Three New Songs By Three Really Good Female Popstars

No opening paragraph today, just going to get right to the good stuff.

Stine Bramsen – Prototypical

If you don’t recognise this lady, or her voice, then you need to go and have an Alphabeat session right now. Both their first two albums were 50% rubbish and 50% beyond incredible. They had a great run of singles too – ‘Fascination’, ‘10,000 Nights (of Thunder)’, ‘Boyfriend’, ‘Hole in my Heart’ and ‘DJ’ (well, this remix anyway) being my favourites. They had a third album too but I really didn’t pay attention to that, it’s not anything special apparently.

Now Stine is going solo whilst the band is taking a break and after featuring on the incredible ‘I Want You’ in 2011, Bramsen is back with the ‘Prototypical’. I’ve embedded the live session version above and it’s my favourite, but the actual version is worth listening to as well.

Lily Allen – Air Balloon

After making her return late last year with The Annual John Lewis Christmas Song and the fantastically sharp-tongued ‘Hard Out Here’ Lily Allen is releasing her second single from her long-awaited, still untitled third album. It’s catchy, combining modern beats with playground melodies and cute lyrics about Elvis getting to first base before Kurt Cobain. It’s good, but in a B-Side-That’s-Not-As-Good-As-Any-Of-Her-2nd-Album*-Era-B-Sides way. Let’s just hope the video takes the day-dreamy feel of the song and elevates it (pun intended) to something worthy of a single from my 2nd favourite popstar ever.

*That 2nd Album is called It’s Not Me, It’s You and its my favourite album of all time. Every song is perfect. Buy it. Now.

Kylie Minogue – Into The Blue

Into The Blue

http://a.tumblr.com/tumblr_mznojei9I31qjdybto1.mp3#_=_

(In lieu of any sort of video, here is the single cover and a link.)

Thanks to some naughty internet people leaking things they shouldn’t, we get new songs from 2nd and 1st favourite Popstars in one week. January blues? Not this year!

I only heard this for the first time last night and didn’t really like it, but at that point I had been awake for 20 hours and you could’ve given me a million pounds and I would’ve grumbled it wasn’t 2 million. Now I’ve had some sleep and given this tune a proper whirl I’m ready to give my (still mixed) opinion. It’s not as an Americanised as I’d feared from Kylie‘s deal with Roc Nation (Jay-Z‘s label) but the ‘E-yo-oh-oh-oh’ hook is the basic sounding thing you’d find on a Flo-Rida song and why sing ‘Don’t need no miracle’ rather than ‘Don’t need a miracle’? Just generally unnecessary.

Also, the production on the chorus is a bit too ‘hard’ and contrasts with the feeling but the verses sound divine as expected from the Goddess of Pop herself. To be honest, it’s Kylie and it’s hard to dislike because she delivers warmth and happy fuzzy feelings in spades. I can’t wait for her debut performance on The Voice (where she is instantly the best judge, obviously) and studio album number 12.

That’s it from me today, peace out!

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‘The Apprentice Series Nine Episode… Eight? Let’s Go With Eight’ Review

Apprentice 2013 week 8

I wasn’t jotting stuff down whilst watching this episode for a few reasons. Firstly, I got carried away trying to make a playlist that started off as ‘melancholic electronic’ but ended up being anything with bleepy-bloopy (industry term) sounds or a synthesiser in it. Secondly I was enjoying this episode too much. I think it’s one that will go down in The Apprentice legends, alongside:

I completely remember why I adore this show.

This week’s task was come up with a website and an advert, which already means great television is afoot. Adverts and The Apprentice go hand in hand like pasta and cheese, cheese on toast, any food with cheese…

Oh, and bacon flavoured beer. I’m still not letting that one go.

But what makes this task even better is what area the contestants have to work in: online dating. This would have easily made my Top 5 Apprentice Episodes Ever based on Alex’s shenanigans. Basically he makes lots of Fifty Shades jokes (“I’m Christian Grey of the Valleys” is a classic) and this happens:

Our poor Welsh Vampiric  Underdog tries to go for Project Manager, having experience in Web Design before. He gets outvoted and the team put Jordan in charge. Jordan is the one who hasn’t got Web Design experience, is usually in the background milling around doing stuff but not much and tweeted this…

AppEp8 Tweet

Interestingly enough, their team wins too. Not because they were great or anything, their dull corporate website clashed with their hilarious advert with mascara-d up Alex (or Herbert) and Unsayshuhbuhl Nuhdeen Leah Coyle voiceover. No, Jordan‘s team won because the other team redefined ‘disasterrific’.

