JellyBaby's Blog

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

So the BBC have made their controversial decision to axe two radio stations, 6 Music and the Asian Network. This decision, made in order to save money, has been met with hostility from fans.

It seems that digital radio just hasn’t taken off in the UK, meaning the numbers of people listening to these stations isn’t high. However, those who do listen, love what they hear.

I for one will miss the Asian Network when it goes off the air. Being bought up in rural Wales, I’d never really been exposed to much Asian music. It was only when I bought a new hi-fi complete with digital radio that I discovered bhangra, bollywood, and punjabi tunes and I loved what I heard. These genres simply don’t exist on mainstream radio – A.R.Rahman may have hit the charts thanks to his collaboration with the Pussycat Dolls and every so often tunes with Asian flavours might make the playlist, but on the whole stations like Radio 1 cater to more western tastes.

Now, artists like Jay Sean are concerned that many artists will find it harder to breakthrough without the station.

He tweeted “This is crazy. We (Asians) have no mainstream platforms as it is.”

Sunny Hundal, editor of Asians in Media, agrees. He said: “Axing Asian Network would kill off vital media space for a lot of British Asian content and culture (documentaries, fusion music) which does not get represented on commercial alternatives.”

Bhangra singer Jassi Sidhu said: “If they get rid of Asian Network it will be the final nail in the UK bhangra coffin.”

How will Asian music reach national audiences now?

Will Radio 1 introduce more Asian music into it’s schedules? Somehow I doubt it. The Asian community is now the largest ethnic minority community in the UK and as such they need to be catered for in the media.

Go into your local HMV or log onto iTunes and Asian music is hidden away in the “World” section, making it near impossible to discover new music unless you know what you’re looking for.

I’m really going to miss Asian Network, just as I know a lot of people will miss 6 Music. However, I can see how the BBC came to the decision to axe it, as it’s simply not popular enough. I hope the axe doesn’t mean the end of Asian music on the radio. For example, they could transfer some shows to Radio 1 or 1Xtra to ensure that new artists have the chance to make their music heard. Implemented well, this could still give Asian music a platform and perhaps even a wider audience. Cut it completely, however, and an entire community is swept aside in pursuit of a larger audience.

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This time last year, the great British public were still in shock after X Factor fave Laura White was voted off the show. The reaction to her elimination was unbelievable. Over 50,000 people signed a petition to have her reinstated and she was even mentioned in the houses of parliament.

A year on, and it’s hard to believe that outrage even happened. After being signed by an independent label, she released her first single, You Should Have Known. Despite being a strong debut – edgy, current and full of attitude – she unfortunately failed to receive the support of the public. The single never made it onto the Radio 1 playlist and only managed on week in the charts at number 32.

I really like the single and think it’s a real shame that the support she recieved on the X Factor didn’t continue into 2009. With Alexandra Burke, JLS, Leona Lewis and her own mentor Cheryl Cole doing well from the show it’s obvious that it’s a great platform for artists but she suffered from a lack of publicity and support from major radio stations. This doesn’t bode well for acts such as Miss Frank and Lucie Jones who’s evictions from the current series also provoked outrage from the public.

I wish Laura the best of luck; I’m interested in hearing about plans for a new single or album and I hope that as time goes by the public get behind her once again. But in the cut-throat world of the music industry, I’m not holding my breath.

Britney Spears

“Britney Spears mimes”. It’s hardly the most scandalous of stories, but Australian fans are angry after shelling out over £100 for tickets, only for the pop princess to lip-synch her way through her Circus tour.

Now there have been calls for artists who are going to mime through a show to put disclaimers on the tickets telling people that their show is going to be pre-recorded.

It all seems a bit ridiculous to me. I’ve always thought that if an artist has a tricky routine to master aswell as singing, miming’s OK. Who wants to hear heavy breathing down the mic as Britters busts some moves to Toxic or Hit Me Baby One More Time? Anyway, as many have pointed out, you don’t go to a Britney Spears concert expecting it to be live – you expect a spectacle – dancing, circus tricks, the general atmosphere of a great gig.

Perhaps it is a good idea to put disclaimers on tickets to avoid the backlash from a few disgruntled gig-goers. I’m sure it won’t have any effect on ticket sales and it would keep the anti-miming brigade quiet. Considering how much I’ve heard about lip-synching over the past few weeks, I think that would be a great thing…

The Saturdays - Wordshaker

The Saturdays - Wordshaker

I know it’s not cool, but I love The Saturdays. They’ve always been seen as a bit of a Girls Aloud tribute act, which I think is a bit unfair. In their second album, Wordshaker, they attempt to move away from the pop sounds that cause this comparison and instead try out a rockier sound, similar to that of Kelly Clarkson or Pink.

The first song, Forever Is Over was chosen to be the first single from their album. In my opinion there were a number of better songs they could have chosen, like the attitude-laden, girl-power anthems Ego and One Shot, and title track Worshaker. Forever Is Over seems a little weak in comparison.

The band haven’t forgotten their pop roots, though. Open Up, Lose Control and 2 a.m are guilty pleasure, sing-a-long songs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Girls Aloud album. Meanwhile, there are the usual ballads expected on a pop album. I usually skip past slow songs on my ipod, but I was pleasantly surprised with Here Standing, which isn’t as drippy as the lyrics would suggest (“you’re the reason I’m here standing”). The band co-wrote Deeper, and they should be proud of how it ended up. Meanwhile, the girls’ vocals shine on Denial, No One and Not Good Enough.

The only let down are the live versions of Chasing Lights, Wordshaker and One Shot on the Bonus Track Version. Much as I love their music the girls still don’t sound good enough live and it’s a poor ending to what is otherwise a top class pop album.

Wordshaker isn’t going to stop the comparisons with Girls Aloud. In fact they’ll have to compete with comparisons to Kelly Clarkson now too. It’s a shame because for a pop album, Wordshaker is pretty close to perfect.