Friday, 22 April 2016

new (and old) music friday #3: pet shop boys, ellie goulding, taylor swift, femme

i'll be honest, there's only one new release mentioned in this post; instead i found myself revisiting old favourites this last week. 

1. femme

last friday saw the release of femme's long-awaited debut album, debutante. all we've had to tide us over for the past year was her infectiously catchy singles gold and S.O.S, but the album will no doubt satisfy the pop cravings of her loyal fans, some of which - myself included - had the chance to appear in her video for light me up. 

i first saw that she was looking for people to star in the video through a post she made on instagram, and seeing as one of my life-long dreams was always to be in a music video, decided to email her about it. it wasn't long before the day of the shoot came around and i was making my way to london, trying to find the studio which was tucked away in a secret corner of tottenham hale. i arrived half an hour late (sorry), sweat most likely dripping from my forehead onto my carefully-applied foundation, so it was lucky there was a make-up artist on hand for any touch ups. there were only a handful of people there, including femme herself, which considerably eased my anxiety. 

the actual filming itself took about ten minutes, but was definitely one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. the premise of the video was that everyone had to sit down in front of the camera with their eyes closed and react to whatever was put in front of them. typically, i drew the short straw and ended up putting my fingers into a tub of electric blue hair gel and touching what i think was an uncooked sausage. pretty gross, but it produced a great reaction. though i think i had it fairly good compared to the guy who went before me, i arrived just as he'd finished plunging his feet into a bucket of ice. 

nevertheless, the video turned out great (and i'm not just saying that because i was in it) and when it was released last month, my mother took great pleasure in showing it to everyone she knew. it also had its premiere on v magazine's website, and it was also featured on nylon and buzzfeed (number 18 for those of you too lazy to scroll down the list) (don't worry, i'm one of you)you can see it here (find me at 2:19-2:22)and when you're done, listen to the album on spotify. my favourite tracks include shout out loud, fever boy and romeo. 

2. selena gomez/nicki minaj

this time last week i was in york with my best friend, this week he's preparing to leave for new york tomorrow, where he'll be living for the next three months. life, eh? 

but of course we celebrated with an excellent pre-party playlist, which included two songs from two of my favourite pop artists that had somehow passed me by. the first one was me & my girls from selena gomez's excellent album revival, which is the ultimate girl-power, don't-need-no-man anthem. i'm going home with who i came with, and who i came with's not you, she quips in the bridge, and i think we all (i.e. me) need to remember that a good night out isn't totally defined by whether you go home with someone (or at the very least share a sambuca-infused kiss). 

the second was beautiful sinner by our lord and saviour nicki minaj, taken from her second (and in my opinion, best) album pink friday: roman reloaded. the only requirement when listening to this song is that it is turned up as loud as possible (though having a drink or two in you is also advised). you're a cheat and a liar but tonight you're everything i desire, croons minaj in the pre-chorus, before the songs launches into a dance floor-ready chorus, and it's a combination of heartfelt lyrics and heavy beats that just works.

3. pet shop boys 

upon retuning home the next day incredibly hungover, i needed a pick-me-up that didn't involve alcohol, and what better than the pet shop boys live concert from their 2009 pandemonium tour, recorded at london's O2 arena. the full concert can be found on youtube, but if like me you have the attention span of a squirrel, i recommend just listening to it's a sinwhy don't we live together?, new york city boy and two divided by zero, all of which i'd not heard before but are now firm favourites of mine. 

determined not to let the (living-room based) party end (i even recovered enough to have a single red berry bulmers), my mother and i continued our listening via youtube through our TV speakers, and let me tell you, the "related video" section is a true blessing. it all started when i made her listen to vocal, one of my favourite tracks from 2014's electric and from there, we discovered a plethora of more previously-unheard tracks, including thursday, axis and love is a bourgeoisie construct. the next day we were in HMV ransacking the racks until we found the aforementioned album and come monday morning, my mother was blasting it as loud as possible in her car in the morning's traffic on her way into work. 

we also dug out some of their older albums. the first was 1993's (!!) very, which includes gems such as can you forgive her?, i wouldn't normally do this kind of thing, and yesterday when i was madsecondly was story: 25 years of hits, a compilation CD free with the mail on sunday back in 2009, in support of their album yes. i never got as far as listening to that album because i was hooked as soon as i heard the compilation. back in 2009, i fell in love with west end girls, home and dry, flamboyant and what have i done to deserve this? (fun fact: this song was playing while i was shooting the video with femme and she didn't know what the song was; luckily i was on hand to tell her), and i still love them to this day. 

4. ellie goulding 

it was also thanks to my mother that i fell in love with a song i wasn't crazy about when i first heard it, and it was army by ellie goulding. it might not sound like much when you first hear it, but don't make the same mistake i did and switch it off after the first minute. if you wait long enough, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular crescendo of synths that make it all worthwhile. i proceeded to spend every bus journey post-hearing-this-song-for-the-first time with it playing full blast and trying not to cry as i thought about my best friend leaving me for three months. we'll be okay though, because as ellie says, no-one fucks it up like us. 

there are also a few gems on her last release delirium that i revisited this last week, including don't panic, don't need nobody and something in the way you move. i also went back to her first album lights and fell back in love with this love (will be your downfall), wish i stayed and your biggest mistake, some great album tracks that were lost in the hysteria surrounding her breakout single starry eyed back in 2010. 

5. taylor swift

finally, fresh in at number five is new romantics by the pop giant that is taylor swift. though i have mixed feelings towards swift, perfectly encapsulated in this article, this song came at me out of nowhere. it appeared in the "recommended" section of my youtube homepage, and i clicked on it just out of curiosity. one listen later and i was hooked. 

i suppose because of my feelings towards 1989-era taylor, a world away from the naive country star with the corkscrew curls that 14-year-old me adored, i was reluctant to admit that i actually enjoyed this song. i closed the tab and went back to whatever it was i was doing (i don't even remember now, such was the impact of the track) but i couldn't help myself going back for more. 

and that was how i found myself listening to it on repeat at 3am with tears in my eyes because despite all her controversial "slut-shaming" lyrics, the girl can write a bloody good pop song that perfectly encapsulates the pain of every 20-something the world over. 

honourable mentions 

of course i couldn't end this post without mentioning the passing of the purple king prince, who ended his glam-rock reign when he passed suddenly last night. because his music is near-impossible to find online after he did a taylor swift and took it all down from spotify, i can't provide any links, but i highly recommend tracking down a physical copy of his greatest hits (something i'm planning to do this weekend) and listen to purple rain (of course), raspberry beret, 1999, when doves cry and my favourite (so far, i'm aware that there's more of his expansive discography i'm yet to explore), little red corvette. i'm not going to add the terribly low-quality youtube links because such an icon deserves a much better send off. 

this week was also excellent for music videos, and so i present little mix's hair, perfectly summed up in this witchsong article, rihanna's spectacular needed me, directed by cult film-maker harmony korine, and finally, released yesterday, the heartbreaking video for a change of heart by the 1975, which has got me playing the album on repeat all over again. 

finally, this week's playlist can be found here

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