Poptastic Confessions

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Monday, December 31, 2012

#1 in my favourite songs of 2012

#1 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Now Or Never" by Bananarama. Click on the song title to see when I first wrote about the song.

As you probably know Bananarama are my all-time favourite group. And this year was a special year for them as it was their 30th Anniversary of their first song in the charts. Yes, back in February of 1982 their song "It Ain't What You Do" with the Fun Boy Three went Top 5 in the UK charts.

In 1984, they cracked the US Top 10 with "Cruel Summer." Two years later they went all the way to #1 in the US and around the world with their remake of "Venus." Read my full history of Bananarama blog entry here.

This year was a great year for Bananarama. Earlier in the year, they released a CD/DVD combo called "30 Years Of Bananarama." It was the first time a compilation of their videos had been available on DVD.

This summer, they performed at the Olympics! They performed a halftime set for the men's beach volleyball final. Unfortunately, it wasn't televised, but a wonderful fan filmed part of it.

If that wasn't enough, Bananarama toured the US with a live band. The tour was sponsored by Hard Rock Café's Pinktober to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. We were lucky enough to see them in Las Vegas on their last night of the tour. And I even danced with them on stage.

And they just performed live at the Wembley 02 Arena as part of a celebration of acts that have worked with Pete Waterman. It was called Hit Factory Live and Bananarama stole the show.

So this leads me back to the song "Now Or Never." It starts off as a slow song and builds and builds into a full-on dance floor filler. It's so uplifting. It's about taking a chance on love. It is magical. I might have had tears in my eyes when I first heard it. It just makes me so very happy.

Unfortunately, they didn't make a video for the song. Bananarama released the EP on their own, as are many artists these days (for example, Annikafiore & Gwenno). The years of big-budget videos for Bananarama might be gone. But fans will want even a low-budget video than none at all.

However, Bananarama-fan Yas filmed them at several shows and put the videos together and did quite a good job! Enjoy!~

"Now Or Never" is available on iTunes and Amazon.

#2 in my favourite songs of 2012

#2 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Crying At The Discoteque" by Annikafiore. Click on the song title to see when I first wrote about the song.

Annikafiore had the #1 song on my countdown last year with "Don't Wanna C U 2nite." And this year, she released the long-awaited original video for the song but set to a new remix by Italian musician Piol.

Her song "Love 2 Live" also came in at #6 last year. And this year, she let fans have the layers to make their own remixes. I tried a few mashups with not much luck. But I did make one that I am quite proud of. I used the instrumental to L2L and used an interview with Annikafiore over it. And then it ended in a big chorus. Perhaps one day it will see the light of day.

"Crying At The Discoteque" is the song that put the Swedish group Alcazar on the map. And Annikafiore was a founding member of the group. You can read my blog entry about the history of Alcazar here.

Annikafiore recorded a new version with producer Antti Vuorenniemi, who also co-wrote and produced her 2011 debut EP "Preaching To The Choir." Their new version of "Crying At The Discoteque" is very dark and full of glorious layers from the Swedish strings to the live drums and booming bass. My favorite part is when Annikafiore hits the big note during "Let the music take you high." It's absolutely brilliant. And the video here is of Annikafiore performing it with the famous Diamond Dog Drag Queens of Stockholm, Sweden.

However, there is another version of "Crying At The Discoteque" that Annikafiore released on her "Recovered" remix EP that came out this summer. Piol's remix quickly became the summer jam. I have dubbed it the "Chill Beach" version. As you just imagine yourself lying on tropical beach with a piña colada in hand while listening to this mix. It is heavenly!

Annikafiore sang Piol's remix version of "Crying At The Discoteque" at Andreas Lundstedt's 40th birthday party. Andreas and Tess (of Alcazar) joined Annikafiore on stage for the last part of the song. And luckily, the last 1:45 was caught on film with the original trio getting down and Annikafiore ad libbing. It all ended in a group hug. Unfortunately, this video hasn't been posted on YouTube. I've asked the owner of it if he would. He said he would need to ask Andreas. We shall see ...

