Ok, I will admit it. As underground and cool as I try to pretend to be, I am such a sucker for UK chart pop. Just about any girl group they assemble across the pond, if they do the right remix, it will be in my club sets. So, yeah, I love The Saturdays, Little Mix, and of course Girls Aloud. When Cheryl Cole took a break from Girls Aloud and went solo with her Kelis “Lil’ Star”-sampling “Fight For This Love,” I became a huge fan and have played just about every single since (“Parachute,” “Call My Name,” “Promise This,” “Under the Sun”). Back with her fourth album, Cheryl is getting even popper with “Crazy Stupid Love.” There’s that horn part which is just infectious (giving Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty To Me” a run for the money), and the “la la la” hook over the jig-dancing staccato/handclap beat, the key change for the chorus, and that oh-so-cute off-beat spoken title line. The rap by Tinie Tempah is also quite good, bringing in calls for both a whistle and a wiggle while describing the official love. The funny thing is that when he repeats “official” it sounds like he is saying “real fish,” which to fans of drag queens means something completely different. Steve Smart & Westfunk turn out a solid electro mix which keeps the pop vibe and hooks, but toughens it up for commercial club play. What makes this perfect for Sunday Funday (aside from it being a girl twirl pop song from Cheryl Cole) is how the video looks so dark and underground that it comes off like satire or camp. Watching her hump the table while wearing harem paints and a face beat with more make up than a drag queen will definitely put a smile on your face.
The whole genre of EDM progressive vocal tracks has become a bit trite, what with everyone using the same plug-ins, ideas, and (most likely) ghost producers trying to emulate hits by Zedd or Avicii. Every so often, a real musician/producer comes along and shakes up the formula with their own unique twist. If you don’t know Westfunk, he’s the British producer/DJ who prides himself on “pimping” out the tunes you love for the dance floor. On his own and together with Steve Smart, he’s remixed everyone from Rita Ora and Britney Spears to Chicane and Sander Van Doorn. On his new track Apollo, he starts with a really engaging piano intro and pretty vocals (maybe Bright Lights?) with a great emotional effect. The buildup may be a bit typical, but the main structure of the chorus is quite special. Rather than having one rhythm structure dominate the full section, there is a call-and-response of two rhythms going back and forth. He basically did twice the work of an average track and excelled with it. That he went with a big beat break instead of a dubstep one is mere icing on the cake. Since “Apollo” isn’t out for a few weeks, head over to his Facebook and satiate yourself with a few downloads of his mashups and white labels.