T-ara Release Long Awaited Comeback “So Crazy”

Top charting icons of Asia T-ara are back with a new dusty left over Brave Brother’s song called “So Crazy,” and it snatched every hair off my head.

The song was actually produced for them last year, but they picked the literally iconic in every way “Sugar Free” over “So Crazy.” I can totally see why too: “Sugar Free” is the type of song that will stay with Queens and K-pop fans forever, while “So Crazy” is a more standard Brave Bros song. That said, it slays like all Brave Gods songs do.

Most people online are saying it sounds too much like AOA’s “Miniskirt,” but it really doesn’t sound anything like “Miniskirt.” It’s closer to the material Brave Brothers produced for 4minute, like “Whatcha Doin’ Today.” It’s quirky while still being extremely catchy, which has become T-ara’s signature style.

The video is also iconic. The horribly photoshopped teaser photo that they released via Instagram (because apparently they don’t give a crap about promoting in Korea anymore) made it seem like the video would be a sloppy video shot for 20 won in their old dorm room, but the video actually features a plot, a killer dance routine, and even those clearance rack sexy sailor Halloween costumes look pretty good.

The girls shows off Meryl Streep-level acting chops which only enhance the Martin Scorsese-esque screen play and dialog. Avatar who? Jurassic World what? I can’t wait for this emotional masterpiece to sweep the Oscars next year. As I am already bald by this epic slayage, I can only imagine how amazing upcoming Chinese debut single “1, 2, 3” will be.

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Alexandra Stan & Inna Release Long Awaited Collab “We Wanna”

Romania’s two biggest female pop singers Alexandra Stan (of “Mr. Saxobeat” fame) and INNA (her hits include “Sun Is Up” and “More Than Friends“) have finally released their longggggg awaited colab single “We Wanna” featuring Daddy Yankee after literal months of teasing. I guess the song is technically Alex’s as her name comes first in the billing and the video was posted on her VEVO channel. I have been waiting for this on the edge of my seat for months now, as I am a huge stan (no pun intended) of both of these pioneers of Romania’s trashy dance pop scene. On their own they are both iconic, but together? This may be the second most important collab of all time after Jolin and Namie Amuro’s “I’m Not Yours” – sorry “Telephone”!

I would like to get the major negative out of the way really quick before I start praising this: the song is a bit more subtle and nuanced than I hoped it would be. Both Inna and Alexandra are known for uber trashy and super-lit-up party jams, so a swing influenced Latin song that sounds more like the type of song one would listen to while sipping a piña colada in Cabo San Lucas on a breezy Sunday while reading a book rather than a seedy Eastern European club with 3 back rooms and a dungeon. When you add two of the biggest club queens in the world onto one song, you expect something that would smash at the club.

Not that this wouldn’t work in a club; it’s very fun and uptempo, and the video is set in a club during some sort of male vs female dance battle. You can’t really see any of the dance moves because the editing is pretty crappy, but you sort of get the point. Both women look incredible, (especially Alexandra which is further evidence that this is her track).

Alex’s “Unlocked” remains one of the best albums of 2015, and this would be a worthy song on either of these two singers future releases, so overall I am pleased. Enjoy this legendary collab below:

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Måns Zelmerlöw Releases “Perfectly Damaged” Album

Eurovision king Måns Zelmerlöw has wasted no time in capitalizing off of his mega hit “Heroes.” Just a few short weeks after his epic win at the 2015 contest, he has put out his forth studio album “Perfectly Damaged,” and the album is overall one of his strongest to date.

“Heroes” sneaked up on  Måns pretty late in the album recording process, so I wasn’t really expecting it to fit in with the overall musical style of his album. I basically expected a “Barcelona Sessions” 2.0, and considering how great that album was, I would have been okay with that.

The album however ended up being a lot more uptempo than one would expect. With only 2 ballads on the entire album, (both of which are the weakest songs on the album), there is a pretty fun tone throughout the LP. While the album is not as high energy as “MZW” was, it has a glossy modern dance/pop sound nonetheless that satisfies. “Let It Burn” and “Fade Away” are the closest he comes to full blown EDM, with their Avicii-esque productions. “Unbreakable” is Måns take on Draft Punks funky disco sound, and “Live While We’re Alive” is his take on Mumford and Son’s folk/pop sound.

