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Singles: January 2007

Tracks to check out:

(all can be sampled on [Hits From Another Planet)

Loveninjas – “I Wanna Be Like Johnny C”

“I Wanna Be Like Johnny C,” the new single from Swedish group Loveninjas, possesses the kind of shimmering pop melody that groups like Pulp and more recently The Upper Room excel at. I actually know shockingly little about the band, but I think that this song speaks for itself. It just keeps building and building until it bursts into an anthemic rave. In fact, I would put it right alongside Pulp’s “Common People.” In a lot of ways, it’s very similar and a nice compliment to that classic. Plus, the whole thing’s pretty funny… in a serious way of course.

Emmon – “Wake Up Time”

Emmon was the lead singer of Swedish pop/rock band Paris and has now gone solo. In addition to doing remixes for bands like the fabulous Melody Club (and supporting them on tour), she’s released this brilliant debut single. Although it seems to be a bit underhyped on the radio, it is completely deserving of massive hit status. File this next to the new Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Kylie tracks and don’t forget to buy her debut album The Art And The Evil when it comes out February 2nd.

All That and a Bag Of Chips – “Take Me To Your Leader”

All That and a Bag Of Chips incorporates elements of Bowie, the Ark and even a bit of Tim Curry. It’s a mixture made in heaven as far as I’m concerned, and their first single “Take Me to Your Leader” utilizes this sound to great effect. Glammy verses gradually build up to an explosive chorus that sets the track into spastic motion from that point on. ATAABOC hail from Norway, though they sound like they could have come out of America in the early-to-mid eighties.

Pleasure – “Out Of Love”

I really think this is one of the best tracks of 2006. Like fellow favs Alphabeat and Lucky Soul, this is pop music but it’s not vacuous in any way. High quality, unique melody, spare disco beat…it is absolutely essential – brilliant, even, in its simplicity. Pleasure is the work of Fred Ball, Norwegian DJ and pop music creator extraordinaire. An album is promised in February, though I can’t wait if it’s anything as good as this (and judging from second -and completely different- single “Back to You,” it is).

Juvelen – Hanna

Juvelen calls himself the “one man boy band.” I think he’s selling himself short, because he is far more interesting than that – too interesting for any label, in fact. Juvelen (means “jewel” in Swedish) is receiving mountains of hype in Sweden, and for good reason. His current single “Watch You Step” is a fine slice of catchy post-Prince pop, but I like “Hanna” better. “Hanna” is the kind of pop song that I seriously can’t imagine anybody disliking. It’s the kind of thing that Outkast promised us in that brief period where they made good pop… a wicked, surprising track that still manages to be conventional, catchier-than-should-be-allowed pop. In between sparkling synthesizer and funky guitars is pure genius.

-Nick James