The contest–which is doing nothing to help aid in a lifelong fight against a laundry list of neuroses and vaguely narcissistic tendencies–is not over until Monday. As I’ve tried to “rise above” and forget about encouraging others to vote, I’ve been reduced to little more than nervous foot tapping and constant page refreshing approximately every three to four minutes.
In short, it’s a normal day for me.
To allay my woes, I’m doing all I can to distract myself with–What else? La Musique.
Way back in the day (as I recall it was either a Tuesday or a Saturday), I had a dream. It was a noble dream as I recall–To be on The Real World.
As a result, I spent a great deal of my childhood afternoon hours silently meditating on the swing outside my home, replaying the imagined events over and over again in my head: Befriending the bitch of the house, getting sassy in the club with the roomies, and, as I recall distinctly, a series-defining fit of rage in which I would dramatically dump a full bowl of cereal atop the Bible thumper’s head during a particularly heated mid-breakfast exchange.
I wasn’t very social back in the day. And, as it turned out, I found that my need for validation was more appropriately surfeited through written form rather than the help of seven absolute strangers and a handful of cameras.
Now if you’re British, you may well be asking yourselves: “What in the bloody Hell is this boy banging on about?” I’m getting to it–Hold your trousers.
Each and every time that I found myself recounting that season trailer, I would place the same track on repeat to supply the show’s mental soundtrack; a track in which I find I can continue to immerse myself completely to this day–Iio‘s 2001 smash, “Rapture.”
After the bra-zilliant 2006 release of their long-coming debut, Poetica, I have always kept tabs on both the group and its hypnotic lead vocalist, Nadia Ali. While Iio has seemingly shifted into “hiatus” after 2007′s remix album, Ali has made headway into the solo sphere. First came her luscious collaboration with Armin Van Buuren (2007′s “Who Is Watching”), followed by a debut solo single (2008′s “Crash And Burn”), and now? Now we have ourselves a little “Love Story.”
“Love Story” is not at all what I was expecting. To me, the track plays like a dreamy, modern reinterpretation of a Stevie Nicks ballad (who is cited as one of Ali’s musical influences) which, while following the standard trance format, still feels that much more hypnotic and ethereal in its strangely detached, dragging manner. Like most of what she does, there’s an impressive omniprescent quality in Ali’s delivery here, taking full hold over the song. In a world plagued by no-name, dime a dozen trance tracks, it’s always a comfort to have a pro like Nadia Ali come in and truly demonstrate command over the dancefloor.
On the down side, I do miss the masterful quality of Ali’s Middle Eastern classical vocal techniques (“Is It Love,” “Kiss You”), which have been seemingly subdued for his release. Blame it on the Bollywood-obsessed college roommate (I learned to forgive with time), but I’m a bit of a sucker for those stomach-turning instant pitch.
The single, which will be released March 9 on iTunes, is currently available at Beatport along with various remixes from the likes of Starkillers, Andy Moor, and more. MOAH?! Click here to see Nadia Ali’s MySpace.
What’d you say? You don’t know who Najoua Belyzel is?
I feel for you.
Najoua Belyzel is a gorgeous French-pop chanteuse–still somewhat new on the music scene–known for her minimally offensive, religious-themed dance-pop, faithful gay following, and unique vocal ticks. As a friend of mine once remarked about her vocal delivery, “It’s like Shakira‘s phrasing, but not as forced and awkward.” Spot on!
“La Bienvenue” (which basically translates to “Welcome”) is the lead-off single from Belyzel’s second album (if you don’t count the promo tease release of “Viens, Viens” from a few months back.)
The song is much breezier than anything found on her debut, implementing warm, summer melodies and relaxed vocals in place of the more moody synth stylings of songs like “Je Ferme Les Yeux.” But, as per usual in the world of Belyzel, you’ll need not dig much deeper than the lyrics to realize that all is not well:
She’s walking in silence, looking at the floor, she doesn’t dare
Forgetting this missing mother who didn’t love her
She wasn’t welcome, no she wasn’t welcome
She wasn’t welcome, just one more girl
Hey, at least it’s not about a child being molested by a doctor this time.
According to Julien, a French fan (who also graciously provided the translation above!), “La Bienvenue” will be available for digital and physical purchase in March.
And look…There’s even a video!
In the video, Belyzel finds herself wedged within a box. Upon squeezing herself out, she finds herself wearing an upside-down goose, paired with a fierce ass pair of booties.
