The Ting Tings: The definitive incarnation of the modern band?

25 02 2012

This week in a blaze of confusing controversy, The Ting Ting’s are back for a belated second album. You will remember them, of course as the duo behind the charmingly irksome number 1 single That’s Not My Name and the ipod advert theme, Shut Up and Let Me Go, both of which spawned from their 2008 album We Started Nothing.

Originally written after their previous band collapsed, and they were chucked from their record label, We Started Nothing is a delightfully bratty, catchy record, pitched midway between Punk and 80s pop.  It was an enourmous hit, mainly on the back of That’s Not My Name (which started life as a b-side, but a push from the NME, and airplay on Radio 1 got it a proper release) and for a summer at least, their songs seemed to soundtrack every advert.

Fast forward two years, and they release an apparently “low key” single, produced by hitmaker Calvin Harris, which gets  Radio 1 playlisted, but still only makes number 28 in the charts. The Ting Tings were apparently annoyed, and deleted all the things they were working on, things the record company were apparently quite keen on. Read the rest of this entry »

Discography Guide: Madonna (Part One)

13 01 2012

As an alternative to the in-depth profiles of an artist, for long established artists I may do these posts which are just about the music (man), going through each album to give you reccomendations on what to buy and what to avoid like an unholy plague. I’ll probably end up doing in depth profiles of these artists as well, at a later date. I’m kicking off with Madonna, mainly because she has just announced she has named her new on MDNA, and it will be out in March, and I’m quite excited. 


Madonna Aka Madonna The First Album (1983)

Apparently, after her début single, Everybody (the closing track on her first album), people didn’t even realise Madonna was white (she doesn’t appear on the single’s sleeve), which seems quaint and inconceivable after years of her being an impossibly big pop phenomena. Proof then, that everyone has to start somewhere, and for Madonna it was here, a pop-disco album which of artists that were around at the same time, most calls to mind Prince (who had just made a real break for the mainstream the year before with his 1999), so perhaps it is little wonder people thought that maybe she was black.

Madonna herself is apparently not entirely satisfied with the album, as its too reliant on disco, and she wasn’t in complete control. It used then top-of-the-range synths and drum machines, which all the contemporary reviews comment make it state of the art, but of course mean that it very much now sounds like an album made very much in 1983. But the music wins out, and although Madonna would craft better pop songs later, there are some exquisite tunes here. Read the rest of this entry »

Artists: Milli Vanilli

12 01 2012

In a way, Milli Vannili was always going to happen. A pop band who famously didn’t sing on any of their own records, the music industry’s most interesting con.

Milli Vanilli was, or appeared to be Rob Pilatus. the illegitimate son of an American GI in Germany, and Fab Morvan born in France. Two good looking guys who could dance, they fronted the group that briefly in the 1980s were an enormous phenomona, (in)famously picking up a Grammy Award for best new act.

The question about who Milli Vannilli really were of course can be argued endlessly, but the essential point is this – despite appearences for a good couple of years, Rob and Fab never sang on any of their own records, they just mimed at concerts, took the credit and racked up the hits.

Its probably impossible to imagine now, perhaps because we are more cynical about pop bands, perhaps because of the Milli Vanilli affair. It is a shame it is not possible to separate them from the scandal, but in truth it is the scandal that secures their place in the history of pop music.  Read the rest of this entry »