Posted by Robpop at Wednesday, October 08, 2014
The lead single from their 3rd album A Quien Le Importa is a stunning hybrid of I Will Survive and You Spin Me Around (Like A Record) and seriously needs to be heard to be believed. It has emerged as one of the biggest disco anthems of not just Spain but also Latin America. Queen of pop Thalia covered the song in 2002 and enjoyed huge success with her version taking it to the Billboard Latin top ten charts. Whether sung by Raphael, Rita Pavone, drag queens, famous footballers or on popstar/idol type shows the song has embedded itself within the songbook of modern Spain. Walk around Chueca and you'll even find a bar called A Quien Le Importa (located on Calle Horteleza if you wanna track it down). In 1989 the band released their final album together as Alaska y Dinarama titled Fan Fatal with the lead single being Mi Novio Es Un Zombi which pretty much translates as My Boyfriend Is A Zombie. Much of Fan Fatal sounds like a Pete Hammond remix album of a lost The Flirts album with touches of Soft Cell and Eurythmics.
Alaska and Nacho Canut formed Fangoria 18 months later launching themselves with the song Hagamos Algo Superficial Y Vulgar, followed by En Mi Prison. The album Salto Mortal sounded like a very well decorated Pet Shop Boys album remixed by Neneh Cherry's producers & included touches of Dee-lite. Fangoria then released a series of E.P's known as the Vulcan collection that were eventually compiled together in one CD package issued in 2003. In 1999 the band released their second album Una Temporada En El Infierno with the ethereal electronic Electricistas flourishing on the radio as the flag-bearer for the album. The album also proved to be one of Fangoria's biggest with the ambient second single Mi Odio Cuando Miento highlighting the overall versatility of the band. Borrowing a title from the Bette Davis film All About Eve, Fangoria immediately released a follow-up to their highly popular 2001 album in the form of Naturaleza Muerta. Produced entirely by Carlos Jean, I love the club-disco friendly album. Beefy baselines are coupled airtight lyrics and swooping melodies the bombastic pop album is one of their best releases for the inclusion of No Se Que Me Das alone. Right after the release of Naturaleza Muerta the band put out Arquitectura Efímera which threw in a few more guitars layered over their distinctive synth-pop wall of sound.
El Extrano Viaje saw the band continue right where they'd left off with Arquitectura Efímera with irresistible catchy pop melodies and bouncy lyrics. This release however featured somewhat more of a glam-rocky-sound perhaps down to the appearance of Stefan Olsdal (Placebo). The singles Criticar por criticar, Ni contigo ni sin ti and El cementerio de mis sueños all soared up into the higher echelons of the Spanish charts and made sure the parent album sold over 100.000 in Spain and Mexico. With the immense success of their live album Viven, the band returned to the studio not before releasing a series of re-issues and EP's (such as Entre Punta Cana y Montecarlo).
This time Nacho and Alaska headed to Dean Street Studios London to embark on what was to become Absolutamente - their next album. Produced by Neal X and Tony James of Sigue Sigue Sputnik, the single Mas es Mas highlighted the pure drama of the record and the band themselves. It went straight to number 1 in Spain and 4 in Mexico with a special re-issue of the album that included the legend that was Sara Montiel.
Soon after Absolutamente, Fangoria issued an amazing anthology collection called El paso trascendental del vodevil a la astracanada! This included pretty much everything Alaska had ever released with rarities and unreleased gems available on the super deluxe edition. The collection also received two single releases in the form of re-worked versions of Ni Tu Ni Nadie and A Quien Le Importa. Fangoria returned to the studio in 2012 not before issuing another live project called Operacion Vodevil which saw the record company using a new version of Bailando to underscore and promote the live album. Recorded in Madrid, Granada, Los Angeles, Mexico and London their seventh album, Cautricromia, was deliciously sliced into four parts: Pop, Rock, Electro and Gothic with each section co-produced by separate teams La Casa Azul (pop), Sigue Sigue Sputnik (rock), Los Pilotos (electro) and Jon Klein of Specimen (Gothic). If you can find it, I highly recommend tracking down the re-release Policromia purely for The Sound of Arrows remix available on Cd2 of the limited edition pressing.
As already stated, I can't underestimate the importance of Alaska to modern Spain and her cultural position within the social narrative written after its time as a dictatorship. Moreover, she constantly made sure her output was always entrenched in sublime pop melodies. Her albums were always played by those outside of the tribe but also eventually emerged as anthems of the tribe itself. She wrote and sung for the discos of Madrid and Barcelona but also the isolated teenager in the remote countryside hills of Asturias and Andalucia. She encompassed and included all. She always beats her drum for the marginalised and oppressed with her discography mapping out endless hymns for parties and discos of modern Spain. Pick any album, and you're guaranteed to find yourself boombox classic. Alaska, a Spanish pop legend, gracias por la musica!
