M.I.A. is an odd fish. According to wikipedia, her music combines elements of grime, hip-hop, ragga, dancehall, R&B, electro, and baile funk. I don't even know what half of those are, to tell you the truth, but they sound quite good when you throw them all together and get a young lady to shout over the top.
She released an album, Arular, two years ago which lots of bloggers raved about but no-one bought. For once, that was entirely justified. M.I.A.'s not one of those underground artists who's suddenly going to appear at number one. Her music is a bit too noisy and angular to embed itself in the national pop conciousness. Nontheless, she's insanely talented, and if you like something a bit different she will be right up your street. Not literally, of course. She thinks your street is rubbish.
Zane Lowe played the first official single from her second album, Boyz, last night. It’s a right old racket, but you'll like it. Promise.
I'm still in the hideous process of packing up everything I own just to move it three miles down the road to a nastier bit of London... The CDs alone now take up three storage boxes, two suitcases and a shoebox. Isn't homeowning great?
Anyway, I've still managed to find a few things worth looking at, even if I can't sit down and write my usual flawless prose (you at the back, stop laughing).
::Here is an MP3 of a remix of Timbaland's Give It To Me which eschews Nelly Furtado for Jay-Z. Westwood likes it. I reckon it's a beat searching for a song. (cripes, I hope I haven't just started the UK equivalent of rap's calamitous East coast / West coast feud. I don't even own a glock, or nothing.)
:: According to a "rumour" Nadine Coyle dumped Jesse Metcalfe because of his insane jealousy. The article doesn't say whether this was jealousy over other men or her ability to obtain gainful employment. (NB: I totally have an alibi for my whereabouts every time Jesse has been out of the country for the last 18 months).
:: Angelina Jolie says she was "very sexual" at Kindergarten and "created a game where I would kiss the boys". I bet she didn't mention that on the adoption papers.
:: Rap impresario Russell Simmons wants hip-hop artists to stop using the words Nigga, Ho and Bitches, it says here. Snoop Dogg has yet to comment, because his entire vocabulary has been taken away from him.
:: Vanessa Williams out of Ugly Betty (and singer of "Save The Best To Last"), Kristin Chenoweth out of The West Wing and Cassie out of, erm, Cassie have all gone naked and taken their clothes off and been starkers for a magazine. The scandal!
Actually, that reminds me - I've been meaning to write about Cassie for a while. I bought her self-titled debut album in the January sales and it has barely been off my iPod since. However, it appears I am not the only one who missed out on her melodious R&B stylings, as my favourite song on her album - Long Way 2 Go - only got to number 97(!!!) in the US charts.
Mind you, it could have been something to do with the terrible video, which tries so hard to "capture" the "myspace" "market" that it ends up looking like a leering uncle who's suddenly taken an interest in your Star Wars stickers.
:: PS - on the subject of Myspace, I noticed that the fifth most googled phrase that made people come to this site last month was "Myspace - twat directory". Whoever you are, I salute you.
We're currently in the process of ripping up Discopop Towers and moving it somewhere else. As a result, the blog might suffer a little. Especially as it looks like we'll lose our internet connection for three weeks (makes sad face).
Anyway, here's a quick rundown of some things on the fabulous magical interweb that have made me chirtle and, indeed, chortle.
:: Apologies to anyone who read my review of Spider-Man 3 and felt it was missing phrases like: "You bet your ass!", "Dude nails it," and "Spider-Man 3 is off the chain!". This is the review for you. Moron.
::Just Jared has the first shots of Heath Ledger as The Crow The Joker in the new Batman film. And yes, he is holding an humungous Rubik's Cube.
:: Gwen Stefani's tour rider includes the following non-calorific treats. Water, some more water, plums, bananas, a little bit more water, parsley, 2 AC power outlets (?) and some more water. Note to Gwen: A chicken sandwich won't kill you.
:: Here is Bjork doing her mad-as-a-box-of-hats thing on Saturday Night Live. Except it's recorded, and it's now Monday evening. Freaky.
