ISSUE 02 may 2013 www.amazepop.co.uk
DEMI LOVATO JLS SPLIT THE VOICE UK OLLY MURS JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE GIRLS ALOUD + MORE
AMELIA LILY on radio playlisting, album nerves and having a point to prove
DISCUSSING HER X FACTOR ROOTS, NEW ALBUM AND LOVE OF WESTLIFE
RESULTS O’CLOCK: THE TOP 50 SINGLES OF THE LAST 15 YEARS ARE DECIDED 1
AMAZEPOP Issue 02 Editor & Head Writer SHAUN KITCHENER Contributors BETH DAVISON BECCA LONGMIRE ALEX MACGREGOR www.amazepop.co.uk @AMAZEPOP
HOLLER. Welcome to AMAZEPOP. Thanks loads to everyone who had a ganders at our pilot issue. It was great to have so much positive feedback, to see the hit counter top 25,000 and to even see the results of our Big Vote Thing on girlband hits make it to Heat TV! When it comes to a follow-up, I’m hoping we’re more like Adele, Girls Aloud and Katy Perry than Pixie Lott and Alexandra Burke. This issue’s cover star is the lovely Amelia Lily; facing questions about her upcoming debut album, her lack of radio support for latest single ‘Party Over’, touring with Girls Aloud and allegedly pinching a song from Melanie Blatt. There’s also the results of a quick 10-minute phone call with the marvellous Misha B, an obituary-of-sorts for JLS, an essay on why it’s about time Demi Lovato was big in the UK, and our latest poll results - this time finding the best boyband singles of the last 15 years. We’re also reviewing a flippin’ shitload of singles, albums and TV shows, and revisiting modern classics from Justin Timberlake and Pink; both of whom are still riding high today. Oh, and one of Olly Murs’ biggest nontween fans explains why it’s not uncool to consider yourself a fan of the serial on-stage faller-overer. If you consider yourself a pop fanatic and able to string a sentence together, we’re always interested in hearing from potential contributors, so get in touch via our site or on Twitter (addresses above). Take it to the bridge, Shaun Kitchener (Editor & Head Writer)
THE LINE-UP may 2013
Q&A AMELIA LILY Page 6 MISHA B Page 12 ESSAYS THE DEMI LOVATO INVASION Page 14 JLS: 2006-2013 Page 26 LIFE AFTER GIRLS ALOUD Page 31 BIG VOTE THING ULTIMATE BOYBAND HITS Page 18 REGULARS FIRST VERSE
Page 4 MODERN CLASSICS COLLECTION Page 32 MY “UNCOOL” ADDICTION: OLLY MURS Page 36 POP’S UNSUNG HEROES: VANESSA THE SATS Page 48 RELATIVELY POINTLESS POP QUIZ Page 49 REVIEWS SINGLES Page 38 ALBUMS: WILL.I.AM, BO BRUCE, RUDIMENTAL & BLUE Page 41 TV: THE VOICE UK, BROADCHURCH & VICIOUS Page 44
FIRST VERSE KELLY CLARKSON IS PROBABLY MAKING THE BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUM OF ALL TIME
Christmas albums are rarely a good thing, but considering Kelly Clarkson could sing the dictionary and make it sound amazing there’s a good chance her own seasonal record will be up there with the best of them.
“For my birthday I get to put out a Christmas Album at the end of the year (It’s sounding amazing!!), go on tour with @Maroon5 (gonna be killer), and GET MARRIED!! It’s a big year people!!”
As she turned the big 3-1 recently The ‘People Like Us’ single-releaser she gushed on WhoSay, her platis currently in the studio getting in form of choice: “Today is my 31st the festive spirit a good half a year birthday! I’m the happiest I’ve ever earlier than the rest of us, as she been in my life and my career has plots to unveil the LP as a stop-gap never been stronger. Thank you between her Greatest Hits collec- God for such an amazing family, tion and her upcoming sixth ‘nor- group of friends, and a fan base mal’ studio album. that is rockin!
The best bit about this whole thing is that it’s only GREG BLOODY KURSTIN who is (according to various online sources) the one doing the knob-twiddling on the whole project. The album is out in the winter, which probably goes without saying but there you go.
10 AMAZING POPSTAR TWEETS: @NADINECOYLENOW 1. You should know by now I had no part in any of this split business. I couldn’t stop them. I had the best time & want to keep going. Xxxx 2. Wow wow wow!!!!!!! Does ily mean I love you using Internet chat? Xxx 3. Currently my sock portfolio is looking pretty dire. Xx 4. Waa r yuu on abouet? Aye doent
have an accint? 5. Getting organized to go back to london. Todos before I go... get so brown people confuse my race 6. Casually glowing showing my parents our @GirlsAloud dance routines with a mini rosé wine bottle as my mic. I am still that girl. 7. I like it like that!!! 8. So now I have to go & see ____ about ___. Then meet with ___ to
discuss _____ . Finishing off the night with _____. Love you! 9. My voice has been going for a week. Since yesterday gone! Even the throat lozenge I almost chocked on on stage couldn’t help. 10. I love showing up in people dreams usually until @SarahNHarding included me in hers! #iwastrippinstrippin #hahaah xx
SELENA GOMEZ’S NEW ALBUM ISN’T ABOUT JUSTIN BIEBER, K? ...Well alright maybe one song is but that’s your lot
Selena Gomez has said in her best media-trained way that her upcoming fourth (yes FOURTH) album has not been written about on-off-on-off-on boyfriend Justin Bieber.
She was giving an interview on US radio station Z100 when the cau-
tious interview asked her if she will gonna be gone tomorrow.” respond to ‘certain’ press rumours on her upcoming record. Reports that lead single ‘Come And Get It’ has been scribed about Das “No,” she answered, adding that Biebs have also been shot down by only one track really deals with the more feasible claim that it’s acmatters of the heart... but perhaps tually a rejected track from Rihannot in the name-and-shame way na’s 2011 opus Talk That Talk. the world is hoping for. Usually of course it’s RiRi soaking “Only one song on the album, it’s up other artists’ rejects rather than called ‘Love Will Remember’, it’s visa versa - ‘Umbrella’ was first ofstill telling a story in a way I’m com- fered to Britney Spears, ‘SOS’ to fortable telling it,” she explained. Christina Millian and ‘We Found Love’ to everyone from Nicole “I can’t really fight fire will fire. Scherzinger to Leona Lewis. What’s [being written] today is
BEYONCE TOUR IS GOOD, SAY UK CRITICS
Beyonce’s Mrs Carter tour has continues to reign supreme” and been met with mostly positive re- the Telegraph called her “compelviews since landing in the UK. ling to watch and vocally blistering”.
For anyone lucky enough to be in the dark, the couple split late last year, then seemed to give it another shot, then split again in early January, and now are apparently being seen all over the place enjoying their 8475th reconciliation.
Digital Spy gave it 4*, saying “Beyoncé proved that with or without the bombast, fireworks and glittering leotards, as a live performer she
EntertainmentWise said the show was “full of character, bright colours, bold choreography and fills the arena with life”. Lovely.
joy > sadness one-time x factor comeback kid amelia lily on her new album, touring with girls aloud and having a point to prove
“Come on, come on, come on, come on and TAKE IT!!!!!”... It’s been almost two whole years since Amelia Lily, then 16, strode out in front of the X Factor cameras and belted her way into a surefire spot in the final. Since then she’s she signed a record deal with Xenomania, scored a No2 debut single, supported Girls Aloud on tour and even briefly graced the West End stage. Now, as debut album Be A Fighter lines itself up for release on May 20, she sits down with Shaun Kitchener to discuss basically everything.
We didn’t wanna rush the album but it’s a Xenomania track. [Blatt’s release either. There are lots of team] kind of... not stole it, just Alright? How’s it going? Yeah, really good. Haven’t stopped. tweets that need to be made all kind of... took it, and put it online the time... but the album is fully without any of Xenomania knowCrazy. finished now, it’s good to go. I’m ing, which was very unfair, as they had no idea that she even had it. Single and album on the go at the sorry to upset you. But, you know what, that’s none of moment... aneurysm? I’m pretty tired but I’m doing what It’s fine, I can be patient. But if I my business. It is one of my songs wasn’t remotely bothered about now, it’s not hers, just to clear that I love. Living the dream. it, how would you pitch it to me up. I love that track and it’s the first song I ever recorded at XenomaBy the time you get to Single 3, as a General Thing? how does it compare to the last People are gonna be quite sur- nia, as well. prised by the album, they’re gonna two? I’ve definitely had more experience see two sides to Amelia. Obviously What other track from the album and I definitely get the whole plan- they’re gonna see the softer side, do you think is gonna be an inning ahead thing... planning ahead as the three singles are very up- stant fan favourite? for the next single each time. For beat and quite fun, whereas the ‘The Hills’. Only because, for me, the first single it was a new thing album also shows the softer side, it’s a very personal song. So I feel for me, so I’ve definitely learned and more of a heartfelt side. So I like when I perform that one or from experience now on preparing think people will enjoy those songs when my fans and supporters lismyself for singles and videos. But hopefully, and be able to relate to ten to it they’ll be able to feel the emotion in it. it’s really fun, getting a taste for them! “Radio always change who everything. You’ve got an they wanna add... I’m just I see you’ve been I personally was very disappoint- acoustic version grateful for the position on a schools tour recently, what ed when the album was nudged of ‘Blue’ online, I’m in.” other fun promo back a few weeks - what’s the which is amazing... how did that one come things do you have in the ol’ dideal? You know what, we just had so around, is it true it first belonged ary? much going on, I’ve just been on to Melanie Blatt from All Saints? I’ve got loads of summer festivals tour with Girls Aloud... it was so No, it wasn’t hers... I’m not actu- coming up so I’m really excited for hard to fit everything in all at once. ally sure what the whole deal was, them. But obviously the album is
the main priority at the moment, so we’re just gonna see how that goes. But I’m looking forward to the festivals. Which ones are you doing? I’m doing, off the top of my head, Chester Rocks... Stadium of Light... Small venue. Yeah, small venue... a few others as well, but I can’t really remember them all. Back to the singles, ‘You Bring Me Joy’ wasn’t playlisted by Radio 1 but still did amazingly well, ‘Shut Up’ was but ‘Party Over’ wasn’t... after what happened with ‘Joy’ despite its radio exposure, are you as bothered about airplay etc? Radio always change who they wanna add or whatever, but I kinda just am grateful of the position I’m in. I’ve got a great team who do their best, and my fans are amazing as well. As long as people like the song, that’s all I’m bothered about. If it’s played on radio, amazing, but it’s just amazing to be even played anywhere, you know? There’s probably a good argument to be made about on-demand stuff like YouTube being more important, I guess... Yeah, and like, music videos and stuff... it’s funny, I’m stuck in my living room, a few weeks ago, and my video for ‘Party Over’ was on about six times in that day on the same channel. I was like, I’m sick of seeing myself now... but that’s nice, that people are demanding to see the video. I spoke to you last summer, before the first single came out and the X Factor tour had just finished, and
you said there were never any problems, rows, rivalries etc... Now that more time has passed, are you sticking with that? I always got on with everyone, we had a really good year. Everyone got on like a house on fire.