The album flows pretty well from start to end, and you don’t need to skip any of the tracks along the way. Måns is quickly becoming one of the few pop artists out there who is reliably solid no matter what genre he dabbles into.

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Ace of Base Tribute Act A*Base is Instantly Iconic

Out of all the 2 boy 2 girl ABBA wannabe acts Sweden has produced over the past half a century who’s name begins with the letter A – ABBA, A*Teens, Ace of Base, Alcazar, and now A*Base – Ace of Base was my least favorite. Not to say I don’t enjoy their music, but unfortunately they were before my time and never really got that Eurovision/Melodifestivalen promotion every year like ABBA did. New Ace of Base tribute act A*Base may piss off purists the way A*Teens pissed off ABBA purists, but in 15 years everyone from this generation will idolize them in the same way I and many others pretend like the A*Teens revolutionized pop.

A*Base is quintessentially the same concept as the A*Teens. They’re a modernized teen pop version of Ace Of Base and to be perfectly honestly, I am already sold. Their hype single released last year, cover of “Never Gonna Say I’m Sorry,” was decent stuff, but first official single “All That She Wants” is amazing.

I was never a huge fan of the original version, mainly because I never could quite grasp the lyrics on a conceptual level – women only engage in one-night-stands to get pregnant and become single mothers? – but I always appreciated the disco infused reggae sound AoB pioneered. This updated version keeps that sound intact, while bringing it into the 21st century by making it a glossy twerk anthem. As someone who missed the boat on AoB, this is the perfect introduction to the groups pretty outstanding discography.

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Danny Saucedo FINALLY Makes a Musical Comeback with “Brinner i Bröstet”

My poor friends know I have spent a good part of the past decade consistently stanning for Swedish gym bunny and occasional popstar Danny Saucedo. I stanned for his boyband E.M.D. I stanned for his first solo era “Heart Beats” despite him serving Criss Angel realness on the album cover and having his music video for “Tokyo” look like it was shot using first generation Skype technology. I stanned for his Nike ad inspired second solo era “Set Your Body Free.” I supported him through his back-to-back Melodifestivalen 2nd place finishes. I even suffered through that cringe worthy era where he did things like releasing artwork featuring Microsoft 97′ clip art on the cover and deciding he wanted to be Latino for 6 months.
But somewhere between the never ending parade of selfies, the promo tour he went on to support his relationship, and a string of misguided singles, I sort of grew cold of former-Swedish-turned-Latino-turned-back-into-Swedish chanteuse. I would be lying if I said new single “Brinner i Bröstet” was so iconic that it erased all the sins of the past, but it’s definitely a step back I’m the right direction. “Brinner i Bröstet” is a solid ballad, and the accompanying video for the song is pretty well done. It’s nice to finally say that Danny himself is working just as hard as his hair gel and credit card on bodybuilding.com.
Danny starts the video out by serving Pixar’s Ratatouille realness dressed in a white smock with a built-in sheer apron. The look is ridiculous, but Danny has a knack for pulling off try-hard looks – damn those cheekbones – so it comes off as pretty effortless. The hair, like always, is seriously on point in this video, and it’s a nice new take on the classic white frosted spiked look that has become Danny’s signature. We also find Danny doing absolutely zero lipsyncing in the video, causing one to wonder if this footage was simply shot months ago in case he finally had a song to pair it with.
The fairly monochrome video keeps the viewers attention by utilizing a few cool, if slightly unoriginal effects.  We have a few shots that are filmed sideways, which definitely mixes up the otherwise plain video. There a couple of shots where Danny gets full use out of that chef’s apron look when projects of fireworks display on the outfit, similar to the latest Russian Eurovision entry’s staging gimmick. Oh speaking of ripping off someone else’s Eurovision #SWAGG, there are a couple shots during guest rapper Malcolm B’s verse that use a very similar image layering effect to the one Måns Zelmerlöw used for his “Heroes” artwork. The impact.
Since “Brinner i Bröstet” is a surprise success for Danny, I’m hoping creates some sort of momentum for himself by actually releasing a follow up single or album.  If only he spent as much time making albums as he does picking protein powders.
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Måns Zelmerlöw Wins the 60th Eurovision Song Contest With “Heroes”!

Swedish dreamboat and current number 1 in 20+ countries artist Måns Zelmerlöw won the 60th Eurovision Song Contest last night, bringing the contest back to Sweden yet again. This is Sweden’s 4th top 3 placing and 2nd win in 5 years. When will Ireland?

