Girls Gone Wild

These red blooded women can’t keep their hands to themselves.

They say sex sells. Well sometimes you’ve just gotta give the crowd what they want which is exactly what these sexy sirens decided to do, producing some of the most eye-wateringly intimate and downright debaucherous come-hithers known to man. To celebrate the end of a cold and wet January I have whipped up this hot n’ heavy playlist which I have designed to be a non-stop sex fest. So expect some sultry hyperventilating, suggestive subtext and outright filth bound together with some of the dirtiest basslines around. It’s Britney-approved:

 

 

I’ve picked out some of the highlights from the playlist which deserve a bit of further attention. No nuns allowed:

Wynter Gordon – Dirty Talk

The perfect way to start off a steamy night in is with a cheeky bit of dirty talk. “I wanna do some dirty things to you tonight”. Ooh err! On “Dirty Talk” Wynter Gordon makes no apologies for loving sex, spending half the time naming all her favourite positions and toys. This is a song which wears it’s heart on its sleeve and celebrates everything naughty.

Further reading on How to Dirty Talk:

http://www.sexcigarsbooze.com/2010/06/how-to-talk-dirty-50-examples-that-will-make-you-blush/

Selena Gomez – Hands to Myself

No more Miss Nice Girl. The former-Disney star has lived through the drought of “A Year Without Rain” and has grown sick of waiting for her man to “Come and Get It”. On the provocative “Hands to Myself” Gomez is the wide-eyed ingenue no more, exploring the dangerous side of obsession and discovering how good it feels to be bad.

It’s feels very good apparently

Britney Spears – Gimme More

“It’s Britney Bitch”. What sexy playlist would be complete without a smidgen of Kinkney? There were so many tracks to choose from but I settled on the carnal “Gimme More” because of the way it strips sex back to its purest form. The track and video (in which the former-child star appears as a Stripney) have a raw, unfinished quality which suggests a primal, animalistic attitude towards sex. “Gimme More” also harks back to the Darkney days of 2007 when she had a trip to the barbers and came back 10 pounds lighter.

Madonna – Girl Gone Wild

“Oh, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee
And I detest all my sins
Because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pain of hell.
But most of all because I love Thee,
And I want so badly to be good”

Some say that religion and sex are natural enemies. Not Madonna. She has forged a career of disproving this theory. After a relatively quiet period for the Queen of Pop in terms of church-bashing , she returned in style with the devilish “Girl Gone Wild”, which was released in 2012 as the second single from Madonna’s twefth studio album MDMA. It remains on of Madge’s most underappreciated dance-pop tracks and the lusts of the flesh video with Ukrainian men dancing in heels one of her most striking visuals to date. I defy you not to feel a little bit naughty after listening to “Girl Gone Wild”.

Rihanna – S&M

“Feels so good being bad”. Amen to that! Rihanna’s music had always been sexually charged but the electropop kink-fest “S&M” took it to a whole new level of nasty. On the track, which was released as the third single from her fifth album Loud, Rihanna morphs into a wanton sexbot with heavily processed vocals and a high energy club beat.

Something like this….

Moreover, in the “S&M” video Rihanna manages to do humanity the big favour of putting Perez Hilton on a leash. If only she’d left him there…

Also, “S&M” is credited with uniting two of the sexiest gals in the biz for a sexy pillow fight in this outrageously showstopping performance featuring the one and only Britney bitch!

Lady GaGa Feat. R Kelly – Do What U Want

GaGa’s ARTPOP era may have been a complete shambles but die-hard fans managed to salvage this salacious collab from the wreckage. Synthpop jam “Do What U Want” boasts one of the skankiest basslines of all time and some powerhouse vocals from GaGa and R Kelly. It never did get an official video but we were treated to this White House themed performance at the AMA awards 2013:

Janet Jackson – All Nite (Don’t Stop)

We always knew that Janet liked her bass down low but “All Nite (Don’t Stop)” took it to a whole new level of delicious depravity with a combination of seductive moans and a dirty funk bass guitar line. The hot and heavy “All Nite” underperformed on the charts after it was blacklisted in the US in the wake of controversial Superbowl Halftime show incident but it never fails to get me moving.

Also, it turns out that Nipplegate was pretty important moment in history with the Guinness Book of World Records naming Nipplegate the “most searched item in Internet history.”

Also, apparently the incident inspired YouTube to be created in 2005:

“A young software programmer at PayPal named Jawed Karim is unable to find any video of the Jackson Super Bowl performance online. Frustrated in his attempts to find footage, Karim and some friends create a venue where people can easily upload and share video. Thanks to the scandal, YouTube is born in 2005. A year later, Google purchases the site for $1.65 billion”.

Further reading: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/nipple-ripples-10-years-of-fallout-from-janet-jacksons-halftime-show-20140130#ixzz3yrI2PqLc

Sugababes – Freak Like Me

After the departure of founding member Siobhan Donaghy the Sugababes made a triumphant return in 2002 with freshly-ground vocals and a no-nonsense new attitude. Richard X-produce electrofest “Freak Like Me” shows the babes as seductive vampires ensnaring their prey and biting their way through the male population with gleeful abandon.

Disclaimer: no men were harmed in the making of the video.

Kylie Minogue – Red Blooded Woman

Coming off the back of her commercial smash album Fever Kylie decided to sex it up even more on her next record with the freaky “Red Blooded Woman”. The racy video sees the saucy siren caught in a traffic jam and dancing on a lorry. I just want to make Kylie aware that if it all goes south from now on she is more than welcome to entertain people by grinding on automobiles during gridlocks.

Kelis Feat. Nas – In Public

‘I’ll make your toes curl up and make your body scream” saved the naughtiest track on the list to last and, trust me, this one would make even the most oversexed teen raise their eyebrows. Kelis doesn’t hold back with expressing her fantasies on the almost too indecent “In Public”. The  Nas comes along and somehow manages to out-filth Kelis with his X-rated rap.

