Category: Music

The best music reviews, news and updates from around the world.

Help This New Charity Single Hit The Top!

The brand new single from Eclipse Stage School to benefit the Irish Cancer Society is here. Download now.

Eurovision 2017: The Rise Of Portugal And Fall Of Ireland

So the Eurovision Song Contest has finished for another year and we have seen some records being made and some records being made even longer in this past week of programming.

First off, after a 53 year participation without any luck Portugal walked away with a victory last night with over 700 points from the Jury and Audience votes. A song which just stood alone, had a great melody and a simple stage design overtook the crazy and elaborate stage shows from various countries to top both the Jury and Audience votes before they were combined to reveal Salvador the victor. Topping both the Jury and Audience votes has become hard in previous years but this song proves that it cut through language barriers, bloc voting scandals and proves that a great song CAN win the contest.

Looking at the entire show and of course the Semi Finals from during the week, the production value was definitely there for majority of the songs with countries trusting some of their biggest names with representing their countries and throwing every graphic, wedding dress and even a milk jug at their appearance in the contest. No stone is ever left unturned in the competition which sees 42 countries participate.

After viewing both Semi Finals and the 6 automatic qualifiers (Big Five plus the host country) I predicted a varied Top 7. As we sat to watch last nights event I promised I would not change my mind and I didn’t which led to my Top 7 being the TOP SEVEN! Yes, I am not bragging but I predicted Portugal would win, Bulgaria would be second and Moldova, Romania, Belgium, Italy and Sweden would round out the top spots on the night. Each song different but all great pop songs with great hooks and nice staging.

So now let’s move onto our own failures: IRELAND
Why have we done so bad in the past few years? For the last 4 years we have not qualified out of the Semi Final which now creates a brand new record for Ireland as the worst qualification record for the country ever. We have gone from the best to the worst country at the contest, but why?

Well, first off our national broadcaster RTE is trying too hard to predict what the audience wants. When they see a ballad win, they throw in a ‘dance anthem’ with drums and when an uptempo song wins, we throw in a ballad that would of suited the contest 20 years ago and we try to do it as cheaply as possible. For the last number of years, the same people have called the shots on the Eurovision selection for Ireland and now the time is right to change that and bring in fresh blood to end our embarrassing failure.

This years entry, Brendan Murray, was internally selected by Louis Walsh who RTE praise at every opportunity and ship himself and Linda Martin (Eurovision winner of the 90’s) into every show possible which leads me to believe they have some hold on the delegation here in Ireland. Ok, both LW and LM have precious history and success with the contest… but that was 25 years ago, it is not the same Contest nowadays.

Louis was tasked with finding the BEST song for Ireland and in a submission process of over 300 songs he chose this:

What’s wrong with this? Well let’s break it down into simple terms. The writers are previous Westlife hitmakers, so did Louis look very far or just accept his friends song. The song builds too far into the song, an audience wants to be brought in from the first verse, not at 2.30. The staging is cheap and tacky, once again RTE looking for staging that can fit into a suitcase to save on expenses but then sends their whole department including Louis Walsh on a holiday to Ukraine. And lastly, the song has no radio or commercial play relatability. My Grandmother loves the song but will she pick up the phone and vote or likewise does she listen to Spotify? No.

Our whole selection process is so backwards it’s funny. A little secret for you all: In 2016, I approached RTE and their Head Of Delegation with a very good proposal from myself and the writer of two very recent Eurovision smashes including a WINNING song in the past five years 😉 who was willing to work with Ireland to create a song and myself a creative stage show. This was rejected. And likewise in 2013, after our first bad result, myself and an American producer with hit singles on Billboard and Worldwide Singles Charts offered ourselves to come up with a Eurovision song for Ireland. This was rejected.

Why do they not want to listen? It’s plain and simple, friends are keeping friends in jobs but they will never succeed at this contest without finding commercial friendly songs, creating an attractive stage show and using our great qualities to our advantage and I am not talking about throwing more Irish dancers on stage!

I have said it time and time again, I would love the opportunity to be involved in the process and I know so many people that are of the same mind from proven songwriters and producers in both this years contest and previous to performers and creatives looking to bring some glory back to Ireland. Let’s call for RTE to open up the process for everyone to enter songs and stage shows, not just selecting a song and artist internally, that does not work. We have proved that now!

Overall a sad year for Ireland in Eurovision, Brendan done a great job but he was flogging a dead horse. His voice with a great modern song like Belgium or Bulgaria would have given us a great chance. Let’s learn and create something special for 2018.

Written by
Kenneth Giles

December Means Christmas Songs!

So every year I try to hold back from listening to Christmas music until Christmas officially starts and for me that’s….. December 1st!

