We’re moving…

Dear Reader,

Thank you for your patience. Since I lasted posted, which must be about three months ago now, things have changed immeasurably. For example, I no longer have such a strong aversion to mash potato (who knew that fish cakes contained potato?) and I’ve started trying to go to bed earlier. Perhaps slightly more relevant is the fact that I’m now writing about music for a living, so my time is mainly taken up with that. It’s difficult to find an hour to spend on something that isn’t paying you any money, even if it is (and always has been) pretty fun.

So, rather than give up on it completely, I’ve decided to start a 3mins30secs Tumblr thingy, which you can view here.

It will just be dumping ground for videos, new tracks and bits of opinion, which, frankly, is what this blog was becoming of late. The only thing that wasn’t simply a video being thrown online was the Watch with my Mother’s Mother thing and that will soon be available somewhere else (yep, Nan got herself the equivalent of a major label deal after years with this penniless independent).

Anyways, hope you enjoy the new thing.

Love you, Michael

Watch with my Mother’s Mother: Lady Gaga

If 3mins30secs were a dog or a child it we would have been reported to some kind of charity or help group by now, such has been the neglect. For nearly a MONTH we haven’t bothered to update anything. Not even a cursory video just thrown up with barely any thought, or some ‘amusing’ thing about how Britney‘s new album is gold-standard amazing. We’re sorry. We’ve been busy doing bits here and indeed bits there and we’ve neglected our roots. We’re like Taio Cruz or Jay Sean, blinded by the big lights of America and forgetting our UK ‘urban’ roots. Anyways, here’s the only good thing about this site now, my Nan talking about the Lady Gaga video for ‘Born This Way’. Yep, the video that came out about three weeks ago and has now been watched about 22 million times. Oh well. What Nan has to say is much better then nearly everything we’ve read about it, so that’s something.

 

[Laughs] I thought it was “gaga”. I mean the births and things, it was so raw. When it first started it was like a science fiction film, with the music and everything. I thought, ‘whenever is she going to start singing’ you know. I’ve never seen one of her videos before. I mean I’ve heard her but never seen a video. I thought her singing was great, she’s got a good voice but she does remind me of a young Cher. The sound of her voice. If you shut your eyes and you listen to Cher or knew Cher when she was a lot younger, she’s got that same voice.

You can hear the similarities with Madonna in the song, yes. But then a lot of them are like that aren’t they? It’s respectful though. I don’t think she was ripping her off do you? I think Madonna goes on forever doesn’t she? She keeps re-booting herself.

It was all amazing, I was just wondering what was coming next. She was obviously representing good and then evil and the birth of evil. That bit was really graphic. Where she sort of, with the, erm, the ‘bad one’ she sort of tears apart, I was a bit, well, you know. There wasn’t a lot left to the imagination. But I did think it was a very “gaga” video and I did quite like the song. I haven’t got anything against that at all.

It becomes a quite straight forward dance video as it goes on though. It’s not as crazy. It became a big boring. There wasn’t really much content after a while. I suppose they have to be able to play it on TV. I loved that skeleton man. Are they real tattoos? Are they really? Good Lord. I thought that bit made the video more interesting. The bit with just the heads was fun too and that costume she had on in that bit was a bit odd wasn’t it? Just covering her bits.

I wouldn’t find her actually sexy. She’s lacking curves and things, she’s got a boy’s frame, quite athletic. She’s got a very boyish figure. But then some people might find that sexy, I don’t know. I don’t think the idea of it was to make her seem sexy really.

It went on a bit. I think you could take some of that out and not change anything. She’s a bit like that though, it’s all OTT. She does a lot to shock or at least try to. It means it’s more interesting. It’s not ever boring.

The writhing about with the women bit was a bit obvious. Not quite sure why that bit was in there. The spikey face bit was weird too. I hope it doesn’t catch on. But generally she’s a good thing for pop, why not? She’s weird but in a lovely way, not an annoying way.

Grandad didn’t watch it. I think he thought it was a bit ‘way out’.

Song: 8

Video: 8 (It was so amazing. You just didn’t know what was coming next)

Watch with my Mother’s Mother: Britney Spears

It’s Britney vs. Nan, bitch. Not that my Nan (or Britney for that matter) is a bitch, it’s more a play on the popular catchphrase instigated by Britney‘s ‘Gimme More’ single. Anyways, it’s been a while since Nan and I spoke so I knew it had to be a big ‘un and you don’t get much bigger than a video that’s been trailed for weeks by an endless amount of teaser clips, totalling something in the region of about 3,210. The final version is a bit of a mess, with the first half like one long advert and the second half a blitzkreig of neon paint and girl-on-girl violence. Nan was, quite frankly, totally bloomin’ bemused by it all. Read on people.

