Poptastic Confessions

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The History of ABC and New Music!

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Back in the 80s, there was an amazing English band called ABC, not to be confused with the television network. Their debut album in 1982 was called The Lexicon of Love. Well, ABC is back with a new album called The Lexicon of Love II.




In 1982, ABC had worldwide smash hits with "Poison Arrow" and "The Look Of Love" both taken from the debut album The Lexicon of Love. Other singles from the album were "Tears Are Not Enough" and "All Of My Heart."




Their sophomore album Beauty Stab in 1983 slumped with minor hits like "That Was Then, But This Is Now" and "S.O.S."




By 1984, the group was down to a duo: Singer Martin Fry and musician Mark White. They reinvented themselves as cartoon characters and added some faux members for visual aspects and came back with the brilliant 1985 album How to be a ... Zillionaire




That album produced the wonderful singles "Be Near Me", "How to be a Millionaire", and "Vanity Kills." Although halfway through the campaign, the faux members were out and "Ocean Blue" and the USA version of "Vanity Kills" featured the duo.




In 1987, ABC released their album Alphabet City. It contained the mega-hit "When Smokey Sings." The other singles were "The Night You Murdered Love" and "King Without A Crown."



By 1989, the acts of the 80s were facing certain backlash. ABC released an album called Up that featured minor hits like "One Better World" and "The Real Thing."



In 1990, the group released their greatest hits album called Absolutely. A new remix of "The Look Of Love" hardly made a dent.



In 1991, the group released their final album with Mark White on board. The album was called Abracadabra. It featured the singles "Love Conquors All" and "Say It." The latter got a Black Box remix and shot up the US dance charts.



Martin Fry continued as ABC releasing an album in 1997 called Skyscraping. It featured three singles "Stranger Things", "Skyscraping" and "Rolling Sevens."




In 2001, a new best of compilation was released called Look of Love: The Very Best of ABC. It featured to a single called "Peace & Tranquility."



In 2008, ABC released an album called Traffic. It featured the singles "The Very First Time" and "Love Is Strong."




That leads us to the latest album The Lexicon of Love II. It will be released on May 27th. The first single is called "Viva Love" and you can hear it now ...




Wasn't that nice?

The Lexicon of Love II is available for pre-order on iTunes. "Viva Love" is available now. Don't delay, buy your copy today!

Cheers then,
—Davearama




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Only You by Alice D

Dear Poptastic Confessions,

The incredible Alice D is back and with her first official music video! The song is called "Only You" and you are going to love it! The song is quite catchy! And Alice's vocals are lovely.




Now you might remember that Alice's song "Movin' On" came in at #8 in our Top 20 songs of 2014. And Alice also did her first official interview with Poptastic Confessions!

So without anymore delay, here is the video ...




Wasn't that amazing? Yes, it was! What a talent!

Update: How do you get the track? Click on Alice's SoundCloud page and hit the download button. That's right ... Alice is giving you the track for free!

Don't forget to to Alice D's Facebook page and "like" the page. While you are there, you can also check out several acoustic videos she has.

Cheers then,
—Davearama

Monday, April 25, 2016

Givinit2you by Glass Slipper

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Glass Slipper are back and better than ever! They have a total of three songs out soon and first up is "Givinit2you" and it is fantastically funky!



If you forgot, Lisa and Brad met because of Poptastic ConfessionsFind out here.

But "Givinit 2you" is a wonder jam. Have a listen here ...





Buy your copy on iTunes today! Next month they will release their song "Up On The Floor."

Cheers then,
—Davearama

P.S. Don't forget that earlier this year, they released "The Land of Milk & Honey"


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Super by Pet Shop Boys

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Our contributor Nick has reviewed the Pet Shop Boys new album Super! Here is Nick ...





To start myself off on a note that will piss off Pet Shop Boys fans worldwide... the last PSB album I really connected with was Introspective... *ducks the rotten fruit*, so when I discovered that tune I really liked on BBC Radio 6 was "Inner Sanctum" by them my ears pricked up and I paid attention. 



"Inner Sanctum" sounded to me like an epic pop act taking Energy 52's Cafe Del Mar and made it their own.... 'I LIKE! I wonder what else they're doing'... Then I found out that their 13th studio album Super was being released on white vinyl, I called to get it on the way home.... The shallow being that I am. 



