16. Rouge (Brazil)
You know I said only three bands from the PopStars fleet had produced Greatest Hits packages (No Angels, Girls Aloud and this week L5)... well I was wrong. There's 1 more and thats the delightful Brazilian band Rouge. They were the most fun of the PopStars' Girlband regime because they managed to, somehow, bring back the vibe of the Spice Girls. Indeed they became the most successful girlband in South American history sale-wise. Which is pretty impressive considering the pop industry is so big there. They even recorded a number of their songs in Spanish at the height of their success. They produced dolls, toys, merchandise, food and a very lucrative fashion line. In 2002 they released their version of Asereje which was later covered in Spanish by Las Ketchup(whose version actually includes the Rouge girls on backing vocals). Rouge themselves were not prone to covers as they re-did the B*witched debut and some Hear'Say album tracks. Despite huge success right up till their last release they've called it a day but I don't think its the last Brazil will see/hear of Rouge.
Tracks: Popstar [mp3], C'est La Vie(Spanish version) [mp3], Ragatanga [mp3]
17. Miio (Sweden)
Miio have managed to do something quite shocking; they've actually made Girls Wanna Have Fun even more poptastic than the original. Hailing from Sweden, Miio are Josepfine and Mia and have so far released two albums with their latest Fever causing a commotion on my Ipod. If you like Ace Of Base you'll like Miio!
Tracks: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun [mp3], Fantasi [mp3], Once [mp3]
18. Monrose (Germany)
Monrose are the latest girlband from Germany following in the stiletto glories of No Angels and Preluders where the PopStars franchise looks as robust as it did back in the TrueBliss days. The three are just about to release their new album and Shame enters the German charts this week. You can buy their album here and check out their simple but effective official website here for more information. Notice that Shame appears to be a cover of one my all time girlband tracks, The Lie by Clea!
Track: Shame(Radio Edit) [mp3], Work It(B-side) [mp3]
Video: Shame [link]
19. Milk&Honey (Germany)
Milk and Honey just entered the charts this week with this rather brilliant ode to international pop music. Despite being German, the only languages you'll hear on this are Arabic, English and French. Totally camp. So who are they? Anne Ross was from the girlband Preluders (see below) and her bandmate Maneli Falei is a well established world-music singer. They've joined forces to make the some of the most interesting pop music coming out Europe this year.
Track: Habibi [mp3]
Video: Habibi [link]
20. Cosmo4 (Sweden)
So we've returned to Sweden(get use to it!). Cosmo4 have yet to release their album but their singles have all been fabbubbletastic and well worth the shipping costs. I'm not sure whether they've called it a day but we hope not as their music fell on this side of 60's bubblegum pop that we rarely hear around these woods these days. Edit: I said wasnt sure whether Cosmo4 had split up because they havent! They are trying out to represent Sweden this year at Eurovision (thanks Alex). Yay!
Track: Adios Amigos [mp3]
Videos: Peek-a-Boo [link], Mexico [link]
21. EyeQ (Denmark)
DontStopThePop covered EyeQ during our DanskePop season but they were so classy we thought it only right to return to them. Tracks like Be Okay sound ever so close to Kelly Clarkson's move into indiePop that worked so well for her. Sadly EyeQ were before their time and they disbanded. However they did release a brilliant second album from which Be Okay was the title track and needs as much attention as they truly deserve. As girlbands go, EyeQ's kinky lyrics and excellent melodies make them very special. Check out their interesting take on their "girlband-grannies" key track We Are Family for proof of their rather leftfield (for a PopStars group) attitude. No cut-run disco cover for EyeQ....
Tracks: We Are Family(bonus Track) [mp3], Be Okay [mp3], Let The Record Spin [mp3]
22. Caracola (Sweden)
Now to a Swedish girlband that hasn't disbanded! Caracola are very now and doing rather well in their native country. I hope and pray they secure some kind of English album. Hell, if Miio can record an English album on the back of their monster of chart history then Caracola can! Thanks to some very cute special fairies we've had a little listen to a track they've done in English and, despite being work in progress, I hope they throw caution to the wind and follow their hearts cos what I heard was magic! Bring on summer 07!
