[listening] june

Caution: the listening list for June is a very long one, and it has a very wide diversity of music, from Pet Shop Boys’ latest single to The Divine Comedy to latest pop songs performed in The Voice UK.

So let’s start. With Pet Shop Boys (of course).

Pet Shop Boys has just released another single, and this one’s with a vocal, as the title implies.

Speaking of Pet Shop Boys, I’ve been having this old song playing in my head after watching the complete episodes of Beauty and the Geek UK. (well I actually have been watching the Aussie episodes as well, especially the third and first seasons). I think the song really reflects the reality show.

I’ve got the brain, you’ve got the look
let’s make lots of money

..And, June was all about reality shows for me. I’ve been following The Voice UK for the past few months, and it reached its peak on the third week of June. The winner was, surprisingly, Andrea Begley – when everybody was kinda expecting for Leah McFall.

Leah had been the star of the (reality) show since her awesome performance singing Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You” in the knockout rounds (scroll down a bit to see the live video), and later her version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” peaked at #8 in the UK charts – making it the first The Voice UK’s official top 10 hit. If you’ve been a fan of Leah McFall you might have noticed his youtube channel, and one of her most impressive sessions was her cover to Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie”.

Back to The Voice UK, here’s the best performances from each stage:

The best audition was probably the one during Cleo Higgins – not only because of her stunning cover of Beyonce’s “Love on Top”, but also the way will.i.am turned his chair and Jessie J’s quickest turn.

My other favourites from the blind audition were John Pritchard singing Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” and Nadeem Leigh singing a medley of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter”.

And the best battle performance was between Jordan Lee Davies and Matt Henry singing Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do”

I also like the following battles — Jamie Bruce and LB Robinson singing U2 and BB King’s “When Love Comes To Town”, Ash Morgan and Adam Barron singing James Morrison’s “I Won’t Let You Go”, and Karl Michael and Nadeem Leigh singing Daniel Merriweather’s “Red”.

As I mentioned earlier, Leah McFall’s performance in the knockout rounds was breathtaking – and in the midst of people’s disappointment for Nadeem Leigh and Liam Tamne being eliminated, Leah’s performance gave them hope to get The Voice UK out of mediocrity.

However, the knockout rounds gave another disappointment as UK’s favourite boy Connor Scott got eliminated – Connor Scott also did the louder for that episode (usually they were done by Reggie Yates – which I will talked about later) btw.

In the quarters final, Andrea Begley brilliantly sang The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” and Leah did a brilliant remake of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”.

In the semi-finals, Mike Ward did a country version of Paloma Faith’s “Picking Up The Pieces”. It sounded like a real country music that I even thought it was really a country song. Previously, in the quarter finals, he sang in his country tone the new single from Bruno Mars, “When I Was Your Man”.

But what actually stole the show (or supposedly stole the show) that night was will.i.am and his semi-finalists performing Blondie’s “Rapture”. Will made a “dope” graffiti and did the windmill on stage, but unfortunately the vocal harmony of Leah and Cleo was bad. And I really mean, baaaaadd.

In the final, the coach-finalist duets were the highlights of the show. Of course, I would like to say that Tom Jones and Mike Ward had a very nice performance singing “Green, Green Grass of Home”, but for a performance as a whole, the best one went to (again) will.i.am. He and Leah McFall performed his latest release, “Bang Bang” from The Great Gatsby soundtrack.

My most favourite performance in that final was actually when Matt Henry sang David Gray’s “Babylon”. Unfortunately, Matt Henry was eliminated in the first part of the final 🙁

Anyway, what I also like from The Voice UK were the summaries for each episode, called “The Voice Louder”. Narrated by Reggie Yates, it basically covered all you need to know about the show, and I think this was the best one.

And the second part of the Battle round, where Reggie became the tension bongo player.

Apart from the official BBC videos, I found this off-stage session by the artists.

I have been making a playlist on youtube, and it is called “80s one hit wonder boys”. I added some videos to the playlist last month, including from Men Without Hats, The Escape Club,and Danny Wilson

I also added some more songs to my “Female Friday – Aussies” playlist, including Missy Higgins’s “Scar”, Max Sharam’s “Coma”, and Deadstar’s “Run Baby Run”.

And.. I’m back listening to The Divine Comedy. I simply can’t stop admiring Neil Hannon, and I have just found some live videos where Neil played only with his piano (like what he’s been doing since the release of ‘Bang Goes the Knighthood’), and in this one he shows us how he plays “At The Indie Disco” – it only has four chords: E F# A B

Towards the end of June, I couldn’t take both The Complete Banker” and “The Certainty of Chance” out of my head.

Speaking of Neil Hannon, his ‘cricket’ music project The Duckworth Lewis Method released a new single on 17 June 2013. The video is brilliantly funny, with Neil looking extra gorgeous with his bowler hat <3

I have also been listening to OMD again.. and after strolling around in youtube, I found a rare video from them, "Never Turn Away" from the album 'Junk Culture'. This is also one of those rare singles that was sung by Paul Humphreys.

I also found a fan footage of their concert in Amsterdam three years ago. Man, I was somewhere there! Yes, there! Near Paul Humphreys 😉

And now for those songs that suddenly popped in my head throughout the month of June..

Billy Joel – New York State of Mind

Stars – Dead Hearts

Primitive Radio Gods – Standing Outside A Broken Telephone Booth With Money in My Hand

The La's – There She Goes

The Wannadies – You and Me Song

Del Amitri – Roll To Me

Embrace – Save Me

The Chemical Brothers – Swoon

Bizarre Inc. – I'm Gonna Get You

And does anyone still remember this song? I had never seen the video before, although I was aware that the song was so popular during my early years in college.

Emma Bunton – Maybe

Her 2009 single “Downtown” (originally sung by Petula Clark in 1964) also got stuck in my head after I found the video on youtube.. And youtube recommendations had took me to..
the Spice Boys

Maybe you can have a look at their video here, singing Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There”. As it is written in the video description, the pitch is lowered in the audio so it sounds like men singing.

I also have this glee song stuck in my head for weeks and weeks. It was featured in the Sadie Hawkins episode, and it was originally sung by The Exciters.

I also like the final episode where their opponent the Who’s Your Daddies, with American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez as the lead singer, performed Little Mix’s “Wings” and Zedd’s “Clarity”. And I found an old clip of The Warblers singing “I Want You Back” – awesome remake!

One afternoon, I was chatting with Ocha when she mentioned Boney M, a 1970s band formed by German producer Frank Farian. When I played one of their videos on Youtube, the whole office room went back to their teenage years singing “Rasputin”, “Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi-Holiday”, and “Brown Girl in the Ring”.

And then we started to talk about the music in our childhood years, and mas Fanny mentioned about Wilson Phillips..

Which led us to their parents..

Suddenly we started to talk about 90s disco, from Snap! to Marky Mark to Real McCoy.

And then the other day, Ocha told me about this band called Seeker Love Keeper

Which turned out to be an Australian all-girl band formed by Sarah Blasko, Holly Trosby, and Sally Seltmann

And now for some new singles released in June (apart from Pet Shop Boys’ “Vocal” and Duckworth Lewis Method’s “It’s Just Not Cricket”)

Caro Emerald released a new single – her second from the album “The Shocking Miss Emerald”

Last but not least.. Boy George!

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