New Pop on the Block

Emilia de Poret – Pick Me Up
I first discovered this Swedish singer when I visited Denmark in 2000, around the time that she released her first and only single under the name of Lia Andreen. It was a Britney-ish r’n’b-pop song, very catchy, and one of my first ever Europop discoveries. Sadly it failed to make a big impression, but undeterred, Emilia returned five years later using her real name, and has since become a very popular artist in Sweden. I didn’t care much for the singles from her first album, but I’m really liking Pick Me Up, the first release from the follow-up. It seems I’m not alone in that, as it’s gone to no.1 in Sweden. The sound is still r’n’b, and there’s clearly an influence from Umbrella here. France had its own Umbrella in the form of Cléopatré by Sofia Essaïdi, and now Emilia provides Sweden with theirs. Still, neither is anywhere near as good as Rihanna’s original.
72% Poptastic!

James Morrisson – You Make It Real
James has released some pretty good songs in the past, although he’s never quite matched in quality his American counterpart, Gavin Degraw. Unfortunately he still hasn’t done that with his new single, the first from his second album. It’s not too bad, and improves as it goes along, but he’s sounding more than ever like Gavin, which makes his inferiority clearer. The song is nice, but there is nothing at all special or distinct about it, which is what you need for a first single from a second album. This is the kind of single that tells us that James has nothing more to give than what we’ve already seen, much like whatever the equivalent single for The Kooks was called, and quite the opposite of I Don’t Feel Like Dancing or Is It Any Wonder, for example. I’m sure the album will sell, but it’ll need to have some better songs if he wants anyone to care.
64% Poptastic!

Kat DeLuna – Calling You
I haven’t been particularly interested by anything I’ve heard by Kat so far, but this new single is a huge improvement. It’s very poppy and catchy, and obviously an attempt to engage some of Rihanna’s fans. It’s not quite up to her level however, because it feels a bit too rushed. If the singing was slowed down just a bit, I think the song would be much better. Calling You is the first single from Kat’s second album, imaginatively titled Sophomore, which will be out in 2009 – possibly something worth listening to, if she continues in the style of this track. It reminds me a lot of Just Dance, and both were produced by Red One, so if she is still working with them (likely since they’re very popular currently), things seem quite promising for Kat to become a leader in poptasticness in the near future.
78% Poptastic!

Leona Lewis – Forgive Me
Despite hating his music, I was quite excited to hear that Akon worked on this song for Leona’s US album, because he was involved in Just Dance. However, it turns out to be quite mediocre. In places it is almost good, but never comes close to Bleeding Love or Better In Time, in fact being most comparable to Mariah Carey’s recent work. If she’s going to be a young Mariah Carey, she should release songs like Mariah did when she was younger, such as Always Be My Baby and Vision of Love. I haven’t ever dared to listen to Leona’s UK album, except for her cover of Homeless by the wonderful Darin, but I would guess quite safely that this is the best thing left on it that hasn’t already been released, so it makes sense as a single. Still, it is very sad that an album with only 2 good songs (originally just 1 when first released over here) could be so hugely successful while amazing albums flop all the time.

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