Ace Songs for Europe #3

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Drama! There's a male singer with a potential Eurovision hit. A solo male singer hasn't won Eurovision since 1990. That puts any idea of Morrissey performing into some perspective. That said, 3 of the last year's Eurovision top 5 acts were solo male performers (Dima, Hari, Mihai) so the time is now for a male winner.

Dmitry Koldun has been chosen by Belarus as their performer. Mr Dmitry is a former gymnast and apparently has entered a "chemical faculty" of Belarussian State University. According to one site, he has a big talent. Nice. It would seem Dmitry (Dima to his friends) came from some reality tv show, and has since either dyed his hair brown or stopped dying it blonde. Well done him. He won the semi-final held in Belarus with another song, realised it was a bit rubbish, dumped it and now goes to Helsinki with this stomper Work Your Magik. The song title is a word play on Dmitry's surname with koldun meaning magician. It's all very clever, isn't it?

The song is ace. It's quite dramatic, and while not 100% ace pop, it's definitely got what we're looking for:
  • Dramatic stringy synthy opening. Very Bond tune-esque. I can imagine lady dancers in sparkly silhouette.

  • Spies! Belarus! Russia! USSR! Genius.

  • Opening phrase: Welcome to the Night. Always a pleasure.

  • Lyrics that could be about love, food or dirty sex or all of the above.

  • Wonderful rousing chorus reached in 40 seconds. It's really 2 choruses in 1. High potential for strong arm waving and shaking, and dramatic body flailing / dancing.

  • I am able and I'm willing. Yes I'm willing - Oh, yes?!

  • When you cast your loving potion over me - Oh yes?!

  • skin-to-skin lyric updates Dima Bilan's flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone lyric with a much more pleasant image

  • Good potential for a glitter throwing moment (it's a loving potion!) or other such stage dramatics before the middle 8.

  • Key change!

  • High note and a bell to finish.


Download Dmitry Koldun - Work Your Magik mp3


Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Last night, I went to Swedish indie night Tack! Tack! Tack! with Mr Club Contact and Ms Karinski to see Swedish electro-pop minxes Cat5. Cat5 are Hanna and Christina, from Gothenburg. They have pretty much written and produced their debut album by themselves. It's a riotous mix of electro-synths, beats and deadpan, sexed-up lyrics. They put on an ace show:

  • It was an all-out audio-visual experience. There was a siren light on the keyboards, there was a screen projecting static imagery and word, numbers and slogans and amateur-esque 'visuals'. The lighting was a glarish concoction of strobe and strip lighting.
  • They played about 8 songs. Highlights were Drop The Bomb, You Go Girl and Sexy.
  • Both girls took turns on their tiny keyboard, but neither really managed to muster up much enthusiasm, looking bored with a wonderful display of popstar ennui.
  • They describe Sexy as an 'electronic pearl'. There is an ace lyric: I'm too sexy for my jeans, I got to take them off. Before you put your hands on my ass.
  • One of the girls looks like a Nordic Heidi Sugababe.
  • Their 'rider' was two glasses of wine.
  • One is blonde, the other is brunette. Their name is Cat5. They are the electro-embodiment of Finnish eurovisionners CatCat.
  • A young Swedish woman barged through the crowd in the middle of their set. With a glass of wine in one hand, she crossed her arms, cocked her head, and looked at Cat5 as though they were an art installation, and continued to stare with an intrigued but questioning look. It was ace.
  • One member of the audience was very enthusiastic. He was giving it loads. He led a small number of people to chant, "en gång till".
  • One of the slogans that flashed up during their set was: TWISTED SISTERS TALKING SHIT. You can't argue with that.
Download: Cat5 - Sexy mp3 // Cat5 myspace // Cat5 // Tack! Tack! Tack!

Enter the Dragonette

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I went to see Dragonette play in Metro last Thursday night. They were typically ace.

  • They played about 10 songs. Competition and I Get Around were definite highlights, as they're dirty songs about being a mistress and staying out all night being a dirty ticket.

  • A song called Marvellous is, indeed, marvellous.

  • There was a great musical segue between one song & I Get Around.

  • People were dancing in an exuberant fashion. I Get Around got people moving, only for the gig to be cruelly cut short.

  • Martina (henceforth to be called, Lady Dragonette) wore an amazing 80s striped blanket dress with big shoulders held together with black-masking-tape-patent-dominatrix-belt and too-high-to-function heels. She danced in these heels. Dancing featured robotic arm movements, ace synchronised movements to I Get Around and some marching.

  • She revealed that she nearly didn't wear the heels as they hurt like hell. Thankfully she wore them in the name of showmanship and glamour. Excellent working of the Bet Lynch miserable behind the bar of The Rovers but slapping a bit of lippy on, serving a G&T to Rita with a smile and flirting with the male punters while calling them "cock" spirit.

