Category Archives: Britney

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

Do hold it against her

Or, click here for a vocally less annoying version

It’s been quite a turnaround for Britney Spears in recent years. In 2007 her excellent fifth album Blackout failed to reach the number 1 spot in America, selling a third of what her previous albums had sold. Given that the promotion for said album involved staggering and spluttering through an abysmal MTV Music Awards performance and was followed by her admittance to a psychiatric hospital, it’s hardly surprising sales had tailed off. Yet it included some of her best singles – Gimme More (“it’s Britney bitch”), Piece of Me, Break The Ice – proof that if her litany of producers could come up with some pretty audacious beats then she still had time to add some vocals. Since then she’s had two US number 1 singles (Womanizer, 3) and a huge album and world tour.

The result of which means that her new single Hold It Against Me – the first from her forthcoming seventh album, due in March – has become something of an event. Demo versions have been leaked, Twitter posts from Britney herself have stoked excitement and her label have said there’s just one copy in the UK (although, it’s leaked, so someone may not have a job in the morning).

So, what’s it like? Over relentlessly heavy beats and the kind of synth whooshes that are so popular these days, Britney tries her hand at flirting (“If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?”), coming out with the kind of lines usually reserved for ITV’s Take Me Out (“You feel like paradise and I need a vacation tonight”). It all trundles along nicely, with the sweet vocal melody juxtaposing nicely with the industrial beats (courtesy of pop uberlords Dr Luke and Max Martin), before the whole thing has a bit of a meltdown at the two minute mark, first throwing in some grimey, dubstep-esque beats (there were rumours Rusko was helping with the album) and then a smattering of rave chords before the chorus roars up again. Expect Madonna to release a dubstep-influenced album before the year is out.

This is an extended version of the blog that appeared on The Guardian’s music site

Singers singing songs in 2011

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.

LADY GAGA

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.

COCKNBULLKID

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

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.

SPARK

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.

JAMES BLAKE

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.

BRITNEY SPEARS

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

Alex Winston

MNDR

Chad Valley

Panda Bear

Adele

The Strokes

Outkast/Andre 3000

Bjork

Those Dancing Days

Theophilus London

No doubt Damon Albarn will release at least five albums, so that will be nice

First Listen: Body Talk pt 3 by Robyn

What a year it has been for Robyn. Perhaps not in a commercial sense – her last single missed the top 40 and neither parts 1 or 2 of this three part series cracked the UK Top 30 – but creatively Robyn has 2010 pretty much sewn up. On November 29th she’ll release Body Talk, a fifteen track album that features five songs each from the first two parts and five brand new tracks, including new single, ‘Indestructible’. It looks like she’ll also release those new tracks on a separate EP (Body Talk pt 3, completist fans) and we’ve heard ’em so we’re going to write a thing on them. Huzzah.

Now, we’ve done the whole bird rating system before, so we’re rating them according to body parts (not the rude ones, this is a family show).

5 = Ears

4 = Eyes

3 = Hands

2 = Elbows

1 = Nipples

Let’s do this:

1). ‘Indestructible’ – You’ve probably heard the radio edit of this electronic version of the previously available acoustic version, but here we get the, er, album version. The intro is a bit longer and the string part is extended, but really it’s still the same amazing song just with a few added bits of amazing. Hell, you could add a FloRida verse and it would still be amazing.

Verdict = Eyes

2). ‘Time Machine’ – Starts a bit like Britney‘s ‘Piece of Me’ (on which Robyn sang backing vocals), before a slightly disconcerting “Hey” arrives, which is then repeated throughout the opening verse. The song is about Robyn being a bit of a bitch to her boyf and now she really regrets it. The chorus (which is pretty fucking incredible by the way) goes, “All I need is a time machine / A one way track / Cause I’m taking it back, taking it back”. The last bit is lifted by a melody shift and it’s one of those ones that makes your stomach flip a bit. Needless to say, this is the Max Martin production and it’s so brilliantly catchy it’s almost pastiche, but Robyn manages to keep it together. There’s also a brilliant electro meltdown midway through.

Verdict = Ears

3). ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ – It’s easier to see why the excellent ‘Cry When You Get Older’ was left off the final version when you hear this similarly paced electro tear-jerker. The beats are still huge and there are some lovely synths on it, but the lyrics are the real highlight. Basically, Robyn is giving a man some advice; “Call your girlfriend / It’s time you had the talk / Give your reasons / Say it’s not her fault / But you just met somebody new”. Guess what? It’s only bloody Robyn herself that this guy’s shacked up with. “Don’t you tell her how I give you something that you never even knew you missed”  = ouch. It’s a song about Robyn being the other woman but that she’s adamant this new guy doesn’t treat his current girlfriend badly. ONLY Robyn could make this song work and frankly it’s a bloody triumph.