Dramas Y Comedias
Un Hombre De Verdad
Posted by Robpop at Thursday, October 02, 2014
Edurne’s self-titled debut album with Sony featured songs written and produced by British and Scandinavian pop authors, then translated into Spanish. These included submissions by Tord Bäckström, Bengt Girell, Jan Nilsson, Adam Alvermark, Andreas Karlegard, Gustav Efraimsson, Kim-Lian, Anders Bagge, Peer Åström, Marcella Detroit, Alex Parks, Robert Habolin, Niklas Jarl, Savan Kotecha and David Stenmarck. With the international feel of the album, comparisons were drawn to recent releases by Britney Spears and the album not only went Gold but secured a top 3 position in the Spanish charts. The lead single Despierta (co-written by Gustav Efraimsson of Sweden) also charted well in the southern European radio charts, especially in Greece and Italy. Interestingly, Marta Sanchez would record a Efraimsson song, Get Together, some years later.
While it is clear that Edurne’s second album consisted of quite a few Swedish covers, her follow-up would be nothing but covers. Premiere saw Edurne acknowledge her career in musicals, a path that she’d followed after the immense success she’d experienced during a stint as Sandy in the Spanish run of Grease. There were interesting moments but the release was a set-back for Edurne. The album went to no. 39 and dropped out of the charts a week or so later. While it is sweet, it's not a highly recommended listen. I say that with a massively heavy heart as the first two Edurne albums were such great and sturdy pop productions. Best to overlook it.
Now I’m sure offence was not intended but the blunt insults and barbs remain. Interestingly, on the Itunes edition Sony Records decided to include a Spanish version as a bonus track that was re-titled Artificial and which omitted all pretty offensive lyrics. Instead the subject was simply a very superficial and narcissist object of affection. Gone were the sly attacks on a boy who liked to wear girlie clothes, make-up and was interested in fashion. Instead the Spanish version became a carbon copy of Twain’s Don’t Impress Me Much and Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain. Unfortunately though, the better Spanish lyrics do not save the song itself.
Entre El Alma y La Piel
Alquien Como Tu
Posted by Robpop at Friday, August 29, 2014
With the summer sun setting on the summer horizon, DSTP is taking this opportunity to celebrate the legends of Latin pop. Many will naturally know of Jennifer Lopez, Julio and Enrique, but this “season” DSTP is going to scrutinize Spanish and Latin American popstars. The scene is a rich tapestry that is one of the largest music markets in the world and produces some beefy fabtastic slices of pop that rivals their northern European rivals. And yet the British charts rarely feature Spanish and/or Latin acts preferring to opt, if ever, the tolerance of novelty singles from Ibiza. I came to love Spanish pop music initially via very a cold detour: Scandanavia. It has always been my obsession. ABBA, Army of Lovers, Cardigans, Robyn and Lena P. As a consequence, I became obsessed with the songwriters and producers behind the anthems. I’d instantly forget about the import fees which had the tendency to eat up up my pocket money usually during reading the linear notes of the CD sleeve. I travelled a lot to Spain as a kid and I discovered that Swedish songs were all over the albums. With that, I was addicted. So, I wanted to do few updates that recognized some of the Spanish popstars that soundtracked my childhood, teenage and adult years. Lets get on with it! Ole!
Lets start with Marta Sanchez! Pop queen of Spain and beyond. Marta began her career in the huge Spanish group Ole Ole. She replaced Vicky Larraz and never looked back. I remember Marta sizzling in Ole Ole videos during the 1980s and couldn’t wait until Marta decided to go solo which she eventually did in 1993. Her first album Mujer was produced by Italian-American Christian De Walden (The Three Degrees -When Will I See You Again). It sold buckets due to its lead single Desesperada (Desperate Lovers) entering no.1 in the Spanish and Mexican single charts as well as no.9 on the USA Billboard Latin charts. Marta teamed up with Christian De Walden again for her second solo album Mi Mundo (My World). This saw Marta begin to write on the album (Am I Crazy) and is considered a much more personal piece of work compared to her debut.
De Mujer A Mujer
Such A Mystery
Hasta El Fin
No Te Quiero Más
Posted by Robpop at Saturday, August 23, 2014