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Sophie Ellis Bextor

Now of course, the delightful Soph has only had two albums out so unless she is following the career path of Samantha Mumba or Billie Piper, she probably won't release a greatest hits just yet! However, after a spectacular and successful debut album, Sophie's second album sadly didn't perform as well and was cruelly abandoned by the record company (though her pregnancy may have had something to do with it?) It's called the Liberty X factor - put out an entirely decent album then only release two singles from it. Those popstars rejects have been coasting on the success of their debut for 5 years now! For her third album, Sophie and the record company will need to market it correctly for her to re-establish herself in the world of pop...

Her first album - Read My Lips - was an effortless lesson in breezy, cool, electro-pop. From the dance smash Groovejet to first single proper Take Me Home, the bar was set. Pop had gone classy and the cheesy (but brilliant) era of Steps, S Club et al was coming to an end. The anthemic Murder On The Dancefloor still has the gays stamping their foots on a saturday night (and once v drunk and waiting for the bar, I leaned across and mouthed the words to the barman at the part in the video where Sophie "confides" the lyrics to the judge. I've never been able to live down the shame). Then something weird happened. Despite 3 top five singles, there was a 7 month wait til the next single and that wasn't even on the album. Why Lover wasn't radio remixed and released in the meantime remains a mystery to me! Get Over You and Music Gets The Best Of Me were both great songs but to me, I couldn't work out whether the record company had lost faith in her songs on the album, or Sophie was eager to get something new out. And while she riding the "special edition" album success, she totally should have released Is It Any Wonder, a totally delightful swoony ballad at Christmas. And heck someone should have a hit with a decent song with that title (Zing keane!)

Shoot From The Hip wasn't quite the triumph of the debut, but was certainly a great album. Turning to the 80s for inspiration way before it was fashionable, the lead off two singles were instantly catchy and quite delightful, yet suffered what is now known as the "rachel stevens/jamelia" effect - quality pop debuting somewhere around no. 10. Then nothing - radio ready tracks like Nowhere Without You and Antoher Day were left languishing. And how about an Ep of covers - one way or another, lets get physical and yes sir i can boogie were sublime exercises in reinterpreting pop history.

Luckily her new single Catch You is a funky slice of electro pop that hopefully will debut higher than ten and lead to an album full of hits...


Take Me Home
Murder On The Dancefloor
Get Over You
Music Gets The Best Of Me
Is It Any Wonder?
Mixed Up World
I Won't Change You
Nowhere Without You
Another Day
Yes Sir I Can Boogie

Posted by Paul 10:13 PM 2 comments  


Robbie Williams
Disc One:
~ Freedom
~ Old Before I Die
~ Lazy Days
~ South Of The Border
~ Angels
~ Let Me Entertain You
~ Millenium
~ No Regrets
~ You Win Some You Lose Some
~ Strong
~ It's Only Us
~ She's The One
~ United
(bonus track)

Disc Two:
~ Rock DJ
~ Kids
~ Supreme Amour
~ Let Love Be Your Energy
~ Better Days
~ Eternity
~ We Are The Champions
~ Something Stupid
~ Feel
~ Come Undone
~ Something Beautiful
~ Sexed Up
~ Monsoon
~ Radio
~ Misunderstood

Posted by Paul 10:09 PM 1 comments  



The Immaculate Collection (Volume One Disc One)
~ Everybody
~ Lucky Star
~ Holiday
~ Borderline
~ Like A Virgin
~ Material Girl
~ Crazy For You
~ Into The Groove
~ Angel
~ Dress You Up
~ Gambler
~ Live To Tell
~ Papa Don't Preach
~ True Blue
~ Open Your Heart
~ La Isla Bonita

The Immaculate Collection (Volume One Disc Two)

~ Who's That Girl
~ Causing A Commotion
~ Look Of Love
~ Spotlight
~ Like A Prayer
~ Express Yourself
~ Cherish
~ Dear Jessie
~ Keep It Together
~ Vogue
~ Hanky Panky
~ Sooner Or Later
~ Justify My Love
~ Rescue Me

The Immaculate Collection (Volume Two Disc One)
~ This Used To Be My Playground
~ Erotica
~ Deeper and Deeper
~ Bad Girl
~ Fever
~ Rain
~ I'll Remember
~ Secret
~ Take A Bow
~ Don't Stop
~ Human Nature
~ Forbidden Love
~ You'll See
~ I Want You
~ One More Chance

The Immaculate Collection (Volume Two, Disc Two)

~ You Must Love Me
~ Don't Cry For Me Argentina (radio dance mix)
~ Buenos Aires (radio remix)
~ Frozen
~ Ray Of Light
~ Nothing Really Matters
~ Drowned World/Substitute For Love
~ Power of Goodbye
~ Beautiful Stranger
~ American Pie
~ Music
~ Don't Tell Me
~ What It Feels Like For A Girl
~ Amazing
~ GHV2 megamix

Posted by Paul 9:54 PM 0 comments  

Greatest Hits Done Right - NYE Blowout!

Whitney Houston

The Singles (volume one)
~ You Give Good Love
~ Saving All My Love For You
~ How Will I Know
~ The Greatest Love Of All
~ All At Once
~ I Wanna Dance With Somebody
~ Didn't We Almost Have It All
~ So Emotional
~ Where Do Broken Hearts Go
~ Love Will Save The Day
~ One Moment In Time
~ It Isn't It Wasn't It Ain't Never Gonna Be
~ I'm Your Baby Tonight
~ All The Man I Need
~ Miracle
~ My Name Is Not Susan
~ Something In Common

The Soundtracks
~ I Will Always Love You
~ I'm Every Woman
~ I Have Nothing
~ Run To You
~ Queen Of The Night
~ Exhale (Shoop Shoop Song)
~ Why Does It Hurt So Bad?
~ Count On Me
~ Step By Step
~ I Believe In You And Me
~ My Heart Is Bigger
~ You Were Loved
~ My Heart Is Calling
~ When You Believe

The Singles (volume two)
(note: I think some of the greatest hits tracks and those that were on My Love… should have been split across two albums proper rather than have a few songs on a greatest hits and then the love songs compilation. Sheesh whitney get it together!)

~ It's Not Right (But It's Okay)
~ My Love Is Your Love
~ Heartbreak Hotel
~ I Learned From The Best
~ You'll Never Walk Alone
~ Could I Have This Kiss Forever
~ Same Script Different Cast
~ If I Told You That
~ Until You Come Back
~ Whachalookinatme
~ One Of Those Days
~ On My Own
~Love That Man (remix)

(PS we love her new song Family First! A return to classic whitney fortunately, rather than bravo tv show whitney. I have hope!)

Posted by Paul 9:48 PM 1 comments  


21 ~ Nerina Pallot, Geek Love
20 ~ Elton John, Tinderbox
19 ~ The Magic Numbers, Take A Chance
18 ~ Dashboard Confessional, Stolen
17 ~ The Ordinary Boys, I Luv You (new entry)
16 ~ The Feeling, Love It When You Call
15 ~ Gavin Mikhail, Brave
14 ~ Lily Allen, Littlest Things
13 ~ Switch22 – Back To The Dancefloor
12 ~ Westlife, The Rose
11 ~ Simon Curtis, Broken
10 ~ G4, Danny Boy
09 ~ Paolo Nutini, Rewind
08 ~ Simon Curtis, Put Your Makeup On
07 ~ McFly, Sorry's Not Good Enough
06 ~ Scissor Sisters, Land Of A Thousand Words
05 ~ BWO, Will My Arms Be Strong Enough
04 ~ Jamelia, Beware Of The Dog
03 ~ The Killers, Bones
02 ~ Deborah Gibson, Sounds Like Love
01 ~ Take That, Patience (1 week/Christmas Number One)