Hope that left you feeling hot under the collar and there’s plenty more to enjoy on the Girls Gone Wild Spotify Playlist. Thanks for reading and please feel free to share, like and comment. May the filth be with you.

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The Best Songs of the 00s – Uptempo

The noughties were the golden era of pop. The Spice Girls, Steps and various other manufactured groups enjoyed a streak of success with loud and proud pop hits in the late nineties which helped pave the way for unabashedly fun and increasingly ridiculous pop acts who were not afraid to use everything at their disposal to bag themselves a hit. In short, pop went through a pretentiousness liberation.

Suddenly everyone loved pop and it almost exclusively dominated the charts. Today’s charts are a lot more diverse which is, of course, a very good thing. However, for the most part pop itself has severely lost its way amid a sea of singer/songwriters who are too concerned with being “a serious artist” to have any fun. The essence of pop is to entertain and I believe that this has been largely forgotten. So for that reason I will always look back to the turn of the century to experience pop in its purest form served the way god intended (with a bucketload of  cheese). So therefore I have decided to compile a list of the Best Songs of the Noughties which I have divided into two categories: Uptempo and Ballads.  Why you ask? Well because it was like picking between two of your children and since I am a mere mortal I couldn’t trim down the list any further. All the songs mentioned in both lists have ingrained themselves so deep into my subconscious that they play a role in my everyday life however sad that may seem (it will explain this later). The first part of the list contains all the uptempo tunes so get ready to party like it was 1999 a few years ago. Here’sa couple of observations I made while creating the list:

  1. There are a lot of good girls gone bad. This really became a pop phenomenon in the noughties with various pop stars going from nice to naughty.
  2. There is an unsurprisingly large amount of Spice Girls-inspired girl power going around (hangover from the nineties).
  3. Most of the top ten songs have hooks which consist of repeating a random syllables which means absolutely nothing at all. So expect a glut of las, a cacophony of ohs and a sprinkling of muh-muh-muh-mah. The conclusion that I’m drawing from this is that human beings are at heart simple creatures and, when it all boils down, we like our ear worms bitesize and easily digestible (i.e. they don’t require too much thought or indeed any  at all!)

So let’s get down to business:

 

20) Jennifer Lopez – Jenny From the Block

Back in her heyday at the turn of the century Jennifer Lopez was one of the most prolific hit makers around. But by 2003 the media has pigeonholed J-Lo as a materialistic diva who basked in the limelight while parading around in Bentleys wearing mink fur coats. “Jenny From the Block” was her less-than-subtle declaration that she was still the same down to earth girl from the Bronx in spite of her fame and fortune.

19) Liberty X – Just a Little

Back in the days when Reality TV was box fresh and even predating Pop Idol there was a little show called Popstars which documented individuals auditioning for a spot in a new pop band. When the groups were formed the series was eventually won by Hear’Say with the group who finished second, Liberty X, cruelly being labelled flopstars. No one really expected much from Liberty X and, despite scoring two top 20 hits, they never managed to shake the stigma of being losers. That is, until “Just A Little”. It was essentially their last chance and, for that reason, the band literally threw everything and the kitchen sink at the song and music video. Cue more PVC than a Catwoman convention and some spectacularly camp dancing with canes. To this day, every time I come across a cane or even stick I still do the “Just a Little” dance and I also have to follow the word sexy with “everything about you is so sexyyyyy”. This is the effect of good pop. “Just a Little” went straight to number one in the UK and finished as the 7th best selling single in the UK for 2002. What’s more, it went on to win a Brit Award for Best British Single at the 2003 ceremony. Who’s a flopstar now!?!

18) Christina Aguilera Feat. Redman- Dirrty 

The original good girl gone bad before Miley, Rihanna and Selena all jumped on the bandwagon. Having already attained massive success with her eponymous debut album Christina Aguilera decided a change of tack was in order for her second studio effort. Keen to shed her bubblegum pop image Aguilera decided to literally get down and dirty for her comeback single, dubbing herself Xtina and gyrating in a pair of ass-less chaps in what is one of the sexiest and most iconic videos of the 21st century. While Xtina did manage to bag herself a UK No.1 single and worldwide top ten with “Dirrty”, the track bombed in the more conservative US market where it charted at a lowly 48. It’s important to recognise however that, despite initial negativity towards “Dirrty” in the US, it is now considered as one of Christina’s signature songs and it undeniably set the precedent for many other popstars in the latter half of the decade who pulled off dramatic image overhauls.

17) Kelis – Milkshake

“La-la-la-la-la the boys are waiting”. In this post-Pharrell revival world, “Milkshake” shines bright as one of his best production credits to date, proving that he has always loved his cowbells. In 2004 Kelis wasn’t really on many people’s radar, despite several critically acclaimed albums, “Milkshake” is the track which put her on the map. This can be definitively measured by the fact that “Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” has now entered pop culture as a perfectly acceptable way of describing someone’s sex appeal. It’s without a doubt one of the more creative metaphors for sex out there. One thing is certain, after Kelis the world never looked at a milkshake the same way again. “Milkshake” was released as the lead single from her third album Tasty and charted strongly across the world, becoming one of the best-selling singles of 2004.

16) Mary J Blige – Family Affair

Mary J Blige experienced something of a career renaissance in the summer of 2001 with her fifth album No More Drama. Despite maintaining a very respectable level of success in the US, interest had begun to wane internationally, that is, until she hollered “let’s get drunk cos Mary’s baaaaack!” and the world was never the same. The Dr.Dre-produced “Family Affair” helped her to finally fulfil her commercial potential, becoming her only US No.1 single and finishing the decade as the 12th best-selling single in the US . As if that weren’t enough, with “Family Affair” Mary J can be certain in the fact that she is the only person ever to write a song containing the words “percolatin”, “hateration” and “holleratin”. Mostly because only one of those is an actual word.

