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Pop Music

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The Hanson Dilemma: Can “Anthem” Save Them?

3CG Records (2013)

In the music business, there are inherent pitfalls in becoming too big, too quickly. This is something that bro-band Hanson know all too well. In the 1990s, these cute, long-haired Okie teens had a whole generation of tweens “MMBopp”-ing along, their posters plastered across the bedroom walls of almost every young girl in America. But eventually teen heartthrobs grow up, and when the Hanson boys outgrew their teen sensation persona, […]


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Pop Rewind: Cher “Believe”

Cher is one of those lasting superstars who has often been caricatured for her outgoing diva personality, her (lack of) dress and her, um, procedures. But a career spanning five decades has proven that behind all the sensationalism is a woman with an incredible amount of talent. How else can you explain a pop star whose heyday was supposedly back in the 1970s, staging not one, but two comebacks (one […]


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Pop Rewind: Roxette “The Look”

Swedish pop duo Roxette is one of those acts who impacted the music of the U.S. for only a short time, but whose international reach went much farther. They only charted here with a few singles over a few years as the 80s’ melded into the 90’s, but in that brief window they helped define the sound of popular music during that time. Meanwhile, they had 19 Top-40 hits in […]


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Zooey Deschanel Directs She & Him Video “I Could’ve Been Your Girl”

There’s a perpetual look that actress/singer Zooey Deschanel seems to have on her face, or just behind her eyes. It’s a knowing kind of look, like someone who is just about to reveal a punchline (except she never really does); or perhaps it’s the look of someone who is forever subtly poking fun at herself. However you describe it, it makes her irresistible (one writer described her as “adorkable”), and […]


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Pop Rewind: Bananarama “Cruel Summer”

Hey! Anyone remember that scene in The Karate Kid when Ralph Macchio’s character is trying to figure out the rules in a new high school, and that blond-haired kid that knows karate keeps bullying him? Remember the bouncy-but-sad song playing in the background while that’s going on? That’s how most of America originally became familiar with “Cruel Summer” by UK girl group Bananarama. Actually, that song is a textbook example […]


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Demi Lovato, “Demi”, and Stories Of Success

Hollywood Records (2013)

These days, it seems the term “serious popstar” is a bit of an oxymoron. In many cases, today’s popstars are either so twee and bubble-gummy that it makes your gums hurt to listen to them, or their personal lives are so filled with self-inflicted drama that it’s impossible to take them seriously. Disney-TV-sweetheart-turned-talent-show-judge Demi Lovato could very easily have found herself in either of these two gutters: groomed for stardom […]


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Fitz and the Tantrums “More Than Just a Dream” – Album Review

Elektra Records (2013)

After the runaway success of their debut album Pickin’ Up the Pieces, retro-soul act Fitz and the Tantrums were faced with a unique challenge. Retro acts draw their popularity from drawing upon the emotions and feelings of so-called glory days, but the flip side of this double-edged sword is that if the sound in question went out of vogue once, it will do so again, eventually. Fitz had to find […]


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Pop Rewind: Toni Basil “Mickey”

Another one-hit wonder from the 1980s, “Mickey” by Toni Basil rocketed to the top of the charts in 1982, knocking Lionel Richie’s “Truly” out of the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100. The accompanying video was an early favorite on the newly-formed MTV, and within a year the single had gone double-platinum—a testament of sorts to the influence MTV was to have on record sales. Although she only made […]


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Jessica Sanchez “You, Me and the Music”—Album Review

Interscope (2013)

Enter the latest American Idol contestant to jump into the album chart race. Last remembered by television viewers as the young R&B/pop songstress beat out by current chart topper Phillip Phillips in Season 11, Jessica Sanchez is back on the scene with new record deal, an upcoming role on Glee, and a full-length debut album You, Me and the Music. While Sanchez is primarily remembered for her penchant for power […]


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Pop Rewind: Debbie Gibson “Foolish Beat”

How can I put this? Before there was Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber, there was Debbie Gibson. In the 80’s music scene, teenage pop stars were fairly rare, which is perhaps why then-17-year-old Debbie Gibson made such a splash with her breakout album Out of the Blue. Her top hit from that record, “Foolish Beat,” was a record-setter, garnering her an entry in the 1988 Guinness Book of World Records […]


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will.i.am “#willpower” – Album Review

Interscope (2013)

You get the feeling that the socially-conscious hip-hop version of will.i.am that arrived in the late 90s would have been ashamed if he saw what he was to become just a decade later. Not content with dragging The Black Eyed Peas down to the lowest common denominator level with a string of mindless ‘fun in the club’ anthems, the 38-year-old is also now inflicting a second wave of trash-pop with […]


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Why You Should Keep Your Eye on Haim

Perhaps not since the breakout of Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men has there been so much hype swirling around a band when their debut album has yet to be released. Even so, the sibling girl act known simply by their last name “Haim” has been dominating the blogosphere, showing up on a ridiculous number of bands-to-watch list (including ours), landing tour slots with the likes of Mumford & Sons and […]


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New Kids On the Block “10” – Album Review

NKOTB Music (2013)

(Sigh) Really? Okay, let’s start by saying something nice. With catchy songs, good looks and great performance value, New Kids On the Block certainly deserved the popularity and success they achieved in the late 1980s, setting a new standard for the pop “boy band” that influenced acts like N*Sync and Backstreet Boys. Their success even provided a platform for the recent success of One Direction and their ilk. Neither was […]


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Dido “Girl Who Got Away” – Album Review

Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited (2013)

Let no one say that Dido hasn’t found a niche in the electronic pop market. When you listen to a Dido song, you pretty much know what to expect: understated, melancholy, sleepy vocals set over a mid-tempo or down-tempo blend of electronic (and occasionally acoustic) instruments. Somewhere between Enya (without the effected voice and Celtic vibe) and Ellie Goulding (with a bad cold and a hefty dose of Ny-Quil). I’m […]


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OneRepublic “Native” – Album Review

Mosely Music/Interscope Records (2013)

Since OneRepublic’s initial triple-platinum, worldwide hit “Apologize” (boosted with a little help from Timbaland), the band have admittedly had a lot to live up to. That song’s combination of cello, piano, and Ryan Tedder’s stratospheric vocals overlaid on a slow hip-hop beat captured the world’s imagination. Two albums later, the band has fallen into the rut of producing the occasional ear-worm hit song that everyone recognizes but far fewer can […]


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