February 25, 2009

Antigone all over town

Promiscuity. Finally. The new Antigone single is out on iTunes everywhere on April 6. The album follows on April 20. If you're not yet aware, Antigone Foster is a pretty little Aussie gamine with a big, lush voice. She'll make the big pop stars totter on their stilettos.

This track threw me to the ground when I first heard it. It's the album opener and, like a brilliant pre-credit sequence to a film, it sets the tone for an record about men, women, love, sex and self-reliance. For me, Promiscuity is all about the mega chorus, which is driven by an ass-kicking vocal. It moves from ambient to gorgeous to whipsmart to disturbing in 4 minutes.

Download the Lush Mix of Promiscuity FREE

Antigone Talks to GutterGirl, EQ and to me. Her myspace has a samples of the album and single mixes, along with blogs from Antigone.

Mixtape: Tell me the truth, is it love or just Paris?

Roisin Murphy may not have the elevated place she deserves in pop music, but she's clearly high up the guest list in the fashion world, seated next to self-promoter Kanye West on the front row of the New York shows. This photo's from The Hopeless Optimist, who has elaborate coverage of Roisin's fashionista jaunts worldwide. I hope this will inspire her to create new music soon.

Chers amis, Phoenix, a band I completely forgot existed, is back. Their website opens with a free download of new single 1901. The song seems like standard indiepop until the chorus where the real hook comes in-n-n-n. If you don't know their 2003 track Too Young (watch it now), used to great effect in the film Lost In Translation, get it on itunes. I should add that they're French and we need more French popstars, at least beyond Mrs. Sarkozy. Their new CD, the brilliantly Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, is out May 25.

The Virgins want to be as effortlessly cool as Phoenix. They're in fashion spreads in New York (see it) and Rolling Stone. I recommend the track Private Affair.

Neko Case's
new album The Middle Cyclone is streaming now on NPR! It's out March 3.

U2. What does one say about hoary ol' U2? I think their new album will require some time. The question is, do I want to give Boner and The Boys that time? I am still baffled by the choice of that boots song as the single, when Stand Up Comedy or I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight completes the task with far more effervescence. I just did a killer review of it for Instinct, which I'll share when I can.

Morrissey fans: I was at first dismissive of the new b-sides, but I'm slowly changing my mind. I recommend both Because Of My Poor Education and Shame Is The Name heartily. I doubt anyone noticed the little slogan on the banner above - that's taken from Shame. I plan to review the actual album soon. The song to beat is the wailing, intense It's Not Your Birthday Anymore. The Red Radio has a contest up for a free vinyl copy of the album (Americanos only).

Seriously, OMD and Spandau Ballet are recording again. The latter are sort of like Take That with erectile dysfunction.

That defamer Chartrigger is now in love with Lily Allen after years of refusal (!). I hope the pic below of Lily and a large pussy pops his cork.

Stuart Price has remixed Wrong by Depeche Mode. This one as Thin White Duke. Should be good, though his recent Starsailor mix added nothing much to Tell Me It's Not Over.

Ladyhawke has new mixes out for her Paris Is Burning track I love the Funkagenda mix and the radio edit for the Simmons and Christopher Mix. They're all over the place.

Does anyone have an MP3 of Will Young's iTunes UK bonus track This Is Who I Am (hear it)? I didn't know it existed until today. It's a massive attack...

Lily Allen in Q Magazine

February 24, 2009

XOvision: Something wrong with me inherently

Depeche Mode Wrong:

I've never seen Saw or Hostel and I still get angry with my friends for not warning me about Seven, so this kind of macabre shit is Not. My. Bag. I don't get it - it's so nihilistic. Maybe that's how Depeche feel about the world right now? Regardless, this video certainly captures an internal feeling of anxiety and frustration. To quote Anne Sexton, your fear is anyone's fear.

But I think a George Bush mask would have been better on the driver.

Thanks to Idolator

February 23, 2009

Cover Story: BWO's clinical device

The BWO suppository. It slides right in.


Bodies Without Organs claims their new CD, out April 1, will be more mature. They even liken the above single to Frozen by Madonna. Risky gambit...

February 22, 2009

Depeche Tre


Depeche Mode
fans, start saving one dollar a day. Sounds Of The Universe is a geek fan's delight. Check out the release details - including a box set with 4 discs. Red Radio has full details of the various versions and also the tour.

The single, Wrong, has finally been heard and, for me, it did not quite live up to the 10 second teaser we heard. I can't really hear a proper chorus on it, though I love Martin's backing vocals at the end. It's best to wait for a high quality version.