because she’s a fellow Northener. If I were you, I’d be like “I KNOW But I never really had a particular HER! I KNOW HER!” favourite. I liked them all. Ha. “I’m totally besties with her...” Back to the album, how does its Big question: Did you know Girls release compare to, say, the first Aloud were going to split at the single release and the X Factor fiend of their tour? nal on the “AAAARGH” scale? It’s interesting hearing about I had no clue. Literally no clue. Peo- I think at the start I was like, ‘urrrgh rows and stuff from third parties, ple might throw their finger at me, this is such hard work’, I was only and then you meet the actual like ‘YOU TOTALLY KNEW! YOU 17. But I feel like I’ve really learned person and they’re like ‘meh, it’s WERE ON TOUR WITH THEM!’, but to deal with the lifestyle a lot more. fine...’ no... and it’s not even my space to I think X Factor was a great help for Yeah, people are always trying say. They felt like it was their time, me, because that was full-on all to find out if there’s gossip, but and that’s fine with them. They’ve the time. You never stopped and you’ve got to bear in mind I was had an amazing ten years and they you had cameras in your face conout of it for five weeks as well, so should be really proud of them- stantly, so I feel a lot more chilled I kind of... if there was anything, I selves. I’m proud of them! out. I feel like I’m having more fun, wasn’t there! I feel like my job’s the funnest thing How was that as a thing, touring ever. I know a lot of people go to There’s a rumour going round with them? work and they hate their job, but I that Kelly Rowland might be on Just incredible. I actually went absolutely love mine! So I’m excitthe US X Factor. Having worked to see them four years previous ed. Obviously you’re always gonna with her yourself, do you reckon to the Ten Tour, so to be up their be nervous because it’s your work, that’s a good move? with them was like ‘wow.. I was 14, but what will be will be. I’m proud I think she was amazing. I real- standing there in the audience in a of whatever happens, and I do ly learned a lot from her. What pink tutu watching you guys, now work hard. was nice was she actually bonded I’m actually here on stage openwith me behind all “Your first album is the ing for you’. It was How happy are you in terms of the cameras and kind of scary. how far you’ve come and how far toughest because you’ve everything. She you still want to go - do you think got a point to prove took me out for Did you get to see you’ve got a good level of success especially for me” dinner with her much of them be- considering the stage you’re at? and her manager, hind the scenes? I think that for your first album and that was really nice. I think that Yeah, I mean it’s kind of difficult it’s always gonna be the toughnot all the judges in the past have because I was doing a lot of pro- est because you’ve got a point to done that, apparently. So that for mo during the days, and then I get prove - especially for me, the fact me was really lovely. She’s been there and do hair and make-up and I’m not just an X Factor contestin the industry for 18 years, she then I’m on the stage, then they’re ant anymore. I am an artist. And I knows what she’s talking about. on the stage... it’s really full-on, always knew it was gonna be the She’s a true businesswoman. She’s but when I did see them they were hardest for the first album. All I do good. so lovely and I was so inspired by is work hard and make sure I have them. fun every single day, and hopefully Did you see her Super Bowl perpeople will get to see all the sides formance with Beyonce and Mi- Did you have a favourite mem- to me. The fun, the soft side, the chelle? ber? idiotic side, or whatever. I hope Do you know what, I’ve still not I don’t really. I always liked Sarah people stick by me. I’ve got a great watched it, but apparently it was when I was younger, because she fanbase and a great following. incredible. was blonde like me. And Cheryl, Hopefully they’ll stick by me and
I’ll just keep working. I’m so young, that’s what I have to keep reminding myself. I’m only 18! I’ve got a long way to go. We’ll be here when you’re 50, I’m sure, like ‘Tell us about the 30th album’! *Laughs* What are you listening to at the minute? What’s on your playlist? Oooh... Fall Out Boy’s new album and Paramore’s new album. Paramore’s new album made Number One, didn’t it? And so it should, it’s just amazing. I’ve got it on repeat. And Fall Out Boy as well. Just finally, we always like to finish with this... I know it’s quite a wanky question... A wanky question... that’s brilliant. A wanky question. What do you think makes a good pop song in 2013? I think something with a really good beat. And also catchy lyrics. I think if you’ve got catchy lyrics, it’s a great pop song. Yeah. Yeah. @ShaunKitchener
Amelia Lily’s debut album Be A Fighter includes the singles ‘You Bring Me Joy’, ‘Shut Up (And Give Me Whatever You Got)’ and ‘Party Over’, and is released through Xenomania/Sony Music this summer.
r o t c a f b e th
If there’s one person who should be freakin’ huge right now, it’s MISHA B. All three of her singles thus far have been incredible, and she’s only just warming up. As ‘Here’s To Everything’ is finally released, she found the time for a quick phone call with AMAZEPOP... 12
Congrats on the amazingness that is ‘Here’s To Everything’. What’s the reaction been like so far? Thank you, it’s been crazy. It’s been crazy. Really crazy. People have been liking the feel of it, the message of it... it’s been good, really really good. How does it compare to the buzz that you had for ‘Home Run’ and ‘Do You Think Of Me’? Can you get a good sense for how well it’s going to do? Slightly, yeah. The reaction has been quite similar to ‘Do You Think Of Me’. I remember one of the first times performing that, people were singing the lyrics back, even though they didn’t really know the song, and that’s happened a few times I’ve performed ‘Here’s To Everything’.
Your three singles so far are all quite different, but I guess they all have that brilliant drum ‘kick’ type thing that strings them all together - how would you describe your sound, better than I just did? Number One this time then, fin- I’d describe my sound as... Mishasound! Even though the songs are gers crossed... running through so many differYes, let’s hope so, let’s hope so! ent areas of music, one of the key You’ve been added to both the things in them is my vocal, and my Radio 1 and 1Xtra Playlists. Those vocal remains the same. Also bringing my character into everything. must be real ‘YEEES!’ moments. *Laughs* I’ve grown up listening to 1Xtra, it’s great to have their sup- So I guess that will roll through the whole album, will it? How is port. that coming along? I guess a lot of talent show con- Yeah, that’s 100% how it is. The testants by this point might be album is almost finished, a few starting to find it harder to get tweaks to be made but we’re altheir music noticed, but you most finished. Going for a release seem to be going from strength date in the summer... I’d say the alto strength - are you feeling like bum is an audio diary of my life so far. I love soul, I love the ska, a bit you’re gathering momentum? I definitely think it’s always gonna of indie, a bit of jazz.. it’s very... I’d be a struggle because there’s so say... it’s got a very... bipolar feel to many different artists. But I feel like it. Sometimes it’s up, sometimes my sound is very much me, and it’s it’s down. It’s a reflection of my life.
Macklemore. ‘Thrift Shop’. I love that song, it’s very carefree. I love the riff, and discreetly he’s saying it’s not about money, it’s about how you feel. The new series of The X Factor is coming up, and I guess you still get asked about it all the time... including now... so how do you feel about that? Does it get annoying as time goes on? X Factor is a massive part of my journey and a major reason why a lot of people know who I am. I’m never ashamed of it. I’m grateful for the opportunity that it’s given me, the platform. Are there any shows you might have auditioned for if it hadn’t been for that one? Would you ever have gone on The Voice, say? I would have tried everything that I possibly could. I’m all about experience. Experience is the best way to better your craft. We’re doing a poll at the moment to find the best boyband songs of the last 15 years. What are your personal faves? Growing up, my mum really loved Westlife, so I listened to quite a lot of Westlife. Then I love Boys II Men, love a bit of Take That, Coldplay... erm... that’s about it really! Can’t go wrong with a bit of Westlife. That’s a good motto to go through life with. Exactly.
Just finally, what do you think makes a good pop song in 2013? distinctive enough to know that it is I think it definitely has to be catchy. In terms of what’s out at the mome regardless of how many artists Tongue-in-cheek. Relatable. Yep. are around. So I feel like as long as ment by other artists, what are my music continues to be a reflec- you loving yourself? Is there any@ShaunKitchener thing that you’re like, ‘ah, I wish tion of me then I’ll be OK. I’d written that...’?
THE DEMI INVASION
IT’S BRITSTORY, BITCH ...Baby One More Time: “[She sounds] like the Backstreet Boys’ kid sister” (Entertainment Weekly) Oops!... I Did It Again: “To realise the evil genius is frightening... You know you love it” (NME)
IN THE US, SHE’S SOLD MILLIONS OF RECORDS, BECOME A JUDGE ON THE X FACTOR AND SCORED ONE OF THE FASTEST-SELLING SINGLES OF 2013. IN THE UK, HOWEVER, DEMI LOVATO IS STILL JUST THAT Britney: “...deftly exGIRL FROM CAMP ROCK. BUT THAT COULD SOON CHANGING. plores BE the fallout and empowerment of growing up under a public microscope” (Billboard)
SHAUN KITCHENER EXPLAINS WHY IT’S ABOUT TIME SHE In The Zone: CONQUERED GREAT BRITAIN.
“A supremely confident dance record that also illustrates Spears’s development as a songwriter” (Vibe)
Demi Lovato has thousands of fans in the UK. She never has any trouble trending on Twitter, her rare promotional visits always attract plenty of keen Lovatics, and our showbiz gossip mags love chatting about who she may or may not be dating. And yet, she still hasn’t really ‘cracked’ our music market. Her highest-charting single, ‘Skyscraper’, shuddered to No32 last year - seven months after its original US release and more-or-less completely lacking any major radio airplay. Her three albums, Don’t
Forget, Here We Go Again and Unbroken, have peaked at Nos 192, 199 and 45 respectively; and her stint on The X Factor USA, which aired on ITV2 last autumn, was of course completely overshadowed by the arrival of Britney Spears.