21 ~ William Young covering Geek Love
20 ~ Scissor Sisters covering Tinderbox
19 ~ The Puppini Sisters covering Take A Chance
18 ~ Matt Willis covering Stolen
17 ~ Avril Lavigne covering I Luv U
16 ~ G4 covering Love It When You Call
15 ~ Shayne Ward covering Brave
14 ~ Robbie Williams covering Littlest Things
13 ~ Girls Aloud covering Back To The Dancefloor
12 ~ Leona Lewis covering The Rose
11 ~ Britney Spears covering Broken
10 ~ Macdonald Brothers covering Danny Boy
09 ~ Take That covering Rewind
08 ~ Kylie covering Put Your Makeup On
07 ~ Nerina Pallot covering Sorry's Not Good Enough
06 ~ Pacific Avenue covering Land Of A Thousand Words
05 ~ Sugababes covering Will My Arms Be Strong Enough
04 ~ Rachel Stevens covering Beware of The Dog
03 ~ McFly covering Bones
02 ~ Mariah Carey covering Sounds Like Love
01 ~ Eton Road covering Patience

Can i just say how thrilled I am that Take That and McFly took 2 and 3 in the british top 40 this week. Take That are still huge sellers and McFly deservedly did so much better than i thought they would. Merry Christmas indeed!

Posted by Paul 8:31 PM 0 comments  

THEZAPPING'S TOP SONGS OF 2006 (26 thru 11):

26 ~ BWO, Chariots of Fire
I certainly adored the Bodies' debut album but their sophomore Halycon Days kicked it into overdrive for me. This track is a great example of their ability to craft an insanely catchy pop song that deserves a worldwide platform on a much larger stage.
25 ~ Nerina Pallot, Everybody's Going To War
A year old song that benefited from a fun but wry commentary on war video (ooo a food fight – isn't war pointless) and a whipsmart remix and polish to make it one of the year's more enduring guitar based pop songs from a female singer. Corking live too!
24 ~ The Magic Numbers, Take A Chance
Love Me Like You Do and Forever Lost were two of my favourite songs of 2005. This, the first single from their sophomore album, suggested that while they still retained their sunny sparkle, there was a weariness now to their tunes adding some extra melancholy. Still utterly delicious though…
23~ William Young, All Time Love
A timeless, beautifully song and produced torch song that cemented William's status as the most effortlessly elegant act to come out of any of the Idols. A stunning, yet vulnerable vocal really raised this to a level few could wish to compete with.
22 ~ Dangerous Muse, The Rejection
So what if everyone was raping and pillaging the 80s for influences when songs sounded as exciting and funky as this track. The New York duo certainly built up a web following once this was out, and even now there is a certain thrill when you hear it…
21 ~ Jamelia, Beware Of The Dog
…and the 80s influence continued (or was Personal Jesus 1990?) as Jamelia sampled Depeche Mode and came up with one of the most invigorating pop records of the year. Catchy, dancy and sexy, it did of course get largely ignored by Britain, but what can you expect. Boo!
20 ~ McFly, Don't Stop Me Now
I suspect that many of McFly's Motion…songs will be showing up in this list in 2007. for now, my favourite scamps taking on my favourite Queen song proved to be a little bit too much as they covered it with insane amounts of glee dripping from every note.
19 ~ Jason Mraz, I'm Yours
"I cannot wait, I'm yours, I'm yours" sang Jason and suddenly someone had put into words how I felt as DazPartner and my civil partnership started to get wonderfully close. Simply the most romantic lovely song of the year, with some beautiful memories attached.
18 ~ Girls Aloud, Whole Lotta History
I'm not usually a fan of the Girls' ballads (as they are usually dodgy covers) but this one was a vision in serene beauty and is one of their strongest songs to date. Gorgeous harmonies, a lovely acoustic version and a less slutty than usual video made this the years most poignant break up song.
17 ~ William Young, Ain't Such A Bad Place To Be
William strikes again and gets a little bit funky on yo ass. Or something. The bastard child of George Michael and Prince, this was the spiritual offspring of his best track Your Game and cranked up the funk factor to 11. Why this wasn't a single is beyond me. Major sigh.
16 ~ Shayne Ward, That's My Goal.
Talking of spiritual offspring… I still believe that Shayne Ward is the most POP person ever to win idol/x factor and really, this countdown should be full of his songs. At least this winners single captured the excitement of the show, is a great tune and a powerful vocal from Britain's most mismanaged star.
15 ~ Gavin Mikhail, Brave.
Because Idol singles should be more like this – a lesson in simplicity is actually a multi layered track with great keyboard, optimistic lyrics, soaring vocals and a gigantic chorus. Quite possibly best idol single ever, by a non Idol person.
14 ~ BWO, We Could Be Heroes
Just as the lovely ballad Open Door was my intro to BWO, Heroes bought it back to me that the Swedish lovelies could do dreamboat as well as they could dance the gravy train. Brimming with hope and optimism, this made a lovely early summer single.
13 ~ The Feeling, Sewn
First of three entries for one of the best new acts of the year, this was the one that launched their career and is a gently lilting song that builds into a simple but effective singalong lalala refrain that kept it rightfully in the top ten for weeks. Great video too. Plus it introduced salivating bloggers to Dan Gillespie (Sex)Sells. Rar, etc.
12 ~ Paolo Nutini, These Streets
Now I know you all hate that I love James Blunt so be glad he didn't release new music this year. Fortunately Paolo stepped in instead and provided me with this wistful lookback on childhood and the simpler times we all knew back then. Certainly a rite of passage for this amazing new talent.
11 ~ Deborah Gibson, Someone You Love
I can't say I overly cared for her duet with Jordan Knight, but this valentine offering was a beautiful tale of recognising the joy and comfort we get from that person who loves us unconditionally, whether it be lover, family or friends. So very dreamy and one of my moms favourite songs of the year.
Click here for the top ten!