:: While I'm talking about Bjork, here's her Rolling Stone Cover. Brilliant, no?
:: The ever-amazing Zeon's Music Blog has MP3s of Arctic Monkeys covering Amy Winehouse and The Strokes on Radio One. I am so over the Arctic Monkeys, by the way.
It's a brave film-maker that takes a $250m superhero movie and starts playing with the conventions of the summer blockbuster - but that's exactly what Sam Raimi, director and scriptwriter of Spider-Man 3 has done.
Of course, he's got reason to feel cocky. The last two instalments in the franchise have made more than $1.6bn at the box office, and won critical plaudits for their emotional and dramatic depth. I always found those elements a bit cheesy, myself. Simply saying "with great power comes great responsibility" over and over again doesn't make you Aristotle. You'd have to be Greek for that. And dead.
Nonetheless, Spider-Man 3 is probably the best outing yet. It juggles a bewildering number of story-lines, three villains, the aforementioned cod-psychology and a couple of comic set pieces with real confidence. It literally swaggers with bravado.
The basic idea is this: Peter Parker is finally comfortable with being Spider-Man. He's got his girl, he's being praised by the media and - frankly - he gets a bit too big for his webby boots (as an aside: look at Tobey Maguire's feet when you get a chance - they're huge, man). Predictably, he gets his comeuppance, learns some valuable lessons and saves the day. So far, so summer blockbuster.
It's really the comic asides that set the movie apart. In particular, JK Simmons turns in a note-perfect performance as Peter Parker's boss at the Daily Bugle, Jonah Jameson. You'll laugh so hard the person in front of you will be washing popcorn out of their hair for weeks.
Obviously, the special effects are great (Sandman in particular). The balletic flights through New York City are still as breath-taking now as they were five years ago in the first movie. They're still really obviously computer animated, too, but you won't care a jot. Oh, and James Franco is gorgeous as Harry Osborn. Or so mrsdiscopop says...
The shot, according to someone on the popjustice forums is from a film she's just completed called Bad Day. I've never heard of it. I don't know anything about it. I strongly recommend you don't watch it.
I don't know where this clip is from, or what it is for. All I do know is that I have to clean a great big pile of snot off my keyboard. From the laughing, you understand. I'm not some kind of mucus fetishising pervert. Except on bank holidays and religious festivals.
Mutya Buena was in the Sugababes. Then she sensationally quit to have a baby. But she got bored of sitting around watching Ballamory and mixing batches of Milupa, so she called up her mates and made some new records.
To start with, she released a drippy duet with George Michael. Then a toe-tapping dance thing with Groove Armada spurted onto the internet and people said it was, literally, "quite good". Now she has finally got together a proper solo record which expresses her true artistic vision and… erm, it's a rip-off of Lenny Kravitz's's'sss'''' It Ain't Over Til It's Over. Dear God, why?
I've listened to it a couple of times now and I still can't decide whether it's (a) very good or (b) complete lunacy. But here's the video so you can make up your own mind:
So, Robyn's album didn't even make the top 75 last week. Honestly, what is the world coming to when a website with a weekly readership of 500 can't hype a record into the charts? I read somewhere that Liberty X got a number one by selling their nan a teapot that played Just A Little when you poured a cuppa, so what's going on here? It's a right ruddy palaver, I tells ya.
Anyway, I'm not going to stop banging on about Robyn's (excellent) self-titled CD just because no-one is prepared to buy it. I am like a tiny insect with impeccable taste flying at great speed towards a juggernaut of indifference in the full belief I can stop it dead in its tracks. I am also inept at metaphor.
To get to the point: 1) Robyn did a live session for Radio One on Sunday night. 2) It was on at 1:30am. 3) You probably missed it. 4) Here are the MP3s.
1) The Discopop Deities list on the right hand side of the page has been updated. Some people have gone missing (poor Rachel Stevens). Others make a debut appearance (coo-ee, The Arcade Fire).
