Posts tagged ‘Britney Spears’

May 2, 2010

Demo of Britney doing Lady Gaga’s “Telephone”

Apparently “Telephone” was written with Britney Spears in mind, but she rejected it. Here is the demo of Britney’s recording. I know this is just a demo, but that autotune is just awful. The song is pretty flat. I doubt that a completed version would have been half the monster that the Lady Gaga/Beyonce version is.

Here is the link to download it.

Britney – Telephone (demo)

Also, here are some U.S. troops in Afghanistan doing a video where there they dance to “Telephone”. It’s pretty funny. The dance one of the troops does at 1:05 is priceless.

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April 20, 2010

Christina Aguilera – Not Myself Tonight

Everyone is doing club bangers now. Personally, I sometimes feel like everyone wants to do a club track or 12 once in their lives. I’ve been awaiting Aguilera’s new album Bionic since I read the list of producers/co-writers she was working with: Le Tigre, M.I.A., Santigold, Ladytron, Sia, and Goldfrapp. That’s literally an electro dreamteam. This track was produced by some dude named Polow da Don, and it seems he hasn’t done anything that interested me up until now. If this is what the guy who I’ve not heard of has produced, this album could be fucking awesome. It might draw comparisons to Britney’s last two albums and Lady Gaga. But, Aguilera is working with ridiculously authentic, talented people, and if anything I’ve always felt that vocally Lady Gaga sounded like Aguilera. BTW, I guess being bi is the chic thing to mention in club tracks now?

Not Myself Tonight

The album is out June 8th. Neat album cover.
Bionic

March 23, 2010

This is why I love Britney.

Starbucks and Two Cigs!

Courtesy of The Superficial.

March 22, 2010

Master of Puppets vs Womanizer

When I was a teenager I was really big into the Big Four of metal: Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. At this point, 2009, I really feel like those bands were far more poppy then I realized at the time. “Master Of Puppets” might be over eight minutes long, but if you deconstruct the song, it has a regular pop structure: Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Outro. The main difference is that in “Master Of Puppets”, the bridge is the lengthy guitar soloing and staccato “Master! Master! Where’s the dreams I’ve been after?” part. That lengthy section serves the same purpose as the part in “Womanizer” that would be considered the bridge. A bridge is a contrasting section which leads back to the main melody. To illustrate my point, I’ve “mapped out” the sections of both songs, and you can listen along. I think you’ll be surprised.

Britney Spears – Womanizer

Intro 0:00 – 0:14
Verse 0:14 – 0:42
Pre-chorus 0:42 – 0:55
Chorus 0:55 – 1:23
Verse 2) 1:23 – 1:51
Pre-chorus 1:51 – 2:05
Chorus 2:05 – 2:32
Bridge 2:32 – 2:46
Chorus 2:46 – end

Metallica – Master Of Puppets

Intro 0:00 – 0:52
Verse 1 0:52 – 1:27
Pre-chorus 1:27 – 1:48
Chorus 1:48 – 2:10
Verse 2) 2:10 – 2:47
Pre-chorus 2:47 – 3:08
Chorus 3:08 – 3:30
Bridge 3:30 – 6:39
Verse 3) 6:39 – 7:15
Pre-chorus 7:15 – 7:35
Chorus – 7:35 – end

December 10, 2009

25 Favorite Songs Of 2009

The xx


Every year I do a Top 10 Favorite Albums list. Frankly, I had a hard time listening to all the music I wanted to this year. This is partially due to it being an extremely strong year for music. It’s really one big cliche now, but in this day and age, I found myself much more listening to specific songs on my iPod, instead of whole albums. So, instead, I bring you the 25 songs I loved the most this year. I recommend all host albums as well.

1. Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes: For a long time I aggressively didn’t “get” Animal Collective, partially as a “fuck you” posture. This song was the key, because it’s an art-rave track. Art-rave. Merriweather Post Pavillion makes the rest of their albums make sense.