Track: Summarnatt [mp3]
23. Samajona (Germany)
It would seem that todays journey into girlband zips from Stockholm to Berlin. Thats because Sweden-Germany love their girlbands and for this we love 'em! Samajona, like Caracola, have no TV show to support them which could explain why the band have sadly come stuck. Still, they released two excellent pop albums that can be placed somewhere in-between Solid HarmoniE and No Angels. The English lyrics to Take Me To The Top are so dirty they make me either think of a male pornstar or a BratWurst.
Track: Take Me To The Top [mp3]
Video: Wird Es Heute Passieren [link]
24. NG3 (Sweden)
Cutting back to Sweden, if you got hot under your cover over Samajona's lyrics prepare to get all sexually educated with this rather fantastic girlband. NG3 push aside the red-faced double meanings and go straight to the point. Holler contains the timeless lyric "don't be silly put a condom on ya willy" and for this alone NG3 have gone into DontStopthePop Hall of Fame. However as you'll hear on Holler, which is no relation to the Spice Girl song, they then have that high pitched "heeeee" that we most know as Bo Selecta's tribute to Michael Jackson. Well this band did it first. The girls released one brilliant album, As Nasty As We Wanna Be, which was the album that the Spice Girls should have released instead of Forever. This was the first 'adult' girlband aimed not to teenage girls but to 23 year olds who knew about Bombay rolls and remembered Kylie when she was Neighbours and a world without reality TV.
Track: Holler [mp3]
Videos: Tell Me [link], The Anthem [link]
25. YooMii (Germany)
From an adult girlband to Yoomii who probably recall Atomic Kitten before they got all boring (when Kerry was still in the band basically). Or, alternatively you could say Yoomii are related to Aqua or are the little sisters of Caracola. Their album, Here We Are, is a database of poptastic Euromusic and, as such, a perfect 'getting-ready-to-go-out' soundtrack. YooMii are pretty big in their native Germany where they've just released a DVD-movie to cash-in on the christmas market.
Track: Party Girl [mp3]
26. Girlband (Australia)
So to our second stray out of Europe. Girlband can be described as the book-end to a, er, girlband history in Australia that started from GirlFriend to Bardot to Young Divas—we could have made an issue of the aforementioned band but seeing as they are all over the internet DontStopthePop felt it better to cover the real last chapter of girlbands in Australia: Girlband. Check out their NZ brotherband, er, Boyband. Unlike Boyband (our favourite has to be the "gay boi") however there isn't an ounce of irony in the Girlband machine. They are serious about being a girlband. Which is good. But will it work? Girlband have only completed one song and appear to be testing the waters before they embark on releasing an album. Time will tell but their British sisterband, Frank, failed to get beyond the release of their sole album. Hopefully the future for Girlband shines brighter...
Track: Party Girl [mp3]
Excellent Essay on the Genealogy of Girlbands on Australia & beyond [link]
27. Soccx (Germany)
Flying back to Europe, Soccx are yet another up n coming pop group. So far the music is very strong. Two nights ago they previewed some of their material and tracks such as Scream Out Loud and Bye Bye Baby demand to be released. If you want to place them put them in-between the PussyCat Dolls, P!nk and Dannii Minogue. They are on the cuff of releasing a new album which is pretty exciting as the five look like the poppiest act since Spice Girls.
