Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Indie POP, North of the Border

Today, I thought I would gift our readers with some indie artists who ALSO happen to be our neighbors, the Canadians!  Now now, be nice, & put those jokes aside!  Canada happens to be ripe with some stellar/strange experimental POP these days - so check out these featured musicians.  I've done my best to break them down for introduction.

Grimes =
Lady Gaga's bangs + Girl With the Dragon Tattoo + exotic Asian bird
experimental psuedo-pyscho-POP for fans of Lykke Li, Zola Jesus

Grimes - Vanessa 

Lights =
atypical shimmer POP + slight grunge + the gamer-girl-next-door
for fans of Ellie Goulding, Ke$ha

Austra =
neo-Scandinavian electronica + enigmatic wailing
for fans of The Knife, Florence + the Machine


Any thoughts?  

Unapologetically,

Minna 

MDNA Album Cover!


The cover of Madonna's upcoming twelfth studio album, MDNA, is officially here! The album photography was directed by Giovanni Bianco and shot by Mert Allas and Marcus Piggot. (Italian and Frenchmen! How fancaaaaayyyyy.)

On the one hand, the cover is beautiful. I love the range of colors and Madonna's DIVA-esque makeup (especially those glossy RED lips. WOWZA!) The trippiness of it all reminds of the Confessions on a Dance Floor cover. On the other hand, the multi-mirrored effect seems cheap, as though it was completed by an elementary school Photoshop student. 

What do all of you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Unapologetically,

Gregory

JFF - "Like a Drug" by Adam Tyler

It's Addictive

Around for a while, Adam Tyler is our special new discovery! He kindly complimented Unapologetically POP! via twitter, which prompted us to check out his video for "Like A Drug," posted below. Any video featuring choreography within a warehouse or parking garage is up my alley. Watching "Like A Drug," I had flashbacks of Janet's "Rhythm Nation" and "Miss You Much," Michael's "Bad," and GaGa's "Lovegame." His moves are slick and his outfits even slicker. The dark clothing is reminiscent of Adam Lambert's goth vibe, the streaks of eye makeup remind us of tUnE-yArDs' facepaint, and the eye patches take us back to Madonna's "Erotica" video. We mean all of this as a compliment! Mr. Tyler deserves to be recognized with as much praise as all of these aforementioned artists. We love ourselves a flamboyant man with a voice and vision!

Produced by Sky Felix, "Like A Drug" possesses an energetic dance-rock vibe. If you like the track, make sure to listen to the rest of Adam's album, Shattered Ice. You may purchase it on iTunes by clicking HERE.

Wishing you much success, Adam!

Unapologetically,

Gregory

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music to Inspire a Generation



Every few years, I crave an album that speaks to LIFE. So many songs are about love, and a number of them are fantastic. However, life is so much more than love. As someone who doesn’t have much experience in the relationship department, it’s nice to hear songs that broach other topics I can actually relate to. That’s why albums by artists like Lily Allen and Marina & the Diamonds have meant so much to me. They speak to the disillusionment and frustration among our generation. These artists address not just love, but sex (directly – not in some flirty, moochy moochy way). They sing about politics, depression, ambition, and family dynamics. Their music is as multifaceted as the people who listen to it, which is why these artists have fervently loyal fan bases.

Fortunately, such an album is coming our way. VV Brown’s new record, Lollipops and Politics, is to be released in the States on February 7 and throughout the rest of the world soon thereafter. The title perfectly encapsulates Vanessa’s (VV’s real name) approach. She aimed to make an album that inspired the youth, but did not want to come off as preachy. If you listen to the album preview, posted below, it seems that she’s achieved her goal. It’s full of yummy sounds, from rocky guitars to moody synths, laid over a keyboard foundation, which provides the record with a pure songwriter-esque feel. It’s sonically balanced, with the right ratio of energy to slowness and sadness.

I can’t wait to hear the record in full. Enjoy the sneak peak below and let us know what you think!