So the music ... it's witty pop music over a modern sounding take on 90s dance music. The single "The Pop Kids" is a beautiful tribute to loving pop music in the same vein as Saint Ettienne's "Words and Music" (a compliment), which sweeps you up in its joy and then devastates you with a deadpan 'I loved you'.... LOVED? I was happy and now I don't know what I think.... #popskillz 
"Happiness" and "Burn" are my other personal highlights with the latter sounding a bit like Spagna's "Call Me" (a compliment). 



The only thing that really makes me cringe is the use of the word 'groovy' in the track "Groovy".... It's a shit word which shouldn't be encouraged. 
The happy and witty pop vibe continues throughout, reaching a pantomime apex (a compliment) with "The Dictator Decides", and what I interpret as them singing about a dictator losing faith in their existence... (I could be wrong though, it could be about tv talent shows, not a compliment).




Should you buy this? Do you like pop music? Yes? Then yes. 

I'm not awarding a mark out of something, but I will say that this album completes a holy trinity for producer, Stuart Price... Confessions On A Dancefloor>Aphrodite>Super.... And one day I wish to listen to them all as a continuous mix.... On coloured vinyl.




Now excuse my whilst I add their vinyl back catalogue to my eBay wish list (donations accepted).

— Nick
Follow him on Instagram at @nickkblamo

***

And now for a second opinion from me, Davearama. I absolutely loved their last album Electric and if you click on the title, you can read my review there. And I have loved various albums over the years.

My favourite tracks on Super are "The Pop Kids", "Happiness", "Groovy", "Undertow", "Say It To Me" and the melancholy "Sad Robot World."

It's a wonderful album. It's Super! Don't delay! Go buy it today!

Cheers then,
—Davearama



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Reg Flag by All Saints

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Great news: All Saints have a new album out called Red Flag and it is amazing! Go buy it today.

If you need some convincing, we have two reviews of the album! Both Norm and Ally agreed to review the album. And they didn't know the other one was reviewing it. So you get two perspectives!

Enjoy!~
—Davearama


All Saints – Red Flag
Release date: 8th April 2016

In the summer of 1997 Britain’s coolest girl group All Saints burst onto the music scene with their self-titled debut album, featuring the era-defining number one hits ‘Never Ever’, ‘Under The Bridge’ and ‘Bootie Call’. After racking up two further number ones in 2000 with the William Orbit produced classics ‘Pure Shores’ and ‘Black Coffee’ from second album Saints & Sinners, tensions within the group reached boiling point and the ladies hung up their combats in order to pursue solo ventures.

After sorting out their differences they released their criminally overlooked third album Studio 1 in 2006 which stalled at the lower end of the Top 40, resulting in the group being hastily dropped by Parlophone Records and an abrupt end to their second run. Now, nearly 10 years later and 19 years after their debut, All Saints make a triumphant return with their fourth album Red Flag.


Lead single ‘One Strike’ is an instant All Saints classic. The angelic harmonies that kick in during the first verse instantly evoke memories of ‘Pure Shores’ and the emotive lyrics reinforce what an underrated songwriter Shaznay is. ‘One Woman Man’ is crying out to be the next single with its melodic verses and anthemic chorus. ‘Make U Love Me’ is perhaps the closest this album gets to the All Saints of old and wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Saints & Sinners album – it’s no surprise to learn that Shaznay kept this song under wraps for her bandmates.


‘Summer Rain’ showcases Shaznay’s higher vocal register and her ability to write a catchy chorus, whilst the dark and moody ‘This Is A War’ reminds us that All Saints are at their finest when it comes to singing about matters of the heart. ‘Who Hurt Who’ is a gorgeous piano-led ballad and Natalie’s shining moment on the album. ‘Puppet On A String’ takes the tempo right back up and could easily be a Top 10 hit in today’s charts with its catchy hooks and thumping beat. The deep and enchanting ‘Fear’ is one of the album’s highlights and leads us into its exciting and experimental final quarter.