Posted by Paul 10:14 PM 0 comments  


20 ~ Rachel Stevens: Come and Get It
None of this 'they must have been released in 2006' for me! If I played it a lot in 2006, then it makes the list. Tragically, the public didn't love this superior slice of electro clash pop as much as I did. I Said Never Again… is one of the seminal singles of the past five years and should've been follow up Crazy Boys is equally delightful. Rach even wisely bagged an Alexis Strum song, showing her good taste in writers.
19 ~ Girls Aloud: Chemistry
Girls Aloud proved that with the right songs you can make a career out of reality tv. Their third album was the best yet, featuring the schizophrenic Biology, the ludicrously genius Long Hot Summer and a gorgeous ballad in the form of Whole Lotta History (ignore the dreadful See The Day). Other album tracks Racy Lacey and Models should've been single and made this long player shine.
18 ~ Jason Mraz: Mr A-Z
Despite the fact that his live show at the Academy got cut short and his encores of Geek In The Pink and Wordplay never got played, Mr Mraz's sophomore set was a wonderful mix of witty lyrics wrapped in perky pop tunes and poignant post 9-11 songs of hope and devotion. Life Is Wonderful is a gorgeous tune and his rare outtake from this cd – I'm Yours – soundtracked my civil partnership back in June.
17 ~ Gavin Mikhail: Like Normal People Do
So so much more than a Daniel Powter wannabe, Gavin is your every day guy who just happens to know how to write amazing pop songs that make the spirit soar and put optimism into your daily life. Stellar single Brave is a hit just waiting to happen and tracks like Back for More and Catch Your Fall just percolate with radio readiness. Indeed, this album would be perfect for one of those ubiquitous music show winners and so much better than a lot of the dross that they put out.
16 ~ Nerina Pallot: Fires
Originally released in 2005, it wasn't until this year that her sophomore set caught the imagination of the public. Suddenly Everybody's Going To War had a nifty remix and was all over radio, tv and billboards. Other tracks on the album were equally as elegantly constructed such as Geek Love, Learning to Breathe and Damascus. Plus songs like Idaho, Sophia and All Good People just sparkled with the ability to hook their refrains into your brain and get you through the bad times.
15 ~ Shayne Ward: Shayne Ward
It all started so well. That's My Goal was actually quite a good winners single for the X Factor and Shayne certainly did look quite foxy with his buzzed head and a nifty line in suits and shirts. Plus he'd performed lots of contemporary upbeat songs on the live shows so his album should be a relevant treat. It was only ok – the years highest placed disappointment, Shayne's voice and (yes I'm shallow) sheer sexiness raised it up to the point where the ballads shone through and the uptempo tracks showed real portential. And it's impossible to beat his amazing vocal on Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
14 ~ Jamelia: Walk With Me
The perfect follow up to Rachel Stevens Come And Get It opus was recorded by…Jamelia? And what an utter revelation it was. I had previously written off little Jamrag until the sugababes-esque Something About You came along and did it better than the most recent incarnation of the Babes have ever done. Beware of the Dog turned out to be one of the best pop songs of the year, while Window Shopping mixed camp, kitsch and chart appeal. Yes, this was one album that was destined to under sell and be hugely loved.
13 ~ The Upper Room: Other People's Problems
They started off the year as one of the more promising new groups, mixing bittersweet lyrics about small town life with beautifully crafted melodies and crystalline choruses. All Over This Town and Black&White were throwbacks to the Lilac Time 80s, sweetly bypassing the electronica revival. The album was packed with hit worthy tunes, but by the end of the year with radio not biting and tensions in the band, it sadly seems all over. I'm still down with OPP though and hope to hear more in some format or t'other!
12 ~ The Pipettes: We Are The Pipettes
Welcome to the years most fun album. They don't have the best voices in the world, and the Puppini Sisters certainly knew how to harmonise better. They do have incredibly contaigious songs that were intent on getting people on their feet and making them have a good time. Their live shows ramped up the enjoyment factor and tunes like ABC, Pull Shapes and Judy were dynamic and lovely in the extreme. The title track however, remains an exquisite exercise in hand clapping goodness and lunacy not seen since the hey day of TheB-52s.
11 ~ Paolo Nutini: These Streets
Winning the war for my heart, Paolo ended up kicking dirt in James Morrison's face and surprising me by coming up from behind and gently rocking me into submission. Title track and Last Request (as well as Rewind) proved that Paolo could so swoony moments of reflection and uncertainty alarmingly well for someone of such young years. He could also rock out with the best of them on tracks like the upbeat Jenny, Don't Be Hasty. His voice seemed to belong to another person, but his heart was on the line and he seemed less refined and less polished than James Morrison. Ultimately it made him the far better performer.
Click here to be taken back to the main page for the top ten!

Posted by Paul 1:59 PM 1 comments  

Top Twenty Albums of 2004

20 ~ The Ordinary Boys, Over The Counter Culture
19 ~ Jewel. 0304
18 ~ Kimberley Locke, Kimberley
17 ~ Sophie B Hawkins, Wilderness
16 ~ Nick Lachey, Soul-o
15 ~ JC Chasez, Schizophrenic
14 ~ McFly, Room On The Third Floor
13 ~ Barenaked Ladies, Everything to Everyone
12 ~ Ocean Colour Scene, North Atlantic Drift
11 ~ Jason Mraz, Curbside Prophet
10 ~ Clay Aiken, Measure Of A Man (oh the never ending shame)
09 ~ Agnetha Falgstok, My Colouring Book
08 ~ Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
07 ~ Dashboard Confessional, A Mark...
06 ~ The Killers, Hot Fuss
05 ~ Keane, Hopes and Fears
04 ~ Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters

03 ~ Deborah Gibson, Coloured Lights
02 ~ Will Young, Friday's Child
01 ~ Maroon 5, Songs About Jane

Top Twenty Four Songs of 2004

24 ~ Agnetha Falgstok, If I Thought
23 ~ Britney Spears, Toxic
22 ~ Keane, Somewhere Only We Know
21 ~ Kylie, Red Blooded Woman
20 ~ Scissor Sisters, Take Your Mama Out
19 ~ Will Young, Love Is A Matter Of Distance
18 ~ Maroon 5, She Will Be Loved
17 ~ Kylie, I Believe In You
16 ~ Deborah Gibson, On My Own
15 ~ Will Young, Leave Right Now
14 ~ Girls Aloud, Love Machine
13 ~ Franz Ferdinand, Take Me Out
12 ~ Dashboard Confessional, Vindicated
11 ~ Diana Degarmo, Don't Cry Out Loud
10 ~ Katie Melua, Closest Thing To Crazy
09 ~ Deborah, Christmas Without You
08 ~ Deborah, Raise The Roof
07 ~ Keane, Everybody's Changing
06 ~ The Killers, Somebody Told Me
05 ~ Scissor Sisters, laura
04 ~ Maroon 5, Harder To Breathe

03 ~ Deborah, I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love
02 ~ Maroon 5, This Love
01 ~ Will Young, Your Game

Top Twenty Albums of 2005

20 ~ Deborah Gibson, Think With Your Heart (my tenth anniversary edition)
19 ~ Girls Aloud, What Will The Neighbours Say
18 ~ The Click Five, Greetings From Imrie House
17 ~ Rachel Stevens, Come and Get It
16 ~ Robbie Williams, Intensive Care (robbies lowest ever placed album on year end chart )
15 ~ Madonna, Confession On A Dancefloor
14 ~ G4, G4
13 ~ Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters (2004 = No 4)
12 ~ Keane, Hopes and Fears (2004 = No 5)
11 ~ Jason Mraz, Mr A - Z (no.11 in 2004 with Curbside Prophet!)
10 ~ Daniel Powter, Daniel Powter
09 ~ Charlotte Church, Tissues and Issues
08 ~ Maroon 5, Songs About Jane (the number one album of 2004!)
07 ~ The Killers, hot Fuss (2004 = No 6)
06 ~ William Young, Keep On
05 ~ McFly, Wonderland
04 ~ The Magic Numbers, The Magic Numbers
03 ~ James Blunt, Back To Bedlam
02 ~ Bodies Without Organs, Prototype
01 ~ Deborah Gibson, Memory Lane Vols 1&2

Top Twenty Five Songs of 2005

25 ~ Bodies Without Organs, 16 Tons Of Hardware
24 ~ McFly, I'll Be Ok
23 ~ Deborah Gibson, Heart and Soul
22 ~ Jason Mraz, Wordplay
20= McFly, All About You
20= Deborah Gibson, Some People
19 ~ Daniel Powter, Bad Day
17= G4, Circle Of Life
17= Kaiser Chiefs, Oh My God
16 ~ Scissor Sisters, Filthy/Gorgeous
15 ~ Rachel Stevens, I Said Never Again
14 ~ The Magic Numbers, Forever Lost
13 ~ Madonna, Hung Up
12 ~ The Magic Numbers, Love Me Like You Do
11 ~ Erasure, Breathe
10 ~ Deborah Gibson, Naked
09 ~ James Blunt, Tears and Rain
08 ~ Jason Mraz, Life Is Wonderful
07 ~ Hard-Fi, Tied Up Too Tight
06 ~ Bodies Without Organs, Open Door
05 ~ William Young, Switch It On
04 ~ The Killers, All These Things I've Done

02= James Blunt, You're Beautiful
02= Deborah Gibson, Til You Come Back Again

01 ~ Deborah Gibson, Until You're All Mine

Posted by Paul 12:15 PM 3 comments  

My Top Twenty Songs of 2003

20 ~ BBMak, Get You Thru The Night
19 ~ Shania Twain, Ka-Ching
18 ~ Jewel, Stand
17 ~ Mis-teeq, Can't Get It Back
16 ~ S Club 8, Sundown
15 ~ Delta Goodrem, Born To Try
14 ~ Emma Bunton, Maybe
13 ~ A*Teens, One Night In Bangkok
12 ~ Robbie Williams, Something Beautiful
11 ~ Christina Aguilera, Beautiful
10 ~ madonna, American Life
09 ~ Gareth Gates, Sunshine
08 ~ David Sneddon, Best Of Order
07 ~ Delta Goodrem, Lost Without You
06 ~ Robbie Williams, Come Undone
05 ~ William Young, Don't Let Me Down
04 ~ Rachel Stevens, Sweet Dreams My LA Ex
03 ~ Play, I Must Not Chase The Boys
02 ~ Kelly Clarkson, A Moment Like This*
01 ~ Dashboard Confessional, Hands Down

* how mortifying after I totally slagged this off as the X Factor 2006 single. It's not a bad song. It's just been done... i wanted something new. I would have certainly put other songs above it if i was looking back now...

