Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Silly Old Daniel Celebrity Roundup.

Here's a laugh for you. You know this silly little blog where I make fun of celebrities and rate supposedly new pop songs that have actually usually already been online for days on how many "bald Britneys" out of five they merit? Well the writer of this pedantic little skid-mark on the underpants of celebrity and pop music reporting is graduating from University tomorrow with first class honours in Journalism. Is that the most hilarious thing you've ever heard, or what? AND IF YOU THINK THAT WAS HILARIOUS THEN BRACE YOURSELVES because it is time for an all new Silly Old Daniel Celebrity Roundup...

1. Amanda Bynes is taking court as seriously as you might imagine.

The reason the Silly Old Daniel Celebrity Roundup is as infrequent as a Ciccone menstrual cycle these days is that it's just not very nice is it? Making fun of vulnerable celebrities and speculating about my fellow humans' personal lives just for the sake of a cheap laugh is not something I especially want for myself. That's why you're more likely to see me writing my NMEeeeeeh feature on the blog these days than laying into some celebrities, and that's also why if you follow me on Twitter you'll notice I've tried to keep as far away from the Amanda Bynes breakdown as possible.

There's obviously something not quite right with Amanda Bynes, either she's struggling from some sort of mental illness or she's under the influence of some kind of narcotic, or perhaps she's just going through a bad patch, but either way while it's good for a cheap laugh I can't help but feel sorry for old Amanda Bynes, and have been quite surprised at some of the people on Twitter who identify both as feminists and mental health advocates gleefully kicking Amanda Bynes when she's down. The difference between Amanda Bynes's troubles compared with stars like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan is that this time around we have Twitter for Amanda to frantically publish every thought that enters her head online around the clock. I know everyone wants to act like Amanda Bynes's breakdown is a comedic gift from God, but honestly the whole thing just makes me a bit sad. Amanda Bynes used to be a gifted comedy actor, and I'd quite like her to get through the other side of whatever it is that's going on with her and prove that she does have talent, and there's more to her than mental selfies and face piercings.

That said...she has done something hilarious and iconic that I am now going to celebrate.

So, Amanda Bynes took a break from choosing celebrities at random on Twitter to call "ugly" and went to court the other day where she was faced charges of reckless endangerment and tampering with physical evidence. In other words, she was so paranoid and stoned during a police raid that she picked up her bong and threw it out of the window of her apartment. On the 36th floor. Allegedly.

Clearly taking the case seriously, she was photographed on her way into the courthouse in Manhattan wearing sunglasses, workout clothes and a turquoise wig reminiscent of Nicki Minaj circa 2010. Uh. May. Zing.

To be fair to Amanda, she is actually looking pretty banging.

As anyone who's watched Here Comes Honey Boo Boo will tell you, all it takes is a wig for someone to bring the sass, and this was clearly the case for Amanda Bynes who just two days later was then videoed alone on the streets of Manahttan putting on her best "bad bitch strut" and pulling some serious shapes.

Werq it, Bynesy!

2. Azealia Banks thinks your kids are ugly.

Speaking of celebrities who need to have their Twitter shutdown by their management immediately, professional shade-thrower Azealia Banks has been shooting her mouth off yet again. She's previously feuded with Perez Hilton, Nicki Minaj, TI and Lil Kim, and this time she's shutting her mouth off at The Artist Formerly Known As Lily Allen.

This all started, of course, on Twitter when somebody, for some reason, linked Azealia to a tweet Lily Allen posted in April 2012 (??) which read...

For all I do believe Azealia Banks is a talented lass, she's clearly a fucking idiot. Either she thought this was The Artist Formerly Known As Lily having a go at her (and didn't realise this tweet was a fucking year old) or she randomly decided to lay into her. Whichever, this was Azealia's reply...

Lily at least attempted to take the high road (if you'll pardon the pun LOLOLOLOL) with her reply which read as follows...

...which prompted Azealia Banks to tweet what is arguably the finest rebuttal in debate history...

Absolutely outstanding.

Unfortunately, in typical Azealia Banks style she decided not to leave it there and decided to go for the low blow (again forgive the cokey pun)...

Ouch. Lily did manage to get the last word in, though, by comparing Azealia Banks's trolling to Amanda Bynes's own bewildering Twitter rants, and accused her of publicity-seeking...

Seriously, Azealia Banks, what is wrong with you? Nice try, but you will never top the original and best Twitter beef...


3. Justin Bieber does something hilarious.

So first off, can we just look at Justin Bieber's body? Wow. I definitely, 100%, wholeheartedly would.