I thought she looked good in the video, because she has had a lot of problems hasn’t she? I was quite surprised at how well she looked, which is nice. I watched it four times because the first time I was totally spaced out [she wasn’t actually spaced out, like on drugs. We think. We hope]. I just wasn’t getting it. I didn’t feel that the tune was very strong, you know, the song, but I thought the video was brilliant. I wasn’t sure where the kick boxing bit comes from, but, you know the whole thing was a very brilliant video. The connection to the song I found difficult to grasp though. There’s the meteor bit at the beginning and the studio and the wedding dress. I thought that was weird.

I think the song is about fancying someone. There was another song that used that “hold it against me” phrase wasn’t there? Do you know the one I mean? When it started I thought, she’s taking it from that song. It was a man singing it originally and it’s quite a seedy phrase. What’s she up to? I felt that the actual song was very weak, the song just didn’t have any depth in it at all, it was very light. The chorus was very disappointing.

I quite liked the space thing in the video, but it was separate wasn’t it? You’ve got the fight, the kick boxing, the wedding, it was like several different things all in together, but nothing to do with the song. Obviously there was somewhere but I was missing it. I think they were showing all the videos of her from years ago to try and remind people who she was [miaow Nan]. I couldn’t work out the business with the wedding dress because I know she’s been married before but it was a nothing wedding, wasn’t it? So why bring it up now? She was more school girl when she first came out and perhaps they were getting at how she’s changed? The fight against herself was probably about all the problems she had and she’s fighting them off.

The product placement bits were very distracting. I didn’t think it worked in the video at all. I got lost in the beginning to be honest and I enjoyed the video more as it went on. I started to understand it all a bit more. The advertising jarred rather but I can see why she’s done it if you get lots of money.

She certainly doesn’t dance very well anymore. I feel she’s lost something. Is it because of everything that’s happened and she’s just not the same person anymore? She looks a bit bored now and there’s no real spark. Do you think there’s as much reason for her to be doing it anymore?

I thought the whole thing was interesting but just not connected. I like the way they did a lot of it mind you. There just didn’t seem to be a connection to the song or to her really. I think it was very well put together and there was a lot of good stuff in it, where you thought “wow” and it gets really exciting in the second half. Unfortunately, it was as if she was in it but she wasn’t partaking in the video really, just things happening around her.

Grandad didn’t watch it. I thought it might appeal, but no. He liked Jessie J though.

Song = 5

Video = 7 I thought bits of it were brilliant

Oh blimey

Apologies. We’ve been incredibly slack of late and for that there is no real excuse. Plus, so much seems to have happened and not once did we bother writing some words about it. Forgive us? No? Don’t blame you really.

To try and make things up to you, here are some songs we’ve been enjoying of late. Perhaps you’ll enjoy them too? More than likely you would have heard them already and probably read so many things about them that you’re bored stiff by the mere mention of their names. This is what happens when you don’t update a blog for over ten days😦

Radiohead – ‘Codex’

We like King Of Limbs. We don’t love it. It’s still at a bit at a distance for now. In the same way that Amnesiac was ‘good’, this is something to admire from afar and though there are moments of brilliance, as a whole, it seems a little too clever clever. We shall see.

Oh Land – ‘Sun Of A Gun’

Oh Land is a Danish former ballerina who now lives in New York and has recently signed to RCA. We went to a showcase thing she did (for ‘showcase’ read (s)wanky ‘party’ in some giant members club in London) and she was utterly captivating. She even had balloons as backing singers!

Marques Toliver – ‘White Sails’

Marques Toliver was born in Florida, moved to Brooklyn got spotted by one of TV On The Radio, worked with Holly Miranda and then moved to London where he’s been signed by Bella Union. Phew. His forthcoming EP is really very good and to these ears he sounds a lot like Maxwell with a violin, which is no bad thing.

Adele – ‘Rumour Has It’

‘Rolling In The Deep’ and ‘Someone Like You’ are currently both in the UK top 5 as are Adele’s two albums, 19 and 21. Everyone seems to have fallen for her hard and this Ryan Tedder production is hopefully going to be the third single. The best bit is clearly when she squeals “bless your soul”.

Watch with my Mother’s Mother: Jessie J


It’s been a little while since Nan and I spoke, mainly because I’m a feckless moron and haven’t sent her any videos of late. She was of course gracious about the whole debacle and said she completely understood. Frankly, she should have shouted in my ear for being lazy and depriving her of all the lovely pop music. This week it was the turn of Jessie J to come under some mild scrutiny. For the uninitiated, Jessie J is a lady who sings songs in the manner of modern pop and quite a few people have said nice things and quite a few people have said horrible things. In general, Nan felt she was “nice” and “lovely”, and Nan is usually right. Let’s see how convincing she is…

I’d never heard of her before. I didn’t know her. I like her, it’s a very happy sort of catchy tune I thought. I didn’t know she was British. I assumed she was American, definitely [I explain about the Sound of 2011 poll and the Brit award thingy]. Oh yes, that’s nice. She seems very American but then a lot of people sing like Americans don’t they, have you noticed? The video looks a bit American too. I noticed that the money on the money tree was dollars, so that’s why I thought she was American. I think the fact that she sounds American works for her.

I thought the song was very light, happy sort of song. I quite like that. The message of the song is just that happiness is more than money really. I thought the video was clever with the money tree.  A very naïve sort of video in a way. The song is very idealistic too. It’s nice, quite happy and very summery. That’s why it seems so cheerful in this weather [laughs].

I liked the money tree a lot really and the big teddy bear. I liked the rapper man [B.o.B]. That all went into it well. I loved the dollhouse with her in too and the puppets. Her outfits are rather good aren’t they? I like it. She’s got beautiful eyes. She’s very striking looking. A bit Irish looking actually, with the blue eyes and dark hair.

The video does jump all over the place but I think it worked well because it’s such a light, happy song. It suits the song and went with it very well I thought. You don’t need the depth of a story with that song really, it’s just sort of light and summery. She does have a point in the song of course and we’d all like to be like that, except that you do need money.

The whole thing was almost like a sort of toy land thing you know, with the clown and the puppet, all in that sort of…thing. Surreal really. It was very young. The colours in it are very good and I loved her outfits. You could see an awful lot of Lady Gaga in it. People can take more risks now. After that meat dress they can wear anything! I just think it was lovely and outrageous, you know, if you’ve got the nerve to do it. I bet those awards shows are terribly boring. Can you imagine what effect it had there. If you’ve got the nerve, I’m all for it. You’ve got to be in people’s faces if you’re a pop star haven’t you? You’ve got to do something different.

I think she can make it as a singer, depending on what she sings really. I’ve only heard this one song.

Song: 7

Video: 7 I liked them both exactly the same. Very nice.

Electropop’s new saviour

It’s been too long. We’re sorry. To make amends we’ve got a real treat for both your eyes and your ears. In our other job writing about new music for The Guardian we get sent lots of emails about bands and songs and bands and songs and sometimes you just think, “yes, this is all very well but where’s the man with the haircut I had when I was fourteen sat in a windowless room surrounded by a bank of keyboards playing a response song with the earnest glee of someone whose morning regime consists of deciding which shade of black his roll neck sweater should be?” HERE HE IS:

This is ‘Synthpop’s Alive (Remix)’ by Maison Vague and it’s basically amazing.

The City gets a retwizzle

We like Patrick Wolf.

We like Richard X.

Here’s a Richard X remix of a Patrick Wolf song.

Sometimes, it’s that easy.

Born To Do It

In 2011, it will not be enough for big, proper pop stars to simply announce a single release date and then, you know, release the song. No, we will need twitpics from the video shoot, teasers about lyrics, talk of the second single before the first has even finished it’s chart lifespan. Perfumes will need to be created, video cast-lists will need to be leaked and the hype machine will need to strain so loudly under the social network meltdown that the music is barely audible.

Lady Gaga has a new single coming out in February and it’s called ‘Born This Way’. She will debut the single at the Grammys and it will then be available to download instantly. Today she released the lyrics to the single, an event which lead to #bornthisway trending worldwide. Ridiculous? Yes. A good thing? Yes. It’s all about bringing pop music back to the level of an event, to make it something to be passionate about and not just Pixie Lott meekly announcing some tie-in with a deodorant company.

Here are the lyrics (we’re assuming they sound a little less trite with a stadium-sized synth riff fired up underneath):

INTRO:
It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
’cause you were Born This Way, Baby

VERSE:
MY MAMA TOLD ME WHEN I WAS YOUNG
WE ARE ALL BORN SUPERSTARS

SHE ROLLED MY HAIR AND PUT MY LIPSTICK ON
IN THE GLASS OF HER BOUDOIR

“THERE’S NOTHIN WRONG WITH LOVIN WHO YOU ARE”
SHE SAID, “‘CAUSE HE MADE YOU PERFECT, BABE”

“SO HOLD YOUR HEAD UP GIRL AND YOU’LL GO FAR,
LISTEN TO ME WHEN I SAY”

CHORUS:
I’M BEAUTIFUL IN MY WAY
‘CAUSE GOD MAKES NO MISTAKES
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

DON’T HIDE YOURSELF IN REGRET
JUST LOVE YOURSELF AND YOU’RE SET
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

POST-CHORUS:
OOO THERE AIN’T NO OTHER WAY
BABY I WAS BORN THIS WAY
BABY I WAS BORN THIS WAY
OOO THERE AIN’T NO OTHER WAY
BABY I WAS BORN-
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN
DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN
DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN
DON’T BE!