Posted by Paul 5:29 PM 2 comments  

Rather pervily the nude-ish celeb santa pics i posted a week ago on thezapping were the most clicked on feature for days even though sadly clicking on them didn't seem to make the pics bigger :( And since then even more "celebs" have got their kit off for Christmas. And why not I say...enjoy!

Posted by Paul 12:38 AM 0 comments  

My top twenty songs from 2002 (the year of will!)
20 ~ Garbage, Shut Your Mouth
19 ~ Jewel, break me
18 ~ Atomic Kitten, the last goodbye
17 ~ BBMak, staring into space
16 ~ Blue, Sorry seems to be the hardest word
15 ~ Nerina Pallot, Jump
14 ~ Allstars, Love Is
13 ~ Holly Valance, Kiss Kiss
12 ~ Nerina Pallot, Watch Out Billy
11 ~ Shakira, Whenever Wherever
10 ~ Liberty X, holding on for you
09 ~ Will Young, Light My Fire
08 ~ Shakira, Underneath Your Clothes
07 ~ Overprotected (my fave brit song!)
06 ~ Will Young, You and I
05 ~ Robbie Williams, feel
04 ~ Kylie, In Your Eyes
03 ~ Girls Aloud, Sound of the Underground
02 ~ Liberty X, Just A Little Bit
01 ~ Will Young, Anything Is Possible

Posted by Paul 3:39 PM 0 comments  

My top twenty songs from 2001 (the year of reality talent and pop!)
20 ~ Travis, Flowers In The Window
19 ~ Geri Halliwell, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster
18 ~ Tommy Page, A Shoulder To Cry On 2000
17 ~ O-Town, Liquid Dreams
16 ~ Steps, Mars and Venus
15 ~ Backstreet Boys Drowning
14 ~ Gwen Stefani and Eve, let me blow your mind
13 ~ S Club 7, have You Ever?
12 ~ Robbie Williams, Eternity
11 ~ Deborah Gibson, Down That Road
10 ~ Scandal'us, Me Myself and I (ozzie popstars winners)
09 ~ Steps, you'll be sorry
08 ~ A*Teens, halfway round the world
07 ~ Robbie Williams, Something Stupid (with Nicole Kidman)
06 ~ Kylie, Can't get You Out Of My Head
05 ~ Deborah gibson, MYOB
04 ~ Hear'say, The Way To Your Love
03 ~ Steps, Chain Reaction
02 ~ S Club 7, Dont Stop Moving
01 ~ Deborah Gibson, What Makes A Hero?

Posted by Paul 5:16 PM 0 comments  

2006 was the year that Live Lounge really came into it's own, thanks to Arctic Monkeys sparkling version of Girls Aloud's Love Machine, proving that the blurring lines between indie and pop were getting fuzzier by the day. Soon it seemed that everyone and his ferret was doing a live lounge, but here are my personal favourites from the year....
13 ~ Panic! At The Disco - Maneater (Nelly Furtado Cover)
the las vegas kids took on Nelly Furtado's poptastic song and turned into a funk driven emo classic with just the right amount of pomp and audacity...
12 ~ Matt Willis - All These Things I've Done (The Killers Cover)
nothing will top the sheer genius of The Killers version which is one of my top ten favourite songs of the millenium. However, Matt has won me over with a better than expected debut and his acoustic, somewhat faithful version of the track manages to tick all the boxes...
11 ~ L'il Chris - Sexy/Back (Justin Timberlake Cover)
not a huge fan of l'il Chris, but this rather tongue in cheek, irreverant cover of one of the years most talked about song rarely fails to bring a smile to the face. Now take it to the walrus!
10 ~ The Kooks, Crazy (Gnarls Barkley Cover)
in a year when this song took over the world and I never really got it, multiple covers abounded over the internet from Nelly Furtado to Sandi Thom to G4 to The Raconteurs. Kudos to new style boyband The Kooks for turning in a much more than passable version of the tune and making it bearable.
09 ~ Goldfrapp - Boys Will Be Boys (Ordinary Boys Cover)
Preston's spell in Big Brother bought this song back into the limelight, but it took Alison to turn it into the sleazy sounding back street jazz club ditty it now sounds like it should have always been. Gorgeous.
08 ~ William Young - Don't Cha (Pussyflap Trolls Cover)
Wisely steering clear of Crazy, William went for the other big fave and turned the PCD song into his very own plea to a straight boy to abandon his girl, with a lush arrangement of instrumentation and a laid back groove supplementing his lovely vocal.
07 ~ Keane - Dirrtylicious (Beyonce/Christina Cover)
Keane broke my heart this year by putting out a rubbish (in my opinion) second album, but their choice of covers proves to be the most interesting thing from them. A cover of Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence was on over at Yahoo, but it was this mashup of two iconical dance tunes that made them sparkle all over again.
6 ~ Arctic Monkeys - Love Machine (Girls Aloud Cover)
aaah the song that bought Live Lounge to the masses. Arguably the biggest indie act in the country took the rather genius route of covering arguably the biggest pop group in the country. And it totally works, is a lot of fun and the muffled giggling in the middle eight just makes the track even more endearing...
5 ~ Paolo Nutini - Rehab (Amy Winehouse Cover)
Another song that i didn't really get in it's original form until I heard covers of it. This isn't the premium version of the song, but it made me realise how much I love Paolo this year and how diverse his range is. Splendid.
4 ~ Girls Aloud - Rehab (Amy Winehouse Cover)
But Girls Aloud did it better. It just seemed to click into place when they sang it - their vocals, their interpreation of the music, their image and lifestyle. Suddenly Britain's biggest female saucehound was perfectly at home in the company of 5 like minded girls. Splendid +1.
3 ~ Sugababes - I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloot (Arctic Monkeys Cover)
The northern lad had laid down the gauntlet with their pop cover, so it was almost perfect symmetry when Britain's other big girl group decided to return the favour and churn out a storming version of their biggest hit, that retains it frenetic nature but instantly makes it sound at home in the library of quality electro clash pop.
2 ~ Simon Webbe - When You Were Young (The Killers Cover)
Who knew? Simon Webbe takes the Killers stellar comeback single, wraps his silky smooth vocal around it, ups the gospel quota in it and gives the song a whole new power as an r'n'b standard that could work this way for generations to come. The almost stopping of the song before the middle eight starts all quiet, before gently strumming into an anthemic finish is glorious. Suddenly Simon is relevant in my world...
1 ~ Take That - Every Day I Love You Less and Less (Kaiser Chiefs Cover)
Of course my favourite boys are going to be my favourite cover of the year. Their choice of song and artist fits perfectly in with their new mature sound and they have never sounded so confident and full of beans.
And just because I can - here is a pic of Jo with the rather lovely Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood) who doesn't sing but sure looks pretty. Rar!
LINK: Jo Wiley's radio one page
LINK: Buy the Live Lounge cd
DOWNLOAD: Thezapping 13 live lounge faves zip file

Posted by Paul 11:07 AM 3 comments  

A huge congratulations to Scott who got over 67% of the final vote. Be sure to check out Scott's music at the links below. His site will be linked to my main page for the next 12 months and we'll be doing regular updates on what he is up to. We hope to keep in touch with Scott and follow and promote the career of our first annual X Factor winner :)
LINK: Scott's myspace page
LINK: Scott's official site
LINK: Scott's promo team myspace page
GIG: The Sugar Mill, Stoke On Trent - Dec 4th 2006
PURCHASE: Scott Ashley - The World (So Crazy) MP3
Be sure to bookmark TheZapping for regular updates on Scott's career :)

Posted by Paul 11:17 PM 3 comments  

The Zapping main blog mp3 list for Monday 20th Nov 2006:

MP3: The Feeling - Love It When You Call (Tom Neville remix)
MP3: The Feeling - Don't Give Up
MP3: Emma Bunton - Something's Going To Happen
MP3: Emma Bunton - Life In Mono
Bonus MP3: Mono - Life In Mono
MP3: Take That - Patience stripped
MP3: BWO - chariots of fire johan s remix edit
MP3: BWO - will my arms be strong enough

Posted by Paul 3:18 PM 0 comments  

Nostalgic Scissor Sisters Live Review Oct 22nd 2004...