  • The boys wore skinny jeans and shirts. Not as co-ordinated as last time.

  • I finally worked out which boy is which. Dan is the tall, dark-haired man who plays guitar and keyboards. Will is the blond cutie who plays guitar. Joel is the floppy indie-haired drummer.

  • Fan-girlies gushed forward to the stage when the gig ended to talk to Joel.

  • Lady Dragonette revealed that she cut the boys' hair. ACE.

  • While the boys set up the stage and instruments, Lady Dragonette was backstage doing her hair. We later asked her how she did it, and she gave us a hair demonstration.

  • Their manager's mother was there. She looked like a very nice lady.

  • Dragonette have coined a geographical phrase. Shepherd's Bush will henceforth be known as She-Bu (pronounced Sheh-bu).

  • I Get Around was the highlight of the gig - it should be an instant hit. They didn't play my favourite song: True Believer. So here it is for download, and your enjoyment.

Dragonette - True Believer mp3 [file removed] // Dragonette website // Dragonette myspace

Ace Songs for Europe #2

Friday, January 19, 2007

Spain are having a very protracted and complicated national final, selecting their singer and song seperately and then matching it all up. It'll either be brilliant, or disastrous. One Spanish popstar who's taking up the challenge is Rebeca. She's been around for 10 years, with her debut album selling hugely in Spain, South America and the USA, going double-platinum in Spain. She's had 6 more successful albums, so she knows her stuff.

Rebeca is entering as a singer, but has also entered a song, so here's hoping they'll be 'matched'. She's teamed up with Invincible writer, and all-round schlager-hit-machine-maker Thomas G:Son to come up with I love you, mi vida. It is ace, and here's why:

  • It's mostly in Spanish, and has ace words like amor / pasion / corazon / suerida

  • It hits the chorus in 47 seconds.

  • Eee-aaaiiyy--ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh

  • the 'this is serious, important music' synth sounds which are ace pop really.

  • "hey! hey! hey!"

  • Spanish guitar and castanet moments.

  • It's got a key change!

  • Rebeca's singing soars all the way over the key change.

  • It would fill the stage, with very high potential for hunky dancers and dance routines.

  • Rebeca's no stranger to a bit of strutting.

Download Rebeca - I love you mi vida mp3

Want to be in a Kylie video?

Friday, January 12, 2007


Volume, at the V&A museum, is ace. The installation is a collection of 40 or so upright poles covered in tiny lights, which respond to movement and sound, changing colour and style. I wasn't sure how the whole interactive part worked, but they certainly look pretty. With the swooshing colours and twinkling disco lights, it's just like being in a Kylie video.

Some other bits + bobs:

* Russian pop-hunk Dima Bilan is playing at the Russian Winter Festival in Trafalgar Square, tomorrow, 2.30pm. Ace!

* AceDiscoVery favourites Dragonette are gigging next Thursday, at Metro, central London, 11pm. Expect ace synthy-pop purveyed whilst wearing something fabulously trashy.

* I'm going to Finland in 2 weeks on a random Euro-jaunt, visiting Tampere and Helsinki. Any recommendations of things to do, places to visit, music to buy will be gratefully received.

* Prison Break is back on Channel 5 next Monday. Hurrah, phwoar, etc.

* There's a song in the Spanish eurovision preselection called Me gusta hacer canciones con un hey (I like to sing songs with a 'hey'). Ace title, but sadly it's pretty rubbish.

Ace Songs for Europe

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hurrah. What with all the news about Morrissey possibly being involved with the UK Eurovision entry this year, it's definitely Eurovision season.

My friend Trixie has asked me to be the shiny "Eurovision correspondent" on, so clicky here to read my first post.

Over the next few months, I'm going to feature some of the best songs from the many, many preselections all around Europe.

Today, we have Olivia Lewis singing Vertigo from Malta. Olivia has come second in the Maltese selection lots of times, so must be a shoe-in to do well this time. Vertigo is pure eurovision, with wonderful lyrics.

Olivia LewisReasons why Vertigo is ace:

  • ethno-pop rhythm and beats

  • the clever contrast-ful in the lyrics: "yes / no" "stay / go"

  • "gave you all, A to Z" - it's about maps!

  • Nonsensical lyrics: "I've become indigo"

  • despite the flat hair in this photo, Olivia likes big hair and ridiculously overblown costumes, as can be seen here and here.

  • clap-clap-clap-clappy clap-clap-clap-clappy

  • the sheer amount of lyrics that offer really obvious choreography:
    * you're spinning me round and you're holding me down
    * and I turn. You're not there
    * you're lifting me high, then you're taking me low

  • Vertigo!


