Spice Girls mops up the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony

I am actually really glad I have the day off work today because I would have been a mess behind my desk, still trembling with joy from watching the Spice Girls perform at the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony.

SPICE GIRLS OLYMPICS GIF

Years from now we will be telling our children’s children about where we were the minute the legendary five showed up on stage in individually customised London black cabs and turned the par-tee.

Everyone’s favourite British girl band reuniting to perform at the Olympics Closing Ceremony was probably the worst kept secret ever, and by the time we got to the rehearsals stage, paparazzi snaps of all five on site pointing and fist-pumping pretty much sealed the deal.

The Spice Girls rocked up looking like proper pop music royalty, each of them in flawless form, bearing some modernised interpretation of their Spice branding: Victoria in a fitting little black dress with a metre-long train, Geri reviving Cool Britannica in a regal red short dress with gold chains and the Union Jack flag fashionable scrunched at her derry, framing her in a sexy ball grown silhouette, Emma in a girly pink number with exaggerated shoulders pads, Melanie C softening her sportiness with an ethereal all-white pants suit, and Mel B upgrading from animal prints to a heart-arresting, sequined nude catsuit.

SPICE GIRLS OLYMPICS

Our fabulous five blasted on stage with their debut single ‘Wannabe’ – which tore up the pop charts 16 years ago – and it’s apparent from the minute they stepped out of their black cabs that the same feisty girl power energy is still alive and well in all of them – some might argue that Victoria is, perhaps, better at containing it.

Just like a few other performers, the Spice Girls sang completely live with the aid of a backing vocal track, which was particularly obvious during the chorus in both ‘Wannabe’ and ‘Spice Up Your Life’.

It was evidently not the vocal performance of the night, but then again, since when did these anthemic hits called for extreme vocal prowess? These songs, just like so many of the Spice Girls‘ hits, were about conveying a feeling and infectious energy. So, did Ginger, Sporty, Scary, Baby and Posh successfully recapture the mood and euphoria we first felt listening to both records? Yes – and then some.

That’s easily the single best reason why this reunion performance is a winner.

VICTORIA BECKHAM LONDON OLYMPICS CLOSING CEREMONY

The minute each of them mounted a black cab and went on a race around the stadium – fuck, bitch – it was all over. The immensity of witnessing Victoria‘s eleganza, with her train and long brown mane flying in the air, was enough to slay a queen.

Even though the performance saw each of them arriving in their own taxi, bearing their own look, and often taking their own part of the stage – it still feels like a unit. The Spice Girls, to me, has always been a collection of five distinctly branded females that when combined brought this irrepressibly camp and feisty energy.

I think it’s brilliant that just for a few minutes on stage, these five women – who have all moved on with their own lives, family and solo projects – can come back and play a popstar character that brought millions of people all around the world so much joy. And on top of that, do it so damn well.

Long live the Spice Girls.

SPICE GIRLS OLYMPICS 2012

Footnotes:

Links will inevitably be taken down. So watch the girls take over the Olympic Closing Ceremony while you can, wherever you can.

Marina and The Diamonds “Electra Heart” Album Artwork and Tracklisting

Sometimes with Marina Diamandis, you gotta be prepared to take the good with a load of wanky artist talk. But I’m now convined that somewhere inside all of this is an intelligent, fulfilling pop music listen that I don’t want to miss out on.

The critically-lauded British singer/songwriter has unveiled the artwork and final tracklisting for her sophomore album Electra Heart, which we’ve all heard murmurs about since late last year.

During the promo circuit for her last single ‘Radioactive’, Marina went to great lengths to depict Electra Heart as some complex, philosophical and high-brow pop album. There was a three-part music video trilogy uploaded on YouTube to foreshadow the album. It looked like a lot of thinking had gone into it but it wasn’t necessarily packaged in the most appealing way.

Basically, ‘Radioactive’ was the first take of Marina speaking to her indie music following in a parlance of mainstream dance/pop beats. I don’t think it was quite what they ordered. 

To be honest, it took me a second to get where she was going with this polished A-list production [Editor’s note: Dr Luke, Cirkut, Stargate, Diplo and Greg Kurstin are just some of the heavyweights involved]. But it just clicked when I heard her newest album track ‘Homewrecker’ and went back to ‘Fear and Loathing’.

Fingers crossed for more similar lightbulb moments when she launches the project’s official first single ‘Primadonna’ , which is set for a 16April release in the UK.

Check out the final tracklisting for Electra Heart:

1 – Bubblegum Bitch
2 – Primadonna
3 – Lies
4 – Homewrecker
5 – Starring Role
6 – The State of Dreaming
7 – Power and Control
8 – Living Dead
9 – Teen Idle
10 – Valley of The Dolls
11 – Hypocrates
12 – Fear and Loathing

Listen to the new album track ‘Homewrecker’:


 
Footnotes:

Marina and The Diamonds will launch Electra Heart in the UK on 30 April. Stay tuned for an Aussie drop date.