Unapologetically,

Gregory


Sunday, January 29, 2012

'90s Sundays

Pony by Ginuwine

This tune takes us right back to 1996! Ginuwine's very first single is overtly sexual, and I love it. (I'll ride his pony anytime. My schedule is officially CLEARED.) One of Timbaland's earlier productions, this song contains all the synthy funkliciousnes we've come to expect from the super-producer. If you listen closely, you can hear various elements (such as the slow, winding, pulsing beat imitating the fantastical ideal of sex) that came into full form on Timbaland's later work with Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake (on the masterpiece that is FutureSex/LoveSounds). This track perfectly fuses hip-hop, R&B, and POP. These genres began to fully blend in the '90s, and Pony is the ideal representation. Listen and enjoy!

Unapologetically,

Gregory


Saturday, January 28, 2012

7 Reasons Britt Love Needs a Solo Career


Britt Love, the beautiful brunette who once, ever so long ago, performed as one half of British POP duo Mini Viva, has been lying relatively low lately.  We're convinced this is because she is secretly planning to launch a sensational solo career, POP star-style.  So for all music fans, here are our 7 reasons why Lady Britt needs a solo career.


1. She's got the moves.
The proof: Music Makes You Lose Control teaser.



2. She plays well with others.
The proof: Successful playdate with Monarchy on You Don't Want To Dance With Me.



3. She has dropped hints.

4. She sounds amazing live.
The proof: This acoustic live performance of Be Who You Are in someone's attic/bedroom/what does it matter?  It's spectacular!



5. Her hair.
The proof: Some stylish Aussie lady used Britt as a model for the "messy top-knot." So I'm not the only one who's obsessed.



6. The terribly short POP life-span of Mini Viva.
The proof: Few were surprised, but many shed a tear when Frankee & Britt split without even the release of a debut album. 

7. She knows how to play the game.
The proof: She's got a song about it.
Need I go on?  Because I could.  But... I think you get the idea.

Britt, the idea of your solo career has us pretty much falling off the edge of our seats with excitement (We need full songs! The audio clip on repeat just isn't the same).  Alas, we know when the time is right, Hurricane Britt Love will hit us full force.  So keep up the hard work with those cute guys of Youth Kills!  We'll be waiting for you.

Unapologetically,

Minna


P.S. - Show Britt some LOVE: Check out her Facebook Page & follow her on Twitter. Let her know you like her work!

Apology


To Devon, as well as anybody who was offended by my post entitled, “It’s Time To Lose the Hipster ‘Tude,”

We’ve been receiving a few comments regarding the post, and I agree that I was in the wrong. When I wrote it, I was having a particularly bad day. I’ve been searching for jobs lately, and in the current economic climate, that is not an easy thing to do. I took out my frustration and sadness on someone with a fancy degree and journalism job (which is NOT to say that she hasn’t worked hard to be where she is; on the contrary, I’m sure she has) by finding something in her piece that wasn’t there. I misinterpreted what Devon meant with the words, “out of left field,” placing accusations on her that were not fair. That was not my intention, but now reading back, I understand that that is exactly what I had done. I doubt Devon, or any of you who feel offended, will accept my apology.  I probably wouldn’t if the roles were reversed. When one feels personally attacked, it’s difficult to overcome the sense of anger and resentment stirred up. However, I am sincerely sorry. In the future, I will be more careful to ensure that my personal emotions don’t cloud my view or affect my reaction to others’ articles, particularly when those pieces aren’t meant to be anything other than neutral and informative.

Apologetically,

Gregory

Thursday, January 26, 2012

To "Peacock" or Not To "Peacock"


Katy Perry and her team clearly want to beat Michael Jackson’s record of 5 #1 Hot 100 singles off the Bad album. In March, they will release a deluxe edition of the album (with new tracks) titled Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection. How titillatingly sweet? This album title conjures up images of salivated lollipops wiped all over a man’s genitals. The record company would probably prefer that you think of a pretty little round candy-cane covering Katy’s vajayjay or popping out of her bosom.