Track: Get The Party Started(from dusk till dawn) [mp3]
Video: Get The Party Started(from dusk till dawn) [link]
Graaf are a sister-band who released lots of europop music that was sadly lost amongst the ATC's, Milk Inc's and Aqua's. Some said the music was out of place while others argued the level of incest simply crossed that "moral line". Indeed FHM many a time included naked images of the girls spraying each other with garden tools and in "arty-farty" shoots that just happened have them both in that erotic-but-dead-inside look we all attribute to PlayBoy and Hustler. Whatever. Their videos generally included soldiers and men being dominated which makes Graaf a very special girlband. One of the sisters recently tried out for Eurovision but was sadly rebuffed as the entry stage. Funnily enough, Hannah Graaf's appearance and presentation of her song, Naughty Boy, preempted the current 1930's/40's love-in heralded by diva's Amy WineSoaked and Christina Aguilera. This just goes to show that those Swedish are always ahead of the game. Unlike their Nordic cousins......
Track: Give It Up [mp3]
Video: Naughty Boy-Live(Hannah Graaf) [link], Never Never [link], You Got [link]
29. NyLon (Iceland)
NyLon could be the one and only girlband to hail from the country that was named after a cheapo food store that is currently promoted by, amazingly, Kerry Katona of Atomic Kitten. Nylon are huge in Iceland but sadly their attempts of U.K success fell this side of Clea, Jenny Frost and Lisa Scott-Lee. This is probably because they sounded like the female Westlife and so became stuck. In a last, but rather botched, plan to retrieve something out of their U.K soirée Nylon released their version of Sweet Dreams. Thing is it sounded like an Almighty cover and radio ignored it. The album has been shelved (for Feb 2007) but not in their native Iceland where the four have received a hero's welcome-home. Odd Fact: the album includes a cover of SuperSister's last single Summer's Gonna Come Again.
Track: Sweet Dreams [mp3]
Videos: Losing A Friend [link], Summer's Gonna Come Again(Supersister original) [link]
30. Nylon Beat (Finland)
Not to be confused with their Icelandic sisters, this band of two were a result of a TV show somewhat like Popstars but circa 1995. They started out pretty pop when they were just 16 and by 2006 they'd released over 30 singles and over ten albums (two of which are in English). Their videos included Finnish Eurovision winners Lordi and excellent parodies of American soap operas. As you will see one of their first hits includes them playing around in toilets ala Sugababes in Easy. Also note in that particular video they snap the hand of one of their suitors. Moreover check out the young mans erection, the camptastic dancing and the blonde boy who sleeps with his dolly. Girlband gold.
Tracks: Syyton [mp3],Teflon Love [mp3]
Videos: Teflon Love [link], Anna Mule [link]
31. Queens (Poland)
Going south of Finland we find ourselves in Poland with the very camptastic girlband Queens. Despite having spots of success with their debut album, Made For Dancing, the girls recently lost two of their members, Pat & Agnies, and have lost the rights to release a track that was supposedly going to break them in the international market (it's now been given to, gulp, Danity Kane). Still, Queens are set to release their second album, We Are The Queens, with two new members Julia and Sylvia. This means that Monika remains to be the only original member. Sugababes anyone?
Tracks: Everybody Loves The Sunshine [mp3], Od-A-Do-Zet [mp3]
Video: Everybody Loves The Sunshine [link]
32. Popsie (Sweden)
In 1996 Popsie formed however Zandra, Angelica, Kat and Cecilia only secured a record deal a whole year later. In a short space of 12 months the girls released a number of singles and one excellent album that has pretty much gone down in girlband history as pop history gold. Sadly however, despite such classics as Single, Rough Enough and the Spice Girls-anthem-that-never-was I'm Not Your Property they vanished without a trace.
Tracks: Dump the Zero(Get A Hero) [mp3], Latin Lover [mp3]
Video: Rough Enough [link]
33. Via Gra (Ukraine)
Not to be confused with the erection drug of the similar spelling, Via Gra have swept through their home country and are making waves in Russia. In a similar Sugababes/Queens fare Via Gra, despite excellent sales, constantly swap and change their frontline. They now perform with only one original member(Vera) but all those who've since gone solo have all had great careers out of the band. As you will see if you check out the video for Brillianti Via Gra are camp as a make-up artist backstage at Eurovision..
Track: Biology [mp3]
Video: Brillianti [link]
34. Preluders (Germany)
The Preluders were the girlband to improve on the mighty mighty No Angels but sadly it t'was a mountain too high to climb and they fell apart at the seams (indeed, they lost member after member from quintet to trio to duo in two short years), and it had started ever so well. Their first single was a cover of Losing My Religion sold exclusively at McDonald's. Following on from that, their stunning 'proper' debut single Everyday Girl landed in at no.1 in Germany which is a huge achievement seeing as the country is the biggest market music-wise in Europe. Their album, Girls in The House obtained platinum status, however second single, Bal Privee, limped to number 24 and future single releases from the album were canned. Perhaps they peaked too fast and too early as their follow-up singles and album (an ill-informed covers collection) all flopped. At the moment of breach they lost a member, ala Kym Marsh you might argue, but Tertia had to leave the band after a car accident. Then both Rebecca & Anne left the group leaving the remaining duo to wrangle out of record company conflicts and emotional issues. However by June 2006 things were on the up and the Preluders were back with a new deal and a new girl. I Want Your T.I.M.E suddenly became a girlband classic and a true return to form. However, the German people made sure the girls were shown the door when it entered the charts at a hefty no.91. However this hasn't stopped the band and they plan to release their 3rd album for 2007.
Tracks: I Want Your T.I.M.E [mp3], Last Christmas [mp3], Losing My Religion [mp3]
Video: Everyday Girl [link]
35. Smoke2Seven (UK)
This rather brilliant trio had tons of money thrown at them. Their videos rivaled the quality of American acts but the charts refused to take yet another girlband. The UK charts have never truly been kind to girlbands. Yes you might argue that we've got Sugababes, Girls Aloud, Spice Girls, All Saints, Atomic Kitten and so on. However both All Saints and Sugababes flopped first time round, Girls Aloud have poor chart placings with excellent tracks and Atomic Kitten were saved by a malty ballad. For every Spice Girls you've also got Smoke2Seven and what separates flop and success isnt always clear as you'll hear Smoke2Seven pisses all over some of the turds released by Spice Girls and All Saints(Mama anyone?). Don't ya think the one at the bottom of the picture looks like a young Amy Winehouse.........??!!
Track: Been There Done That [mp3]
Video: Envy [link]
36. Lollipop (Italy)
Lollipop were the product of the Italian season of PopStars in 2001 and they were absolutely huge. Their first album spawned a remix album that received equal gigantic sales. After touring and breaking the girls dusted themselves off and released Together in 2004. However this was three years later and the album barely dented the Italian charts. In fact it didnt even enter the top 75 (it charted at no.80 which probably means it sold about 2 records). As such its very rare these days. Interestedly it steals original idea of the 3rd Spice Girls album by splitting the album between solo material and group work. Thus, its probably the most versatile album to be released by PopStar act. Not only does each girl write her song, but no female dominates on vocals which makes Together a very special girlband album. As you'll hear on the two tracks presented today they couldnt be more opposed to each other in style and feel...The group fell apart and Dominque is now in the finals of the French Pop Idol.
Tracks: Sunshine [mp3], Love Is Gonna Change [mp3]
Videos: Batte Forte [link], Down Down Down [link]
37. Antilook (Portugal)
Antilook were basically a sophisticated take on Spice Girls before the Spice Girls came to be. They were signed as early as 1996 but they wouldnt launch until 1997 but boy did they "go large" when their debut single, Refugio, came out in 1998. There were rumours that they would release their very successful album in the U.S and Brazil but sadly the hybrid album of Portugese-English was delayed and eventually shelved after Sony got cold feet.
