I Wanna Be A Popstar!

On my mp3 player is a multitude of songs from around the globe and over the Christmas period I escaped the insanity of moving house to the safe-haven of the ipod. Without internet connection and most of my belongings in boxes tucked away in storage or out of reach it was great to focus on something absolutely poppy and random. I then constructed a playlist. This playlist was decidedly titled the “The History of Popstars”. The T.V show that cynics cried out as the final nail in the coffin for pop music. I ruled out all acts that partaked in the spin-off shows (Fame/Star Academy, Pop Idol, X Factor) as the playlist would’ve enveloped my entire ipod. I’ve ended up with roughly 42 tracks consisting of the winning groups and those groups that teamed up and created a career despite not being in the final act.

The result? A very surprising and varied sounds coming out of my earphones. While some veered towards traditional pop there was not one hegemonic strand of pop that reigned above the others. One moment you’d be skiing down the cheesy mountain of “Whole Lot of Lovin” by Irelands Six and then you’d be glamrocking it up with the German group Nu Pagadi with their brilliant track “Poison” which sounds like a tribute to Black Sabbath. Germany has really taken to the notion of Popstars with each act doing something unexpected, new and tantalising. It is the vocals of No Angels that blast every other Popstar act apart. Check out their 2007 comeback album track “Back Off”. It literally reinvigorates the feminist anthem-the type we’ve not seen since those power ballad days of Cher and Bonnie Tyler. They’ve certainly got the strongest lungs amongst the genealogy of Popstar acts. Another German popstar girlband, Monrose, took another route and produced two electro rnb albums that sit very well next to Timbalands recent experimentations. Indeed, their no.1 single “Hot Summer” is a brilliant side-kick to Nelly’s “Maneater”. Then there was the band Preluders who took the 1950’s and 1960’s bubblegum approach.

Popstars and their acts faced-and continue to-far too much negative criticism by those who failed to actually listen to the overall and multiple sounds consequently produced. For sure, I can understand the tension that the show brought as it unveiled the music industry for what it was-completely managed. All acts whether it be the grand gods of music or the wannabes are constructed and Popstars simply exposed the cogs that make the magical wheel of pop keep turning. It was unfair to level this at the bands though.

Still, the cynics attacked and went for the lack of originality citing the impact on those talented songwriters who would somehow be blocked by this novel format. However the producers and songwriters of Europe have done very well out of “Popstars”. Take the song-writer Linnea Handberg whose song “This is Who I Am” was first released by her, then by the French Popstars band L5 and then by the Swiss girlgroup Tears on their LP “En Rouge”. On the very same album, “I Tatoo You” later appeared on the Preluders album. The recent comeback album by No Angels contains no less than six songs that were previously given to other acts. The Swedish singer Robyn once said a good pop song is a good song and the acts of Popstars know this moto only too well. In the age of recycling, Popstar acts and their AnR teams constantly sneak a peak at their fellow bands and record their version for their own. The “Veneno No Olhar” by the Portuguese girlband NonStop just happens to be one of Australia’s biggest singles by the Australian Popstars group Bardot albiet with the title “Poison”.

There is however one aspect of the format which one can make a successful critique and that’s perhaps the many examples where in which bands failed to get beyond the initial burst of stardom. To my knowledge only 5 acts ever achieved a greatest hits package (L5, No Angels, Girls Aloud, Rouge, Liberty X) and many failed to release a second album and if they did it was their last. The fact that the final band OneTrueVoice never released their album puts the three albums by the runner-up girlgroup Clea in perspective but also reveals their belief in themselves and those people around them and ultimately attests to their staying power. However, generally speaking this does not just occur with acts not only from Popstars shows but evidence of longevity amongst pop acts from T.V reality shows is sadly rather rare.

The truth is, the T.V show produced a myriad of great and versatile pop products, sounds and acts. All of which kept the world of pop very much alive...Moreover, Popstars brought the music directly to the consumer and revealed its DNA. It was a brand new way of "doing music" much in the same revolutionary ways Myspace and Protools are currently allowing singers live out their dreams and gain fans....

Key Popstars Bands/Videos:

Nu Pagadi (The Sweetest Poison)
Bandana (Sigo Dando Vueltas)
Rouge (Brilha la Luna)
Lollipop (Batte Forte)
EyeQ (The World Outside My Door)
Diadems (Celle que je Suis)
Tears (M.u.s.i.c)
L5 (Reste Encore)
Whatfor (L'amor n'a past de loi)
No Angels (Someday)
Supernatural (Supernatural)
True Bliss (Number One)
Girls Aloud (No Good Advice)
Monrose (Hot Summer)
Hear'say (Pure & Simple)
Excellence (We Can Dance)
Liberty X (Just A Little)
Eden's Crush (Get Over Yourself)
Clea (Download it)
Bardot (Poison)
Bro'sis (I Believe)
Scene 23 (I Really Don't Think So)
Hi-5 (I Will Rise Again)
Phixx (Love Revolution)
Nonstop (Tudo Vai Mudar)
T'De Tila (Dejarte Ir)



16 comments:

Christopher - blade_guy@hotmail.com said...