Watch a live - and by live I mean mimed - performance of Wrong

The video, however, should be a killer. It's directed by Patrick Daughters, the man responsible for the best Feist videos.

Album out April 20/21 worldwide.

February 21, 2009

Tori's brilliant new album title

Abnormally Attracted To Sin

Tori Amos Pretty Good Year:

I've never given Tori Amos justice on this blog because my relationship to her music became more complicated at about the same time I started the blog. To say that I was obsessed with her at certain points is mild. Especially from 1992 to about 2002.This morning I finally succumbed to one of those Facebook15 albums thingies, but mine was 50 albums (15? please!) and included Tori's Under The Pink, a perfect perfect record.

Above is a video for one of its best songs. How beautiful she was then. Still is, but that video is a moment of youth. And although we thought her music was heavily reminiscent of Kate Bush at that time, she is a complete original. I wish someone would come along with a combination talent (Tori's veers toward genius), beauty, quirkiness and fierceness. She is a major advocate for many she views as disenfranchised and I don't see that too much in pop music today, at least not in younger artists.

More Tori

February 20, 2009

Depeche Deux

Depeche Mode fans, start saving one dollar a day. Sounds Of The Universe is a geek fan's delight. Check out the release details - including a box set with 4 discs.

Out April 20/21 worldwide.

February 19, 2009

Something Kinda Ouch

I love Dlisted. Housemate had to mute the TV and ask me why I was sitting at my desk chuckling like a schizo for like 5 minutes. One of those things where you calm down, look at the picture and start laughing all over again.

"Why is a bitch falling always so fucking funny?"

See how Sarah reacted here.

Quote of the Week: PopJustice on Girls next single

PopJustice, on the potential for Untouchable to be announced as the next Girls Aloud single.
At almost seven minutes 'Untouchable' is Girls Aloud's 'Stairway To Heaven'*, their 'Bohemian Rhapsody'*. It must exist in its entirety, or not at all.

Meanwhile, at the Brits, Bono said he wanted to be in Girls Aloud, to which Adam Clayton replied "Which one?" Bada bing!

Meanwhile, at the Brits, Lady BlahBlah, who reportedly had a massive entourage, did not know who Girls Aloud were. Pop fan, eh eh?


February 18, 2009

Review: The Annie Lennox Collection

Annie Lennox is a force of nature. She is at the vanguard of artists who represent the great gift of 80's pop: the marriage of electronic music with a soul voice. Greatest hits CDs are generally not worth the (virtual) ink. However, for geeked out obsessives, these collections are ripe territory for debate. The Annie Lennox Collection, a CD/DVD combo, was finally released this week. While impressed with the overall package, I felt it worthy of a few comments.

It's great to have high quality masters of the older tunes like Why, but at 14 songs, the disc is a bit meager. A Whiter Shade Of Pale was neither a hit in the US [it was big in Romania sayeth my friend Alex] nor is it one of her compositions. I'd dump it for another track and steal Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye from the bonus disc. Of the two new songs, her cover of Ash's Shining Light is the best, a churning radio-friendly track notable for its bright use of the word "firmament." Weaker is the meandering Keane track, Pattern Of My Life, which should have either been produced by Tim Rice Oxley (it wasn't) or been replaced by fiery new disco-gospel rave-up.

UK buyers have a 2-CD option Americans do not: a bonus disc of 8 rarities. Truth is, Annie's solo output has a lot more than 8 rarities. That disc is missing some prime tracks, like her cover of Psych Furs' Heaven and Step By Step, a 1992 tune later covered by Whitney Houston. It does add one of Annie's most vital obscurities, a collaboration with Herbie Hancock called Hush Hush Hush that is wrenchingly pretty.

The accompanying DVD is evidence that Annie is second only to Madonna in status as a video icon. She goes from stunningly beautiful (see Precious) to scarily arch (Little Bird), often in the same shot. Ev'ry Time W Say Goodbye, one of her finest videos is not included, perhaps because it was done for charity (though the song does appear on the bonuses). More videos could have been included from her Diva video LP, including my favorite, Money Can't Buy It, and Legend In My Living Room.
Most disturbing is the weakness of later videos. The 2003 tour clips included for Pavement Cracks and A Thousand Beautiful Things are not worthy of official release, they are shot so poorly, the latter flipping between overexposed and murky.