2) My Myspace page has been given a facelift. Will you be my friend? Indeed, in the immortal and slightly tarnished words of Gareth Glitter: "Do you want to be in my gang?" (Answer: No, fuck off you old perv).
1) When the Sugababes had their first hit with Overload in 2000, Siobhán was just three years old. 2) She quit the band after a fight where Mutya held her down while Keisha sprayed squirty cheese up her frock. 3) Siobhán's real name is Simon Potato. 4) Her ringtone is currently DJ Otzi's Hey Baby. 5) Siobhán plays recorder, guitar, piano, kazoo and the amazing hamster organ. 6) Her new single, Don't Give It Up, refers directly to the land-grabbing policies of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. 7) Siobhán thinks Robbie should rejoin Take That. "I think Robbie should rejoin Take That," she says. 8) On three separate occasions, Siobhán has sneezed and a spaghetti hoop has flown out of her nose. 9) She can write Latin with one hand while writing Greek with the other. She can also shell peas with her feet and speak language out of her mouth. 10) Amazingly, Siobhán Donaghy is an anagram of Petula Clark.
Siobhán's amazing new single is out this week, and is worth all of the 79 pennies you will have to buy it. Here's the video, in case you missed it last time round:
I've just downloaded the new Bjork single from iTunes and... it's a corker.
I was a massive fan of the Icelandic nutcase during the Debut / Post / Homogenic era, but my appreciation of her more recent work has been more, shall we say, intellectual. That is, I listen to it once while thinking to myself "oh, that's quite clever" before putting cotton wool in my ears to stem the bleeding.
But the new single (it's called Earth Intruders) is a different matter all together. Produced by Timbaland, it blows the socks off his tepid egowank of an album. In fact, it's so good it blows those socks into orbit. Around Venus. 20,000 years in the future.
Typically for a Bjork song, I haven't a clue what it's all about. The most repeated words are "twigs and branches". Bjork appears to be using said timber products to molest some jam jars. It is a glorious cacophony.
Here's something I didn't know... Channel 4 didn't commission a fourth series of Peep Show after the sitcom's last run got poor ratings. Luckily, they noticed how well the show was selling on DVD and changed its mind. Which means lots more awkward pauses, interior monologues and jokes about poo for all of us. (This is a good thing, by the way).
Here's one of the preview clips C4 have released from the new series, which starts on Friday the 13th (Woo-oooh spooky, etc).
Verbose popstress Natasha Bedingfield has a new album coming out at the end of the month. It is called NB, which is Latin for "note well" and also (dur) Natasha's initials. Impressive, eh?
Here is what to expect if you fork out a tenner for it.
1) How Do You Do? Natasha thinks girls should be able to ask guys out. Because in Bedingfield-world it's still 1873. Sounds like a Cossack dance produced by Kanye West. Superb. Obligatory Big word: Circumspect
2) I Wanna Have Your Babies Like a bad plot device in 24, Natasha has a ticking time-bomb between her thighs. (She wants babies, you see). Insanely catchy, if a little irritating. Obligatory Big word: Nonchalant
3) Soulmate Serious and important ballad, destined to haunt Simon Cowell at American Idol auditions until the day he dies. A bit yawn-worthy, truth be told. Obligatory Big word: Transitory
4) Who Knows "I'm in like with you / not in love with you". Natasha has been watching too much One Tree Hill, I reckon. There's a superb Prince-esque synth running through this, which makes it exactly six times better than a bagel. Obligatory Big word: Oxygenation
5) Say It Again The one she wrote with the bloke out of Maroon 5. Would not sound out of place in Top Shop, with all that implies. Obligatory Big word: Conglomerate
6) Pirate Bones This is more like it. A completely loopy song about Captain Jack Sparrow full of chunky great stabs of choppy piano. If Natasha did more of this sort of unfettered bonkers nonsense and less of the playing-it-safe American radio pap this album would be genius. Obligatory Big word: Counterfeit
7) Backyard NB is yearning for the innocent times of childhood. Which, for her, means about a quarter of an hour ago... Could be cloying and twee, but the key change in the chorus actually evokes a sense of nostalgia. Ooh, clever. Obligatory Big word: Bazooka
8) Tricky Angel Pretty chorus, but the production is a complete mess. There are so many competing voices it sounds like a visit to Robbie Williams' inner psyche. Now, there's a prospect that'll make you piss your pants. Twice. Obligatory Big word: Intervention
There hereby follows an "interlude" which is a bad photocopy of Imogen Heap's Hide And Seek. Frighteningly bad.
