Poptastic Confessions

Poptastic Confessions

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Y Dydd Olaf by Gwenno

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Back in early October, I bought the new album from The Queen of Welsh Dream Pop (aka Gwenno). I've been meaning to review it forever and I sort of dropped the ball. But never fear, I found the review I started. And it is never too late to go buy an excellent album.


Gwenno

As you remember, I absolutely adored Gwenno's first EP Ymybelydredd. Click on the title to read my review. I even interviewed Gwenno back then. Click there to read the review.


The Ymbelydredd EP

Gwenno's first full-length album Y Dydd Olaf is a bit darker. The album's theme was inspired by a 1970s Welsh-language sci-fi movie. The movie is about robots taking over the human race. Thus things are a bit darker this time around.


Chwyldro

"Chwyldro" is the opening track. It translates to Revolution. It was also the first single from the album. Click on the title to read what I wrote about it last year.


"Patriarchaeth" is the second track and starts off with some distorted chords, but it quickly moves to a quite lovely melody. The chorus is soaring. Some distortion remains in the song, but it works. And it is a nice pop song. And you can guess by the title that the name of the song is Patriarchy.

Calon Peiriant / Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki

"Calon Peiriant" is the dreamy current double A-side single. It has a lovely melody. And the name of this track translates to The Heart Machine. Watch the video on my post where I reviewed the single.

"Sisial Y Mor" is another mid-tempo affair. It is The Sea Whisper and you can imagine the sea air as you listen.

"Dawns Y Blaned Dirion" is an instrumental interlude that clocks in under 2 minutes. When I translated this, I got Kindly Dance The Planet. Well … you get the drift.

Golau Arall

"Golau Arall" is the previous single that was out in February of this year. It is the most haunting of all the tracks. The title translates to Other Light. For some odd reason, I think about ghosts when I hear this track. Haunting, indeed. Click on the title to read what I wrote about it earlier this year.

"Stwff" sounds like it samples some TV clips in the beginning. The title translates to Stuff. I think we can all relate.

Y Dydd Olaf

"Y Dydd Olaf" has sort of a retro feel about it. It is the title track, and the translation is The Last Day.

My favourite track on the album is "Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki." It's got that Italo-Disco feel to it. A sort of somber dance number. And as you can remember, I made a video of it using some leftover footage I had. Watch it here.

The album ends with the track "Amser." That translates to Time. The track has soaring vocals from Gwenno. And it is a beautiful closing track.


You don't have to speak Welsh to enjoy Gwenno's album. It's actually quite nice to listen to it. It's dreamy. It's pop. It's dream pop!

Y Dydd Olaf is available on iTunes and Gwenno's label Peski.

Don't delay. Buy it today!

Cheers then,
—Davearama

***

Rhaglenni darllen Poptastic annwyl,

Yn ôl yn gynnar ym mis Hydref, prynais yr albwm newydd gan The Queen of Dream Pop Cymru (Gwenno aka). Rwyf wedi bod ystyr i adolygu am byth ac yr wyf yn fath o ollwng y bêl. Ond byth ofni, yr wyf yn dod o hyd yr adolygiad i mi ddechrau. Ac nid yw byth yn rhy hwyr i fynd brynu albwm ardderchog.

Wrth i chi gofio, yr wyf wrth fy addoli EP Ymybelydredd gyntaf Gwenno yn. Cliciwch ar y teitl i ddarllen fy adolygiad. Rwyf hyd yn oed yn cyfweld Gwenno bryd hynny. Cliciwch yno i ddarllen yr adolygiad.

Albwm hyd llawn cyntaf Gwenno yn Y Dydd Olaf yn ychydig yn dywyllach. Thema yr albwm yn ei ysbrydoli gan ffilm Cymraeg o'r un enw? Mae'r ffilm yn ymwneud â ... Felly pethau ychydig yn dywyllach y tro hwn.

"Chwyldro" yw'r trac agoriadol. Dyma hefyd oedd y sengl gyntaf o'r albwm. Darllenwch yr hyn ysgrifennais am y peth y llynedd.

"Patriarchaeth" yw'r ail drac ac yn dechrau i ffwrdd gyda rhai cordiau gwyrgam, ond mae'n gyflym yn symud i alaw yn eithaf hyfryd. Mae'r corws yn codi i'r entrychion. Mae rhai afluniad yn parhau i fod yn y gân, ond mae'n gweithio. Ac mae'n gân bop 'n glws. A gallwch ddyfalu gan y teitl fod enw'r gân yn Patriarchaeth.