Track: Refugio [mp3]
38. Reflex (Russia)
Although Reflex might not the best name for a girlband, they are the best thing to come out of Russia since vodka. It certainly helps that they've grabbed some of the finest Dj's/producers that Sweden has to offer. Despite losing a bandmember, this girlband have money behind it and some of their videos have the kind of special effects that rivals movies like The Matrix. Some of their performances also include a certain sappho-chic to it, like Tatu, which I've always seen as odd because of Russia's ardent criminalisation of homosexuality. Again, another girlband that hasnt disbanded and going stronger and stronger. They've left the bubblegum europop and have entered into a rather interesting realm of serious-pop which has taken their sales into multi-million territory. Its no wonder then as to why the sales of Clea-when-they-were-serious were so huge in Russia....I highly recommend you listen to the stunning ballad Ye Nabo Razbila
Track: I Can't Live Without You, [mp3], Ye Nabo Razbila [mp3]
39. LilyJets (Norway)
LilyJets can rightfully state to be be the first band since A-Ha to break out of the domestic market and into the rest of world. They consist of three; Lis, Kine & Tinki who holds the award for having the best name in girlbands, like, Ever! LilyJets released their first single this year after 5 years of rehearsing, testing and working with ideas and sounds. The result has resulted in some rip-roaring rockpop material that has led them to success in Sweden and Germany. There are rumors that after they are done with touring Europe they will return to the U.S and release something there.
Track: Going Blind [mp3]
40. SheBang (Sweden)
Staying in the same region and sound, She-Bang are more pop than a can of BubbleGum(remember they used to sell that?). Do not confuse them with that other rocky girlband, SheDaisy(even tho they've both released 1 album with the same name..). The bands' sound is bright, fun and made for getting you to move regardless of your ability to dance. Their attitude recalls some early Shampoo and if you liked 21st Century Girls you'll love SheBang.
Track: Temple Of Love [mp3]
41. Blog27 (Poland)
So I only found out about this particular girlband through the Jessica's excellent blogs DirrtyPop/IntoTheGroove and ever since, I've been following the duo ever so closely. Not only did they cover (and improve) Italian europop hits but also brought the music of TeddyBears to a much younger audience than one would expect. Sadly, Ala left the band only last month and joined a more gothpunk outfit ready to conquer Poland early next year. She cited the reason for leaving was because of the attention the record company and media gave her fellow bandmember. The remaining member, one Tula Sziagowska, is due to release the next Blog27 record early next year too and certain industry insiders believe that the single will be released simultaneously in true pop-clash-war-conflict style. I want to say "hurrah!" here but I've got a feeling that this will all end in tears.
Track: Uh La La La [mp3]
42. Afro-Dite (Sweden)
Afro-Dite are Swedens excellent answer to Destiny's Child. Their Never Let It go (originally given to Alcazar) was a highlight of Eurovision in Tallinn and I was quite surprised when Sweden came in so badly. Many have said if an all white Alcazar had performed it Sweden would have won. As you can see for yourself the Afro-Dite girls completely out-class the others there. More, when you see what actually won you can understand why many felt something illegitimate was going on. Wikipedia states that they went their separate ways but nothing could be further from the truth. The girls released probably the disco album of 2002 and tried once again to enter Eurovision with yet another discotastic track Aqua Playa. The girls then shelved the band and pursued their careers in TV and music with variable success. They are planning to return with a new album for 2007.
Tracks: Back On My Feet [mp3], Aqua Playa [mp3]
Videos: Bang-a-Boomerang Live (Shirley Clamp & Blosssom) [link], Never Let it Go Live [link]
43. Excellence (Sweden)
Staying in Sweden, we come to their version of No Angels and because they are Swedish the level of poptasticivity is taken to a level not seen since in PopStars/PopIdol history. They released five top 10 singles and the ultra boogielicious Region of Excellence album which sold enough to to secure a future in the music industry (it went to no.1). However rather than following their European PopStars sisters (L5, No Angels and Girls Aloud) Excellence went down the TrueBliss/Hear'Say trajectory and cut loose once the album was released. Well not really. They lost 1 member, Joanna, and regrouped to release the brilliant We Can Dance that would be later "covered" by the British rapper Verbalicious on her unreleased epic album Verbal Issues. You might not know this but one member, Ana, secured global success with her rock anthem We Are which was the theme to the second outing of the Spider-Man movie franchise.