9) What Ifs [feat Eve] Eve puts Natasha's name in a rap, and it's as incongruous as a peacock at a wake. This will probably be a single. Obligatory Big word: Evidence
10) Not Givin' Up Natasha tells her man she's not giving up on their relationship, but it sounds less like a plea for love and understanding than the crazed threats of a demented stalker with a knife made of human bones. Creepy. Obligatory Big word: Aggravation
11) Still Here A particularly tedious piano ballad. It will sap your will to live. Skip! Obligatory Big word: Stegosaurus
12) Smell The Roses Natasha meets a wise old man who makes her re-assess the hectic pace of her modern urban existence, with its Sony Playstations and Spinach and Feta wraps. Thought-provoking. Obligatory Big word: Shoelaces
PS: Precisely three of those "big words" are completely made up. I'll leave you to decide which ones, readers.
I was going to do one of those graphics which lists things beside a gigantic arrow in order to illustrate how some things are better than others. But I'm too stupid to work out how to put links in it.
So, in descending order of amazingness, I present "A big list of things I have stolen found on the ineterents".
:: Amerie's new single, Gotta Work. Amerie now has two singles that sound exactly like Beyoncé's Crazy In Love. This is no bad thing, as Crazy in Love rips the shit out of every record released since, oooh, Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms (nb: joke). Here is an Mp3 for the curious [Amerie - Gotta Work]. I will give a big wet kiss to anyone who can tell me what the sample is.
:: Bjork dresses up for her new album cover.
I want a costume like this, and I want it now bitches.
:: Charlie Brooker on those irritating Mac and PC ads. "The ads are adapted from a near-identical American campaign - the only difference is the use of Mitchell and Webb. They are a logical choice in one sense (everyone likes them), but a curious choice in another, since they are best known for the television series Peep Show - probably the best sitcom of the past five years - in which Mitchell plays a repressed, neurotic underdog, and Webb plays a selfish, self-regarding poseur. So when you see the ads, you think, "PCs are a bit rubbish yet ultimately lovable, whereas Macs are just smug, preening tossers." In other words, it is a devastatingly accurate campaign." [Read more]
:: Timbaland's Shock Value album. Half of it borders on genius. Half of it is the violent misogynystic rambling of a deluded egomaniac. Buy Robyn's album instead.
:: Halle Berry gets a Hollywood star. Man, she really loves that sidewalk.
Or maybe she just fell over. Who knows?
:: Clive James on 24. "How hard can an actor grit his teeth before they shatter? Kiefer Sutherland grits them to the point where you imagine a Ming vase in a vice. When will they explode?" [Read more]
:: Alanis Morisette's April Fool joke. She did an "hilarious" cover version of the Black Eyed Peas' My Humps which a) Is a year late b) Labours the point somewhat c) Makes you yearn for the original.
No, I haven't gone mad - those are some of the lyrics to Lily Allen's new song...
You may remember that a couple of weeks back I posted MP3s of Norwegian popster Annie singing in Simlish. Simlish is the made-up nonsense language from The Sims 2, a computer game so addictive it has been made a class B narcotic in Finland.
Well, hot on the heels of that revelation, Lily Allen has done a Simlish version of Smile. EA, a video games company with almost limitless resources, have made a video for the song using in-game footage. In a bizarre twist, it is better than the actual video for the actual song. I like the bit where she sets her boyfriend on fire.