All hail, queen Madge!

It’s 16 August, which can only mean one thing: Madonna’s birthday! While I might not be nearly as obsessed with her as I used to be in the 80s, I’ll always have enormous respect and admiration for the queen of pop.

 

So, to honour the day Miss Reinvention came to the world, here’s a playlist featuring her greatest classics:

Garbage @ Brixton Academy, London 08.11.15

So, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my beloved Garbage‘s debut album, Queer, they put together the 20 Years Queer Tour which I was beyond happy/honoured/lucky to attend!

20 Years Queer Tour @ Brixton Academy 2015
20 Years Queer Tour @ Brixton Academy 2015

The set list was, obviously, pretty much the whole album (the new deluxe version with loads of B-sides!) + a couple of surprises during the encore.


I still cannot believe they ditched some of the classics for said encore and, instead, played two of my all-time favourites: Automatic Systematic Habit (instaclip) and my true favourite, WHEN I GROW UP!! (of which I made a little video as well but was way too excited to get any decent footage…as well as my shitty iPhone photos.)

They’re recording a new album and I CANNOT WAIT for the next tour!!!

Garbage @ Brixton Academy 2015
Garbage @ Brixton Academy 2015

And then there was Nina

Video overload. For a reason beyond great.

I’ve declared my love for Sweden and its culture, landscape and people many times on this blog. Mostly for the music.

Yesterday I mentioned Garbage being one of my all time favourite bands and today I’ll reveal another which is often fairly underrated and misunderstood: The Cardigans!

Apparently they’re playing a couple of gigs in the coming weeks which hopefully means they’re getting back to work as a band but, while that doesn’t happen and nor does A Camp (their website doesn’t exist anymore and it looks like neither does their FB page. That’s sad.), the loveliest Nina Persson has recently announced her upcoming solo release (out 29.01.2014 on Universal) and you can pre-order a signed copy:

here (CD)

here (CD)

here (vinyl)

AND here (vinyl)

Check it out!

 

 

Awesomeness personified

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Garbage is one of my favourite bands of all time. They don’t sound like anyone else, their music is incredible, it makes me feel happy and powerful and just good. It does transport me back to the 90s too, I’m sure that also counts!

Not just that but each band member is so unique and talented and just good, normal people. Not boring normal, not sweater-wearing normal, not conservative-normal. Just NOT FULL OF SHIT.

You know those questions people like to ask, especially at job interviews “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, “what’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?” and shit as such that you know the answer to but can never think of on the spot when asked? There is one that I could see myself struggling over if it weren’t for people such as Shirley Manson. “Who’s someone you admire?”

Shirley Manson, John Cusack. (there’s actually someone else but that one I did forget. These two, never!)

She’s such an amazing performer and songwriter and she just seems so down to earth and her own person, outspoken and forward-thinking. She’s so much like I wish most people would be.

Here’s a snippet of her interview for The Hunger magazine where you can see for yourself what I’m on about.

Music business: artist comeback case study

How do you promote the new album from an artist who went M.I.A for about a decade?

Take the most famous song from their heyday and record it as a duet with one of today’s cool, hip singers, add an extra beat or so and use it as a single.

That’s when you get Patricia Marx feat Seu Jorge with “Espelhos d’Água”, which, at the time of its original solo release (circa 1998), climbed the charts the fastest way you can take in Brazil: featuring it in a soap opera (preferably but not essentially, at prime time).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not diminishing her work…especially that song, I used to LOVE it!!

I am simply trying to give an example of music marketing + A&R + artist management.

