Friday, July 29, 2011

Nadia Oh – ‘Taking Over The Dancefloor’ (Single Review)

Probably the most controversial entry on the 2011 Popjustice £20 Music Prize shortlist, it’s also one of the more interesting picks on a list that’s about 50/50 on sentimental vs. experimental. Nadia Oh is a protégée of producer Space Cowboy, who produced or co-wrote several early Lady Gaga tracks including the great “Christmas Tree.” This is the lead single off her second album, Colours, which is probably why it’s been renamed from its original title, “Kate Middleton,” although the name remains in the song and lends a nice social commentary aspect to the mechanical proclamations of “Take your money/ We gon’ take your money/ Throw your wallets in the sky.”
 
Nadia Oh Kate Middleton

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blackout Once Again: My Guest Post on MuuMuse

I recently had the privilege of being invited to contribute a guest post to MuuMuse.com, which is easily one of the absolute best pop music blogs on the web, which is quite exciting. The piece, an in-depth look at Britney Spears' Blackout almost five years later, went up today, and you should all go and give it a look - and let me know what you think! I'd love to get some more feedback on this blog and my work elsewhere, so I can work to shape Vertigo Shtick into a great pop music site as well.

Blackout Once Again – A Look Back at Britney Spears’ Greatest Album 



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Kelly Rowland, Britney Spears and More

Every Tuesday, hoards of new singles, EPs and LPs appear on iTunes, Amazon and in stores everywhere, and a new sales week begins. I enjoy Tuesday sometimes for no other reason than getting to make my way over to the market for my weekly shopping trip. Sometimes there's a ton of fresh and exciting items on offer, while other times there's little worth carrying on home. Each week I post what I’ve bought, sometimes with tacit recommendation and sometimes with the hesitation of an experimenter. If you have any opinions, comments, or suggestions about my weekly picks, or care to share what you're buying and why, please share in the comments

+ Britney Spears - Blackout  
      (Amazon: $7.99, iTunes $9.99)



I'm aware that this doesn't exactly qualify as "new" music, but it's for a good cause (i.e. Britney Spears), which trumps literal interpretation. Because I'm writing more on this topic than J.K. Rowling on teenage angst among magical folk (stay tuned), I'll just copy and paste this helpful blurb from the Facebook page for this noble endeavor.
BLACKOUT is Britney Spears' only studio album that has not reached Platinum status in the United States. At 988,000 units sold, we're only 12,000 away from being certified Platinum! Some consider BLACKOUT to be one of Britney's best albums to date, spawning hits such as "Gimme More," "Piece of Me," "Break The Ice" and fan favorite, "Get Naked (I Got A Plan)". Purchase BLACKOUT the week of July 26-July 31 and let's get this gem of an album certified Platinum! xx♥ Britney.com blogger BRITannica
(Did you read it in a valley girl voice in your head too? OMGxx♥!!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Wanted - "All Time Low" (Video Review)

Basically, The Wanted is the male equivalent to The Saturdays (Britain's answer to the Pussycat Dolls), which may or may not have anything to do with the fact that both groups spawn from the same creator. In a way the UK is a bit like Jurassic Park, where supposedly extinct creatures like boy bands and soap operas and royalty roam free as if they never died out. We’re so used to the individuality of reality singing competition shows over here (because let’s face it this is America where “compromise” is a bad word and sharing is for Socialists) that the notion of boy or girl bands is pretty antiquated. Then again, it’s easy to say so for those of us who actually did have boy/girl bands to help calibrate our raging hormones when we were becoming horny adolescents. At least when Justin Timberlake started dating Britney Spears we had like nine other boy band hotties to re-center our crushes on. Nowadays young girls have only Justin Bieber, and after the backlash Esperanza Spalding got simply for winning an award (that she deserved) over Bieber I wouldn’t be surprised if Selena Gomez’ security detail has had to call for reinforcements because these millions of obsessed girls have no one else to obsess over. Are we dooming our children?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nicola Roberts – ‘Beat of My Drum’ (Single Review)

PROLOGUE
             Two girl groups (both alike in dignity)
             In fair pop music land where we lay our scene,
             Amidst rumors and grudges break to new solo careers,
             But have judging gigs revoked or find fathers’ hands unclean.
             From forth the newfound freedom from these woes,
             A pair of clever singers ready albums (nice!).
             To produce lead singles each of them gets Diplo,
             One orders a fresh beat, the other a used one on ice.

