Before I skip the country, I should really review a bunch of albums I’ve had sitting on my iPod for ages – I suppose none of them particularly excited me, but none of them are bad, and Eurovision got in the way (and it will again). But having listening to them on the big journeys this weekend, I think it’s time.
So, Union J. Where do they fit in these days? I suppose they’d been pushed in the hope that One Direction-sized success might appear, coming from similar roots. The band auditioned as three-piece “Triple J” (Josh, JJ & Jaymi), while fourth member George auditioned as a solo singer. Both acts got through the auditions but failed at Judges’ Houses. After another group were removed from the contest, they were invited to continue as a four-piece, and ultimately came 4th in the series.
I have a soft spot for them, perhaps in the same way as I did for The Wanted; there is the excitement of what they might bring out in the future, after this initial ‘safe’ boyband album prepares the ground. They seem like thoroughly likeable guys, and not yet the overstyled messes of One Direction. Sales-wise it’s not quite working out yet but they’ve got a second album on the way, hopefully benefitting from The Wanted’s departure. But what about this album? A slim 35 minutes and 10 tracks makes it hard to get bored, and I enjoyed it more than I expected after my first listen. Continue reading
This is new? I assumed I was miles behind with the whole Foxes thing. She hasn’t even got an album out yet! I say “She”, Foxes isn’t a band as you might imagine, it’s just the one girl. Not sure I approve of the name but whatever. She’s got this new single out next week
She’s had one single out already, “Youth” back in September. Not sure I like that though, or not as much as this. Taking time out from making sentences about them sounding gramatically incorrect, Foxes sounds like a sort of mid-point between various worthy female artists of the moment: Florence, Adele, a bit of Paloma maybe, dare I say Duffy, without the conscious effort to sound like something from the past. Continue reading
Shakira! You remember Shakira, right? I suppose it’s been a while. When was “She Wolf”? 2009 apparently, fancy that. I know she’s produced plenty of Spanish albums, but since her UK debut back in 2002, her upcoming self-titled album is only her fourth English-language release. Could that impact on her hopes for a big comeback? Well, I wouldn’t ask Nelly Furtado…
So let’s rope in some star power. Arguably Rihanna is the biggest star of the last few years (I said arguably, give me a break), so it makes sense to hitch a wagon if you’re after big exposure. I didn’t mean exposure literally, but there’s plenty of that going on here too.
Shakira’s no stranger to the superstar duet of course, featuring with Beyonce on “Beautiful Liar” back in 2007. I think that was for Beyonce’s “B’Day” re-release but it’s clear who’s running the show on this new single. Continue reading
Oh Måns, I’ve missed you. It’s been 5 years since his last main studio album “MZW“, and since then it’s been a little quiet… there’s been a Christmas album, hosting Melodifestivalen 2010, and a few random appearances on singles, but otherwise Måns has been pursuing other things. At least his Instagram looks like he’s been sunning it up with friends in all manner of glamorous locations.
But he’s back with a new album “The Barcelona Sessions”, out today in fact. I’ve got some catching up to do, he’s had two singles out already to support it – “Broken Parts” and “Beautiful Life” – and a third is now here to launch the album.
Oh, and a few nights ago he hosted Swedish gay magazine QX’s annual Gaygalan, in a variety of outfits including a ship’s captain, a scantily clad American footballer, and… totally naked for a Miley “Wrecking Ball” skit. I wondered why “Måns Zelmerlöw Naken” was my top search term today… I’ve updated the “Men of Malmö” post, no point disappointing anyone. But here he is anyway in his full glory. Oh Måns… Continue reading
It’s been a long road for Sophie. I remember her back in the late 90s with her indie band ‘theaudience’ who had a handful of mid-table hits before disbanding. Then came Spiller and “Groovejet” and suddenly she ended up with one of the year’s biggest hits, one that seems to be impossible to mention without the context of preventing Victoria Beckham getting a No.1.
This momentum was enough to give her a hit album and a string of top 10 singles. Since then it has been a series of diminishing returns that saw Sophie experiment with different sounds. Cool pop, commercial dance, and now a more acoustic style.
So far the album looks to be doing well (though it’s all relative now, with the album market in the toilet). Buoyed by her success reaching the final of last month’s Strictly Come Dancing, she hasn’t squandered the new attention from the Radio 2 market, and seems to be doing well. Whether a new chapter has begun for her is too soon to tell though. Continue reading