15) Girls Aloud – Sound of the Underground

After the success of the Popstars Reality TV show, ITV commissioned another season with added influence from the wildly successful Pop Idol formula. The result? A rebranding as Popstars: The Rivals with not just one winning group but separate boyband and girlband being crowned. So it ended up as a good old fashioned girls v. boys with the groups’ debut singles simultaneously released to compete head to head for the coveted Christmas Number One position on the UK singles chart. One band was doomed to failure and the other was destined for eternal glory. The girls definitively won this round with their surprisingly gritty “Sound of the Underground” taking poll position with 213,000 copies sold while the boys’ limp track “Sacred Trust” charted at No.2 with sales of 147,000. This kick-started Girls Aloud’s career and they went on to best-selling girlband of the 21st century in the UK.

14) Avril Lavigne – Complicated

Dude you wanna crash the mall? After being signed to the prestigious Arista Record Label sk8er girl Avril spent several years struggling to find her sound until she stumbled across “Complicated” which perfectly summed up this teenage punk rocker’s attitude towards life. This is still my go-to jam when times get rough. Talk me down Avril! Talk me down! In an expert marketing move, Avril was presented as the cooler alternative to Britney, shining like a little punk beacon among the sugary sweet pop princesses of the time. As a consequence “Complicated” got her career off to a flying start, charting top ten worldwide and helping her debut album Let Go sell shed loads.

13) MIKA – Grace Kelly

“I wanna talk to you!” Effervescent British singer MIKA’s debut single “Grace Kelly” boasts some of the best spoken word lines in any song ever interspersed throughout the track like confetti. “Humphry! We’re leaving!” Inspired by his record label telling him to be more like Craig David, MIKA wrote this ironic masterpiece as a declaration that originality is best and generously introduced us to his glass-shattering falsetto which he slips in and out of like a knife through butter. “Grace Kelly” was a sure fire hit and formed the basis of a career which is still going strong today.

12) Nelly Furtado – Maneater

“You wish you’d never ever met her at all”. Are you kidding me! The world went wild when the new and improved Nelly Furtado was revealed complete with one of the dirtiest beats known to man which is still guaranteed to have you skankin’ around like a proper good girl gone bad. Indeed, It was such a dramatic transformation for Furtado, who had previously rocked a hippie-chic vibe with earthy tunes like “Powerless” and “I’m Like a Bird”, that it attracted accusations of “selling out”. One thing is for undeniable however, the sales boost which the Canadian singer’s image overhaul provoked will keep her and her daughter in poutine for many years to come.

11) Destiny’s Child – Independent Women Pt. 1

To this day if someone says the word “question”, I immediately reply by saying “tell me what you think about me”. That’s when you know you have created pop art (or artpop as Lady GaGa would say). Written for the group’s third studio album Survivor “Independent Women” was included on the soundtrack for the 2000 film adaptation of Charlie’s Angels. The song was met with huge critical and commercial success, spending 11 consecutive weeks atop the US Billboard Charts and giving the band their first No.1 single in the UK, selling hundreds of thousands of copies in the process. This means that a whole host of people are able to smugly quote the girls themselves in saying “I bought it”, which is possibly the most capitalist message of all time. Jokes aside, “Independent Women” still remains one of the purest and most influential female empowerment jams this side of the millennium boasting girl power to rival even the Spice Girls.

10) S Club 7 – Don’t Stop Movin’

Who could dislike S Club 7? For me, they represent the height of bubblegum pop which blew up around the millennium. They were literally a phenomenon and the true successors of the Spice Girls in terms of branding and style. All 11 of their official singles peaked top 5 in the UK, including 4 number ones and 5 number twos. The disco-inspired, string-laden “Don’t Stop Movin’” became one of the band’s biggest hits upon release in 2001, reaching number one on two separate occasions in the UK. The spectacularly retro track samples “Billie Jean” in the verses which makes it immediately familiar to any listener and, probably for that reason, it remains the band’s highest selling single in their home country.

9) Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Murder on the Dancefloor

Riding off the back of her wildly successful Spiller collaboration and the top two smash Cher-cover “Take Me Home” relative pop newbie Sophie Ellis-Bextor burnt the house right down with her now signature song “Murder on the Dancefloor” at the beginning of the decade. The London-born belle took out the competition just like she did in the dance contest-themed video with this finger-snapping tune which went on to become the most played song of 2002 in Europe.

8) Britney Spears – Oops…I Did It Again!

Can any child of the nineties say to me with an honest heart that when anyone says the word “oops” you don’t immediately hear “I did it again”? Be honest…I thought not. It was never really going to happen but Britney could have potentially been a one album wonder if it weren’t for this irresistible pop gem which saw the still 18 year old Britney shedding her innocent schoolgirl label and simultaneously boosting the sales of red latex catsuits. “Aww you shouldn’t have…”

7) Lady GaGa – Poker Face

A song which boasts not only one monosyllabic repetition, but two! “Muh-muh-muh-maaah” and “puh-puh-puh poker face” had us all “bluffin’ with our muffins” back in 2009 to the sound of this bisexuality themed robopop song about cockteasing. “Poker Face” always transports me right back to when Lady Gaga was literally unstoppable and everything she touched turned to gold i.e the good old days before she went a bit far with the whole “I’m an artsy kook” schtick. Upon release “Poker Face” became GaGa’s second number one single after “Just Dance”, making her the first person to debut at No.1 with their first two singles in the US since Christina Aguilera a decade previously. Seems that GaGa played her cards just right.

6) Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out of My Head

Although it’s hard to imagine anyone but Kylie Minogue singing “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”, in fact it was originally written for bubblegum pop band S Club 7 and later rejected by Sophie Ellis-Bextor for her debut album. “La-la-la” just didn’t seem to work for them. But pop adores sloppy seconds and Kylie, who after making a successful comeback with “Spinning Around” in 2000 was back on top of her game and ready to reconquer the world, saw potential in the fledgling electropop genre. Needless to say, upon release “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” became her biggest hit to date, driven by the hyper sexy video which shows Minogue sporting several risqué outfits, including one which shows some major side-boob. The innovative nature of the song and video sent it soaring to No.1 all over Europe and even helped Kylie break into the notoriously difficult-to-crack US market.

5) Shakira – Whenever Wherever

When Shakira burst out of the ocean in the now iconic “Whenever Wherever” video, the world titled on its axis a little. Pre-“Whenever Wherever” the Colombiana had already broken the Latino market, scoring a No.1 Billboard Latin album with ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones? but she wanted to make waves in the English speaking world, despite having barely written in English before. To think, if Shakira had just decided to rest on her laurels we might never have had lines such as “lucky that my breasts are small and humble so you don’t confuse them with mountains”. In fact, come to think of it we DEFINITELY wouldn’t have had that line. “Whenever Wherever” boasts a universal message of love and devotion as well as the best use of panpipes ever in pop which is probably the reason why it became the biggest worldwide hit of 2001. It’s curious that Shakira had never really done much hip shaking in her previous Spanish-language work but that’s what she became known for everywhere else in the world. Well, that and “ne-lo-lo-le-lo-le-lo-le”

4) Rihanna Feat. Jay Z – Umbrella

You can’t win ‘em all (unless you’re Charlie Sheen). This is a lesson which Britney Spears and Mary J Blige had to learn the hard way when they passed on the now ubiquitous “Umbrella”. Spears’ record label outright rejected the song before the pop diva even got a look in and Mary J was too busy to record it, which meant that Rihanna got the chance to cash in on this mammoth hit. The Barbadian had already scored a Billboard number one single with “SOS” and had enjoyed various other hit singles but it was “Umbrella” which made her a household name. In a Pavolv’s dogs-esque trained reaction, this song unfailingly plays in my head every time I see an umbrella, hear or say the word “umbrella” or indeed upon use of the item in question. I’ve been trying to figure out what makes the song so compelling and I think it has something to do with the contrast between Rihanna’s disconnected, deadpan delivery and the meaningful lyrics. Either way, it sure made it rain on the UK singles chart in 2007, reigning for a massive 10 weeks during one of the wettest summers on record. We were all clamouring to stand under her umbrella “ella-ella-eh” that year. As pathetic fallacy would have it, as soon as “Umbrella” was knocked off the top spot the rain promptly stopped. The universe can be kind of creepy sometimes.

3) Beyoncé Feat. Jay Z – Crazy in Love

To think we ever questioned that Beyonce could make it on her own without her Destiny’s Child galpals! The thought seems laughable now considering her success over the last 14 years but that’s exactly what we did before this fiercely independent woman scored her first international solo number one with the bold, brash “Crazy in Love”. Beyonce had scored a few hits previously but she was in need of a big smash if she was going to forge a respectable career outside of the confines of Destiny’s Child. The retro horn-laden sound of “Crazy in Love” initially divided opinions in Queen B’s camp but it’s the diva’s confident and assertive vocal delivery which steals the show. Combine that with an “uh-oh, uh-oh, you know” hook and a killer rap from Jay Z and there was no stopping us falling in love with Beyoncé.

2) Shakira Feat. Wyclef Jean – Hips Don’t Lie

All the haters who ever questioned whether hips lie were silenced forever when Shakira made one of the most spectacular career saves in music history. Way back in 2005 things were looking pretty grim for the Colombian beauty when the lead single from her second studio album “Don’t Bother” had slightly flopped her album Oral Fixation Vol. 2 sunk like a stone (at least in comparison to her previous studio set Laundry Service). Shakira’s career outside of the Spanish speaking world was seriously under threat of extinction until she hooked up with Haitan rapper Wyclef Jean for this floor filling, showstopper of a track. Originally titled “Lips Don’t Lie”, Jean had written the song specifically for the Fugees comeback but when the song was met with disapproval by Lauryn Hill he decided to give the song to Shakira who, drawing on all her many assets to make one of the most fun and vibrant music videos ever, sent the song to the top of the charts in 55 countries.

1) Britney Spears – Toxic

This Kylie Minogue reject is one of the most shining examples of how innovative pop can be when it is done right both in terms of song quality and music video creativity. The Bollywood style strings ooze drama which, combined with the international intrigue of the video, allows Spears’ to metamorphose into the female James Bond. Released around the time of Janet Jackson’s infamous Superbowl wardrobe malfunction, MTV made the decision to only show this risqué video after the evening watershed. A bit of an overreaction perhaps but, then again, Britney does writhe around in a diamond encrusted body sock for most of the video.  In spite of everything however, critical reactions were overwhelmingly positive and “Toxic” earned Britney her first Grammy for Best Dance Recording. Some pop has a limited shelf life but now, more than 12 years later “Toxic” is just as much of a stone cold jam as it was when Spears first donned that suggestive air hostess garb (pointy shoulder pads alert!) and, to this day, every time I use a landline phone or travel on an airplane my heart is crying out to pick up the receiver and purr “Baby can’t you see I’m calling!”

Agree with my choices? Think I’ve missed something out? Whatever the case I would love to hear what you think! Please put the comment box below to good use as that’s what it’s there for! Also, please like and share and if you want to listen to any of the songs mentioned in this blog I have provided a handy Spotify playlist below. Good pop just makes me so generous 🙂

spotify:user:1151803087:playlist:2Tk3xzVxOPN4jG8lH7TNkK

The Best Songs of 2014: 80 – 61

80) Calvin Harris – Summer

“Summer” definitely managed to do what it said on the tin. Despite Harris’ whiney, slightly irritating vocals, it became a massive summer smash for the unstoppable DJ and his 6th UK chart topper. I’m sure the enormous EDM drop had a little something to do with that. Peaking at No.7, “Summer” also became Harris’ highest peaking single in the US, outstripping the previous effort of “Sweet Nothing” which reached No.10 in 2012.