It seems as though a rerelease filled with fresh single possibilities is the equivalent of steroid use in sports; Michael Jackson never added a mini-album to his already successful record just so that he could break one. Furthermore, as entertaining as I’ve found this Candifornia theme, it’s time for Katy to move onto a new iteration. If I see one more whipped cream bra, I’m going to replace its contents with pepper spray.

With all that said, Peacock would be the perfect way to end the Teenage Dream era. The One That Got Away was a bit sad, and possibly a bit too real for Katy. It would be best to end the party with just as much noise, energy, and fun as it began. Stargate, the party-track production duo behind many of Rihanna’s hits, including Don’t Stop The Music and Only Girl, and Katy’s Firework, have created a delicious sonic atmosphere that perfectly suits Ms. Perry's tongue-in-cheek bubblegum persona. Some would most definitely find the song annoying, but most of us would love it (if we don’t, already!). I mean, c’mon, she sings the most obvious innuendo out there with the words “I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock, your peacock, cock…” Could there BE better lines to shake your booTAY to? No. 



There’s just one problem: The label execs won’t release it as a single. I was thinking and thinking why this could possibly be? Is it that the song is too sexy? Nopes! After all, sexuality has been a mainstay on the airwaves for years. We’ve heard everything, and we’ve heard it straight up with no filter, from Madonna’s Like A Virgin to Rihanna’s recent sadomasochist anthem. We’ve heard Katy Perry’s own over-the-top ode to every frat boy’s fantasy, I Kissed A Girl. We’ve even heard the male equivalent of Peacock with Lil’ Wayne’s Lollipop and 50 Cent’s Candy Shop.

After mulling all this over, I finally figured it out. In all of the aforementioned songs, men sexualize and objectify women. Females are painted as luscious, colorful and kitschy sexual characters, ready to satisfy any man. However, in Peacock, a woman objectifies a man, and she does so more obviously than any pop chick has before! While Peacock certainly has HIT potential (analytics prove it – without any individual promotion, Peacock quickly rose (hehe) to the #1 spot on the Billboard dance chart), it goes against our society’s infrastructure. Within this infrastructure, men possess and maintain power (over women, female reproductive health, male-female interaction, male/female stereotypes/proper behavior, etc.).

The label won’t release the song because it fears radio won’t play it. Radio execs/DJs won’t spin it because they fear audiences won’t listen, or worse, that they will protest. Those who do protest will claim the song’s inherent sexuality is inappropriate, but they won’t get specific. Doing so would force them to admit that they only take issue when women sexualize men, not when men objectify women. In other words, they’d be overtly highlighting their politically incorrect misogynist sentiments, which, in this day and age, would defeat the false façade of logic supporting their argument against Peacock.

Overall, these corporate fears are unjustified. So what? Middle America won’t buy/listen to Peacock. They protested against, and didn’t listen to, GaGa’s Born This Way, and that song was tremendously successful. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not comparing these two tracks – GaGa’s is obviously significantly more profound. Peacock, on the other hand, is a simple, fun, easy-breazy dance track, so let’s not create an issue where there shouldn’t be one. RELEASE IT AS A SINGLE, CAPITOL RECORDS! If you agree, leave your support below in the comments! 

Unapologetically,

Gregory

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

JFF - Birkii, "Morning Light"


Do you have a penchant for electroPOP de toute beauté?  Meet Birkii, former conservatory student and purveyor of lovely Parisian melancholy.  Recently recognized by the fashionable Kitsuné compilation, Birkii's music is truly a breath of fresh air in an often exaggerated musical world. Her synths are relaxing, her voice mellifluous, her melodies simple.  Her faint French accent adds a tinge of honey.  It's smooth.  It's soothing.  It's sincere.

I first heard Morning Light Birkii on Last.fm a week ago & feel in love with it.  I think it is the perfect introductory track to the French nightingale.  Listen below.

Do you like what you hear?  For more on Birkii, check out her feature on MTV Iggy.

We are big fans of your work, Birkii.  Please keep it up!