2. Annie – Don’t Stop: Annie does intelligent indie electropop, which she calls “pop with strange edges”. This song is one of three truly new songs on her 2009 version of the album Don’t Stop. The heavy (but not in your face) beat, the twinkling synths, the whole production by Paul Epworth add up to a pop song that doesn’t sound pop. Her breathy sweet vocal on top ties it together. Few singers can sing breathy AND with bravado like she does. That is why Annie is special.

3. Bat For Lashes – Sleep Alone: Natasha Khan mixes some Indian guitar, a huge bassline, a stuttering pounding beat, some maracas, synths, and her gorgeously sad voice for a bewitching track about her literally casting a spell to combat her loneliness. She deserves to be said in the same company as Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks, and I point to a track like this as proof. Except Natasha Khan can do beats better than most electronic producers.

4. The Big Pink – Velvet: The British do epic electronic rock better than anyone else, and this track comes in line with that grand tradition. Headphone filling.

5. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career: Phil Spector reverb. And Campbell’s vocals which say her maudlin career is over, but sound like it’s not. Yeah, that’s Camera Obscura. What made me love this song is that twinkling upward piano line that runs throughout.

6. Neko Case – This Tornado Loves Me: It’s a obsessed love song expressed by a personified tornado. And it breaks your heart. Enough said.

7. Delorean – Seasun: This house song makes the world feel glorious. It sounds like sunrise over an ocean. Such a thrill when that beat drops halfway through.

8. Franz Ferdinand – Live Alone: It’s just a classic FF track. Lots of swagger, great synth chorus that sends the song skyward, and lyrics that somehow make not moving in together sound totally awesome.

9. Girls Aloud – The Loving Kind: Co-written with the Pet Shop Boys. If the Spice Girls had had songs that sounded this effortlessly good to your ears, they might still be around. Girls Aloud knocked this song out on their FIFTH album. Girl group perfection.

10. Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks: If the Beach Boys were still together and went indie-rock.

11. The Juan MacLean – Tonight: Disco house epic. Easily one of the very best tracks out of the DFA house so far. It’s how I feel about going out in song form: Melancholy, but hopeful and glad. I’ve played the song many times driving fast down the highway on my way out or back home late at night. The trumpet solo 5:30 – 6:45 makes life feel infinite.

12. Lady Gaga – Bad Romance: The first 35 seconds dominate. Frankly, this is the peak of Lady Gaga. It’s her on all cylinders, and makes me believe she’s a contender despite her bullshit. Sure, rave has existed for 20 years, but she’s managed to bring it to the masses like few else. Oh, and “Ra-ra-ah-ahah-roma-ro-mama-ga-ga-ooh-la-la.”

13. & 14. Major Lazer – Hold The Line / When You Hear The Bassline: Diplo and Switch’s dancehall creation was my favorite driving album this year. Shit is hot. The first two songs are the perfect example of how you start a mix. Atmospheric spaghetti western guitars begin “Hold The Line”, then the dancehall beat hits, and Mr Lex and Santigold sound badass. Love that Nokia vibration sound. It really makes your head vibrate. “When You Hear The Bassline” turns shit way up with that pounding… er bassline. I’ll put these two songs, and the entire album, against any hiphop, dancehall shit you play me, and it’ll be hotter.
Hold The Line:

When You Hear The Bassline:

15. Monsters Of Folk – Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.): Jim James, M. Ward, and Conor Oberst do some sorta trip hop sensual song. As a letter to God. I saw them live this year, and this song is gorgeous live.

16. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – The Tenure Itch: This to me is the sweetest, prettiest track off their album. For a debut album, they did their My Bloody Valentine indebted (heavily) thing really well, and this was my favorite moment. A song this romantic and shy is why their band name is the best name they could have.

17. The Phenomenal Handclap Band – All Of The Above: From an album that sounds like it was recorded in the 70’s, I think I listened to this song the most because of the strutting bassline that kicks in 47 seconds in.

