#SongoftheWeek: Dannii Minogue – ‘Galaxy’

  • ARTIST: Dannii Minogue
  • SONG: Galaxy

SO ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

It’s been 10 years since Dannii Minogue last released a single proper – a collaboration with Jason Nevins that didn’t do much here or in Australia called ‘Touch Me Like That’. In the time since, she’s been a judge on both UK and Aussie versions of The X Factor, she’s become a mum, and she’s also branched out into fashion.

But with the music wheels set in motion again this year thanks to a series of well received live gigs – including supporting Take That on the recent Australian leg of their Wonderland tour, no less – she’s back.

It’s always a tricky thing when an artist comes back with new material after some time away, particularly one who had a sound so tied to a certain era. Having said that, quite a few of Dannii’s singles – ‘I Begin to Wonder’, ‘All I Wanna Do’ and ‘Who Do You Love Now?’ – have all held up surprisingly well.

‘Galaxy’, a collaboration with woman of the moment Sia, is a pleasant continuation of the cutting edge dance pop groove she got into on her albums ‘Girl’ and ‘Neon Nights’, whilst sounding current and fresh – and classy with it too. It’s great to have her back.

‘Galaxy’ is available to stream and download now via Shiny Disco Productions. Twitter: @DanniiMinogue

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

This is the last #SongoftheWeek blog in the present series – it will return on 5th January. Stay tuned for our special music based plans for next month – an announcement is coming tomorrow!

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#SongoftheWeek: Tom Chaplin – ‘Under a Million Lights’

  • ARTIST: Tom Chaplin
  • SONG: Under a Million Lights

SO ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

For those that like keeping count, Friday 17th November 2017 will go down as the date, and thus the point, I first mentioned the C word on this here blog this year. No, not that C word – rude. With just six weeks to go, Christmas time is advancing on us yet again, and thus the seasonal albums are appearing to vye for stocking filler status.

Most surprising of all amongst the greater spotted Ball & Boe and yet another Taylor Swift album, is a new wintery themed record from one Tom Chaplin. The former lead singer of 00s Brit soft rockers Keane (whose ‘Hopes & Fears’ was one of our albums of 2004) has, for his second solo release, bought out ‘Twelve Tales of Christmas’, a mixture of cover versions of old festive favourites – The Pretenders’ “2000 Miles” and Aled Jones’ “Walking in the Air”, anyone? – and new tracks like this glorious first single.

‘Under a Million Lights’ is one of those songs, like Sugababes’ “New Year” and East 17’s “Stay Another Day” (the latter of which, incidentally, is also featured on the album) that sounds gorgeously, heart warmingly seasonal, but not in the cliched, saccharine sense of that notion.

So if you’re already exacerbated by supermarkets playing Slade and Mariah at full tilt on repeat, pop your headphones in, grab a mulled wine and shut the world out with a far gentler way to ease in the festivities to come.

‘Under a Million Lights’ and the album ‘Twelve Tales of Christmas’ are available to stream and download now on Universal Island. Twitter: @TomChaplin

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

#SongoftheWeek: Rita Ora – ‘Anywhere’

  • ARTIST: Rita Ora
  • SONG: Anywhere

SO ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

Rita Ora has always been something of an enigma wrapped in a riddle for me. Chiefly because I can’t think of any one artist from the last 20 years who has remained so omnipresent on the charts and in the press despite still only having one album to their name (2012’s chart topping debut ORA) whilst taking forever to record and release a follow up to that debut in a series of delays that, at this rate, will make the release of Guns ‘N Roses’ infamous Chinese Democracy album seem speedy by comparison.

I have been able to take or leave (but mostly leave) the majority of her material up until very recently. Now a change is almost certainly afoot. As following ‘Lonely Together’, her collaboration with Avicii that scaled the UK top 10 earlier this year, and now with her new single ‘Anywhere’, she’s finally made some singles I actually quite like.