Oh. My. God. To say I am finding it difficult to express my opinion on the concert would be an understatement. I got there a little bit late so missed most of (but not all unfortunately) of the dreadful opening act - some drag act doing a tortorous nine minutes of Total Eclipse of the Heart :( Then some nice girl at the merchandise counter was most patient with me and spent absolutely ages letting me sift through tee shirts to find the right size, before I bought the first one she had shown me. Thanks luv. Then, in a stroke of genius, the sisters decided to turn the place into a disco before they came on which just put everyone in a party mood because lets face it Atomic (Blondie) is a bloomin marvelous tune.

And then came the sisters and blew my mind. From the opening strands of the first song to the triumphant joyous note of the last song, I cannot remember laughing as hard (Ms Ana Mantronic telling us to *go out of our mother@@@@ing minds* while doing Ozzy horns and shaking her hair was probably only hilarious if you were there so you will have to take my word for it! ), dancing as much (comfortably numb which is one of my least fave sister songs is now one of my favourites - definitely a live song) and getting pretty tearful too (before the heartbreaking return to Oz when the surprisingly buff Jake Shears said "This song is dedicated to the many friends we have loved and lost. Love is like a pair of scissors, sometimes you will be together, sometimes you will be apart, but woe betide anyone who comes between you." ) and all this is in the space of 90 minutes of electrifying energy.

Not to downplay the William and Maroon concerts because they were great memorable and special concerts for me because of how much I love their music and because of how utterly mesmerising they are on stage, but the Scissor Sisters is more than a concert. it is an out of control party. Tits on the radio turned the stage into a sex shop with Ms Mantronic singing and Jake in the background as a pole dancer in front of Live Videos neon signs, Filthy/Gorgeous was so utterly diva-esque that one could not help but dance in the craziest i don't care whos watching fashion possible. And the fact that Jake had jeans on with the scissor sisters logo on the front was too utterly adorable.

its hard to pinpoint a highlight of the concert. I just loved the whole thing so much that a) my extreme passion for it is probably not coming across well in this post and b) I am considering selling my soul to get ebay tickets for their halloween costumes only gig in london next weekend I am now and forever truly a sister of scissor...
Oooo - the pics! a great snap of jake shaking his funky thang to Lovers In The Backseat. And the stuff i got from the concert - a tee, a flyer for their forthcoming live DVD (a so future MUST!), a flyer for the DJ who did the tracks before they came on stage, my ticket, a little lamb, my scribbled set list and some Scissor Sister condoms...

I Believe In You
Better Luck Next Time
Lovers In The Backseat
Tits On The Radio
Forever Right Now
Rock My Spot
Comfortably Numb
Return To Oz

Can't Come Quickly Enough
Take Me Out
Take Your Mama Out
Music Is The Victim

Posted by Paul 11:11 AM 0 comments  

Top 20 Pop Acts:

20= ~ Bucks Fizz: Mock all you want, but Bucks Fizz made some great songs that are still played at weddings and bar mitvahs around the country to this day. And is there a more iconic eurovision moment than the girls having their skirts whipped off during the line "and if you want to see some more!" of Making Your Mind Up?? I think emphatically not!! Plus any band that did Land Of Make Believe deserves to be on this list - and another will!!

20= ~ Deuce: Deuce were really the proto-type for Steps and were either way ahead of the game, or too far behind the last bunch of boy/girl combos. Still they provided some lovely pop moments, the best being their Top Of The Pops performance in wedding outfits of On The Bible - a cassette single i found when cleaning out for moving house last year!! And that D'Luv posted on his site on my very own civil partnership wedding day :) Bless... (on the bible mp3)

19 ~ Six: Six were the Irish answer to Steps that Louis Walsh put together. I think a couple of the songs were written by one of westlife too! They never had any songs released in England, but a friend recommended them and they were good enough that all four singles off their debut (and only) album were rather good! The best tracks were Whole Lotta Lovin and This Is It... (This Is It mp3)

18 ~ Fifth Avenue: Another Irish bunch of wannabes who only lasted one album. I still think that Deborah Gibson should consider covering Infidelity as her next comeback hit as it samples Madonna years before Madonna was sampling Abba. And that was definitely their finest moment that i still play to this day, although Sometimes When We Touch is always a winner whoever records it! (spanish eyes mp3)

17 ~ Scandal'us: The second winners of Australian popstars following all girl group Bardot and came out with an amazing first single called Me Myself and I! The law of diminishing returns meant that the rest of their singles didn't do so well even the brilliant Starting Something So they are another one album wonder :( (me myself and i mp3)

16 ~ Scooch: Scooch came out in the early 2000's same as six and fifth avenue and a number of other acts on this list, which for me was the heyday of boy/girl combos because everyone was trying - and failing - to emulate the success of Sclub and Steps. Scooch probably came closest with such dance floor stompers as 4 Sure and the disco mix of Zoom! Sadly they didn't stick around long (although I'm aware other bloggers have much more info about their career than i do!) (four sure mp3)

15 ~ Pop!: Pop came out in late 2004 and really were my big hope for a steps style band to come back to the charts. Heaven and Earth did ok, but then Can't Say Goodbye and Seriously tanked and they were unceremoniously dropped before their brilliant Tragedy like Xanadu cover could launch them into pop stardom. Booo the record company execs I say. Jamie Tinkler is now in X Factor booted band, Avenue... (xanadu mp3)

14 ~ Infernal: The great Danes have been around for a while, yet I am only really aware with their Paris To Berlin album that I got about a year ago, before the title track became the ubiquitous hit in Britain it is today. Contains many great dance pop moments such as Keen On Disco and a song that would have been great for Girls Aloud, Loved Like A Maniac... Even new single (a cover of Self Control) manages to sound current and energetic, so I look forward to seeing what they do next...