Unapologetically,

Minna

Monday, January 23, 2012

JFF - New Ladyhawke, "Black White & Blue"

                                   

Woohoo! It's here! Mixed & produced by Pascal Gabriel, Ladyhawke is finally back with Black White & Blue, the debut single off of her upcoming sophomore album, Anxiety.

So what's it like?  It good.  Black White & Blue has the same loopy, mystical quality as Magic, My Delirium, & Dusk Till Dawn.  Pip's voice is still rock 'n roll meets synthPOP, one is the things I love about her.  Some listeners may find the song's production a bit too complex, but for those who like their music multi-layered & dimensional, you'll be quite pleased.  But I will let you judge for yourself; click the above photo to hear Ladyhawke's exciting release.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

Ladyhawke, it's been too long.  We're twiddling our thumbs for the new album AND, hopefully, a big ol' world tour.

Unapologetically,

Minna

JFF - The Best Florrie Remixes

Florrie: drummer, model, singer-songwriter, lollipop-lover.
Have you met her? Her name is Florrie & is one of the POP new-comers who have really excited for 2012 (see All Eyes on 2012, Part 1). I seriously love this girl's sound - earthy, uninhibited, & totally luxurious.  In case you haven't heard them yet, here are the best remixes of Florrie's stellar POP song Give Me Your Love.  My personal favorite is the one by Justin Faust!  Give them a listen, & if you like them, click on Free Download to add these tracks to your musical library.



Enjoy!

Unapologetically,

Minna 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The "Domino" Effect: Can Jessie J Break the USA?


I'm American.  Ok, cool.  With that said, I have had a long-running, 23-year hate-love relationship with the Billboard Hot 100.  Sometimes I have happy days (an indie rock band peaked at #3!) & sometimes I have angry days (ugh, please make Bruno Mars go away & replace him with Robyn). But all this aside, one track, slowly creeping its way up the charts, is putting a smile on my face: Domino.

I am an unlikely Jessie J fan.  I'm not really into soul.  Nor R&B. I generally shy away from "vocal acrobatics," as our friend Vertigo Shtick calls them. But I can sing Jessie J's praises to anyone who will listen.  I'm waiting to see Jessie J break the USA - and Domino is her best chance.  

It's Dr. Luke. It's Max Martin. It's Claude Kelly. And damn, is it catchy.  Yes, it sounds a hell of a lot like Katy Perry, but I highly doubt that Jessie had anything to do with that (did she produce it? No).  Idolator is fair to deem it a "Teenage Dream leftover" because, let's face it, it sounds an awful lot like one (Dr. Luke is very green, he reuses, recycles).  But Jessie J, ever the fighter, took what the big names gave her & made it her ownDomino may sound akin to a song from Teenage Dream song, but no one can sing it the way Jessie can.


So who is Jessie fighting on her way up? The Big Girls. The Queens of the Charts: Rihanna, Adele, Katy Perry, & most upsettingly, Flo Rida, who doesn't deserve to be there.  Does Jessie really stand a chance of peaking at #1? Unfortunately, probably not. BUT, truly, Domino is "a shot of pure gold."  It can definitely make it higher than its current position at #15, to say the least.  Now that we know to expect a more "painful" second album, the time is now to get Jessie in the US Top 10, where she belongs.

She can do it.  And when she does it, I will have a happy day.


Unapologetically,


Minna

We'll get you there, girl!

‘90s Sundays


1990 - 1999


I want to start a tradition here at Unapologetically POP! I suspect that many of you, like Minna & I, adore ‘90s Music. It’s an era of such diversity, ranging from Nirvana to the Spice Girls, and we remember it with immense, and utterly intense, nostalgia. It was an era that most of us witnessed, but were too young to participate in. When you’re young, everything seems to have an element of grandiosity and romance. I flip through my (8-year) older sister’s high school year book with a sense of longing far greater than I ever feel when browsing through my own. Intellectually, I know that if I had lived through those years as a teenager, I would have experienced and remembered them much like I do the 2000s, when I was actually a teen. Those days wouldn't have seemed as special. Still, nostalgia is fantasy, and fantasy is magic. Let’s preserve that sentiment every Sunday, shall we?

