"The Special DontStopthePop award for Not Stopping the Pop!"

Clea (UK)

There is one prize at this pop awards that the public can’t vote. In other words, there are no nominations here. This category is for the act that refuses to stop the pop. In spite of the hurdles and set-backs this award goes to the act who has always kept pop alive. No jumping of genres to suit the market, or refusing to rent a rapper or strum a guitar cos others are doing it and always demanding poptastic melodies as essential elements of their products....

This award is similar to the “Outstanding Contribution to Music” prize you see in the Brit Awards but this is unique to Don’t Stop The Pop-its for the act that keeps pop firmly routed to their way of life, modus operandi and methodology. This is an “against all the odds” award that simply takes a moment to say thanks to a very special act that keeps the catchy pop music going and thus never stopping the pop….In 2007, the Special DontStopthePop Award for Not Stopping the Pop goes to Clea!

Here’s why:

When I created this little site I wanted to document pop acts who, simply put, didn’t stop the pop. This category reflects that essence and the first winner had to go to act that marched to their own beats, were ahead of their time and are keeping the mirrorball deep at the heart of their fun pop sound. Clea are a pop act like no other. Their first album Identity Crisis stalled in the UK charts as did the singles that came from it. In fact, the charts have pretty much ignored Clea which makes them very much an act to pay attention to! The group originally consisted of four amazing vocalists that didn’t make the final set which eventually turned into Girls Aloud. Their first CD included some epic songs like Mind Games, Butterflies and Rainbows, The Lie and the title track. Their song Download It is a song of Mozarts proportions. If Girls Aloud, the Sugababes and any other act had released those amazing songs the Brit awards would have come crawling & begging for a performance. Their song Sprung sounds like something that the likes of Amy Winehouse or Lily Allen gets those at the Observer and The Guardian waxing lyrical over.

The key song of the album was The Lie and if released by either Radiohead or Girls Aloud it would have quenched the number one position for years. With its soaring vocals, electronic winks and rnb baselines, the song was ahead of its time-Leona and her epic Bleeding Love is directly related to The Lie. Indeed, when the mega girlband Monrose released a “version” of the song it went straight to number one in Europe’s biggest music market (Germany). Clea as an act that are ahead of their time is a running theme throughout their history (and we'll be returning to it shortly).

Clea "The Lie"

Despite seeing Monrose go to no.1 with one of their songs and losing a member, the remaining three regrouped and dusted themselves down. Now many would have thought Lindsay, Aimee and Emma would have done the sensible thing and try their hand at a bit of RnB mixed in with a dash of electropop but this wasn’t for Clea (indeed, they'd covered this sound already with Identity Crisis). They did something that secured their fate as pop pioneers. They went for the jugular and released Trinity. This was long before pop was back. The Spice Girls were still split up and releasing babies and guitarpop was everywhere. Clea really should have done a rock album but instead launched their album with the single Clothes Off; the cover of the Jermaine Stewart classic 80’s pop song.

Many mocked, jeered and rudely trashed the poptastic trio. But as their b-side of that time points out “some people say my style is wrong and I don’t give a damn at all”, Clea wanted to do pop and nothing was going to stop them. Come 2007, a rnb act and a mimi-me McFly act in the form of Lil Chris ended up covering Clothes Off. By this time the girls were busily promoting their album in China which incidentally lapped up the girls. Yes, Clea are one of the first British based acts to record and perform songs in Mandarin. See the proof below. Come late 2007 Kylie and EMI have selected a song for her X album that will cater for the Chinese audiences by featuring the vocals of a "local" Chinese star next to Kylies. Clea were there long before...(once again!).

The music of Clea isn’t about being cool or posing. It refuses to appease the Hoxton/NME crowd nor do their pop mock the listener. Its simply about making catchy and fun pop music. Trinity was written for a generation that used the magazines BIG!, Smash Hits and Top of The Pops as their weekly bibles. Those bubbles that fizzed during the peak of the Spice Girls successes and got your bum moving during the Smash Hits road shows is always shaken to the max by the girls of Clea and their release of Trinity. The pop album came out too early. Perhaps now with pop back at the top it might have faired better. Who knows!? But that’s the point – this award is to recognise the foresight of Clea and their tenacity to release a pop album in the midst of your Blunts, Artic Monkey’s and Sandi Thom.

Its 2007, and the news is that Aimee and Emma are on the verge of putting together their 3rd album. Yes, despite a loss of a member the girls are about relaunch themselves and the sound? Its more pop than ever. Ooooooh YES! It makes me beam with pride that despite it all the girls are returning to charts with even more pop. Whether it be sophisticated post-modern love songs (see Download It, Mind Games and Sprung), poptastic Ibiza anthems (see I Surrender) or the catchy paens of pop like Kick Back Relax (made a hit by Agnes Carlsson) and Keep It Cool, Clea are one of Britains most fun, pop and catchy act that this country has to offer. Yes, you can see theres no other act that better deserves the first Don’t Stop the Prize for Never Stop The Pop! Its Clea and thank you!

Clea Discography

Download It (b/w Mind Games)
Stuck In The Middle '04 (b/w Reminisce)
Identity Crisis (LP)
We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off (b/w Clea Bad Girls)
Lucky Like That (b/w Romeo)
Trinity (LP)
Stuck In The Middle '06/I Surrender (b/w Swedish only remixes)

You can hear the unreleased version of Clea's cover of Faith on their myspace!
You can buy their two albums (and their eventual 3rd) through Amazon
Check out their myspace/here for any news. Clea's 2008 is going to be "so" exciting!


J'ason D'luv said...

I'm a big fan of "Download It," which is surprisingly on U.S. iTunes... or at least it was a year ago when I, uh, downloaded it.

kevin (ru) said...

Kudos for this nomination! Clea is truly la creme de la creme of pop.

Mark Phillipsson said...

Actually i forgot about this band. And you know what-they deserve this kind of award/article. I know its only online but they really are a great pop act. Its a shame they are ignored. Thats why i love Dontstopthepop. On the day Girls Aloud release their 4th album you've gone and celebrated the girls that didnt make the group. Well done girls, dstp and I hope they continue to do pop.

Jen said...

Ahh, Bobby! This is great. I love Clea!

DMiles said...


Oh DontStopthePop,

I love Clea! I can't believe they are still together! They need a little loving. Girls Aloud are perfect but Clea are so more fun. Did you see those clips of them performing at ASDA? Or something like that. So sad! They need some radio one love. Why does radio only respect Sugababes and Girls Aloud? Come to think about it, i can't think of any other British bubblegum pop act at the moment. Great to know that they are still together and about to release new music.


Mike said...

I love CLEA. They are everything that Girls Aloud aren't - fun, irreverent and adventurous. Deserving winners!

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