Pet Shop Boys – Two Divided By Zero

I thought I would take a moment to acknowledge this excellent song. I was listening to Please earlier, the debut album by Pet Shop Boys which I haven’t done for a while. In doing so I remembered just how much I love Two Divided By Zero (the opening track). It doesn’t have the finest melody you’ll ever hear on a Pet Shop Boys album and it does sound rather dated.  Crucially though it does have great lyrics. Here, the song’s narrator wishes to run away to New York with their lover. Hardly a cutting edge concept but what elevates the lyrics is the metaphor of two being divided by zero.  Firstly, two divided by zero is mathematically impossible. You can’t divide by nothing, and nothing divides this couple. The idea of something being divided by nothing is a ludicrous concept, as is the idea of the couple not being together. It’s an incredibly clever – not to mention unconventional – spin on things. And really rather romantic too. Both of the Boys acknowledge that it’s this song along with Love Comes Quickly that came closest to the sound they were trying to achieve with Please. It’s actually Neil Tennant’s favourite song on the album. It’s certainly one of my favourites too!


Uturn: Charlie XCX – Take My Hand

Another album I listened to yesterday was Charlie XCX’s second album True Romance (though it’s her first to see commercial release). Last year I had mixed feelings about her. She wrote Icona Pop’s smash hit I Love It which I really dislike. I even really dislike the lyrics of tht song. It’s definitely not indicative of Charlie XCX’s talent. I was considering trying her album but I eventually decided against it. I was dubious that it would all just sound like I Love It. Yesterday I decided to put my prejudgements aside and listen to the album as its own body of work. I was so surprised. I really enjoyed it. It’s a tiny bit more commercial than say, Sky Ferreira’s Night Time My Time, but it’s definitely far from generic pop. There wasn’t any song on the album I actually disliked. One of my favourite songs from the album is the dreamy and hedonistic Take My Hand. It was never released as a single and I think it’s rather underrated. I absolutely love the little 8-bit production quirks of the song. I wish the album (and the singles) did better in the charts here as she is definitely a fresh young talent. Despite True Romance being released only last year she’s already hard at work on her third album which is slated for release this year. Given my new found love for this talented lady I’m very excited to see what she comes out with next!

Sky Ferreira – Kristine

I’ve been listening to a lot of new music today, including some albums from 2013 that I still hadn’t heard yet (the shame). One of these albums was Sky Ferreira’s Night Time, My Time. I really enjoyed the album. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve actually put in a rather last minute pre-order for the upcoming physical release of the album here in the UK. It’s due for release here on January 28th. I’m really looking forward to owning it physically and hearing the Ghost EP which comes as a bonus disc on the limited edition. Anyway, on an album without no real weak spots, Kristine is a definite standout. I just love the meshing of styles on the song. Well, it’s prevalent on every song on Night Time, My Time but it definitely is just that bit more dominant here. Kristine has very fuzzy sounding guitars – think The Jesus and Mary Chain style – but with a definite synth-pop undercurrent. It’s a very rich and layered song: listening to it on headphones is a very rewarding experience. The chorus is also the most memorable hook in an album that has lots of hooks and catchy moments. An excellent song indeed – and Night Time, My Time is a belated addition to my albums of 2013 list!

Phantogram – Fall In Love

One thing I love about music is how, out of the blue, you can discover a gem. Well, in this particular case it was a friend that discovered the track and recommended I listen to it. This was only a few hours ago actually. So, intrigued by the recommendation I listened to it and absolutely loved it! It’s called Fall In Love and it’s by Phantogram, who are an electronic indie-pop duo from New York. So far, they’ve only released one album – called Eyelid Movies – in 2009. However on February 18th they are scheduled to release their second album titled Voices. Fall In Love is one of the tracks from the album. It sounds vaguely electro R & B to me with a generous amount of 80s synths. Strangely enough I listened another Phantogram song, called Black Out Days (also from Voices) and it didn’t have that slight R & B tone to it. I really liked it too though, they’re definitely a band I’m going to explore more. So far, they’re the only two Phantogram songs I know but I’ll definitely listening to Voices when it’s released!

Electric vs Elysium

elysiumIt’s quite common for an album to grow on me, but it’s exceptionally rare for an album’s appeal to wear off on me over time. Yet recently that’s happened to me with one of my all time favourite groups, Pet Shop Boys. A few days ago I was listening to some tracks from Elysium. It got me thinking. I initially really liked Elysium, but in the wake of 2013’s Electric, I have to say I’ve gone off Elysium somewhat

Since its release last July I’ve been regularly playing Electric either in full or individual tracks. To be honest – I can’t say the same for Elysium. I haven’t listened to it in full in goodness knows how long. It’s not that I dislike the songs (although I really dislike Winner and Hold On). A lot of them I simply have no desire to listen to on an individual basis though such as Your Early Stuff and Everything Means Something. Electric has a magnetic pull for me that Elysium lacks. It’s also a far less consistent record than Electric too. I love every song on Electric. With Elysium, I only really love about five songs on it. Even a more popular track like A Face Like That – which I loved at the time – just pales in comparison to the Electric songs for me now. Elysium does have a beautiful production but it also lacks a flair and passion that Electric carries in abundance.