13 ~ Alcazar/Army Of Lovers: Bit of a cheat putting these two together, but they were masterminded by the same genius who also put together a band much higher up on this list - clue BWO! Army of Lovers were possibly the campest band ever and Crucify is one of the finest pop dance songs of the early 90s. Alcazar made more chart accessible pop and had some brilliant tunes, but i believe sadly, they split up earlier this year They came to my attention about 4 years ago when a friend sent me a bootleg cd of their concert in Sweden where they did nothing but brillo covers of Abba songs - and they aren't the only act on this list to do so!! (crucified mp3) (someday single version mp3)

12 ~ The Party: Well of course, the party first came to my attention when smash hits magazine mentioned that Deb had written a song for their debut album so I of course rushed to order it with my paper round money!! And of course, ton of bricks done deb style proved to be much better than the partys version, but the rest of their album was pretty great - I Found Love, Thats Why and Summer Vacation were aces and their second album spawned equally marvy tracks In My Dreams and Peace Love and Understanding. It was all down hill with their third album Free, which i can't shift on ebay for love nor money, but they were the epitomy of pop to me in the early 90s... (in my dreams mp3)

11 ~ Aqua: Everybody knows aqua mainly for their novelty hits Barbie Girl and Dr Jones, but fast forward to their brilliant underrated second album and dig out such gems as Around The World, Cartoon Heroes and the gorgeous ballad We Belong To The Sea and you will see you missed out on band that knew how to create impossibly catchy pop hits (we belong to the sea mp3)

10 ~ All*stars: Sheesh! Another one album wonder! All*stars were ITVs answer to the roaring success of BBC ones S Club pop factor/tv show/movie machine. All*stars never really had a chance but their debut album is one of near perfection with great tracks like Going All The Way, Land of Make Believe, Things That Go Bump In The Night, the Cathy Dennis penned Back When and their finest moment that was cancelled as a single release when they were dropped Love Is! Plus they had the very gorgeous Sam Bloom in their midst...;) (love is mp3)

09 ~ Hear'say: original popstars winners that seemed destined to be amazingly huge and indeed their great first two singles Pure & Simple and Show Me The Way To Your Love indicated they would live up to their promise. But then bafflingly they failed to release any more singles off their debut album and rushed into a second. And the press then turned on them! I think their career needed better handling - had they released ballad Carried Away followed by a double a side of Love Never Ends with their cover of Boogie Wonderland off the first album before leaping into the second (which only got one single released off it anyway!) things might have turned out different. As it is we'll never know... (boogie wonderland mp3)

08 ~ Roxette: Although i didn't discover their first album until much later in their career, I was a huge Roxette fan from the moment i heard The Look and that never really went away. I may not be super excited about each release they have, but i end up with each one and there is always a song that i can't stop humming for days. I guess it's a comfort to know they are still going in this crazy mixed up world! Even if they are on their 4th greatest hits collection... (almost unreal mp3)
07 ~ Ace Of Base: I didn't even like All That She Wants. It wasn't til they added The Sign - a lovely three minutes of anyone's life - that i adored Ace of Base. I loved their second album and think Always Have Always Will from their third set is one of pops finest moments They are still going and their most recent album Da Capo retreads old ground but is still quite loveable... (come to me demo mp3) (happy nation remix mp3)

06 ~ Liberty X: the popstars losers who didn't make it into Hear'say turned out to be the real winners as three albums and 10 top twenty hits later they are still going. They seemed to be somewhat classier than Hear'say and although their finest moments have now passed - Just A Little & Holding On For You - there are hidden gems on their poor selling third album including a funkified cover of 90s dance classic Dirty Cash just crying out for release. Another band that has been poorly managed in my opinion... (dirty cash mp3)

05 ~ A*Teens: Aaah you can't beat a teeny group that started off doing somewhat passable covers of Abba songs can you But it wasn't til their second album that their talent for churning a catchy pop tune of their own started to shine... Halfway Round The World is a bonza pop tune with a fab video and they did nothing but release great tunes even though success eluded them outside of mainland Europe. Firefly, Sugar Rush, Around The Corner Of Your Eye, Floorfiller, One Night In Bangkok, I could go on and on...and when i'm drunk, sometimes do... (one night in bangkok mp3)

04 ~ Bodies Without Organs: From the mastermind behind Army Of Lovers and Alcazar - its entirely possible that this new group will be much higher in years to come when they have more material to their name. Their debut album Prototype has spawned 7 massive hits in mainland Europe and I remain convinced that they will be huge in England at some point too. Best moments on the debut release? Open Door, 16 Tons of Hardware. Conquering America Voodoo Magic... and so many more. Definitely one of my favourite new pop acts of recent times and Halcyon Days only reaffirms their high rating on this list...

03 ~ The S Club Groups: First there was a tv show called S Club. Which spawned S Club 7 who then became S Club when Paul tragically left, stopped being hot and got fat, and then spawned S Club Juniors who became S Club 8 when S Club split! Sheesh But between them they ruled the charts between summer 1999 and summer 2003 with great great great pop tunes like Bring It All Back, Two In A Million, Reach, Don't Stop Moving, Have You Ever, You, Alive, One Step Closer - later used for Debled American Juniors! - Sundown and Goodbye. Rachel Stevens is now a chart star in her own right (sort of) and Jon Lee has gone on to musicals including Les Mis and Love Shack. Sigh. I miss them...

02 ~ Steps/H&Claire: Let me count the ways I loved Steps. I mean truly loved them. I think i went to see them about 5 times. I know every single dance routine to every single tune they released, i have live dvds, tapes of their tv performances and so many remixes i don't know what to do with them all! They never missed the top five after their first two releases and while were quite fond of covers, they did some great originals too. Plus Tragedy is always guaranteed to get drunk people on the dance floor. But they had so many other great tunes - One For Sorrw, After The Love Has Gone, Better The Devil You Know, A Deeper Shade of Blue, Summer Of Love, Stomp, The Way You Make Me Feel, You'll Be Sorry, I Know Him So Well, Mars and Venus, Chain Reaction, baby Don't Dance. But then tragedy! H and Claire wanted the spotlight for themselves so the group split and while H and Claire had some good enough moments -DJ & All Out Of Love - the public and me couldn't forgive them for ruining Steps! I am so harsh, but H was always a twat wasn't he???

01 ~ ABBA: Who else could be number one. I could write an essay on how brilliant abba are and how they have influenced so many other acts i love and how they continue to be relevant even today and sell millions of records each year and spawn musicals and tribute bands and the like. No one did pop like Abba and its possible no one ever will again. Just amazingly brilliant! Trivia! ~ Madonna allegedly recorded Like An Angel Passing Through My Room for the Music album according to William Orbit, but felt it didn't fit in so remains an unreleased gem! Release it Esther.

Posted by Paul 1:13 PM 3 comments  

My Top 15 Girl Bands:

15 = Expose - aaah Britain was largely immune to their charms and to be honest I wasn't overly keen on their more upbeat singles, but when they did a ballad they knew how to pull it off with style Your Baby Never Looked Good In Blue was certainly their finest hour - and in the days of illegal downloading, if you did a search for Deb, her name would come up as the singer of this fine song.... (mp3)

15 = Bardot- the original all girl Australian popstars winners who really did what almost every other popstars tv group have done - have one great lead off single, an ok first album and then totally combust. Poison still remains a truly great song, Cathy Dennis penned Hit and Run for them, Jennifer Paige covered one of their tunes and randomly, Sophie Monk is now in Date Movie. (poison mp3) (hit and run mp3)

14 ~ Sweet Sensation - Britain was pretty immune to their charms too, but their album Love Child was never of my stereo for a good few months in the early nineties. The title track, If Wishes Came True, One Good Man and Destiny were all catchy songs and while they never did much else, the album had such an impact on me that i still listen to it sporadically now... (love child mp3)

13 ~ The GoGos - before Belinda Carlisle was massive, there were the GoGos. they used to take photos of their naughty bits and post them under their roadies doors and they were quite fond of the white powdery stuff Kate Moss is always in trouble for. Silly Girls. But they knew how to make a great tune - Vacation, This Town and Our Lips Are Sealed are all terrific and even get covered by the likes of Hilary Duff today. I think thats a good thing??? (unforgiven mp3)

12 ~ The Triplets - as far as I know, the trips only did one album. Guess what? They were triplets and were kind of like a spanish flavoured Wilson Phillips. They had a terrific powerpop first single You Don't Have To Go Home tonight and the rest of their album was filled with little gems too - Light A Candle, Dancing In The Shadows, So Hard... sigh (you don't have to go home mp3)

11 ~ The Faders - they were meant to be the new McFly back when they released No Sleep Tonight back in June 2005. But then they released Jump which was rubbish and disappeared off the face of the earth But then they came back with a track on the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack called Better off Dead and it was like Jump never happened. And then nothing again, til Molly McQueen ditched the rest of the girls and went solo. She'll always be The Faders to me though... Viva la girly McFly... (look at me now mp3)