I know that Annikafiore had planned a video for "Crying At The Discoteque." I think some footage was shot, but she told me it didn't turn out the way she had hoped. So for now, no video. However, you can hear the Piol remix here.

Annikafiore's music is available on iTunes. But it is also available on CDBaby.com which supports independent artists by giving them more profits of their sales. So, if you like the song, please consider buying it from CDBaby.com or both!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

#3 in my favourite songs of 2012

#3 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Ymbelydredd" by Gwenno. Click on the song title to see when I first wrote about the song.

This is very exciting because this is the first song sung in Welsh to be on any of my countdowns. Gwenno is most famous for being in The Pipettes. I was lucky enough to meet her in 2007 and again in 2011 when The Pipettes toured America and came to San Francisco. I was even luckier to interview Gwenno for Poptastic Confessions earlier this year.

Gwenno's EP by the same name came out in August. It quickly became my soundtrack to the end of summer. I reviewed the EP for the blog, too. Here in San Francisco that means lots of fog, which is perfect for Gwenno's dreamy music.

"Ymbelydredd" was the first single and a montage video surfaced in July of this year. I played the song for my husband Arturo and our friend Janice. Arturo is fan by osmosis! Ha! And he went with me to both Pipettes shows in San Francisco. Janice went to the last Pipettes show with us. They both loved the track. 

The word "Ymbelydredd" translates into "Radiation." But it's not all toxic gloom and doom. Instead, it is about how love radiates. Thankfully, Gwenno translated the lyrics from the EP to English on her blog.

I was really hoping there would be some promotion or videos for the songs "50C" and the amazing "Despenser St." Both are excellent songs and shouldn't be missed.

Thankfully, Gwenno did film a video for "Ymbelydred" and it was her walking around places in hazy dream. It's very artistic and lovely.

Gwenno's music is available on iTunes.

#4 in my favourite songs of 2012

#4 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "4 Ever" by Whigfield. Click on the song title to see when I first wrote about the song.

Now, if you had told me earlier this year that the Whigfield of 1994's hit "Saturday Night" would have two songs in my Top 20, and one song at the #4 spot, I probably would have laughed. But so it is.

I had never been a big Whigfield fan. But when my friend Rao sent me a link to her video for "4 Ever" … I couldn't get enough! I had to download the song from iTunes that day! What a glorious, happy pop song with a wonderful melody!

Throughout the year, I always keep a running playlist of new songs. I initially put the song in around the #14 spot, but after a week of listening to it, it was clear to me that this was a Top 10 hit in my book. And it just kept getting higher and higher on my list. A true poptastic success story.

Now, I waited about a month until I bought her album "W." And I can't get enough of it. What a glorious album, although a bit short (only 8 songs). Her third single from the album was the pop dub step tune "Jeg Kommer Hjem" and despite the Danish title, the track is sung in English. I like it, but it didn't make my Top 20 list.

I'm hoping for 3 more singles from Whigfield next year. And if so, you can count on them to be in my 2013 countdown because they are FABulous! They are "Stay In My Head", "Devil Called Love" and "As I Go."

And now, for the adorable video for "4 Ever" … Just goes to show you don't need a huge budget for a lasting video.

Whigfield's music is on iTunes.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

#5 in my favourite songs of 2012

#5 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Girl Gone Wild" by Madonna. Click on the song title to see when I first wrote about the song.

This anthem is a return to Madonna's dance songs, and it is one of her best. Sure the lyric borrows a little from Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." But that is OK, because this song is ace. And during the spring and early summer, it was sitting at my #1 spot.

The song very reminiscent of "Vogue" … Especially with the black and white video. And you can't blame Madonna for wanting to recapture some of that magic. And I think she did a wonderful job.

