December 2008


2009

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Originally posted on December 25, 2008

J Dub and freddie beat would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and just Happy Holidays all around  — whatever your traditions may be.

We’re taking a brief hiatus, a Holiday Break, if you will.  So, popolio.com will be active again after January 1, 2009.  Check for us in the 0-9!

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Please check out our latest December 2008 posts that went live between December 24, 2008 and December 26, 2008 below.  Feel free to look around at all our content as we have FREE downloadable MP3s, streamed audio, videos, podcasts and written content as well.

Friday, December 26, 2008
7:15 PM

Well, it’s the day after Christmas.  I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a Merry one.  I also wish all those of you with other traditions, happiness and cheer in your celebrations.  I’m going to try to keep this month’s Letter from the Editor short and sweet.  I said “try.”

The last 2 months have been a little hectic in regard to content.  It’s been a little challenging keeping up with it.  Last month I had my traveling and this month my internet went down for some days.  With a day job, I’m just really learning how to negotiate when I work on popolio.  I’m really excited about it and want to keep things going, but I don’t want to burn out on it too soon, either.

So, what did December 2008 bring at popolio?   I’ll name some of what we had to offer, but keep in mind that we always have so much more.  We kept the pop quizzes going.  We actually gave you a BONUS pop quiz this month.  You got El Paso-based experimental/ambient/electro husband-and-wife team (who work on a collective project as ElectroLegs) as their individual personas of Aux.78 and Muekanisms.  Folk-Rocker, Liz Clark, out of New York, was the BONUS.  In another installment of our R&R podcast, I gave my final thoughts on the Houston Sticky and Sweet Tour stop I experienced.  You got a taste of J. Dub’s mixtapes over at mandrakeFM.com.  I shared my pick for MY TOP album of 2008, which was Robyn with her self-titled release; Cyndi Lauper earned an Honorable Mention with Bring Ya To The Brink.  Lastly, I presented a  jam-packed MY TOP 10 Video Countdown.

What will 2009 bring for popolio?  We are going to keep going and try to do things bigger and better as we grow and learn.  We are very much a work in progress and that’s a good thing.  In January we’ll share a surprise popolio podcast interview that I’m very excited about.  Check back for that.  And we have ideas for a few new features that we hope to kick-off in 2009.  I hope you stick around and grow and learn with us.

I hope everyone got what they wanted for Christmas and I wish everyone a so fresh and so clean 2009.

Just to let you know, I created a new email address for popolio.  Please feel free to contact us at popolio[dot]com[at]gmail[dot]com with any comments, questions, and/or concerns you may have.

7:51 PM

Thanks and Sincerely,  
Freddie Rodriguez aka freddie beat
popolio editor

robyn_us

The US cover is better, too!

 I don’t think popolio has been around long enough for us to do a comprehensive  2008 album and/or single  Best Of List.  Maybe next year.  But, I do think I can offer my thoughts on the best album of the year.               

Robyn was part of the pop infestation that took over the US and the world in the 1990s.  Coming out of Sweden, she had 2 stand-out hits here with “Show Me Love” and “Do You Know (What it Takes).” 

I noticed her at the time, liked the songs, but not enough to buy any singles or the album.  She soon retreated back to Sweden and sort of became the Britney Spears of her homeland, continuing to sell records, break them, too, and win numerous awards, I’m sure.

Being the top pop act there she wasn’t heard of in the US again until 2008.  The story is familiar.  Girl can sing.  Girl gets signed by big record company.  Girl has some worldwide success for years.  Girl eventually craves creative freedom and true individual expression.  Girl leaves big record company.  Girl creates her own independent record label.  Girl creates and release first truly independent and fully creative project.  Girl achieves more success than she ever had before.

The album was self-titled and released in 2005 on Robyn’s own Konichiwa Records.  It became successful and Robyn continued to release it in other countries in the UK as the years passed.  She finally struck a deal for distribution in the US and we didn’t get it here until earlier this year.  It wasn’t as big a splash here as was in the other places, but there was plenty of media coverage and critical acclaim.  Well, the girl even got to open for Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet Tour on some UK dates.  And who doesn’t have their finger on the pop pulse, if not Madonna.

You all know I’m a sucker for reinvention, both musical and image-based.  But, not just any reinvention.  It has to be authentic and interesting to me and the music has to be good.  The music always has to back it up.  Once I gleaned she was back, I started checking out the videos and the songs online and this Robyn looked and sounded nothing like the Robyn of the 1990s.  I even had to double-check to make sure it was the same girl.

This is a pop blog after all, so I’m picking a truly pop album as the best of 2008.  I don’t think anyone has been doing anything that interesting in pop for awhile (save for Christina’s exploration of old soul on Back to Basics in 2006).  I picked this up and, even with added tracks for the US release, I was blown away.  It was first released in 2005 in Sweden, and, to me, it still sounds fresh in 2008 in the US.  I can listen to it pretty much beginning to end.  Pop seems to be going in a more electro/dance direction, anyway, but this is definitely not an imitator’s, but an innovator’s approach.  Robyn is setting her own tone and marching to her own beat.

