Singles and such

You’d be forgiven if you thought I’d dropped off the face of the earth – it’s been eons since my last real update!

To start things off, here are some songs I’ve been adoring for… well, a good while. :)

  • Pet Shop Boys are back with their new single “Love Etc.” from forthcoming album Yes (which I’m so so excited about!). It’s classic PSB, with plinking synths and a wonderful chorus.
  • Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) will be coming out with her new album Two Suns this April. The first single from the album, the beautifully layered “Daniel,” is out with a fabulously freaky video. I tried to get into her first album, 2006’s Fur and Gold, but sadly could only find myself enjoying the first few tracks. I’ll be giving it another try now, though, because I’ve had a sneaky listen to Two Suns and it has already gained a place on my “best of 2009” list (yeah, I keep track of my faves in list form in my head all year!).
  • Sandra, of 80s Europop classic “Maria Magdalena,” returns with a gospel-flavored feel-good song called “In A Heartbeat.” Her last album, The Art of Love, felt like it was all spoken – it seemed like only the choruses featured Sandra singing! “In A Heartbeat” is a fine return to form, beautifully produced, really really catchy – and no spoken/sung bits! ;)
  • I gave the new single – “Wild” – from Valeriya a try, despite never having heard of her before, but now I’m definitely looking forward to more music from her! Actually, I’m not even sure if this is her new single – her UK website says something about another song called “Back to Love” being released in April. So I’m not sure what’s going on with “Wild”… Anyways – great beats and cool guitars. :)
  • Anjulie is a new artist with a voice like Nelly Furtado, but her tone is a little sweeter. She will be releasing her debut album, Boom, sometime this year (it leaked early though – and via another sneaky listen, I can tell ya that it’s really cool!). She released an EP in late 2008 so I guess “Boom” is the lead single. It’s got this awesome deep guitar riff, and then when the chorus comes in – “boom, sha-la-ka…” – that’s it. You’re hooked! :)
  • Calvin Harris, that electro kid, has a new club-ready dance single out called “I’m Not Alone.” Love those shrieking synths!
  • I’m addicted to Dizzee Rascal‘s “Dance Wiv Me (Jason Nevins Radio Edit)”, which features Calvin Harris and Chrome. It’s club, rap, and rock all rolled into one fab package. I didn’t listen to the original in 2008 but I’m loving this 2009 attempt to bring it to the USA. :)
  • I’m not a big fan of the album version of Beyonce‘s “Diva,” but “Diva (Maurice Joshua Remix)” – now that’s good stuff. So danceable, and a bit funky too! :)
  • Lily Allen‘s back with “The Fear,” the lead single from her neat new album It’s Not Me, It’s You. “The Fear” is pure pop with excellent beats and clever lyrics like “I’m a weapon of massive consumption.”
  • A new trio of musicians, Lal Meri, is out with “Bad Things”, from their debut self-titled album. Lal Meri features the smoky, delicious vocals of Nancy Kaye, who has previously released two albums under the name Rosey. I love her voice and it really suits the lounge-y, psychedelic trip-hop of “Bad Things”. Definitely a new group to listen out for.
  • Marina And The Diamonds have a couple of songs out, and I’ve gotten hooked on “Obsessions.” It’s a beautiful song, and Marina has a distinctive voice, almost theatrical but not in an annoying way. Can’t wait for their album!
  • Patrick Wolf is due to release an album this year and his first single from it, “Vulture,” is absolutely addictive. I really hope that this deep, dark, and rather sexy sound carries over to the rest of the album. :) (The video in that link is a little NSFW, so wait till you get home to watch it!)
  • Last but not least is Chester French. “She Loves Everybody” is a single from their forthcoming album, and it’s just great pop/rock. Synths flourishes don’t sound out of place in the largely guitar-based instrumentation, and I’ve gotta mention the beats – I’m a sucker for a good beat. :)

Musical musings :)