Nicola Roberts was sixteen when she was one of five girls voted into a new band called Girls Aloud on the reality competition show Popstars: The Rivals. For the next seven years she was part of the most extraordinary success story to come from reality television on any side of the globe, as Girls Aloud quickly separated from its initial management, made it on its own and with the help of the innovative production team at Xenomania became a critical and commercial hit.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yasmin – ‘Finish Line’ (Single Review)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I LOVE when a song surprises me. I am a sucker for the unexpected unveiling of additional depth midway through a track, or a minor resolution from what sounds inevitably major, or the introduction of a beat that stops my heart. It doesn’t happen often, although I probably don’t allow for many opportunities by not being the most adventurous listener in the world.

Yasmin

Popjustice £20 Music Prize: A Guide to the 2011 Shortlist

Every year since 2003, a panel of judges bestow the Popjustice £20 Music Prize to the artist behind the best British pop single of the year. The debate takes place in a pub in London on the same night as the Mercury Prize, which pompously purports to honor the best album of the year from the UK and Ireland. It’s not unlike the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, except that the UK already has one of those in the BRIT Awards; the Mercury Prize is really more like the Golden Globes of the UK music awards circuit: just another group of music snobs whose opinion matters because it comes with £20,000 and a heck of a jump in album sales. Popjustice’s £20 Music Prize is the Razzie Award, except instead of honoring the worst (see, we do that enough ourselves on the charts) the award goes to the best of an overlooked genre. The last time a pop album won the Mercury Prize was… ha, fooled you! A pop album has never won the Mercury Prize, come on.

Since it’s been a slow release cycle in the States, and because I can’t apply to be a judge since I’m stuck in Los Angeles (not that I mind), I thought I’d look into the singles revealed this week to be on this year’s shortlist. What resulted is a comprehensive guide to the twelve (mostly) excellent singles from which this year’s winner will be selected, and it’s an exciting year because for the first time, no previous winner is up for the award. Seeing as five of the eight prizes previously awarded have gone to the group Girls Aloud, currently on hiatus, I’d say that’s enough to make things interesting. (Each of the mini-writeups below will be published separately with video or mp3 aid for purposes of clarity, variety and SEO, so if you desire to hear any of the tracks or see the videos you’ll be able to find them on Vertigo Shtick as well.) 

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Ke$ha Project – “Starvin’”

As eager as I am to find out what Ke$ha has in store for a thoroughly unprepared US pop music scene on her presumably forthcoming sophomore LP, if these new unreleased gems keep surfacing every few weeks I won’t much mind being patient. The latest castoff appeared over the last holiday weekend in lovingly remastered form over at PopOnandOn, by whose effort we now welcome a clandestine cut of the simmering mid-tempo “Starvin’.” The new discovery likely hails from the realm as the pair that preceded it, the haunting “31 Seconds Alone” and the casually maudlin “Tease Me” (more on the latter still to come). All three share the same relatively sparse, guitar-driven electronic backdrop and mellow torch song-for-the-discotheque vibe, although “Starvin’” is as hushed and sexy as "31 Seconds Alone” is rich with youthful romanticism.

