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halcyon

Ellie Goulding “Halcyon”: Album Review

Ellie Goulding is one of those artists that sort of defies labeling. She fits loosely into pop, but her songs often lack a strong pop structure; she has a lot of electro elements in her sound, but when she opens her mouth to sing, that whisper-warbly voice of hers simply oozes Celtic folk. Not as mainstream as Madonna or Gaga, but not quite as experimental as Bjork or Imogen Heap. […]


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Adele’s “Skyfall” Theme Hits the Airwaves—And the Charts

Can we all just agree right now that all future James Bond movie themes should be performed by Adele? Since “Skyfall,” the opening theme from the upcoming James Bond film of the same name, was officially released to the public and started getting immediate radio airplay just five days ago, Billboard estimates that the single sold up to a quarter of a million downloads as the weekend came to a […]


foreveryourgirl

Pop Rewind: Paula Abdul “Straight Up”

Most people today know Paula Abdul as the 40-something, soft-hearted, often-weepy judge that sat next to Simon Cowell on American Idol (shifting regularly between punching him out and almost making out with him)—then sitting next to him on The X-Factor, only to get canned after the show’s first season in the U.S. But before all that drama, Paula Abdul was a pop star—more specifically, a dancer–turned-pop-star. Prior to releasing her […]


pushandshove

No Doubt Makes A Smart Comeback with “Push And Shove”

Interscope (2012)

Let’s face it—with their feet originally deep in the party dancehall-ska scene of yesteryear, no one would really expect No Doubt’s comeback album Push And Shove (their first in over a decade) to be a “serious” album. For that matter, for this kind of band to even make an album after all this time presents a serious risk, considering that so much in the dance/pop scene has changed since their […]


truthaboutlove

Pink “The Truth About Love”: Album Review

RCA Records (2012)

Over the years, Pink has truly established a niche for herself in the pop market as an edgy, hard-living, tough-talking, streetwise diva/bitch that you just better not mess with. A blonde who’s anything but dumb. Not having released a record in four years, and having become a mother in the meantime, many wondered whether her new record The Truth About Love would see a toned-down, less edgy Pink—much the way […]


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Carly Rae Jepsen “Kiss”: Album Review

Interscope (2012)

Finally. After months and months of hearing nothing but mega-hit “Call Me Maybe” over and over (with the exception of a duet with Owl City), Carly Rae Jepsen’s album Kiss is now available. Now we can hear more of this popstar’s range—you know, find out what she’s really capable of as an artist. Umm… You know about Oreo cookies, right? That first one tastes so good, it begs you to […]


Simple_Pleasures

Pop Rewind: Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

There are few musicians on the planet with careers as unique and diverse as Bobby McFerrin. He is perhaps best known for his niche of layered vocalizing, composing and recording songs completely a capella, using his own voice for melody, harmonies and mimicking the various “instruments.” Most people recognize the tune below, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” McFerrin’s single smash hit, which garnered three Grammys in 1988, including Song of the […]


millennium

Pop Rewind: Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way”

This week at the MTV Video Music Awards, UK boy band One Direction took the largest number of awards for their video “What Makes You Beautiful.” I can’t help but draw immediate comparisons to the last “boy band” craze of the 1990s, with bands like Backstreet Boys and N*Sync. So I thought it would be appropriate for this week’s Pop Rewind to revisit one of the Backstreet Boys’ biggest hits. […]


matchbox20north

Matchbox Twenty “North”—Album Review

Atlantic (2012)

Okay, time for some straight talk about Matchbox Twenty and their new release, North. When a band that had its heyday over a decade ago (and has gone through two hiatuses since) releases its first album of all-original material in ten years, it’s natural that a certain set of expectations is going to be tied to that project. For me, those expectations can be expressed as follows: It needs to […]


havoc

Alanis Morissette “Havoc and Bright Lights”—Album Review

Collective Sounds (2012)

One thing that makes singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette so endearing is the confessional nature of her music. Each of her records presents an honest snapshot of a different chapter of her life, the emotions of the moment pouring out into each song. Her latest, Havoc and Bright Lights, reveals an Alanis Morissette who is now a wife and mother, in a happier place than most of us have ever seen/heard her. […]


versionofevents

On the Radar: Emili Sandé

The name of UK pop/R&B singer Emili Sandé might not yet familiar to most Americans, but if current charting trends are any indication, this fact may very well change in the next few months. As Billboard reports, Sandé’s debut album Our Version Of Events (released January 2012) is currently within 6000 units of surpassing Adele’s 21 as the top selling album in the UK in 2012. Raised in Scotland, the […]


hunting

Pop Rewind: A-ha “Take On Me”

“Take On Me” is one of those songs many people recognize, but not as many know where it is from. This song, performed by Norwegian new-wave band A-ha, was a staple on Top-40 radio back in 1985, and today its signature synthesizer riff continues to be heard and recognized on many a shopping-center soundtrack. “Take On Me” first appeared on the band’s debut album Hunting High and Low, which garnered […]


midsummer

Owl City Misses the Mark on “The Midsummer Station”

Universal Republic (2012)

The Midsummer Station, the latest from electronic pop artist Adam Young (aka Owl City), leaves such a forgettable impression that it makes me think Young should have skipped this “station” completely. When Owl City’s breakout hit “Fireflies” hit the airwaves in 2009, part of the appeal was the fact that Young was writing and recording all his stuff alone in his basement. Not only was the song incredibly catchy, but […]


turnonlights

Daniel Powter “Turn On the Lights” –Album Review

Tearbridge Production (2012)

Let’s start with the good stuff about Turn On the Lights, the new release by pop singer/songwriter Daniel Powter. First off—for the most part, it’s great pop. Catchy hooks, clever lyricism, well-structured melodies, and solid production value without being over the top. All the things that make for a solid, marketable pop album. Indeed, while there are a few missteps here and there (which I’ll get to in a moment), […]


makeitbig

Pop Rewind: Wham! “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”

Considering that George Michael is reportedly performing at the London Olympics closing ceremonies this weekend, I thought it would be fun to go back to the era that first made him famous—the short lived, high profile 80s Brit-pop duo called Wham! The song below, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was the opening track of Wham!’s top-selling album Make It Big (1984), and is one of their most widely remembered […]


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