18. The Raveonettes – Suicide: Their In And Out Of Control album was the Raveonettes embracing the pop part of their, in my opinion, iconic style. Which is appropriate, given Lust Lust Lust’s embrace of their feedback part. “Suicide” blew me away, because it is the sweetest, prettiest singing of the word “suicide” that has probably ever been committed to tape. And, the lyric is “Lick your lips and fuck suicide”, for the record. Only The Raveonettes.

19. Saint Etienne – The Sea: This track comes from the double disc reissue of a 1997 album that was previously Japan only, called Continental. “The Sea” comes late in an album filled with Saint Etienne’s usual pristine take on house and pop. Suddenly, Etienne drop a drum ‘n’ bass track. And, it’ll stand up to any drum ‘n’ bass track you’ll play me. Such is the greatness of Saint Etienne.

20. Saint Etienne – Girl VII (Richard X Remix): Taken from Richard X’s Foxbase Beta album, a remix of Saint Etienne’s entire debut album Foxbase Alpha. According to the commentary track to Foxbase Beta (yes, really), Saint Etienne say they wrote “Girl VII” to represent their impression of the glamour of London. Richard X takes “Girl VII” to such lush heights, you feel the glamour all the more. It’s one track on Foxbase Beta that I truly prefer to the original. And, that is rare in a remix. Somehow Richard X recreates “Girl VII” into a 4:30 minute constantly evolving and changing beast, yet all the elements came from, and follow, the original track. Epic. Perhaps the best remix I’ve ever heard.

21. Sally Shapiro – Mircale: Like others, I wasn’t as enamored with My Guilty Pleasure as much as Sally Shapiro’s debut. That’s what happens when you create a debut that’s borderline perfect. But, this electro track will always rank as one of her best. It’s Sally Shapiro at her most muscular and anthemic. And, for someone as breathy and shy as her, it was a welcome surprise.

22. Britney Spears – Womanizer: Why Britney is Britney.

23. The xx – Crystalized: I’m a huge sucker for male/female vocals. The way The xx weave their vocals together on “Crystalized” is magical. They do the atmospheric, minimalist, dreampop thing so well, and listening to this track and its host album breaks my heart in the best way possible.

24. Yacht – Afterlife: Here’s some sing-songy jaded female sung funky techno indie guitar shit. I’m still waiting for The DFA to get their due as a label. People mention labels like Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, and Saddle Creek. The DFA constantly shepherd incredible dance music, and I never hear their name mentioned unless LCD Soundsystem release music. Shame.

25. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero: Answered the question, “What if the YYYs added synthesizers?” Answer: Sound like the YYYs. Happily confirmed when the synthesizers become guitars after the first chorus. What a rush. They’re one of the very best bands we have right now.

July 2, 2009

Lady Gaga – The Fame

Let’s start with the good. They picked the singles really well. “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” are pretty decent club bangers with choruses that get stuck in your head. I particularly like the last minute of “Just Dance” where the song shifts to a 4/4 club beat. I also like the “live drum” beat of “Poker Face” and that “mamama” vocal bit. “Paparazzi” has a nice shuffling beat and 80’s new wave synths.

Unfortunately, the rest of the album is pretty terrible. Especially the last half. “Money Honey” is where she runs the ideas from “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” into the ground. “Again Again” slows things down to sub-Christina Aguilera balladry and the shuffling, swinging melody may be one of the most unoriginal melodies in existence and should be retired. “Boys Boys Boys” sounds like a Gwen Stefani / Rock Steady throwaway. “Brown Eyes” sounds like “Again Again” but worse. The “blues” guitar in the song is just about the most unconvincing thing on the whole album, and at points she sounds a little like Avril Lavigne. And that is a lot of the problem. The whole album is a pastiche of more talented, more original artists. Lady Gaga sounds like Annie Lennox in “Poker Face”. She sounds like Gwen Stefani again in “Summerboy”, and the song sounds like a Blondie or Franz Ferdinand rip that was popular two or three years ago. Final song “I Like It Rough” remembers that the album started as a electro pop record. It’s a pretty good despite the Aguilera theatrics.