I will begin this series with a song that takes me right back to the heart of the era. It’s POP, it’s rock, it’s confessional, it’s mournful, and it’s a tad grungy – all characteristics that make it super ‘90s! I give you Sheryl Crow’s If It Makes You Happy, the hit single off of her self-titled second album. Make sure to check out the kitschy video, below – what’s better than seeing Sheryl herself as an exhibit in a museum’s endangered species section? NOTHING. Nothing is better. 



Cheers!

Unapologetically,

Gregory

Saturday, January 21, 2012

JFF - JELLO

If you haven't seen the new music video for Jello by the Far East Movement & Rye Rye - watch it NOW!  It features your favorite Ch-ch-ch-Cherrytree party animals crashing an uppity event with big bass & booty-shakin'. Oh, & an OPRAH shout-out too. This is what more music videos should look like: a plain ol' dance party! And one that gives you a good laugh, too.



I gotta tell you Rye Rye, I love your skirt.  It looks like its made of Jello!

If the guys from the Far East Movement are on a mission to get the world up & dancing, man, are they succeeding!

Bring on Dirty Bass.

Unapologetically,

Minna

No Thanks

(Don't count on us to give it a listen)

Emeli Sandé - Our Version of Events
We don't get all the hype. Everyone seems to think she's the best thing since hot tamales, but I'm seriously bored. Yeah, she can sing, but she's not that great of a songwriter. Heaven could have been a club BANGER - like ba bA BANGERRR! Instead, it's just instrumental blahhhhness. Daddy sounds like a reworked version of Madonna's Frozen. I'm not sayin' Emeli stole the top DAWG's melody, but maybe she got a little subconscious inspiración! Next to Me is the best of the three, but is still just okay. Honestly, we're not too excited to hear the rest, and we don't really care. Sorry, Emeli! You got great chords, girl. Do them justice by giving them some GORGEOUS songs to sing!



Unapologetically,

Gregory (with Minna's approval, hehe!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

2012 Questionables

Questionables:
(Decidedly Undecided? Duh!)


Santigold - Master of My Own Make-Believe
Santigold burst on the music scene with awesome songs like Shove It, the ultimate danceable diss ("we think you're a joke / shove your hope where it don't shine").  But 4 years later, her newest track, Big Mouth, sounds way to much like M.I.A.'s Kala album for us to really get revved up for Master of My Own Make-Believe.

Ke$ha - Untitled
Can Ke$ha keep it fresh & save rock 'n roll?  We'll have to wait & see... (Minna really hopes so, but Gregory isn't so certain).

Of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks
These guys have been making experimental POP for so long now, they're practically its godfathers. Front-man Kevin Barnes apparently wrote some pretty dark songs for the band's eleventh studio album (damn- eleventh!) & dark POP is certainly thriving these days. Could Paralyric Stalks be as epic as the Hissing Fauna album from back in 2006? Minna's always down for some psychedelic POP rock, so we shall see...

Sean Paul - Tomahawk Technique
Can Sean Paul come back full-throttle? We're conflicted. Got 2 Luv U had us hopeful, but She Don't Mind made us come crashing down. But Seany-boy is working with super-stars like Stargate! Benny Blanco! Kelly Rowland! And the Top 40 charts need some dancehall! Oh well; if the album flops, we still have Mohombi. 

Christina Aguilera - Untitled
Christina with an X (say what?) is back! Rumor has it that her first single will be produced by Max Martin! We're hoping for POP perfection. Some allege that Dr. Luke may be lending a sonic hand to some of the other tracks. After enveloping our ear buds with gems like "Hot'N Cold" and "Party in the USA," Luke better give Christina something better than You da One. That was a downer. Like, way waY wAY WAY down...you get it.


