your ears confiscated by whoever it is who’s in charge of doing that.

*There’s a chance erryone on the globe has loved and got bored of this song already, but I wouldnae ken because I’ve been “out of the loop” of late. Anyway, if you come here looking for the very latest “leaks” yooz kind of in the wrong yard. Lovely to see you, though.

It's time to make Sia a Proper Popstar

Pop Heaven / Pop Hell, Video

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siaSia Furler is probably still most recognisable to people in Blighty for her stint in Zero 7, when she lent some high-class emoting to several otherwise quite somnolent songs which you’ll have heard used as dramatic shorthand in several TV shows over the last few years (see “Destiny”).

Those last few years, however, have also seen Sia release several very good albums, containing several very good songs, and yet she still seems to be very not a Proper Popstar as far as Most People are concerned.

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Childless, unattached heterosexual men woefully under-represented in new Mariah Carey video

Pop Heaven / Pop Hell, Video

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Mariah Carey has covered Foreigner’s classic (IT IS AN EFFING CLASSIC) “I Want To Know What Love Is”. If you are not familiar with the original, just watch VH1 Classic for half an hour. Any half-hour. It’ll come up.

In the audience of the video for Mariah’s new number you are presented with a range of demographics with which to identify.

Which one are you?

eminem_aged_7

1. Eminem, aged 7 (possible subtext: before he became “Obsessed” with Mariah)

divorcees

2. Easily-inspired, independent (i.e. divorced) divorc

A thing that began as a post about Julian Casablancas but ended up a rather intense mini-essay about music and getting older and stuffs

Pop Heaven / Pop Hell

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julian_casablancas_phrazes_for_the_young

I remember, when I was about fifteen, suddenly arriving at the terrifying realisation that all the good music that was ever going to be written, that ever *could* be written, had been. That was it. Music was over. How, after human beings existing for so long, and with so many great songs having been created, could people keep on producing amazing music?

With a boundless pessimism people who know me in real life will recognise all too well, I settled on the answer: they couldn’t.

Yes, I probably spent a bit too much time in my head as a youngster.

But it’s a notion that resurfaces with me quite regularly, which is a bit of an issue when you’ve got a music blog you’re trying to keep going.

You know, you get the tube to work and rather than go through the hassle of elbowing people in the chin so you can extricate your headphones from your bag, you stare at a Columbus Insurance ad on the wall of the carriage. I mean, it’s only another fifteen minutes before you reach your destination – it’s quite nice just to unfocus the old pupils and space out for a while. It’s the rush hour equivalent of loosening the belt, and it’s far less indecent.

But then you remember times when, not too many years before, you’d get public transport, look at people not listening to music or reading a book – people who were just staring at nothing – and you’d think: “how can they do that?” How can they spend this precious time, when they could be listening to anything they want, reading anything they want, just staring at a cartoon dog holding a pair of skiis?

And you realise that now you’re one of those people, and you blame it on the fact that since there’s so much music out there being flung at/offered to you – in countless emails from PR folk, by music blogs and aggregators, by friends, by the radio, by Twitter, by Spotify – you can’t listen to it all. You can’t do it justice. And so to avoid the heinous mistake of wasting precious time investigating something you might not enjoy, you listen to none of it.

You open 2% of the emails, listen to 2% of the streams, follow up 2% of the recommendations… and if you don’t hear something you like in those miniscule percentiles, that’s it. Your faith in the ability of music to take you out of your world for even four minutes at a time, to transform your mood, is vanquished. All the decent stuff has been produced already. Music’s dead.

THANK FUCK, then, for the days when, remarkably, something makes it through these seemingly insurmountable barriers and reminds you, you bloody dolt, that music will never die. And that, in the same way humans will keep improving technology and medicine and all that boring crap, they will also keep writing beautiful, affecting, unexplainably poignant songs which revive your faith in what – excusez le pretentiousness here pour un second – is pretty much the greatest artform we have. Not that my jaw will ever fail to clench if I hear people refer to it as such.

And *then* you think: how odd to be so passionate about something and have such little faith in it, even after all these years.

I would like to dedicate this self-indulgent brainweep to Julian Casablancas’s “Out Of The Blue”, from his debut solo album Phrazes For The Young, because sadly – or gladly – I literally don’t have the words to say how much and in how many ways I currently love the living shit out of it.

Buy Julian Casablancas MP3s, including “Out Of The Blue”, at 7Digital.com

Does Akon succeed in his attempt to not be disrespectful in the lyrics of "Sexy Bitch"?