Ke$ha

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Music Tuesday: September, Teddybears and More

Every Tuesday, hoards of new singles, EPs and LPs appear on iTunes, Amazon and in stores everywhere, and a new sales week begins. I enjoy Tuesday sometimes for no other reason than getting to make my way over to the market for my weekly shopping trip. Sometimes there's a ton of fresh and exciting items on offer, while other times there's little worth carrying on home. Each week I post what I’ve bought, sometimes with tacit recommendation and sometimes with the hesitation of an experimenter. If you have any opinions, comments, or suggestions about my weekly picks, or care to share what you're buying and why, please share in the comments.
 
Albums

SeptemberLove CPR ($7.99 on Amazon, $9.99 on iTunes)

September-Love-CPR (US Album Cover)

The Swedish chanteuse made a big comeback in her native Sweden with her new album, which was thankfully released in the US this week. I enjoyed lead single “Resuscitate Me” when it came out last year and have listened to a smattering of the other tracks since then (“Me & My Microphone” also came out on iTunes in the US several weeks ago), and I’m happy to say that the album in full exceeds my initial expectations. There’s only one deadly track out of the fourteen, and several of them (including “Ricochet,” “Intimate Connection,” and “Bump and Grind”) approach her great 2004 hit “Cry for You.” iTunes is selling it for $9.99 but Amazon has it for $7.99.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Kimberly Cole Announces Upcoming Single with Eddie Amador

Dance artist Kimberly Cole is set to release a new single with house music producer Eddie Amador on August 2. The “Smack You” singer teased fans on Tuesday with cover art, date, and title for the upcoming release, called “Arrow Through My Heart.”

Kimberly Cole - Arrow Through My Heart (Single Cover Art)

“Arrow Through My Heart” is Cole’s first new material since the release of her debut album Bad Girls Club, the first album released by Oxygen Network’s imprint and soundtrack to its television show of the same name. The album’s lead single “Smack You” reached #3 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart and inspired dozens of remixes by many top DJs, including Amador. Cole also recently released an Eddie Amador Megamix that mashes up several of the excellent tracks from Bad Girls Club into a ten minute lesson on how top-shelf dance pop is done (listen below).

The impending release is an intriguing collaboration that further proves that Cole not only knows her dance music but also has the balls to pursue a different path than might be expected of up-and-coming pop singers. Rather than play to the middle, Cole embraces the dance music core by teaming with Amador, revered as a practitioner of true house music in an underground genre that can be unforgiving in its demands of authenticity. (His breakout hit, "House Music," is a treatise on the genre that seems to inspire biblical reverence from  The single will be jointly released through Citrusonic Stereophonic, a nearly brand new dance label, and Crystal Ship, which is run by Bad Girls Club producer Jeeve.

Photo by Kenny Sweeney
I’m still working on getting more information about the upcoming release and those involved, but I suspect “Arrow Through My Heart” may be a sort of joint launch pad for artists and labels alike, all of whom (with the exception of Amador) are still quite new. If so, I applaud them. Listening to Bad Girls Club months after its release and watching the excellent music video for “Smack You” has confirmed to me that my initial enthusiastic praise for the album was not simply inflated by novelty or excitement, the way so much music criticism is (a main reason I don’t believe in reviewing music immediately upon its initial release, and certainly not before). I can easily see Cole becoming a respected and well-known artist in the dance music scene if she continues down that route, and I suspect that would be far more fulfilling than battling for Top 40 ubiquity. It’s a pretty vapid place, and the few really sharp artists to make it there tend to have to water themselves down (Ke$ha) or throw the entire sum of their being and soul into the effort (Lady Gaga) to survive, and the smart ones quickly get out and do their own genius thing wherever it is that they really shine (Robyn, Justin Timberlake).

I hope this upcoming release and whatever is further planned along with it will help Cole’s music reach the audience that will appreciate it – which I think is by no means small – and that will recognize, as I do, that Kimberly Cole is a tremendous talent with enormous potential and who makes kickass music…and she’s just getting started!

Kimberly Cole - Eddie Amador Megamix

Get Bad Girls Club on iTunes. Seriously
More on Kimberly Cole:

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