This is the third and final song from Madonna in my 2012 countdown. You might remember that "Give Me All Your Lovin'" was at #19 and "Turn Up The Radio" was at #12. Even though ballads aren't really my thing, I will say that if Madonna had released "Falling Free" as a single from her "MDNA" album, it probably would have made my Top 20. I love and adore that song. And it is a pity that the masses (beyond Madonna fans) didn't hear it. She also had a song off the new album called "Love Spent" that I absolutely adored, too. 

Overall, it was a great year for Madonna … the Super Bowl performance, her album, 3 singles in my Top 20. Keep it coming, Madge!

#6 in my favourite songs of 2012

#6 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Human Behaviour" by Le Kid. You can click on the song title to read when I first wrote about the song in January.

This glorious single was released at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately it was only released in Denmark. And unfortunately, no video was made either.

However, the song is really, really good. Actually it is better than good. It is FANTASTIC! This upbeat, happy song is futuristic and retro all at the same time!

Le Kid: Helena, Johanna, Felix and Märta

Back in January I wrote, "The music is reminiscent of new wave, and Helena and Johanna's vocals are so magnificent. The chorus is euphoric! The beat is relentless. This is song that deserves a global release, not just in Denmark."

Well, it didn't get the global release ... But when I interviewed Felix from Le Kid, he said they have more amazing music from Le Kid is coming for 2013. You better believe that it will be featured in Poptastic Confessions!

Le Kid came in at #11 on my 2010 list with "We Should Go Home Together." In 2011, they had three songs on my countdown. "America" came in at #3. "We Are The Drums" came in at #11. And "Oh My God" came in at #21. And earlier in my countdown for this year, their song "Superficial" came in at #13. Those links will take you to my blog entries about those songs.

You can hear the popstastic song "Human Behaviour" here ...

See #7 in my countdown.

Friday, December 28, 2012

#7 in my favourite songs of 2012

#7 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "30 Days" by The Saturdays. Oh, that rhymed! Click on the song title to see when I wrote about the song earlier this year.

The Saturdays were at #9 on my countdown last year with their hit "All Fired Up." The latest song is a nice little dance pop song. I admit, it had to grow on me and indeed it did. I just love The Saturdays because they always look like they are having fun and not taking themselves too seriously. Sometimes, maybe. But this is fun song.

The video takes place in a diner and the theme is speed dating! How fun! And Una was pregnant during the video shoot. But they did a nice job of incorporating that!


The Saturdays are coming to America in January on E! They have a reality show called "Chasing The Saturdays" and I'm sure you will be setting your DVRs to record it! Also, they have a new song in the US that was released on December 18. The song is called "What About Us" and it is quite good! It's a bit late in the year to make my list. So it will have to wait next year. Right now it is the first song on my 2013 list!

Available now on US iTunes!

"30 Days" is not available on US iTunes just yet. However, you can get it on mp3va.com with a prepaid account.

#8 in my favourite songs of 2012

#8 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Timebomb" by Kylie Minogue.

This single was released to celebrate Kylie's 25th anniversary in the music industry. Well, it was 24 years ago that we were all singing "The Locomotion." Where does the time go? Anyhoo … this was a nice dance pop number from Kylie. She is really in her element here.

You might remember that Kylie was at #18 on my countdown last year with "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel In Love)" and in 2010 she had my #1 spot with "Get Outta My Way."

Kylie did have another single out this year. It was a ballad called "Flower." And it is very pretty. As much as I can appreciate ballads, I prefer the dance beats. Thus, "Flower" didn't make my Top 20.

The video to "Timebomb" has Kylie sporting some hot pants and a rather revealing black mini-dress! I think you'll find it to be a ride wild. Enjoy!~


"Timebomb" is available on iTunes!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

#9 in my favourite songs of 2012

#9 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Love Stuck" by Dream Beats featuring The Face.

As you might remember that last year Dream Beats had the #2 song in my countdown with "Feel 4 U" featuring Alcazar. "Love Stuck" was released this summer and I completely missed it until I interviewed Felix from Dream Beats and Le Kid this fall. I quickly got the track and it has been in heavy rotation ever since.

