The new… Annie Lennox
I used to write quite a bit about Clare in the days before she had really done anything. I heard such exciting things about her (she’s worked with Richard X AND Fraser T Smith, for starters!), I couldn’t wait to hear her music. Then some music was unveiled, and it was quite underwhelming. I like that her sound is very atmospheric and she has a great voice, but after 30 seconds of ‘taster’ single Ain’t Nobody I was ready to go back to Jessie J. However, the first ‘big’ single The Last Dance shows much more promise. You could even sing along to it, if you wanted! Finally she’s showing signs that she may be worth the buzz that’s been humming around her for the past two years. She comes across as a lovely girl in this video interview so here’s hoping she’ll do well for that reason at the very least – hopefully her music will deserve success as well.
Poptasticness: 78% Hit potential: 83%
The new… Gareth Gates
As my job involves keeping tabs on all the young boys and girls who want to be popstars, I find it quite difficult to understand why Conor Maynard has been signed when there are far better candidates around. He’s got a big following on YouTube, but his performances are autotuned to oblivion, suggesting he can’t have much faith in his own talent. Clearly his youth combined with YouTube popularity has managed to persuade someone that he will be the British Justin Bieber, but now Justin Bieber’s been around a while it’s time to look for the next thing and I’m just not sure a weak-voiced average-looking teenage boy is it. Even Gareth Gates only lasted 2 albums, and he had Pop Idol behind him. If Conor wants to be a success he’s going to need an angle, and being the British version of a US success story is not going to be enough. Maybe he’ll be given some great songs or turn out to have a sparkling personality, but I don’t think my search for a British male solo pop superstar is over yet.
Poptasticness: 36% Hit potential: 33%
The new… Ke$ha
The only thing that made Like A G6 by Far East Movement acceptable was the girl rap, and it turns out that it’s actually a sample from a song called Booty Bounce by Dev, the girl featured on Like a G6. It’s a bit like how Eminem’s Stan sampled Dido’s Thank You (she’d released it before but it hadn’t been a hit), except Dev is a LOT cooler than Dido. She’s sort of a hybrid between Ke$ha and M.I.A, and with the girl-rap invasion of 2011 she’s bound to get some attention. However, with Nicki, Jessie, Cher etc all establishing themselves very quickly at the helm of this trend I don’t know how much room there will be for Dev. Her singles so far have been pretty samey but there are some much more poptastic tracks on YouTube, especially Monsta.
Poptasticness: 77% Hit potential: 68%
The new… 3rd Edge
It took me a while to understand the point of Encore (they seemed at first like JLS with less attractive members and rubbish songs) but now their debut single has been unveiled I can see where they might fit into the pop landscape. They’re a boyband for cooler girls: the Tinie Tempah to JLS’s Chipmunk, the Loick Essien to JLS’s Taio Cruz. Although they’re signed to Island and share N-Dubz’s management, their first video looks quite cheap. Still, if they’re going to succeed it’ll happen regardless of how much attention the label give them. They’ll pick up fans by gigging relentlessly, tweeting and YouTubing and everything else that’s necessary to establish a boyband in 2011. The most important thing is that the music is right, and I think Wind Up is a great start – it’s very ‘now’ and it’s very catchy too. I don’t see them ever troubling JLS for their urban boyband crown, but with persistence they’ll make a name for themselves.
Poptasticness: 74% Hit potential: 57%
The new… Lenny Crabsticks
With his coarse vocals and cacophonic music, Jagga doesn’t particularly appeal to my pop tastes, but upon realising he sounds a bit like Swedish pop geniuses Teddybears, I tried to listen with an open mind to his latest single Modern Day Romance. If he could sing a little more softly and remove some of the pointless noises, it would actually make a reasonably good pop song. There isn’t much info online about Jagga but I’ve so far found out his real name is Jez, he has an afro, used to be a model (although certainly not a conventionally attractive one) and was in a band called Devil’s Gun. He’s playing quite a lot of gigs with dubstep acts and getting mentions in many ‘ones to watch’ features despite not having done much yet so I reckon he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Poptasticness: 41% Hit potential: 64%