Where do I begin? Let’s bullet point this:

  • Jason was voted as Project Manager. The man has no leadership qualities, was two hours late for a meeting because he was faffing around with a website that they actually never finished.
  • The team went for the Over-50s market despite knowing nothing about the Over-50s and the strange planet they live on.
  • Francesca and The Man Who Refers To Himself Only As Neil Clough made the most stilted yet patronising advert of all time. That wink will haunt my dreams.

But what really made this possibly my favourite Apprentice episode of all time was a first for the show. After nine seasons, a Project Manager actually abdicated.

Well, I say abdicated I mean BULLIED INTO SUBMISSION!!!!

I just googled ‘Apprentice Luisa‘ and well… there were lots of photos not suitable for this respectable blog, or work. Or my eyes.

But anyway, Luisa came across as evil incarnate in this episode and… I kind of loved it. Despite selling a whole caravan last week, its clear Jason wasn’t following it up and spent four hours choosing the colour of a logo. So Luisa donned her black hooded robe, raised her hand and spoke those immortal words “You will pay the price for your lack of vision” and out of her perfectly manicured claws came lightning bolts of searing pain. Jason whimpered around on the floor, trying (not very hard) to resist until it became too much and he threw in the towel.

Surely under the leadership of a strong power-crazy Empress happy to trample over anyone in her way, Luisa will lead her trembling followers to victory in this task?

Well, as I’ve already written above: no.

Although their team had consistency between advert and design, it was consistently rubbish. So it was a hollow victory to Herbert and friends who got to do some posh food tasting and most importantly, avoided the war between Jason, Luisa and Francesca. It made for one of the best boardroom scenes, with Nick VS Luisa, Jason VS Luisa (still, a mostly one-sided battle), Lord Sugababe VS Luisa and Francesca actually showing some personality! Lo and behold, she is almost as catty as Luisa. I cannot wait to see these two clash. I also worry for Karren, who is going to keep a very close eye on The Empress. If she ends up battered, bruised and/or missing, I will be very upset.

Anyway, Jason obviously gets fired and on the spinoff show You’re Fired proves he’s actually really funny. And not just to laugh at, although there is a VT of him talking about how inspirational his teddy bear is so…

Next week: ready meals. As a student (for another two weeks until I graduate) I am very intrigued as to what they will come up with.

Oh but wait!

I’m on holiday, so who knows when I will review it.

The Apprentice Series 9 Episode Which One Are We On Again?

Apprentice 2013 week 7

Yes I know I’ve missed the last two weeks but I am back with a vengeance – trying to make funny jokes about The Apprentice, typing as I’m watching the episode live. To make sure I don’t miss a second I even turned onto BBC One (HD, obviously) ten minutes early, catching the end of Watchdog. It was scary. There was a poor man just trying to make a living by stealing people’s money getting chased down the street by camera crews and a presenter who wouldn’t let him drive away in his car. And then… this was this terrifying woman.

shudder.

Anyway onto the main event, and there’s the usual re-cap which I normally find annoying. Like, why bother – no one in their right mind would ever miss an episode of this show. But yeah, actually… thanks for the catch-up ‘The Beeb’. After some toplessness which I’m sure is written into the male contestants contracts we’re off to the Tower of London.

Insert head getting chopped off pun here.

So we get to the Tower and the task is to sell. Caravans. In Birmingham.  So why bother being at the Tower? Who knows.

Kurt becomes project manager of Endeavour because… he’s been on caravan holidays. OK… He shot Alex down, which is a bad idea.

Jason, the one no-one likes whinges about caravaning and wonders just WHO does it? Alex and Kurt have the answer through extensive market research: looking at the caravans driving past and guesstimating ages. Their ‘research’ tell us over 50s like to go camping. This is a recipe for disaster.

