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Friday, November 01, 2013

Union J - Loving You Is Easy

"Finding you was so hard"

After hearing the pair of tepid singles released prior to Union J's album, I was not at all excited to see what the guys had in store. Although I liked them well enough on last year's X-Factor UK, they weren't even my favorite boyband of that series. I'm not sure what made me listen to their album, then. Curiosity, and lack of any other notable releases this week, I guess. Luckily, I was in for a very nice surprise. While the album doesn't include the high-brand pop of bigger bands like One Direction or The Wanted, it's pleasingly uptempo throughout (unlike the singles) and quite catchy and well-produced, if a bit anonymous-sounding. Loving You Is Easy, with its big, soaring instrumental and choir-like refrain towards the end, is one of my favorites. This song seems to have an interesting history of... let's say... being passed around from artist to artist. Originally written by Jason Derulo, both Union J and fellow teen popstar Austin Mahone have recorded a version. As far as vocal prowess, I'd give the edge to Union J, but Austin's currently the bigger name internationally so it will be interesting to see what happens if he ends up releasing it as well. Either way, a good pop song is a good pop song.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

In the unlikely case that you haven't experienced the majesty of Tim Curry and his special effects, this is the year your life will be changed. You know you want it. It's the day your dentist turns into a queen, your dog turns into a cat, a gremlin messes up every cassette and you FINALLY FIND YOUR TAMBOURINE!


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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Alexander Rybak - 5 To 7 Years

"I hope our love will last forever"

It's always a treat when new music surfaces from Alexander Rybak. I can't wait to listen to his Christmas album (which I didn't know existed until several months ago) this holiday season, but this new "song for the fans" (aren't they all, technically?) is even better. I really enjoyed his stab at dance pop last year with the frantic Leave Me Alone, but this is a total left turn. It's a power ballad/pub singalong/broadway showtune hybrid that would've sounded completely at home on an Abba album. High praise, indeed. That Alexander is still churning out music this good is no small feat. Eurovision acts have a notoriously short shelf-life, but I've enjoyed a lot of Alexander's music post-Fairytale. A lot of that is down to his distinctive, pleasantly old-fashioned vocals. And I love that he keeps surprising us.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy his music here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dami Im - Alive

"Ain't nothing gonna slow me down"

Oh, jeez. X-Factor Australia has done what no other country's XF can manage: they've gotten the winner right four years running. And this year, they've come away with what I think may be the best XF winner in the show's history, regardless of country. Wait, scratch that. They may have just come away with the best talent show winner in history (and god knows I watch a lot of them, from American Idol on... in eight countries and counting). If you haven't had the luck to see Dami in action yet, I give you Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit freaking C. The voice, the style, the personality... everything worked in conjunction to make her the deserved frontrunner the entire series. As with most talent shows, the "first single" winner's track is a little bland and completely contrived, so don't judge Dami solely on Alive. Imagine her instead as a future global superstar. If anyone's capable of that, it's her.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Isac Elliot - Dream Big

"Don't you be afraid"

Isac Elliot's New Way Home remains one of my favorite pop songs of the year, and it's even more impressive considering his young age. Unfortunately, the debut album that followed was a little too cookie-cutter teen pop for my tastes. With this new single, though, he's delivered on the promise his very first release put forth. Tween inspirational lyrics aside, Dream Big is one massive, enormous, gigantic slice of dance pop. Seriously, before the verses kick in, the rock-meets-EDM bombast is pure epic cheese. This is not the kind of music we expect from teen performers. The instrumental is way beyond normal pop. To Isac's credit, the production doesn't completely swallow him up, though it threatens to throughout. But let's be honest, this track is all about the production anyway. It's insane.

Dream Big (Extended Version) by Isac Elliot on Grooveshark

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the EP here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.