“Lovegame” is the perfect example of why the album is awful lyrically. “Lets have some fun, this beat is sick, I want to take a ride on your disco stick” is in the running for worst lyrics ever. It’s not helped by a boring 90’s techno/rave melody that goes nowhere and stays that way. The awful “Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)”, which musically sounds like a track on an 80s comp I’d skip over, says it all in its title, doesn’t it. You can argue that she’s doing this as some sort of “piss take” on celebrity culture. But, it’s quite clear she has a huge marketing campaign behind her. It’s clear by her fashions and her early 90’s Madonna-like stage performances that she wants people to notice her. It’s also clear that by trying to reference David Bowie and Queen, and not the artists she really resembles (Aguilera, Stefani, etc), it’s a grab for some sort of respectability that is completely fabricated.

Now for something new to my blog. I’ve been so interested and critical of this album because I listen to a lot of female dance pop artists. I wanted to see why this woman has been selected as the “next Madonna” or whatever. I am completely unconvinced, and would like to give you examples of current female artists who deserve the same popularity and exposure as Lady Gaga is getting. And, also I’ll include some songs by popular artists that do what Lady Gaga does, but better. Lest you think I’m being a snob, the first song I pick is:

Britney Spears – Break The Ice from Blackout. This song also has the live drum sound going on, but the composition of the song is of such a high quality. The cycling synth line is infectuous. And, unlike anything on Lady Gaga’s album the song fills your headphones.

Girls Aloud – Biology from Chemistry. The song starts with a shambolic rendition of a typical bluesy guitar melody, but it’s a red herring. It quickly shifts into a galloping techno track that builds with a huge crescendo. The chorus doesn’t even hit until two minutes in. This is about as good as pop music gets.

Roisin Murphy – Movie Star from Overpowered. A synth riff more monstrous than anything off Lady Gaga’s album. And a lyrical topic tackled throughout Lady Gaga’s album. Just done in a self-aware, and tactful way.

Goldfrapp – Koko from Supernatural. Another huge synth riff, clearly influenced by Gary Numan and creating a pounding yet ethereal pop track out of it. Goldfrapp make their synths rock on this track. And the bridge is divine.

Annie – Loco from Don’t Stop. This song is unreleased. I love the mixture of techno synths and britpop guitar played by Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand. I still listen to this and am amazed Annie didn’t feel it good enough to release.

Sally Shapiro – Miracle from My Guilty Pleasure. From Shapiro’s second album due August 25th. Sally Shapiro’s first album was a gorgeous, unique, well-crafted piece of work, and this first single indicates her second album will bring more of the same only better. This track is a bit more aggressive and anthemic than her earlier work. I also love how her voice is used with the little whispers and multi-tracking.

Robyn – Dream On from Robyn. A bouncy electro track that is conscious of a world beyond fame and sex. Oh, and strings.

Ladytron – Destroy Everything You Touch from Witching Hour. Electro rock pop, gothic and vital and emotional. Bright and bouncy and a dab of shoegaze guitar at the end. It takes a ton of adjectives to explain just this one song.

Lykke Li – Little Bit from Youth Novels. And finally, a slower, quieter song. It’s just as electronic as any of the above songs, but with a pretty, vaguely exotic guitar figure. The lyrics have emotional complexity, but are just as bluntly sexual as Lady Gaga gets: “And for you I keep my legs apart and forget about my tainted heart.”