Download Olivia Lewis - Vertigo mp3

World Song Festival

Monday, January 08, 2007

I recently took part in World Song Festival, an online competition much like Eurovision. Songs are sent from countries around the world, we listen, we judge and a winner is chosen. I liked the idea so much that I decided to help the organiser, Trond from Norway, by designing a website for the competition.

NajouaThe overall winner was the very, very excellent electro-pop song Gabriel by French singer Najoua Belyzel. The song was a hit in France, going to number 3 in the charts. The French charts are quite dull, so that's an ace achievement. In 2006, Najoua released her debut album Entre deux mondes, which debuted at 7 on the French charts, and apparently will be promoting herself across Europe in 2007. Ace.

Gabriel is a fantastic electro-ish number with vaguely ethereal, moaning vocals and a grinding chorus which sounds great with its French vocals. The highpoint is the ace apres-chorus electrofied break-down.

Najoua Belyzel Gabriel mp3 // Najoua Belyzel official site // Gabriel on video Killed The Radio Star

There were some other ace songs in the festival, here are some of my favourites.

NanneIt would be so wrong if I didn't pick the Swede. Nanne Grönvall, the ace rocky schlager star is just great. Having re-invented her look and image more times than I've had haircuts, her latest look says 'big hair, small lady'. That small lady totters around on high, high heels, wears skimpy floaty dresses, and kicks and struts with aplomb. She was ROBBED of Melodifestivalen in 2005 with Håll Om Mig, a performance made super-ace by having wind machines ON STAGE. Amazing. She'll be in Melodifestivalen this year with the hopefully bombastic + poptastic Jag måste kyssa dig (I Must Kiss You).

Coming 12th in WSF, Om du var min starts with the stock schlager slow-start, kicks in a beat, and builds to a pumping chorus. Nanne likes a guitar sound, Nanne likes to rock out in a twirling style.

Nanne Grönvall - Om du var Min mp3 // Nanne Grönvall official site // Hall Om Mig

NamiFrom Japan, Nami Tamaki's Reason is J-Pop brilliance. There's a wall of immense sound, parts pop, parts electro and part supercute Japanese style. The song builds with booms and explosions to its chorus which is an even bigger sound that can barely contain itself for the breakdown. And you just know that the slow parts are just breathers, waiting to give way to even more top pop explosions. As with so many J-Pop stars, Nami Tamaki has released many albums and singles in Japan. This one reached 2nd on the Oricon Charts. It came 6th in WSF.

Nami Tamaki - Reason mp3 // official site // Buy Greeting album
Reason on YouTube

NamiElefante are a Mexican band who perform fairly standard Latin rock. I liked their song Mentirosa, simply because it was great Latin pop. It does exactly what you want - has a great catchy chorus, lovely Spanish sounding guitars and harmonies. Elefante seem to be fairly successful in Mexico, with a number of albums and a greatest hits to their name. In WSF, they finished in 36th position.

Elefante - Mentirosa mp3 // official site // Buy Greatest Hits album // Asi es la vida on YouTube

NamiJorge Rojas' Busca en tu corazon is 100% pure cheesy, and I can't help but love it. Jorge is Argentinian, and released his debut album there in 2005, from which this song comes. Busca en tu corazon is a deeply heartfelt up-tempo ballad with panpipes, latin guitars and so much pleading with a rousing chorus. It's a real lighters-in-the-air, swaying from side-to-side song and has wonderfully implausible lyrics like "look in your heart if you want to find the road to follow to discover the truth". Fantastic. It was 20th in WSF.

Jorge Rojas - Busca en tu corazon mp3 // official site // Buy La Vida album

NamiFinally, Dilnaz Akhmadieva is a popstar from Kazakhstan. I always knew there'd be more to Kazakhstan than Borat! Dilnaz sings in the Uyghur language, and has been singing for years, even though she's only about 20. This song, Zolotoy, Zolotoy which could mean Golden, golden is ace. It's got a eastern, ethno-tribal sound mixed with some electro strains and beats. If Kazakhstan ever want to be in Eurovision, sign her up now. The mp3 isn't brilliant quality here, which might explain its finish in 23rd in WSF, but the melody and music make up for this.

Dilnaz Akhmadieva - Zolotoy, zolotoy mp3 //Another song, Bulbul Nawasi on youtube

Housewives Desperados

Friday, January 05, 2007

So Desperate Housewives is back and you can still drive trucks through the huge plot-holes in the show. Maybe we'd be better off in Argentina where a local version of Desperate Housewives launched last year. Rather than having Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria etc. on their screens, Argentinian TV has re-shot and filmed the show with a whole new cast. These ladies are the new Housewives.

