Monday, 18 May 2009

I Like... Lists / The Beautiful and Damned: The Battle to be Pop Princess

I love pop stars. Good ones, bad ones and ugly ones. No. I take that back. They have to be pretty or extremely photogenic. So obviously I’ve been basking in the influx of female starlets that have emerged since Amy Winehouse made it cool to have XX chromosomes and songs with a “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” structure. But it’s been almost three years since Winehouse released Back to Black and to say that things haven’t been going so well for the past two years is the understatement of the century.

Can she have another hit? Does she have it in her to channel her crazy into a creative medium anymore? I doubt it. But what if she did astoundingly turn it around and avoid her inevitable fate as an unreliable and poorly paid lounge singer in St. Lucia’s holiday resorts, does the pop world have room for her anymore?

Spaces are filling up fast. She’s got numerous contenders for her already slipping crown.
So with a highly scientific rundown, we will be able to asses who is Winehouse’s biggest threat, who’s not even worth being mentioned in this post and her chance of musical survival.

1) Duffy
BASICALLY: The first lady to jump on the warbling voice band wagon and made the 60’s doo-wop look more wearable with a tidy beehive and subtle eyeliner. She cleared up at the Brits and is the face of Diet Coke. But then again, have you seen those Coca Cola ads? They’re bloody awful.
PROS: She has major advertising deals, mums aren’t confused or frightened by her which translates into “sales” and has cartoon-like cheek dimples.
CONS: She’s beyond annoying when she speaks, “Oh I’m so humble. Oh I’m so Welsh.”

2) Little Boots
BASICALLY: I don’t really get this one yet; she’s confused me thus far. I recall seeing her on Jools Holland last year and performing “Meddle” which I thought was the most boringly, girly song ever. But then I saw her again on the same show last week with latest single, “New In Town” and I actually liked it a little bit.
PROS: That weird little flashing Japanese techno instrument she uses (which resembles the handheld game of my childhood days gone by – Lights Out. I never knew how to play it or what the object of the game was exactly, but it had flashing lights so was cool.)
CONS: Little – no stage presence and seems way to consciously aware of the quirks the record company has clearly told her to display.

3) Lily Allen
BASICALLY: She’s miraculously on album number two and is still forcing that Estuary accent. Give it up. I kind of prefer her when she’s taking up inches in gossip columns and embarking on ill advised business ventures – that god awful range for New Look and that god awful BBC 3 chat show.
PROS: She’s committed to the pop stardom dream; the diet and image revamp are all evidence to support her case, she fails to think before she speaks (especially to journalists) so makes for a good interviewee and is set to be the new face of Chanel.
CONS: Annoying, sub-standard songs and voice and we should all blame her for paving the way for Kate Nash.

4) Florence Welch
BASICALLY: Why does she bother with “& The Machine”? Face it, it’s all about Flo; she has the hair of a mermaid, the legs of a supermodel and the lung capacity of an Anglo-Saxon warrior. The girl’s got it all... so far. Her debut album is due to drop next month so verdicts out as to whether there’s anything more to her than Dog Days Are Over.
PROS: She has the NME credibility seal of approval, she seems like a genuinely interesting individual and her dress sense is bang on the mark.
CONS: She needs to ditch the band in order to deservedly take the limelight.

5) La Roux
BASICALLY: That miserable one with the irritating nasal/high pitched voice and a mum who stars in The Bill. And her hair is shit. I don’t care what anyone says.
PROS: Once the summer festival season is over, her time will be up.
CONS: See the above “basically” info.

6) Britney Spears
BASICALLY: We all know and love Britney already. Spears’ comeback pretty much collided perfectly with Winehouse’s musical seclusion, but I’m guessing the timing of her return was more influenced by parasitic next of kin and ex-husbands than anything else. Circa 1999, Britney had already established herself as pop royalty but once she started hanging out with Madonna she became too aggressively sexy and forgot who her target market was. And we all know what happened next.
PROS: She has hair again, her tours are proper good and has her own line of fragrances.
CONS: Her recent releases aren’t even in the same league as Baby One More Time, she’s got kids so she’ll always have priorities, other than pop music, on her mind and looks dead behind the eyes these days.

POP PRINCESS RATING: 8 (but back in the day, Brit, you were a solid 10)

7) Lady Gaga
BASICALLY: There are no words for the genius that is Gaga. Just Dance (especially the last 1 minute and 10 seconds) and Poker Face are the meanest pop songs since, well, Baby One More Time and makes me wish I was more fun than I am. Plus she is always shocking. Where does one go, what does one do after humping an inflatable killer whale? Check out her new video, Paparazzi, for the answer.
PROS: She always performs live, she keeps up an air of mystery: is it a man? Is it a woman? Kids haven’t been this confused since Boy George first appeared on Top of the Pops (she is female, FYI). She gives hope to girls (like me) with big noses. Her personal style.
CONS: Idiots don’t get her. Her personal style (double edged sword).

After all that, we can clearly see that Lady Gaga is our leading lady. Take this performance on Friday Night with Jonathon Ross as undisputable evidence of this.

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