Guy Sebastian returns with ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’

Right, y’guys. I’ve had a few beers and have kept this on playback for a good two or three times – can we all now discuss the new Guy single?

“Is it really that bad? Really that bad? I don’t think it’s really that bad. Come on, get with it.”

The consistently verbose X Factor judge kinda caught me off guard with this one because I wasn’t expecting for him to unveil any new material this year. Not that he’d have any excuse not to, seeing as he’s had all year to work on an album and he’d be crazy to pass up on another lucrative X Factor cross-promo.

‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is very much a signature present-day Guy Sebastian radio single. It’s feel good, sun-soaked and universally appealing in a way that you’d expect for an artist of his brand and following to be.

Sonically, it’s very pleasing to hear him stick to a more Bruno Mars-style pop. The warmer musical textures complements Guy‘s voice like you won’t believe, as previously demonstrated in ‘Elevator Love’, ‘Like It Like That’ and ‘All To Myself’.

At this stage, I feel like I’m the only one who’s enjoying ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’. Judging by last night’s Twitter response, it seems like most of y’all are a little put off by the cheesy lyrics. Look, here’s the deal. I actually quite like a good pop song with a message. There aren’t too many singles floating around the Top 40 right now that’s flaunting storytelling of this calibre.

Listen to ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’, which Guy said was inspired after he copped a road rage earbashing:


 
Any pop song game enough to name-check KFC and rhyme it with GFC (global financial crisis), gets my snap of approval. ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is very much a guilty pleasure listening but I reckon that’s exactly how it was intended to be.

‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is not here to snatch wigs, alter pop music trends, or fanfare a bold new direction for Guy. The concept really is as simple as the message behind the song – just a basic reminder to celebrate the simple things in life.

Call me soft but this is actually what I need after a long ass work week. This is the T.G.I.F. anthem for grown ups.

Footnotes:

Guy Sebastian‘s ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is now out on iTunes.

Kreesha Turner returns with “Tropic Electric”

Canadian soul/rhythmic pop siren Kreesha Turner is back and she ’bout to make it rain with a new look and sound.

I have to say, I’ve been in love with this girl ever since her stunning breakthrough album Passion caught my ears a few years back. Vocally, she reminds me of a more sophisticated and polished version of Jade Macrae. There were so many potential global smashes on that album, y’guys. If this is your first peek, do yourselves a favour and immerse in ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ and ‘Bounce With Me’ – the latter got a good run in a phone commercial.

Where that first venture served a smorgasbord of fresh-faced R&B, Tropic Electric sees Kreesha taking more risks with a flavoursome blend of Jamaican rhythmic influences and present time electro beats. The project has been deliberately sectioned into two parts with a vague clustering of more tropical rhythmic beats on the first disc and more Western pop/dance tracks on the second.

If Tropic Electric‘s designed as some round-the-world trip of different beats, then consider Kreesha‘s infallible vocals as your guide and constant in a changing soundscape. There are fluid movements from rump-shaking Jamaican beats in ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ to euphoric European house in ‘Love Again’, and mandatory balladsville in ‘I Could Stay’.

Check out the tracklisting for Tropic Electric:

Disc one

1 – Rock Paper Scissors
2 – I Feel My Darling (feat. Courtney John)
3 – My Kryptonite
4 – Don’t Leave Me Now
5 – Come My Way

Disc two

1 – I Could Stay
2 – Love Again
3 – Away From You
4 – Wherever You Are
5 – Killer In The Club

The project has to date spawned two singles, in true I Am… Sasha Fierce fashion, one from each disc. Take a look at the videos for ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ and ‘I Could Stay’ – both flaunting different sides of Kreesha‘s new afro-ed beauty look.

‘Rock Paper Scissors’ – who run the world?


 
‘I Could Stay’ – she’s a glamazon.


 
Footnotes:

Kreesha Turner‘s Tropic Electric is now out in Canada. Fingers crossed for a worldwide release sometime down the line.

Kelly Rowland ‘Down For Whatever’ (Live on Graham Norton)

Fuck yeah, Kelendria. This is what it’s all about. The UK X Factor judge is finally going to work with ‘Down For Whatever’, serving a few levels of fierceness in the debut TV performance of her new international single.

The stroblit dance/pop single is a splendid return to form for Kelly, who’s largely known for purveying club-ready cuts in Europe. While a lot of the recent Here I Am promo has been focused on the US market – delivering the urban #1 hit ‘Motivation’ and sexy ‘Lay It On Me’ – Kelendria is now coming back for the Brits.

Dance composition or not, you can’t take the urban diva out of the girl. Look at her oversinging every line in ‘Down For Whatever’ here in some effort to prove that a) she can, and b) she’s doing it live. I did clench a little tighter to my arm rest when she arrived at the bridge to belt out that massive top note.

The tight choreography, coupled with Kelendria‘s energy and light spectacle really made ‘Down For Whatever’ a treat to experience live. I am now gagging to see how much bigger it’s gonna be on the X Factor stage.