Ok, so I can’t hide from it totally as they are overplayed from the middle of October in most shopping centres and high streets around the world but now I can put the MTV Christmas channel on, Christmas 24 movies and put up the tree with just 3 weeks to go.

So what are the best Christmas songs? Everyone will go to the obvious Merry Christmas Everyone, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday and even the now rejigged 3 times, Do They Know Its Christmas?, but for me it’s the lesser known ones that excite me.

Here are my top 5 Christmas crackers (go on play them all now!)

1. Kelly Clarkson – Underneath The Tree

2. Michael Buble – Baby Please Come Home

3. COMEDY CLASSIC – Geraldine AKA Peter Kay – Once Upon A Christmas Song

4. GUILTY PLEASURE – Justin Bieber – Mistletoe

5. THE REAL No.1 – Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You

And finally if your looking for a good Christmas playlist to put on in the car and sing away too, then check out the Glee Christmas Album from a few years ago….. its cheesy as hell but festive!

Keep it here on PopOnDown for the latest Christmas fashion trends, music news and entertainment coming soon!

Feature by @Kenneth_Giles

REVIEW: Urban Hymn – Official Film Soundtrack

Today I will review the brand new soundtrack from a feature film starring Shirley Henderson and Letitia Wright called ‘Urban Hymn’.

The album plays host to a diverse range of artists such as The Clash, Darrell Banks, TZY, Tinchy Stryder and the films very own Urban Hymn Choir featuring solos from actress Letitia Wright. The politically charged compilation which arrived on 28 October 2016 carries a determined strength to make a change in the world.

Letitia Wright, Guyana born and selected as one of BAFTAS Breakthrough Brits 2015, not only puts on an impressive performance acting, but steals the show with her heartfelt voice. Previously known for her roles in Channel 4’s Top Boy and Cucumber, the ‘Urban Hymn’ soundtrack plays home to Wright’s vocal debut as she joins the choir singing modern-classic such as UB40’s Don’t Break My Heart.

‘Urban Hymn’, directed by Michael Caton-Jones, is a profound coming of age drama, about a young offender, Jamie, played by Letitia Wright, whose life is tainted by unfortunate events following on from her mother’s death at an early age. The film is set amongst the terrifying 2011 British summer riots in which many young adults had a part in. Shirley Henderson plays the role of Kate, an inspiring care worker who gently convinces Jamie to use her voice to overcome the hardships, thus joining the Urban Hymn Choir.

One of the key tracks sung by Letitia Wright & The Urban Choir is a cover of Standing In The Right Place previously by a anthemic, melody-driven UK rock band called Belarus who feature throughout the soundtrack. The director of ‘Urban Hymn’, Michael Caton-Jones, was said to fall in love with lead singer’s, Lee Alder, powerful, searing vocals that were able to elevate music to emotive places and made it the perfect fit for his upcoming film.

The soundtrack features I Keep Faith by Billy Bragg that highlights “you need a bit of courage to go against the grain”. Musician Billy Bragg plays an eminent role in the film playing himself and using his real-life initiative, the Jail Guitar Doors within the story to try to stimulate creativity and give the youth a way of escaping their negative energy when incarcerated. Bragg provides guitars to prisons and teaches music lessons within jails to help with the inmate’s rehabilitation.

In between the belting tracks from the choir, we are also treated to a really cool and funk driven track (which gives a feel of Bruno Mars) from Jamie Joseph with his song ‘Faithful’. The soundtrack brings together rock, pop, hip hop, choral and old school into one playlist which makes it a perfect movie soundtrack.

If you are looking for a playlist with an equal mix of heart wrenching and heart thumping tracks, then look no further than the Urban Hymn soundtrack which is out now on Sony Music.

Although I have not yet seen the film, I am super excited to see it after hearing the quality of music and anthems used throughout. Get out and see it and buy the soundtrack, you will not be disappointed!

Camilla Destiny Is The Real One!

‘Real Ones’ is the second club-pop banger from Camilla Destiny, an award winning Brit School alumna singer/ songwriter/producer. The multitalented beauty has written chart hits for international superstars as well as working as a professional dancer, performing at televised events such as the Brit Awards & MOBOs.

‘Real Ones is about having fun with the people you love. It was inspired by a crazy trip to Ibiza with lifelong friends.’ said Camilla.

Camilla’s debut single ‘Life And Soul’ proved that Camilla is a talented artist in her own right and she has the full support of all the artists she has written for to become a success.

‘After writing for so many others, I am now enjoying the freedom of creating my own sound: fun, vibrant and experimental with a summer feel.’ Camilla Destiny

Camilla Destiny has an impressive set of follow up singles in the pipeline which feature Atumpan (The Thing), Killbeatz (Fuse ODG, Wizkid), Jade Peters (The Voice) and J. Town (Flights from My Soul).