Anyway, we all know Justin Bieber seems to be going through what most straight 19-year-old guys get up to- acting up, racing his car around the place, smoking a lot of weed and trying to smuggle monkeys into European countries. You know, the usual.

Yesterday, however, a video uploaded on respected political news outlet TMZ showed my lad Justin Bieber at a new low. The video, which was recorded earlier this year, shows Justin exiting through the rear of a restaurant in New York (which, at least, sounds promising for my pursuit of him if he really does prefer the back door...). On the way, however, he got distracted by a bucket on the floor of the kitchen, which he then proceded to urinate into, to the acclaim of his entourage which included your friend and mine Lil Twist.

While this went on, one of the lads is heard saying that they are "swagger" (which is seemingly now used as an adjective-- interesting) and that they are the "wild boys". Fucking cringe-tastic.

In a bizarre twist, the video culminates in Justin Bieber spraying a picture of former US President Bill Clinton (which just happened to be lying around, obviously...) with a conveniently placed bottle of cleaning fluid before declaring "fuck Bill Clinton!" and leaving.

Sometimes you need to think for ages about what you can say to make a situation sound funny to a reader, and then sometimes all you need to do is describe the scene of Justin Bieber pissing into a mop bucket and then shouting "fuck Bill Clinton".

President Clinton was said to be really pissed off with the video footage, before announcing in a press conference "I did not have sexual relations with that mop bucket".

And now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to spend the next hour and a half imagining Justin Bieber spraying cleaning fluid into my face.

Or perhaps some other fluid.



Thursday, 4 July 2013

NMEeeeeeh: Mutya Keisha Siobhan, Azealia Banks and Natalia Kills.

Mutya Keisha Siobhan - Flatline
Released 1st September

Well it's about time, am I right, folks?

There've been rumours that the original lineup of the Sugababes (Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy) would be reforming ever since Jade Ewen joined the group way back in 2009 and Keisha Buchanan was given the old heave-ho. The speculation intensified when it emerged Mutya Buena had gone to court to try and gain the Sugababes name, though what she ended up with was the right to create any Sugababes-brand erasers, pencil cases and other stationary bric-a-brac. Lucky her, eh?

It was officially announced in July 2012 (otherwise known as "twelve months ago") that the original line-up of Sugababes, who had all quit or been sacked from the band at one point or another over their time as a band, had reformed under the imaginative new name "Mutya Keisha Siobhan" and the blogosphere went mental for it, and over the last year they've been releasing 30 second teasers and guest appearances and all kinds and Twitter have been excitedly eating it up--- and I just don't get it. If you ask me...the original Sugababes lineup just weren't that great.

Let's break this down. Sugababes 1.0 released four singles over their time together as a band; Overload (which continues to be one of the group's signature tunes even 13 years after it was released), New Year (which dealt with the unusual theme of breaking up on Christmas Day, ho ho ho!), Run For Cover (which is OK) and Soul Sound (a song I have never heard in my life). Then the group got dropped, and Siobhan left the group. Heidi Range was announced as her replacement. And the rest is history. 

I don't know why people have such a romantic idea about the original lineup of Sugababes, let's not forget that Keisha essentially bullied Siobhan out of the group, so why people were so keen to see the girls back together is beyond me, especially given that Sugababes 4.0 just weren't as terrible as everybody wanted to make out they were. I, for one, would rather listen to Wear Your Kiss or About A Girl than Run For Cover or New Year.

So here we are today, where one year after they announced they'd be recording material together (and 11 months after Siobhan Donaghy tweeted that she thought the album was almost finished!!), the group have unveiled what is essentially their debut single Flatline. It's produced by Dev Hynes, who also produced Solange's gorgeous single Losing You as well as songs for Diana Vickers and Florence + the Machine.

And do you know what? It's great. It is absolutely great. It starts off sounding very minimalistic and stripped back but then when the chorus kicks in their are LOVELY HARMONIES. Basically, their voices sound brilliant when they're all together, and they sound lovely when they're singing by themselves. Lyrically, it's a song about struggling with the end of a relationship "like a pack of cards, the King and Queen of hearts, all fall down".

For all I've just been praising the Sugababes' latter day material, listening to Flatlines compared to something like Get Sexy really shows you how far away from what they were originally about the Sugababes managed to drift. Flatline sounds gorgeous, it sounds grown-up and for all its wonderfulness, it doesn't sound like there's a lot of bells and whistles- it actually all sounds pretty effortless.