May 3, 2009

Music Snobbery

Much of music writing is surrounded by saying “____ sounds like / pays homage to / is influenced by / rips off ____”. I do it myself. I think it has value as a reference point, since music writing is attempting to put in terms of written language something that is aural. But, I think to get hung up on it as “_____ sucks because _____ did it first” only leads to denying yourself great music. I think at this point in history, 2009, there is little that has not been done before. No band or artist truly defies comparison anymore. Even Animal Collective, who are about as an original sounding band as you can find today, can be compared to the Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Orb, etc. Getting hung up on this kind of thinking is what separates a snob from someone who appreciates and enjoys good music. I think a term like “retro” is losing it’s utility. Music, whether from the 50’s or from the 80’s, is all part of the world’s collective consciousness now. The question is, do you find it enjoyable? You like the Jesus And Mary Chain. Great. The Raveonettes and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are clearly influenced by them, and have made enjoyable albums that recall their sound. Saying “I liked them better when they were called Jesus And Mary Chain” only serves to make you, who didn’t create either music, feel superior. All that ultimately should matter is whether or not you enjoy what you hear. I think most people, if they get past the nose aloft snobbishness, would realize that The Raveonettes take all their influences and write great songs. But, we all can’t be innovators in life. It’s insane, and probably leads to hypocrisy, to expect that of the music we listen to. To put a fence around the sound My Bloody Valentine pioneered, and say “no others shall drink of this well” would deny the world great music like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Talent is less subjective. I can’t write or play shit. After all, music is an art form and not all of us are artistically inclined. But, I think to simply define musical talent as “were you the first to create this sound” is far too strict and limiting. And, that is what you do when you dislike a band simply on the basis of “yeah, I liked them better when they were called ____”. Music makes the world a better, more bearable place. Snobbery only denies yourself a life enhancing, at times life changing, thing.

Finally, there’s a subtle distinction to be made between enjoyment and artistic appreciation. And, a lesson I had to learn in life is to separate the two. I had to stop caring if music I enjoyed listening to was also critically highly regarded. I enjoyed Britney Spears’ last two albums, but will I say she herself is talented? No. Think of it this way: I don’t like onions. People ask me, “How can you not like onions?” And, my only answer is, “They go into my mouth, and something in my brain says that I don’t like how they taste.” Music, in the end, is the same. Taste can be refined over time, especially if you take in more and more music. Perhaps if I ate more onions, more kinds of onions, I’d appreciate them more. It took a long time for me to appreciate Steely Dan. And, maybe all it took was a maturing of my musical palate. Yes, I just compared Steely Dan to onions. But, maybe I won’t ever like onions, just like I have never really liked The Cure. And, that’s OK.

December 15, 2008

Lily Allen covered “Womanizer”

My life is now complete. And I’m only 30. Ugh, I’m 30 = (

The videos keep getting pulled down, so this probably won’t work for long.

12/18/08: Updated with working video.

December 6, 2008

Celebrities without makeup.

I got into a conversation with Ian the other day about celebrities without makeup. I started showing him some pictures and he was pretty blown away. If I had control over the world (mwahahahaha) I would insist celebrities greatly cut down or not use makeup, no plastic surgery, etc. I would insist they look like normal people so normal people have accurate role models. I am by no means saying these woman aren’t still pretty. Just, more realistic. So, I thought I’d make a blog post and show some pictures. I’ll follow each with a picture of them all done up. I purposefully picked celebrities whom I personally find very attractive. Except for Holly Madison, whom I am including because it was seeing this picture that started the conversation.

This picture of Holly Madison, the main Playboy Girl Next Door.

Jessica Biel:

The celebrity love of my life, Christina Ricci

Heidi Klum

Jessica Alba

Angelina Jolie

Britney Spears

Scarlett Johansson, pictures of whom seem few and far between

And finally, Kim Kardashian

December 2, 2008

Oh right, this is a real pop artist.

Womanizer has caused an existential crisis. Aren’t I supposed to hate this music on principle? What kind of music snob am I? So, I watched some clips from Madonna’s Confessions Tour. Here’s “Erotica”, and look she sings while dancing. She actually dances just as much as her backup dancers. And, she’s 48 here. Fuck you Britney, you suck.