....why this has been a bit of a graveyard posts wise it's because my main job over the last few months (alongside DJ stuff and other freelance things) has been writing for DailyEdge.ie
I'm writing about pop culture stuff, internet things people are obsessing over and other stuff in that vein.
You can click here to see all the stuff I've written so far should you want a browse. And it's worth keeping tabs on The Daily Edge generally too for an Irish slant on pop culture and the web.
There's still the small matter of my GCN music work too whether you wanna check out this month's issue and my music page (and some brilliant new columnists) and the music posts on the site. They've added lots and lots of content online and given that GCN just hit 25 years going (!) it's amazing to see them offer up even more for their readers.
I'm beavering away on ideas to get this blog going a bit more regularly but do say hello on Twitter should you feel the need.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
Busy busy week with writing for GCN has slowed me down somewhat here but it's all stuff you might want to check out.
Winner of Season 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race, Sharon Needles was in town last weekend and I interviewed her for the mag. It was quite the experience. You can read the interview in this months issue here (on page 15) and also I've a pile of extra juicy quotes here. If you're a fan f the show or drag in general you'll find some fun lines.
Also the music column in the new issue has been revamped to include a playlist and picture of my mug. Hurrah. And there's a jam packed Friday Four post on the website to gawk at with some killer tunes from MS MR to Disclosure. Hurrah.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Alexis Jordan is sort of a baby Beyonce with a twinge of Rihanna whose 2010 hit Happiness still sounds rather great. It cleverly worked a Deamau5 sample into a chilly, nicely produced dance pop single with a sharp uplifting vocal. Although her big label support from Sony/Jay Z (after a stint on America's Got Talent a few years earlier and some popular Youtube covers) only snagged her a dance hit in the US she built up a decent profile on charts in Europe include the UK / Irish charts where she managed a second semi-hit in Good Girl. Her self titled album was pretty solid too. Jordan has a great voice and her ongoing relationship with production geniuses Stargate has worked out really well for her (they've of course produced numerous Rihanna hits amongst others)
Now, Jordan has finally debuted some material ahead of her second album's release. Acid Rain is a clear attempt to recreate the magic of Happiness with a slightly harder feel. There's 2 verses from labelmate J.Cole (Which work much better than your standard rap feature on a pop single), production from Stargate again and Sia on co-writing duties (according to Idolator) and a more importantly another huge sample. This time it's the dutch-house hit Rattle from Bingo Players. A club hit in it's own right (and officially released with a new rap from Far East Movement as single here this week) it's the kind of tune that was begging for somebody to nab it for a hit single.
It's an interesting idea and it's obvious that Stargate want to use the sample to build up the tension around Jordan's towering vocals and the Titanium-y feel of the chorus and eventual rave-pop break at the song's core. It's thumpy, will surely eat up the dancefloors still not tired of the dance-pop deluge and she sounds great. BUT it does feel rather shoe-horned in, the obvious hook of Rattle feeling like a huge distraction on the verses.
Acid Rain should help Jordan make a return to the charts on this side of the pond but it falls short of the same magic that Happiness such a killer pop single. Still, having such a killer team in her corner suggests that Alexis Jordan could be aiming on a proper jump into the pop big leagues.
Cheers to We Are Pop Slags for bringing this to my attention today.
Monday, January 14, 2013
|Image courtesy of Sony Music Ireland.|
We've already chatted about Justin Timberlake teasing with the details of his return late last week. Earlier today, JT finally gave us Suit & Tie the opening gambit from new album The 20/20 Experience due later this year (as confirmed by Timberlake in an open letter on his website). The production comes via Timbaland and also features Jay-Z. So far, so starry. But what's really impressive about Suit & Tie is just how "subtle" it is.
After a slow-mo opening with a judder-y hip-hop beat it bursts into a sprightly R&B groove that feels like the kind of fusion of radio-ready R&B, soul references and shimmery pop that only a Timbaland/Timberlake production could provide. It's got a grown-up air to it, like a logical follow on from the overall feel of his Futuresex/LoveSounds album.
The consensus from fans and pundits today (speaking of, both The Prophet Blog and The Guardian's Michael Cragg have good takes on it here) is that it's not a Sexy/Back style banger, a big lead single that announces a triumphant return to chart dominance. But in a odd way this feels like a good thing. For starters, Suit & Tie may not sound like some kind of huge comeback song but it's sophisticated, infectious and has a sort of lived-in confidence that only a huge star could pull off. Timberlake is effectively taking a look at what's huge and doing his own thing. Given that his previous material was produced by Timbaland who then went on to enjoy a ubiquity that would see a certain production style seem played out it's a smart move. For an artist that prides himself on keeping a fairly low musical output (as that now infamous video speech suggests) it's a good fit to keep things moving at a pace that feels like his.
Whether the R.Kelly/Robin Thicke vibe of this will comfortably land with radio and big audiences is hard to debate but as an opening gambit Timberlake has got us talking with a tune that feels like a solid mix of throwback and something fresh. By doing his own thing Justin has probably made the most interesting move of all.
Suit & Tie is on iTunes now, you can stream it in full here. The 20/20 Experience is released later this year.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Maybe you have a degree. Maybe you are still in school. Maybe you were home schooled or maybe you say things like "WELL I REALLY LEARNED AT THE SCHOOL OF LIFE TO BE HONEST" at house parties. Either way, you probably still love to learn. Who doesn't? And where better to learn about life than from pop videos? You're in luck because The Saturdays and Ke$ha are here to school you! Hurrah. Now, quiet down the back!