‘Ratchet Behaviour’ is a summery dancehall smash, which needs to be cranked to full volume to be truly appreciated, segueing into the title track ‘Red Flag’ that keeps up the pace with its hard baseline, handclap-led hook and storming chorus. ‘Tribal’ with its worldly atmospheric vibe takes All Saints into uncharted territory, proving that these ladies won’t be satisfied with churning out the same tried-and-tested formula of old. ‘Pieces’ then wraps up the album in suitably epic style with a classic All Saints ballad.

Overall, Red Flag is All Saints most creative and sophisticated body of work and after nearly 20 years in (and out of) the music industry it stands strong as their finest output to date. It’s no wonder that the likes of Coldplay are singing their praises – one thing All Saints has always stood for is quality music and it doesn’t get any better than this. Roll on album #5.



Album review by Norm Hayes (@_Normski)



And now for Ally's review ... a second opinion. 

All Saints - Red Flag (London Records)

Supposedly the cooler rivals to the Spice Girls back in the glory days, I often felt All Saints, as talented as they were, had huge hit singles (including 5 UK #1s) but the albums never really hit the spot, a mishmash of ideas that sagged underneath the hits.

Fast forward to 2016, Two multi-platinum albums & 2006s ill-fated Studio 1 (Which is actually a decent record) behind them, they have defied all expectations of the general public, comebacks either go one way or the other, and this is their "Take That Moment."


To say Red Flag is a great album is a mighty understatement, this album has balls, vulnerability, confidence and most importantly everything else that made them great in the first place the attitude and fire is still there in Shaznay's lyrics, particularly "One Man Woman", whilst only track two on the album is the records centerpiece with its massive tribal beats and colossal chorus, this is destined to be a massive hit single, it also sets the pace for the whole album.


New single "This Is A War" has power too, although not quite enough hook or power as "One Strike" or "One Woman Man" to become a hit in its own right, its fate will be apparent in the coming weeks on the UK Official Chart, where "One Strike" has only started to make waves inside the chart itself.

Elsewhere, "Who Hurt Who" is a delicate slow song that shows theres a lot more to All Saints than confidence or attitude.

Red Flag isn't so much a statement than a triumphant return, a huge welcome back to Shazney & Co. — the best is yet to come.

    

Album review by Ally Bowie


Red Flag is available on digital outlets everywhere. Buy your copy today! It is fantastic! —Davearama

Friday, April 8, 2016

Top 100 Girl Groups/Bands: 1-20

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Welcome to Part 5 of our Top 100 countdown of our favourite Girl Groups and Girl Bands from around the world. Today we will list #21-40. Yesterday, we listed #21-40, and on Wednesday #41-60, and on Tuesday #61-80, and on #81-100 on Monday.

Special thanks to Raoni, Nick, Ally, Jason, Ted, Denny, Norm, Craig, Anthony, JT, Jef, Nico, Pascal, Mike, and Arturo.

And here is the Top 20!

P.S. I ran out of time last night linking all the songs. Too many to do. I will update them this weekend.

20. Wilson Phillips: This trio had three #1s with "Hold On", "Release Me", and "Impulsive" in the early 90s.



18. The Pipettes: This UK group started off as a trio in, but after the first album in 2006 two members left leaving singer Gwenno to recruit her sister Ani for the second album in 2010. They had wonderful songs like "Pull Shapes", "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me", "Because It's Not Love (But It's Still A Feeling)", "Stop The Music", "Call Me" and "Boo Shuffle." Read my interviews with Ani and Gwenno here.



17. En Vogue: They started off as a quartet and ended as trio. Their 90s hits included "Hold On", "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)", "Free Your Mind", "Whatta Man" (with Salt 'N' Pepa), and "Don't Let Go (Love)."



16. Mel & Kim: This UK sister duo act had four hits in the UK between 1986 and 1988. Sadly, Mel (who had been diagnosed with cancer) died in 1990 at the age of 23. Their hits were "Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend)", "Respectable", "F.L.M." and "That's The Way It Is."



15. Salt 'N' Pepa: They are a rap duo with DJ Spinderella, who also sings and raps ... so a trio they are. They are best known for "Push It", "Expression", "Let's Talk About Sex", "Shoop", "Whatta Man" and "None Of Your Buisness."



13. Destiny’s Child: This Texas-based group started off as a quartet and ended as trio before disbanding so that leader Beyoncé could go solo. They are most known for their song "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Say My Name""Independent Women Pt. 1""Survivor""Bootylicious", and "Lose My Breath."