Week. And there’s a general sense Blackout: “A seamlessamong the pop-savvy ly entertaining collec- public that of bright, brashreaching the hertion music is finally electropop” (Blender) masses. You could ask “Have you heard the new Demi Lovato sinCircus: “Britney back gle?” to a lot more people now and on track is substantialget an affirmitive response. In fact, ly less interesting than when I interviewed Union J recentBritney going off the But now, as she prepares to launch ly, George Shelley randomly startrails” (The Guardian) her fourth album Demi and its lead ed humming the chorus. She could single ‘Heart Attack’, there is finally finally be about to score her first Femme Fatale: “[A] the sense that her UK profile is on realmasterful hit in the UK, and it’s about mixture of the rise. For the first time, she has bloody time. über-cool dubstep and been playlisted by Radio 1. She got sugary pop” (The Daily photographed with Topshop’s Sir I’veTelegraph) been a Lovatic for yonks. I did Phillip and Chloe Green when she some work at a summer camp in popped over for London Fashion the US back in 2008, just as the
Camp Rock franchise was at the height of its popularity, and it was alarming just how many kids were obsessed with the first film’s flagship song, ‘This Is Me’. I wasn’t too crazy about it, but it was inescapable, particularly seeing as the daughter in the family I was living with was also a huge fan.
slightly rawer than expected feel to it (video snapshot below), and single-that-never-was ‘Trainwreck’ is still just impossible not to love. As is the norm for Disney starlets, Album 2 followed pretty quickly afterwards. Here We Go Again pretty much lived up to its title - sonically, it wasn’t far at all off Don’t Forget, although it had far, far less filler. ‘World Of Chances’, an acoustic guitar-led ballad about finally letting a bad egg go, was even written alongside John bloody Mayer, and ‘Catch Me’, arguably one of her best tracks to date, was written by Demi and Demi alone.
Some time later, when she launched her proper music career, I saw the occasional mention of her two singles ‘Get Back’ and ‘La La Land’ online. I wasn’t particularly nuts about either, but eventually I gave the album Don’t Forget a spin, and that was that. Of course, being her first LP away from the Disney “She became the poster girl What happened Channel ma- for teenagers struggling in the months folchine, her sound with problems that other lowing HWGA’s at this point was popstars failed to address” release changed still quite tame; Demi’s career and standard tween-friendly pop-rock personal life forever, and the way with lyrics centered largely on she’s recovered from it is perhaps make-ups, break-ups and Just Be- what’s propelled her to the coming Yourself. On the whole, it wasn’t mendable position she’s in today. a particularly amazing record, but Whilst on tour following the hurried reasons to be excited were pep- release of Camp Rock 2, Demi got pered around every now and again. into a fight with one of her backThe title track, for example, was a ing dancers, and was immediately powerfully sung rock ballad with a withdrawn from the public eye and
sent straight to rehab. In the coming months, it emerged that she had been treated for a whole platter of problems including, but not limited to, an eating disorder, an addiction to self-harming and previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Realistically, the odds for her career as a tween idol weren’t looking too good at that point. When she came out of treatment, she understandably walked straight out of her Disney TV series Sonny With A Chance, and the fact she had even gone into rehab at all prompted a whole flurry of predictable gossip rag headlines about another child star falling spectacularly off the rails. Yet somehow, Demi managed to give her hardships a silver lining. Instead of following Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, glossing over her problems and hiding behind a team of publicists and managers, she stepped into the light herself and told her story; strengthening her bond with her loyal fanbase and becoming the poster girl for teenagers struggling with problems that other popstars either failed to address or, in the case of body image, arguably encouraged. Of course, it would be naive to suggest that the publicists and managers didn’t have any role to play whatsoever, but you’d have a hard job convincing everyone that the path Demi took wasn’t The Right
Thing To Do. As if on cue, along came ‘Skyscraper’. A ballad she recorded with songwriter Toby Gad before she had gone into rehab, it perfectly summarised what she now stood for, and won praise from artists ranging from Katy Perry to Pete Wentz. Her vocals dripping with the issues had she then had yet to confront, it became one of the best-received ballads of 2011 and shot to No1 on the US iTunes store within hours of its release. In a really weird way, having a horrible breakdown had eventually sent Demi Lovato’s career stratospheric. Her third album Unbroken, released months after ‘Skyscraper’ (its lead single), set the pace for Demi’s sound going forward. The Disney-friendly bubblegum-rock of yesteryear was all but banished in favour of edgy pop put together by producers and songwriters like Timbaland, Ryan Tedder and James Morrison, and featuring guest appearances from the likes of Missy Elliot, Dev, Jason Derulo and Iyaz. The success of that record is probably what persuaded Simon Cowell to enlist her as an unlikely judge for The X Factor USA, where she became the breakout star of the early audition episodes, and sure enough her fourth LP, Demi, is one of the most eagerly-anticipated pop records of 2013. Surely, after ALL THAT, it’s about time the UK hopped aboard, right? Especially when you consider that ‘Heart Attack’ is undeniably one of the finest singles of the year. Don’t hide any more, Brits - it’s time to become a Lovatic. @ShaunKitchener
01. ‘Heart Attack’ (from Demi, 2013) - The big new single that’s redefining her career, ‘Heart Attack’ is a loud pop song with one of the year’s biggest choruses. And middle-8s. And verses. 02. ‘Skyscraper’ (from Unbroken, 2011) - Recorded before all of Demi’s personal struggles became public (but released afterwards), ‘Skyscraper’ is what happens when someone completely chucks themselves into their art. 03. ‘Catch Me’ (from Here We Go Again, 2009) - Beginning with an acoustic guitar and holding off the full band until the very last chorus, ‘Catch Me’ is a gorgeous self-written ballad.
04. ‘Give Your Heart A Break’ (from Unbroken, 2011) - Hitting No1 on the Billboard Pop Songs chart, this unlikely single proved a huge summer smash months after it was announced as a single. 05. ‘Lightweight’ (from Unbroken, 2011) - Timbaland proved his worth as a great downtempo producer with this fan favourite. 06. ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ (B-side, 2008) - Written alongside the Jonas Brothers, this toe-tappable ‘La La Land’ bonus track is well worth checking out (as is the acoustic iTunes Festival recording). 07. ‘We’ll Be A Dream’ with We The Kings (from Smile Kid, 2009) - Demi was enlisted for a guest stint on this lovely rock balland by US pop-punk outfit We The Kings. 08. ‘Don’t Forget’ (from Don’t Forget, 2008) - An instant favourite among the Lovatics, this slow-building track was a lot more angsty and raw than the rest of the otherwise chirpy first album. 09. ‘Trainwreck’ (from Don’t Forget, 2008) - Demi is the only credited writer for this track, a great guitar-pop tune about appreciating a flawed partner. 10. ‘Here We Go Again’ (from Here We Go Again, 2009) - Easily comparable to Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since U Been Gone’, this pop-rock anthem saw in the second album in suitably loud style.
) G N I H T E T (BIG VO
ULTIMATE boyband HITS
OF THE LAST 15 YEARS
in the last issue, 7,000 of your votes decided that the spice girls no2 hit ‘stop’ was in fact the best girlband single of the last 15 years. hard luck for dark horses precious. naturally now the attention turns to ‘the lads’. as with last time, it must be acknowledged that some classics were forgotten (blazin’ squad are missing entirely, would you believe it), but these 50 tracks are still every bit as worthy of a place on the line-up. and no, one true voice are not on it. not even with ‘shakespeare’s (way with) words’.
BIG VOTE THING
ULTIMATE boyBAND HITS the terrible Thunderbirds live-ac- 42 ’too close‘ blue tion movie is probably what keeps Charlie Simpson up at night. With lyrics perhaps a bit more sexual than you remember, ‘Too Close’ Sadly OTT never made a big Amazing. was Blue’s second single and, cruenough impression to last beyond cially, their very first No1. Its ubera handful of singles, but this clas45 ’bump bump bump‘ b2k cool ‘vibe’ hasn’t really aged in the sic late-90s boyband semi-ballad is 10+ years that it’s been around. ft. p diddy probably their best effort.
50 ’the story of love‘ ott
49 ’last goodbye‘ avenue
The smooth R&B anthem that isn’t as often remembered now as it perhaps should be, ‘Bump Bump Bump’ has been cited by many modern popstars including The Saturdays’ Vanessa White as a childhood fave.
Before Max George was in The Wanted, he was a member of Avenue. Their album sampler remains popular among the few who’ve heard it, but ‘Last Goodbye’ didn’t really fit in with the popular sounds 44 ’if i let you go‘ of its time.
westlife 48 ’guilty‘ blue
The boys’ second of many No1 s They may may have been kings of basically sums up their signature the slick uptempo sound, but Blue sound - a relatively midtempo balknew how to work a ballad as well - lad, sincere romantic lyrics and a and Guilty, in which Lee Ryan real- massive key change. Will never get ly does a great job with the whole old. singing thing - is among their finest.
47 ’blood sweat and tears‘ v V didn’t really take off when they launched in the early-mid 00s, but if you start singing ‘Blood Sweat And Tears’ to someone there’s a fair chance they’ll recall it. That, in 43 ’i’ll be ok‘ mcfly the fickle world of pop, is probably McFly began to peel out of Busta good compliment. ed’s shadow more and more as the 00s progressed, and this highlight 46 ’thunderbirds are go‘ from the fairly early days of their busted career remains a solid pop-rock listen. Horrific and amazing all at once (horrifimazing?), this theme from
41 ’taking over me‘ lawson Don’t let them hear you counting them as a boyband, but as an “allmale pop act” Lawson have fired out the traps with some great hit singles. This, their second cut, was released in the summer of 2012 and is arguably their finest to date.
40 ’let’s dance‘ 5ive Sean Conlon was only a cutout in the video, but it’s hard to believe that this was one of 5ive’s last ever singles. It may not have the testosterone-y energy that made their earliest hits so appealing, but it’s still a pretty well put-together party-pop track.
39 ’if you come back‘ blue Perhaps the quartet’s best ballad, ‘If You Come Back’ was Blue’s third single and allowed all of the boys - particularly Lee Ryan - to really prove their credentials as industry-leading singers.
38 ’hold on me‘ phixx Phixx, in case you need reminding,
BIG VOTE THING
ULTIMATE boyBAND HITS were the five boys who made it to the Final 10 on Popstars: The Rivals but failed to make it into One True Voice. They are the Liberty X to the ‘Sacred Trust’ group’s Hear’Say. They didn’t last too long at all, sadly, but ‘Hold On Me’ was fun while it lasted.
