The 2007 Punch: My Favorite Albums of The Year

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Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 Róisín Murphy "Overpowered"
Timeless and intelligent dance pop by a top-notch performer. Bring on more Róisín in 2008 please!

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 Siobhan Donaghy "Ghosts"
Donaghy broke out of her girl group mold and pushed her artistic boundaries in exciting new directions. "Ghosts" is one of the most overlooked, yet sublime pop records of the year.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 Charlotte Gainsbourg "5.55"
Subtle, soft and chic. It is like Chanel No. 5 for your ears.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 Darren Hayes "This Delicate Thing We've Made"
"This Delicate Thing We've Made" is just that. A delicate piece of work that takes you on a journey through time with Hayes' distinct vocals and Justin Shave's accomplished production stylings.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2  Kenna "Make Sure They See My Face"
Genre-buster Kenna combines electronica, funk, pop and hip hop so elegantly that it rocks.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2  Will.I.Am "Songs About Girls"
A bold solo record by one of the most genius producers of the moment.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 Anouk "Who's Your Momma"
Confident and honest, this rock chick tells it like it is. Expect "Good God" to climb the global charts in 2008.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 Passenger "Wicked Man's Rest"
Touching balladry sang by one of the year's most striking new voices.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 Tracey Thorn "Out Of The Wood"
A perfect marriage of style and substance. And her voice is priceless.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 Roz Bell "The First Sunbeams"
Bell combines songwriting talent with a laid-back attitude that is simply irresistible.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 Klaxons "Myths Of The Near Future"
These three lads got me dizzy on my feet when I saw them perform at Coachella back in April. This is rock and roll for the here and now.

Arjanwrites_bullet_small_2 I also enjoyed listening to albums by these great artists in 2007:

Kate Havnevik "Melankton"
Kanye West "Graduation"
Dragonette "Galore"
Alison Moyet "The Turn"
Young Love "Too Young To Fight It"
Just Jack "Overtones"
Annie Lennox "Songs Of Mass Destruction"
Kocky "Kingdome Come"
M.I.A. "Kala"


Interview with Siobhan Donaghy (Part 2)

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In the second and final part of my interview with Siobhan Donaghy, the singer talks more about the importance of her gay fans, her love for Elisabeth Fraser of The Cocteau Twins, being a songwriter, having superpowers and much more. (Read Part 1)

A special thanks to Siobhan for taking so much time to talk with me. "Ghosts" is a remarkable pop record and Siobhan spoke very candidly about the personal journey and inspirations that led to this very special album. If you haven't heard it, make sure to stream samples and download it HERE at 7Digital.com.

You talked a lot about how isolated you felt while recording this record. This is a feeling a lot of your gay fans in particular might relate to. How important is your gay following?
I have quite a big gay following in the U.K.. I have performed at a few alternative gay nights here in London and it has been loads of fun. My gay fans have really come on board with this new record. One very good friend of mine runs a party here called Trannyshack and I go there and DJ every once in a while. My gay fans have really been among my most loyal fans and continue to buy my records. It’s fantastic.

Are you a religious person?
Not really. I was raised as a Catholic but I'm at odds with a lot of things the church preaches. Maybe there's a higher being, but I don't believe in the church.

Were there specific artists or bands that inspired you musically for this album?
One of the biggest influences musically for this record was a band called The Cocteau Twins and their lead singer was a woman called Elizabeth Fraser. She’s one of my favorite singers. Her voice was one of the biggest inspirations for this record. It is instantly emotive and she picks such unusual melodies.

Continue reading "Interview with Siobhan Donaghy (Part 2)" »


Interview with Siobhan Donaghy (Part 1)

Siobhan Donaghy's second solo album "Ghosts" is by far one of the most striking pop records to come out this year. Not only captures it an engaging musical aesthetic, but it also presents a compelling personal journey of self-discovery that serves up more depth than your run-of-the-mill pop ditty.

After Siobhan Donaghy left popular British girl group The Sugababes, she had to get used to the fact that her life was no longer carefully planned out by handlers and managers, Instead, for the first time since the age of twelve she was able to make her own decisions and plan a musical career that satisfied her artistically. It would have been easy for her to mimic the sound of The Sugababes and pull off some quick and dirty solo hits. She decided, however, to take a more gutsy direction that would not only challenge herself, but also her listeners.

Inspired by her travels, her new-found love for '80s bands like The Cocteau Twins and her drive to do something new, she decided to move to the French countryside to work with producer James Sanger on "Ghosts." Working with Sanger, who was a raging drug addict at the time, in total isolation proved to be a whole new challenge for Donaghy, which ultimately led to an album that is by far her most personal and thought-provoking piece of work.

I spoke with Siobhan at length about her new record. Today, I'll feature the first part of a two part series in which she talks about the journey that led up to "Ghosts" and her experiences working with producer James Sanger who was instrumental in creating the sound for this record.

In Part 2, she will talk more about gay fans, religion, the challenge of being "commercial" and how she feels now about The Sugababes." (Click HERE to purchase "Ghosts "in hi-fi MP3 format at 7Digital.com.)

Read Part 1 of 2 after the jump.

Continue reading "Interview with Siobhan Donaghy (Part 1)" »


Watch Siobhan Donaghy Video

 

Check out the spooky video for Siobhan Donaghy's new single "So You Say" that will be released in the U.K. on June 18. The song is one of the few songs on her forthcoming second album "Ghost" that most closely reminds me of the music she put out in her not so distant pop past with the Sugababes.

The video was directed by Jamie Thraves who also worked on videos for Radiohead and Coldplay. The concept of the video is based on David Lynch 2006 mind-bending movie "Inland Empire." It is considered by many critics as a surrealistic "masterpiece" with plot that has been hard for many viewers to untangle. Lynch once said in an interview that the movie is "about a woman in trouble, and it's a mystery, and that's all I want to say about it."

Donahy and Thraves have adopted this concept in this new video that features surreal moments with birds and pieces of glass. And of course, that freaky and mysterious ending makes the entire video worthwhile to watch. In fact, she should have include more of that freakiness earlier on. I really admire Siobhan for making unusual and unexpected choices for herself when it comes to selecting producers, photographers and directors to create a style that stands out from the pack.

Hopefully, this single will do well overseas. It should resonate well on mainstream radio. Most blogger are raving about the song "Medevac" that also appears on her new album. I'm more biased towards "Coming Up For Air," a pivotal song on the album (with a Madonna "Frozen" feel to it) that reflects some of Siobhan's reflections and struggles that led to the big idea behind "Ghost."

Much more about that soon in my interview with Donaghy that will appear very soon.