Highly drugged on a heady concoction of paracetamol & my mums lemon "stew", I have returned from Spain in a daze. I had a great time in Seville. I've been to Malaga before but not Seville. Those Spanish are some of the warmest and yummiest people on planet earth. The city is dripping with Imperialism, palaces and extremely kind citizens. Sentiments all of which made sense when I found out that the Christopher Columbus was based Seville! Anyway enough of the history! Pop news!!! Note this round-up will be entrenched with Spanish tidbits for obvious reasons...but I think I can slide in an act or so from beyond Iberia.
First of all, I must talk about the brilliant brilliant brilliant Monica Naranjo and her recent number one single. I've been going on and on about this singer. She blows the concept of showgirl and diva out of the water. She is both female impersonator and woman enshrined. Even the best drag queens are put to shame by this woman. Her album, Europa, was much hyped here and for one particular reason-Amor y Lejo. This track evokes all the fierce spirit of Monica, the drama of Spanish artists Cambre, Parada and Munoz but also recalls the fabulousness of Army of Lovers Crucified and blasts into iconic disco supremacy. The video too is completely out of line. She sits on a gold and pink toilet, surrounds herself with stunning drag queens, eats tarts of said toilet, pukes, gets drunk and becomes a maid. The video is weird. But amazing. I love it. It reminds of Dannii's Everlasting Night promo but mixed in with a bit of John Waters. Please press play:
She has been performing the song on her recent tour where in which four drag queens shout down a golden toilet for Monica to appear on stage to sing the track. Something which I find incredibly post-structural. She also performed the song on the recent final of Operacion Triunfo were she wowed the crowds and made the song more epic than it already was (see here). She later explained, to the students of Operacion Triunfo, how she feels about the gay community in Spain and why she is such an icon (See here).
Jose Galisteo is still releasing his second album. There have been a few hiccups but give it a few weeks or so and I think we should start to hear something soon. The sound is said to be turbo pop. Ander of Andermay is involved with one of the songs. He told me it sounds a bit like Stuart Price mixed with Kylie. Jose recently performed in Las Palmas at their traditional annual Drag Queen Gala
The boy did good! Currently at number uno in Spain is another good looking Spanish boy Alex Manga. Alex was involved in the series Fama and ever since releasing his single Dos Corazones he has proven himself to be quite a force to be reckoned with. Now, I rarely dig boys in pop music especially when their lead single is a soppy ballad. But check his myspace. Bailar Sin Control is amazing. The Acercate Mas mix of Dos Corazones is also rather special too. I heart Alex! Myspace
Soraya (of Spain) was confirmed as Spains entry to this years Eurovision. DSTP has been championing Soraya for years now so yay! Its brilliant to see her keep the fire burning, pick up key international interest and of course perform infront of millions in Moscow. However, I think the song itself, while very Eurovision, isn't as good as other songs on the album such as Angel Caido for instance. Still, it secures a 5th album release for Soraya. Something of which many would have refused the notion or concept a few months ago.
Natalia, her OT classmate, is releasing a greatest hits. This is after the massive flop that was Radikal, Natalia's awful 5th albun. This is what happens when you, as a pop princess, release an entirely tragic rock record. It bombs. Hopefully, the Greatest Hits will include some new tracks which will lean towards the poppy side of things. And, perhaps she'll see a renewel of sorts.
So as I mentioned above, Spain celebrates Drag Queens. It has this thing called the Drag Queen Gala and its a bit like Eurovision. People from around Spain vote for the best drag queen performances (with celebrity performances put in by Mr.Gallisteo and Ms.Naranjo). Each year the Drag Queen contest takes a different theme, which in 2009 was "Pirates" (Piratas). The costumes are gloriously outrageous. Concerts by internationally renowned stars like Grace Jones and Gloria Gaynor have fuelled its popularity. In fact, in the last few years there have been so many entrants that now a pre-selection is made prior to the main competition (sounds familiar no?). Even General Franco tried to shut it down but its always been there and will continue to be, for me, one of Europes finests nights. Please please watch this feast:
I am liking a number of new Spanish acts on the scene and I thought I should take this opportunity to mention. First is Sergio Alcover! Coming from Valencia, Alcover is very funky indeed. There's also a dance twist to his booty which makes me like him a lot. Myspace
The last is Oscar Edu. He is bit more RnB than Sergio but if you check out his myspace tracks, he is clearly endearing himself to my inner mirrorballs. Te Lo Prometi is pure ABBA meets Dannii! If diamonds are a girls best friend, the discopop produced by Oscar are my absolutely my best buddies! Check out his myspace here.
I've found myself rather interested in Soraya/Emma on her ITV2 as part of a show hosted by Paris Hilton. On tonights show, Soraya said she was still doing the music thing which is of course fabulous! Every song she's loading up on her myspace sounds very exciting indeed. The latest are called Jump Ya Bones/ Shut Your Dirty Mind which to me kinda highlights the fact that whether she wins the show or not, her album is certainly going to be a special release for 2009. I've been supporting her since her Popstar/Girls Aloud days when she was still Emma Beard. Now as Soraya (her actual name) the solo shift has produced some quality notch pop. Bring it on!
Lastly, the lovely Portugese girlband Just Girls have just released their balladtastic single. This band are now huge in Portugal. Personally I am waiting for Nonstop to reform. Even if its just a handful of members. I do realize that bridges have been burnt but they could be Portugese version of the Sugababes or even better...Atomic Kitten.
Which reminds me, how brilliant was the trio's I Want Your Love!
Every pop act should some how incorporate KLF samples and theme music from American 1950 western movies! For me, Atomic Kitten never really managed to top I Want Your Love.
Dontstopthepop is going to change for a little bit in the next couple of weeks. Nothing major. Just a little special thing...A celebration of sorts ;-)