If you love a poppy Ibiza club style banger, this is it! The new single is released on September 16th.

 

Avicii Is Back!

Swedish superstar DJ and producer Avicii is back with a brand new single.

Avicii announced earlier this year that he was taking time away from music to concentrate on something else but he seems to be unable to keep away after releasing this new single last week on his YouTube channel.

‘Feeling Good’ which samples Nina Simone’s song of the same name is a classic Avicii track with huge beats, nice hook and great build throughout the track.

Could this be the Wake Me Up super hit of 2016? Let’s wait and see. Hopefully this is a permanent return to music for the Swede and not just an old mix he had lying about and threw up online. We want more!!

 

The Movie Song Returns!

Do you remember the Eurovision selection for Ireland a few years back when Linda Martin and Billy McGuinness of Aslan went at it? If you do, then you will remember this song.

Originally penned for X Factor contestant Eoghan Quigg, The Movie Song has just got a revamp and is being re-released by 21 year old singer/songwriter Karl Daly. Karl has been living in Portugal and performing on the resort circuit for many years and after hearing The Movie Song a few years ago, he knew he wanted to sing it.

The singer contacted songwriter of the song, Karl Broderick, and ask could he use the song, two years later he isn’t only singing it but it has its own video shot in the Algarve and release on iTunes and other digital platforms (now that’s groovy!)

Songwriter Karl Broderick who is the husband of TV3 presenter Alan Hughes has a string of hit’s under his belt with acts including Olly Murs as well as other Eurovision Ireland single ‘LOVE’ from many moons ago which featured the vocals of Donna and Joe McCaul as well as 4 Irish backing dancers (one of which was my cousin!). Broderick has more songwriting pursuits lined up planned work with writers whom have worked with Beyonce and The Pussycat Dolls.

The song is a catchy pop song with a cool hook and lyrics which are instantly stuck in your head. The song reached the Top 10 for Eoghan Quigg a few years ago, could it go one better and make it to No.1?

Check out the groovy video for Karl Daly’s Movie Song below now and get it on iTunes:

Feature by @Kenneth_Giles

 

New Music: MØ – Final Song

Can you think of a Great Dane? A great Danish music act I mean? If not, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with this amazing new act and song.

MØ, is a Danish singer and songwriter signed to Sony Music Entertainment. Born in Odense, MØ has been compared to electropop artists such as Grimes and Twin Shadow. Besides being an acronym for her middle and last name initials, the word mø means “maiden” or “virgin” in Danish. Her debut studio album, No Mythologies to Follow, was released in March 2014.

MØ collaborated with Australian rapper Iggy Azalea on the 2014 single “Beg for It”, which peaked at number 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100, earning MØ her first entry on the chart. The following year, MØ was featured on Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s single “Lean On”, which peaked highly on international charts, including number one in Australia, number two in the United Kingdom and number four in the United States.

‘Final Song’ is a catchy dance track which also has a laid back chilled vibe to it that I am predicting to hit the Top 10 in the coming weeks. Check out the cool video below:

Feature by @Kenneth_Giles

M.O Are The New TLC?

Three piece British girl group M.O are making waves this past year and are being compared to mega girl group TLC. Are they that good?

M.O (“M point O”) consist of members Annie Ashcroft, Frankee Connolly and Nadine Samuels. The girl band was formed in 2012 by the members themselves, after their previous groups Mini Viva and Duchess had disbanded. In early 2014 they released their debut single “For A Minute”, which was followed up by “Dance on My Own” in late 2014. They are currently signed on Polydor.

It wasn’t until last year they made a splash with single ‘Preach’ when it entered the UK Top 40 and went on to be a major club smash for its cool R’n’B vibes and coolness.

For me, they have cemented their place in the “credible girl groups” books with their new single ‘Who Do You Think Of’. It’s fresh, summery and a definite beach playlist song and is already climbing the charts around the world.

The girls were also chosen to recreate the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ for the Global Goals Campaign with the video going viral and gaining billions of views. Mark my words, M.O are going places.

Feature by @Kenneth_Giles

 

 

Olly Murs Doesn’t Know Love!

Olly Murs has returned with new music this week and apparently ‘doesn’t know love til it tears you apart’.

He has just dropped the new music video for his new single ‘You Don’t Know Love’. Could this be about his recent split with his long term girlfriend? The video follows Murs through L.A from the bedroom to the desert and from the boulevard to the beach, pretty perfect way to get over someone I say!

The monochrome video also features a shirtless Olly which I’m sure all his fans will be pleased about. The singer lost his presenting role on The X Factor after just one series but has said he is happy as he gets to focus on his music now.

Check out the brand new video below: