Well hello there. Take a seat. Did you have a nice Christmas and new year break? Good. Yes, we did thank you. Got some slippers, some DVDs, a nice cardigan, some CDs and a food blender. I know, very lucky, yes. Shall we crack on with writing about music now that we’re in January and there’s very little else to do? OK, here goes…
So, everyone and their mother is scrambling about looking for the ‘next big thing’ and whilst we’re not opposed to this kind of thing at all (we love a good list and anything that gets people all hot and bothered is fine by us), it does lead to something resembling a backlash before any of these poor buggers have had chance to release any music. For example, we’re already bored to tears by Clare Maguire and not just because she seems – to us at least – to be nothing more than a slightly better dressed Sandi Thom. The Vaccines and Brother can run along because, frankly, we’re not sure it is time for a guitar band revival especially not just for the sake of it.
So, who do we like? Well, below is a short list of people we think will make some nice songs in 2011 and some of them aren’t even brand new. Frankly, we’re going to let people who made music in 2010, or maybe 2009, also continue to make good music in 2011. That’s how nice we are.
Born This Way should be the album that cements her Ladyship as the greatest pop star of the past decade and with a single coming out as soon as February there’s not much time to wait. Of course, she could balls it all up by diving a bit too far down the earnest piano-ballad route – that new song she played on tour recently was a). a bit dull and b). veeeerrrryyyy llooooonnnnnggg – but, let’s be honest, it’s going to be a pop masterclass from a woman who hasn’t just learned to be a superstar, she’s re-written the manual, put her face on the cover and then repackaged it with a bonus book of extra chapters more exhilarating than the original version.
Yep, the one that was meant to take 2009 by storm is back and she’s got a debut album (Adulthood) up her sleeves so chock full of melody it should come with a warning. WARNING: THIS ALBUM CONTAINS SO MANY BRILLIANTLY MELODIC SONGS IT MAY LEAD TO IMPOTENCE OR EAR CANCER. Gone – for the most part – is the electropop of old and in it’s place is a more traditional set-up that frames the songs perfectly, letting Anita Blay’s (for she is the cock in question) voice inject the character.
Jai Paul made a song in his bedroom in half an hour. He emailed said song to his brother who went nuts for it, demanded he email it to a blog and then probably placed bets on his sibling’s forthcoming debut album winning the Mercury Music prize. That track, ‘BTSTU’, is the kind of song that takes the fundamental rules of pop music – verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, fade – and manipulates them into something simultaneously new yet completely familiar. It’s not alienating in a “ya, ya, it’s, like, really interesting and technically really proficient” kind of way, it’s just pop music with the limits removed. We were lucky enough to interview him for Dazed magazine recently and as part of that we heard three brand new songs and though our memory fails us when it comes to details, we can confirm that each one was spectacularly amazing.
We don’t know too much about Spark other than that she’s a lady, she has black hair and red lips. Oh, and she makes the kind of ’90s-referencing pop songs that make us go from “huh, this is kind of shit” to “this is literally amazing” in the space of one song. That song is ‘Revolving’ and we like it a lot and sometimes that’s all it takes.
We saw James Blake recently in a pub. Not just having a drink, but actually playing a keyboard and singing and you know what, it was a good evening. It wasn’t some epoch-defining, you-should-have-been-there-oh-my-God-I-cried-at-the-beauty-of-it-all kind of gig, but the boy sure can sing and there’s a beautiful kind of patience about how he arranges songs. Chances are he’ll win the BBC Sound of 2011 thang and everyone will hate him come March, but from what we’ve heard, his debut album (due in Feb) should see him past the haterzzz.
So, she went a bit mad, released an amazing album, Blackout (seriously, regardless of your musical persuasion, please listen to it), got slightly better health-wise and then made Circus which was only 56% good. What can we learn from this? That mental illness makes pop better? Or that Britney really has no clue what she’s singing on until she gets to the studio and that the label dropped the ball? Either way, she’s got a new album on the horizon and ‘Hold It Against Me’, the first single, will premiere this Friday. Co-produced by Dr Luke and Max Martin an insider has said that the track is “infectious”, which is a bit like saying snow is cold or grass is green or Flo Rida has the emotional capacity of a lemon sorbet.
There are loads of others, but we’re tired and need to go and have some cereal before bed, so here’s a list of names of people we also think will do good things in 2011:
Mr Little Jeans
Those Dancing Days
No doubt Damon Albarn will release at least five albums, so that will be nice