Saturday, December 6, 2014

Song Of The Day: "Wait" by Sharks

It is a known fact that "I Love It" by Icona Pop & Charli XCX was the very best song of last year and possibly the best of this decade. Well guess what? THIS SONG SOUNDS LIKE IT!

Sharks are a girl group (!!!) from Sweden (!!!!!!) that are under the management of Style Of Eye, the producer of "I Love It" amongst other very good songs (!!!!!!!!!!!) Clearly, NSOTPop would be all over this. With the same head rushy electro production, the girls of Sharks signal their arrival to the pop with shouty vocals that would make Icona Pop proud. The video is also a masterpiece, taking some notes from Marina and the Diamonds' "How To Be a Heartbreaker." Overall, it's an A+ from us!

Song Of The Day: "Getcha Good" by Celine Neon

Say hello to the best named act ever, Celine Neon. There's not too much about them out there but it appears to be two women singing while a man makes the music. Luckily, their output is 30% good thanks to new electrobanger "Getcha Good." It's a little too hard to describe but it manages to take a rave anthem to the tropics. Hopefully they keep the upward trend and move on from their old boring electro production. Regardless, the only way this would be better is if they did a balls to the walls cover "My Heart Will Go On."

Sound Of 2015? We'll See: George The Poet

BBC Description: "Street Savvy Verse"

What Does It Really Sound Like?

George The Poet is essentially a Slam poet performing over some nice piano. It's very tastemaker music but if his words resonate with you, then you will probably feel very empowered after listening to him.

Is he the Sound Of 2015: I hope not. He is extremely talented but if this ends up on the radio, we're all doomed.

Listen to some of George's songs on his Soundcloud.

P.S. A Reason To Be Thankful 2014 Is Ending

It appears that the stars of pop (pop stars if you will) have aligned to make 2015 one of the most exciting years of music ever. It is known fact here at NSOTPop that the artist who creates an album of the year goes down in history as a pop deity. 

Starting from the beginning of the golden age of pop in 2007, these deities include:

Dragonette - Galore (2007)

Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke (2008)

Little Boots - Hands (2009)

Ellie Goulding - Lights (2010)

Lady Gaga - Born This Way (2011)

Marina & The Diamonds - Electra Heart (2012)

Charli XCX - True Romance (2013)

2014… WHO KNOWS?! Except for me... The best album of 2014 is still up in the air but you can leave a comment telling me who you think it should be.

Now that you're well acquainted with the pop pantheon, let me go ahead and drop a bombshell on you. 


Charli XCX will release her second album Sucker in America in December, but won't be released in the UK until next year and therefore, will only count when it has been released in the artist's home country. Marina and the DiamondsFroot already has an April release date and Little Boots has got an amazing EP coming out to get you ready for the confirmed album for 2015. Elsewhere, Ellie Goulding has confirmed a new album for 2015. Now the speculation begins. Dragonette have had a sufficient amount of time to record a new album since 2012's Bodyparts and even though Ladyhawke takes forever to make albums, it is completely rational to expect something brilliant after 2012's Anxiety. Lady Gaga is the most worrisome as we could get something utterly shit like that guitar/rock album she's been threatening us with. However, she has stated that a Volume 2 of ARTPOP could come out in the near future and knowing her ability at continuing already amazing album campaigns, this could be the second coming of the Fame Monster!!!!!

Sincerely, there might be so much good music next year that everyone else should just take a break and save it for 2016. Happy holidays!

The Next Big Thing: Australian Songwriter Tiaan Is Here to Make Minimal R&B Beautiful

Whether we like it or not, 2014 has been the year of R&B coming back into the spotlight. And not you're typical Ciara bump and grind stuff either. The experimental R&B scene has never been hotter thanks to innovative minds like BANKS, FKA twigs, and The Weeknd. And that's all well and good but sometimes we need to bring it back to the safe haven of pop and Tiaan, or for emphasis TIAAN, is here to do just that.

Now, most people believe Tiaan to be a newcomer to the music world but I'm here to set the record straight. As an avid Top Model fan, I have seen most of the series from around the world, and out of all the hosts, runways, and bitch fights, Australia has the best intro song. So good that I had to find out who sang it. Which led me to this.

This may or may not be the same person, but I am calling Tiaan out on being the mastermind behind this amazing song. I suppose she got over being in the club and decided to take a step back and disappear for a second. Since most Australians are destined for greatness, it was only a matter of time before Tiaan came back to bless our ears.

Her brand of delicate R&B follows the minimalism set by her peers but Tiaan takes it one step further by mixing mesmerizing electronic atmospheres with her gorgeous and powerful voice. "Black Cars" is just one example of this beautiful singer creating a beautiful song. Apparently, Tiaan has a deal with Spotify to release all her music so you can go check her out there. Maybe she'll even Beyoncé an album soon only on Spotify!

2014 has brought us a lot of new talents but the best have been singers that take a new approach to classic sounds. Tiaan has mastered this genre and I cannot wait for more releases from this budding superstar. And we won't have to wait long! Tiaan has adopted a single per month strategy that really should be the standard across the world. This style has given us "Oh My", "Clean", and possible song of the year "Devil's Touch." So let's see if Tiaan can make it on top (CALLBACK!) in 2015.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Song Of The Day: "Classic" by The Knocks feat. Powers

There's an old saying amongst us music nerds: funky guitar riffs come and go but hits are forever. And thank god, because "Classic" by NY dance outfit The Knocks clearly is a hit for the ages. While their earlier stuff was more dizzying euphoria, The Knocks have always had a groove going in their music and it looks like this year they've opted for a more trance-y and chill vibe. Which is perfectly on trend thanks to the disco revival Daft Punk started last summer. As for the singer, all I know about Powers is that they are a musical duo who seem to make alt-rock, so if you're into that sort of thing, check them out. But more importantly, the singer's voice is silky as butter on top of this beat (best part is when she says "between the birds and bees) and will have you getting all the summer feels as we head into the winter months. And since it is finally Q4, wouldn't this have made a killer Rihanna single?!?! Take note Rih-Rih.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thoughts On BBC's The Sound Of… Poll's Past

Much like the Critics' Choice Awards at the BRITS, another indicator of what to listen for next year is the BBC's own The Sound Of… Poll! This time around the nominees can come from anywhere in the world and represent some of the most buzzed about artists of the past year or so. Blogs have to nominate 5 acts they think will become the next big thing for the upcoming year and a long list of 15 will be posted in December, with the top 5 revealed over the course of the first week of January.

Somehow, Nonstop On Top Pop was not notified of the deadline for submissions so the pop elements in the list for 2015 may be on the low side. But don't worry! The Sound Of Poll is one of the more reliable lists that focuses more on artistry rather than international success and even introduces some talent that I have never heard of but quickly gain an unhealthy obsession with. Starting in 2003, the Poll has been pretty accurate with winners including 50 Cent, Keane, Corinne Bailey Rae, and MIKA! So let's have a look at some of the past years' winners!

2008: Adele

Was This a Correct Decision: YES!

Adele might as well copyright the phrase "world conquerer" because even back in 2007, everyone knew she would be everywhere. From "Chasing Pavements" to "Hometown Glory," Adele constantly strikes at the heart of what makes human relationships special and her reflections can really teach humanity a little something about love. 

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: YES!

There could have been 2 in fact! Inferior soul singer Duffy was tipped as much more talented than our Adele and indeed, she had gained international success much faster than Adele. However, considering there was only 1 good song on her second album before she disappeared, it looks like Duffy was too fluff for the prize. The other winner has done a bit better for themselves: The Ting Tings! One of the most exciting bands of the 2000's, The Tings also managed US success before Adele and songs like "Shut Up And Let Me Go" were great anarchist anthems. This year, their 2nd album has at least 2 great songs so... still beating Duffy!