Verdict = Ears

4). ‘Get Myself Together’ – As with part 2, these songs aren’t as slap-me-round-the-face amazing on first listen as much of part 1 was, but there’s still so much to love. ‘Get Myself Together’ is another tear-jerker with Robyn ruminating on a relationship disaster over pounding beats and shooting synth sounds. The chorus is HUGE and there are some lovely lyrical touches; “I saw my brother last night, he said I know you too well / You can’t pretend that nothing’s wrong”. It’s pretty frantic until the whole thing drops out for the final verse and there’s just a jackhammer beat and a sudden whoosh that heralds one last run through of that chorus.

Verdict = Eyes

5). ‘Stars 4-Ever’ – The only one that didn’t immediately jump out. It starts like a mid-nineties dance number, all treated vocals and “you and me on the hood of my car”. It’s a bit more mid-paced than the other tracks, at least on the verses and the chorus doesn’t hit quite as hard as the others. But, the more you listen the more it creeps under your skin and it’s the perfect way to close not only the EP but the whole fifteen track album. An album that any other pop star worth their salt would cut their arm off to have under their belt.

Verdict = Eyes

Overall verdict = Part 3 – Ears. Body Talk – Ears. 5/5, basically.

Kelly Rowland’s new video’s a bit shit, huh?

Kelly Rowland, aka the one that’s not Beyoncé or, er, the third one from Destiny’s Child, has a new single out. As is de rigour these days, she’s enlisted the production skillz of David Guetta, who also helmed Kelis‘ ‘Acapella’ and will no doubt produce nearly every pop/R&B album this side of 2015. On a scale of Lady Gaga to N-Dubz, ‘Commander’ is a bit Mis-Teeq, i.e. it’s nearly there, but it’s a bit cheap sounding.

Perhaps Kelly’s ‘people’ thought the same thing as they’ve basically helped create one of the shabbiest looking music videos. For one, Rowland’s wearing what looks like a hacked version of that red PVC thing Britney wore a few years back, but with some Elizabeth Duke jewellery stapled on; there’s a guy at the beginning with talc in his hair (talc!?); the catwalk/crowd scenes are woeful and then it just cuts to a completely different video with Guetta gurning and twirling about like the hip old dance producer he is. It most definitely is NOT a video Beyoncé would make and we know she’s probably trying to distance herself from comparisons, but making a budget video that detracts from the song is not the way to do it.

"U want me to be somebody who I’m really not"

This is the official first single from M.I.A‘s third album that we mentioned yesterday when we were going on about how she’ll probably never sell any records. Unfortunately for us, it’s a massive, full-on pop single, with a brilliantly chopped beat, three or four hooks and a chorus that is sung in a slightly emotionally detached fashion, a la Britney.

This is ‘XXXO’:

GOING TO BE HUGE.

XXXtina’s sex tape

We find it a bit weird that no one has picked up on the fact that a Christina Aguilera sex tape has emerged. Featuring the diminutive wall-flower locked in a loving embrace with another woman and all sorts of other terribly risque things such as bondage and dancing in the rain, it’s a wonder it hasn’t been banned.

Here it is anyway. Be warned, it comes with a pretty awful soundtrack:


Somewhere Britney is pissing herself laughing.

Riddle me this

We love a good puzzle and we enjoy them more if they feature a current favourite and new(ish) band that sound promising.

Basically, this video appeared from nowhere for a new act called ceo:

ceo – prologue from Modular People on Vimeo.

At the same time, Musick favourites jj, posted a new song called ‘ceo Birthday’ and that can be heard (and downloaded) here

Now we hear that Secretly Canadian, jj’s label, have announced that ceo is actually Eric Berglund from Tough Alliance and that ceo have an album coming out in June called White Magic. It’s all so wonderfully intertextual. We can’t wait for Christina to secretly introduce the next Britney album with the subtle, ‘She’s Not As Talented As Me (Or As Dirrty)’.

Colonel Gad-Uffie

A few days ago, in a piece about Sky Ferreira we said the following about Ke$ha (still with us?):

“[She’s] everyone’s fourth favourite Britney

We owe Uffie an apology because clearly Ke$ha is a very low-rent version of the Paris-based potty mouth so, to paraphrase Marina Hyde, it’s probably best if you change your records accordingly.

 That out the way, here’s Uffie’s brand new Mirwais-produced single, taken from the oft-delayed debut, Sex Dreams & Denim Jeans. It’s called, somewhat bizarrely, ‘ADD SUV’ and features Pharrell.

  Uffie – ADD SUV feat. Pharell [Prod. by Mirwais] by TPBSecretLeaks

It’s nearly very good, but it’s hampered slightly by the feeling that they found the box marked ‘vocal effects’ and lost the one marked ‘tune’.