Naughty Rappers, Pop Heaven / Pop Hell

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Poor old Akon, he’s always got summat on his mind. If it’s not accidentally dry-humping a child, physically throwing a teenager off a stage, or lying about his bad-assedness and his age, it’s something else.

“Something else” is currently illustrated in the lyrics to his latest smash hit, “Sexy Bitch” – a collabaration with Fronch deeshay David Guetta:

She’s nothing like a girl you’ve ever seen before
Nothing you can compare to your neighbourhood whore
I’m trying to find the words to describe this girl
Without being disrespectful…

Now, placing the girl in question above the local prostitute goes someway to showing how disrespectful Akon isn’t, but he’s clearly in a considerable tizzy over this matter. Just how can he describe this girl without being disrespectful? Let’s see if he manages it by skipping to the chorus:

Damn, you’s a sexy bitch, a sexy bitch
Damn, you’s a sexy bitch, damn, girl
Damn, you’s a sexy bitch, a sexy bitch
Damn, you’s a sexy bitch, damn, girl

Hmm. It’s a valiant effort, but some might think that referring to a lady as a bitch – albeit a sexy one – is, like, the least respectful way to describe her. I’m just putting that out there.

What’s interesting, though, is that if you take these lyrics from the mouth of Akon and place them in the mouth of an animated Australian tennis player, they somehow take on a certain charm. Watch:

So, if the lyrics sound OK coming from Graham up there, does that mean Akon succeeded in his attempt to not be disrespecful?

It’s a real conundrum, and one far too complicated for my male thoughtsicles to process. So I decided to ask some of The Womens. I emailed some real-life females and asked them for their opinion on Akon’s attempt to not be disrespectful, alongside a mark out of ten for “Not Being Disrespectful-ness”.

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Amerie & Lil Wayne collaboration almost certainly conducted over email

Free Downloads And Streams, Pop Heaven / Pop Hell

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Amerie‘s new one “Heard ‘Em All” is a frantic, tribal-beats-y kind of thing, with lots of great “uh-huh”s and “hey hey”s. I liked it after two listens, which makes it about an 8/10 on the immediacy scale. Clearly “One Thing” was an 11, but let’s give the poor girl a break because very few people ever produce a song that perfect and then have the misfortune to find themselves judged against it forever.

The video has a built-in guarantee of quality in that Amerie appears in it, but some people might deem it a bit of a “Disturbia” rip-off. Which isn’t that surprising since it’s by the same director, who clearly has Se7en, Fight Club and Mad Max on rotate on his DVD player.

Whatever, Universal Music don’t want too many people to see it – or any other visual representation of their artists’ work – because they are wrongheaded killjoy cunts who disable embedding on so many of the fucking videos they upload to YouTube.

So instead, here’s a version of the tune with a phoned-in Lil Wayne verse tacked onto the beginning so that men are allowed to listen to the song without feeling like a sissy.



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Buy Amerie “Heard ‘Em All” MP3 at Amazon.com

R Kelly's "Number One" is about the usual

Music News, Pop Heaven / Pop Hell

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Clearly miffed that Jeremih has encroached on his R(umpo)&B(oning) turf, R Kelly has returned with a tune so self-parodic that it might very well reach HMV’s shelves housed in a rubber johnny.

“Having sex with you is like makin’ hits,” he muses to his partner on the track, Keri Hilson. One dreads to think what one might find on entering a recording studio that R Kelly has just vacated.

Spunk everywhere.

Basshunter spends "Every Morning" failing to propose marriage

Pop Heaven / Pop Hell, Video

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Basshunter (real name: Ian Basshunter) has produced a very odd piece of work here. Let’s overlook the fact that he commits a common lyrical crime in switching between “she” and “you” with abandon, and instead focus on a couple of things about the video.

Thing 1: He rolls with a crew who are so much bloody fun that he literally never gets five minutes alone with his missus to propose to her. There he is on a yacht, or a piece of reclining beach furniture, fumbling about in the pocket of his cargo shorts for the ring, when his “boys” come and grab him and drag him off for some laddish larks. You’d think Mr Basshunter might have enough cash these days to take his beloved off for a holiday sans his spitroast buddies, but apparently not.

Thing 2: I don’t want to ruin it for you, but you should really watch until the end. To say the video’s conclusion jars with the tone of the preceding footage – and indeed the euphoric eurospaff of the song in general – is an understatement. There is a “message” there, but it’s pretty unsubtly done unlike the rest of Mr Basshunter’s oeuvre.

Your birthday present from Jeremih is his penis

Pop Heaven / Pop Hell, Video

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L.

O.

L.