Saturday, December 31, 2011

These are for real the top 11 of '11

These three things all happened in 2011, but only one was good enough to end up on our list
It's New Years Eve and in a few short hours no one will care about 2011 anymore, and instead will be looking ahead to the gloriousness/apocalypse that is sure to come in 2012.  So we'll save you the big into and instead get right to the good stuff.

Here are the best singles from 2011:

11.  Nicola Roberts - Lucky Day
Before everything went off the rails for Nicola, her handlers picked this Dragonette-penned gem for her second single.  Her first release, 'Beat Of My Drum' stalled at #27 on the UK charts, but everyone was all "oh this could be a total fluke for no logical reason other than that we want to believe it is" and figured 'Lucky' could be just the kind of midtempo corker to turn everything around.  But, while it was easy on the ears and had a simple-but-cute New York City-filmed video in tow, 'Day' ended up being just like everything else Nicola Roberts does - critically loved and commercially ignored.  Chart peak: UK - #37

10. Kylie - Put Your Hands Up (Pete Hammond Remix)
K-Mo's 2011 was largely spent on the road, thrilling European and Australian audiences with a concert tour featuring water jets, a "splash zone" in which fans got wet (from the water, not excitement...hopefully), and an entire ancient Greek temple on stage.  It was universally lauded as a triumph, and set the benchmark for "those other" divas, namely Madge and one Miss Gaga.  The Daily Telegraph even noted that "when it comes to the classier brand of arena kitsch, she, not Lady Gaga, remains supreme authority."  But K-Mo didn't stop there.  In 2011 Kylie traveled to the U.S. for her second-ever North American tour, and put out single 'Put Your Hands Up' as a kind of promo track for her trek.  And her fans lapped it up - the song became her fifth number one on the dance chart in a row in America and for good reason - because it is brilliant.  Chart peak: US Dance - #1

9.  Hyuna - Bubble Pop
Hyuna is a Korean pop star who has been no stranger to success.  As a member of the girlgroup Wonder Girls and then as one of different girlgroup 4Minute, she racked up a sizeable number of hits.  But it was when she finally went solo that she really came into her booty-shaking own.  Like a tiny Korean Beyonce she shimmied and shook her ass off and it paid off in spades.  Her video for the genius 'Bubble Pop' was key in the wave of K- and J- pop awareness sweeping the English-speaking world, and the song ruled any half-decent Fire Island iPod dock for the entire summer.  We're also assuming it sparked a run on "BOY" t-shirts, but we don't have the figures for that handy.  Chart peak: Korea - #4

8.  One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful
So there's this whole "boyband resurgence" thing happening (particularly in the UK) which means quite a few four-and-fivesomes of hot young gentlemen have been thrown at us over the last 12 months.  The Wanted and JLS each solidified their status as the premiere Euro boybands, and set their sights on America -  The Wanted even look like they might make it, as their track 'Glad You Came' is gaining steam in the US.  But it was the adorably earnest barely-legal boys from One Direction who stole the show with their unpretentious brand of pop perfection.  While JLS and The Wanted tried to prove they were SUPER-LEGIT ARTISTES, the third-place runners up of UK X-Factor decided to cut an album and just have fun with it.  'What Makes You Beautiful' was one of the biggest surprises of the year, with its catchy chorus and its almost rebellious refusal to play into the autotune donkfest that pop has become.  And we are all better for having heard it.  Chart peak:  UK - #1, AUS - #8

7.  Wynter Gordon - Buy My Love
There's something about this track that transcends the sort of C-list status Wynter Gordon holds in the pop world.  She first guested on Flo Rida's 'Sugar' and scored a top 5 hit in the States, but then kind of trailed off into "come see me at Splash nightclub tonight at 1am" mediocrity pretty quickly.  Sure, the gays love her, but they're not a hard group to crack if you have access to glitter and cheap amphetamines.  So when 'Buy My Love' made its debut late in the summer, we were a little blown away.  The song's kitschy without being sappy, ironic enough for the hipsters but not in an annoying way, and comes with a rather inspired video.  Which, of course, means it was totally ignored by just about everyone.  Because that's how these things work.  Sadface, etc.   Chart peak:  AUS - #77, US Dance - #7

6.  Adele - Rolling In The Deep
There's not much we need to say about this track.  Its worldwide dominance is undisputed.  Its singer's genius is unchallenged.  The subtle and quietly intense video is pitch-perfect.  And no matter how many times we hear it, 'Rolling' was and will remain, A JAM.  Chart peak:  US - #1, UK - #2, AUS - #3

5.  Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger
Ok so if 'Rolling In The Deep' is one song we don't need to justify making this list, 'Moves Like Jagger' might just be the flip side.  It's gimmicky (the whistle, the presence of Xtina for LITERALLY NO REASON), it's pandering, and the video is weird for several reasons, not the least of which being that they actually stretched the footage of Miss Aguilera so she wouldn't look like she ate a dumptruck on the way to the shoot.  But no one can deny that the song was EVERYWHERE this year, and despite that, we somehow didn't get sick of it.  If anything, we warmed to it a bit more with each listen.  And that's the mark of a real hit, ScopiSubjects.  When this track originally debuted we said no one would remember it in a year.  We've never been more delighted to be proven wrong.  Chart peak:  US - #1, UK - #2, AUS - #2

4.  Lady Gaga - Edge Of Glory
We're over Gaga.  A lot of people are over Gaga.  Yes she's brilliant and genius and blah blah, but she's also the reason every gayborhood was full of guys in ridiculous jean cutoffs and black military boots this summer.  She's always essentially been Madonna's shoutier, bitchier, crazier little sister, but 2011 was the year when she all of a sudden decided that everything she does is SUPER IMPORTANT (it's not) and that being a pop star comes with some sort of great responsibility to be douchy and heavy handed (it doesn't).  But 2011 is also the year that, in between spastic bouts of insanity and preachiness, she also gave us some great music.  'Edge Of Glory' is a glittering firework of a song that couldn't even be killed by its shambolic music video (notice we put up a RATHER TREMENDOUS live performance below instead), and for a few precious short-lived months, it gave us back the fun, poppy Gaga we fell in love with so long ago.  Chart peak: US - #3, UK - #6

3.  Will Young - Jealousy
2011 was the year that Will Young reminded everyone why he is amazing.  The "Kelly Clarkson of the UK" (he won the first ever Pop Idol tv show, even before American Idol really Kelly is the US Will Young but whatever) has really been going pretty strong since his first single back in 2002, but to be quite honest it could have gone either way for him after his greatest hits package.  His first few singles were guaranteed success thanks to winning Idol, and then the flurry of press coverage when he came out cemented his status as a bona-fide media darling.  Right about that time he proved he had the songwriting and vocal chops to be the real deal, and then...well, he just got kinda quiet for a while after releasing his retrospective.  Diminishing chart returns on each of his tracks meant 'Jealousy' was released at a time when Young hadn't even appeared in the top 20 of the singles countdown in 3 years (though, to be fair, his albums consistently have been top 10 smashes).  As the lead single of Will's fifth studio record, hopes were high.  But they were all exceeded when this glittering synth gem gave us all a taste of Young's new, electro-chill direction.  The Guardian said it best when it described the track as "stately."  'Jealousy' is a respectable, honorable, mature earworm of a song.  And it's got some killer remixes to boot.  Chart peak:  UK - #5

2.   Selena Gomez and the Scene - Love You Like A Love Song
This song is tremendous.  We really can't overstate that enough.  Had it been given a slightly better production treatment and a bit more promotion (though not through live performances - seriously, it's terrible live, google it) it could have been huge.  Like, Kylie's 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' huge.   But instead, whoever was in charge of the whole Selena Gomez thing gave the song to a producer, thought "eh, that's good enough" and chucked it out as a single, and instead of a world-conquering stomper, we got a mid-level hit that sounds a bit like a demo recording that would leak on the internet ahead of a huge superstar's release but is still knock-down, drag-out PHENOMENAL.  So even though it's riding high on our list of tracks of the year, we still can't help but feel this was a bit of a missed opportunity.  And Miss Gomez, we're still waiting for the remixes.  Thanks.  Chart peak:  RUS - #1, CAN - #10, US - #26

1.  Cher Lloyd - Want U Back
So there are a couple things that could get us into trouble with this pick.  First, it's Cher Lloyd. A ton of people hate her.  A ton of people love her too, but they're usually pretty quiet about it and just download her tracks in the dark at night from a Starbucks nowhere near their house out of fear someone they know could see them.  But generally we are comfortable saying that Cher Lloyd is a....divisive figure.  The second issue is that this track isn't OFFICIALLY out as a single yet.  Its release date is pegged for February 12, 2012 and it's only just recently gone out to radio stations.  But, thanks to THE WORLD WE NOW LIVE IN, it's available as a single download from its parent album, so we are including it in this list.  Because it is amazing.  And also since it's like, 8 hours until 2012 and we feel kind of bad our list is coming out so late and giving a tip for what is going to be huge in the new year makes us feel a bit more relevant and on point.  But mostly because it's amazing.  It's fresh, it's got personality, and it is, most importantly, unique.  It sounds nothing like the autotuned Katy Perry/Ke$ha/Britney dreck that is constantly on the radio and which makes every day sound like one long thumping headache of a song, and for that, Cher, we thank you.  Chart peak:  TBR

Happy 2012, ScopiSubjects, and see you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jessie J falls down like a 'Domino' in new video - watch now

Haters gon' hate.
We get that Jessie J is a BONA FIDE TALENT or whatever but that doesn't mean she can't still piss us off.  We're not sure why either.  Are we annoyed that she always looks like a tranny in that awful bob?  Or that she over-emotes to the point that we want to cut her face off? 

It could be both.

Which is unfortunate, because each of those things is on FULL DISPLAY in her new video for the admittedly very very good 'Domino.'  It's a jam and it has a beat and you can dance to it but to be fair it could have been sung by literally anyone and still be just as good, if not better. 

Anyway, the video finds JJ mugging for the camera in some glittery catsuits and some 90's gear, and it's all jazzed up by some "inventive edits" in order to disguise the fact that the whole thing was done "on the cheap."  And here it is.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Rihanna says 'You Da One' in her new video

This is a thing that happened.
Rihanna just wrapped up her GIANT ALL-CONQUERING TOUR in London, but apparently she was quite busy even while that was going on, shooting videos and collapsing from exhaustion and the like.  Luckily the 'You Da One' video, which just premiered, doesn't find her actually doing that much, so hopefully it didn't contribute to her fatigue too much.

Unfortunately the fact it doesn't find her doing much means it's a pretty boring watch, unless you're a fan of dodgy wigs (which we understand many of our readers are).  To be honest we've never been a huge fan of Rihanna's midtempo "jAmZ," as we're not sure she has the voice for such things and they always trend to the boring side of "good," but as generic pop songs go we're not going to complain about 'You' and instead will just say it's highly unlikely to unseat her current #1 track 'We Found Love' from the peak of the charts. 

Speaking of 'We Found Love,' congrats, RiRi, on your longest running chart-topper ever.  Maybe you can celebrate by donning a tacky blond weave and running around in black-and-white for a few minutes.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Lips that we call Lana Del Rey has a new video out and here it is

Even this photo smells like patchouli and BO
First off we would like to apologize for our SHOCKING LACK OF POSTS over the last few days.  We've been doing several things, including organizing our "BEST OF 2011" list and also drinking quite a lot. But lo, ScopiSubjects, our silence is broken!  For the large-lipped Lana Del Rey has foisted another video into our pop pubis and it absolutely demands to be snarked about.

Initially we were kind of interested in Lana, in a "she totally gets that she's that cat lady with all the plastic surgery and it's fun and self-knowing and winkingly ironic" way, but then it turned out that actually she had no idea she was a walking fauxhemian joke and pretended to be all REAL and AUTHENTIC while attempting miserably to speak out of her labia-with-an-allergic-reaction mouth.

It wasn't that we were no longer interested at all, however, as most pop stars these days seem to have a healthy amount of selective memory and social blindness when it comes to their own ridiculousness.  But then she did that awful video teaser thing where she was naked and cuddling with a homeless and called it the OFFICIAL VIDEO but then also stuck a thing at the bottom of the OFFICIAL VIDEO saying "OFFICIAL VIDEO COMING SOON."

And THAT is when we completely lost interest.

Anyway here's her new video and it's actually not half bad but for us it is TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE and we're afraid that to us Lana Del Rey will always be that vagina-lipped girl who hugs smelly hipsters for cash.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kelly Clarkson gets 'Stronger' in new video - watch the premiere now!

My boobs are made of Grammys
Our last post was all DOOM and GLOOM and WILL.I.AM pretending anyone gives a shit what he does.  Which is why it's so good that today, the LIVING RAY OF SUNSHINE that is Kelly Clarkson released her video for 'Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)'.  It's a good reminder just in time for the holidays - that no matter how many unintentionally-terrifying Justin Bieber videos come out, as long as we can make it through alive, we will come out the other side a better person with bigger pecs and biceps.

Or something.

Anyway, the video is Kelly doing her usual Kelly thing, but also has an added flash mob thing going.  It's super cute in a "flash mobs are a thing that was awesome a couple years ago so lets do one in a video" kind of way.  The choreography was put out a while back, in order to give KC's fans a chance to learn it and perform it in the clip, and the payoff is a lot of fun to watch.

As for the song, 'Stronger' is the second single from Clarkson's fifth (!!) solo album, and it is very good.  Not as good as 'Mr. Know It All,' but a smidge more addicting and certainly hit-worthy.  Which is good, because we have a feeling we'll be hearing it quite a bit all winter.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Signs of the Apocalypse #12 and #13 -'s 'T.H.E.' and Justin Beiber

Ok so we're only a few days away from 2012, which is when the world is totally going to end if you ask alarmist tabloids or the people who make Discovery Channel "documentaries".  And you know what, ScopiSubjects?  WE BELIEVE IT.  Because judging by the following two videos, we are careening wildly toward a horrific nightmarish oblivion like the dream world from The Cell or something, and it will totally have J.Lo in it too but not the good J.Lo, the crappy one when she was chucking out shit like 'Loubitons' and falling on her ass on stage.

Yes this week saw the debuts of two videos by - and it pains us to say this - two of the most popular male acts of our time. of the Black Eyed Peas, and Justin Bieber.  Both are horrifying - the first, for its overblown ego-centric budget-busting monstrousness, and the second, for, well, LITERALLY EVERYTHING ABOUT IT.

First up we have good ol' Bill.  We know we weren't the only ones who threw a handful of glitter-confetti when The Black Eyed Peas announced their hiatus from music, but it turns out that all that means is we have to deal with even more of on his own.  Which in its own way is even more terrifying, since we don't have the buffer of cutaways to that one dude in the group with long hair who doesn't actually do anything to protect us.

So Will has gone off and done another solo track to fill his time, but AS IS THE WAY NOWADAYS, it's not actually solo at all, and features J.Lo (The Cell!) and Mick Jagger because of course it does.  The song itself is actually not terrible - it features some "sick beatz" etc. - but we just can't get over the video in which does "crazy things" and appliances rain from the sky and then nonsense happens in bombastic and heavy-handed fashion.  It's not that the video is bad, really, it's just that -like most of the Black Eyed Peas output - it's kind of a buffet of "lowest common denominator."  It's as if some focus group wrote a stream-of-consciousness list of all the expensive and flashy ways to make Middle America think a pop star was "balling" or whatever the kids say these days, and then read it and was like "oooh this is good - let's do all these things but also make them suck."

So there's that and it's out there and we all just have to deal with it.

Which brings us to Bieber - pop's premiere mouse-lesbian.  Now, just to make things clear, we don't hate the Beeb.  He's a talented kid who just had everything go exactly right for him, and there's no reason to begrudge him that.  But as much as we approve of his modern day rags-to-riches story, we cannot sign off on his new, literally frightening, Mad Max Christmas nightmare of a video. 

We'd go into the specifics of why, exactly, it is the video antichrist, but to do so would require reliving each chilling moment of the tinsel-tainted shitstorm that is "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."  And that, dear readers, is something we just cannot bring ourselves to do.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Diana Vickers is back with the a FREE DOWNLOAD of the brilliant 'Make The Boys Cry'

I'm the only thing holding up this wall.
Diana Vickers was a semi-finalist on the UK X-Factor, then a number one-selling pop star for a minute and then a has-been about a minute later.  That's the way it goes in this world of flash-in-the-pan pop strumpets - at least those with little real talent.  But lack of talent wasn't why Diana crashed and burned.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.

It all started out well, when after being eliminated from the X-Factor, Miss Vickers signed with a label and chucked out the amazing 'Once' which topped the charts and was one of the pop highlights of the year.  Her followup single didn't fare so well, but that was fine because its parent album had just been released and followed 'Once' to the number one position.

But then it came time to do that "album relaunch" thing which was all the rage for about a year, so Di-Vi went back into the studio to cut some new tracks for a SUPERFLUOUS DELUXE MONEY-GRAB VERSION of her debut album.  That single was 'My Wicked Heart' and it was



Here it is if you don't believe us.

AMAZING. (just ignore the video...)

It's a slice of pop perfection with a healthy dose of personality and quirk.  But we'll be the first to admit that it isn't the most immediate and radio-friendly track either.  And for the everyday pop fan it proved to be a bit too much quirk.  It's more of an artistic masterpiece than it is a pop hit, a fact borne out by its eventual peak at 13 on the charts, which makes Diana quite an anomaly in the pop world.  For it wasn't because she was a talentless hack that she lost favor with record buyers.  It was actually the opposite - she failed because she was TOO TALENTED AND AMAZING.

So poor, unappreciated Diana split ways with her label RCA, and no one really heard from her for a while and we all just assumed she was off doing a pantomime in Cheshire or something.


No, instead Diana was recording a new album that - if the first taste of it is anything to go on - is going to be RATHER TREMENDOUS.

Vickers has just offered up a download of 'Music To Make The Boys Cry,' which manages to have all the artsy street cred of 'My Wicked Heart' but wrap it up in a glittering electropop package.  It is a bittersweet midtempo jam of the highest order, but will also sound brilliant when some talented DJ comes long and puts a donk on it.  WHICH HAD BETTER BE SOON.

Anyway, you can listen to 'Music' below, and get it as a free download HERE

Music To Make The Boys Cry by mdstmgmt

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wait Ke$ha is still flogging that album? 'Sleazy' gets a revamp and release Dec 13

This is what Xtina would look like if she PUT DOWN THE FORK
We kind of forgot about Ke$ha there for a while, which is probably exactly why she is reworking her track 'Sleazy' from her 'Cannibal' album, chucking a few rappers on it and kicking it out of her glittertrash nest on December 13, hoping that it will soar to chart heights rather than splatter on the sidewalk below.

It's a bit of a by-the-numbers move, to be honest.  Hasn't the NOW WITH ADDED RENT-A-RAPPER thing been done enough?  Why, for example, can't she remake it with a didgeridoo band and Yo-Yo Ma, or rerecord it with a nunnery choir or something crazy and unexpected?