"Calon Peiriant" yw'r un A dwbl-ochr ar hyn o bryd dreamy. Mae ganddo alaw dreamy. Ac enw trac hwn yn cyfateb i "The Machine Galon." Gwyliwch y fideo ar fy swydd lle yr wyf yn adolygu'r sengl.

"Sisial y Môr" yn berthynas canol-tempo arall. Mae'n "The Whisper Môr" a gallwch ddychmygu yr awyr y môr wrth i chi wrando.

"Dawns Y Blaned Dirion" yn egwyl offerynnol sy'n clocio mewn llai na 2 funud. Pan fyddaf yn cyfieithu hyn, Cawn "Garedig Dawns Y Blaned." Wel ... byddwch yn cael y drifft.

"Golau Arall" yw'r sengl blaenorol a oedd allan yn Chwefror Y flwyddyn hon. Dyma'r hudolus y rhan fwyaf o'r holl ganeuon. Mae'r teitl yn cyfateb i "Light Eraill." Am ryw reswm od, yr wyf yn meddwl am ysbrydion pan fyddaf yn clywed y trac hwn. Atgofus, yn wir. Darllenwch yr hyn ysgrifennais am y peth yn gynharach eleni.

"STWFF" yn swnio fel ei fod samplau rhai clipiau teledu yn y dechrau. Mae'r teitl yn cyfateb i "Stuff." Rwy'n meddwl y gallwn ni i gyd yn ymwneud.

"Y Dydd Olaf" Mae gan fath o deimlad retro am y peth. Mae'n y trac teitl, ac mae'r cyfieithiad yn y dydd olaf.

Fy hoff drac ar yr albwm yw "Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki." Mae'n rhaid bod Italo-Disgo yn teimlo iddo. Mae math o rif dawns drist. Ac fel y gallwch chi gofio, yr wyf yn wallgof fideo ohono gan ddefnyddio rhai lluniau dros ben oedd gen i. Gwyliwch ef yma.

Mae'r albwm yn dod i ben gyda'r trac "Amser." Mae hynny'n cyfateb i "Time." Mae'r trac wedi soaring llais o Gwenno. Ac mae'n drac cau hardd.

Nid oes rhaid i chi siarad Cymraeg i fwynhau albwm Gwenno yn. Mae'n mewn gwirionedd yn eithaf braf i wrando arno. Mae'n dreamy. Mae'n pop. Mae'n freuddwyd pop!

Y Dydd Olaf ar gael ar iTunes a Gwenno yn label Peski.

Peidiwch ag oedi. Prynu heddiw!

Cheers hynny,
-Davearama

Do They Know It's Christmas? by Band Aid 30

Dear Poptastic Readers,

You probably know by now that there is a new recording of the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and this time it is credited to Band Aid 30. Before I get to reviewing the song, let's look back of the history of the song.

The 1984 single cover

The original song was recorded in 1984. It was put together by Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats) and Midge Ure (Ultravox). All profits were to go to help out the famine in Ethiopia. The megastars of the time included Duran Duran, Culture Club, Bananarama, U2, Jody Watley, George Michael, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Heaven 17, Kool & The Gang, Sting and more.

The original Band Aid.

The song was the first of its kind. And it prompted American artists to make the single "We Are The World." And even spawn many other charity singles. Watch the video for the original song here: "Do They Know It's Christmas? (1984)"

The lackluster cover of the 1989 single.

Five years later, the song was re-recorded as a dancier pop track. This time, it was credited to Band Aid II. The line up consisted of Bananarama, Kylie Minogue, Cathy Dennis, Lisa Stansfield, Jimmy Somerville, Cliff Richard, Bros and more.

Band Aid II

What I like about this was that the women had more of a prominent role is singing the verses. Also, the structure of the song was changed a bit to bring in the chorus after the first verse. Watch the video for this version here: "Do They Know It's Christmas? (1989)"

The single cover for the 2004 version.

In 2004, it was the 20th anniversary of the song. So, it was re-recorded again and credited to Band Aid 20. The artists were Cold Play, Dido, Sugababes, Joss Stone, Rachel Stevens, Bono and others. There was a campaign at the time to get Bananarama, but they weren't invited. Popjustice.com even ran an image that said, "It's not Band Aid without Bananarama."

Campaign to get Bananarama invited to Band Aid 20.


However, after hearing the end result, I was so happy that Bananarama were not involved. It turned out to be one of the worst records in pop history. A rap was added to the song, as well as a guitar solo. When everyone sang together, it sounded like too many were singing out of tune. Not even the Sugababes could save the day.

