“That they’re still mak­ing orig­i­nal mu­sic should be cel­e­brated.


Af­ter re­cruit­ing orig­i­nal Nana Siob­han for their mas­sive re­u­nion tour, Keren and Sarah shrink back to a duo on the new Bana­narama al­bum, which sticks to their good times/party girls for­mula. First sin­gle, Dance Mu­sic, is a sex­ier, slower af­fair than usual, re­call­ing disco’s most or­gas­mic mo­ments like Donna Sum­mer’s Love To Love You Baby and ABBA’s Voulez-Vous. The an­themic I’m On Fire is ripe for early hours club­bing, Tonight is a gay clas­sic wait­ing to hap­pen and the perky Stuff Like That harks back to the Stock Aitken Wa­ter­man glory days. While the Nanas could des­per­ately do with some as­sis­tance in the lyrics depart­ment, the fact they’re still mak­ing orig­i­nal mu­sic – and not merely pump­ing out cover ver­sions – is not just to be com­mended but cel­e­brated.


We have to ad­mit hav­ing a su­per fan­girl crush on Dua. She’s been one of the most con­sis­tently pop-tastic artists of re­cent years and still only had one al­bum! While we anx­iously await her sopho­more re­lease (due soon we’re re­li­ably in­formed) the 23-year British artist con­tin­ues her hot streak of “be­tween al­bum” tracks. Fol­low­ing on from her ubiq­ui­tous One Kiss dance thumper with Calvin Har­ris, and the equally livewire Elec­tric­ity with Mark Ron­son and Diplo’s new duo Silk City (please for­get her turgid Andrea Bo­celli duet), here’s yet an­other. This time it’s a suit­ably cin­e­matic pop feast at­tached to the ac­tion flick Alita: Bat­tle An­gel, based on a Ja­panese manga. At the rate Dua keeps pump­ing out the goods, her next al­bum is likely to be a Great­est Hits col­lec­tion. Dua, you can be our diva any­time.


One of the catchi­est tunes in re­cent mem­ory is un­doubt­edly Char­lie XCX and Troye Si­van’s duet about the joys of life, and Britney, be­fore the mil­len­nium. To bol­ster 1999’s con­tin­u­ing chances of be­com­ing that huge break­out hit both artists need to take them to the next level (it went plat­inum in Aus­tralia), here’s a nifty batch of nine remixes. Young Franco from Aus­tralia re­makes it into a slinky af­fair, while coun­try­mate Su­per Cruel’s rein­ter­pre­ta­tion morphs into a cruisy R&B joint that sounds noth­ing like the orig­i­nal. For our money, though, the best of the bunch might be The Knocks Remix, which makes 1999 seem like some great for­got­ten Daft Punk hit from the last decade of the last cen­tury. Timely in­deed.


For­mer Bloc Party lead singer Kele has teamed up with Dr Who/Torch­wood scribe Matt Jones for a timely mu­si­cal about gay in­ter­ra­cial mar­riage, ad­dic­tion and good peo­ple deal­ing with bad gov­ern­ments. This haunt­ing, Afro-cen­tric sound­track is Kele’s ver­sion on the songs from Leave To Re­main, which fin­ished its sold-out pre­miere run in Lon­don re­cently and is a likely can­di­date for be­ing “the next Hamil­ton”. Not The Drugs Talk­ing is a bold in­di­ca­tor of the pow­er­ful score – a raw ex­plo­ration of mod­ern gay ro­mance, done with an in­die pop in­jec­tion bolted on to its tra­di­tional mu­si­cal frame­work. This is not just an im­por­tant work, but likely to re­main a gamechange­r for both the LGBT com­mu­nity and our rep­re­sen­ta­tion in main­stream arts.


Al­most 25 years ago, Rent be­came a defin­ing mo­ment in pop cul­ture. It tossed the mu­si­cal genre out onto the mean streets of NYC, where it delved into some gritty is­sues like home­less­ness and HIV, sung to hard rock bal­lads. Ear­lier this year, a live broad­cast (some 14 years af­ter the Hol­ly­wood movie ver­sion) brought this still-rel­e­vant show back to pub­lic con­scious­ness. There was plenty of star tal­ent at­tached (Mario, Ti­nashe, Vanessa Hud­gens, Teen Wolf hot­tie Jor­dan Fisher), but we squealed when we dis­cov­ered Drag Race’s Valentina was among the cast! This dou­ble-disc sound­track will have Broad­way babes belt­ing along to Sea­sons Of Love for years to come.

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