The packaging is beautiful, with some amazing old shots and an iconic new cover portrait by Bryan Adams - yes, that Bryan Adams.

The most recent cover tune Annie recorded, included on the bonus editions, is apt. It's a note-perfect live version of Jimmy Cliff's melancholy Many Rivers To Cross. The lyric emotionally sums up the mood of Annie's most plangent songs over the years: "Many rivers to cross / and it's only my will that keeps me alive... This loneliness won't leave me alone / It's such a drag to be on your own / Love has left me and I don't know the reason why / Well, I guess I'll have to cry."

Annie Lennox sings for and to those like her, locked inside their own heads and their own vast dreamworlds.

For the Lennox Trainspotters, my version* of her Hits set:

CD: 1. Little Bird 2. Shining Light 3. Why 4. No More "I Love You's" 5. Precious 6. Love Song For A Vampire 7. A Thousand Beautiful Things 8. Sing [ed: I hate this song, but she had to have it here] 9. Pavement Cracks 10. Cold 11. Wonderful 12. Dark Road 13. Walking On Broken Glass 14. Coloured Bedspread 15. Pattern of My Life 16. Into The West 17. Wonderful 18. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye

Bonus Disc
1. Heaven 2. Waiting In Vain 3. Hush, Hush, Hush (with Herbie Hancock) 4. Many Rivers to Cross (live) 5. Dream Angus 6. Mama 7. Step By Step 8. Don't Let Me Down (live) 9. Put A Little Love In Your Heart (with Al Green) 10. Everybody Hurts" (with Alicia Keys) 11. Ladies of the Canyon 12. Dark Road (acoustic)

1. Little Bird 2. Shining Light 3. Why 4. No More "I Love You's" 5. Precious 6. Love Song For A Vampire 7. Money Can't Buy It 8. Legend In My Living Room 9. Cold 10. Dark Road 11 Primitive 12. Waiting In Vain 13. Something So Right 14. Whiter Shade Of Pale 15. Pattern of My Life 16. Walking On Broken Glass 17. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye

apparently I did this before

Completists should note that Till Bronner released, in late 2008, a duet between Annie and Milton Nascimento on Misterios.

She is a shining light

Annie Lennox talks to CNN about her career. Tonight I'll review the Hits DC/DVD. Stay tuned sluts!

February 16, 2009

Playlist: A saint, a sinner, an absolute beginner.

Pic taken a few summers ago at Marc Jacobs in NYC. Bring on the heat. I am over winter.

Some recommended tunes from my recent iPod playlists. Note the lack of pure pop or big name stuff. That will change soon when a clutch of major albums comes out.

1. Kate Havnevik Halo myspace
Classic Havnevik, if that's possible after only one CD. That means it's vair vair symphonic. Kate wisely popped this onto iTunes before anyone knew it was coming out. Smart lady, that's the way the music biz should be run. Fantastic chorus, whirling strings and a brilliant final moment.

2. The Leisure Society Last Of The Melting Snow. myspace
The Leisure Society are pastoral British pop. This is gentle stuff reminsicent of the softer Trashcan Sinatras tunes. Their album, called The Sleeper, is out March 16 (my birthday!). "America seems an awful way to go / As we hide ourselves in the last of the melting snow." Note that the single is on iTunes, even in the US.

3. The Roots Union Rough Diamonds MP3 at BBC
Earthy, folk-pop, strings, seriously atmospheric. I found this and the previous tune on Tom Robinson's BBC 6 radio show. Roots Union caught my ear because of lead singer Tobias Ben Jacob's cracked voice. That and the first line about a "Northern town." Sing about a British town or street or area and I am sure to lay down for you. The title of this post comes from this tune, fyi.

4. Bat For Lashes Daniel try here
Natasha's [her name is sadly not Bat] debut album didn't really cling like it should have. This new single is breathy and mysterious, with just enough of hook and beats to sate me. She's like a more "gossamer" PJ Harvey. Note that album track Pearl's Dream is equally compelling.

5. A Camp Love Has Left The Room myspace
Their second album, Colonia, has not lured me in. Perhaps because that word reminds me of colonic. Hmmph. Anyway, Nina take a brief left turn with this track, which has a big string arrangement and a kind of Phil Spectorish grandeur. I'd like to stand in the background doing the ahhhhs while waving a big bouquet back and forth. Or something.

6. Ra Ra Riot Suspended In Gaffa get it here
The single Can You Tell (more) is kicky'n'fresh, but their take on Kate Bush makes me smile everytime I play it. I love how lead singer Wesley Miles' voice rises and cracks on various notes. Cello, violin and a crashing drum... Not till I'm ready for you hoo hoo.

