Taio Cruz featuring Kylie Minogue – Higher (Listen)
After the huge disappointment of Taio’s second album (Break Your Heart was the only song on a par with his debut) I was very relieved to find that the two new tracks for the re-release, Dynamite and Higher, were back to his usual quality. Higher was a great song on its own and Taio is a huge name now, so there was no need for it to become a duet, but when the duet is with Kylie then whether or not it’s necessary is never the point. Hopefully this will be a huge hit as it’s an excellent uplifting song and Kylie needs it after Get Outta My Way undeservedly flopped. However, it does make me a little sad to consider that it was Robbie Williams who Kylie was duetting with this time a decade ago – I may prefer Taio’s music to Robbie’s these days but Taio has not one bit of Robbie’s star quality.
Empress – Captain (Watch)
Empress are a cool female-fronted electro-pop group who’ve been around doing gigs for about a year now, and although they unfortunately (and quite surprisingly) didn’t get signed to a major label, they’re now releasing a single on an indie label called Your Hands. I don’t think Captain is the song to make them stars, but it’s still well worth a listen, especially if you’re a Kylie fan as I could easily imagine Kylie singing it. Even better is the song they made a video for earlier in the year, Celebrity. Fun fact: Lead singer Janee was on the 2nd series of Fame Academy!
Spark – Revolving (Watch)
The latest electro-pop lady from the Neon Gold stable is Spark and she’s been one of my favourite new female popstars since I saw her perform live last month at Hoxton’s Gold Dust night. Revolving is her debut single but I would guess it’s not intended to do any more than build buzz, with a proper make-or-break debut to follow in the new year. The video is still high quality enough to show that Spark is definitely being positioned as a pop star – she’s like a glossier Marina or Sophie Ellis-Bextor with attitude. She’s also got a slightly punky side which came across more in her live set, and makes me very excited for her album.