37 ’when the going gets tough’ boyzone Only a fraction of Boyzone’s canon is eligible for this poll (the cut-off being 1998, remember), but this Comic Relief single was an almost effortless smash hit in the late 90s.
34 ’freak me‘ another level Back before the words ‘Dane’ and ‘Bowers’ made you shudder a little, the ultimately short-lived quartet Another Level were pretty up there in the cool-pop stakes. ‘Freak Me’ is their most famous effort.
33 ’you said no‘ busted When Busted’s third single gave them another almighty smash, it was pretty obvious that they were heading for pretty big things. ‘You Said No’, which centers around the drama of being neglected at a disco, hit No1 in 2003.
32 ’sos‘ jonas brothers
36 ’i found you‘ the wanted The boys’ most recent single, ‘I Found You’ has been considered by many to be their best to date. They’re wrong, of course (it’s not up there with ‘All Time Low’, is it?), but you can see where they’re coming from.
To UK crowds they may be bestknown for dating Demi Lovato/ Taylor Swift/Miley Cyrus and starring in the Camp Rock films, but clearly there’s a solid fanbase over here for their music as well.
31 ’she makes me wanna‘ jls ft. dev
the action when Take That released one of their most critically acclaimed albums of their career in 2010. ‘The Flood’ was a worthy lead single.
29 ’got the feelin’‘ 5ive This was literally the coolest song in. The. World. when it premiered in the late 90s. The song that secret pop apologists didn’t feel uncool for liking, and the song everyone needed to know the words to on the playground. Right?
28 ’world of our own‘ westlife Few will remember Westlife for their uptempo singles, rare as they were - but when they did get off their ballad stools for an entire song, it rarely went awry. ‘World Of Our Own’ is pure breezy brilliance.
JLS launched their third album capaign in far better style than their second. Instead of the insufferable atrocity that was ‘The Club Is Alive’ we had this easily accessible 35 ’a little bit more‘ 911 dance-pop smash, complete with Sadly, 911’s biggest hits have not a spoken verse from the multi-tal- 27 ’no matter what‘ aged well. Maybe they weren’t ented (?) Dev. boyzone that great to begin with. But still, enough people clearly still have 30 ’the flood’ take that One of the songs for which the late a big enough soft spot for this Stephen Gately is best known, ‘No chart-topping ballad. Robbie Williams got back in on Matter What’ was Boyzone’s ca-
BIG VOTE THING
ULTIMATE boyBAND HITS reer-defining ballad; their ‘Flying No1. Without Wings’/’As Long As You Love Me’... uh, ‘Gotta Be You’. A 23 ’girlfriend‘ nsync ft. classic.
26 ’shine a light‘ mcfly ft. taio cruz McFly themselves may not be too keen on their own electropop revival from 2010, but this particular track became one of the most successful of their career. Hey, even Taio Cruz sounds good on it.
Jedward’s 2012 Eurovision entry wasn’t quite as head-scratchingly brilliant as 2011’s ‘Lipstick’, but it was still hugely likeable for its nofrills simplicity. No complications, no gimmicks, just a solid, straightforward pop song.
Easily the best track on A1’s Greatest Hits, ‘Same Old...’ really put them on the map during their career-defining Second Album days, and rightly gave them their second
what the experts reckon A cluster of bona-fide pop geeks give their personal Top 5s
Much of the Backstreet Boys’ amazing discography is ineligible for this poll (we’re cutting off at 1998, y’see) but ‘Larger Than Life’ produced by Max Martin and Rami Yacoub - is among their strongest hits. Fact fans may be interested to note that it’s since been covered by a Japanese girlband MAX.
Did NSync limp out feebly or go out on a high? Obviously the latter... ‘Girlfriend’ was their last official single as a quintet before going on a so-called ‘hiatus’, and for many of their diehard fans it’s the best track they ever released. It’s the highest-charting UK hit, too peaking at No2. 20 ’all time low‘
25 ’waterline‘ jedward
24 ’same old brand new you‘ a1
21 ’larger than life‘ backstreet boys
22 ’kiss you‘ one direction
Without a talent show launchpad to help them reach the heights of then-reigning boyband JLS, The Wanted had to embark on a FUCKING LONG campaign trail prior to the ‘All Time Low’ release. Their hard work paid dividends in the end, and the track - co-written by Ed Drewett - rightly secured them a No1.
1D followed the Godawful Sheeranballad ‘Little Things’ with this far superior stadium-ready pop anthem. Contains an interesting use of “chinny-chin chins”.
19 ’patience‘ take that
First time I heard this song I was convinced Blue were the latest Stateside offering ready to invade our shores. We soon found out they were from good old UK and this tune stormed to number 1.
dj, VODAFONE BIG TOP 40 01 ’LET’S DANCE‘ 5IVE Viewers of the Big Reunion must’ve whipped out their Five posters in a frenzy when these lads were on the show. This was the last time the band were together on a video (even if Sean was a cardboard cut-out), and it was their last number 1.
02 ’ALL RISE‘ BLUE
The track that properly launched Take That 2.0, ‘Patience’ was a monster of a No1 when it was released in 2006 (2006!!!). It easily
03 ’SHE MAKES ME WANNA‘ JLS Put those tissues dowm – they’ve not split yet! This tune has everything - a brilliant start (uh uh uh uh oh - ok), a brilliant chorus and a brilliant guest rap from Dev. This was by far their best single - nominated for a Brit and their 5th number 1 (and their last - to date).
BIG VOTE THING
ULTIMATE boyBAND HITS topped the charts, and went on to be the 7th best-selling single of the year.
18 ’pop‘ nsync The winner of four MTV Video Music Awards (Pop Video, Group Video, Dance Video, Viewers’ Choice), Pop launched the band’s third and final studio album in 2001. Trivia: Joey does not feature in the dance sequences of the video. The fifth member seen in the long-distance shots is video producer Wade Robson.
17 ’obviously‘ mcfly The fresh-faced quartet melted hearts the nation over when this second single was unveiled in 2004. Charming, cunningly self-depracating lyrics ensured that they endeared themselves to an almightly fanbase.
04 ’GIRLFRIEND‘ NSYNC Justin Timberlake used to exist In a band called NSync and this was by far their greatest record. This tune screams summer and doesn’t require any cheesy boyband moves. Result.
05 ’ALL TIME LOW‘ THE WANTED Boybands don’t have to sit on stools and jump up during a key change like they’ve had some sort of electric shock. The Wanted took a different route when they started - no dancing, no cheesy harmo-
16 ’uptown girl‘ westlife Westlife’s most popular uptempo single, their version of ‘Uptempo Girl’ is probably more popular among the younger-ish generation than the Billy Joel original. It was the 2001 Comic Relief single and its video stars included Claudia bloody Schiffer.
14 ’live while we’re young‘ one direction Following up the gigantic success of their first album was a big ask for One Direction, but the second record’s trailer single ‘Live While We’re Young’ bought assurance that their tried-and-tested formular of guitar-pop was staying largely in tact.
15 ’glad you came‘ THE wanted
13 ’year 3000‘ busted
The track that made The Wanted’s name in the US, ‘Glad You Came’ is a relatively straightforward summer club-pop banger with semi-clever, semi-annoying verses, in which each line starts with the last word of the previous one. It’s sold upwards of 3 million copies in North America.
‘What I Go To School For’ was alright, but it was ‘Year 3000’ that really pushed Busted up towards pop royalty status. So accessible it was even covered by the Jonas Brothers in the US, ‘Year 3000’ was an absurdly catchy slightly creepy (stop perving on girls’ great-granddaughters, lads) smash.
nies, just a really catchy debut single. Still their best record in my opinion.
lodge in a video since ‘Last Christmas’.
It’s Max Martin (amazing), features a dial tone (amazing) and has a tour montage video (not amazing). Should’ve been bigger than ‘Bye Bye Bye’.
JOURNALIST, sugascape (Choices in no particular order, BTW)
01 ’CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE‘ A1 Potentially the most underrated boyband sort-of-ballad of all time. Best use of snowscapes and the traditional wooden
02 ’I’ll Never Stop‘ NSYNC
03 ’HIP TO HIP‘ V One of Xenomania’s rare ventures into the boyband world and it includes the lyric ‘someone spiked my latte’ and a middle eight rappy bit. Basically everything a song should be.
BIG VOTE THING
ULTIMATE boyBAND HITS When it was announced that Ire12 ’beat again‘ jls land’s 2011 Eurovision hopes were pinned on Jedward, there can’t Ahhh, where it all began. JLS have been many people counting proved that there can be more on success. But actually, ‘Lipstick’ to an X Factor runner-up than a was a hit - praised by blogs for its Mother’s Day covers album when spunky brand of novelty pop, the they stormed the charts with ‘Beat track earned Jedward just that litAgain’, a brilliantly concocted ur- tle bit more respect. ban-infused number with lyrics just about on the right side of ridic09 ’rule the world‘ ulous.
11 ’it’s gonna be me‘ nsync
A song so fondly remembered that it’s surprising to see it never actually hit No1, ‘Rule The World’ seems to be the most popular of Take That’s post-revivial releases. Its durability was also bolstered when it was performed at the London 2012 closing ceremony.
This 2000-released megapop stormer encompasses everything that was great about Martin/ Yacoub et al’s brand of Americanised pop at the turn of the century. There’s even a hint of a harpsichord. A HARPSICHORD. 08 ’all rise‘ blue
10 ’lipstick‘ jedward
04 ’LARGER THAN LIFE‘ BACKSTREET BOYS Quintessential 90s boyband Max Martin. Massive chorus. Incorporates laughter.
05 ’WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL‘ ONE DIRECTION Other than the hair-flipping lyric it’s not actually even that good (their ‘Another World’ b-side’s better), but it manages to sound a bit like Grease, make ‘song’ a
actually cool to like.
07 ’everybody in love‘ jls JLS ensured they were far from flash-in-the-pan talent show rejects when they sent ‘Everybody In Love’ flying to No1 in 2009, a year after they polled second on The X Factor. It pushed as many boundaries as a jam sandwich, but everyone loves jam sandwiches, right?