Just a few thoughts I’ve had lately about random music stuff:

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I never thought I’d actually find myself digging a commercial jingle, but every time the Chris Brown Doublemint commercial comes on I can’t help but love those beats. For anyone else wondering about the song, and has been living under the same rock I apparently have been under, the song used in the commercial is a rework of his single “Forever” with new lyrics about… well, gum. :)

untitled124578I didn’t know, until today, that there was a Ralphi Rosario vocal mix of Pet Shop Boys’ “To Step Aside”. I had the dub, but whilst browsing CDs today at one of my fave used CD shops, I found the US maxi-single of “Se A Vida É” – which included a mix of “To Step Aside” called “Ralphi’s Disco Vox”! It’s pretty good, much better than the dub, with a great house piano line. Nothing beats the album version of “To Step Aside,” though! Speaking of PSB, they’re releasing their latest album, titled Yes, on March 23! :D

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When oh when is Amelia Brightman, alias Violet, going to release her debut album? Judging by the songs on her MySpace, the little sister of Sarah Brightman has loads of talent and such a lovely voice. The Wikipedia entry about her states that she plans to release an album in 2009, but who knows how that will turn out – apparently her album was supposed to surface in 2003! :O

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And Shweta Shetty! I could’ve sworn I read on the Nemo Studios website at some point that she was working on an album. I discovered Shweta, strangely enough, because of Sarah Brightman – Shweta contributed vocals to Sarah’s Harem album and also sang during the Harem tour. I really like her voice and I hope we get to hear some tunes from her soon. :)

This was a really scattered post! :)

Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife (1999)

drunkSince releasing their debut album in 1986, the Pet Shop Boys have elevated pop music to an art form. Their songs are intelligent, informed pieces of pop and dance – often irreverent, sometimes ironic or satirical, but always classy and cool.

Their seventh studio album, Nightlife, was released in 1999. A loose concept album detailing city nightlife, Nightlife blends trance, electro/hip-hop, and classic pop elements with the Boys’ distinctive melodies and Neil Tennant’s unique vocals. The result? A dancefloor-ready album that sounds just as good in headphones.

00052861The album starts with ‘For Your Own Good’, a brisk trance track with deep, driving beats and bass. Like the rest of the album, the production is top-notch and features lots of nice ambient touches. ‘Closer To Heaven’ keeps things rolling with its neat vocal effects, dance beats and bright synths, then leads into ‘I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Anymore’, a melancholy, string-laden dance track. The electro/hip-hop ‘Happiness Is An Option’ comes up next and features clever spoken verses and a chorus (complete with soulful female vocals) that is rather inspiring: ‘it is not easy, but don’t give up now…happiness is an option.’

The Boys’ knack for writing witty lyrics is shown in ‘You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk’, another somewhat melancholy string-laden track, this time with electro beats and glittering synths. Great lyrics and production.

Nightlife continues its tales of… well, nightlife, with ‘Vampires’, a sultry trip-hop groove with a chilled atmosphere and glimmers of piano. The trance of the first track pops up again in the very cool ‘Radiophonic’, which features some nice synth work and excellent hard trance beats.

Things slow down a bit with the ballad-y ‘Only One’ and the aptly named ‘Boy Strange,’ which doesn’t quite gel with the rest of the album. It’s all good, though, because up next is ‘In Denial’, a truly fabulous duet between Tennant and Kylie Minogue. Regal and campy in equal doses, ‘In Denial’ has lovely strings and heavenly choirs, and has a theatrical feel. Speaking of campy: ‘New York City Boy’ is such a fun song. Strings, trumpets, male choir, and a thumping disco beat make this exuberant anthem quite possibly the campiest Boys song to date.

The closing song ‘Footsteps’ feels like the end of a night out, when everything is quiet and peaceful. A chilled-out, leisurely drumbeat and more lush strings underscore the sweet, lovestruck lyrics. A fitting end to a really nifty album!