Anyway, according to the beglittered one herself:

“Get ready to get even $leazier with this sick collaboration I did with 4 of my favorite MCs of all time: Weezy, Andre 3000, Wiz Khalifa, and T.I. I opened the “Get $leazy” tour with this song every night and it always got the party started…Get ready, this is the SICKEST and SLEAZIEST version YET.$.”

Yes.  Let's break that down, shall we.

First, we want to point out that apparently it is mandatory that even Ke$ha's press must include dollar signs, which means that some poor intern (we'll call her Rachel) who pretends to be the star on Twitter has to make 2 extra keystrokes every time an "s" comes up. 

Second, isn't T.I. in jail?  No?  Well whatever he still sucks.

Third, what the hell are you on about, Ke$ha's intern Rachel?  Of course this is the SICKEST and SLEAZIEST version YET.  There has only ever been one version, so it's not like there was a bevy of competition.  Relax.

Fourth, there's an extra dollar sign at the end of whatever that was up there.  Whether it was a mistake or an intentional insertion by Rachel to underscore the ridiculousness of random punctuation, we will never know.  But we like to imagine that somewhere, in a dark broom closet at RCA Records, Rachel sat with her company-owned iPad, and plunged her finger dramatically down on the dollar sign in an act of final, overt defiance, just as she expired from exhaustion and acute Red Bull poisoning.

Here's the album version.  Which is VERY GOOD INDEED but could definitely do with a choir of nuns.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kelly Rowland performs on UK X Factor not Beyonce

We love Kelly Rowland.  We want to be clear about that up front. 

We also are not blind, and we are certainly not deaf.  Which means that despite all our love for Miss K, we are fully aware that she IS NOT BEYONCE.

That fact was on full display when K-Ro took to the stage at the UK X-Factor with a medley of her biggest upbeat hits, but bless her heart, she certainly did try her ass off didn't she. 

Her vocals are a little wobbly, the choreography isn't spectacular, and she ends up looking a bit more like one of the X-Factor contestants than one of the superstars who frequent its stage, but Kelly's always had something about her that we just love nonetheless.

Unfortunately, the general populous doesn't feel the same way, as her latest album bombed at #56 in the UK this week. 

So....womp womp, etc.

Friday, December 2, 2011

So Lana Del Rey has a new "video" - let's discuss this nonsense

This is clearly the "after" picture.
WTF, Lana Del Rey.  We get that you got you are all artsy and "real" even though you plumped up your lips like they were past-their-prime couch cushions.  And we get that your "Video Games" track was pretty decent.  But first, your new song "Born To Die" is a crappy hipster pastiche of 60's suicide-pop, and second and most importantly, what in the fresh hell do you think you're doing with this "video"?

As Gawker (which we affectionately call "Gayker" because it is clearly run by fabulously snarky homosexuals) pointed out, when searching for the track on YouTube, there are tons of links to the "OFFICIAL VIDEO" which is TERRIBLY MISLEADING because it is not a real video at all, rather a clip of Lana naked hugging some skanky fauxhemian and mugging for the camera.  Then, at the bottom, there is a little text box that says "OFFICIAL VIDEO COMING SOON."


We were just barely on board when the whole "lyric video" thing started, because since a good number of people "watch their music" on YouTube nowadays, it made sense to do something different than just chucking up a still of the artist while a track played. 

We even can get down with the endless "teasers" that artists trickle out of their creative teats as of late.  We like to be teased, and if it's good enough for movies it's good enough for music videos. 

But no.  You can't just release a "music video" and then tell people "OH JUST KIDDING THIS ISN'T REALLY THE MUSIC VIDEO, I'LL BE DOING SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FOR THAT."  And you certainly shouldn't be setting a precedent that this is the thing to be done to create buzz for a Credible New Artiste (tm). 

That's bullshit, Lana Del Rey.  And your boyfriend looks like he smells.