A collaboration with Swedish DJ Alesso, and up & coming songwriter Andrew Watt, ‘Anywhere’ is that oh-so rare beast of a pop single nowadays, that talks of the longing for escapism, exploration and adventure – with a wonderfully addictive chorus to match.

Combined with a glorious technicolor video set in what appears to be Japan, this is quite simply one of the best things to happen to pop music this autumn. Whether Rita will top it remains to be seen, but praise be where it is due.

‘Anywhere’ is available to stream and download now on Atlantic Records. Twitter: @RitaOra

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

#SongoftheWeek: Andy Brown feat. Crissie Rhodes – ‘Landslide’

  • ARTIST: Andy Brown feat. Crissie Rhodes
  • SONG: Landslide

SO ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

Bit of a landmark this. After being crowned with his first #SongoftheWeek back in August, former Lawson frontman and solo star Andy Brown is the first artist on this here blog to win the accolade twice.

Much like his new labelmate and fellow pop supergroup solo star, Una Healy, who collaborated with Sam Palladio on her debut at the start of this year, his first single proper, ‘Landslide’ came out last Friday, and is a collaboration with Crissie Rhodes, one half of new Nashville legends The Shires. 

Having such esteemed company from the audience Andy’s now courting as a solo star has worked wonders for this debut. With a sing along chorus and a sounds that evokes Lady Antebellum at their finest, ‘Landslide’ sounds like a ready made smash.

And with Radio 2 already showing him support – they’ve added it to their B-list this week – you can be sure that he’ll be a hit on the contemporary pop airwaves just as his former band managed.

‘Landslide’ is available to stream and download now via Decca Records. Twitter: @AndyBrownMusic

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

#SongoftheWeek: Melanie C – ‘Room for Love’

  • ARTIST: Melanie C
  • SONG: Room for Love

SO ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

For her 28th solo single (yes, it’s that many now for those keeping count), the artist formerly known as Sporty’s offered up one of the best cuts from her seventh studio album, ‘Version of Me’, that came out exactly a year ago this week.

Melanie C’s solo material, of all the Spice Girls, has always been famously hard to put into any one particular box – who can forget the switch in contrast of styles on the singles from her 1999 debut ‘Northern Star’? – and ‘Room for Love’ is no exception to the rule.

Atmospheric, but with a foot gently easing on the trendier sounds of the moment, the single carries with it an optimistic message of hope and finding promise in new doors opening when another one closes in its lyrics.

Best of all with this release is a touching video, with live tour footage interspersed with a compilation of her fans – and some very recognisable faces – giving their own takes on the song. Best make room for ‘Room for Love’ on your playlists, then.

‘Room for Love’ is out to stream and download now on Red Girl Records. Twitter: @MelanieCmusic 

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

#SongoftheWeek: Pet Shop Boys – ‘The Loving Kind (Monitor Mix)’

  • ARTIST: Pet Shop Boys
  • SONG: The Loving Kind (Monitor Mix)

SO, ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

I hear you loud and clearly, those that are reading the title of this week’s song and thinking ‘Hang on a minute – haven’t we been here before?’ Because you’re…well. You’re sort of right. I shall explain henceforth.

You see, Pet Shop Boys have been re-releasing their previous albums as expanded and remastered versions this past year in a series called ‘Further Listening’. Earlier this year in June, 1999’s ‘Nightlife’, 2002’s ‘Release’ and 2006’s ‘Fundamental’ all got this treatment.

Next in line for a rebirth this week are 2012’s ‘Elysium’, and perhaps most excitingly of all for me, their 2009 album ‘Yes’, a period where I was a huge fan of Neil and Chris’s. I mean, I always have been anyway, but particularly so around the time of this album. For this was the album where they worked with Brian Higgins and his team of hitmakers at Xenomania, which as a long standing fan of theirs also, was a big deal for me and still is.