2009: Little Boots

Was This A Correct Decision: YES!

Probably more than any other popstar, Little Boots was responsible for making me fall in love with music. Her debut album Hands was spectacular from start to finish, "New In Town" was my favorite song in high school, and I trust no one else with making dark disco better than Ms. Boots. She may not have been the earth shattering popstar that the BBC may have wanted but any pop fan of the past five years must own a Little Boots album.

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: DEAR GOD YAAAAAAASSSSSSSS!

The nominees for 2009 were among the best assembled group of popstars ever created. Here's a quick rundown:

 Frankmusik: pop producer to the stars and overall amazing person, first album was amazing, second album was amazing, third album was mostly amazing, fourth album had potential to be amazing. Overall, AMAZING!
VV Brown: the comeback queen of 2013 whose album Samson & Delilah is one of the most artistic and immense sounding collections of the decade.
Florence & The Machine: The second best redhead in pop and Lungs was so innovative Steve Jobs should have asked her for some tips on Apple products.
Empire Of The Sun: Australian duo making disco guitar music and Elton John is a big fan. Also, "Walking On A Dream" is brilliant.
Lady Gaga: Gaga came in 6th this year in the poll. That's pretty ridiculous, isn't it?

2010: Ellie Goulding

Was This The Correct Decision: YES!

Oh, how much I adore Ellie Goulding. The voice of an angel with the talent of musicians that don't seem to pop up anymore. Ellie embodies the purest form of a popstar, a muse for producers that is never afraid to take on a challenge. Most importantly, her signature vox makes you recognize her before anything else. If popstars in America were half as good as Goulding, maybe the world would take us a little more seriously.

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: Just One

Though this year included some almost-good artists like Hurts, Everything Everything, and Two Door Cinema Club (actually, they were pretty good), there was only one other true competitor to Ellie: Marina & The Diamonds. Marina represented another standard for what a popstar should be: an avant-garde sound, a strong sensibility of what melodies make pop music great, and a charismatic person that can charm anyone into liking her music. If Marina had won, it would have been well-deserved but Ellie had "Starry Eyed" at the time, so that clearly put her that extra bit above the Diamonds. Since winning, the two appear to have album battles with each campaign. I wonder who will win in 2015?

2011: Jessie J

Was This The Correct Decision: By A Longshot

The critics and blogs in 2010 must've gone through an indie phase because there was not a lot of promise for the Sound of 2011. This made permanent belter Jessie J seem like gold next a pile of shit. At the time, Jessie provided a nice mix of true popstar persona with the vocal chops of legends like Adele and Leona Lewis. And honestly, her first album was pretty great in a "I have no idea what I'm doing but it sounds catchy enough" kind of way. Oh well, if she can pop out one catchy song a year that would be nice.

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: NO!

The other nominees included indietronica artists (James Blake, Jai Paul), nearly tolerable indie-pop bands (The Naked and Famous, Anna Calvi), and rock bands (one of whom was appropriately named Yuck). The only other nominee to do rather well in 2011 was Nero, whose rise was basically caused by everybody wanting dub step. But can their talent stand the test time? I guess we'll see in 2015.

2012: Michael Kiwanuka

Was This The Correct Decision: Absolutely Not!

One of the best things about the Sound of… Poll is that it judges more on artistry and creativity rather than just the dollar bills the singer would make for labels. HOWEVER, Michael Kiwanuka's brand of folk-soul was not what we needed in 2012.