Most wanted song this week: Kylie Minogue's You Are There. This standard was played during her documentary, but the only version I've found is a rip from the film, marred by talking. Anyone have a complete version? That song is incredibly sweet.

February 15, 2009

Now it's raining more than ever

It should be no surprise that I love Rihanna. Thus, I am gathering a posse of angry pop kids to get on a bus and go to Hell Lay to go medieval on Chris Brown. But, no, violence should not beget violence. Maybe it would be better to take that bus to the media, which has created a cottage industry of speculation on what happened between her and Chris Brown. Did she do x, did he do y? MTV even has a tacky news special about it. A ratings$$$ bonanza.

What we do know is that Chris Brown is 19 - yes, 19 - and, as is de rigueur with hip hop stars, he's from Virginia. To some degree, he's a baby, and it appears he's from a violent home. Rihanna is 20, from Barbados and her first name is Robyn. She's loves Lily Allen and clothes. She too is really young. They both, along with their pal NeYo, represent the reemergence of pop melody into r'n'b after years of hip hop influence. See this clip of Brown and Rihanna together on MTV (check her shoes!). They are, like Britney, growing up with the media/tabloid eye focused on every move.

We ascribe a kind of decorum to older artists like Janet Jackson and Madonna because they did not get themselves embroiled in mugshot drama. But the fact is, there was no Internet when Madonna and Janet were at their chart peaks. What would have happened if Sean Penn had "trussed Madonna up like a turkey for nine hours" (as he's claimed to have done) and every media outlet and blogger was there to cover it? Outside their gates, inside their inner circle. I remember People Magazine being the main source of info at that time. And it died down quickly, in part because Madonna released her finest album, Like A Prayer, soon after.

Ironically and yet not surprisingly, this week Rihanna's label issued a Good Girl Gone Bad Remix CD. Forget Kylie's weak Boombox, Rihanna's mixes are truly sublime. Sure, most of the tracks were previously released, but this project truly betters the original CD. I still love the string quartet-laden Lindbergh Palace edit of Umbrella (hear it) and the K Klassic Mix of her NeYo duet, Hate That I Love You (hear it / see the lush video).

Hidden amongst the better known mixes
is a complete gem. The Wideboys Mix of Question Existing, which takes Rihanna back to the Diana Ross disco era. What tips the song into greatness is the lengthy spoken section at 2:20. She delivers it in that low, gravelly way all pop girls do a spoken bit - you know what I mean - but I love how her accent slips through: "Entertainin' is something I do for a livin'/ It's not who I am." It's hard to ignore the message of the song in light of the events this week. Listen...

Rihanna Question Existing (Wideboys Radio Edit):

In 2007, Rihanna put light into the world with Umbrella, the sweetest moment of zeitgeist I can recall.

When the sun shines, we’ll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'ma stick it out till the end

Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella

February 13, 2009

XOvision: Return of West End Girls

West End Girls Little Black Dress:

West End Girls new single, written by Pet Shop Boys. I love the dreamy middle eight [see what I did there?], which arrives early in the song, around 1:40. The wickedly titled Shoplifters album is out in Spring. You may remember that last year they did a terrific cover of What Have I Done To Deserve This.

Kudos to PJ Forums.

February 12, 2009

Quote of the Week: Boys keep swinging

In the March 2009 issue of Q Magazine, the fully grown men of Take That discuss "communal wanking" back in their days of turgid tweenypop superstardom. If you're wondering whether the Fat One liked the smell of hot dick on the tour bus, you'll be deflated - but not surprised - to read the truth...

Gary Barlow: Not me, I'm a bit of a prude. Ask Howard all about that.

Howard Donald: It were me and Rob. It only happened once. We watched a porno and decided to see who could come first...

Mark Owen: That was an odd one, that. I think I was more of an observer with that one [ed note: you think?]. You only take part in a wanking competition if you have a really big willy. I wasn't really equipped for doing that.
[XO ponders this fact] Poor Marky. Good times. Good times.

Chartrigger, get yer hand out yer pants!

February 10, 2009

Love is here, love is here

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - aka La Bex - has spawned two months early. A 2lb 10oz boy. Her demanding fans will probably say, "Good! Bitch can get back on the treadmill and release her video sooner!" Sophie's pictured above with her first child, the pubescent teen Richard Jones. Her other child, Sonny, is notable for being, at 5 years old, more effortlessly indie-cool than I have ever been. Evidence below.