Around the time that Neil and Chris were beavering away with Brian, Miranda and the team on genius tracks like ‘Love etc’, ‘More Than a Dream’ and ‘The Way It Used to Be’, Xenomania’s most famous muses, Girls Aloud, were recording what was to be their fifth and final studio album – 2008’s chart topping ‘Out of Control’.

From the sessions for PSB’s ‘Yes’ came ‘The Loving Kind’, which they agreed to give to Girls Aloud. It was their second single from the ‘Out of Control’ album, and the one which bought their hit count to a record breaking twenty consecutive UK top 10s in January 2009 – the most for a girl group before or since.

Which now brings us to what you hear today – Neil and Chris’ original version. For a long while, there was something about GA’s ‘The Loving Kind’ that, after a few years had passed, and the excitement of it being a single of theirs had faded, just didn’t stand the test of time over the majesty of ‘Call the Shots’ or ‘The Promise’. If anything, the track sounded even better with its original owners and writers. It still sounds just as galacial and melancholically Scandopop as it did in 2008, mind. Think of this as a glimpse into what might have been had Britain’s biggest girl group of that moment not crossed their path.

‘Yes: Further Listening, 2008 – 2010’ is out this week to buy and download via Parlophone/Pet Shop Boys Partnership. Twitter: @PetShopBoys

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

#SongoftheWeek: Marvin Humes and A-Minor – ‘Girls on the Floor’

  • ARTIST: Marvin Humes and A-Minor
  • SONG: Girls on the Floor

SO ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

So whilst Aston Merrygold storms the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom, JB Gill tends to another turkey flock/films for his CBeebies farming show Down on the Farm and Oritsé Williams beavers away on new material, where art thou Marvin Humes? Well, aside from DJing in Ibiza, and hosting the Big Top 40 every Sunday for the Global Radio network, he’s releasing a new single, that’s what.

Following a string of top 20 hits a couple of years back with his dance collective LuvBug, the boybander turned DJ, producer and TV host – hell he’ll probably add fire eater to that list by the time this blog is published – is back with another barnstorming floorfiller, aptly titled “Girls on the Floor”.

Taking it’s cue from some of the greatest dance anthems ever – more specifically, we were reminded of the Armand van Helden mix of Tori Amos’ “Professional Widow” and Major Lazer’s “Pon De Floor”, “Girls on the Floor” is seriously addictive and guaranteed to raise the roof at clubs from Manchester to Miami this autumn.

Click here to listen to the full length version of “Girls on the Floor” over on the Mixmag website.

“Girls on the Floor” is available to download and stream from 27th October via LuvBug Recordings. Twitter: @MarvinHumes

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

#SongoftheWeek: Craig David – ‘Heartline’

  • ARTIST: Craig David
  • SONG: Heartline

SO ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

He makes it look easy, doesn’t he? Winner of our Comeback award in last year’s end of year prizes on this here blog, pop’s very own Phoenix from the flames, Craig David, has had another stellar year by all accounts, touring to mass acclaim – and also storming the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury in what was one of the defining sets of that year’s edition of the legendary festival.

But he’s equally not been resting on his laurels where new music is concerned, and now, here he is again with the first single off his forthcoming new album “The Time is Now”, the follow up to last year’s chart topping comeback album “Following My Intuition”.

“Heartline” continues what has been a blinding run of hits since his return, all hiccupy, technicolour beats and a chorus that’s just as addictive. A pleasing mix of what made him such an appealing talent all those years ago when the “Born to Do It” album was released, but bringing his sound up to date whilst at the same time not sounding like it’s chasing after any particular bandwagon.

If I’m a betting man, I’d say that this is going to prove once and for all why Craig’s recent renaissance in fortunes are no flash in the pan. If anything, it’ll prove that talent and knowing how to deliver a banger always wins out. And you can’t ask fairer than that.