79) Jungle – Busy Earnin’

Modern soul band Jungle are one of the revelations of 2014. They have managed to maintain their anonymity and mystique while becoming one of the biggest crossover bands of this year. Their self-titled debut album went straight into the UK top ten and was also nominated for the Mercury Prize. “Busy Earnin’”, a funk-infused jam about concentrating on the more important things in life, is undoubtedly a highlight from the album and plays off 2014’s love affair with brass.

78) OneRepublic – Love Runs Out

Riding off the success of their 2013 mega-smash “Counting Stars”, OneRepublic have managed to continue their winning streak throughout 2014. “Love Runs Out” was released as the lead single from the 2014 reissue of their third album Native and became a transatlantic smash hit, peaking top 15 in the US and top 3 in the UK. The stomping, piano-led beat was undoubtedly one of the most infectious and invigorating of 2014.

77) La Roux – Kiss and Not Tell

Released as the second single from the group’s second album Trouble in Paradise “Kiss and Not Tell” is a peppy, synth-pop jam about ignoring the problems in a relationship. The light and breezy feel of the track is offset by the darker lyrical themes resulting in the perfect contrast.

76) Iggy Azalea Feat. Rita Ora – Black Widow

“Black Widow” is essentially “Dark Horse” part 2. Both were written by Katy Perry and boast a trap-influenced sound. However, “Black Widow” opts for ominous steel drums to give the track a more relaxed, even exotic feel. Released as the follow up to the enormously successful “Fancy” and “Problem”, “Black Widow” became Iggy’s third consecutive top 3 US single and gave Rita Ora her first top ten Billboard single.

75) Kelis – Jerk Ribs

For those with a taste for soul food, “Jerk Ribs” was 2014’s ultimate tasty dish served up by a very underrated star at the peak of her creativity with a side of smokey vocals and brass. After pioneering the EDM revolution with her relentlessly sweaty Flesh Tone album in 2010, Kelis decided to take some time off in between projects to take a cooking course. Now as a certified Cordon Bleu chef Kelis channels her love for food into her music, even naming her songs after her favourite dishes. “Jerk Ribs” has a peppery freshness that makes it stand out as one of the star platters of the year.

74) DJ Snake Feat. Lil’ John – Turn Down for What

Few songs can claim that they coined a brand new phrase but “Turn Down for What” certainly did that and more in 2014. The squeaky, trap influenced hook was practically inescapable for the first part of the year and soon became the soundtrack for the dissident youth who gleefully break the rules and defy all those around them. It’s hard not to get pulled in by the craziness of it all and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to bop your head just a little.

73) Charli XCX – Boom Clap

Including one of your songs on a film soundtrack has become one of the most reliable ways of opening your music up to new audiences in recent years. Of course, when compared to other film love themes such as “A Thousand Years” or “Evergreen”, Charli XCX’s more raucous offering seems very out of place, but therein lies its genius. “Boom Clap” managed to rewrite everything about the romantic soundtrack genre and turned the Cambridge-born English rose into a celebrity almost overnight.

72) G.R.L – Ugly Heart

The Pussycat Dolls 2.0 launched their assault on the world with the Dr. Luke-produced “Ugly Heart” which is a snarky kiss off to those infuriatingly hot wankers who we’ve all met. The prominent ukulele line gives the track a country vibe in the vein of “Timber” and results in a sassy, empowering self-liberation anthem.

71) Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Runaway Daydreamer

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has made a stellar comeback this year. “Runaway Daydreamer” is a floaty, delicate piece which channels nursery rhymes and themes of escapism and self-discovery.  The intriguing instrumental choices add to the mystique and dreamy melody and her lighter-than-a-feather vocals float lazily over the sweeping piano chorus. Irresistibly classy.

70) Ace Wilder – Busy Doin’ Nothin’

For a song that’s not just a Eurovision reject but a Melodifestivalen reject (for those who don’t know, Melodifestivalen is a song contest that the Swedish use to choose who will represent them at Eurovision), “Busy Doin’ Nothin’” is shockingly contemporary and even respectable. Perhaps it is for these reasons that “Busy Doin’ Nothin’” was doomed to fail at the antiquated Melodifestivalen and the insipid “Undo” nailed on to succeed. Still, Ace Wilder had the last laugh after “Busy Doin’ Nothin’” shot straight to No.1 in Sweden, leaving its vanquisher floundering.

69) Disclosure Feat. Mary J Blige – F For You

Sometimes it just takes a little extra spice to bring a track to life. Disclosure’s original solo version of “F For You” had already managed to peak top 20 in the UK when they decided to revamp it for a 2014 rerelease. And what a difference a year made. Mary’s soulful vocals helped bring some personality to the track and even inspired the diva enough for her to write her own dance-influenced single “Right Now” released later in the year.

68) HAIM – If I Could Change Your Mind

After establishing themselves as one of the breakout acts of 2013 and notching up a UK top 20 single and a No.1 album HAIM continued their success in 2014, bagging themselves another UK top 30 with “If I Could Change Your Mind” early in the year. The thumping bass and 80’s inspired synths ensured the singles radio success and commercial appeal, but it was HAIM’s signature snappy delivery that won us over.

67) Inna Feat. J Balvin – Cola Song

Ok I have never said that this list was completely based on quality and sometimes you just need to give in to the infectious beats. Although her success has plateaued outside of certain European markets, she is still extremely popular in Spain where she is the queen of the song of the summer.  “Cola Song” was this year’s effort from the Romanian and, while possibly being one of the worst songs of the year, “Cola Song” is also one of the catchiest and most fun. The on-trend saxophone instrumental serves as the hook and the steamy video seals the deal with zest.