Right after I learned about the track, I kept calling it "Love Struck" for about a week until I figured out there was no r. Ha!

The song is very catchy. It makes you feel happy just listening to it. And that my friends, is what great pop music is all about.

The video is rather funny as it has the trio taking their clothes off all through the video until they appear naked at the end. This goes to show you that you don't have to spend a lot of money on a video for it to engage the viewer.

Sadly, I know very little about The Face, as this was their debut single. It took me a bit to find out anything about them. Finally, I found that Popjustice had a little interview with them, as did FABmagazing.com. You can like their Facebook page, as well as the Facebook page of Dream Beats.

Let's hope to hear more music from both acts in 2013. In the meantime, you can hear some of The Face's demos on SoundCloud.

#10 in my favourite songs of 2012

#10 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Something New" by Girls Aloud. Click on the song title to read when I wrote about the song in October.

This song was released from their latest greatest hits album called "Ten" to celebrate the group's 10th anniversary. However, they have been on hiatus for three years. Ha! Their last song to hit my Top 20 was the amazing "Untouchable" and it came in at #6 on my Top 20 of 2009. Although Nicola Roberts' (the redhead) solo outing landed her song "Beat Of My Drum" at #13 in last year's countdown.

"Something New" is relentless. And I have to give the group credit for going with songs that are a bit out of the box. The video is an extravaganza and it goes by a little too quickly. Plus, I think Sarah (the blonde) lacks screen time compared to the rest.

Girls Aloud also released a ballad earlier this month called "Beautiful Cause You Love Me." I blogged about it, but it didn't make my Top 20 list.

Some of Girls Aloud music is available on US iTunes. However, this is available on mp3va.com with a prepaid account.

See #11 in my countdown.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#11 in my favourite songs of 2012

#11 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jespen. 

I first wrote about this song last March. I said, "A friend sent me the video, and I almost turned it off during the first verse. But then I thought, no I'll wait and hear the chorus. Wait ... What is this I heard? Strings? Glorious strings! (Or at least synths disguised as strings!) Was this an Alcazar track that disregarded? I had to listen again and again. Sadly, it's not a disregarded Alcazar song."

As you know, the song became a worldwide smash. Usually in my book that is the kiss of death. However, there is something really endearing about this song. Something so simple, and yet poptastic all at the same time. And something completely embarrassing, too. It brought back some glorious, unashamed pop music back into the charts. So in weird way, I'm glad it was a hit. However, because it was so massive, it just didn't make my Top 10 because it was too overplayed.

I really didn't think I would like anything else by the Canadian singer. However, I did quite like her duet with Owl City called "Good Time." Although it didn't make my Top 20.

Carly Rae Jespen's music is available on iTunes and probably everywhere.

See #12 in my countdown.

#12 in my favourite songs of 2012

#12 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Turn Up The Radio" by Madonna.

This uplifting song was the third single from her album MDNA. When I first heard the album, I knew this would be a single. As I reviewed the album, I mentioned that it made me happy listening to it. And Madonna's lyrics really hit it home with me …

"When the world starts to get you down … Turn up the radio." Or in my case, turn up your music on your iPhone!

I will admit, the chorus is a bit simple. But it's a great song. And the video is a hoot. Madonna looks amazing. Enjoy!~

"Turn Up The Radio" is available on iTunes, Amazon and just about anywhere.

See #13 in my countdown.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

#13 in my favourite songs of 2012

#13 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Superficial" by Le Kid and Mi Lajki. If you click on the song title, you can see what I wrote about the song back in March.

Apparently the music was done by Mi Lajki and Le Kid provided the lyrics, melody and vocals. It is bit darker than any of Le Kid's stuff. It had a booming bass. It's not quite a ballad, but not a dance track either. Yet, calling it mid-tempo doesn't seem right. But perhaps it is.