06 ’all about you‘ mcfly
The 2005 Comic Relief single may have been overshadowed mas“But in reality to whom does the sively by Tony Christie’s ‘Amarillo’ stuff belong?” is probably the best nonsense, but this - like ‘Obviously’ line in this brilliant debut single before it - was another sweet-nafrom fresh-faced quartet Blue. tured, hugely likeable ballad that’s Before you could grate cheese on probably been played at approxiDuncan James’ chest, they were mately 4958448572 weddings. four laddish boy-next-door types with a penchant for rough-roundthe-edges performances and a 05 ’keep on moving‘ 5ive brand of boyband pop that it was Sounding like they might beat you 3-syllable word and have a huge sing-along chorus, so it’s memorable if nothing else.
jessica a&r consultant, blogger, AUTHOR OF ’HOW TO MAKE IT IN POP‘ 01 ’i want it that way‘
backstreet boys The classic boyband ballad from one of the best albums of the era, which marked the beginning of my Max Martin obsession.
02 ’pop‘ nsync So good I named my blog after it! A brilliant video too.
03 ’keep on moving‘ 5ive
BIG VOTE THING
ULTIMATE boyBAND HITS up in a back alley on ‘Everybody Get Up’ was all well and good, but it was on ‘Keep On Moving’ that 5ive hit their peak level of brilliance. This will probably never get old. And even if it does, it’ll still be awesome. AWESOME.
04 ’flying without wings‘ westlife It’s just the boyband ballad to end all boyband ballads really, isn’t it?
03 ’bye bye bye‘ nsync
’i want it that way‘ backstreet boys
Should NSync ever reform, this is exactly the kind of thing they should recreate - the same bombastic production that made the late 90s the best time for US pro- There were only a handful of votes the amazing, cheesy as fuck midduction. What. A. Classic. separating this beloved classic dle-8; but there’s something about from 1D’s all-conquering recent this track that’s kept it so endeared 02 ’what makes you debut, and it’s a testament to the to the public for so many years. It’s beautiful‘ one direction Backstreet Boys that their defining not because it hasn’t aged - it has, midtempo slushfest has held up so and it very much sounds like a 1999 They faded out in third place on well 14 years after its original re- song - but as it has got older, the The X Factor, but with the right lease. Maybe it’s the simple verses, sense of nostalgia that comes with producers and the right teen- maybe it’s the way the penultimate it has grown harder and harder to age-heart-melting lyrics, ‘WMYB’ chorus is basically the usual chorus resist. Go on, play it now and see if paved the way for 1D to become but slightly different, or maybe it’s you don’t smile. the most famous pop act of the current era. Fair dos - it’s a great THE BEST POPSTARS IN THE WORLD 2013 track. It’s a big one - who are the best popstars on Earth right now? Head to amazepop.co.uk/bigvotething to vote.
Such a fun, uplifting tune, which still sounds just as good after 14 years!
04 ’you stood up‘ v The British boyband classic that should have been. It’s a mystery why this wasn’t huge.
05 ’lose my mind‘ the wanted Not their biggest hit but it’s my personal favourite thanks to its anthemic chorus and great middle 8.
SHAUN KITCHENER AMAZEPOP EDITOR 01 ’keep on moving‘ 5ive “All the bees and birds are flying... AAAAH AA-AA-AA-AA-AAAHHH”
02 ’i want it that way‘ backstreet boys “Tell me why-ee?”
03 ’all time low‘ THE wanted “I’m in pieces, it seems like peace is... ”
04 ’same old brand new you‘ a1 “You don’t wanna find me gone gone gone-gone gone”
05 ’shine a light‘ mcfly ft taio cruz “Eh. Eh. Eh.”
Aaaaand they’re out of here. Seven years since they were first formed and Marvin, Oritse and JB have handed in their half-year’s notice and will part tion. As they prepare to bow out of the spotlight, it’s t 26
d five since they propelled to fame via The X Factorâ€™s fifth season, Aston, t ways for good at the other side of a farwell tour and Greatest Hits collectime to milk them for a good olâ€™ retrospective feature. 27
5 reasons you gotta love jls by Becca Longmire Those JLS boys shocked us all when they recently announced that they were calling it a day, and as the totes emosh celeb tweets from the likes of Niall Horan and Cheryl Cole continue to pour in, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and take a look back at JLS’ best bits from the past five years. With a string of arena tours under their belts and over 10 million records sold since their debut single rocketed straight to the top of the charts, they’ve certainly had far more highs than lows! Here’s why I’ll miss them... 1. The constant abs flashing JLS definitely have some of the finest abs in the business and boy do they like to show them off! called ‘Kiss’ in From whipping a bid to make their tops off on their huge festage to parading male following around half nude smell sweeter in music videand fruitier. Unos, they seem to like some celhave had more ebs’ scents, the topless moments perfume flew than, er, top-on off the shelves moments. Not that I’m complain- and sold a whopping 100,000 boting... tles on its first day.
first group names from the world after rocketing to fame, and despite the fact that the boys probably cringe every time that they hear this repeated, we still love them for theirs. Ready? UFO (stands for Unique Famous Outrageous).
4. Their HUGE chart success JLS have managed to shift a hefty 10 million records over the past 5 years since they released debut single ‘Beat Again’ after their 2. They allowed me to smell like a 3. Their original name is enter- X Factor stint. They then went on JLS GF! (in my dreams) taining to bag TWO Brit awards (British The band released a fragrance Many bands manage to hide their Breakthrough Act and Best Single)
lyrics that straddled both cool and cheesy, and - every once in a while - songs right up there with the very best on the market. Would they have lasted, for example, if they hadn’t kicked off with the awesome ‘Beat Again’; a boyband single that forced a re-evaluation of what exactly a contemporary boyband single should be? But then, on the other hand, how much more impressive would their overall discography be had it not been for the horrendous, Sound of Music-sampling chaos of ‘The Club Is Alive’?
and no doubt will continue to have more chart topping hits with their final (sob!) Goodbye album. 5. Those condoms Few have had the urge to purchase a pack, but you do admire the band for trying something different. Plus, they DO look super-cute on the packaging...
thank you for the music
Their 11-single playlist (we’ll ignore ‘Hold Me Down’) can be divided more-or-less equally into two different categories - their good songs and their bad songs. But to be fair, ‘Club’ to one side, they were never awful... and, considering how many great tracks they had to their name, that’s not bad going for any boyband who lasted so long. And thus:
Amazing Top 5 1. ‘Beat Again’ 2. ‘Do You Feel What I Feel?’ by Shaun Kitchener 3. ‘Take A Chance On Me’ 4. ‘She Makes Me Wanna’ In 10 years’ time, when rumours 5. ‘Everybody In Love’ are swirling every few months or so that the boys will reunite, we’ll Unamazing Top 5 all be flicking back through their 1. ‘The Club Is Alive’ back catalogue, fondly remem- 2. ‘Love You More’ @BeccaLongmire bering their, uh, ‘urban swag’, 3. ‘Eyes Wide Shut’
4. ‘One Shot’ 5. ‘Proud’ ... Still can’t really decide 1. ‘Hottest Girl In The World’
JLS: THEIR BEST WORST LYRICS
What seems nice is that, despite the healthy number of decent singles from LP 3 Jukebox, it was probably their first and last albums that were their best. Their self-titled debut, which beat Robbie Williams to No1 back in 2009, had a healthy amount of solid urban-flavoured pop, and their final studio set Evolution, which reached No3 last year, did a good job of flipping it round to pop-flavoured urban. It’s a shame, actually, that that record only yielded one proper single. ‘Hold Me Down’ was a sort of follow-up but didn’t really get off the ground, which is a shame - it probably could have been one of their strongest efforts if more people noticed it. Even though the usual barrage of borderline hiliarous lyrics were still very much in tact, Evolution did make for a cohesive, very assured album, and it’s a shame it was their least successful. Still, all the more reason why now is a good time for them to say their goodbyes, right? Their upward momentum came to an end some time ago, and now before their downward spiral gets embarrassing, it is perhaps an appropriate moment to leave and still be able to say you’re doing it ‘on a high’. @ShaunKitchener
“Girl you got goods like a corner store” ‘Have Your Way’ “I’m gonna turn you on just like a TV” ‘3D’ “I try to make a reservation, there’s always complication” ‘Go Harder’
“You could be the DJ, I could be the dance floor... You could get up on me” ‘The Club Is Alive’ “You be snappin’ pics when I throw it back slow” ‘Troublemaker’ “Intravenous love, feel it pump pump pump” ‘Give Me Life’
“If I could rearrange the alphabet, it would be U, I, JLS, BA to JFK, “Well the shape of my heart don’t LAX” lie” ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ ‘Proud’ “Day one, I first laid my eyes on you. Day two, I can’t help but think of you. Day three was the same as day two.” ‘Love You More’ “I need love CPR” ‘Beat Again’
“Looking for my heart, couldn’t find it on eBay” ‘Take You Down’ “If you should ever wonder why these dudes all form a line, it’s cause they see the sexiness that’s finally been defined” ‘Hottest Girl In The World’
“There’s someone for me. Could it be her, her, her? Or her? Hmm, or “JLS here to break it down” her?” ‘Shy Of The Cool’ ‘Single No More’
Stage 1: Denial When the split was confirmed, there was room for questions all over the place. When they said their time together had come to an end, they just meant for now, right? As in the tour? Not forever. Not for good. That’s absurd.
nothing. And they’ll be better than anyone else on it. Yeah, better. Much better. This will definitley happen. Maybe in 2020. Everyone (meaning EVERYONE) is making jokes about it on Twitter but only because it’s definitely going to happen.
Stage 2: Anger BUT KIMBERLEY SAID THEY COULD BE LIKE TAKE THAT AND REUNITE EVERY NOW AND THEN. THEY SIGNED A BLOODY THREE-ALBUM DEAL A FEW YEARS AGO AND HAVE RECORDBut as the dust begins to settle and ED PRECISELY NONE OF THEM. the girls adjust to their lives post- AND HOW COULD THEY DO THIS band (Nadine recording, Sarah TO NADINE?! THIS IS ALL CHERchatting to everyone, Kimberley YL’S FAULT, ISN’T IT. ISN’T IT! going to every event going, Cheryl playing it cool, Nicola... proba- Stage 3: Bargaining bly doing something somewhere), The Big Reunion producers will be their fans are just about coming to on it, right? They’d better be. Who the final part of the infamous Five cares if a decent ITV2 reality series Stages of Grief. But it’s been a long is the best defunct pop acts can rejourney. alistically hope for? It’s better than
Stage 4: Depression Fuck it. It’s over. Over forever. And The blasted Saturdays have gone to No1, with what is possibly one of their weakest singles to date. That’s it for good girlbands now really, isn’t it? Would Girls Aloud have done a track with Sean Paul on it? No. No they wouldn’t. They barely did a track with the bloody Sugababes on it.
