Not everyone is in the mood to celebrate Valentine's Day. Here are some dance songs to remind you why..
1. Aqua - "Like A Robot"
While Aqua's second single off their upcoming new album, Megalomania, is technically "Playmate to Jesus", there's just something about "Like A Robot" that draws us in. Fans of Aqua will note the mature content of the track, the hook of the track resting firmly on the question "So why do you still f*** me like a robot?" Yes, Lene is explicit in her delivery of this quintessential question that plagues many relationships. Musically, the track in on par with the mainstream, most familiarly sounding like Britney's "Up N' Down" bonus track from Femme Fatale. Nothing wrong with this, as "Up N' Down" is a sizzling club track, and given the right remix, "Like A Robot" will tear dance floors up. Mature content makes Aqua relavent for 2011, no matter how much fun their return single "How R U Doin'" was.
2. Robyn - "Call Your Girlfriend"
Anyone who is a Robyn fan has heard this song. The emotion and caring in her voice really carries through on "Call Your Girlfriend". She wants him to dump his girlfriend in favor of herself as their relationship has blossomed while his existing one has withered. And Robyn cares, she sympathizes, and she would want her man to let her down the same way. She wants him to be honest and up front without damaging her self-esteem and letting her know it will be better over time, and she does it all on top of a captivating electro-pop production that marks every burst of emotion with a splash of sound. The way Teddybears' bandmate Klas Ahlund drags her voice into the music itself, diminishing it from her own vocals into an electronic instrument of its' own, is worth the price of admission alone. Early stages of a mix by Kaskade can be found by those with the time for Easter eggs, but until a full mix is posted we'll just say that it sounds promising.
3. Sariah - "All About Sex"
Reigning Hearts Music
Do you ever get a song stuck in your head and it just keeps playing "over and over?" Boston born Sariah broke out last year with "Deep N Luv," a song about clubbing and doing body shots with a hot Tony Moran & Warren Rigg mix that garnered success. "All About Sex" is the logical follow-up, in which Sariah questions the motives of her current lover. I heard this for the first time in London nearly a year ago as a hands-in-the-air Almighty remix and the "over and over" hook has been in my head ever since. The original version has a more poppy feel with glitchy noises and electro beats serving as a background for the catchy melody. In addition to the aforementioned Almighty remix, the Digital Dog and STFU remixes are quite strong as well. While playing strip poker is hardly the most unique idea, it fits perfectly for her video debut with her "queen of hearts" persona. Although the video has the normal sexual overtones you would expect, Sariah's playfulness gives it a quirky tongue-in-cheek feel (love the use of the cane) which shows that she is in on the joke as well.
4. Rye Rye ft Robyn - "Never Will Be Mine (Kat Krazy Remix)"
MIA-protege Rye Rye and Swedish electropop goddess Robyn both open for Katy Perry on her current US tour so it seemed only natural that the two should collaborate on a song. Based on the hauntingly beautiful chorus of Robyn's "Be Mine," the new track features snappy yet heartfelt verses rapped by a very feisty Rye Rye. Since the original version is downtempo hip hop, I assumed there wouldn't be a club remix. The original "Be Mine" was at one of those difficult to remix tempos. Roger Sanchez attempted a club remix, bless his heart, but the vocal time-stetching just never worked. I am not sure if Robyn resang her vocals but the new remix by Kat Krazy fits them perfectly. Blending a pretty mid-90s circuit sound (think Jimmy Gomez or Brothers in Rhythm crossed with early Above and Beyond) with tasteful siren accents, the remix is modern and classic at the same time. The video is quite gorgeous as well with its edgy panoramic effects. While I love Rye Rye's two tone hair, no one can rock a cheongsam Like Robyn can.