66) Paolo Nutini – Better Man

It may be easy to overlook Paolo among the tirade of male solo artists who have found international success this year but that would be a crying shame as his album Caustic Love is a masterpiece of spacious production and truly soulful vocals. Released in April the album shot straight to No.1 and was at the time the fastest selling album in the UK. The promotional single “Better Man” managed to creep into the top 40 but its quality far outsides its commercial performance. This is a lesson in letting music breathe and speak on its own merits. “Better Man” is the crowning piece of Caustic Love, nestled right in the middle of the album and serving as a heart-breakingly honest ode to self-improvement.

65) Kylie Minogue – Into the Blue

She may not have achieved the commercial success that her albums usually enjoy with her latest offering Kiss Me Once but nevertheless it undoubtedly remains one of the most fun albums of 2014. “Into the Blue” served as the lead single from the album and is the perfect zingy pick-me-up for anyone who is having a bad day. It’s easy to claim that euphoric tunes like this are ten to the dozen nowadays but it’s the lyrical connection that Kylie makes “Into the Blue” truly uplifting (“When I got my back up against the wall, don’t need no one to rescue me/’Cause I ain’t waiting up for no miracle, yeah tonight I’m running free!

64) Shakira Feat. Rihanna – Can’t Remember to Forget You

Reggae/ska inspired beats have been all over the charts this year (“Rude”, “Am I Wrong?”) but lest we forget that Shakira and Rihanna started it all in January of this year. “Can’t Remember to Forget You” may have become more famous for its raunchy video featuring some steamy sexual tension between the two singers but sonically the track is probably one of the most interesting of 2014.

63) Paolo Nutini – Scream (Funk My Life Up)

Paolo again. “Scream” is one of the few upbeat songs from Caustic Love and served as the lead single, becoming his biggest hit in the UK since his debut single “Last Request”. Taboo, naughty and just a bit sexy “Scream” is 2014’s perfect dedication to a girl so fine she makes you want to scream. Ooh err.

62) Cheryl Feat. Tinie Tempah – Crazy Stupid Love

Kylie must be kicking herself for rejecting “Crazy Stupid Love” after Cheryl took it straight to the top of the UK charts in the summer. Thumping percussion, fingersnaps and handclaps, a raw saxophone hook, a sneaky guest rap from Tinie Tempah.  “Crazy Stupid Love” has all the ingredients of a massive smash and, upon debuting at No.1 in July it helped Cheryl equal Geri Halliwell’s long standing record of being the only UK female with 4 No.1 singles. A record that Cheryl has since broken with her latest single “I Don’t Care”. Go on Chezza!

61) Wisin Feat. Ricky Martin & Jennifer Lopez – Adrenalina

“Adrenalina” was the perfect soundtrack to this year’s long, hot summer. Puerto Rican singer Wisin roped in some old friends and collaborators in the form of international latin popstars Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin in order to help him rule the radio waves. The result was a sticky, sexy hot mess with a bit of leather thrown in for good measure. As Shakira would say “así es perfecto”.

Diary of a Pop Fan’s Top Twenty

20) Breach Feat. Kelis – The Key

19) Years & Years – Desire

18) Iggy Azalea – Beg For It

17) Olly Murs – Wrapped Up

16) Avicci Feat. Robbie Williams – The Days

15) Jungle – Busy Earnin’

14) The Veronicas – You Ruin Me

13) Ella Henderson – Hard Work

12) Chvrches – Dead Air

11) James Bay – Hold Back the River

10) Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Movin’

9) Kiesza – No Enemiesz

8) Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me

7) Calvin Harris Feat. Ellie Goulding – Outside

6) McBusted – Air Guitar

5) Taylor Swift – Blank Space

4) Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne – Real Love

3) Take That – These Days

2) Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat

1) Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

The Pop Fortune Teller’s Predictions 05/05/2014

David: Another week has passed and that means it’s time for Diary of a Pop Fan’s resident Fortune Teller to give us some more predictions of which songs will be burning up the charts in the coming weeks. Take it away Oda Mae.

Pop Fortune Teller
Pop Fortune Teller

Fortune Teller: Hello again dearies. Thank you for joining me once again for another round of pop-tastic predictions that you won’t want to miss. Gather around my crystal ball of wonders as I guide you on a mystical journey of pop fabulousness.

 

1)    Beyonce – Pretty Hurts

Beyonce Pretty Hurts
Pretty Hurts

My first prediction for this week is another sure fire smash for the reigning queen of pop. It is of course the fabulous Beyoncé with “Pretty Hurts”. Taken from an album which is chock full of potential hits, “Pretty Hurts” manages to stand out on the strength of the moral message which will shine as a beacon, above all, to teenage girls suffering from self-esteem issues. Of course, this is well-trodden territory, but Beyoncé manages to make the message sound fresh with the honesty and rawness of the production and vocals. The Pop Fortune Teller appreciates the positive message, but finds it ironic that Beyoncé preaches the danger of vanity whilst looking absolutely fabulous. However, criticisms aside, “Pretty Hurts” is a built around a slow-burning atmospheric bass-line which subtly lodges itself somewhere in the part of your cranium reserved for pop delicacies such as this. Beyoncé’s soulful wailing adds to the epic-ness of the track as well and pushes this slow-roasted ham of a track into the stratosphere.

The mists of time predict a strong top ten for “Pretty Hurts”.