Unfortunately, I found out when I interviewed Felix from Le Kid that he doesn't like the song. Ut-oh. But as a fan of Le Kid, I think they can do no wrong. So naturally, I love it.

A very short video was made for it, but only the singers Johanna and Helena are featured in it. It is not the full song. 

You can hear the full song on SoundCloud. 

Sadly, the song was not commercially available. I debated including it on my list for that reason. But the song has been a favourite of mine this year. So here it is. Enjoy!~

See #14 in the countdown.

Monday, December 24, 2012

#14 in my favourite songs of 2012

#14 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "We Rule The World" by Happy Hoes! Click on the song title to see when I first wrote about the song.

Saying the group's name always makes me laugh! As you might remember, they were on my countdown last year at #8 with a song called "Don't Try To Steal My Limelight." They didn't have their band name back then, but they are still the same group. 

The song is a hoot. As always, the lyrics are hilarious. You have to give them credit for coming up with some catchy songs. Unfortunately, they didn't make a video for the song.

They even have a catchy Christmas song out now called "Happy Ho Ho Ho." However, Christmas songs don't make my countdown.

La Camilla will be rejoining Army Of Lovers next year for Sweden's Melodifestivalen. And Dominika will probably rejoin the group next summer for a tour. However, they have said they will keep both groups going. Yay!

Happy Hoes music is available on iTunes.

See #15 in the countdown.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

#15 in my favourite songs of 2012

#15 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "C'est Cool" by Whigfield. Another act from Denmark! This was actually released in 2011, but I completely missed it last year. However, I've been playing it nonstop this year. Thus, it lands on my 2012 list!

You may remember Whigfield from her 1994 smash hit "Saturday Night." Perhaps you even remember some of her other songs, although many of her early tracks had a similar sound.

But the Whigfield of 2011/2012 is not the same from 1994. First of all, her vocals are much better and her sound is very current. I recently reviewed her latest album "W." And I can't get enough of it!

"C'est Cool" is a fun track. It reminds you a bit of Kylie's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" in a good way, but not in a bad way. Apparently there is a "Right Version" and a "Left Version." I haven't quite figured out why left and right, but c'est la vie! I prefer the "Right Version" as it was the version on her album.

The video is ace as it has Sannie (her real name) working it as a model, and she is gorgeous! Work it, girl!

Whigfield's music is available on iTunes!

See #16 in the countdown.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

#16 in my favourite songs of 2012

#16 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Love Is All …" by Infernal. This was originally released in Denmark in 2010. However, they re-recorded it and re-released it this year in the UK. If you click on the title of the song, you can read when I first wrote about the song earlier this year.

I will admit, I didn't know much about Infernal until this song. I found out about the song on Scandipop. Apparently the group's biggest hit was "From Paris To Berlin" in 2004. I missed that, too. They have a new song out called "Can't Go Back." However, "Love Is All ..." is what I have been listening to this year.

The original video was quite weird and a little disturbing. It didn't feature the band members. So, the new version of the song used clips from the original video as well as new footage of the duo.

Some of Infernal's music is available on US iTunes. However, I was able to get "Love Is All …" on mp3va.com with a prepaid account.

See #17 in the countdown.

Friday, December 21, 2012

#17 in my favourite songs of 2012

#17 in my favourite songs of 2012 is "Winner" by the Pet Shop Boys.

"Winner" was the first single from their eleventh studio album called "Elysium." The song was released just in time for the Summer Olympics. And the song definitely had Olympic fever. The song is very uplifting and I think it is wonderful. And it is my favorite song off their new album, followed closely by the electro-chill track "Invisible."

The video for the song was quite bold. It features the London Rollergirls and their acceptance of their new teammate who happens to be transgendered. The first time I saw the video, I'm pretty sure that I cried. It is how you want life to be. No, the Pet Shop Boys aren't in the video.

Fun fact: The Pet Shop Boys last appeared on my countdown in 2010 at #18 with the song "Together." 

The Pet Shop Boys music is available on iTunes.

See #18 on the countdown.