12. Atomic Kitten: This lovely trio from England had hits like "Right Now", "I Want Your Love""Whole Again", "Eternal Flame""It's OK""The Tide Is High", and "Be With You."



11. TLC: This wonderful R&B trio had amazing songs like "Creep", "Waterfalls", "No Scrubs", and "Unpretty."



10. The Bangles: This L.A.-based band had a lot of hits with "Manic Monday", "Walk Like An Egyptian", "Eternal Flame", and "Hazy Shade Of Winter"



9. The Pointer Sisters: This group of sisters had hits in the 70s and 80s with songs like "Fire", "He's So Shy", "I'm So Excited", "Jump (For My Love)" and "Neutron Dance"



8. The Supremes: This Motown Girl Group set the bar for all other groups. And lead singer Diana Ross went on to have a huge career. They are most known for their songs in the 60s and 70s like "Where Did Our Love Go?", "Baby Love", "Stop! In The Name Of Love" to name but a few!



7. The Go-Go’s: This 80s girl band was massive. They hits like "Our Lips Are Sealed", We Got The Beat", "Vacation", "Head Over Heels" and "Turn To You."



6. All Saints: This quartet from England had massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1998 with "Never Ever." They also had a string of UK hits with "Under The Bridge", "Lady Marmalade", "Pure Shores", "Black Coffee" and their latest single is "One Strike."



5. Girls Aloud: This English group had a lot of hits like "Sound Of The Underground", "No Good Advice", "The Show", "Love Machine", "Biology", "The Promise" and "Something New."



4. Sugababes: This UK girl group are most famous for their rotating members. The trio that made the first album was not the trio that made the last album. Still, fans love them with hits like "Overload", "Freak Like Me", "Round Round", "Hole In The Head", "Push The Button", "Red Dress", "About You Now", "Girls", "Get Sexy", "About A Girl" and "Wear My Kiss." And the last single by the original lineup who recorded "Flatline" under the name Mutya Keisha Siobhan.



3. Shakespear’s Sister: This UK-based duo actually started out as a solo project for Siobhan Fahey after she left Bananarama. The project morphed into a duo and they produced two great albums before imploding. Siobhan carried on under the name after Marcella left. They had songs like "Break My Heart", "You're History", "Goodbye Cruel World", "Stay", "I Don't Care" and "Hello Turn Your Radio On."



2. Spice Girls: This UK five piece dominated the world in the late 90s with Girl Power. From 1996 to 2000, all but one of their singles went to #1 in the UK. The one that didn't went to #2. Their hits were "Wannabe", "Say You'll Be There", "2 Become 1", "Who Do You Think You Are?", "Spice Up Your Life", "Too Much", "Stop", "Viva Forever", "Goodbye", "Holler" and "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)."



1. Bananarama: This London-based group started off as a joke in 1981. They were a trio then and scored hits like "Really Saying Something", "Shy Boy", "Cruel Summer", "Robert De Niro's Waiting", "Venus", "I Heard A Rumour" and "Love In The First Degree." 


Siobhan, Keren & Sara were Bananarama 1981-1988.

In 1988, Siobhan left and Jacquie joined. They carried on with songs like "I Want You Back", "Love, Truth & Honesty", "Nathan Jones", "Only Your Love" and "Preacher Man." 



Keren, Sara and Jacquie were Bananarama 1988-1991

Jacquie left in 1991, and since then Sara and Keren have carried on as a duo with songs like "Movin' On", "More, More, More", "Every Shade Of Blue", "Take Me To Your Heart", "Move In My Direction", "Look On The Floor (Hypnotic Tango)", "Love Comes" and "Now Or Never." 


Keren and Sara are Bananarama 1992-Present

Bananarama entered the Guinness Book of World Record in 1988 for having the most chart hits for an all-girl group. It is a record they still hold today. They were overwhelmingly chosen as the #1 group by all who participated in the poll.



We hope you enjoyed the list. We will try out best to come up with another Top 100 list next month.

If you'd like to see the rest of the list, click on these links.

#21-40
#41-60
#61-80
#81-100 

Cheers then,
—Davearama