Track: We Can Dance [mp3]
Video: Need To Know [link]
Video: Need To Know (drag performance from New Zealand, 2006) [link]
44. Mach4 (Netherlands)
This poptastic Dutch band were dubbed as the next big Spice Girls. Vocally and soundwise you can clearly hear the reasons for such conclusions. One Step sounds like a sublime hybrid of Wannabe and Say You'll Be There. Theres even a lil' Mel B-ilk rap in the middle of the affair.
The intimacy between the two bands can be traced back to the fact Sony had Mach4 primed to rival the Spice Girls who came from the world of EMI/Virgin. Sadly, the plan was foiled by the release of Spice Up Your Life which was yet another resetting of the lines and made One Step sound very dated. One could make a point of the repeated lyric "one step back" but I wont. Neither will I jest about the title of the follow-up single Beginning of The End. Tails tucked between the legs Sony moved on and forgot Mach4 ever existed which explains the utter dearth of information on the group online.
Track: One Step [mp3]
45. Feminnem (Bosnia & Herzegovina/Croatia)
This band are off the richter scale of camp! Seriously, no girlband does camp pop like Feminnem. Feminnem are the Yugoslavian equivalent to Clea/LibertyX as they consist of members who didnt the make the final band. Yet, as you'll hear on the epic pop classic Klasika they're the ones with the career. Last year they caused quite a frenzy when they represented their country at the European Song Contest with their ABBA-tastic Call Me which as in fact about life in, er, Eurovision/ABBA-Land! Despite having one of the best pop videos of any Eurovision-check out the "hallo Copenhagen" bit-act they crashed in at no.14. Klasika was one of the best songs we heard last year. And IT IS CAMP. REALLY CAMP! If you thought Your Disco Needs You/Go West were camp this discostruts them into oblivion. The second track on offer today is just as discoTastic and will get fans of BwO/Alcazar sweating into their hotpants and fake Farrah bangs. The Feminnem Show was probably the disco album of 2005 and so I highly recommend you track it down.
Tracks: Klasika [mp3], 2 Scra 1 Ljubav [mp3]
Video: Call Me [link]
46. Tears (Switzerland)
The Swiss music industry is generally quite small and eclipsed by the mighty German music scene. However now and then it will surprise you and the girlband Tears sole album is much better than their Germanic sisters No Angels debut. They were the product of the Swiss attempt of PopStars and they swept through the nation of three languages like wildFire. They consisted of Evelyn, Tiffany, Romina and Amanda. Despite such classics as M.u.s.i.c and Dreamin' the girls seperated only weeks after releasing their 3rd single Ca Plane Pour Moi which was used in many a car advert. I highly recommend their debut(and only) album En Rouge...
Track: Ca Plane Pour Moi [mp3]
Videos: M.U.S.I.C [link], Ca Plane Pour Moi [link]
Some words: Nearly every country in Europe was covered in this rather large update(every Nordic country was covered which might be a first!). Due to its size the next update on girlbands will be mid-December. However it will feature more international girlbands and will unearth some 80's and early 90's groups. This post was heavy on bands from the PopStars TV backdrop which some might have argued has actually destroyed the genre of "girlband" but as Girls Aloud and the very new Monrose illustrate this might not be the case.
The music in the previous 1-15 girlbands post will be removed this tuesday so act fast and check out the sounds asap. Naturally all the info here is posted to tempt you to do your bit for feminism and invest in some of the cds (you can find all the world online music stores on this very site..)
16. Rouge (Brazil)
Posted by Robpop at Monday, December 04, 2006