Sophie Ellis-Bextor Defines Pop; Joss Stone Defends Robbie Williams

I quite like Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Her album, Trip the Light Fantastic, is unavoidable if you go to a New York City bar or club, but she’s still a cult figure stateside. With her pale skin and frosty voice, she’s unusually remote for a pop star. But don’t mistake her for some pretentious Madonna clone with her head up her own perfectly toned arse. She clearly understands pop music, and she provides a very smart definition of it to The Daily Telegraph:

“It is music that should be immediately accessible. The job is to convey, in the shortest time possible, an emotion of what it is to be alive. It can be heartache, happiness, good times, bad times, but it needs that sort of drive. It’s no use being wishy-washy or fey. It’s like the pivotal scenes in a film, not the bits in between; it’s straight to the big monologue and the action.”

I think that’s pretty insightful – and instructive. BTW: here are some cuts released from SE-B’s new album, “Me and My Imagination” and “Catch You”.

Unlike Ellis-Bextor, Joss Stone is huge in America. Not so much in the UK at moment, however. Stone, in an interview with The Times, discusses the moment when her British career went to shite – her much-maligned shout-out to Robbie Williams at this year’s BRIT awards. She singles out Russell Brand for hypocrisy: “Lots of people there that night knew Robbie and would boast in other circumstances of being his mate, yet not one of them stood up for him. Well, where I come from, if someone attacks your friends or your family you do something about it. So I said what I said and even if it wasn’t very clever, at least it was sincere. And that it was Russell of all people only made it worse to me. He’s been there himself and knows what it takes to admit you need help.”

Rihanna has made herself at home on top of the UK pop charts. This week, she also boasts a No. 1 album. Enrique Iglesias had a new entry this week with “Do You Know?” Also, Reverend & the Makers, another band from Sheffield, jumped in at No. 8 with their dance rock smash, “Heavyweight Champion of the World.” It’s a fetching little tune.

1. Rihanna – Umbrella
Watch the video

2. Mutya Buena – Real Girl
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3. Calvin Harris – The Girls
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4. Gym Class Heroes – Cupid’s Chokehold
Watch the video

5. Beyoncé and Shakira – Beautiful Liar
Watch the video

6. Hellogoodbye – Here In My Arms
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7. Maroon 5 – Makes Me Wonder
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8. Reverend & The Makers -Heavyweight Champion Of The World
Watch the video

9. Enrique Iglesias – Do You Know(The Ping Pong Song)
Watch the video

10. Timbaland Ft Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake – Give It To Me
Watch the video

In other news:

  • The TimesLisa Verrico was soft on George Michael‘s big Wembley comeback. “His enthusiasm was apparent in his attempts at hip-shaking dance steps, his lively interaction with the audience and the sweat that soaked the back of his burgundy jacket before the interval. Yet he is hardly an artist who oozes charisma and his decision to hide his band on tiers of scaffolding and sweep his six backing vocalists to the sides left him with too much ground to cover.”
  • Jane Martin, the personal chef who sued Sting and Trudie Styler for unfair dismissal and discrimination, says the stress of the work made her fear for her unborn child’s life.(BBC)
  • The Rolling Stones played the Isle of Wight festival, their first UK festival gig since 1976. Amy Winehouse joined them on stage.(BBC)
  • Paulo Nutini” [sic] (yikes, Telegraph, do a spell check) also joined the Stones for a “deep blues” rendering of “Station to Station.”
  • A frustrated Channel 4 interviewer pulled the plug on a chat with a “boozy” Winehouse after one minute.(Mirror)
  • No matter: Winehouse has Jay-Z on her side.(Page Six)
  • In the backstage area of the festival, Kate Moss called Winehouse’s husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, a “f**king queer” and had him thrown out after he made a drunken grab at her. (The Sun)
  • Pete Doherty reportedly jumped into a photographer’s car after screaming “The demons are coming to get me.” From Monsters and Critics, of all places.
  • The Towers of London plan a collaboration with their mates, The Prodigy.(NME)
  • Morrissey will meet you at the cemetery gates, not in Manchester, but in L.A.’s Hollywood Forever.(NME)
  • Radiohead, The Ballet?(Gigwise)
  • The Enemy make no apologies: they think Oasis is the greatest band ever.(The Independent)
  • Rod Stewart‘s daughter, Kimberley, in her undies.(The Sun)
  • Jennifer Aniston‘s new beau is an old friend of Victoria Beckham.(Mirror)
  • A while back, Tom Chaplin of Keane said he could drink any of the Kasabian boys under the table. Kasabian‘s Tom Meighan responded: “Well, he’s got a big advantage in that he has twice the body mass of any of us. He’s 6ft 5in, 5ft wide and he lives on a diet of pies and Quavers!”(Mirror)
  • Northern Irish band Ash hinted at a split during their festival set.
    (Contact Music)
  • Elton John came out to celebrate Liz Hurley‘s 42nd.
    (Daily Mail)
  • Kate Middleton will join her ex Prince William on-stage at the Diana concert.(Daily Mail)
  • While in Canada on a training exercise, Prince Harry was seen out at bars, “photographed in drunken clinches with provocatively dressed barmaids.”(Daily Mail)

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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