Ke$ha - C'mon
What is it: Single no. 2 from K$ not-selling-that-well-so-far 2nd album Warrior which is actually great despite the fact that this and single no. 1 Die Young don't do the album justice. Oh well.
What We Learn:
- Ke$ha would clearly make a terrible waitress what with her insistence on ignoring customers and ruining their "cup of joe" and then quitting her job and calling her boss a "dick". It's a good thing she has that pop thing to fall back on.
- Leaving your job can be amazing however. As soon as she leaves a bunch of guys in animal onesises take her in a van, K$ hops in a jacuzzi (IN THE VAN) and flops around in a one piece. Then they have a dance party in a corner shop. Who knew unemployment could be so.. fruitful.
-Revenge is a dish served dance party. Hate your bold boss? Then run into his premises with your friends dressed as giant animals and dance around. Huzzah.
- K$ new blonde wig/weave/whatever it is ain't cute and we learn that we shouldn't get our hair done that way.
The Saturdays - What About Us
What We Learn:
- The Saturdays are having a GREAT TIME IN AMERICA OMG!1! There they are, walking down some boulevard, then hopping into some lovely vintage clothes emporium for chic buys. Playing pool with cute boys, lounging around pools and breaking into football fields to ... eh, dance around.
- The Saturdays need to work on their dance moves. WHAT are they doing during that dance break? Really. If you're going to break into a football field with some attractive blokes shouldn't you be doing some seriously intricate moves? They seem to find the most basic of routines very streneous. It's all a bit "five girls on the piss, have a twirl" but maybe this is to make them seem more relatable etc etc.
- You know you are in America when everything looks a bit sepia-ish. The lighting/colour palette is the music video equivalent of a Instagram filter. The whole thing looks a bit bleached out like they thought things would make things more "Californian". Weird.
To Sum Up:
Today we learnt that if you hire Ke$ha to work for you she won't be very good at her job and she may wear a bad wig. BUT you might get to see some guys in animal costumes which is quite cool. And that if you want to be in a girlband and "do America" you need to make sure everything is a bit sepia and that you can't do a basic dance routine. Hurrah!
Ke$ha's second album Warrior is out now including C'Mon. The Saturdays have released What About Us for American audiences now and release it as a single here on the 15th of March (Ireland) And the 17th (The UK)
Feeling like four pop tunes to kick start Friday? Duh, of course you do. New Friday Four post on GCN.ie has Zebra Katz, Ne-Yo, Nelly Furtado and Charli XCX music up for you to check out now.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
|Popular Musician / Punk'd Victim Justin Timberlake|
It should be apt then that these two musical powerhouses managed to Punk everybody today getting Twitter based pop fans in a lather with slightly misleading announcements.
Destiny's Child was the real IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING MOMENT and probably the most disappointing. Just over an hour ago Beyonce's website posted this announcement with B's apparent delight at the first "original" music by the group in eight years. Cue tears, screams and all caps joy from pop fans whose memory of everything from Bills, Bills, Bills to the unintentional hilarity of Cater 2 U.
|Beyonce's face everytime she sees Kim Kardashian. Maybe.|
Never mind that the album was called Love Songs which sounds a bit compilation-y, that Beyonce is in the middle of pushing her new album and about to do the Superbowl THEY ARE BACK EVERY ONE. But sadly, we were Punk'd by Team Beyonce (do you remember when she was on it?). It's in fact a compilation with one new song. It sounds to be frank, ropey but maybe the new song will be a "hidden gem"
|OMG!!11 IZ DIs Daa Nu dCtHREE alBum?!|
The thing is as annoying as this it's also hilarious. Purely because it's so deliberate on Team Beyonce's part (you just know they worded that way to get a bit of attention) and also for the idea that somebody did this to try and outdo the Justin Timberlake announcement. Meanwhile, Christina Aguilera is probably throwing darts at pictures of everyone who was big in 2000-2004's and while crying softly.
|"Don't make me hit like you I maybe did with Michelle!"|
Now Justin has sort of Punk'd us too. Which is apt given that he was on the first episode of the show and his baby-ish crying to his mom over a broken guitar is one of The Greatest TV Moments of All Time. A tweet about some kind of announcement today at got everyone in a lather about a new song appearing out of nowhere although many had pointed out that some hastily deleted tweets from a radio station suggested a Monday play. Nonetheless plenty of fans flew to Justin's website a little while ago to see what the deal was.
And AGAIN we were Punk'd. No new song, just a pretentious YouTube video and a countdown. In a way this is still exciting because it's been so long since Timberlake has done any music that we can probably wait a few days. Still it's funny how instead of spending our weekend getting down to JT's latest we'll just have to watch him moodily walk around and say things like I CAN'T JUST KNOCK AN ALBUM OUT EVERY 5 MINUTE ...RIHANNA! (And as I said earlier this Billboard piece hints at some interesting stuff on the album and this MTV look at Justin's work the last few years is also fascinating)
With Beyonce and Justin joining Britney, Kylie, Cher and Lady Gaga in the Big Pop Acts Bringing Out New Material stakes 2013 is going to be an absolute mess. I can't wait.