Further proof that Jessica Sutta is a million times more interesting outside the Pussycat Dolls. Seriously, she has charisma by the bucketload. I’m Gonna Get You is gloriously trashy and super budget, there’s quite literally nothing polished, glossy or sophisticated about this. Listening/watching kind of makes you feel like you’ve fallen through a black hole back into 1992, but holy fuck, it’s infectious. And at least 80% of the songs listen-ability stems from whatever it is Jessica is selling here – she’s clearly having the time of her life, styling it out in the campest, most vampish way possible, and I’m totally, totally buying into it. As a ready-for-the-weekend party starter, it’s pretty good, no?
Lenka, she of the super-sweet-insanely-catchy-songs-you’ve-heard-on-adverts, returns! As someone who’s been into her for a while, I’ve really enjoyed hearing the evolution of Lenka’s sound throughout the years, from the endearing-but-twee (Lenka) to the jaunty-and-catchy (Two era) to the more relaxed, retro inspired sounds of the Shadows era – the way each campaign has such a defined sound, whilst still sounding unmistakably ‘Lenka’ is incredible.
Blue Skies, from Lenka’s upcoming album The Bright Side manages to merge, pretty seamlessly, all the different sides to Lenka we’ve seen over the past three albums. It’s her most ‘adult’ release to date, for sure. But the thing that truly sets Blue Skies apart is the sense of darkness and foreboding, the drama and disillusionment of the first of the first minute or so is completely unlike anything we’ve heard from Lenka before. Sure, there’s hopefulness and optimism in the mix too, but the edge of something less sweet is totally at odds with Lenka’s sugary tones, an interesting and complex development, which I can’t wait to hear more of on The Bright Side.
I’m not normally into anything too house or EDM-flavoured, but add Helena Paparizou to anything and you have my attention. Genuinely, throw her against some … turbo-folk? Melodic Death Metal? It doesn’t matter, I’m in,
As you imagine, I was pretty wired to hear her feature on the new HouseTwins track. It’s interesting – to make a very lazy comparison, this feels When Love Takes Over-adjacent. Helena is doing her very best Kelly Rowland impression with big, soaring vocals and genuine emotion – it’s big without ever becoming the (glorious) shoutfest Helena songs often descend into, it’s highly danceable. But most importantly, I guess, it’s so youthful and energetic. I felt like at times on One Life, Helena crossed into MOR adult-contemporary territory (looking at you, As Long As You Are Mine), on Love Till Its Over, it feels like we have the bright ingenue of old back. There’s nothing revolutionary about Love Till Its Over, but there’s more than enough to keep me happy.
Susanne Sundfør’s new album, Ten Love Songs, was released today and it’s incredible. Susanne’s music is glacial and complex, blurring the boundaries between singer-songwriter, electronica and pop, each song intricately yet effortlessly constructed. Fade Away plays around with 80s synthpop in a completely masterful way – it’s brilliant, unexpected and profound – synths meet organs, there’s a Queen inspired instrumental section that icily cuts through Susanne’s disaffected vocals.It’s remarkable. And there’s so much more to behold on Ten Love Songs, too – I am well and truly obsessed.
*The MAPS remix is totally fucking brilliant also.
So, I was going to hold off on discussing any of the Melodifestivalen songs until we’d heard all of them, but I cannot hold my love for this song off any further. I’ve had Hello Hi in my head ALL. WEEK. Sure, there are basically no lyrics past ‘I am Molly, I am Holly, I am Polly, Hello Hi’, but the song is just so infectious, it really doesn’t matter. It’s every bit as insane and magical as you’d expect a Swedish J-Pop parody to be. Objectively, I know this is terrible (my friend Adam’s response: this is the gayest and most terrible thing ever) but I can’t stop myself from singing along. And apparently neither could the Swedish public, who opted to vote Dolly Style into the Second Chance round. For that, Swedish Public, you have forever won a place in my heart.
The Go! Team will always hold a special place in my heart. Milk Crisis was basically my anthem as a 17 year old, so many memories of summers spent drinking in the park, experimenting with … basically everything and the brief period where Skins was the best program on TV are wrapped up amidst the biiig riffs and chants that make up that track. It’s great to see The Go! Team back after a 4 year hiatus and as brilliant as ever. Blowtorch retains all the classic signifiers of The Go! Team and is some of the most interesting, complex and daring offbeat pop I’ve heard in a while – can anyone really play with layering and melodies in the way that they do? Low-fi meets wildly OTT in the best possible way.
I really, really despised that Cedric Gervais remix of Summertime Sadness that the whole world seemed to go crazy for in ’13 for so long – I felt as if the beauty and poignancy of the song got swept away behind faceless EDM. And while I’ve reached a level of peace with the Summertime Sadness remix (I will totally dance to it in a club if it comes on, 2 years back I just refused), the idea is kind of stuck in my head that Lana Del Rey remixes just don’t work. Um, well trust Richard X to prove me wrong. Ever since I saw this on Popjustice earlier, I have been obsessed. It retains all of the laid-back, self-referential charm of the original, but it’s now synthed-up and dancefloor ready. Is it wrong of me to kind of want to hear an electro Del-Rey album? Nice work, Mr X.
Full disclosure, I’m weirdly into videos where people storm around dramatically by themselves, especially if they’re impressively be-coated. So it’s no surprise that the video for Aram MP3’s new track ‘Help’ really, really appeals to me. But there’s so much more to Help than an excellent video – it’s big, epic, grand and Aram’s falsetto is way on point. Help marks three consective Aram MP3 singles that have been highly above average, playing around with electronics and balladry in a completely masterful way – and to think, I didn’t think it could get any better than Not Alone (both in terms of Aram’s respective song AND coat games). Aram MP3 really has proven me wrong in the most brilliant, hypnotic of ways.
The BBC’s Eurovision 60th Anniversary Concert is shaping up quite nicely, no? With, amongst others, The Olsen Brothers, Conchita Wurst, Emmelie de Forest and Loreen all confirmed to take to the stage, it looks as if we’re in for a great show (although, it would have been better with Lena & The Common Linnets involved, too.). The absence of British talent from the lineup, Brotherhood of Man aside, is glaring and pretty sad. Sure, the BBC are trying to improve things – sending UTR goddess Molly was a brave decision which produced the most credible UK entry in a decade or so, but it does make me wonder if the UK ever send something as complex, interesting and um, euphoric(?), as Euphoria?
So, with Loreen’s return to UK television impending and tomorrow marking the start of this year’s Melodifestivalen, I think it’s pretty timely to look back and reflect on just how perfect Euphoria is as a construction. Loreen and Thomas G:Son together are a truly spectacular combination – Loreen’s darkness and intensity, alongside her ability to add intrigue and profoundness to all that she touches, mixed in with Thomas G:Son’s stadium sized chorus really has gifted us with something pretty incredible. Euphoria demonstrates exactly what Eurovision should be about.
A tiny change up from moody electronic-adjacent women, to grand, cinematic electro-adjacent males. East India Youth’s Carousel is, to put it bluntly, a masterpiece. The epic scope of the song, combined with the inherent minimalism and restraint demonstrated makes for something truly special – a serene, reflective spot amidst the chaos. Upcoming album Culture of Volume is definitely a very exciting prospect.