Myles talks to the product designers with his eyes nearly popping out of his face trying to fake smile and be nice. Nick calls him so enthusiastic its nauseating. I can’t disagree. I also can’t disagree with 3rd person lover Neil Clough calls teammate Jason a big girl’s blouse. I find this insult quite amusing, in a silly way. It’s nothing compared to Alex calling him a ‘stupid shit’ in episode 2 but its more for the CV isn’t it?

Things don’t go well for Myles’ team who don’t get the items they want to be able to sell. Bet you they win though.

Then again, once the exhibition starts most of the candidates are shown failing at selling a single thing. Except for… Alex. As Lord Sweet’n’Low tweeted:

AppEp7 Tweet

Thanks for that input.

Also selling quite well is… Jason. WHAT?!? His quirky (read: annoying) style is going down well with the camper fans he so hates. Even he looks surprised. Neil Clough admits his ‘man pride’ is damaged. I feel your pain mate. At least he’s trying harder than Kurt, whose ‘technique’ is so casual I think he’s asleep. Maybe Alex has been sucking the blood out of him as revenge for taking his Project Manager gig. Jordan goes to Luisa for sales advice only to be met with a ‘Awww I dunnow, I’m just sellin’ whilst Alex, Nadine Leah Coyle and Natalie get confused by what is a desk and what is a bench.

As the day nears its end, prices are slashed everywhere to make sales. If I ever see Apprentice candidates selling stuff, I’m just going to hang around til the end of the day and make a killing.

In the boardroom Nadine Leah Coyle is attacked for being a moody cow, she tries to defend herself but everyone’s got a point: she hasn’t looked this grim since the Girls Aloud split (its still too soon… sadface). Lord Splenda digs at Alex, telling him that maybe people voted for Kurt not because of his experience, but lack of faith in the Welsh vampiric underdog. I hope he gets a chance to stake it to his teammates when the arguments start.

And they will, because Evolve win with a landslide victory of £33,000 to just over £1,000.

To add insult to injury, Siralun invites Jason back in to congratulate him. Ouch.

Evolve get a cycling session with Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy. Luisa asks him if she should just keep looking at his bum. Yes, yes she should. I mean…

Poor choice of picture. But that doesn’t compare to the bad decisions Endeavour made which Nick, Karen and Lord Tate Lyle rip into them for, with a sense of glee that they don’t show – but you can tell. The highlight is Leah‘s face when she gets told Kurt made her swap teams because she’s eye candy.

Kurt brings Natalie and Alex back to the boardroom for a showdown. Ding-ding-ding! I’m in Dracula’s corner. Natalie shouldn’t be brought back in my opinion and Kurt should (and probably will go). Let’s go!

There’s crying! There’s boasting whilst trying to say ‘I’m not one to brag’!! There’s Dracula revealing he was in the business of TOMBSTONES!!! You cannot write this.

As I predicted, Kurt is gone. And not even with with a “thank you for the opportunity”. But then… NATALIE GETS FIRED TOO!!!

WAIT!

WHAT?!?

At least Natalie leaves with dignity. Well, a ‘thank you for the opportunity’ at least. Good to see manners remain despite a shock second firing I think is totally unfair. Goodbye Natalie, I will miss you. Kurt… I won’t.

Next week: a dating task! OH GOD YES!!! It’s going to be so cringe-worthy. And Alex is gothed out in a black t-shirt and guyliner. I cannot wait. Apprentice, I missed you for two weeks but you have your claws in me again.

New Music Video! ‘Take A Look At The World’ – Ralph Myerz feat. Annie

After composing myself after E3 I am ready to FREAK OUT ALL OVER AGAIN! My favourite single of the year (so far) has a music video!

And yeah, it’s ok.

In my singles countdown I said I’d be happy if the video was someone cutting their toenails. Luckily its not. And its not serving up an extra large portion of ‘Tubestops & Lonely Hearts’ realness awkwardness. There’s lots of shots of everyone’s favourite Norweigan popstar (that’s Norweigan Popstar Annie) being driven around a city, taking a look at the world. There’s shots of this pretty night time city, letting us lucky people take a look at the world. And yeah, that’s kind of it really.

