Wednesday, July 12, 2006

(Some) Pop is becoming interesting again...

Like many people, I have become disgruntled with the manufactured pop industry for a while now. I'm sure that the executives and the industry haven't changed that much, but I am noticing some new talent bubbling up.
The first band to really catch my attention recently was Coldplay. I had one of their albums, "A Rush of Blood to the Head" and liked certain aspects of it, but found aspects of it somewhat melancholy. So I held off buying "X&Y" until my wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas.
Turned out to be one of those rare classic albums. Like Joshua Tree. And Brothers In Arms.
Coldplay are now on the A-list.

The other artist that has recently caught my attention is Natasha Beddingfield from the UK. I guess that she's classed as R&B/Soul, although most of the things that I usually disdain about that style are mellowed in Natasha's world to a digestable level. There is a track in the middle of the album, 'Drop Me In The Middle', with a guest rapper which I wouldn't usually give a second listen. However, the hook is so addictive the rap is at first acceptable, and on a few listens actually enhances the track. (The rap is better for it's British accent and poetic style.)
And this is what makes the album, 'Unwritten', stand up for me: the lyrics in the songs are thoughtful and poetic, sung with Natasha's uniquely raspy, soulful voice; the melodies are catchy, often syncopative, without being formulaic. There is not a bad track on the album. And they are Natasha's own. This girl has groove!
Natasha is British R&B's answer to Country's Shania. And judging by the way she is now getting wide exposure in the US & Canada, I think she'll be just as enormous.

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