Maybe my lack of interest in the Elysium era is partly because Pet Shop Boys didn’t seem in all that invested in it either. Winner was a poor lead single, and as for the visual side of the era…. well what visuals were there? I loved the album cover but Winner’s video was abysmal and Leaving had a mediocre video at best. With no real live shows either I think it’s taken Electric’s well deserved praise and heavier promotion to make me release what a let down of an era Elysium was. indexTo be honest there was so little to it can we really call it an era at all?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying Elysium is utterly awful. I just find it rather amusing that I liked the album a lot more initially than a lot of fans did, yet in hindsight I can actually look back at the era and say that I fully understand the criticism directed towards it now.  Hindsight is a funny thing, isn’t it?

Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots.

It’s been a news-filled day for Damon Albarn fans. He’s been announced as headliner for the Latitude festival, his debut solo album Everyday Robots has been announced for release on April 28th. The track-listing has also been unveiled and so has the the title track. Very busy times indeed. I think Damon Albarn is exceptionally talented, definitely one of the most talented British artists of recent times. I’ve always got high expectations from his work though sadly Everyday Robots has fallen short for me. It’s listenable but very unremarkable. I’ve listened to it twice and I did like it a smidgen better second time around but this doesn’t even come close to the best Blur and Gorillaz material. I don’t like how the song just does not progress at all and sort of plods along. It really goes nowhere. It is incredibly catchy though with a melody that’s sure to give me a severe case of earworm. I like the video an awful lot though – it’s more interesting than the song for me. Who knows – maybe it’s a slow burner. Despite my disappointment I’m still expecting a quality record in Everyday Robots. By no means a bad song, but I’ve come to expect an awful lot more from Damon Albarn.

Cibo Matto – Sugar Water

I discovered this rather unusual song thanks to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It features in The Bronze, during the opening episode of Season 2 (entitled When She Was Bad). Another of their songs, Spoon, also featured in the episode. Spoon is another excellent song but I do prefer Sugar Water. Sugar Water just sounds more unconventional and more left field. I really love the trip-hop style of the song as well. As for the lyrics, all I can say is good luck analysing them! The lyrics make utterly no sense whatsoever but that’s not what I find most appealing about the song. Sugar Water’s main strength is definitely its alluring atmosphere. The only thing I dislike about the song is its rather abrupt ending. That minor qualm aside, I find Sugar Water borderline really rather hypnotic, and for that reason it’s definitely become my favourite discovery from Buffy The Vampire Slayer thus far. Sugar Water is from the band’s first album Viva! La Woman, released in 1996. You can also find it on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer soundtrack entitled Radio Sunnydale. Although be careful, the song is only on the UK edition of the album and not the US edition. It’s definitely an underrated song by an underrated band though!


More Foster The People Chatter

Foster_the_People_-_SupermodelIt’s not just Coming Of Age that has been unveiled today, Foster The People’s second album has been fully unveiled (finally). The release date is March 18th. As for the artwork, I have to say whilst I liked the album cover for Torches, I absolutely love the album cover for Supermodel. It’s definitely one of the loveliest covers I’ve seen in a long while. It’s abstract but also beautiful. It depicts a model being hounded by the paparazzi. Press intrusion is certainly a very relevant subject. It’s a concept I definitely wasn’t expecting from Foster The People though. I do wonder if the album artwork will tie into the lyrics of the songs in anyway.  A concept album of sorts perhaps? One thing is for sure though – Supermodel will definitely be more left of field than Torches was. Some of the songs have surreal names like Goats In Trees and A Beginner’s Guide To Destroying The Moon. I really can’t even hazard a guess to what the album will sound like, but it’ll certainly be interesting!

Back (with new music too!)

My laptop came back today, thank goodness too because we’ve got new music. Today has seen arguably the first major musical premiere of the year: Foster The People’s new single! It’s been featuring on their live sets since last year, but it’s great to have a proper studio version of the song. It feels like too long since Torches was released and having played it to death makes it feel even longer too. Naturally, I was expecting a lot. Anyone worried that they would radically depart from their sunny indie pop sound that they do so well need not worry. It’s definitely more mature sounding and not as instantaneous as Pumped Up Kicks, but it’s still got that breezy style. It’s also very catchy – it’s already in my head. It also boasts a lovely atmosphere. Definitely a very enjoyable song. It’s the lead single for their upcoming second album, titled Supermodels. It’s due to be released March 18th. I’m already excited!


Good news – my laptop was checked at a repair store earlier and the news is good. I could have my laptop back tomorrow if the sensors just need cleaned, or failing that a week (roughly) if a full keyboard replacement is required. All in all though I should have my laptop back in about a week. It won’t be too long before normal service can resume here, thank goodness. I’ll be back now once my laptop is back – see you soon!