I would’ve liked a bit of poolside frivolity, and the editing could have been tighter but it does look very polished and high-def, which for an Annie is unheard of. Most importantly, the song still sounds fantastic, especially with headphones in walking around after dark whilst it rains – and the hardly the best time to watch the music video. God knows what could happen! Stay safe kids. Don’t get hurt in the name of Norweigan Popstar Annie, because the Police probably won’t know who she is 😦

Giving the general music buying public’s love for foreign DJ’s featuring female vocalists, maybe just maybe this will be a hit. I can dream right?

Maybe if Flo-Rida gets a verse…

New Music Video: Diana Vickers ‘Cinderella’

How this didn’t make it into my Top 5 I don’t know, I think I stopped listening to it because the release date was (and still is) so far away, I didn’t want to get tired of it. Now the video is out the song is back on repeat again and I love it even more.

The music video’s not exactly groundbreaking, but looks very well done despite Diana being on a smaller label. There’s great use of location and simple colours (white/cream and black mostly) and all that technical stuff. The story is exactly as you’d expect: Diana meets a cute bought in male model type, they flirt and avoid getting caught. What sets it apart from many is that there’s genuine chemistry between them, and the male love interest is good looking but not in the ‘straight out of the Topman website’ kind of way most (*cough*Yo-yo*cough) videos do. Diana’s cute little winks extend to her solo shots, and she flirts with the camera brilliantly. She’s got natural star power, this girl, like some sort of… ‘X Factor’.

The song is still all kinds of incredible, co-penned by (ex) Xenomania lyrical genius Miranda Cooper, Diana voice goes perfectly with the light synthpop production and the lyrics. The ‘I believe in thunderbolts and butterflies’ is a standard Miranda-ism, as is the time-checking middle eight, but my favourite bit of the song – the ultimate Miranda touch and bit that makes me feel all magical and whatnot – is the chorus. Specifically the bit in the chorus where Diana sings “for you I would lose, buh-both of my shoes”. The triple ‘ooh’ rhyme and the fact ‘both’ is ‘buh-both’ just makes it for me. Its kind of hard to explain, but its just one of those little things that add to it. 

Cinderella‘ is criminally not out until July, and here’s hoping it starts Diana’s second album campaign off with a hit. It’d sadden me to see that now both Xenomania geniuses Miranda and Brian Higgins solo female projects fail (that’s Amelia Lily by the way).

The Saturdays ‘Gentleman’ Review

So yes, The Saturdays. They started off being put together by Girls Aloud‘s record label, supporting GA on the Tangled Up Tour 2008. They released their first album Chasing Lights whilst the Aloud were at their peak. Then, the Almighty Aloud went on a year hiatus that lasted three. During that hiatus, The Sats could’ve become huge. But they just sort of… meandered around, fussing about with removing an ‘underperforming’ album off iTunes then releasing an overpriced EP with songs from that deleted album on it. They brushed close to the top spot on the singles charts a few times, coming VERY close by collaborating with Xenomania, the masterminds behind the Aloud only to follow it up with an album that truly underperformed. Then, on the week Queen Nudheen Coyle and company announced their heartbreaking split, the Two From S Club Juniors and company FINALLY hit #1 with ‘What About Us’, a terrible auto tuned mess with fake Rihanna style accents and… Sean Paul.

What I’m trying to say is, The Saturdays have always been entwined with Girls Aloud. They were clearly put together to keep us going during those cold, cold years of enduring Cheryl Cole’s solo career. And as I said above, they did OK. But now, we are entering the POST-ALOUD years of pop. Following that #1, is it time for The Saturdays to flourish?

Hmmmmmm, probably not. Their reality show Chasing The Saturdays didn’t make huge waves in here or America. Manufactured bands don’t always last that long – JLS have called it quits after five years. Una has already had a baby and now Rochelle and Frankie (the ones who were in S Club Juniors) are expecting as well. So the group’s upcoming album The Chase may prove to be their swansong.

So, following a poor lead single, can ‘Gentleman’ raise expectations?

Basically, yes. Before I get to the inevitable Aloud comparisons, which in this song are more apparent than normal, there is another comparison to make. To this:

Thankfully the songs sound nothing alike. The girls have ditched the electronic club trend for something more proper left-field. Ie: rapping. Little Mix and Stooshe are both bringing back the 90’s R&B girlband sound, and this does sound a bit like the latter’s debut ‘Love Me’ but what I find it has most in common with is GA’s Tangled Up album track ‘Control of the Knife’. There’s a cool, speedy reggae-pop beat during the verses and lots of white girl attitude where men are put in their place.