You can hear it here:

Does it live up to the hype surrounding it? Honestly, no, but then that's not what Flatlines is about. Rather than making a huge-sounding song that's going to make a massive impact and make everyone sit up and take notice, the beauty of Flatlines is in its simplicity.

Let's be honest, if I were one of those remaining Sugababes I'd be shitting myself.

In honour of current 'babe Jade Ewen's show-stopping appearance on Splash!, let's see where on the "Jade Ewen on Splash" scale the new Mutya Keisha Siobhan single lies...

Well done, lasses!

Azealia Banks - ATM Jam, feat. Pharrell Williams
Release TBA

While I might not agree with everything she does (and, yes, I am talking about calling Perez Hilton a "faggot" on Twitter), you can't deny that there are few people in the music industry at present who are as exciting, as unique and as unpredictable as Azealia Banks. Her upcoming album Broke With Expensive Taste is one of the most anticipated albums of 2013, and following a performance at Glastonbury last weekend her latest single ATM Jam has been played in full on US radio.

Pharrell's influence on the song is apparent right from the offset, the beat sounds like a 2000s N.E.R.D. song, but in the best possible way. ATM Jam sounds a lot more commercial than her previous single Yung Rapunxel, which is probably for the best because for all her ego could fill the Grand Canyon, Azealia Banks is still technically an emerging artist and she needs to try and get people listening.

ATM Jam doesn't really ever reach the heights of her breakthrough single 212, though this particular clip is pretty poor quality so perhaps when a better quality version is online, especially when accompanied by one of her ever-intriguing music videos, then it'll be easier to praise.

Judge ATM Jam for yourself here:

Aaaaand finally...

Natalia Kills - Saturday Night
Available now

The problem with Natalia Kills was always Lady GaGa. For all her debut album Perfectionist probably couldn't have existed without GaGa's The Fame, and more to the point The Fame Monster, to pave the way for it, the similarities both in sound and the album's themes (the opening of her debut single Mirror genuinely sounds like it's going to break into a parody of Poker Face) meant that a lot people, myself included, didn't want to give Natalia Kills. This, combined with the shite she spouts about "sex, love, control, vanity" and her off-putting interviewing technique (being deliberately difficult is fine once you've sold millions of records but if you want to be a successful pop act you need to play the game at least a *little*) meant that her album Perfectionist was only actually heard by a handful of people.

When Lady GaGa took a little break over the past year or so, I decided to revisit Natalia Kills's music. I actually saw her live as the support act for Ke$ha a few years ago but, given how dedicated I was at that period, couldn't look past the fact she seemed to be Lady GaGa Lite. It's true there are a great number of similarities between GaGa (especially her early work) and Natalia Kills, but it's not fair to write her off completely, and listening to her album it was clear there was potential there.

What really got me into her was when she released the music video for buzz single Controversy last year (it's not even on her official YouTube page, it's actually on an account called CONT20V325yK1LLS- amazing) that I finally got what Natalia Kills was about, and I liked it.

This week she put another single from her upcoming album Trouble online, called Saturday Night. Far from being a Ke$ha-esque romp about clubbing and dancing and drinking on the weekend, however, this is actually another complete 180 for Natalia Kills, and talks about loneliness and isolation and, desperation. It sounds like Robyn remixing a Lana Del Rey track, and if that is something that sounds appealing to you then I'm not sure we can be friends.

What's really great about this compared with Natalia Kills's music in the past is that the music is so simplistic, it's basically a synth loop and some drums, that it really shows off her voice, as well as the lyrics which are so descriptive and sad that you believe and feel every single word she says.

Listen to Saturday Night here:

"I'm a fucking teenage tragedy". Amazing.


Previous NMEeeeeeh blogs:


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

NMEeeeeeh: Bonnie McKee, M.I.A. and Blondie.

I know that the "N" in "NMEeeeeeh" is meant to stand for "new", so I beg your forgiveness that I am about to review three songs which have actually all been online for a week at the very least. You might well have already heard them. I pray this doesn't affect your enjoyment of the blog. Anyway, time for three new(-ish) songs in NMEeeeeeh.

Bonnie McKee - American Girl
Release TBA

So, what's your proudest achievement? Stuck in at school, did you? Rescued a cat from a burning building, did you? Flew solo across the Atlantic, did you? Not Bonnie McKee, who is not yet 30 and yet her co-writing credits already include the following amazing songs...

