Representing France: M. Pokora – Catch Me If You Can
Whether necessary or not, it seems France now has it’s very own Justin Timberlake. He’s even worked with Timbaland, and this video is suspiciously similar to JT’s for I’m Lovin’ It, right down to the blue checked shirt. Unfortunately for M (or Matthieu, as he’s known to his mére), he hasn’t got Justin’s looks or charisma, but being French is always an asset in my eyes at least. M also has a mime artist in his video! I may be the only one outside of France that remembers them (and my memories are vague), but M. Pokora made his name in an early Popstars group called Linkup, who only lasted 2 singles, although their debut was quite nice (covered in English by Twen2y 4 Se7en). After that he went solo, and now seems to be very successful, with this single coming from his 3rd album, while he’s still only 22!
Representing Sweden: Amit Paul – Judge You
Another pop band member gone solo is Amit Paul, but luckily his band, A*Teens, were both much better and much more successful. Amit is going for a rock-pop acoustic-y sound with his solo material, quite similar to that of fellow Swedes Andreas Johnson and Sebastian, so expect him on Melodifestivalen next year. It is odd, actually, that no A*Teens have entered MF yet. If Marie Serneholt had sung Hero this year instead of the scary cat-lady, they might have done a bit better! Sadly for Amit there’s an air of McFadden about this single, and him in general, but if Andreas and Sebastian’s very many fans enjoy it, he might still have a hit. Personally I’m much more interested in hearing more from Marie, whose first solo album was excellent.
Representing the UK: Red Blooded Women – You Made Your Bed
It’s fun to have an influx of new pop acts in the UK, although none of the girlbands have really grabbed me so far. I wanted to like RBW as they seem really keen to be popstars and ‘play the game’, but this song kind of just washes over me, not really making much of an impression at all. It’s kind of like a home-made version of Annie, but without the catchy bits. I’m afraid to say I can’t see them being anything more than the new Cookie (whose name now seems far more absurb than it ever did before). If they do make as little impact as I suspect they will, we shouldn’t be concerned, though – girlbands flopping is nothing new, and even in the golden days there were bands like Made In London and Solid HarmoniE who were good but no-one really cared. With acts like GA, Alphabeat and Madonna still doing brilliantly, we’re definitely not in any kind of pop drought in 2008.