LIFE AFTER ALOUD
It’s now been over a month since the Girls Aloud split. Time flies when you’re having fun all the fun has been sucked out of pop, right?
Stage 5: Acceptance You know what, ten years ain’t bad. Even if three of them don’t really count. @ShaunKitchener
MODERN CLASSICS COLLECTION
When Nsync backflipped onto our screens back in 1995 in all their nineties glory no one would have thought that the curlyhaired wannabe rapper in clothes far too big for him would have been the success story of the group.
a duo made up of Chad Hugo and one Pharrell Williams, who were, as well as musical prodigies, quintesentially cool. Clad in a leather jacket for the music video and dancing with a sexy model on a rooftop to boot, Justin Timberlake: Sexual Icon had officially arrived.
Your odds would have been better still if you’d put money on his career continuing in full swing over a decade later with that toecurlingly geeky image replaced by a smooth, self assured heart-throb. Justin Timberlake’s journey from “that one from that boy band” to one of America’s most popular celebs all stemmed from his decision to fly solo. Representing one of the greatest PR triumphs of recent years, this solo career made its debut in 2002 with Justified.
As we all know, on a more personal note this time, second single ‘Cry Me A River’ was supposedly inspired by his split from Britney Spears. With outstanding production from Timbaland, the single won a Grammy for Best Male Vocal Performance and seemed to secure Justin’s place in the limelight with a solid solo career. Just to give you some idea of the talent involved in his reinvention, the video director in this case was Francis Lawrence who, a decade on, has been hired to direct the upcoming Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire.
The central aim of his debut album was to transcend the realms of boy band pop to become a ‘credible’ R&B artist. Now, don’t get me wrong, we still classify JT as a bona fide pop god but his lead single ‘Like I Love You’ proved that he was capable of more; a transition that was largely thanks to Justin’s choice in producers. This catchy classic was written in part by The Neptunes,
Following these successses Justin encouraged his reputation of “ladies man” by releasing two singles based around the concepts of love and sex... in fact, everything he’s released since pretty much has been as well! ‘Rock Your Body’ was certified platinum in Australia and reached number 2
in the UK whilst ‘Señorita’, a less successful release from the album, stalled at 27 on the US Hot 100. Not letting this dampen his successes, by the time of its release Justin had already embarked on a worldwide tour of with 63 dates, lasting just over a year. Selling out arenas across North America, Europe and Australia Justin Timberlake had offically made it as a solo artist. The only arguable blemish on this incredibly successful time in his career was the decision to use the album’s last single for advertising purposes. Blurring the lines between artist and sellout, ‘I’m Loving It’ was the leading slogan of a McDonalds campaign and would subesquently appear on Justified with the agreement that the food chain would then sponsor his tour. Still, every twenty two year old millionaire is allowed a few mistakes (*cough* Justin Bieber) and after making waves with Justified, Justin’s career has gone from strength to strength. Even though it’s been nearly 12 years since the release of Justifed it goes as testament to its success that many of us still know all the words off by heart. @BethBecomesHer_
op moves quickly, doesn’t it? In a genre where artists like Pixie Lott can go from label’s finest to In Desperate Need Of A Hit in one swift album and Jessie J can be offered a judging role on a bigbudget talent show after four singles, it’s easy to forget the classics-to-be that pass us by. But that’s what the AMAZEPOP Modern
Classics Collection is for. The mid-00s may not seem like that long ago, for example, but it’s four albums’ worth of time in JLS terms. Heck, Conor Maynard was probably only about 5 years old in 2007, right? So we’ve picked out a trio of masterpieces from bygone years for you to wipe the scratches off and play in a tatty old CD player. Or, y’know, look up on Spotify.
Released: November 4 2002 Chart Peak: No1 Label: Jive Producers: Brian McKnight, Scott Storch, Timbaland, The Underdogs, Williams and Hugo Singles: ‘Like I Love You’, ‘Cry Me A River’, ‘Rock Your Body’, ‘Señorita’, ‘I’m Loving It’.
Justin Timberlake 33
MODERN CLASSICS COLLECTION
Before reducing her musical output to guest verses on P!nk singles and being sampled by TI, Lily Allen was one of the country’s most critically lauded popstars. Even in the mid-00s when the industry was dominated by landfill indie and pop had basically taken a back seat, there was still plenty of scope for an upstart like Lily to appeal to fans of pretty much anything. Her ska and reggae-tinged production made her cool, her frank lyrics gave her an edge and a tabloid hook, and her ear for a good melody ensured the pop hits just kept on coming. She even rose to fame via MySpace, for crying out loud.
ALRIGHT, STILL Lily Allen
Released: July 17 2006 Chart peak: No2 Label: Regal Producers: Future Cut, Greg Kurstin, Pablo Cook, Blair MacKichan, Mark Ronson Singles: ‘Smile’, ‘LDN’, ‘Littlest Things’, ‘Alfie’/’Shame For You’
Much of Alright, Still indeed remains alright, still. Brilliant, even. ‘Not Big’, the diss of all disses to a sexually-challenged ex, is even more poisonous than you remember, and ‘LDN’ still sounds great in the sunshine. The big, dirty chorus of ‘Shame For You’ sounds like it needs to be played on full volume in the smokiest of smokey pubs, and ‘Knock ‘Em Out’ would probably scale the charts if it were to be released as a single today. It would be borderline criminal to ignore the set’s glaring ace, as well - the emotionally resonant ‘Littlest Things’; proof that Lily can even make break-up balladry look effortlessly cool. @ShaunKitchener
To suggest an album for the Modern Classics Collection, or if you want to write about one yourself, tweet us @AMAZEPOP
Avril Lavigne It was nearly 11 years ago when a fresh-faced Avril Lavigne made her big breakthrough; becoming the youngest female solo artist to have a UK No1 album.
Released: September 23 2002 Chart Peak: No1 Label: Arista Producers: LA Reid, The Matrix, Clif Magness, Curt Frasca, Peter Zizzo Singles: ‘Complicated’, ‘Sk8er Boi’, ‘I’m With You’, ‘Losing Grip’.
Grip’ can be (tenuously) linked to the defiant ‘Nobody’s Fool’.
Radio-ready pop hooks are scattered left, right and centre, with ‘Anything But Ordinary’ becoming an anthem for awkward ‘Let Go’s four singles are all teens the world over and ‘Mosomewhat different, but each bile’ still proving that it probably are representative of what else would have made a better single lies on the set: ‘Complicated’, than ‘Losing Grip’. She’s been a nice summer-ready pop-rock the grumpy emo queen, bratty anthem, is followed by similar pop-punk princess and Mature gems like ‘Things I’ll Never Say’; Artiste in the albums that have the punkier ‘Sk8er Boi’ is joined followed, but this awesome deby the angst-filled ‘Unwanted’; but will always be up there with super-ballad ‘I’m With You’ has Avril’s finest. a buddy in fan fave ‘Tomorrow’; and the somewhat darker ‘Losing @ShaunKitchener
N O I T C I D D A ” MY “UNCOOL
In each issue we take a pop act traditionally frowned upon by #REALMUSIC snobs and explain why they’re basically brilliant. Here, popular Murs Army member and blogger Alex MacGregor explains why he thinks Olly Murs is a better tunesmith than he’s given credit for... For some of the amazing popstars that it’s given us - Blur’s Damon Albarn, McFly’s Dougie Poynter and Harry Judd, and Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell - Essex, it’s fair to say, still seems to meet with British pop’s critics on the same wavelength of approval as a copy of Toploader’s greatest hits. Up until September 2009 it was all white stillettos, positively radioactive tans and - *gulp* - Jodie Marsh. Hardly a county that could bring forth an amazing popstar. Or could it?
Pop and the music industry generally is a bit on an ‘old boys’ club’, obsessed with its artists being ‘grass roots’ - starting at the bottom, and relentlessly networking up and knowing the right people, which of course, coming from such a small town like Witham, Olly didn’t know about or have access to. So on paper, this combined with his credentials on finishing his series of The X Factor in the Overs category, beaten by angelic voiced favourite Joe McElderry, and a proudly born and bred Essex lad - meant that he was never going to be met with critical
praise from the off. But Simon Cowell, who’d famously said he was ‘the easiest yes he’d ever given’ to a contestant, believed in him, and so too, did Nick Raphael, the A&R legend who’d steered Lemar to illustrious success after Fame Academy and then JLS, who he’d signed a year previously after they’d finished the show. And whilst pop’s critics look down upon Olly for his normality in a world of GaGas and Rihannas with OTT, diva-ish, headline grabbing personalities, it’s his normality that has
made him so well loved. Olly was one of X Factor’s first graduates to be allowed to write his own material after he signed his deal with Epic in early 2010, something that he initially wasn’t too sure about doing, having never written a song in his life. But working with some of pop’s best loved writers and producers ensured he was learning the basics of his craft from the best, and no-one was better to learn off then the two men who have been a part of every album he has released since then the Grammy award winning Claude Kelly, and Take That cohort Steve Robson. Olly’s eponymous debut album eventually came out in November 2010 and was the fastest selling release by a debut artist in the UK that year. It received unflattering and (dare I say it) unfair comparisons to the short lived solo material of ex-Eastender Sid Owen upon release, and Olly openly admits he found the criticism in his first two years after X Factor hard to deal with - but regardless, with the album achieving double platinum success, he soldiered on with recording of his second album where he truly found his feet. The triple platinum chart topper In Case You Didn’t Know showed an immediate progression in his confidence as a writer and performer, with a bigger and better sound, as he traversed between skiffly indie-pop, doo-wop, Motown, soulful piano led ballads and even early 90s house on the glorious triumvirate of singles that album produced: ‘Heart Skips a Beat’ with Rizzle Kicks, ‘Dance with Me Tonight’ and ‘Oh My Goodness’.
Olly is, like his idols - Robbie Williams, Justin Timberlake and Michael Buble - that rare breed of the ‘everyman’ in pop. Girls want a boyfriend like him. Guys wanna go for a drink with him down the pub. Mums would happily have him as a son in law, and dads hum along to his songs when they’re played on Radio 2 or Heart.
rather than an ego-fed popstar. He’ll shake your hand and/or give you a hug and a photo rather than sit barricaded behind a large table and imposing security. His love of social networking, in particular on Twitter, also ensures that his fans, the affectionately named ‘Murs Army’ are as much a part of what he’s about as he is, and it’s a true mark of his commitment to them and to his job.