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: YES x5

While the obvious choice for a winner would have been Frank Ocean (and he was lovely at the time) or Skrillex (not so much), the more unknown artists really had it this time around. Here they are in the order of how satisfied I would be if they won:

5. Ren Harvieu: Somehow Ren made an album that has guitars, violins, and a male choir that perfectly wraps up soul, country, and jazz with a nice little pop bow. Still a classic to this day.
4. Stooshe: There's nothing better than a girl band. That's a pop fact. Luckily, Stooshe were a girl band that cursed and joked like teenagers! If they had won, their album would have been better than it actually was but "Fuck Me" and "Slip" are still amazing.
3. Niki & The Dove: There's nothing better than Scandinavian pop sung by a female. That's a pop fact. Luckily, Niki & The Dove were a duo made of a male producer and a singer, so basically Swedish La Roux! Bringing some Robyn realness to 2012 would have been lovely and "DJ, Ease My Mind" may have been the best video of that year.
2. Lianne La Havas: It's hard to describe why I love Lianne other than her voice should be in the dictionary next to "gorgeous." The beauty in her artistry lies in the simplicity behind a lot of her songs. "No Room For Doubt" speaks volumes with just two guitars and two singers. And winning the poll might have made her the international superstar she deserves to be.
1. Azealia Banks: COME ON! "212" was nearly the best song of 2011 and if Broke With Expensive Taste was released in 2012, it probably would have been album of the year. Maybe getting third in the poll was what caused those anger management issues? Shame on you, BBC!

2013: HAIM

Was This The Correct Decision: In A Sense, Yes

Haim brought that retro, cool, California rock sense to a pop world that needed a little shaking up. Were they popular? Yes. Was their music good? They officially had the 11th best album of 2013, so yes. Could you call them popstars? Maybe not, but you wouldn't call Paris Hilton one until you hear "Stars Are Blind." So overall, congrats girls!

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: A 50% Yes

This year was split into bands vs. popstars. While Palma Violets, Savages, Kodaline, and Peace had their charms, we are still in an age when people need to learn when guitars are good. Tom Odell and The Weeknd probably would have made the most money but artistry wasn't exactly on the top of their priorities for their albums. This brings us to proper popstar territory. Arlissa was pretty much unknown but her unique voice really could have taken her somewhere. Angel Haze could have made a really powerful rap album if people weren't such assholes to female emcees. CHVRCHES made a wonderful electro album last year but nobody really noticed, even though "The Mother We Share" was amazing.  A*M*E still has the potential to make one of the best pop albums of the decades and "City Lights" can be listened to on repeat without getting bored for at least 14 hours. And Alunageorge, oh god, how much I adore Alunageorge! Just listen to the above song and think about how amazing the world would be if this was number one in at least 50 countries?

2014: Sam Smith

Was This The Correct Decision: Ugh, I Suppose

I may be the only person alive who hasn't jumped on the Sam Smith cryathon but his dance music was much more interesting. Sorry! However, he has been the biggest name in music of the past year so I suppose he WAS the Sound of 2014. Maybe make a disco album next Mr. Smith? I know some people who would help make it pretty great!

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: Yes x5

Once again, there were 5 pretty good alternatives to Sam Smith that would have probably made 2014 more interesting and less depressing. Chance The Rapper and FKA twigs may have been fan favorites but neither really captured the excitement that these 5 captured. They do receive honorable mentions for making something different and not making me cry.

5. Banks: Jillian Banks pretty much put avant-garde R&B on the map and her siren-like voice made for the perfect background for anyone's nightly escapades. And in 2014, Banks even put a pop twist on her signature sound, making Goddess even more amazing than anticipated!
4. MNEK: One of the greatest writers in pop history is MNEK. Responsible for some of the best songs of the century, MNEK has been a pop superstar in the making for quite some time. So far, he has a 50% success rate for making killer music solo but hopefully his debut album brings all of the amazingness he pulls out of the hat for The Saturdays and Florrie.
3. Ella Eyre: Ella has a number one under her belt and her mix of R&B and pop is probably the catchiest form of anyone else in the industry at the moment. Also, "Comeback" is likely to be in the top 10 songs of 2014. So yeah, she might have deserved to win.
2. Chlöe Howl: NSOTPop favorite and overall funny, young up and comer that could take over pop if someone would just help her release her album!
1. Say Lou Lou: The best twins in music and their debut album Lucid Dreaming is already the best of 2015, even if it has just the songs they have released so far.