Pop often gets a bad rap and every now and then there comes a pop project that exists on a higher level.  One of those pop albums you can point to and someone who isn’t into pop can just appreciate as genuinely good music.  Pop is often thought of as not as good as other genres or not as adult or mature.  It’s not taken as seriously.  Sure it can be fun, ironic, and all of that.  But, it doesn’t mean it’s not good and doesn’t hold up to other musical forms.  Robyn is one of those records that trascends all of those barriers.  You should check it out.

Honorable Mention bytb

Cyndi Lauper’s Bring Ya To The Brink is Confessions on a Dancefloor done better.  Madonna spoke about making electronic music have emotion, which she felt it was lacking, when releasing Ray of Light in 1998.  Cyndi has definitely done that with house music on this album.  Emotional depth and serious subject matter coexist with fat beats and booty-shaking rhythms.

Outroduction

Well, I didn’t quite make my Christmas deadline.   Merry Christmas everybody!  I still have a few more posts I’d like to get out for December 2008.  I guess I’ll try to get them done on Christmas Day (later today).

There you have it.  December 2008’s MY TOP 10 is complete.  I guess to some it would seem kind of random.  I described the challenges I would face in the INTRODUCTION.  I think there was some rhyme and reason to my order, though.   And, I hope it shines a little light on my musical taste beyond what someone might think it is.

Hope you enjoyed it.  I packed a lot more videos into this one.  Next month I think I’m going to try to go back to shorter write-ups and single videos per posting.  I guess I felt like this was my big year-end hurrah for MY TOP 10.  So, I was trying to maximize your entertainment value.

Check back in January 2009 for another installment of MY TOP 10.  For January, I’ll be going back to just  featuring a solo artist’s videos.  Not telling you who it is yet.  You’ll have to tune back in to find out who it will be for yourselves.

Again, Merry Christmas and thanks for checking out MY TOP 10 Video Countdown.

Sincerely,

freddie beat
popolio editor

1. Young Love “Find A New Way”

I was introduced to Number 1 through J. Lo’s MTV reality show about dancers trying to make it, DanceLife.  I love to dance.  Not a trained dancer, but not a bad freestyle/club dancer, if I do say so myself.  And I love J. Lo.  So, I checked out the show and loved it.  Wish MTV had picked it up for a second season.

Anyway, Young Love’s “Find a New Way” was the opening song.  And the routine the dancers on the show do to it just bananas.  I also think it was genius to use this song for a J.Lo vehicle.  You would think it’d be a J.Lo song or pop/R&B song, but they used this instead. 

It embodies what the show was about and what a passion for dancing entails.  I liked it so much I checked out Young Love.  I didn’t know if it was just a guy or a band or what.  I still don’t really know.  Dan Keyes seems to be the main guy.  I picked up the debut album, Too Young to Fight It.  Loved it!  He really felt like a rich man’s Justin Timberlake; really hipper than JT, to me.  Not as poppy and R&B, more electro.  I just dug the sounds and songs.

His record company won’t allow the videos to be embedded on YouTube, so I could  only link them here.  The first video is the DanceLife intro so you can see my inspiration.  The links that follow are 2 versions of Number 1 — the original version and a black-and-white version directed by fashion photographer Terry Richardson and featuring model Kemp Muhl.  I really do love to dance!  Just felt like confessing that to the universe.

ORIGINAL VERSION

TERRY RICHARDSON DIRECTED VERSION FEATURING MODEL KEMP MUHL

2. Juliette & The Licks “Got Love To Kill”

I love Juliette & The Licks.  I never was a big Juliette Lewis fan as just an actor.  I liked her enough and I thought she gave above-par performances.  Okay, she was a little different, weird, interesting, and really killed her performances,  actually.  Definitely, fun to watch.

But, I’m a sucker for performers who like to be Renaissance Women.  I love actresses who try to delve into the music scene.  So, once I knew she was an actress trying to do the music thing that made her more appealing to me.  I don’t know what it is about multi-media queens; they just do it for me.

I picked up the EP,…Like A Bolt of Lightning, liked it.  Then, I picked up the debut, You’re Speaking My Language, and loved it.  Second album, Four on the Floor, is okay, but I really love the first.  

What’s fun about Juliette is that most actresses-turned-singers try to do the pop thing.  And I grativate to the pop girls, normally.  But, Juliette is really trying to do the rock-and-roll/punk/band thing and she’s doing it well.   They’ve been cutting their teeth touring in Europe for years now.  I saw them live here in Austin in 2007 and they’re pretty damn good.

She’s not the typical actress and doesn’t pick the typical roles, so why would she do music typically?  She wouldn’t!  There’s actually a lot of soulfulness to the music on the first album and I love the raspiness to her voice.  I wouldn’t have liked the first album, otherwise.

Number 2 is my favorite song from the debut release and as a BONUS I’m throwing in another catchy ditty, “Hot Kiss,” the debut video/single from Four on the Floor.  

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