VERSE:
GIVE YOURSELF PRUDENCE
AND LOVE YOUR FRIENDS
SUBWAY KID, REJOICE YOUR TRUTH

IN THE RELIGION OF THE INSECURE
I MUST BE MYSELF, RESPECT MY YOUTH

A DIFFERENT LOVER IS NOT A SIN
BELIEVE CAPITAL H-I-M (HEY HEY HEY)
I LOVE MY LIFE I LOVE THIS RECORD AND
MI AMORE VOLE FE YAH (LOVE NEEDS FAITH)

REPEAT CHORUS + POST-CHORUS

BRIDGE:

DON’T BE A DRAG, JUST BE A QUEEN
WHETHER YOU’RE BROKE OR EVERGREEN
YOU’RE BLACK, WHITE, BEIGE, CHOLA DESCENT
YOU’RE LEBANESE, YOU’RE ORIENT
WHETHER LIFE’S DISABILITIES
LEFT YOU OUTCAST, BULLIED, OR TEASED
REJOICE AND LOVE YOURSELF TODAY
‘CAUSE BABY YOU WERE BORN THIS WAY

NO MATTER GAY, STRAIGHT, OR BI,
LESBIAN, TRANSGENDERED LIFE
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN TO SURVIVE
NO MATTER BLACK, WHITE OR BEIGE
CHOLA OR ORIENT MADE
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN TO BE BRAVE

REPEAT CHORUS

OUTRO/REFRAIN:

I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!

I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!

Finally, Robyn releases some new music

You remember Robyn, right? She’s been around a bit recently. Released the odd album or three in 2010. We quite like her. Well, yesterday a new video emerged with her in it and with some music playing in the background. The song, ‘Bad Gal’, isn’t new, in fact we’re pretty sure you can buy it on iTunes as an extra track on one of the Body Talk albums (we can’t be arsed to check as it’s late, but feel free to do so if you wish).

‘Bad Gal’ is billed as Savage Skulls & Douster feat. Robyn, but frankly that seems a bit unfair as she’s the one doing the singing and all of the dancing in the video. Still, ego be damned, she’s third on the bill but effortlessly stealing the limelight as ever.

New Music Monday

Soooo, last week we predicted big things for Bruno Mars and Adele and guess what? We were totally spot on! Imagine that. Sometimes, dear readers, taking risks pays off. Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ entered at number 2, one place behind Mars’ ‘Grenade’, whilst Bruno was also number 1 on the album charts with the appallingly titled Doo-Wops & Hooligans (apparently ‘doo-wops’ is a term for ladies). We’re not going to lie, we had a little glass of wine to celebrate that success, but frankly, it’s January, so we drink wine whenever we want to really. Anyways, here’s what we think is good/above average this week…

BUY THIS

21 by Adele

Yep, her again. We had pretty high expectations for this after hearing ‘Rolling In The Deep’ and the devastating live version of ‘Someone Like You’ and though there are moments where it feels like the songs are about to collapse under the weight of the over-emoting (‘Set Fire To The Rain’, for example), it’s a very good album. Not only does Paul Epworth show up to help out a bit, we also get the excellent Ryan Tedder collaboration, ‘Rumour Has It’, some Rick Rubin productions, a cover of The Cure‘s ‘Lovesong’ (a re-working originally meant for Barbra Streisand apparently) and lots and lots of heartbreak songs. Throughout, it’s Adele’s supple, soulful voice that keeps your attention. (As a slight footnote, the studio version of ‘Someone Like You’ is massively disappointing).

FORGET WHOSE NAME IS ON IT AND CHERRY-PICK THE BEST BITS

Last Train To Paris by Diddy-Dirty Money

To many, P Diddy is just a bloke that rivals Elton John in his ability to suck as much cash and notoriety out of a dead friend. It can be hard to remember that back in the day he was a respected producer and record company boss responsible for kickstarting Mary J. Blige‘s career amongst other achievements. Well, he’s a clever fellow and rather than release another album relying on his rapping, er, ‘skills’, he’s formed a group consisting of himself and two singers, Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper. It means that he’s barely on the album, popping up occasionally to offer the odd “uh” or “yeah”, but mainly we’re treated to some pretty impressive production from the likes of Swizz Beatz, Rodney Jerkins, Danja and Alex Da Kid, plus guests Justin Timberlake, Usher, Lil Wayne, Grace Jones and T.I. As long as you don’t actually listen to the lyrics, it’s a fun hour in the weird world of a rampant egomaniac.

DOWNLOAD THIS

‘My House’ by Hercules & Love Affair

Frankly, we picked this because of the video and it’s a nice enough ditty so that’s a bonus.