Representing the USA: Jesse McCartney – Shake
It’s amazing to think Jesse McCartney was in a BSBs rip-off boyband back in 1999 and 11 years later he’s still young enough, at age 23, to be a popstar. He could have been Justin Bieber 8 years ago, when he left dodgy boyband Dream Street, but he was never given the right song. He’s developed his own distinct style which has earned him a few small hits (Leavin’ was OK and I personally loved How Do You Sleep) but honestly I think he’d be better off taking whichever songs his label can afford to get him from the top producers around today. With Justin Timberlake showing no interest in returning to take his pop prince crown, the position was open for Jesse to grab it but he hasn’t done so. Shake could be an outtake from his previous album, and the video with Jesse in a chair is similar to the one for Leavin’. The last album was a medium success, so now he needs to really go for it, but it doesn’t look like he’s doing so. This could well be the last album he releases on a major label.
Representing Sweden: September – Resuscitate Me
Of all the Swedish dance-pop girls (Agnes, Velvet etc) September is by far my favourite. The other girls have produced some fantastic singles, and September’s debut album was a bit mixed, but I have loved every single song from her past two and Resuscitate Me suggests that the trend will continue with album number 4. I’d actually say it’s one of the best songs she’s ever done, as there are so many different good bits in it. The video isn’t overwhelmingly great (I think it tries to do too many things in one video) but Petra looks great with her new Robyn-esque hairstyle. There’s something magical about the combination of song and singer in September’s work and it’s very exciting to have a whole new album’s worth of material on the way, although I know she’s worked with some new writers this time which does make me a little nervous. Fingers crossed for another classic anyway!
Representing the Netherlands: Kim-Lian & Future Presidents – How I Like It
How exciting – two of my favourite Dutch acts have collaborated on a new single! It’s not a patch on Love Don’t Pay The Bill$ or Road To Heaven but judged on its own merits it’s a sweet, uplifting dance-pop song and still better than much of the rubbish that sadly comes out of the Dutch music scene these days. They used to be one of the best countries for pop music but it’s all gone a bit wrong in the last few years. Hopefully Future Presidents, a group of writer/producers who have moved into releasing their own music recently, can bring their nation back to its old poptastic self. There are a few songs from their new EP worth a listen, especially acoustic-r&b-pop track One Way Ticket Home, which would have been a great comeback single for Shayne Ward. However, I just don’t know what to make of their poppy cover of Here Without You by 3 Doors Down.