So there you have it. The BBC Poll is one of my favorites and stay tuned for my coverage of the 2015 list and who will likely be THE SOUND OF 2015 based on NSOTP criteria*

*This pretty much means make amazing pop music

Track By Track Throwback: ARTPOP by Lady GaGa

Side Note: As a huge Koons fan, the album artwork is a 10/10

I'm back again with another installment of Track By Track Throwback. This time we take a look at Mother Monster's third studio album ARTPOP, an eclectic collection of grade A pop songs that ultimately failed to leave a real impression of what Lady GaGa wanted to accomplish. But in the end, Gaga still got around to creating some amazing music so let's go ahead and take apart this late in the game masterpiece.

1. Aura

Of course the first song off ARTPOP would be a controversial EDM song about wearing burqas as a form of flirtation. Regardless of whatever statement she is making, "Aura" is a cutting edge pop song that has more excitement than half of the top 100 combined. Thanks to Infected Mushroom, Lady Gaga proves that she can adopt any cultural persona, even Middle Eastern, to create a hit. And that chorus of "Do you wanna see me naked lov-uh?" also proves that Lady Gaga's writing chops have not failed since her beginnings on The Fame.

2. Venus

If there is one thing that the world should know about Lady Gaga, it's that she is one of the most intelligent HUMAN BEINGS on the planet. "Venus" was apparently written, produced, and mastered all by Stefani Germanotta herself. In all honesty, you can kind of tell she did it too. It's one big barrel of crazy after another with lyrics like "Garden panty, seashell bikini" (her grocery list probably) and a whopping 4 choruses. Unfortunately, it never fully comes together as the pop colossus Gaga meant it to be. However, her marketing strategy was genius, releasing the weird bits first, which let us get used to it before releasing the Frankenstein of pop. Take note Donald Trump, Gaga means business.

3. G.U.Y.

One of Gaga's best singles to date. Next to "Telephone," this is probably her best single. Like "Bad Romance" "Just Dance" level good. From the Greek God referencing intro, to the "love me love me please retweet" to the gender bending chorus, this is pop at its finest. As with most pop, it was under appreciated and became Gaga's lowest charting single at 79 :( Still, Zedd and Gaga should make more power bottom anthems like this again. And the video returns to the mind boggling stories that brought Lady Gaga to such superstardom in the first place. THE REAL HOUSEWIVES THOUGH! 

4. Sexxx Dreams

When Gaga performed this at iTunes festival, everyone freaked out. If she had stuck to that fan poll, "Sexxx Dreams" (or X Dreams on the clean album) would have been the next after "Applause." Imagine Gaga singing "When I lay in bed, I touch myself when I think of you" on the radio!!! The moms would have gone insane. But ultimately, only Gaga would have pulled off this ode to pure sexuality and she would have once again revolutionized the music industry as we know it.

5. Jewels N' Drugs (feat. T.I., Too $hort, and Twista)

In the 6 years Gaga has been gracing us with her music, this is her first real misstep. While hip-hop & rap certainly isn't something Gaga cannot do, she should have taken it a little more old school and a little less electro, considering the rappers she recruited aren't exactly experimenting with new sounds. We do get some retro Fame-era Gaga at moments, but that wasn't enough to save "Jewels". Those Azealia Banks collabs probably would have been better for the album but what can you do. This song is best left forgotten.

Justice for #Ratchet


By far the catchiest song off the entire album. That cheerleader stomp with the stadium guitar chords is a golden formula for anthemic status hit. I dare you to try not to scream "MANICURE", bet you it's impossible. The live version at iTunes festival got me very excited and Gaga delivered like Domino's. Hopefully, Mother Monster isn't too into that jazz album to release this as a single (sorry Tony Bennett).

