Cascada achieved a top 40 pop hit with their/her third cd (pronoun usage is dependent on whether you see Cascada as a group or just the singer Natalie Horler.) Known for their uptempo europop singles clocking in at over 140 BPM like "Everytime We Touch" and "What Hurts the Most," Cascada has gone a completely different route with "Evacuate the Dancefloor." With a Lady Gaga-like production style and a guest rap from German rapper Carlprit, the song is instantly catchy and will no doubt be embraced by lovers of commercial dance music. Remixes by the Wideboys, Cahill, Rob Mayth, Frisco and Ultrabeat set the tone for just about every commercial dancefloor.
Awkward pop? In this post-Gaga world, electrodance pop female artists are really going to have bring something unique to the table in order to get recognized. Partying with Lolene in Atlantic City, this British lass definitely has something going. This amazonian supermodel counterbalances her sexy looks with an eccentric sense of style, spitfire delivery of witticisms and physical sight gags. Awkward pop is how she describes her sound and it make sense. Quick edits abound as it sounds like RedOne and Timbaland coproduced a track by the offspring of Gwen Stefani and Robyn. She sings, she raps, she talks sexy and most of all she is interesting.
When we first heard "Quicksand" by La Roux, we referred to them as an electropop duo. With the release of "Bulletproof," I think its more fair to call them a synthpop duo as it sounds like a modern day Human League/Vince Clark/Flock of Seagulls track. No matter what you call them, they've created one of the most brilliant pop records of the year which debuted at #1 on the UK pop chart. The video is incredibly eye catching - almost like a modern day Swatch commercial art that was directed by Piet Mondrian. For the US, label Cherrytree has wisely enlisted Dave Aude and Morgan Page for some incredibly strong club remixes.
Ministry of Sound - US
How do you follow up an international smash like "Let Me Think About It?" This autobiographical downtempo jam is one good way to do it. Trading in the overt sexual tones of the first video for a more mature and sophisticated Bond-like theme, we can totally see the artistic differences between the Brits and the Germans. If there was ever a record made for the DJ to tell a story with, this is one (and the Wideboys did an insane remix). Ida is not a one-hit wonder as listeners to her cd One can attest.
Ultra / Ego
In the tradition of Uncanny Alliance, Fernando, and Alan T, here comes the 2009 version of the "fierce bitch" track. Produced by Ricardo Johnson (aka Ricky Blaze who is featured on the Major Lazer track "Keep It Goin' Louder,") Miss Chelley works her rap not caring about those who hate on her. She's got all ears on her as "I Took the Night" broke on West Coast and spreadacross the US.
16. Chaka Khan & Mary J Blige - "Disrespectful" (Riffs & Rays Mix)
"Disrespectful" was originally released in 2007 with a nice set of club remixes. The duet of Chaka Khan and Mary J Blige was a diva lover's dream come true. The song seems to resurface from time to time and is often heard in sets from underground house DJs. Early this year, this phenomenal Riffs & Rays mix popped up from the UK and brought new life to the song. A club hit.. all over again.
Andreas Kleerup is probably best known for his magical collaboration with Robyn "With Every Heartbeat." The international hit is a meloncholic masterpiece with warm, emotional synths and a driving groove that is both subtle and powerful at the same time. On "Longing for Lullabies," Titiyo's angelic voice floats over the melodic keyboards to capture emotions not normally explored in electronic dance music. If you are looking for the perfect song to play at somber event, this track will definitely bring about a good cry. Major kudos to the UK label for filming a fitting video with the angelic storyline rather than resorting to the standard scantily clad female theme that permeates most electronic music videos.
The classic rave anthem from 1990, "Infinity" by Guru Josh, received new life nearly 20 years later thanks to an electro mix by Klaas. Though initially released in 2008, the remix made its way to the US and conquered dance radio. The new lyrics were correct - "relax, take your time" because a freak like me really does need infinity..
Cheryl Cole rose to fame as a member of Girls Aloud (a girlpop band assembled by the British reality show Popstars) which has achieved twenty top ten UK singles. Stepping to the forefront, she joined Simon Cowell and Dannii Minogue as a judge on X-Factor (another British reality show.) "Fight For This Love" is Cheryl's debut solo single and she's done quite well. With an insanely catchy chorus, the r&b/pop/dance production is different that the typical Girls Aloud sound which allows her to differentiate her style. Remixes by Moto Blanco, Crazy Cousins and Phunkstar are quite strong across the board but the Cahill remix stands out as a highlight of the year.
What happens when a successful production team decides to work on music for themselves? Bloodshy & Avant, known for writing and producing hits with Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Christina Milan and Madonna, teamed up with singer/songwriter Andrew Wyatt to form Miike Snow. With "Animal," the Swedish trio have constructed a near perfect indie dancepop song with the hooky refrain "I change shapes just to hide in this place but I'm still an animal." The singalong feel is reminiscent of "Yellow Submarine" with a modern vintage production style. For the clubs, Treasure Fingers toughen the track up but keep the melodies intact. Additional remixes are available from Crookers, Punks Jump Up, Fake Blood and Peter Bjorn & John.