I'm particularly loving the Bree character who, in Argentina, is called Vera. Look at how delightfully prim and proper she is.

Of course, we all want to see the gardener, and who am I to disappoint? Hello Rodrigo Guirao.

Desperate Housewives in Lewisham

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The new series of Desperate Housewives returns to Channel 4 tomorrow. I'm quite excited. I do love the show's darkly cheeky humour and excellent characterisation, especially by Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp) and Eva Longoria (Gabrielle Solis).

Part of the reason I like Desperate Housewives is its campy critique of the idea of All-American suburbs and housewives, even if this consideration has very little to do with the actual show's storylines. The street-name Wisteria Lane encapsulates suburban bucolic images of pastoral trimmed gardens and white picket fences, shown in wonderful bright pastel colours in the show.

Last week, I took a visit to London's Wisteria Lane to see if it was anything like the street in the show. In fact, I went to two streets - Wisteria Road in Lewisham and Wisteria Close in Mill Hill. Mill Hill is very far north. The streetsigns say 'Barnet', but it may as well be Barnsley. Wisteria Close was nothing more than 3 houses in a secluded off-the-road exclusive development. Very uneventful.

Wisteria Road, however, was more interesting. About 5 minutes from the high street of Lewisham, Wisteria Road is definitely a suburban residential street. Lined by medium-sized houses, there are gardens to the front and rear.

Wisteria Road

Wisteria Road signs

The street is not very long, with a right-angle turn halfway through. The first section is dominated by a number of garages with loud NO PARKING signs. Friendly neighbourhood.

Wisteria Road No Parking signs

As I walked around noticing the street's unique character, I started to imagine a storyline emerging...

Wisteria Road, episode 4...

The old Smith house has been sold, and new neighbours are moving to Wisteria Street.

Within minutes, local flirty gossip Martina Moran-Williams phones her good friend and confidante Suzie Slater. Martina is wearing brown boots, jeans, a pink camisole and a brown bolero.

FYI: Think 'Gabrielle', on a casual day. And on a budget.
"Sooz! Have you seen who has moved into the Smith house?"
"No, have you? Do tell!"
"Well, all I know is there's an attractive young man fixing up a car outside. Babes, he's the new neighbour hood hunk!"

FYI: Think The Gardener with more clothing and less definition.

Minutes later, Martina calls to the Smith house and introduces herself to Darren Marsh, the man lovingly tending the vehicle outside. Martina flashes her best come-to-bed eyes at Darren and suggests that they meet soon at Lover's Lane. The lane is overgrown and wild, befitting the wild passion between Darren and Martina which cannot belong in Wisteria Road's manicured sterility.

Within days, Martina's husband Nigel Williams discovers her rash affair! Nigel barricades Martina into the house for her wilful adultery. Meanwhile, Martina rebels further and throws out the microwave (somehow), telling Nigel that she'll no longer be his domestic slave!

Well, how dramatic! What will happen next on Wisteria Road?! Who knows and who can tell, but I can almost guarantee that the storylines in the fictional Wisteria Lane will be just that bit more exciting that those of the real-life Wisteria Road.

Music on offer

Monday, January 01, 2007

I want this music to go to a good home. Let's swap CDs, or I'll send to you. Make me an offer, etc.

Updated: 14/03/2008

* Europop
Ace of Base - Singles of the 90s
Mandaryana -
Nylon Beat - Extreme
Robyn - Robyn is here
Raffaella Carra - Musica Piu
Melanie C - Northern StarUtada Hikaru - ExodusUtada Hikaru - Deep RiverIn-Grid - La Vie en roseJuliette Schoppmann - UniqueBajm - mysli i slowaO-Zone - DiscoZone

* Eurovision CDs
Eurovision 2001 CD (just CD, no sleeve)

* Eurovision artists
Nanne Gronvall - Alltid Pa Vag
ABBA - Waterloo (CD album)Amina - annabi
Kasia Kowalska - Antidotum
Andriy Danilko - CD Album
Marc Roberts - Mysterious Woman (CD single)
Xandee - 1 Life CD albumKikki Danielsson - 100% KikkiKikki Danielsson - Pa Begaran
Verka Serduchka - tralli valliLena Philipsson - Jag Angrar Ingenting
Dschingis Khan - Forever BestDJ Bobo - Pirates of Dance
Viktor Pavlik - Greatest Hits
Gosia Andrzejewicz - Gosia CD album
Arja Saijonmaa - 30 Suosikkia

* Russian CDs:
Glamourous gangster-looking band
Dancepop act
Varvara - (not sure album name)
Compilation album 1 & 2