The lyrics too, play with innuendo in the way the Aloud used to (its still hard typing about the Aloud in past-tense) especially during the chorus: “Cause most dudes just hit it and quit it/And then they wonder why most girls just spit it”. Naughty, if not Super Naughty (‘All Fired Up’ reference). And whilst I don’t agree with their choices of men in the breakdown, I’m going to have fun trying to memorise that bit.

So in short, its zippy, catchy, full of attitude, a little bit left field and the best thing I think The Saturdays have done for a LONG time. I’ve complained the bands songs have been too generic and trend-chasing but this could be a turnaround. So far the hit/miss ratio of singles for this album is 50/50, so if half of The Chase is as good as this, that half will be happily on rotation on my iPod playlist.

The Apprentice Series 9 Episode 2 Review

Apprentice 2013 week 2

So the second episode of the new series of The Apprentice has JUST finished as I start to type this, so it’s time to jointly watch You’re Fired and assemble my bullet points into something resembling a review.

Today’s episode starts on a high because…

THE THEME TUNE IS BACK!

HALLELUJAH!

And it gets better, tonight’s episode involves alcohol. I don’t think I’ve ever been as psyched for an episode of the Apprentice ever. Imagine the ‘LOLZ’ (modern term) as the candidates get all merry from tasting the product they have to make, or have a cheeky pint whilst working ‘because of the stress’ and start firing off incoherent insults at each other and throwing up on SirAlun in the boardroom.

OK, that’s never going to happen but tonight’s is a bit of a gem. In the bank that is now a pub (sounds like my kind of bank) SirLordAlunSugar puts Tim in charge of the girls team after his little outburst at the end of the last episode. I’m assuming he chose Tim because as much of a wally as he looked, at least he knew the poor wally’s name. “Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Britain” he tells them (or close enough to, I quickly jotted this one down as I was forgetting it) and sets them off on a task to make and sell it. I’m a little surprised by this fact, £1 Jagerbombs are pretty popular amongst the kids nowadays, not that I’d know…

Anyway… onto the bit where the contestants, desperate to prove their creative GENIUS, offer ideas for what flavour beers to make.

First suggestion: nettles flavour.

Nettles flavour.

NETTLES FLAVOUR?!?

Like, stingy stuff. Or worse…

JOHN NETTLES FLAVOUR!

(shudders)

But, joking aside, one of the boys comes up with an idea that is actually genuinely actually the best idea anyone has ever had on The Apprentice if not ever, except for maybe the internet and pre-grated cheese in a plastic bag. Ready?

Bacon Flavoured Beer.

This actually sounds incredible, I genuinely was eating a packet of Smoky Bacon Crisps whilst watching this episode and thinking that in the pub, I often have the taste of ye olde ale and bits of streaky walkers mixed in my mouth (such a LAD). Combining the two would be the most ultimate manly thing in the world, apart from my iTunes playlist (end sarcasm here).

But in the end they go for Chocolate and Orange. But not Chocolate Orange flavour, because Terry’s and this woman would have a few issues with that…

The girls led by Tim go for an odd choice of Rhubarb and caramel. It doesn’t fill me with me confidence but they enthusiastically tell Karren about their choice, who just shrugs. Like the legend that she is.

As Lord Siralun pointed out on up and coming social media site ‘Twitter’

AppEp2 Tweet 1

errrrrm

Although I stuck up for Alex yesterday, I have to notice that he did look quite Dracula-y running around the lab with a vial. He did rightly calling Jason a ‘stupid s**t’ and ‘dozey pleb’ so swings and roundabouts.

The teams name their beers Rhubarb & Riches, for the rhubarb one, and A Bitter This for the other. One of these is genius. And I have to disagree with Lord Shugs, puns win me over everytime. I mean… PantsMan!

So after the first day, despite the boys not being able to drink or not fans of drinking they still crack on OK for day one. Tim’s team… well by the end of the first day they’ve wasted a few kegs which amounts to £100 due to poor ratios. As Primarch Alan points out:

AppEp2 Tweet 2

Though to be honest he admitted he was watching The Apprentice and the football at the same time, so goodness knows who he’s on about.