5. Clare Maguire - "The Shield and the Sword"
We have a heavy hitter for you today. Sporting a send-off track with grand orchestra sweeps and a rolling drum rhythm, Clare Maguire pulls the heartstrings with "The Shield and the Sword". Riding on the wave of hugely successful female singers like Florence + The Machine and Adele, Clare Maguire's deep smoky vocals and organic musicality are a welcome breath of fresh air. The comparison to Adele is strong, as well, and pointed out by Maguire in the video. Of course, not only does the cinematic video draw obvious comparisons to "Rolling in the Deep", but Maguire also mimics Katy Perry and Lady Gaga wonderfully. Perhaps that bigger than life approach to pop music appeals to electronic producers, because "Shield and the Sword" has been reimagined in a plethora of ways. From Almighty's energetic house production to the lo-fi Amateur Best mix, then on to the more adventurous stylings of Teenage Fantasy and LoadStar, if you've never heard of Clare Maguire, now is the time to sit up and take notice.
6. Beth Ditto - "I Wrote The Book"
Beth Ditto seems intent on reviving the 90's alone. With a pure diva house sound (can't you imagine her popping out of nowhere to seduce with this song out at a big club somewhere?) and a video straight out of Madonna's playbook, Beth lays a 1-2 punch with "I Wrote The Book". Produced by Simian Mobile Disco, the track shows a huge chasm between her work with The Gossip and this smoother, sleeker, more seductive electronica sound. Her vocals alone show a difference as with The Gossip, it was about belting at the top of her lungs to some truly infectious pop rock versus her understated but still as talented performance here. "I Wrote The Book" is a track dedicated to the pitfalls and high marks of relationships. Revenge, regret, secrets, crying, forgiveness, she's done it all. Remember, Ditto wrote every trick in the book, so don't test her.
7. Neon Hitch - "Get Over U"
Written by Sia and produced by Benny Blanco (so that's a hell of a pedigree right there), this a kiss off anthem that feels completely mournful and yet hands-in-the-air triumphant at the same time, which is a strenuous balancing act. I love the shuffly drum accents at the end of the rhythm loop, and the breakdown-and-bridge on this song is MASSIVE. It pumps a lot of energy, but never feels frenetic or desperate. And Hitch's vocals can veer from little-girl breathy to pop coo in a heartbeat (imagine Christina Amphlett's little sister). The kick drum is urgent, but never overwhelming, and when the synth crashes happen, they're like something ethereal breaking through. More, please...
You might already be familiar with the voice of Russian born singer/songwriter Polina - from her work with Todd Terry ("What We Gonna Go" as Lina Day), Scumfrog ("Escape") and Marc Alston ("Game of Love.") However, don't confuse her with the Polina who sang on AStudio's hit "SoS." "Shotguns" was originally recorded for an indie solo album and has now been picked up by hedKandi for global release. The edgy, agressive lyrics are not what you would expect from the typically sexy loved-up hedKandi release - but the groovy house production definitely fits the hk groove. Remixes by Mark Alston, Trevor Lovey and the Scumfrog are all quite strong and will fit in the set of any house dj. We look forward to hearing more Polina.
You couldn't get more buzz on a debut male electropop artist if you tried. Last year's 3 Little Words EP started people talking about Frankmusik, a 23-year-old college drop out who writes, produces and performs his own form of electronic dance music. Frame of reference - imagine the guy that Robyn and Lady Gaga were fighting over decided to do his own album. The first official single "Better Off As Two" is a breakup song that is equal parts vintage New Order and Pet Shop Boys with a 2008 pop edge. Yes, it's that brilliant and you will want to purchase his album Complete Me.
Big In Ibiza Records
A dance cover of an 80s pop song - sounds almost trite at this point, yet there is something to be said for a good quality update of a classic. The catalogs of Madonna, Prince, Cyndi Lauper, and Michael Jackson have all been pillaged by dance covers, so it was only a matter of time that someone would take on Tina Turner. Producer Brazen (aka Fonzerelli, Yer Man, etc) is probably best known for his Basshunter remixes. For this track, he found a vocalist, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert, who would do it justice by not imitating Tina Turner but modernizing the vocal stylings to fit a 00's europop context - powerful and clean yet not overdone or overprocessed.