While the Swedes have been enjoying the europop sounds of September since 2003, most of us were introduced to them with the song "Satellites" in 2005. It was however the re-release of "Cry For You" with the Dave Ramone remix in 2007 that brought them their biggest success reaching top 5 in the UK and top 30 in the US (Billboard Pop). Dave Ramone was wisely re-enlisted for "Until I Die" because it's not an instant record. It takes a few listens to and realize that it is one of the most intelligently written dance songs of the year. Though some might question the Capella-styled production style, it adds to the subtle brilliance. "Until I Die" is a bit darker than you would expect from europop but that is what makes it all the more special.
Sweden is known for spawning some of the best dance pop music. In that category is pop tart Gathania - fresh from a finalist spot on the Swedish Pop Idol she is set to release her sugary sweet debut single "Blame It On You" on Hard2Beat/MOS. Pop can be a wonderful thing and a good hands in the air girl twirl is a refreshing change from the credible underground electronica that normally gets all the press. If Stock, Aiken and Waterman teamed up with Motiv8 to reboot the Hit Factory, "Blame It On You" could easily be the first release off the assembly line. Remixes by Bimbo Jones, Wideboys, DeGrees and Sidechains make the song club friendly for the various electro, jumpup and nudisco crowds.
A fun song for a good cause, the UK pop tarts The Saturdays covered the Depeche Mode classic as a benefit for Comic Relief. The campy tarts don pin-up looks for a video that is as colorful and bouncy as the energetic Wideboys remix.
Chicago based dj/producer Dani Deahl knocked it out of the park with this fidgety/electro house jam. Its rare that you see the term fidget and not have it followed by Switch or Sinden but that gives you an idea of the sound of this prime time club ready tune. The rap is provided by Whiskey Pete and its quite cool to see a record credited to "female producer featuring male singer" vs the opposite which seems to be the standard. You might already Dani from her writing in Urb, BPM and BigShot. Making the jump from journalism to producing has been the career path for other electronic producers - Dave Dresden, Francis Preve, and Joe Bermudez come to mind - not bad company to be in.
Fedde Le Grand is one of those rare few who can straddle both the commercial and underground worlds. "Put Your Hands Up For Detroit" and his remixes of Ida Corr's "Let Me Think About It" and Camille Jones' "The Creeps" were massive. Underground electroheads buzzed about "Amplifier" and "Get This Feeling." "Scared of Me" launches him back squarely into the pop world with pumping beats, a catchy chorus and a cheeky video. Mitch Crown provides the vocals sounding like a soulful Justin Timberlake (if you dig his voice, check out the tracks he did with Lucien Foort and René Amesz.) The video is a frantic takeoff a of a Japanese gameshow with a melange of musclemen, breasty women, astronauts, Frankensteins and erm.. hot dog eaters competing.
Nashville is a songwriter's town and country music is defintiely based on great songs. So it's no surprise when a country song finds its way onto pop radio or remixed for dancefloors. Artists like Leann Rimes, Shania Twain and Wynonna Judd often get remixed for club consumption with great results. Martina McBride steps onto the dancefloor with this uplifting inspirational song remixed by Nashville's own Lenny Bertoldo (aka Lenny B.) Lenny's take straddles that line between pop and club perfectly - upping the BPM and adding a touch of electro while keeping the integrity of song in place. This is what happens when a real producer does a remix as opposed to a DJ who throws an acappella over beats.
"Heartbreak Make Me A Dancer" is like a Reese's peanut butter cup - two great tastes that taste great together. The results of pairing up the classy disco house production of the Freemasons with the deliciously dramatic pop vocals of Sophie Ellis Bextor is nearly perfection. Calling to the DJ to "give me the answer," the song is about the joy of dancing as a release after the loss of love. What a great message for us all in these dour times? Stay away from the negative activities that you might resort to when things are looking down and instead get to your local club and dance your heart out. How 2009!
Proving that you don't need a big budget for an incredible video, this DIY (do it yourself) video combines cardboard, glue and imagination for the first truly visionary clip of 2009. It certainly helps that the track is kind of amazing itself, a bleepy electro number that wears it pop influences on its sleeve. Is that an 80s sample in there? That wouldn't be a big surprise as Rex the Dog is the current pseudonym for JX who had a massive club/pop smash in the 90s with the sample-based "Son of a Gun." Since we jammed on his remix of Robyn's "Who's That Girl" last year, we anxiously await the release of the single "Bubblicious" coming February 23rd.
Wow, there hasn't been a mash-up this massive since "Toca's Miracle!" Combine the chorus of Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic" with the music from Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" and Snap's "The Power," then toss in a "little bit of this and a little bit of that" with a rap down memory lane by underground MC Bad Lay-dee and you got the recipe for this insanely catchy composition. The quality of this track is not a suprise considering Timmy's past work with Soul Central ("Strings of Life (Stronger On My Own)") and Barbara Tucker ("Dutty Funk.")
40. Lady Gaga
This maybe the best for last, but after "Just Dance," "Pokerface," "Love Game," "Eh Eh," "Paparazzi," "Bad Romance," and "Telephone," I may be a little bit burned out. Yes, I love Gaga but she is in danger of becoming as overexposed in club music as Beyonce.