The Far East Movement - Dirty Bass
"Dirty Bass." Hmmm.  Well, if this album is anywhere near as infectious as Jello (yes yes yes), it could stand a good chance on the charts.  We really would like to see the LA-based Asian-American POP achieve great mainstream success in 2012, so a tune-up & some big, bad, dirty bass miiiiiiight be just what they need.


MGMT - MGMT 
Minna is praaaying that indie POP princes MGMT can get it together this year & produce something as epic as Oracular Spectacular. If so, perhaps the world can forgive their last album, Congratulations. C'mon guys, you can do it!

Unapologetically,


Gregory & Minna

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

She Sings For #TheOneThatGotAway


Oy, Katy Perry. I love you. Some hate you. Regardless, anyone with half a soul can feel your pain in this acoustic version of “The OneThat Got Away.”

This song may never make it to Billboard Hot 100’s #1 spot (last week, the song fell from #3, it’s peak, to #6). If it has any chance of topping the charts, it’s all due to this acoustic version. I love when Katy breaks it down with her guitar (achemmm…more acoustic numbers on the next album, pretty pleeeeeeaze?) The song glows with the heartwarming chime of a bell throughout. Her voice sounds like it might just crack as though she’s about to burst into tears, but it never does, and that emotion makes this little track all the more tragically gorgeous.

Love you, Katy! Wishing you all the best in this trying time.

Unapologetically,

Gregory

P.S. This is probably the last thing you care about right now, but if “The One That Got Away” doesn’t it make it to #1, Capitol Records MUST release “Peacock” as a single. That song is SKKUUUHRRREAAMING for radio airplay. Thanks! Feel better. XO


If you liked this article, check out some other Katy related pieces: 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

All Eyes on 2012 - Part 2

2012 POP albums that have us quivering with
Antici-p-p-Pation
16. Janelle Monáe -Untitled
According to Janelle, her 2012 work (which may be 2 whole albums) will be marked by songs that "empower, encourage & make you dance" - so cheers to that! Janelle is a creative. We never really knew what to make of her first record, The Archandroid. On some days, it suits us perfectly, while on others, it comes off as a tad holier-than-thou. Regardless, girl's got some chutzpah trying something different. One thing is for sure, though - if Janelle hopes to be the icon she dreams of becoming, she needs a hit, so here's hoping she can streamline her imagination for at least a few the tracks. If her music is more palatable, her talent will be more appreciated! We're not asking you to water anything down, Miss Monáe; just give us some POP beats! Social empowerment/encouragement is most potent when dowsed in sugar. Just as Ms. Jackson If You're Nasty! ("SING IT! We are a part of a Rhythm Nation." BOOM BOOM!)

15. Rye Rye - Go! Pop! Bang!
From Bangladesh and Pharrell to Akon and Robyn, it seems like Rye Rye has been working with everyone these past few years. Hopefully her first full album will give us some up-tempo tracks for the gym & the club.

14. Rufus Wainright - Out of the Game
For his seventh studio album Rufus is apparently working with Mark Ronson (*swoon*). According to this Rolling Stone article, Out of the Game is going to be Rufus's "poppiest" album yet, with songs for "driving around in your car... or losing your mind to on a dance floor." Ooo boy, this should be a good one.

13. Scissor Sisters - Untitled
After releasing their high-quality comeback single Shady Love (featuring vocals from Azealia Banks), tenured POP performers Scissor Sisters have us pretty darn interested in their fourth album. We're also excited to see how it fares in the USA and on the UK charts. Will Scissor Sisters ever score some time on the American airwaves? Only time will tell...
Shady Love (Clean) by Scissor Sisters

12. La Roux - Untitled
Little information has been released concerning synthPOP act La Roux's second album; we do know that listeners can expect to hear the influences of Italo-disco, Donna Summer, & Grace Jones. Elly Jackson told Out Magazine that she wants a "classy, sexy" sound for the new album, "the way sexy was before it got made dirty." Oh, La Roux, we've missed you!

11. Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Barbies rejoice: Nicki & the ferocious Roman Zolanski are baaaaack! According to Nicki we can expect the release of Roman Reloaded's album artwork and track-listing this month. It's safe to say that the album's release day will be a semi-official holiday in ATL (Minna will report).

10. Fun. - Some Nights
Minna cannot get enough of this band! There's a lot to be excited about here; Some Nights, fun.'s second studio album, is produced by Jeff Bhasker, who has worked with Beyonce, Kanye West, Alicia Keys & Natalia Kills. By teaming up with Bhasker the guys from fun. will surely deliver an amazing indie POP album, reminding us all that you don't have to be an electronic, female solo act to make massive POP tunes.

fun.: We Are Young ft. Janelle Monáe by Fueled By Ramen

9. Adam Lambert - Trespassing
We've said it before & we'll say it again: Adam deserves far more time on the radio than he receives. Happily, Better Than I Know Myself received high praise as a super-emotional, yet danceable lead single. On top of working with big names like Claude Kelly, Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco, Adam has also collaborated with under-appreciated POP artists like Sam Sparro and Nikka Costa. Glam rock will never die, & Trespassing is shaping up to be a spectacular POP album.

8. Diana Vickers - Untitled
We didn't listen to Diana's first album, but that's not important. All that matters is the following 6 words: Music To Make The Boys Cry. We want the rest of the album NOW! (But take your time Diana, we support you!)

7. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
You've probably never heard of her, but we put Lana on our list because, hey, wouldn't we be impeached by the Music Bloggers' Association if we didn't? (In all seriousness, Born To Die will make a major splash in 2012 - we're hoping it produces some more beautiful baroque POP anthems. We've always defended Lana)

6. Ladyhawke - Anxiety
Minna is a huuuuge fan of Ladyhawke & is more or less counting down the days until the release of her second album, Anxiety, in March. Pip Brown recorded the album with the amazing Pascal Gabriel last year & is apparently very excited to "get back in the game." We can't wait to hear Black, White, and Blue on the radio. Get it, girl!

5. Little Boots - Untitled
This chick is so underrated. She's taken her time with her second album and experienced a great deal of anxiety, as evidenced by her blog, but we're happy she took a well-deserved break in between records. It gave her the energy to come up with one of her most positively received singles, Shake. We have no doubt that this classically trained diva will keep us dancing all night with the rest of her album!

4. Regina Spektor - What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
This album title is so cute. It's kind of reminiscent of Lily's second album title, It's Not Me, It's You, but without the F.U. factor. Regina's said that she worked with Mike Elizondo, who also produced some tracks on her last record, Far, as well as having worked with Maroon 5, Snoop Dogg, and Fiona Apple. Ayayayayay! We can always count on Regina for some solid piano POP.

3. Ellie Goulding - Untitled
Interestingly, while her POP-contemporary Marina is going for "sonic=electronic" on Electra Heart, Ellie plans to strip down the production process for her next record. In the past, she stated that she wanted to find an unknown Swedish producer to work with - & we guess she has if the album is due out this year! Clearly, Ellie wants a creative partner who is eager and ego-less. Seeing as her debut, Lights, was POP and electronic, yet completely unlike any electro-POP out there, we're excited to see where her creativity will take her this time!

2. Madonna - M.D.N.A.
M.D.N.A. could equal - 1) Madonna 2) Madonna D.N.A. - Is Madonna's D.N.A. the best? She certainly thinks so. Clearly, she's a Darwinist. or 3) M.D.M.A. (the purest form of ecstasy), but replace the third "M" with "N" - how clever...Honestly? The album title sounds like Madonna is trying to be edgy and youthful, and we wish she would stop, because being younger isn't necessarily cooler. Just be yourself, Madonna! With that said, we're super excited for M.D.N.A. She's worked with William Orbit from her Ray of Light and Music days (those albums were fantastic!) and Martin Solveig, who produced Hello featuring Dragonette. We love that Madonna is still working with producers like Solveig who are on the cusp. She always does her best when she's setting the trends, rather than making them (although we did love the Hard Candy album.)