This was my obvious winner from day 1, so I both rooted for this victory and saw it coming. The voting itself was pretty split, with “Heroes” dramatically gaining the lead toward the end of the voting. This caused some Eurovision fans to get pretty pissed off – poor them! – but I will explain to you why he’s better than your fave anyhow.

1. His performance had an inspirational meaning behind it.

Måns’ has gone on record telling the story behind his entry, and it’s more than your typical “it’s about hope” type back story 99% of the Eurovision artists babble on about during press conferences. The story has to do with bullying, mob mentality, being a good Samaritan, and helping those in need.

2. A smear campaign couldn’t keep him down.

After anti-gay rumors were circulated by some angry [wiwi]bloggs after their fave didn’t win Melodifestivalen, he quickly put those to rest. Then there were plagiarism accusations, which he also shot down. Then before the contest, a big scandal featuring a conspiracy by an EBU member to sabotage his name surfaced, complete with a non-denial caught on video. All of this nonsense just shows how threatening his, and Sweden’s, Eurovision muscles are. No matter what you tossed at him, he easily let it roll off his back. An inspiration to us all!

3. I mean, that staging.

When have we seeing staging this good at Eurovision? Not since Loreen, to be honest. Next year everyone will be pulling out the budget LED screens and animation gimmickry.

4. It’s not a copy & paste of previous entries.

Looking at 2nd and 3rd place, you have two examples of how taking the safe route will definitely get you to a respectable placing, but it’s not how you win the contest. 2nd place finisher “A Million Voices” from Russia’s Polina Gagarina was a damn good ballad with excellent staging. She was gorgeous and on key and the song’s message, though preachy, was nice enough. The issue with it though was he was this last year. Sweden literally sent this same song and same singer 1 year ago with “Undo.” Being a blond chick with a bob who sings an 80’s style power ballad is great, but Eurovision tends to pick songs that stand out because they aren’t exactly what we’ve seen 100 times before. A spaghetti western disco track about being one with nature and using kindness to win over opposition is not a contest staple. Italy’s “Grande Amore” is the biggest offender of this, as it sounds so run-of-the-mill in terms of how popera has sounded for the past decade. It could have been on any popera artists album.

5. Still mad? Hire a therapist.

If you can’t come to terms with King MZ slaying all of Europe with this timeless tune, I suggest professional help. Hire someone who can help you come to terms with reality. I have faith even you can recover. But until then, listen to the king on repeat and pray he is able to get around to cleansing your soul. Any questions?

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Eric Saade Releases “Girl From Sweden”

Swedish popstar and human human linoleum floor tile Eric Saade is back with a corntastic new single “Girl From Sweden” today, and it even has a music video! His Melflop entry and Danny Saucedo diss track “Stink” didn’t do as well as he planned, so he’s back pulling some shady shit by shamelessly releasing a Swedish pride themed song one day before Melodifestivalen king Måns Zelmerlöw represents Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest.

I realize I tend to view Mr. Saade as an easy target and human punching bag, so it may come to a surprise to you that I find this song to be kind of good? It has a fun beat and retains Saade’s signature crappy-but-hilarious lyrics. It would seem whatever album Saade has planned for later this year will be a much stronger release than that unforgivable mess of an album “Forgive Me” he released to crickets back in 2013.

The song also features a pretty decent music video that unfortunately opens with a completely irrelevant and totally ludicrous intro where Saade is escaping an indoor and poorly lit paparazzi ambush. I hate it when I go to my public library during a power outage and paparazzi randomly show up! Anyway, after we get that nonsense out of the way, we find Saade checking out hot Swedish girls, and to his credit, it’s a pretty diverse group of women. For once, being “Swedish” does not entail one to be a platinum blond with alabaster skin. We have a wide range of cultural backgrounds, which shows Sweden as being a diverse place. Nice job Saade!

The absolute highlight of the video is when we see 3 milk maids turning out club ready (to Swedish standards) dance moves in the middle of a grassy field. If there was ever an image that needed to go viral, it was this.

Scandinavian singers singing about how hot Scandinavian girls are seems to be on trend at the moment – Christopher released his Danish anthem “CPH Girls” last year, and kid friendly duo 2Boy’s “Scandinavian Girls” also featured this theme. Saade pulls this cheesy song off nicely enough to not warrant getting read the house down this time. Enjoy the artistry below.

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