Monday, December 19, 2005

Those wondering where my end of year round up can wonder no more. It's light-ish on Euro this year, so it doesn't really belong here, and as such, it is here. There'll be the odd repost of things featured on here, but never mind, the waffling is all new, baby.

A little while back, I can't remember quite where, I enthused about "Isaac" by Madonna, and was wittily, if not devastatingly shot down by it being described as something that would be played at a "bad Greek disco". I wonder if Victoria Xalkiti is getting played at their discos too. I'm quite taken with her hit of a month or so ago called "Telia". I can't help but take the title to its Greek root, or something looking like it, as "telic" means pertaining to an end, and there's a fitting hopelessness to the wanton craving in "Telia", where even though her "heart is beating" and she implores her lover to "keep on singing", and the beat is percolating and jaunty and the vocal is breathy and felt, and the resolution is one of loss and resignation, as best typified by the pre-chorus "My heart is aching" which gives the truth the abnegating chorus only hints at in tone rather than lyrical theme. But it's a great, hooky little pop song too, skittering beats, a sneaking rhythm and a nice pulsing bass underpinning it, and if I'm not entirely sure of the sentiments, I like it more than enough as a meaningless collection of notes and instruments to enthuse.

Victoria Xalkiti - Telia

I have been remiss in not saying anything about the recent Venke Knutson album, I will admit, but I think it's largely because I'm so disappointed with it. The teaser single "Just A Minute" was pleasant but would have been one of the weakest songs had it appeared on her debut, and there's something Not Quite Right about an admittedly very pretty run through of "When The Stars Go Blue" done with World Idol Kurt Nielsen. The album does begin terrifically though, with "A Lot Of Love" sounding like a teen-girl expansion on the trusty literate-rock-pop-guitar template (think a girlier Fountains of Wayne, specifically "Amity Gardens", maybe, no, not The Click Five, you idiots), a tinny keyboard siren over its power-pop chords makes for a fantastic opening (particularly for an opening track), and the chorus is a winner. Venke's very good at vulnerability, even when she's ostensibly in a safe place emotionally - "Down by the water, by the boat" - and physically, but she's at her best when she combines it with a tinge of girlish determination to speak her heart, even when her ESL pop is occasionally clunky. But I love the way the guitars cut out in the second half of the choruses, before chiming adorably during the middle eight, and there's something.. awfully comforting about it. It sounds like a great record to have on as winter fades into spring, so I've missed the boat a bit, but if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, you might as well wait a month or so and then download it.

Sadly, as I intimated above, the rest of the album falls spectacularly short of this song, being as it is mostly inconsequential Nordic Lilith fare (haha, do you see what I did there?), at no other point does the alchemy between girly and confident gell like on here.

Venke Knutson - A Lot Of Love

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Having tried and failed to get a clean version of the #4 in Ukraine, I offer this corrupted radio version which has an annoying voice announcing the name of the station it comes from. But I did want to give y'all a chance of hearing it in full, as it POLARISED the PANEL and as such is CONTROVERSY and that's interesting isn't it?

NiKuz'ma Mogilevskaya - Timennedaesh

Of perhaps even more interests to pop fans is the fact that Vesna Pisarovic has recently "dropped" her new "record", and it is called "Peti" which means "fifth", thankyou Mind Taker, for that wonderful bit of insight, if you're reading please tell me where your blog has gone, I can't get to it, ANYWAY.

What you need to know about this album:

1. Vesna wrote "In The Disco" for Deen, possibly the gayest Eurovision song ever.
2. She also spiced up 2004 with the lovely "Ti Si Kriv" which is on this album, wonderfully.
3. It's quite good.

My favourite song of it is "Ovo Nije Moje Vrijeme", which I love for its extremely odd palette - a bit EE folk, a bit Turkish sashaying strings, a kind of coastal, a pastoral opening (I imagine this is kind of a Croatian coastal equivalent to those homely English country folk sounds), incongruous bleeps, and a bonkers brass bit in the middle and most of all, and those heavily punctuated Slavic bursts of vocal that I love. I mean, I like all of the other bits that combine to make the song, but I love particularly the way Vesna enunciates the alien consonant combinations.

While not knowing enough about the musical heritage of any of the things I write about, I admire that which takes lots of little bits that are comforting and familiar and mixes them up in an unfamiliar, even bizarre way, even though the cocktail probably seems familiar in Croatia. But yes, I'm awfully fond of it, it's strange and lovely. I hear the mountains, I hear the ocean, I hear.. all sorts of exotic things, pardon me, I am being an annoying, overbearing, ignorant tourist here....

Vesna Pisarovic - Ovo Nije Moje Vrijeme