10 ~ The Veronicas - they are a new(ish) australian girl band whose debut album has just been released around the world and they sound a lot like Kelly Clarkson, but there are two of them! They are produced by the same guy who worked with Kelly on her ubersuccessful Breakaway cd and their songs are pretty good - 4ever and I Could Get Used To This are quite fine. Viva la girly Click Five... (4ever Claude Le Gauche radio edit mp3)

09 ~ Play - i think Play are some scandanavian girl group that made it big via the Disney channel in America. I Must Not Chase The Boys is one of the greatest pop songs ever recorded, and the rest of their output wasn't too shabby either even if a large part of their debut album was covers of modern classics like Just A Little, Honey To The Bee, Every Little Step and the best version of Its A Hard Knock Life ever! Sadly, they are defunct now, but while they lasted they were an awful lot of fun... (every little step ft Aaron Carter mp3)

08 ~ En Vogue - oh let me count the ways I loved the Vogue. They had one of my very favourite songs of the 90s with Hold On which was quite perfect! The rest of their debut album wasn't so great but then they came back with classics like Free YOur Mind, My Lovin, Give It Up Turn It Loose and Whatta Man and it always made me want to grab the one i love and shimmy. I kind of lost interest after the third album, but i still think they made some lovely r'n'b flavoured pop moments that shouldn't be underestimated... (hold on mp3)

07 ~ Atomic Kitten - they were pretty rubbish for most of their first album and if Whole Again hadn't been re-recorded, I doubt they would have had the longevity they did. Then they made the genius move of covering Eternal Flame and making it sound up to date and different, before going onto release classic pop tunes like Last Goodbye, Its Ok, Be With You - surely their danciest Sophie Ellis Bextor moment - and If You Come To Me. Subsequent covers (Ladies Night??) were frankly pants, but they had enough great pop moments for me to rank them so high on the list....rumours of reforming continue to abound, but really I think their time in the sun has passed... (the last goodbye mp3)

06 ~ The Bangles - Talking of Eternal Flame... much in the same vein as the 'Gos, but slightly longer lasting. Did terrific songs like Manic Monday, Walk Like An Egyptian and Hazy Shade of Winter before hitting on Eternal Flame. My mom bought the cassette single for me - remember them?! - and told me it was going to be huge. That sunday it debuted at number 74 in the charts. But it slowly climbed and 12 weeks later it hit number one! My mom - the hitmaker!! They recently reformed and did a great comeback album. Nothing starts an album off better than a british accent saying "one must tear off one's own head"... Genius :) Solo Susannah Hoffs was pretty fine too...

05 ~ Sugababes - fact! heidi whatsername used to be in the original line up of Atomic Kitten but was replaced by Kerry McFaddon. Heidi then joined the 'babes after one of them left. its like musical (groups) chairs! The Sugababes now have a tremendous greatest hits album because most of their singles are stomping in your face pop classics, so its a shame the rest of the albums let them down. But when you are responsible for Overload, Freak Like Me, Round Round, Push The Button and Ugly, then your place in classy pop history is guaranteed... only Easy written by Orson is a little bit rubbish... (Rocks acoustic mp3)

04 ~ Spice Girls - originally just called Spice until they got sick of everyone saying its the Spice girls, i initially destested them. I was at camp in USA for the summer of 96 so came back to have missed all the hype and just hear this average track Wannabe which i didn't get at all. Then against all my better judgements the second single Say You'll Be There started to hook me in and by Christmas track 2 Become 1 i was so very hooked. Spice Up Your Life wasn't the greatest start to their second album but it was soon forgotten when Stop Right Now, Too Much and Viva Forever were released. Geri left and the dodgy third album Forever was released so i choose to ignore this and think that Geris first two albums were really the continuation of the Spice Girls after Goodbye... I kinda hope they do make a Take That style comeback ;) (tell me why radio edit)

03 ~ Bananarama - the longest running girl group possibly who keep reinventing themselves. From the early days of It Ain't What You Do which was more punky to the SAW dance days of Venus and Love In The First Degree - which had the campest Brit Awards routine ever til last years Scissor Sisters extravaganza - to the more dance edged nineties til their more recent popdance comeback album, I have followed the Rams thru thick and thin and will probably always do so (Careless Whisper mp3)

02 ~ Wilson Phillips- I was so obsessed with the girl harmony group back in the very early 90s. Hold On was my fave song for ages as was Release Me, second album spawned another classic in You Won't See Me Cry and then they criminally split up. Chynna did her own album (Naked and Sacred - which was actually only ok) and The Wilsons did an album too which had a couple of great tracks on - Monday Without You and Everything I Ever Need. A couple of years ago they reformed for the California album which was probably more of a nostalgic treat for fans but lovely all the same... (Doctor My Eyes mp3)

01 ~ Girls Aloud - possibly the most succesful band from the latest round of reality pop tv... the Girls have produced quality song after quality song if you ignore their dodgy ballads (yes See The Day I mean you). But the uptempo stuff that they focus on mainly like Sounds Of The Underground, Love Machine, No Good Advice, The Show and Biology hooks into your head and refuses to leave. Love them obviously, and think they were responsible for the evolution of pop after Steps, S Club and Hear'Say all faded into the woodwork. Still not sure about their Tiffany cover, but i'm willing to forgive dodgy attempts to get to the Christmas number one because everything else is so balls-to-the-wall, in your face, 100 miles a minute exciting bits of pop history. I'll try not to cry when the inevitable split is announced on Boxing Day... (Live lounge Love Machine mp3)

honourable mentions: tlc, all saints, destiny's child, m2m...

Posted by Paul 12:28 PM 5 comments  

My top 20 boybands 10 - 1
10 - NKOTB- probably one of the first boybands that I was a little bit obsessed with. Who didn't swing their legs from side to side while dancing to The Right Stuff and fall a little bit in love with Jordan?? Oh, just me then. Sadly they peaked and burned too quick even though I loved Step By Step and Tonight. Heck i was so devoted i even bought Dirty Dawg. Now thats dedication - although seeing what a tosser Danny has become on Totally Boyband has soured the memory somewhat...
09 - Blue- there have been lots of r'n'b inspired boybands but Blue is really the only one that got me hooked. They were so much better than Another Level and managed to create the exact right blend of pop and r'n'b to hook me in. Some of their best ballads sadly were not released - Best In Me?? - but Fly By, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word and Bubblin remain sublime pieces of pop...
08 - v- Sigh. I had high hopes for V. They seemed to be the new Take That. And one of them was a definite boylover and is now shacked up with some dude from westlife They had some great pop singles that flirted with some minor guitar but still managed to be totally dancey. Of course when their big ballad *only* made number 11 it was soon all over for the poor lads. Probably didn't make much cash either :( I loved them though...
07 - Backstreet Boys - probably the best boyband to come out of the USA and happily they are still going and not with dross like the last NKOTB album, but with proper tunes like Poster Girl and Just Want You To Know. I won't drivel on too much about them other than to say they should probably be higher but has produced the best in US teenybop pop.Drowning was a fave of mine for ages!
06 - Westlife - I constantly mock them and i think 5 of their last 6 singles have been covers and their last single Amazing owed a huge debt to the act abovebut after the mocking is done, they have great voices and they are incredibly good and successful at what they do so why change what is so successful? You Raise Me Up was one of their best tunes to date, although I am partial to a bit of Fool Again...
05 - The Click Five - like V, they only have one album out, so maybe don't deserve to be so high on the list. But, like V, what a corker of an album. This is one where every and any track could be a single. They have a great look, tremendous energy live, a smooth yet somehow raw polished sound and seem like charming lads. I forsee a big future for them that may yet see them move up this list...
04 - BBMak- I truly loved both of BBMaks albums. They played all their own instruments, wrote great power pop songs and had the looks and voices to back it up. Why they weren't 2000 times huger than they were continues to baffle me to do this day. Their second album with tracks like Staring At The Sun and After All Is Said And Done remains a modern day pop classic :)
03 - Boyzone- the original Westlife! Boyzone benefited hugely from Take That splitting up - how esle would they have lived down that horrendous appearance on some Irish talk show where they all danced incredibly badly. No Matter What is still their crowning moment, but it was a bright day in British pop when Love Me For A Reason bought them to my attention properly some years before that. Sadly defunct now and we only have dreary Ronan to show for it...
02 - McFly- probably so high because they are so current, but i love these little scamps and are my current fave boy band obsession. More rock pop than pop rock, their tunes are utterly catchy and adorable, and they aren't afraid to embrace the cheesiness either - their comic relief single was 70s guilty pleasure all over and it was brilliant. Am hoping they will stay together for at least one more album, to split now - like the rumours say - would be criminal. Partial to showing off their cred credentials by covering Killers and Kaiser Chiefs, but let them get on with it I say. Aaah my boys!
01 - Take That!!!!- No Surprise then that my most fave boyband ever was the one that launched Robbies career - and the one that thanks to a tv documentary chronicling their success, acrimonious split with the Robster and final days back in 1996 are currently also the hottest boy band in England at the moment(Take That indeed, Upper Street). Every single released was a high quality with Back For Good, Never Forget and Pray being the cream of the crop. New single Patience is a matured elegant sound and I can't wait to hear the new cd...
Coming soon - 20 mp3s to go with this post; top 15 girl groups and top twenty pop groups...