2)    Kylie Minogue – I Was Gonna Cancel

Kylie Minogue I Was Gonna Cancel
I Was Gonna Cancel

Kylie’s career has become more unpredictable than my box of enchanted shrunken heads lately after the relative flop of her last single “Into the Blue”, which seemed to be a shoe-in to become another number one for the diminutive pop diva. Luckily, nothing gets past me, the Pop Fortune Teller, and I predict big things for the second single taken from her twelfth album Kiss Me Once “I Was Gonna Cancel”. For starters, the song plays on funk-fuelled current pop trends due to its being produced by man-of-the-moment Pharrell, who has put his Midas touch to good use on this track. Secondly, the song features several sections, each one more infectious than the last, I count three in total: the “go go go” section, the “I was gonna cancel” section and the “just hop out of the bed” section. That’s a lot of Kylie to love. Interestingly, the glitchy electro-pop fiesta was inspired by real life when Kylie almost cancelled on a recording session with Pharrell due to having the blues. But luckily he convinced her otherwise and, frankly, the world should be extremely glad that Kylie decided not to cancel.

After reading Kylie’s palm, I predict that this will become her 33rd top ten single.

3)    Sam Smith – Stay with Me

Sam Smith Stay With Me Artwork
Stay With Me

Sam Smith’s debut single “Money on my Mind” has already become one of the biggest singles of 2014 and his debut album is set to sell a shedload. So it makes sense that his second single, the soulful “Stay with Me” will be another smash for the Peterborough-born singer. Another strong indicator the extremely Emeli Sandé-esque nature of “Stay with Me”. We all know what commercial dynamite Sandé is (her debut album sold over 2 million copies in the UK alone) and her stamp is all over “Stay with Me”, right down to the gospel choir and the quiet reflective tone. The Pop Fortune Teller appreciates pensiveness. So it stands to reason that Sam Smith will have another hit on his hands and, actually, it’s quite deserved as the singer pours his heart and soul into “Stay with Me” and almost brings a tear to this old fortune teller’s glass eye.

My crystal ball informs me that “Stay with Me” will be a big top 5.

4)    Cher Lloyd – Sirens

Cher Lloyd
Sirens

The Pop Fortune Teller has always had an affinity with Cher Lloyd, maybe it’s her frank honesty, maybe it’s her penchant for unadulterated fun, or maybe it’s the gypsy roots we both share. Either way, I got my skirts in a ruffle upon hearing young Miss Lloyd’s latest pop gem “Sirens”, which is appropriately titled as it announces a dramatic change of direction for the diva. Those who disapprove of the 20 year old’s crass, in-your-face nature will be shocked by the maturity of “Sirens”, which showcases the vulnerable side hidden beneath the attitude. This is also a rare opportunity when Cher is really allowed to show off her impressive pipes, which are the centrepiece of the track. Cher is at a crossroads in her career however, after a successful debut, the first single of her second album “I Wish” failed to chart, meaning that “Sirens” is make-or-break for her. I’m hoping it’s the former.

If the stars align properly, this should be another top 40 hit for Cher.

5)    Kelis – Forever Be

Kelis
“Food”

My last choice is more a recommendation than a prediction as it would probably take a miracle for Kelis to manage to get a hit off her new album “Food” after her first two singles “Jerk Ribs” and “Rumble” failed to chart at all. However, I believe that this song deserves its place on my list as it is a stellar example of pop-done-right. There is hope though as “Forever Be” is built around a plinkety-plonkety piano line which descends into a sing-along-chorus which is as catchy as a cold. What’s more, “Forever Be” has more current commercial appeal that Kelis’ recent singles as the mind-destroyingly amazing chorus is built around a driving synth bass-line and Kelis’ breathless vocals add a furious urgency to the track. It’s probably the best song Kelis has ever done, nay the best song of the year so far!

I’m seeing a conflicting fortune for “Forever Be”, but if you readers join me in summoning the mighty cosmic forces of Pisces, this might just be a hit.

Unfortunately this song is so undercover that there is no official video for “Forever Be” but you can listen to on spotify or listen to it live here:

So that’s it for my pop predications this week. Thanks for reading. Now I’m off to go buy some tail of newt from Tesco’s before they run out.

Hot New Songs 2014

2014 is shaping up to be a great year for music with high-profile stars such as Shakira and Kylie Minogue making their triumphant returns, as well as the emergence of new talented artists such as Clean Bandit and Sam Smith. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In this latest blog post I will review 10 of the hottest new tracks which will be released in the coming weeks:

1) Sia – Chandelier

Sia - Chandelier
Sia – Chandelier

Australian singer Sia is hot property. After her semi-retirement in 2010 she became primarily known for her song writing abilities as well as a for lending her powerhouse vocals to few high profile tunes such as Flo Rida’s Wild Ones and David Guetta’s Titanium. However, unable to resist the lure of the spotlight Sia is back with her sixth studio album, the first single from which is the epic synth rock ballad Chandelier. While it does make an impact on the first listen, the genius of Chandelier becomes clear after you’ve listened to it a few times. Her soulful wailing of I’m gonna swing from the chandelier drills its way into your head and refuses to let go, no wonder she kept this one for herself instead of giving it to Rihanna. Whether she is able to convert this into chart success is questionable, but only time will tell. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one to be a massive summer smash.

Verdict: 9/10

2) Kelis – Jerk Ribs

Kelis – Jerk Ribs
Kelis – Jerk Ribs

Never one to rest on her laurels, Kelis is back with a new sound after the electro experimentation of her David Guetta co-produced previous album Flesh Tone which yielded the US Hot Dance Club Songs number one and top 5 UK hit Acapella. Jerk Ribs swaps EDM synths for brassy instrumentation with a prominent trumpet line and, while it’s unlikely to result in another massive chart success for Kelis, it does gain her a lot of kudos. Kelis has really come into her own with her last two albums and this first single gives the impression that the singer is completely comfortable in her own sound.