 
Kelendria‘s international version of Here I Am, which will be launched in the UK at the end of the month, has to be one of the most underwhelming re-releases I’ve come across this year.

Y’all remember how she said she was already back in the studio weeks after the US edition came out and that there’ll be brand new pop tracks on the international version? That didn’t happen. The rebooted version of Here I Am will feature a pink filtered cover art and the previously released standard edition tracklisting plus: ‘Heaven and Earth’, ‘Each Other’, ‘When Love Takes Over’, ‘Rose Colored Glasses’, ‘Motivation (Diplo Remix)’, ‘Forever and A Day’ and ‘What A Feeling’.

So basically all the hit dance collabos she had served in the last year or so and the other rogue singles pre-Here I Am. The obvious exclusion from the pack is the sassy urban digital single ‘Grown Woman’. I suppose all the previously unreleased material will remain in the vault until her 2012 album comes out.

Footnotes:

Kelendria Trene Rowland will launch ‘Down For Whatever’ in the UK on 21 November and the international edition of Here I Am will follow on 28 November.

Here in Australia, the ‘Down For Whatever’ single EP is already out on iTunes but we’re yet to see local media run with it. The international version of Here I Am will touch down at our shelves on 2 December.

Beyoncé ‘Countdown’ (Live on Jimmy Fallon)

I guess them music videos weren’t the only things Bey had pre-recorded before the bump blossomed. Here’s one she prepared earlier.

Beyoncé‘s recently unveiled live performance of ‘Countdown’ on Jimmy Fallon is possibly the first of many taped promo material she did back in July. As y’all can see, she was comfortably rocking a figure-hugging dress then and carrying on like it’s business as usual.

The live band spectacle sans her usual troupe of dancers gave a refreshingly organic experience but I wonder if we’ll see any live choreography for ‘Countdown’. I mean, she put in some ever so slight dancing for the Live at Roseland Ballroom show. I am not holding my breath for her to throw it down like a beast to ‘Countdown’.


 
Footnotes:

‘Countdown’ moves up to #71 on the US Billboard Hot 100, while ‘Party’ ascends to #54. I suppose we can also expect for pre-taped live performances of ‘Party’, ‘Love on Top’ and ‘End of Time’ to be revealed sometime soon as well.

Parade’s Self-Titled Album Tracklisting and Details

I shudder to peep how badly this is gonna flop but burgeoning British girl band Parade are forging ahead with an album release anyway, despite only having one short-lived Top 10 hit.

The well-styled quintet appears to have the charisma, nerve and flavour to be the next best girl band – except, they’re sorely missing the all important right songs.

Parade presents a colourful and very current kind of teen girl pop the market could do with now that The Saturdays have ascended to appealing to twentysomethings and Sugababes are well over the hill. They’ve gigged hard for most of the year – supporting Shakira, the Black Eyed Peas and, come December, Melanie C. Surely they owe it to their ever growing fan base to put something out before this year’s X Factor girl band du jour, Little Mix, graduates and threatens to snatch serious wigs.

Parade‘s self-titled debut will feature their first single ‘Louder’ (a Top 10 smash in the UK) and delightful follow up ‘Perfume’, which I quite enjoyed (especially the Wideboys Remix). There’ll also be other future dance/club smashes in ‘Stars’ and ‘Rollercoaster’, coupled with some sensible heartfelt pop like ‘Rokstar’ and future hit-in-waiting ‘Like You’. Some producers involved include The Fairground (who has worked with Alesha Dixon), Greg Kurstin (Kylie Minogue and Kelly Clarkson), Sandy Vee (Rihanna and David Guetta), and Steve Mac (Aggros Santos and The Saturdays).

Check out the final Parade album tracklisting:

1 – Louder
2 – Like you
3 – Ticking On It
4 – Perfume
5 – Just A Girl
6 – Knock on My Door
7 – Stars
8 – Mr Right Now
9 – Shoes
10 – Pretty Ugly
11 – Weatherman
12 – Yes You Are
13 – Rokstar
14 – Rollercoaster

Listen to an acoustic performance of their album track ‘Rokstar’:


 

I quite like the sound of ‘Rokstar’ but it’s very much a grown woman’s ballad. Something you’d pitch to LeToya Luckett, not a bunch of teeny bopper girls dressed in floral tops and jeans shorts.

The girls’ label – Asylum Records – isn’t at all known for handling pop acts. In fact, Alesha Dixon was probably as pop as they went before they dropped her after The Entertainer flopped hard earlier this year. With a roster full of hip hop acts like Gucci Mane and Ginuwine, I really hope they know what they’re doing with these young ladies.

Not to piss on their Parade or anything [Editor’s note: such a tireless pun] but is this album supposed to simply drop its raw ass on UK shelves with no single to support its release? An extremely questionable move, if you ask me. Especially given that their last single ‘Perfume’ flopped at #38 over four months ago. Ain’t nobody gonna turn up to this Parade.

Footnotes:

Parade will release their self-titled album on 14 November. Are you on board?