California Gurls - Katy Perry (amazing)
Hold It Against Me - Britney Spears (amazing)
Last Friday Night - Katy Perry (amazing)
How I Roll - Britney Spears (double amazing, though I am seeing a pattern forming here)
Dynamite - Taio Cruz (oh well there we go)
How We Do - Rita Ora (I actually find this song pretty annoying and lame, though it is a well-constructed pop song)
C'Mon - Ke$ha (really amazing)
Ooh La La - Britney Spears (literally given 4 smurfs out of 5 in the last edition of NMEeeeeeh) as you can see, expectations are pretty high for her first single in nine years, "American Girl". The question is, can her own single match those she's carelessly given away to other artists?

The answer, in short, is yes. American Girl is an absolutely joyous affair, which talks about the pitfalls of modern day American society which is something touched on by artists like Marina and the Diamonds, Natalia Kills and Lana Del Rey in the past few years. However unlike Lana, Marina and Natalia's "man the lifeboats we're all fucking doomed" approach to modern day America, Bonnie McKee's is much more a happy send-up of the shallowness and frivolity associated with modern society, with lyrics like "I fell in love in a 7Eleven parking lot" and "I was raised by a television" and  "I will never say that I'm sorry, I am an American Girl".

To promote the song, Bonnie has clearly called in some favours with a host of her celebrity pals and created a promotional video featuring a lot of famous faces miming along with American Girl. In theory this sounds really lame, until you realise that these celebrities include Katy fucking Perry, Joan fucking Rivers, Jason fucking DeRülo (who I fancy so much whenever his new video comes on TV I have to scramble for the remote so I don't spend the rest of my afternoon fantasising about him) and one of my all time heroes...

...Kathy fucking Griffin. Kathy Griffin, how do I love thee, let me count the ways...

Even if you take the lip-syncing celebrities out of the equation, which is hard because there's a lot of them and I bloody love the majority of them, this is still an absolutely stellar song which sounds like a mix of Karmin's "Brokenhearted", Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" and Calvin Harris's "The Girls", but better.

Think I'm exaggerating? Judge for yourself, with this promo video...

Wonderful. Just wonderful. Five Kathy Griffins out of five, for sure:

M.I.A. - Bring The Noize
Available now

M.I.A. is back, everybody, and she has a new single called Bring The Noize. And, as the name would suggest, it is quite a loud song. There's a lot of banging and clattering and shouting and looped sounds and stuttering. If you have a sleeping baby, or a hangover, or you're prone to musically-induced migraines, then you might want to pop some Katie Melua on and give this new cut from M.I.A. a miss.  Otherwise, read on.

So, it's safe to say Bring The Noize is not as radio-friendly as M.I.A.'s recent cuts such as XXXO or Bad Girls, which I think was probably an intentional decision seeing as how 2012 was the year we saw M.I.A. dress up as a cheerleader, lip-sync at the Superbowl and perform backing vocals for Madonna. I'd even go as far to say as Bring The Noize is M.I.A.'s way of reminding us what she's capable of.

This is as far from easy-listening as is humanly possible without audio of your conception being thrown into the mix, but it's still pretty good once you get your head around all of the racket. Here is the official video, which is also pretty impressive:

Where does Bring The Noize register on the Kathy scale..?

Blondie - A Rose By Any Name, feat. Beth Ditto
Available now

It's a collaboration that no one saw coming, yet which makes perfect sense. Beth Ditto, one of the most unique and prominent front-women in the music scene today has recorded a song with what is probably the most important female-led band of all time, Blondie, for their upcoming album.

Admittedly, Blondie are one of those bands who, despite the fact they've been releasing new material fairly consistently over the past couple of decades, will probably always be remembered for their earlier material like Heart Of Glass, Atomic, Call Me and One Way Or Another. You'd think this  would be an issue, but really all of those songs are incredible, aren't they? You can't argue with that.

Still, despite the fact their last album peaked at number 73 here in the United Kingdom, Blondie are giving it another go. To give them their due, their new single A Rose By Any Name sounds exactly what you'd expect a Blondie single to sound like in 2013- the electronic intro makes it sound current, while the lyrics and Deborah Harry's vocals bring an unmistakeably Blondie-esque edge to the track, while Beth Ditto's lines add something extra special as well.

It's not perfect, admittedly, for instance there's a lot of distorted vocal effects which really needn't be there to the point where it's often difficult to make out exactly what's being sung, and there's so much going on it might take a couple of listens to make sense, but for fans of Blondie this will be a welcome addition to their back catalogue.

Give A Rose By Any Name, featuring fabulous musical goddess Beth Ditto, a listen here... many Kathys?


Previous NMEeeeeeh blogs:

Aaaaand I'm done.