His latest number 1 album, Right Place Right Time, again demonstrates his drive to progress himself in sound as an artist, now tackling the epic stadium pop of Coldplay and Take That via the dance funk of Jamiroquai on ‘Troublemaker’ and ‘Army of Two’. But for me, I always say the biggest test for anyone who doesn’t believe Olly is passionate about what he does is to A) see him live or B) if they’re lucky enough to, meet him in person. Ever since his first theatre tour in 2011, he has kept the same ten piece band for all his live shows, who are able to let Olly showcase the varied, rich depth of his take on pop music. The fact he’s also played the major league festivals like T in the Park and V Festival in the last year is also demonstrative of his broad appeal as a live performer.
But there is one more than one additional trick to his pack that makes him as brilliant as he is. Though he sadly won’t be able to return to it this year, owing to his already packed home and international touring schedule, he, along with his self proclaimed ‘TV wife’ Caroline Flack have made our weekend TV that bit more fun to watch over the last two years, hosting ITV2’s spin-off show ‘The Xtra Factor’ with a top mixture of irreverence, laughter and adorable ‘will-theywon’t-they’ banter. He is also a patron for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and Brainwave Centre, a local children’s hospice in Witham who he has campaigned tirelessly for, and though professional football as a career is out the question, his loyal love of Manchester United has resulted in him being appointI first had the pleasure of meet- ed as one of the FA’s charitable aming Olly back in 2010, when he re- bassadors to mark their 150th anniturned to Essex to do a single sign- versary this year. ing at my local HMV in Chelmsford, and though my meeting was brief All this, plus Europe, America and that time, my subsequent meet- Australia in his sights, a new album ings with him over the last two in 2014 and his support slot on the years have turned out to demon- stadium tour of good friend Robbie strate just how rounded and down Williams means Olly will, to quote to earth he has remained, even his own song, surely continue with all his success since then. Re- marching to the future...he’s only gardless of if it’s your first time or just begun. not meeting him, he takes time to talk to you like a good, close friend @ThePensmith10
THE REVIEWS BIT
90-100%: FUCKING AMAZING | 80-89%: IN THE VICINITY OF FUCKING AMAZING | 70-79%: FAIRLY AMAZING | 60-69%: SEMI-AMAZING | 50-59%: NOT PARTICULARLY AMAZING | 40-49%: UNAMAZING | 20-39%: DISTINCTLY UNAMAZING | >19%: :(
SINGLES Titles marked with a * were reviewed in the previous issue but had their release dates moved.
APRIL 28 Bo Bruce - ‘Save Me’: The close runner-up from The Voice UK’s maiden run sounds just as good on record as expected. Her ‘quirky’ (?) yelp will of course not be for everyone, but ‘Save Me’ shows it off beautifully. 91%
cool-kids-du-jour. Her jazzy vocals sound right at home on the house/ garage production, and Disclosure could have another monster hit on their hands. 88%
to the use of Aha’s ‘Take On Me’ in Pitbull’s latest, it’s hard to disagree with them. Christina gives the track a minor boost, but Pitbull’s conveyorbelt naffpop just keeps on coming. 37%
Misha B - ‘Here’s To Everything (Ooh La La)’*: Misha continues to MAY 5 prove herself as a criminally under-rated artist with her third suc- Dido - ‘End Of Night’: Dido’s new cessive amazing single. What. A. electro undercurrent may not have Corker. 90% been apparent in last single ‘No Freedom’, but it’s present and corDisclosure ft Eliza Doolittle - ‘You Pitbull ft Christina Aguilera - ‘Feel rect in ‘End Of Night’ - a brilliantly & Me’: Eliza places herself back This Moment’: Sample purists are underplayed don’t-darken-myon the pop radar with this nifty annoying, yes, but when it comes door kiss-off to a former lover. 75% hook-up with the music world’s
THE VOICE UK
Troubled talent show returns with with more of what made the good parts good in 2012 [Page 44]
pass 3 minutes. 57% Gabrielle Aplin - ‘Panic Cord’*: Gaplin delivers another sweet, quiet tune with this latest cut from her upcoming English Rain LP. Would have sounded nice on an episode of Brothers & Sisters. 70%
Laura Mvula - ‘That’s Alright’: Mvula continues to impress with this irresistable, tribal-esque latest single. The “Who made you the centre of the universe?” refrain lifts ‘That’s Alright’ a notch higher than Gamu - ‘Shake The Room’: The your usual ‘adult’-pop fare. 80% one who made malaria survivor Cheryl Cole suddenly so unpopular Little Mix ft Missy Elliot - ‘How Ya on The X Factor 2010 finally deliv- Doin’?’: Well it’s not ‘Love Drunk’ ers some tuneage - and it’s not half or ‘Madhouse’, but ‘How Ya Doin’?’ bad. It doesn’t quite do enough to still maintains Little Mix’s impreshave the makings of a huge hit, but sive strike rate of brilliant singles. there are certainly worse ways to This radio edit, complete with an
Danny O’Donoghue’s muse has everyone from Snow Patrol to Sia lending a hand on her debut LP [Page 42]
unlikely verse from Missy Elliot, gets better with every listen. 88% MAY 12 Demi Lovato - ‘Heart Attack’*: Demi wisely persues the squiggly electropop avenue that made the highlights from her last album (‘Unbroken’, ‘Hold Up’) so brilliant, and this first cut from LP #4 is a brilliantly structured and powerfully performed masterstroke that MUST give her her first real UK hit. 95%
REVIEWS: SINGLES Hurts - ‘Blind’: The reaction to the duo’s second LP Exile may be less universally ecstatic than their debut, but ‘Blind’ is among its poppiest cuts. Production may take priority over lyrical originality, but the result is a soaring chorus that gets better with every spin. 84% Jessie Ware - ‘Imagine It Was Us’: Critics’ darling Jessie goes a bit oldschool disco-funk with this lead cut from album Devotion’s deluxe re-release, and it’s yet another ace for her remarkable repertoire. 89%
Texas - ‘The Conversation’: The band introduce their first studio album in eight years with this title track - smooth and relatively understated, it’s great to hear Sharleen Spiteri’s voice again - but this is hardly up there with the group’s finest. 64%
Wretch 32 ft Shakka - ‘Blackout’: Wretch takes a step back from the failproof commercial dance sounds of ‘Traktor’ and ‘Unorthodox’ with this surprisingly more considered effort. Shakka’s “Let there be no StooShe - ‘Slip’: Forgetting ‘Wa- light” motif gives it its hook, and terfalls’ ever happened, ‘Slip’ gets Wretch fills in the gaps with cleverStooShe back on track with some ly constructed verses. 77% brilliant vocal performances and production that perfectly realigns MAY 19 the band’s sound with ‘Love Me’ and ‘Black Heart’. 82% Afrojack ft Chris Brown - ‘As Your Friend’: At times club-pop by numTich - ‘Dumb’: Tich is a slightly bers, at others like the soundtrack warmer Cher Lloyd on her first big to a Sonic The Hedgehog game, single, and it’s a right treat - spunky Afrojack goes for all-out bonkers vocals, a properly catchy chorus with his latest project. It treads the and frill-free pop production... a line between brilliant and terrible nice Spring corker. 90% very precariously. 70%
Naughty Boy ft Sam Smith - ‘La La La’: Emeli Sande’s producer-in-chief scores another home run with his latest single as an artist in his own right. Sam Smith’s vocals add an extra touch of class to this already super-sophisticated offering. 85% Sub Focus ft Alex Clare - ‘Endorphins’: The slow-building chorus is a huge asset to this inevitable summer anthem, and Clare’s brilliant tone is a surprisingly fit match for the fast-moving club beat. 78% MAY 26 Bastille - ‘Laura Palmer’: The next single from arguably the year’s best album so far, ‘Laura Palmer’ is a euphoric hands-in-the-air stroke of genius, helmed by a chorus that settles for nothing less than top volume. 92% Leanne Mitchell - ‘If I Knew Then’: The Voice UK’s first winner finally attempts to silence her critics with this first proper single. Does it have No1 Smash written all over it? Not in the slightest. But it’s still a beautifully sung ballad that deserves more attention than it will inevitably receive. 69% All dates are subject to change.
WILL.I.AM - #WILLPOWER will.i.am is such a bizarre artist to come to grips with. His credentials are off the scale, he’s responsible for some of the most successful tunes of a generation, he’s hard not to love on The Voice UK... and yet his music of late never really feels that good.
lab ‘Scream And Shout’ first premiered. The critical reaction was overwhelmingly negative. How dare will.i.am give one of the most iconic popstars of all time such a crap tune?! And yet, as the weeks passed and the airplay came thick and fast soldiered on, the twisted appeal of the song became clearer and clearer... it became a great thing when it came on in a club, and Brit’s faux-English verses became oddly entrancing.
(hashtag in the title? Purrrr-lease), but it’s clearly a labour of love by a man who knows his way around a studio. Nicole Scherzinger hookup ‘Far Away From Home’ is more than decent, and finale ‘Ghetto Ghetto’ carries more emotional/ social/political weight than the rest of the set combined.
It’s freakin’ LONG though, and the clubbier tunes wear thin very, very quickly. But hey, will.i.am clearly Actually, it’s crap. A lot of his knows what he’s doing - #willpowstuff from this #willpower cam- ‘Oddly entrancing’ is actually a er may be insufferable to many, paign is just plain crap. But it’s fitting way of summing up #will- but it deserves a little respect such a bizarre, head-scratching power in general It’s nowhere for A) the hours that have clearly breed of crap. For example, go near as boundary-pushing as its gone into it, and for B) dumping back to when Britney Spears col- artist perhaps likes to think it is ‘THE’ from the tracklisting. 62%
BO BRUCE BEFORE I SLEEP One of the more prolific contestants from The Voice UK’s maiden voyage, the possibility of Bo Bruce landing a major record deal once the show ended was never minute. Fortunately, her first major label LP is quietly, gently brilliant. Before I Sleep comes with an impressive list of co-writers and producers; from members of Snow Patrol, Zero 7 and Athlete to her former mentor Danny O’Donoghue and serial hitmakers Sia and
Greg Kurstin; arguably two of the wisely let her affecting vocals take finest pop producers of the cur- centre stage - and they are n’half rent climate. moving on numerous occasions. Those who fell in love with her fragile, emotionally-stained tone on the BBC talent show will not be disappointed - lead single ‘Save Me’ is just exquisite, and O’Donoghue co-write ‘Alive’ is a great example of the endearing adult altpop that populates most of the tracklisting.
