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Nu Shooz

Pop Rewind: Nu Shooz “I Can’t Wait”

Between the heavy synths, drum loops, big hair and oversize pastel clothes, nothing screams the 80’s like freestyle dance-pop group Nu Shooz. While they only made a brief appearance on the mainstream charts, barely missing one-hit wonder status by logging two Top-40 hits, the husband-and-wife team of Valerie Day and John Smith got feet moving on dance floors around the world, especially with their biggest hit, “I Can’t Wait.” While […]

Britney Jean

Britney Spears “Britney Jean” –Album Review

RCA (2013)

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there was a lot riding on the release of Britney Jean, Britney Spears’ widely-touted, much anticipated new album. Several years past a string of erratic, meltdown-like behaviors and PR nightmares in which she became the worst caricature of herself—with some of the offstage drama news as fresh as her stint last year on Simon Cowell’s X-Factor—for the past few months […]

Lady Gaga ARTPOP

Lady Gaga “ARTPOP” –Album Review

Interscope (2013)

“The devil whispered behind the leaves, ‘It’s pretty, but it is art?’” –The Conundrum of the Workshops You gotta hand it to Lady Gaga; she’s nothing if not creative and ambitious. You never know from moment to moment what she’s going to do, say, look like, or wear; in a sense, she’s turned keeping-people-guessing into an art form in itself. Her long-awaited, much anticipated effort ARTPOP springs from a self-proclaimed […]

Katy Perry PRISM

A Multi-Faceted Katy Perry: “PRISM” –Album Review

Capitol (2013)

Let me just start with this: “Roar” has got to be the catchiest single that Katy Perry has ever released—this, from a proven hitmaker. Suffice it to say that the bar was raised several notches by that single, meaning her latest effort PRISM gets to launch up against a huge wall of expectations. Remarkably, those expectations are met…with a roar. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.) As a rule of thumb, I’m […]

Britney Spears Work Bitch

Britney Spears: A Career Revival?

(Maybe so, maybe not)

Dance-pop diva Britney Spears seems to be a busy girl since these days, and for a change, the news is being kind to her. Last week, she became the latest not-quite-a-victim of an Internet leak and subsequently released her catchy new dance single “Work B**ch” a day early, which is already expected to bow on the Billboard Top 20. She’s following that up with her eighth studio release on December […]

Backstreet Boys In a World Like This

Backstreet Boys Act Their Age “In a World Like This” –Album Review

K-BAHN, LLC (2013)

It’s now safe to say the era of the “boy band” is experiencing a revival. With young whippersnappers like One Direction now dominating the charts on one end, and long-goners like New Kids On the Block trying to regain relevance on the other, a pop landscape once void of boy bands now finds a full array of testosterone-laden attempts to make the tween girls swoon. It’s also safe to say […]

Selena Gomez Stars Dance

Selena Gomez “Stars Dance” –Album Review

Hollywood Records (2013)

When you think about it, Selena Gomez is really in a fairly undesirable position. Just turning 21, she’s navigating this awkward transition place between shedding the sweet Disney kid image and being viewed not only as a serious pop star, but as an adult. And the on-off-on-off relationship with Justin Bieber is a double-edged sword, because while it’s given her some natural publicity and gotten her name known—it also means that […]


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 […]


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 […]


Calvin Harris “18 Months”: Album Review

Fly Eye (2012)

If ever an artist’s Twitter account reflected their musical output, it’s Calvin Harris’. When he arrived on the scene in 2007 as a slightly awkward but intriguing pop star, he was prone to posting amusing stream-of-consciousness tweets that were in keeping with his oddball dance-pop sound. Five years later and his feed is full of banal promotional messages and complimentary retweets that suggest all the personality has been sapped out […]


Ayah Marar “The Real”: Album Review

Transmission (2012)

The go-to diva for any self-respecting British dance hit-maker, Ayah Marar has been earning her stripes assisting the likes of Calvin Harris, Toddla T and DJ Fresh for the best part of a decade since emigrating from Jordan as a fresh-faced 18-year-old. Finally given the chance to step out in the limelight on her own, her debut album, The Real, suggests she’s spent her time as an anonymous backing singer […]


Pop Rewind: Rick Astley

For a couple of years in the late 1980s, two radio singles essentially defined dance-pop for Top-40 radio. Both of them sounded remarkably similar, and both were by Rick Astley, the British singer with the surprisingly deep voice and boyish face. Seriously. “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Together Forever” both from the album Whenever You Need Somebody, sounded like they were pretty much the same song, just with different […]