From there on in, expect some familiar dabblings in fallen angel imagery and the greatest storyline for Britney‘s “Mannequin” ever told. I’m not sure what lesson we learn by the mini-film’s end, though I imagine it has something to do with women’s rights. Or Jesus.
But hey, don’t stop now–There’s album news as well! Au FÃ©minin, the much anticipated follow-up to her debut, is set for release! According to Julien, the album should be available in May.
Below is the tracklisting:
1 La Bienvenue
2 L’Ã‚me ExilÃ©e
3 Ma Sainte-Nitouche
4 Hey Hey Hey
5 Quand Revient L’EtÃ©
6 Au FÃ©minin
7 Viola (duet with Marc Lavoine)
8 Quand Revient L’EtÃ© (string quartet)
9 Combien De Fois
10 La TrÃªve (Acte I)
11 Tout Va Bien
12 Ma Vie N’Est Pas La Tienne
14 NÃ©e De L’Amour (Acte II)
15 Fille D’Orient Ou D’Occident
And for more information, check out Najoua’s blog (which is entirely in French.) Pretty pictures!
Najoua, je t’aime, ma chÃ©rie!
“RULE” is Hamasaki’s forty-fifth (sweet Jesus) single, planned as the international theme song for upcoming film, Dragonball Evolution.
With this new release, we find our Ayu returning once more to her classic rock roots, Grinding guitars and unstoppable, driving synths, as well as filtered vocals and a shouty chorus propel the track into familiar grungy musical territory (“Evolution”, “GAME”).
Sadly however, I remain unconvinced.
Similar to my sentiments regarding the previous single (“DAYS/GREEN”), I feel compelled to lament that, once again, the new single fails to inspire the same satisfaction presented within I Am…, Rainbow, or even MY STORY. I cannot help but declare the track to be ultimately…safe.
In some ways, I fear that Hamasaki has sonically surpassed her peak position, and is now preparing for a safe route back down toward the summit. She’s proven herself an icon, garnered an impossibly successful record run, and managed to stay relevant in an industry known for shape-shifting. However, nothing she’s done in the past two or three years seems to be connecting with me as well as her earlier work.
Perhaps it’s just my natural progression away from the J-Pop scene in the past few months?
Either way, I hope to be proven wrong in the near future.
The single “RULE/SPARKLE” will be released February 25. Click here to pre-order now!
Ayu…Return to the underground dance scene. For me? …Please?
VEGA, the former frontman of Ghosthustler, is now preparing to pave his own path.
Sometime this spring, Vega is set to debut the All Too Vivid EP on Vogue College Records, a collection of five original tracks and two remixes.
“Well Known Pleasures” happens to be one of those tracks. The synth-shivering, ghostly stomper mixes elements of bright electronica and indie rock vocal teases, much in the same vein as Cut Copy (far more Bright Like Neon Love than In Ghost Colours.) The result is a spastic success; catchy enough to have both dancefloor and indie enthusiasts alike tapping a toe or two.
Click here to learn more about VEGA.
Last night, I put in Miss Jackson‘s Janet. album, poured myself a tall glass of red wine, and got down with myself while cleaning up the apartment. Though I don’t remember much past the first few moments of mopping, I do know that my home is now sparkling clean.
Though I wish I knew where the mop went.
By the mid-90′s, following in the footsteps of the rest of our favorite ’80′s pop titans, Miss Janet decided it was finally time to shed that sugary sweet skin and start moving into the realm of pure, unadulterated smut (Thank God.)
Released in 1994 and produced by Janet’s golden hit-makers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, “Throb” was only officially released in The Netherlands. “Throb” managed to climb all the way to #66 on the Hot 100 Airplay Charts and #2 on the Hot Dance Club Play Charts in the US.
“Throb” is a ’90′s purist’s house track, featuring classic dance rhythms and beat breaks. The track swells and deflates in an aching, circular motion–not unlike a musical orgasm.
Primarily a horn-heavy affair, the song is a much grittier experience than the slinky seduction of the similarly timed “Erotica” from Madonna (though equally obscene as Grace Jones‘ 1993 #1 dancefloor smash, “Sex Drive”!) Surprisingly however, the track has aged brilliantly, and listening to it now is still an overly enjoyable experience.
Beware: Sex moans ahead.
Kids, this ain’t your mommy’s “Let’s Wait Awhile.”
Click here to purchase the album, Janet.