The record’s only real downside is its running time. Clocking in at just under an hour, its 14 tracks are mostly great on their own, but blur into one on a continuous listen. With this particular breed of Radio 2-friendly tuneage, perhaps a shorter, more concise package would have been a better option. Generally, however, this is a fanBut it’s the subtler, sparsely-pro- tastic debut - and proof that, as duced tracks like closer ‘How We’re arrogant as The Voice UK can ofMade’ that hit home the most. ten seem, it is actually capable of In reigning back on the sweeping churning out some cracking talinstrumentation, Bo’s producers ent. 82%
RUDIMENTAL - HOME After three showstopping singles, Rudimental finally unveil their debut LP - and they’ve got more strings to their bow than expected. ‘Not Giving In’, that huge summer anthem from 2012, is obviously among the best tracks on the set, but beyond the smash hits there’s so much more fun to be had. Emeli Sande makes two appearances (of
Fresh from a last-minute appearance on The Big Reunion, Blue have decided to grace the UK with their big comeback album - and, surprisingly, it’s only their fourth overall. Having already been tested out in mainland Europe, Roulette comes with more up-to-date-sounding pop than you might expect from a decade-old boyband making a return. Particularly at the start of the set there are a fair few well-con-
course she does) and is swell on both, particularly the rousing closer ‘Free’, and last year’s standout The Voice UK contestant Becky Hill (remember her?) makes an impressive appearance on the awesome ‘Powerless’.
selves. Spanning house, garage, drum and bass and a little R’n’B, they prove themselves to be remarkably talented hitmakers on this bulging debut album. 84%
Angel Haze, Alex Clare and trendy upstart MNEK may all also make great cameos, but of course the lion’s share of the credit must go to Rudimental them-
structed tunes that sound as “relevant” in their own way as anything else currently on offer in 2013. Lead single ‘Hurt Lovers’, for example, manages to marry the classic Blue Do Ballads sound from ten years ago with something that would sound plausible on the radio today.
‘Heart On My Sleeve’.
Sadly the record does stumble on more than one occasion; the odd track perhaps trying a bit too hard to be a club banger and falling a bit short (‘Ayo’, ‘We’ve Got Tonight’, ‘Paradise’). Instead the boys are at their best when they just bring upThe boys’ voices are on great form to-date the sound they’re known too - obviously Lee Ryan has long and loved for. 68% been established as the band’s most powerful vocalist, but his bandmates sound like they’ve come a long way since the days of yore as well. Duncan James, for one, sounds absolutely superb on
BLUE - ROULETTE
THE VOICE UK SERIES 2 - BLIND AUDITIONS The fact that The Voice UK’s second series started with relatively low ratings gives a pretty good indicator of how successful its first run was as a whole. Initially taking the nation by storm, it provided a much gentler, morally assured alternative to The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent and served up some genuinely funny banter between its four panelists. But once the spinning chairs had been done away with and the show progressed into its later stages, it
soon sank in a pool of its own arrogance; so wrapped up in smug talk about being superior to other shows that it forgot to A) be good, or B) find many artists with any commercial viability whatsoever.
stage. Lest we forget, it’s these episodes that gave the show its phenomenal start in 2012, and there’s a good reason for that. There’s something remarkably tense and dramatic about something as simple as whether or not a popstar But a two-series minimum was will press a button while someone promised and so here it is again. belts out Their Own Unique Spin And much as it’s easy to go into it on a cover; and the feelings of rage irritated in advance by its blatant and injustice that come whenever emphasis on sob stories or the way someone amazing fails to progress Jessie J says everything like it’s a and someone (comparatively) crap question, it’s also hard not to get gets through are far better than the into it - at least at this Blind Audition feelings of outright boredom that
will almost inevitably come with the upcoming live shows. Even these initial audition eps are flawed, though. They’re long. So. Bloody. Long. Their billion-hour run-time doesn’t exactly fly by either, and a simple 60-minute package would be far preferable to the 75-90-minute epics we have to sit through on a weekly basis. There’s also a suspiciously large focus on people with previous successes. It’s all well and good when
someone unfairly tanks and wants a second chance at the big time (I was gutted when Hayley Evetts was knocked out of The X Factor, for example... you know, Hayley Evetts?), but when every other contestant seems to be someone who was dropped before they released their debut album/was nominated for 83 MOBOs/sang on a Meat Loaf classic/has been in every single West End show/got on stage with Michael Buble/was a backing singer for everybody ever, you have to wonder how many completely
inexperienced wannabes with no taste of success whatsoever are being pushed to the sidelines. Or if it’s just that not enough of them turned up in the first place. But anyway, I suspect that slating The Voice will become far easier in the coming weeks, so for now it’s best to just appreciate it for what it is - an overall entertaining Saturday night TV show with enough will.i.am one-liners to compensate for its shortcomings. 78%
REVIEWS: TV It was who we all thought it was, right? All that time, all the buildup, all that expectation that the writer would pull a last minute 360 on us and surprise us with a culprit we weren’t expecting... and we were right all along. And yet, the whodunnit part of Broadchurch, ITV’s huge murder mystery hit, didn’t actually turn out to be the most important part after all. It was much more about the how and the why, and all the emotional fallout that came with it. The series was so well crafted from the top down: The scripts were cracking, the direction and production were pitched perfectly, and the performances will surely net their fair share of awards in due course. Olivia Coleman’s performance in the finale alone was simply world class.
You could make a convincing point that an 8-episode run was too lengthy, but despite the frustration that came with the long wait for answers, no instalment felt like filler. The fifth, for example - in which David Bradley’s Jack Marshall became the target of a media smear campaign - was arguably among the best. News that the show will return for a second series next year has divided opinion thus far but, after seeing what creator/writer Chris Chibnall did with this first batch, it’s easy to be optimistic and hope he has another ace up his sleeve. 94% Broadchurch is released on DVD on May 20.
Sir Ian McKellan and Derek Jacobi playing a bickering old couple in a new sitcom? Sounds like unmissable viewing. And yet Vicious, which has just started its run on ITV, feels a little like a disappointment. To its credit, it’s not as atrocious as many of its earliest reviews have painted it to be. Gary Janetti’s script, which keeeps the action restricted to the living room of the men’s dark but grandly decorated flat, does have the occasionally hilarious one-liner to offer up, and there are a handful of brilliant
performance is hammed-up to the max as if he were in a Christmas panto, but the script is only that flamboyant in patches. Its sense of humour flits between 70s-style camp comedy to drier, edgier punchlines; and the result is a patchy show that’s only really performances on offer: McKellan entertaining on a part-time basis. is unsurprisingly a treat, and the dry wit of Frances De La Tour’s There’s too much promise in the fag hag Violet is missed whenever cast and concept to give up after she’s quiet for too long. one episode, but Vicious is going to have to improve over its subBut Vicious still feels like a bit of a sequent episodes if it’s going to let-down, and it’s probably down keep its impressive launch ratings to the muddled tone. Jacobi’s afloat. 51%
s e o r e H g n u s n U Pop's
VANESSA THE SATS
I’ve never been one to argue that the best popstars are the best singers, but it’s still a truth universally acknowledged that the most able vocalist of a pop band isn’t necessarily the most popular. Was Nadine Coyle the most notorious Girl Aloud? Of course not. Is Liam Payne the most adored member of One Direction? Not quite. And so it is with The Saturdays that Vanessa White isn’t quite as well known as her bandmates. For a start, her personal life isn’t nearly as tabloid-baiting as that of her bandmates. Mollie, who’s been linked to Prince bloody Harry, never struggles for column inches, and since having babies/getting married, Una and Rochelle have been all over the media as well; their relationships with JLS stars and rugby players not exactly hurting them. And it feels like the are more
days when Frankie is in the papers drink you under a table. And she’s and magazines than days when the one who could just maybe she isn’t. come up with the most interesting solo stuff when the band’s days toAnd fair enough, pop fans need gether come to an end. more than a big voice to rally behind someone. But if there’s one Whack on ‘Up’. ‘Missing You’. ‘Isthing that recent reality series sues’. ‘My Heart Takes Over’. ‘Ego’. Chasing The Saturdays achieved, That voice sailing over everyone it’s revealing Vanessa’s personal- else’s without nearly as much need ity to be as likeable as her band- for studio effects is Vanessa’s. mates’, if not more so. She’s the Every band, especially The Sats, one you’d want to be on a night out needs one of her; and it’s a shame with. She’s the one who’d probably she isn’t more appreciated.
POP QUIZ The prize? Absolutely nothing. The point? There isn’t really one. The fun value? Average at best. ALAS. Test your pop geekdom with the below questions, and keep an eye out for the answers over the page. Or on Google. 1. In the year that Little Boots won the BBC Sound Of poll, who won the Critics’ Choice prize at the Brits? 2. Who came second on Britain’s Got Talent 2012? 3. In what year did Brian McFadden leave Westlife?
singles from last year’s Red album, what was Taylor Swift’s biggest UK 13. Name Marcus Collins’ second hit besides ‘Love Story’? single. 7. In what year did CD:UK end?
14. As Diana Vickers prepares to release her second album, can you remember how many singles she released from her first?
4. Shapeshifters scored a huge hit in 2004 with ‘Lola’s Theme’. What 8. On which talent was their next single called? show did The Cheeky Girls find fame? 15. Which Pop Idol finalist had 5. On what date did Girls Aloud moderate success at Eurovision in perform their final gig? 9. Which televised singing com- the early 00s? petition has Craig Revel Horwood 6. Before the hugely successful been a judge on?
in the next issue
10. From which film’s soundtrack was Kate Winslet’s Top 10 single taken? 11. What was the name of JLS’ second studio album? 12. In which band did Max George and Andy Brown star in together before hitting the big time with The Wanted and Lawson?
on sharon osbourne, poisonous neutrons, fictional ex-members and more
out june 4 49
QUIZ ANSWERS 1. Florence + The Machine 2. Jonathan & Charlotte 3. 2004 4. ‘Back To Basics’ 5. March 20 2013 6. ‘You Belong With Me’ 7. 2006 8. Popstars: The Rivals 9. Comic Relief Does Fame Academy 10. Christmas Carol: The Movie 11. Outta This World 12. Avenue 13. ‘Mercy’ 14. Two (‘My Wicked Heart’ was not on it) 15. Jessica Garlick