7. Do What U Want (feat. R. Kelly)

Oh Gaga, why do you have to taunt us so?! This song was a clear favorite amongst the public and shows Gaga's range in different genres, as she successfully conquers R&B territory in this hit and even calls out her haters in an articulate way, before Taylor Swift even knew what was happening. But R. Kelly… Why R. Kelly? Granted, he can sing very well, but with his reputation and Gaga's own image of high sexuality, this was a recipe for disaster to begin with. Even Adam Levine would have been a better choice! Let's just all try to forget this ever happened and remember that Gaga did recognize her mistake and correctly released the correct version of the song which is below. #GAGASTINA


For some reason, all the critics fucking loved this weird ass song. It may be a more sophisticated version of Selena Gomez's "Love You Like A Love Song" but it's nothing that special. Oh well, this album is somewhat of an indulgence for Gaga so I'll let her have this one.

9. Swine

Now we're getting to the good stuff. Lady Gaga finally finds her home in the heart of EDM and this bouncy hiccupy track is basically what we all want to say to the SWIIIIIIIIIINE in our lives. Let alone the fact that Gaga has made iconic performances of the song, despite media backlash. Overall, this is where ARTPOP truly shines and Gaga embraces her signature sound.

10. Donatella

This was the diva moment of the album that cemented Gaga's title as the true Queen of Pop amongst album releases from Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears (no justice for #BritneyJean). Comparing herself while also honoring Ms. Versace proves Gaga's appreciation for the pop culture that made her so famous. It also doesn't hurt that this highly quotable and catchy song happens to be the perfect candidate for the next gay anthem.

11. Fashion!

No, this isn't Gaga's contribution to the Confessions of A Shopaholic soundtrack. It is a David Guetta-produced slice of retro disco that brings us all back to the dance floor where Gaga belongs. However, I am gonna call her out as I was made aware that she possibly stole Alyssa Edwards' catch phrase. I suppose it's forgivable as her Thanksgiving performance with RuPaul had me slayed.

12. Mary Jane Holland

This is one of Madeon's contributions to the album and it seems that his production overshadowed Gaga's songwriting. Still, who doesn't love a song about marijuana? One of the dramatic high points of the album for sure.

13. Dope

Oh god, here we go. The obligatory piano-led ballad that Gaga seems to love. Unfortunately, while the fans may have eaten it up, this is a real low point on the album. "You & I" and "Speechless" would have been better on this album and while the production is on point, Gaga's delivery just doesn't give me the feels she so easily brings from the dance floor. 

14. Gypsy

Now, THIS is what a Gaga ballad should sound like. Starting off with a simple piano, Gaga builds up to that ridiculous "TONIGHT!" and delivers a power ballad so strong that Celine Dion would be proud of. It has all the signature Gaga-isms, a euphoric chorus, a catchy refrain, a self-reference (#Scheiße) and the best part displaying her genius/insanity. Clearly, that would be the part where Gaga starts listing nationalities over Madeon's beat.

15. Applause

"Applause" is exactly what the world needed. The meta prowess that Gaga possesses in this song shows just what a formidable pop deity she has become over the years. Over the pop art references and hype-building slayvation she delivers, only Gaga would be able to create such a self-serving anthem and have us eat it up. Over the 32+ Applause's, it becomes clear that pop is a changed landscape thanks to Gaga's contribution.

This was Gaga's pet project. For the artistic types of the world, we can relate to really believing in a project out of passion and love. With all her material, Gaga puts her all into every aspect of the creative process. In places on ARTPOP, this looks like desperation and confusion. But ultimately, songs like "G.U.Y" and "Gypsy" (which could, and should become major hits someday) prove that our Queen is still there and we should give her our love, because she has shared it with us on every track from "Just Dance" to "Applause."