Verdict: 8/10

3) The Black Keys – Fever

The Black Keys – Fever
The Black Keys – Fever

Believe it or not The Black Keys have been around since 2002 when they released their first album The Big Come Up. However, it was not until 2010 with the release of their sixth studio album Brothers, which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, that they managed to attain true chart success in the US. This was then followed up by their, in my humble opinion, magnum opus: the glam rock infused El Camino which featured the fiendishly infectious single Lonely Boy and propelled the band into the mainstream. Fever, the first single from their eighth studio album Turn Blue, which will be released May 12th, is another slice of moody, radio friendly rock. The song features a killer synth line and the chorus is pretty catchy too. It’s not quite as good or immediate as Lonely Boy, but it is not a disappointment by any means.

7/10

4) Iggy Azalea Feat. Charli XCX– Fancy

Iggy Azalea – Fancy
Iggy Azalea – Fancy

Iggy’s career has just been building pace since the release of her first single Work in March of last year, which managed to peak at number 17 in the UK. She soon followed this up with two more hits, Bounce and Change Your Life, the latter managing to become her first top ten hit when it peaked at 10 in September.  Iggy has played the game pretty well, allowing the hype around her debut album The New Classic to build and build until it reaches fever pitch at which point she decides to drop Fancy, possibly her best single to date. The single is a rap diva off with Charli XCX but never does it reach the crass levels to which Nicki Minaj frequently stoops. There is nothing we haven’t seen before on this track of course, Iggy hasn’t quite come into her own yet in terms of lyrics but the genius is in the finger snapping simplicity combined with the infectious backing beat.

6/10

5) Anastacia – Stupid Little Things

Anastacia – Stupid Little Things
Anastacia – Stupid Little Things

The artist once-dubbed Little Woman with the Big Voice is back. Anastacia’s career has been in the wilderness ever since the commercial failure of her last studio album of original material 2008’s Heavy Rotation. Since then, she has released an album of covers of male songs as well as being diagnosed with cancer again and beating it for a second time. Therefore, it’s appropriate that Anastacia chose to call her sixth studio album Resurrection as it does feel like a new beginning for the singer. Her comeback single Stupid Little Things is typically bombastic and signals a return to her original sound “Sprock”, a hybrid of soul, pop, rock. The song is packed full with hooks and is aimed squarely at radio play. However, the sound has dated slightly and I wouldn’t be surprised if this manages to slip under the radar, which would be a massive shame as it’s great to hear Anastacia doing what she does best again.

7/10

6) Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down

Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down
Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down

British songstress Rita Ora is back with what will probably be the smash of the summer. I Will Never Let You Down, which was produced by her current boyfriend Calvin Harris, is probably her best single yet but it unfortunately serves to highlight the singer’s lack of personality and generic qualities. Oddly enough the best part of this song is the summery guitar driven beat playing over the verses which lingers in the brain much longer than generic chorus. Ora sounds like she never even breaks a sweat on the single, which keeps safely in the middle of her range (I counted only one high note in the whole song). But when all is said and done, I Will Never Let You Down is a sure fire hit and it’s great to see a young singer revelling in her youth, rather than wailing about heartbreak (Sorry Lea Michele). What’s more, the sound feels fresh and Ora’s persona is much more likeable than on her previous material.

8/10

7) Calvin Harris – Summer

Calvin Harris – Summer
Calvin Harris – Summer

What is there left to say about Calvin Harris. Along with Pharrell he is without a doubt one of the biggest producers of the moment and his cannon of number ones just keeps on growing. Summer is another almighty global smash waiting to happen, but something went wrong for me on this track. I’m usually a fan of Calvin’s vocals, such as on the anthemic Feels So Close, so I welcomed the idea of him singing on this new track. However I really don’t know what Harris was trying to pull on Summer. If it he was trying to sound coy then that’s really not the way to go about it. If he was trying to sound whiny and shrill then he did a great job of it. But I may as well resign myself to hearing this song everywhere for the next couple of months because the sad fact is that Harris could have farted, put it on a loop, given it a dance breakdown and the song would have been the summer hit of 2014.

4/10

8) Ed Sheeran – Sing

Ed Sheeran – Sing
Ed Sheeran – Sing

Instead of channelling the understated, pondering balladry displayed on his more successful singles The A Team and Lego House, Sheeran has chosen to go in the other direction for the first single from his upcoming sophomore album x.  Sing actually has a lot in common with previous single You Need Me, I Don’t Need You with Sheeran’s urgent rapping driving the verses. The falsetto present on the bridge of Sing is the big surprise here, as well as the main hook being comprised of woohs. Sheeran is back in style.

8/10

9) Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing

Justin Timberlake - Not a Bad Thing
Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing

Timberlake continues the 20/20 Experience Volume 2 album campaign with the third single Not a Bad Thing, which is actually the best cut from its otherwise patchy parent album. The song could be a N*Sync album track, which shows how the Tennessee-born singer has done full circle in his career, but with his effortless cool Timberlake manages to sell a song which would have sounded corny in anyone else’s hands. Overall Not a Bad Thing, whilst lacking originality, manages to be exactly what it should be: relaxing, mushy and sweet.

6/10

10) Clean Bandit – Extraordinary

Clean Bandit – Extraordinary
Clean Bandit – Extraordinary

After bursting onto the charts this January with the infectious Jess Glynne-assisted synth track Rather Be Clean Bandit have a job to do to live up to the hype. Their follow up single Extraordinary start deceptively slow with a minimalistic intro that is almost acapella. However, the song soon breaks down picking up a string infused backing beat on the way and descending into a chorus which, on repeat listening, proves to have staying power. The result is not nearly as infectious as Rather Be, but Extraordinary manages on stand on its own as a euphoric, sunny piece of intelligent dance pop, which should keep the band getting radio spins long enough to release an album.

7/10

So that’s a round up of just a few of the big, high-profile new tunes which are set to be the soundtrack of summer 2014. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed the post. If you want to follow my blog please click on the link at the top of the post. Until next time!!

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