Category Archives: Pop

Lorde – Green Light (2017)

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Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor is better known as Lorde. The Kiwi singer exploded onto the pop music scene at the age of sixteen with the release of the single ‘Royals’. Five years later and she’s released this banger. A pop queen. Have a good week.

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The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (1997)

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What can you say about the The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ that has not already been said before. The song was ubiquitous in 1997/98.  Richard Ashcroft had taken Andrew Oldham Orchestra’s strings cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Last Time’ and realised its potential by writing those sublime lyrics. The bitter sweet would follow when the Stones’ former manager Allen Klein reneged on an agreement they had with Decca and demanded 100% of the song’s royalties, stripping the Verve of their undoubted achievement.

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Alvvays – Dreams Tonite (2017)

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Toronto-based indie pop band Alvvays released their sophomore album Antisocialites this year. The second track is ‘Dreams Tonite’ with its dreamy 1980s pop sound. Think Chromatics. Think Beach House. Think Cocteau Twins.

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Beck – Up All Night (2017)

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Last month, Beck released ‘Up All Night’ his new single from his new LP, Colors.  “Just wanna stay up all night with you / There’s nothing that I wouldn’t rather do”. Okay, the lyrics are a little trite, but he’s definitely rediscovered his mainstream pop.

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Rex Orange County – Edition (2017)

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19-year-old Alex O’Connor is also known by his stage name Rex Orange County. The singer-songwriter was born in Haslemere, a-far-from-gritty corner of Surrey. From there, he took the influences and Thundercat, Toro Y Moi and Frank Ocean and divined his path. This white man has found his jazzy R&B chi; Surrey’s answer to Jon Bellion.

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Daryl Hall & John Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (1981)

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Well, I will do Hall & Oates the justice of posting their 1981 single ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’ and not giving into my tendency to reach for De La Soul’s sample ‘Say No Go’. Give these blue-eyed soul boys credit, where credit is due. Michael Jackson once confessed that the song heavily influenced his delivery of ‘Billie Jean’.

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La Femme – Où Va Le Monde (2016)

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Clara Luciani, Clémence Quelennec, Marlon Magnée, Noé Delmas, Sacha Got and Sam Lefèvre are La Femme. Last year, they produced a Gallic slice of surf music, ‘Où Va Le Monde’. Their modern take on a French affinity for cold wave, the track would not be out of place on a Tarantino soundtrack. 

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Tom Misch – Sunshine (2015)

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Singer-songwriter, producer and DJ, Tom Misch is on an upward trajectory. The London native has an ear for a chilled-out beat. Released in 2015, ‘Sunshine’ features the type of filtered horns and dancefloor-loops that would make a Frenchman smile. Dr Electronic.

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Princess Chelsea – The Cigarette Duet (2011)

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Continuing the unusually fey electropop this week, it’s Auckland’s Chelsea Nikkel. On ‘The Cigarette Duet’, the Princess sings alongside fellow singer-songwriter  Jonathan Bree for her debut studio album Lil’ Golden Book.

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Le Couleur – Femme (2013)

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Canadian band Le Couleur channel a vintage form of electro-pop for the song ‘Femme’ off their 2013 Voyage Love EP. Laurence Giroux-Do, Patrick Gosselin and Steeven Chouinard had approached French producer French Fox to produce a nostalgic, welcome view of glamour and Twiggy. It feels like being in a French discoclub in 1982.

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SPEAK – Peaks (2014)

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“Smoke your first cigarette/Scream as loud as you want/Scream as loud as you need/That’s what the 90’s were for.”
“We don’t need cheering up/We don’t need any more/We don’t need what we want/That’s what the 80’s were for.”
More than a touch of 1980’s synthpop the Austin band SPEAK. The band consists of the wonderfully names Troupe Gammage, Nick Hurt, Joey Delahoussaye and Jake Stewart. ‘Peaks’ featured on their sophomore album Pedals in 2014. Have a great weekend.

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Badly Drawn Boy – Once Around The Block (1999)

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Badly Drawn Boy’s album The Hour of Bewilderbeast seemingly came out of nowhere in 2000. Critics told us that he took his cues from from Harry Nilsson and Beck. Listeners simply found themselves lost in the observational baroque pop of Damon Gough. ‘Once Around The Block’ was released a year earlier as the first single off the album.

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Phoenix – Ti Amo (2017)

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Last month, Phoenix announced that their sixth album, Ti Amo, will be released on June 9, 2017. The title track remains true to the band’s ambition to deliver an album about summer and Italian discos. “Don’t tell me/Don’t tell me no.” It’s a further move away from the security of their soft-rock Strokes sound. Have a great week.

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LCD Soundsystem – Call The Police (2017)

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LCD Soundsystem have returned in the last week with ‘Call the Police’, a seven-minute ode to the sounds of David Bowie and U2. This is a welcome step off the dancefloor from my perspective. However, Mr James Murphy is evidently upset about something: “Well, there’s a full-blown rebellion but you’re easy to confuse/ By triggered kids and fakers and some questionable views,” he sings. The song is the lead single from the band’s upcoming new album – date and name TBC. Have a great week.

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Eels – Last Stop: This Town (1998)

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In 1998, the Eels took an introspective turn for their second release, Electro-Shock Blues. It was still pop music, but much darker than debut Beautiful Freak. ‘Last Stop: This Town’ is about singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett’s (aka E) sister Elizabeth, who had committed suicide. The video features a spinning carrot that slowly turns into a clone of E. Yes, indeed.

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