Happy 20th birthday to the one and only:

carson and pam  “the beautiful, Backstreet Boys” (please try and imagine Pam Anderson introducing them at the 1999 VMAs as YouTube and Google are not cooperating)

And to celebrate the career anniversary of the year, nothing more appropriate than looking back…

bsb 93

Who would have thought that these boys:

Would turn into these boys:

Rehab stints, deaths, kids, heart surgerylawsuits, Broadway, solo albums, management issues, member quitting (and coming back!, fortunately), ever-changing chart cycles. Surprisingly – and rather sweetly -, no divorces.

bsb mill

These boys have been through so much. There’s no other boy band in the worldwho have endured such long life in a world of one hit wonders and such short pop act life span. They survived the internet boom that changed the music industry as we knew it and changed labels’ agendas, which cut short careers of so many pop acts that were suddenly outdated.

bsb 4

I have to admit, I did not like one bit their sound change in order to stay current and commercial. But the Max Martin + Denniz PoP + 5 beautiful voices coming from such lovely, somewhat normal (that’s a relative concept) guys formula could not go wrong. Especially having appeared in the 90s! When music scenes and genres were a lot more distinct – in every sense: geographically, fashion-wise, attitude-wise*.

And it doesn’t matter how many “This is (NOT) Us” they release, how much they change their music and how many incredibly  mercenary tricks they pull (Cruise, VIP passes, FAN CELEBRATION STREAMING PASS!!!!, etc) totally killing their credibility with the “old” (sensible) fans. Part of me will ALWAYS be 13 and ALWAYS feel that warmth everytime All I Have to Give starts. As Long As You Love Me, Anywhere for You, Quit Playing Games (in English OR Italian!), I Want It That Way, More Than That…even some of the latest songs! start playing.

bsb 20

You’ve made me cry, you’ve made me smile, you’ve made me bake a cake for Brian’s birthday back in the days, you’ve made me endure hours outside stadiums, you’ve made me have my walls covered in posters.

For all the times you made me happy. For all the love. For all the melodies. For all the warmth in my heart.

Happy 20th, boys.

*All of these are arguably still distinct but it seems to be a lot more forced upon people – especially artists, who then influence their fans – than it used to be.

Swede finds

http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk

I’m sorry, I can’t take you seriously. Especially with this look on your face.

I admit, I did once; a long time ago when you tried to go solo and had that tune “So Help Me Girl” featured in a Brazilian soap opera. When was that? 97, 98?

Anyway, why don’t we change countries for better options for the moment? (to all the haters out there, I LOVE brit music! The extensive Beatles-Spice-Girls-Mumford-Clapton-Straits-Stones-Robbie-Adele-etc good part of it.)

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  Today’s music is “ArtistS of the Day” rather than just a song. Both hailing from this little country in size but pretty gigantic in culture and good looking people.

(from the series “one of the many reasons I love Spotify”)

One I just clicked on out of curiosity upon seeing this hot guy I picked up in Stockholm last year popping up on my Spotify Social as it’s been showing me he’s been listening to this for a couple of weeks now. And he introduced me to some good English-sung Swedish music before I went on my walk of shame which actually required a bus ride considering I was far and map/internet-less and also Swedish Kroner-less, but thankfully the guys up there are clever enough to accept Visa at bus stops’ ticket machines!

Going back to the music…yes, Deportees. Class! So lovely I’ve been listening to them for about 2 hours now and even decided not to go to the gym so I could carry on (let’s pretend Spotify is not an app and we’re all good, yeah?).

Too bad spotify UK doesn’t have all their albums available. Some of the tunes are sooo Swede!! Kind of 90s innocent pop with a hint of Mike & the Mechanics’ Over My Shoulder (sorry, did I just put you off listening to it? No, please, give it a go!).

Now, another find that said hot Swede introduced me to on that extremely bright June afternoon was: Tingsek. It was instant love.

Words can seriously not describe. The voice, the tunes, the words, the summery melodies…aahhh just listen, go on.

And he’s finally playing in London! Opening for Allen Stone at Cargo later in November…and I just purchased a ticket! So yeah, I think the bitchiness of the morning has been taken over by all this lovely Swedishness.

Sony Music Sweden, can you hire me for an English-speaking project next summer? Or Portuguese! I hear Michel Teló is all over European radio stations and nightclubs (I STILL don’t know why and don’t care, I’ll work on it if needed!).