It’s Tuesday! Time for another round of “5 Must-Hear Pop Songs of the Week”!
In case you haven’t already heard (and really, my grandma already heard so you should be ashamed of yourself), Britney Spears and Demi Lovato are officially joining L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell on the judge’s panel of next season’s “X Factor”! What? That’s in-sahne! I know! To celebrate the news, I’ve selected one song from each of the judges (well, and one “X Factor U.K.” judge to round it all out) to celebrate their repertoire.
Seacrest out! (WAIT. Wrong show, wrong show…)
1.) Britney Spears, “Hot As Ice”
After weeks of negotiations, Britney’s “X Factor” deal finally became a reality in late April — as well as a reality show first: When all was said and done, Queen B made an icy hot $16 million on the deal, making her the highest-paid television judge in history, y’all (which is still a bargain, if you ask me).
In honor of the multimillion dollar deal, what better way to celebrate Brit Brit’s legendary reign than with a spin of her 2007 Blackout brag attack, “Hot As Ice”? Produced by the unstoppable Danja, the springy number sees the Princess-turned-Queen of Pop merrily skipping on top of a space-age hip-pop beat while playfully massaging her ego. “New and improved, I’m saying thank you very much/ Living legend, you can look but don’t touch,” Brit Brit croons on one of the sassiest numbers in her back catalog. Though the song was released during one of the darkest periods in Queen B’s career, it’s still a standout. As you can see, fortunately, she’s cold as fire… 14 years and counting! Viva La Holy Spearit!
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week after the jump.
2.) Demi Lovato, “Unbroken”
Brit Brit’s not the only new girl in town: 19-year-old Demi Lovato is joining the ranks on the upcoming “X Factor” as well, holding it down as one of today’s hottest teen idols. After sending shock waves (or really, shivers) through the industry with the release of her frank, heart-wrenching ballad “Skyscraper” earlier last year following a very publicized trip to rehab (which she bravely documented on MTV’s “Stay Strong”), the talented songstress and newfound role model quickly proved to the world that she’s way, way more than just a former Disney starlet.
Aside from her soul-bearing balladry, Lovato’s latest record includes plenty of powerful, upbeat pop productions, including the album’s title track — “Unbroken,” a searing club-pop number. With its massive, pulsing beat and searing vocals, the song just might be Demi’s first real opportunity to score herself a major club smash, à la fellow Disney sisters Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus. “I’m gonna love you like I’ve never been broken!” she belts out. My advice? Churn out some sick remixes and send this one straight to the clubs, Demi — you’ll have legions of new Lovatics screaming your name from the audience in no time.
3.) Paula Abdul, “Knocked Out”
L.A. Reid is a music legend, responsible for penning and producing records for nearly every musical icon over the past 30 years — from Whitney Houston to Mariah Carey to Toni Braxton and TLC. But before his career as a record label mogul truly took off, Reid was producing cuts in the late ’80s for talented R&B songstresses like Pebbles, Karyn White and a feisty cheerleader-turned-songstress named Paula Abdul. In fact, Reid is responsible for Abdul’s first ever single, “Knocked Out.”
Penned alongside Babyface, “Knocked Out” is the delicious late ’80s dance-pop romp off of her debut record, Forever Your Girl. “You got me knocked out, turn me inside out/ It’s you that makes my heart beat,” she sings on the bouncy, Janet-esque jam. And even though she wouldn’t truly hit her peak until 1989’s No. 1 “Straight Up,” the song still scored the singer her first Top 10 R&B hit.
Remember: Before Britney and Demi came into the picture, it was Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul filling those seats. That is, until they were — err, knocked out. Oh, “X Factor,” the tangled webs we weave!
4.) One Direction, “More Than This”
Before Simon Cowell was bickering with Nicole S. on “The X Factor” last year, he was seated at the judge’s table back in England in 2010 alongside Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue for the star-studded seventh season of “The X Factor U.K.,” which spawned overnight superstars such as Cher Lloyd and Rebecca Ferguson. Who did he mentor? A little group called One Direction, who, in just two years, have exploded onto the British music scene, crossed over to frenzied success in America and sparked a British boy band invasion. Not too shabby, eh?
After unleashing several smashes from their debut album, including “One Thing” and “What Makes You Beautiful,” the teenage-ish troupe is turning down the BPM a bit for their upcoming single “More Than This,” due out a little sometime later this June. The pretty acoustic-pop heartbreak ballad gives Zayn, Harry, Liam, Niall and my suspenders-loving BF Louis a chance to show off their vocal chops: “When he lays you down, I just might die inside/ It just don’t feel right/ ’Cause I can love you more than this,” the boys mourn together. Aww. Cheer up, boys! I have a feeling there’s more than a few girls who’ll gladly still accept your heart.
5.) Tulisa, “Young”
Following Simon’s Stateside switchover, the “X Factor U.K.” judge’s panel also saw a pretty major overhaul back in 2011, resulting in Kelly Rowland, Gary Barlow and Tulisa, the former member of hip-hop troupe N-Dubz, as the three new judges. At the end of April, Tulisa released her debut solo single, “Young.” Evidently, it was heavily anticipated: The track rocketed straight to No. 1 on the U.K. Singles Chart the following week. And for good reason! The surging club-pop anthem is a massively euphoric explosion of synthesizers: “Forgive us for what we have done/ ’Cause we are, we are young!” Tulisa declares, formally absolving herself of all sins.
With its gorgeous Ibiza-lite post-chorus breakdown (think a bit of RiRi’s “We Found Love,” but chillier) and carefree lyricism (“I don’t mean to frighten you off/ It’s just fun!”), “Young” is basically destined to be one of this year’s summer anthems. YOLO!
Bradley Stern is a writer from Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order and plotting the various ways in which he will bring down Katy Perry to become Rihanna’s best friend. But most of all, he spends his time tweeting musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.
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