Posted by Paul 3:43 PM 4 comments  

My top twenty boy bands ~ part one
20 ~ East 17- back in the early 90s you either liked east 17 or take that. Well I kinda liked both. East 17 were like take thats slightly dirty cousins and I think songs like Deep and Stay Another Day really stand the test of time
19 ~ Bad Boys Inc- another early 90s band. I seem to remember they only had one album, but it was a classic boyband album with cheesy pop and ballads. I think Take Me Away was my ultimate fave of theirs...
18 ~ Brother Beyond/Worlds Apart- Nathan Moore was the driving force behind Brother Beyond who never had a proper hit til they released a couple of so so Stock Aiken & Waterman numbers back in 1989 when the SAW factory could do no wrong! When their second album bombed, he went on to sing with famous-in-germany boyband Worlds Apart who were ever so slightly better
17 ~ N'Sync- I never really took to the Sync, but i thought their album with Bye Bye Bye and Its Gonna Be Me was pretty good and those were two of the best pop songs of the year. At that time Max Martin was producing them, and Britney and the charts were a fun thing to listen to
16 ~ Phixx- they were the band that formed out of the losers of Popstars the rivals (that spawned One True Voice and Girls Aloud ) I think Phixx didn't really get a fair crack of the whip because of where they came from, and they were doing that 80s synth sound that is so popular now months before The Killers et al. Hold On Me was a great classic pop song
15 ~ Busted/Son Of Dork- have put these two boy bands together as really they are just the same group I loved Busted back when they first came out as they were a real breath of fresh air to the boy band scene and pop as a whole, but now I kinda blame them for the failure of every other cheesy pop group since V... Oh well - you can't top Sleeping With the Lights On as a top top tune
14 ~ Bros- Aaah, Bros probably feature a lot higher on here to the Deb Connection. I don't think I would have liked them as much as I did if I hadn't gone to see Bros in2 Summer on 19 Aug 1989 with Deb as the main support act Still they defined a nation of teenage girls at the time, and i thought Too Much was a rather marvelous tune if i recall accurately
13 ~ 911- as recently featured on Hit Me Baby One More Time. They weren' the hippest boyband or the best looking but they did write their own tunes and Bodyshakin still gets all the gays on the dancefloor at my local club Despite not being together any more they still pop up on the music tv channels with some regularity!
12 ~ Five- Five were brill at the time. They were sort of the antithesis of Boyzone and Westlife and came out with some really great pop-rock tunes. I listened to their greatest hits the other day and was surprised at how many good songs there were on the thing! All went a bit wrong at the end when they recorded their overlooked third album, released it and split up about 3 days later! What a waste of about 3 potentially really good singles
11 ~ A1- Aah these sweet lads started out as cheesy pop for the first album, then went all NSync american for the second before becoming the prototype for acts like Mcfly by being *serious musicians* on the third album. Another - we write all our music act, but pretty good with it. Make It Good is one of the best pop songs of the year 2001!
Coming soon - 10 - 1!!

Posted by Paul 12:09 PM 3 comments  

So BigBlogger7 has turned into The Zapping Spin Off Blog where i want to put all my occassional theatre reviews, random rants (i think my lois and clark feature will go here) and anything else that is probably too long or incidental for my main page. I will of course let people know via The Zapping main site when this page is updated, as it certainly won't be every day. So on with the first major post for this site...
I have loved the Disney film Beauty and The Beast for the longest time. I saw it at the cinema when it first came out, and I was so enchanted by it that of course I had to go back and watch it several times, and was utterly entranced by the soundtrack. I think what drew me to the film was not only the whole happy ending/romance scenario which gets me in any movie (there's a reason my fave film is Love, Actually), but the stunning graphics, gorgeous songs and sheer magic of the movie. And of course, i totally related to Belle. I didn't exactly fit in during my youth (it's hard being HomoPaul at school and church), and although actually most people were pretty friendly, i still loved the written word and how it opened up a world of endless possibilities while emerged in the pages of a great novel.
I have now seen the musical version of the Disney classic 4 times (once in Toronto, once in New York, and twice in Birmingham) and each time I get something new from it. I'll try and concentrate on last night's performance. It was opening night for the new national tour and Kirsty and I had front row seats which often meant that we were drenched in dry ice. So much so at one point I was starting to seriously scan around for the nearest fire exit, just in case it went wrong. The cast were uniformly great - Belle was suitably wide eyed and innocent, Gaston seemed to be channelling the ghost of Elvis (but it worked) and the Beast, well lets just say they charmed him up a little bit so you could see why Belle would fall in love with him. In fact, he came off as a bit gay (if there is such a thing) - or at least bi! But when he was meant to be angry, he was angry and ferocious and the kids were pooing themselves (to which Kirsty loudly said "good" at one point!). I'd like to point out that the orchestra were also incredibly good, bringing new life to old favourites with slightly different arrangements.
Rather than go through the whole musical performance, there are standouts for me that are constant in film and stage version. The opening song "Belle" is a perfect tour round the town in which our heroine lives, and the stage version made sure we were aware of the backing characters as much as the main cast. "Gaston" (the song sung in the bar after Belle rejects his marriage proposal) is amazing live - complete with a middle eight dance routine with clinking beer mugs - and not one a second out of time. Impressive and even though i've seen it several times, I'm always amazed by the amount of dancers keeping perfectly in sync. Goosebump time! Be Our Guest is as visually delightful on stage as it is on celluloid and just can't help but make you smile. Human Again was a song cut from the original film (but restored to the stage version and later the dvd) but is an important song in the musical where the household "objects" fear turning into inaminate items - their hopes for the spell to be broken and sense of fear are much more prevelant in the stage version than the cartoon, and this song sums it up perfectly.
Ultimately, i know I'm going to have a great time every time i see Beauty and the Beast, and i watch the cartoon at least once a year. Indeed, the musical keeps evolving with new tracks being added (home and A Change In Me). And of course it has it's own non-rubbish spin off with An Enchanted Christmas (which of course I shall revisit sometime in December) with some equally gorgeous songs. From Little Mermaid to Lion King represented Disney at it's peak for me and i look forward to seeing LM on broadway at some point in the future.

Posted by Paul 7:27 PM 0 comments