“Heartline” is available to stream and download now, and Craig’s new album “The Time is Now” is scheduled for release on 26th January 2018, both via Sony/Insanity. Twitter: @CraigDavid

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

#SongoftheWeek: Louis York – ‘I Enjoy You’

  • ARTIST: Louis York
  • SONG: I Enjoy You

SO ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

It’s been a little shy of two years since I last mentioned Louis York, the collective name for songwriting legends Claude Kelly and Chuck Harmony – who between them have been behind hits for Whitney Houston, Olly Murs, Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson to name a few.

Their debut release, ‘Clair Huxtable’ was a beguiling cut of atmospheric, almost trip hop-esque R&B. It’s safe to say they’ve remained a best kept secret of mine since then, and since the release of their debut EP, ‘Masterpiece Theatre’. Now they’re back with easily the smoothest offering of jazz and blues we’ve heard this side of Gregory Porter’s last album.

‘I Enjoy You’ is the sort of song that builds promisingly, delivering a spine tingling finish and vocal turn from Claude. You immediately feel, on hearing it, like you should be in some smokey jazz bar in New Orleans, cocktail in hand whilst the world around you passes by in a haze, whilst you lushly sloth in your own world.

As touched on with Nerina Pallot a few weeks ago, it seems wrong that artists like Louis York aren’t already selling out Madison Square Garden and selling albums on every continent. Selfishly, on the other hand, when the music’s this good – and seemingly underappreciated by others – you feel like the Ferrero Rocher adverts off the 90s; that is to say, giving it away grudgingly.

‘I Enjoy You’ is available to stream and download now via Weirdo Workshop. Twitter: @LouisYorkMusic

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!

#SongoftheWeek: Niall Horan – ‘Too Much to Ask’

  • ARTIST: Niall Horan
  • SONG: Too Much to Ask

SO ALEX, WHY IS THIS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

I come to write the blog about my favourite new song of the week this week with a small sense of trepidation. Largely on account of who’s behind it, and thus, on account of what I say being scrutinized by fans of that particular artist – or rather, his (currently dormant) band.

So now we’re clear on that, let’s not lie here. I was definitely not the biggest fan of One Direction at their height. As a long standing champion of all things boyband (more on which tomorrow – I’ll say no more for now), they represented to me every negative cliche about boybands and the dismissal of them generally in the book, hence my aversion.

All except, that is, for the “What Makes You Beautiful” hitmakers’ plucky Irish charmer, Niall Horan. When, following the departure of Zayn Malik in 2015, the remaining quartet of the band took their ‘break’ (which, as any Girls Aloud fan will tell you from their experience, is code for ‘Let’s prevaricate around formally splitting until we really have to i.e on the last night of our greatest hits tour’), the unassuming but likeable Niall didn’t seem to be the hot favourite amongst fans and press to ‘do a Robbie’, to use the laboured phrase against which most post pop band solo careers are judged.

And yet, for all the talk of Harry Styles being a ‘renaissance man’ or the second coming of David Bowie (he really isn’t), and Zayn and the other two all going after uninspired, tepid moves into ‘serious’ music/collaborations with random DJs, Niall – who I grew to love following his appearance on Graham Norton at the launch of his solo career – has simply got on quietly with the business of releasing some amazing singles over the last year.

The haunting, almost nostalgic ‘This Town‘, released almost a year ago: very good.

The laidback groove of ‘Slow Hands‘, that spent much of this summer lodged in the UK top 10: really very good.

And now, ahead of his debut solo album next month, his third single ‘Too Much to Ask’ has appeared today. And I can confirm that too, is impeccably good. Taking the tempo down from his summertime smash, it’s a gorgeous, forlorn sounding tale of heartbreak, simply but beautifully executed, that has come along just in time for the start of the cosier autumn days, and which I suspect will prove once and for all who the real solo star of 1D is. These Irish eyes will be smiling for a long time yet, I feel.

‘Too Much to Ask’ is out to stream and download now, and Niall’s debut solo album ‘Flicker’ is out on 20th October, both released via Capitol. Twitter: @NiallOfficial

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts of my song choice this week on my Twitter using the hashtag #SongoftheWeek!