Solange Knowles – Sandcastle Disco
I like I Decided and I like this new single too, but I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. They’re nice, catchy songs and I love the Motown style, but they’re not addictive like Umbrella or No Air or Bleeding Love or Irreplaceable or Just Dance or Gotta Work, and when the other ladies of r’n’b are making music that good, Solange is going to have to step it up a notch if she wants to compete. She’s in a genre which is already overflowing, so it’s nice to see she’s at least making a niche for herself other than Rihanna-wannabe (Kat de Luna, I mean you!), but what with Mark Ronson’s recent hits it’s also quite a crowded area of music to be in. I think she’ll do well, but I don’t think we’ll be remembering any of her songs in years to come.

Autumn Reeser – New You
If you remember the character of Taylor in The OC, then you’ll know how fabulously bitchtastic Autumn Reeser, who played her, can be. In the new MTV film The American Mall, she sings this song and shows what a brilliant pop diva she would make. The film is their answer to High School Musical and Camp Rock, but in fact I was reminded more of Josie and the Pussycats (which is amazing, in case you haven’t seen it) and 2Gether, another MTV made-for-TV movie. Then again, it’s not as witty as either of those, so I suppose that brings it back to HSM. It’s interesting because the band and singer who are central to the film seem almost like parodies of Disney acts, but because it is their fans who MTV want to appeal to, then the music is quite serious too. There’s some OK pop stuff, but it’s incredibly dated and therefore a bit insulting to pop fans… but it’s a teen musical so who cares!

The Tigerpicks – Disco Punk Electro Funk
This Mancunian trio seemed to have so much potential when I discovered them about 18 months ago. They were working with Richard X, and had made this super-amazing video. They were doing the nu-rave style but actually had good songs as well, a novelty few of the others acts thought of. Unfortunately their MySpace hasn’t been updated in over a year, but it does have some ace songs on it definitely worth a listen and a boogie if you like CSS, Le Tigre or Bis. I’d love to know which tracks were with Richard X, or if it’s none of these I want to hear what they did come up with together. It seems like it would be a fantastic collaboration.

Miss Li – Let Her Go
I feel so stupid for never listening to any of Miss Li’s music before a few weeks ago (when I finally discovered her brilliance), because she is an incredibly talented singer and songwriter, and one of Sweden’s many musical gems. She’s more Maia Hirasawa than Marie Serneholt, but either comparison would be a huge compliment from me. My copy of Miss Li’s Best Of album arrived a week or so ago and nothing else has been on my CD player since. I like every single song, but Oh Boy, the first song by her that I discovered, remains my favourite. It’s been around a year or two, but only recently found its way into the Swedish singles charts – I would love to know why, but perhaps it’s just one of the many mysteries of the Swedish singles chart! I’ve posted Oh Boy before, so here’s another great song, also on the album.

BWO – The Bells of Freedom (Live at Skansen)
Miss Li was one of the performers at Sweden’s most famous outdoor concert, Allsång På Skansen, a few weeks ago, and so were BWO. They performed Lay Your Love On Me, and their new single, The Bells of Freedom. I realised I, rather bizarrely, haven’t written about this song before, and I must say although I unsurprisingly love it, I would have preferred them to do a song which didn’t sound quite so much like a past hit of theirs. The chorus in Bells is uncannily similar to that of Chariots of Fire. BWO are a totally unique band, there is no-one else like them, but they still need to keep on being fresh and innovative even within their special niche. Nonetheless, I thoroughly support the message of the song, which was the anthem of Europride 2008. It’s the best Swedish pride song since Alcazar’s Someday. Also, I’ve just thought: Mixing Swedes and Poles created Martin Rolinski, so if the East to West migration in Europe increases, Sweden will be even more of a hotbed of buff hotties than it is already!

On that jolly note, let’s have the top 5 for this week:

5. Sam Sparro – 21st Century Life
4. David Archuleta – Crush
3. Rihanna – Disturbia
2. Alphabeat – Boyfriend

And at no.1 this week is…

Will Young – Changes
Well, what a surprise, Will is at no.1. Luckily his new video was shown on TV for the first time this week, so I can provide it for your viewing pleasure now. I must admit it’s not my favourite of his videos (what could beat Who Am I?), but it has a comedy cow moment, and Will is looking very Swedish in his checked shirt, so I really can’t complain. The lightning thing is all a bit weird if you ask me, but I like the hay dancing. It’s very hard to talk about Will nowadays, because I feel like I was in a serious relationship with him (practically married, and I was only 14!) that slowly dissolved without anyone really noticing. One day, after not thinking of him for weeks or months, I saw him on TV again and realised I was over him. But it was an amicable separation, and although things can never go back to how they were, we’ll definitely remain friends forever.

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