Wicked Post ;) From the worlds biggest Popstars fan... I have all of the original single and album CDs (not copies) from all round the world including Romania, Hungary, Holland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Finland, Greece etc... Bandana also released a greatest hits CD (Argentina). I think BePop from Slovenia may have too. There are several places where it's gone a bit tits-up like One True Voice. Scene23 in America (didn't even release a single), Aaria in New Zealand, Christa Borden in Canada (again, no single), SugarFree in Austria... Fu:El in Denmark only had 1 album, as did Cape in Norway, but I'm sure you already know that! The really elusive CD's I can't get hold of are by Escarcha in Columbia, T De Tila in Mexico, La Coba and Kiruba in Ecuador. I do have some of the South African ones by 101 (series 1), Adilah (series 2), Jamali and Ghetto Lingo (series 3 - Popstars Rivals). Sorry, I didn't mean to waffle on...

Robpop said...

We need to speak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE POPSTARS PRODUCTS!!!!!! Had no idea about Bandana/Bepop!

Also SugarFree!!! Tell me more about this band!!! I too hunger for T De Tila!!! Its a girlband afteral!!!

Christopher said...

I have a copied CD with the mp3 files on, but that's all I have of T de Tila... my brazilian friend sent it to me. BePop are cool :) Although I'm not sure if you know the history of them, one of their members was killed in an accident after they'd released their first album, so subsequent albums only feature the remaining 4 members. I have their debut single and album :) Bandana were huge (in Argentina)... they released 3 albums and then their greatest hits on cd AND dvd... I have both, plus a book and some magazines on them that I stumbled across on Ebay, aswell as a promo single by them... speaking of girlbands, Viva! (the Indian popstars band) are pretty cool :) I had them on in my car today...

Digital Technique said...

Great post! Popstars created so many great popgroups and as you say a lot of different styles of pop! My faves I think have to be Six, Bardot, Phixx and Sugar Jones!

Surely the continuing success of Popstars in Germany, should be enough to make other countries revive the series!?!

Robpop said...

Blade-I mean to say I knew about Bandana and Bepop...but i didnt think they got round to releasing greatest hits!!!!! Where do you buy your cds from!! One is intrigued!

As for Germany...Ja! its been very successful there. Only Room2012 (The most recent band) had poor ratings/chart results. Methinks thats cos the show wasnt quite Popstars but more Dance X/Star Academie.

In short, it wasnt quite the usual format. Still, they did a great album (2 if you count Allstars). They are already filming the next series which is said to be a bit more traditional.

Bring it on! Kann es nicht erwarten.

Robpop said...

Christopher, you are my icon! I never knew about T De Tila!!!!! Viva sound brilliant! I only have a few songs.

Robbie said...

Robbiepopp, I'm not kidding you here -- I literally clicked onto your site and started reading this post and immediately Six came on my iPod. I found their whole CD on eBay just before the holidays. "Let Me Be The One," their second Irish #1 is a jammmm!!

Thanks for the history, though. I bought the Eden's Crush single when it was released! Good memories....

D'luv said...

And, that above comment was me, btw. I was signed in to the wrong account :P

Robpop said...

Bless the Edens crush!!! Scene23 werent too bad either. The music anyway. With the decline of its daughter show Idol, perhaps its time Popstars was brought back in the US. In the UK you could argue that theres no point in bringing it back due to the fact that individuals+bands could potentially make it through the X Factor format (see Hope for example). Thus, the two would be clearly rival shows...on the same network (and you know how TV networks hate clashing shows especially when its on their own brand). It just wouldnt happen. However in the US, American Idol is purely about individual acts which might allow the space for the networks to bring back Popstars....thats my thought for the day...

D'luv, Let me be the one is brilliant. The album aint half too bad. A bit too much on the slowish/westlife/ballad side of things. It could have done with some more stompers. The Man That Made Me A Woman is wrong on so many levels that its my favourite song of theirs.

D'luv said...

Yes, and I was disappointed it wasn't the boys in the group singing that one.

Robpop said...

Yes! Oh how that would have been a perfectly deviant song.

Its quite rare for Popstar acts to be a bit naughty (sadly!). Only Tears of Switzerland (to my knowledge) swore in their songs.

Adem With An E said...

What a SUPERB post, totally made me smile :)

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Anonymous said...

guys im dying to find the albums by the lollipop the italian band, can someone help me out here plz.

MeTyKa said...

Hei everyone! I love the posted videos...I am from slovenia I am still a big fan of popstars here in SLOVENIA BePop and Unique(do you know this gir band made from three girl) I am looking everywhere on the internet anything about popstars but some band are really hard to find I would really like to hear band named CAPE but I dont find anything...here I leave my mail if somebody wants any single of slovenian popstars metylicious@gmail.com

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