and our #1 most anticipated album is:


1. Marina & the Diamonds - Electra Heart
By now hopefully y'all know that Marina Diamandis is our muse. And yes, we feel a disconnect between Marina & her Diamonds, but both of us here at Unapologetically POP support Marina & her artwork wholeheartedly. Sonically electronic, lyrically innovative, & inspired by Greek mythology & Hollywood fantasy, Electra Heart is easily our most anticipated album of 2012. (Look Marina: WE RATED YOU HIGHER THAN MADONNA! )


Bring it on, 2012!


Unapologetically,


Gregory & Minna


PS - Did we miss anyone? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

And When I Feel Like I Don't Fit In...

...I'll Be Glamorous In My Own Way

Here are pictures of POP stars who dress in their own way. Some people may think they look "weird," but I see them as utterly glamorous because they ARE utterly glamorous. These people may not have looked that great if they primped themselves in an ordinary manner to suit society's standards of beauty, so they created a style all their own that highlights their unique beauty. These are our role models, not just in fashion, but in life, because with their aesthetics, they teach us to carve out our own paths when we're unable to tread smoothly down those that everyone else follows.

Elly Jackson - La Roux

Annie Lennox

Florence Welch - Florence + the Machine

Adele

Robyn

Peaches

Alanis Morissette

Fred Macpherson - Spector

Lady GaGa

Sir Elton John
& Her Fabulousness Miss Piggy

Pop Levi

Amy Winehouse...RIP

We applaud these artists for their expression of proud individuality. Minna and I are learning to follow their inspiring lead, aesthetic and otherwise. Join us!

Unapologetically,

Gregory

Friday, January 13, 2012

POP's Guide to Upstate New York

Lake Placid, NY: Home to one of 2012's Rising Stars
As I made the annual drive up north for another Christmas in upstate New York, I admired views that are, for me, so familiar - the rolling Catskill Mountains, the looming Adirondacks, the historic Hudson River.  I thought to myself: this region really doesn't get enough love.  I came home from Christmas with a blog post idea: to highlight upstate New York's contributions to POP music. The following is what I created.

Here are 3 acts from all over the POP spectrum who can call upstate New York home:

1. Gym Class Heroes, Geneva, NY
The group Gym Class Heroes began when Travie McCoy met Matt McGinley in a 9th grade gym class (how ironic!) in Geneva, New York - an area known for its wineries & lakes. Gym Class Heroes as we know them actually formed  when Travie McCoy jumped onstage with his friends to provide vocals at a local shindig.  That's right, the guys behind Cupid's Chokehold & Stereo Hearts were once jamming at house parties!  Over ten years later the kids from the Seneca Lake region are still kickin' it, making upstate New Yorkers rap along proudly.


2. Com Truise, Oneida, NY
Com Truise is synthPOP mastermind Seth Haley. Though he looks exactly like the guy you met last summer at that SUNY Albany party, Seth is actually a sound engineer, visual artist & master-mixer. For music that is lush & funky, check out Galactic Melt, my favorite of his work. (For more on Com Truise read this live review by our friends at Tastebuds.fm; they describe Seth's performance as "one hell of a show).


 3. Lana Del Rey, Lake Placid, NY
Before she was the famed female behind 2011's hit Video Games, Lana Del Rey was Lizzy Grant of Lake Placid, a secluded & beautiful region 6 hours north of New York City. Though Lizzy began her musical career networking in New York City proper (& later in London), as a little girl she performed in choirs & school plays in the Lake Placid area. I've always wondered if Lana's love for articles of faded Americana was  at all inspired by her once great, now defunct tourist hometown of Lake Placid... but I suppose the only one who knows that is Lana, herself.


I wrap up this post with a small sense of pride. Perhaps now a few upstate New Yorkers can hold their heads up high when they listen to music in their cars (or on their tractors)... knowing that some real POP stars hailed from the same region that they call home.


Unapologetically,


Minna