Onto Day Two and things get worse for Tim’s Team (which sounds like a dodgy spinoff of Time Team). They go to a ‘beerfest’ which turns out to be a gathering in a pub. Seriously, I’ve had more people at house parties, but then again my playlist did include the Cha-Cha Slide. The boys sell their pint in a more busy location for £4 a pop, which doesn’t seem that bad to me considering a lot of pubs I go to charge something stupid like £3.09. Sometimes I think they might as well just round up to the nearest pound. Nick doesn’t agree and does some frowning. I’m a bit disappointed by any killer one liners by Mr. Hewer. Karren has a good go, observing ‘there are lots of people at this wine bar. Drinking wine…’ Can you imagine the gold these two could’ve come out with if they were drinking on the job? Seriously, if they do this task again the producers should definitely consider it – there’s so much potential here!

As time goes on the boys team start making a few blunders. They go to see a specialist and don’t bring anything for them to try. Maybe the boys have been drinking after all! The specialist shoots them down and there is a wonderfully silent tracking shot of them walking down the street. Alex/Dracula doesn’t look best pleased at all. Or maybe it’s the sunlight. The other half of the team move base to the South Bank, wasting over an hour in transit and leaving them with only two hours to sell 300 (pints, not the film). You know what would sell, boys?

LOOK AT THE BACON (DAYUM)

Look At The Bacon

Crispety crunch.

Meanwhile, Tim’s Team don’t really deserve me commenting on their performance because it might bring me to despair. One good thing I will say though is that Leah brings her Nadine’s Irish Mist skills to the table and makes me love her a little bit more.

To the boardroom now! Emperor Sugar (I’m running out of these fast) starts off with: ““Alex, sit up properly… something wrong? You got a backache or something?” which I find a bit rude. Sleeping in a coffin is probably quite painful you know.

I really should stop with these clichés actually, because I’m about to berate SirAlun, who told us in the last episode how much he HATES them, for calling non-drinker Zee “dryer than a cream cracker in the Sahara desert” and ends the boys arguing by saying “Time gentlemen, please”.  At least he redeems himself with the excellent putdown of “Are you from the office of fair trading?”.

Of course, Our Lord doesn’t just make witty one-liners on the show, no no. He tweets new ones as well, as you’ve seen above. They don’t always have proper spelling or grammar but I can imagine that he’s just thought of something so excellent he just can’t wait to get it out. Or he’s tweeting from an Amstrad brand iPad. The Amspad? I’ve got nothing.

AppEp2 Tweet 3

‘The ladies seem to like Tim’ he tweets with irony. Except that their team fails under his leadership, and they blame him for it. They don’t seem to like each other much either. Lord Sugar calls all the girls ‘dumb’ and they are sitting there with ‘dumb’ expressions on their faces. They do look a bit like rabbits in headlights, or like they are at an audition for a manufactured girlband (and we could really do with some more actually, Girls Aloud split, The Saturdays all getting pregnant, Stooshe delaying their album, Little Mix messing up their latest single release).

As I said, the girls lose so therefore the boys win and get to jet off to Belgium. Thinking about it, there are some really good treats for the winners. I may enter this show just to get the chance for these all-expenses paid nice things and the chance to meet Dara when I get booted off the show. I have a chance, I can come up with terrible metaphors (as evidenced, well, everywhere) and have no business sense. I’d fit right in.

In the boardroom Tim, Rebecca and Francesca all get a major tongue lashing from Lord GaGa. And this is why I continue to watch The Apprentice. As reality shows go on, they get predictable to the point you know exactly what is coming up and nothing surprises you. But of the final three contestants, I rarely know what will happen. I thought Rebecca looked likely to go, despite apparently being the best seller, better than everyone else on either team COMBINED. But she was demolished for being difficult in other areas, whereas Francesca who should’ve gone had less of a verbal throttling. In the end it was Tim who went, which is shame because he was bouncy and fun – even comparing himself to Tigger in unshown footage from You’re Fired. Dara even gave him a Tigger onesie.

The biggest shame is that of all the contestants who went, it was one whose name I didn’t have to look up whilst writing this.

Booger.