Band Aid 20

I was truly shocked at just how terrible it was. I have said that Bananarama were lucky they were not part of that. Even 10 years later, I still find this version to be completely cringeworthy. Watch the video for it here: "Do They Know It's Christmas? (2004)"

The very lackluster single cover for Band Aid 30.

Now it is 2014 and it is the 30th anniversary of the original. So, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure rounded up a new set of singers and credited them as Band Aid 30. This time the line up of stars were One Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, Chris Martin and Bono, and many more.

Band Aid 30 (Photo from the Mirror)

This time, the lyrics were changed slightly to address the Ebola crisis in Africa. And proceeds went to fight that as well. But not all the lyrics were changed. The chorus was still "Feed The World." So, the concept seemed a bit askew to me. I'm fine with the proceeds helping out fight Ebola. But I can't help but think that AIDS in Africa is a much bigger and devastating problem than Ebola. But I can let that go. Any help we can give is good, I think.

This new version of the song is indeed better than the Band Aid 20 version. However, it still worse than the original and the Band Aid II version. What was once a beautiful song that could make you get teary eyed, now has lost all of that emotion. Watch the video for the new version here: "Do They Know It's Christmas? (2014)"

If there is a Band Aid 40, I sure hope that they leave the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" alone. Come up with a new original song! But remaking this song over and over isn't helping with the legacy. Especially, when it sounds worse than the original.

"Do They Know It's Christmas? (2014)" is available on iTunes.

Cheers then,
—Davearama

P.S. Click here to see my list of my favourite Christmas/Holiday songs!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry by A*Base

Dear Poptastic Readers,

At the beginning of the year, I posted my 2014 Poptastic Music Forecast. In it, I said that I would love the return of Ace Of Base. And while the original members haven't gotten back together, there has been some action! 

Ace Of Base: Linn, Jenny, Jonas and Ulf.

This summer, they released new remixes of "All That She Wants." I meant to cover it here, but I wasn't crazy about the new remixes. And then I forgot. And there is also a new website called The Ace Of Base Hub. There they've been giving away some demos for free. That has been exciting.

"All That She Wants" 2014 Remixes

Recently, Jenny from Ace Of Base is recording her second solo album and has been touring. And she said that she doesn't think the original four will ever be on stage again. And that makes me very sad.


However, to ease the pain of no more Ace Of Base, a new Ace Of Base tribute group has sprouted and they are called A*Base. The name is a nod to the 90s ABBA tribute group called A*Teens.

A*Base are: Alexander, Malin, Matilda and Emil

Well, if you can't have Ace Of Base back, why not have a tribute group? A*Base released their first single last week. It is remake of Ace Of Base's 1996 single "Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry." The original version was clearly one of the group's best tracks and unfortunately, it wasn't a hit anywhere. But it had a killer baseline that was bombastic!

"Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry" by A*Base

A*Base's remake is good. The killer baseline is gone. Having said that, the production is excellent. They've added an extra "that" in the chorus so the words make a bit more sense. Hopefully, A*Base's version will be the hit that the original never was. There isn't a proper video, but there is a lyric video here …


A*Base shows promise. Hopefully, they will cover more of the Ace Of Base songs that weren't massive hits. So while I'm sad there isn't Ace Of Base … I'm pleased there is A*Base.

"Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry" by A*Base is available on iTunes. When I bought it, I had to look them up by Abase. Hopefully that will be fixed soon. Be sure to like their Facebook page, too!

Cheers then,
—Davearama

Monday, November 3, 2014

A music video for Gwenno

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Thank you for your support of the "Party People" video! It was a lot of fun to do. I wish it were better, but at the same time, it's not bad for my first music video! 

I sent to the video to The Queen of Welsh Dream Pop, aka Gwenno, and told her I knew two drag queens who might be available for a video for her latest single "Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki." She loved the idea.

Gwenno, The Queen of Welsh Dream Pop

Well, I didn't know when we would be dressing up again. I usually only do drag for Halloween. I remembered that I had some footage that wasn't used for the "Party People" video because it was too dark. "Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki" has a dark feel to it. So out of curiosity, I thought I would see if I could use the unused footage for the video for Gwenno.

To my surprise, it worked! The bad part was that none of the lip synching lined up. So I decided to take an artistic approach to it. The storyline would start off with the character of Sausi O'Sullivan alone drinking with her glitter heels and remembering her night out on the town with Madison. And then the footage would show Sausi and Madison dancing and having fun. But the video ends with Sausi alone, with her glitter heels.

So without delay … Here is the video I made for "Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki" by Gwenno.

Gwenno said she loved it and gave me her blessing to put it on YouTube. 

Hopefully, you will fall in love with the song and head over to iTunes and buy it today!



Cheers then,
—Davearama