Me Top 5 Singles Of 2013 So Far

We’re about halfway through the year, the sun is absolutely shining and here in Wales this rarity is something we should treasure and make the most of. We are country so often shrouded in darkness and what feels like eternal rain that we should take what chances we get to bask in the golden rays of happiness.

So here I am inside writing up a pointless list of 5 songs I really like.

The rules: its Singles of 2013 list so naturally, they’ve got to have been released individually since January 1st 2013. Its getting more difficult to tell what a ‘real’ pop single is because of buzz tracks, artists bopping a song on iTunes for the lulz, music videos but no individual song release, CD or not, mixed up release dates etc etc. I’ve decide to discount ‘Racer‘ by Giorgio Moroder since its more a song from a game/Google Chrome app freebie and I’ve talked about its instant sweet-spot hitting at length. A very close sixth goes to Little Mix and ‘How Ya Doin’?‘, even though it was on their 2012 album, the single was re-swizzled enough with extra chorus bits and a Missy freakin’ Elliott guest spot – but it wasn’t as good as the other five.

Let’s crack on eh?

FIVE

Gentleman

I’ve already waxed lyrical about this one too so I won’t go on about how it reminds me of the Almighty Aloud, brings some much-needed tongue in cheek to band in need of personality, isn’t caked in Auto-Tune or featuring Sean Paul, was the best performance of their Radio 1’s Big Weekend slot which suffered from awkward dance moves, mic issues and not great singing , follows the rule of amazing second single from an album (not counting ‘30 Days’) and has an insanely catchy rap middle eight.

To be honest, it would’ve cracked the top 5 just for the line “Cause most guys just hit it and quit it/and then they wonder why most girls just spit it”

FOUR:

Get Lucky

The one everyone knows about. After four weeks at number one its finally been dethroned. Four weeks at number one and its still not got a proper full music video yet. More importantly, after four weeks at number one it still sounds pretty fresh and not getting on my nerves yet. I’ve given the album a bit of (but not nearly enough time) and its a definite grower, but worth picking up for ‘Giorgio By Moroder’: the best musical monologue about music since… well last year’s ‘Over The Border’ by Saint Etienne.

THREE:

Axis

A divisive one amongst their fanbase (isn’t everything they do nowadays though? :/). For a band whose first hit opens with the lines “Sometimes your better off dead/There’s a gun in your hand and its pointing at your head” and whose lyrics are often so ambiguous people still debate the meaning years after I can see why some people are disappointed. The only lyrics to ‘Axis’ are things like”turn it up”, and “feel the power”. And that’s absolutely fine. Some days (most days) I want to listen to PSB songs that could be about love or a terrorist suicide bomber depending on how you look it at, but some days (also most days) I want to listen to a straightforward, insanely catchy club banger. David Guettawill.i.am and co. can are clogging up the charts, radios and dancefloors but in some parallel world where everything is at it should be; me and my Uni friends would be necking Jagerbombs in a club screaming “ELECTRIC EN.ER.GY., ELECTRIC EN.ER.GY.” at the top of our lungs, rather than me pretending to tolerate “Feel This Moment”. 

TWO:

Live a Little

Three exact minutes of pure joy.

That’s all I really need to say about this one but I like to ramble on. This song is written for some sort of SONY Headphones advert campaign thing – I’m not really sure. All I know is it sounds great with my SONY Headphones (not the ones involved in this campaign, a pair I picked up a year ago in Tesco for a tenner) so I guess this proves great music is great music no matter where it comes from? It is a fact of life great music comes from Florrie and Xenomania, who will surely make up for the whole Amelia Lily disappointment when she releases her major-label debut album.

Clearly Florrie is some sort of heaven-sent angel, with her beautiful voice and gorgeous looks, who has blessed us with three EPs of incredible music completely FREEEEE!!! She also gave us Shot You Down, which is just ‘OK’,  but we can forgive her for that one. She is performing live music for us mere mortals in London on the 25th of June – the EXACT DAY I’M OFF TO TURKEY! Whilst I cannot wait to Live (a Little) up in the sun, I’ll only be ticking skinny dipping off my Bucket List this June, and not ‘Raving like a lunatic to Call of the Wild in front of its (most likely slightly disturbed) performer’.

ONE:

Take A Look

Club thumpers with female vocalists featuring on them usually make me sigh. “A sample of a good song with an annoying Eurodance beat, terrible lyrics about putting your hands up, probably a guest rapper who’s bit is so phoned-in its literally recorded off the answering machine and vocals more processed than cheap hot dogs” I whine to anyone who wants to (or realistic, doesn’t) listen. But then, like a superhero, comes Norwegian Popstar Annie (as I have to call her, because people think I’m on about the musical ¬¬) to rescue me. Teaming up with fellow Norway folk Ralph Myerz, they have created something so wonderful that I think Scandinavians should be put in charge of Earth.  The production is an icy disco throb for the verses, coupled with Annie’s mysterious, sexy voice floating on top before it all lifts off for a euphoric chorus. She cheekily teases “take off your clothes, now come and have a swim with me” and later even thrown in a reference to a song she co-wrote ‘Left My Heart In Tokyo’ performed by the gone-but-never-forgotten Mini Viva. Excellent stuff.

There’s nothing different or quirky about the structure, genre or anything really. It’s a straightforward dance-pop song. The quirkiness is left to Annie’s solo comeback single ‘Tubestops & Lonely Hearts’ which is pretty darn good, but I can’t help but think of the low-budget awkward video whenever I hear it. Sadly you cannot take a look (pun!) at the music video for this song, because its not out yet. Annie promised on Facebook it would be out in June but I cannot wait until then to do this countdown. I’m hoping its epic, obviously but for me, ‘Take a Look at the World’ is so good the video could be someone chopping their toenails and it wouldn’t detract.

Though in all seriousness Annie, please don’t ever make that into a video.

Well, that’s my top 5 of the year so far. If you would like to enquire as to who these artists are and which other songs of their you should check out, or why ‘Scream & Shout’ wasn’t featured then please leave me a comment or get in touch.

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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.