When they returned to the world

Black Room are finally gearing up. I had a bit of... resentment for them when they killed Lorraine by wiping their myspace and Faceboook with no message to their fans. Then I saw this album cover and relaxed-related-released my pissed fanboy routine. The music is great, so bring it on. They are currently streaming some songs you may or may not know. Let's hope it happens this time.

February 9, 2009

Holy crap!

How did this happen?

From the Top 100 Music Blogs chart on Wikio.

I have no clue what kind of algorithm they use, but I'll accept it. What matters most, as I have said before, are two things: good music and the fine folks who read this blog, whether they comment or not. It is most appreciated.

February 7, 2009

You thought you weren't an indie kid

And then you heard Ra Ra Riot's Can YouTell

Cello. Violin. Melody. Second time in one week that I find myself saying Yes Yes Yes. Their album, The Rhumb Line, includes a cover of Kate Bush's Suspended In Gaffa

February 6, 2009

All night cinema superstar

Just Jack 8-minute documentary:

Just Jack's new album is called All Night Cinema and it's out on April 6. Although the evidence of his brilliance exists on his two previous LPs, I did not understand the extent of his musical chops until watching this mini documentary. Fittingly, he says this is more of a "song" album - not so much rap. I was chatting with Poster Girl about how underestimated Jack is and how this , to some degree, works to his benefit. He is full of surprises.

His new album includes (hear samples in the youtube doc)...

253: "Jaunty" pop song with harmonica
The Day I Died: Beckian (eg: folk with beats)
Astronaut: Jamiroquai, but far less champers'n'tits'n'blackeyes
Blood: Like his last two records
Goth In The Disco: Needs to be a single, if there is a God
All Night Cinema: is, well, cinematic

The first single is Embers, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. It's a string-based, almost choral track and a big left turn for Jack. Vincent Frank watch out.

XO's Top Ten Plus One Just Jack Songs

Disco Friends
Eye To Eye

Triple Tone Eyes
No Time
Spectacular Failures
Glory Days
Starz In Their Eyes
Writers Block (Seamus Haji Mix)
Let's Get Really Honest
Starz In Their Eyes (Boss Boss Mix)

February 5, 2009

You need more: PSB's Love etc.


Too much Pet Shop Boys is never enough. Love etc leaked today and it is... plucky. It is plucky and weird. A grower.

Love etc. begins with a gorgeous climbing vocal on the intro. How does this man sound so crystalline 25 years on? Does he keep a rotting portrait in the attic? The chanted don't have to be chorus - the "A" chorus - is a surprise. It's like Girls Aloud did the verses and handed their footballer boyfriends the mics for the chorus. The "B' chorus, where the shouting hooligans drop out, is beautiful in a Loving Kind fashion. You need more gets repeated over and over - a sticky hook.

The details in the song are typically lush: Listen for the
brief-but-grand string line at 1:31 - it starts repeating at that point. Listen for the little bubbles of synth at 1:52. Listen for the cynical outro: (don't have to be) beautiful but it helps. Lovely Phil noted that lyrically this is a bit anachronistic. Right now, today, the world is not about a "life of power and wealth." Minor quibble.

I don't think it's a "hit" single, but will sound brilliant on a career retrospective. I admire their willingness to take to the best of Xenomania and mix it with their own style. This song is a beautiful culture clash:
the rough trade mixing with the pretty, delicate ones.

Love etc is released on March 16 (my birthday, of course) with the new b-sides Gin And Jag and We're All Criminals Now

Thanks for being the first to the fire, David at Euphoric

February 4, 2009

Mixtape: Clinging like fire to fuel

That photo has nothing to do with pop music. I just want to see it on this blog. Right now, it appears that it's truly raining shit in America. I don't ever remember a period this fearful, at least in a way that affects our daily lives. So the picture above, to me, symbolizes one of the only bright lights in our lives. A lot of people I know have had a very bad - or at least rollercoaster - week. They have my support and love.


Rose Elinor Dougall, ex Rosay of The Pipettes is streaming a woody new folk-based song on her myspace. May Holiday. Her album is looking to be one of the wonders of 2009. Her voice is so evocative of the 60's folk.

"I know all about the sphincter." A sentence uttered by Nina Persson (Cardigans, A Camp) in The Independent. I was wrong, by the way, about a new Cardigans CD in 2009. Unlikely.

I see
The Killers are already planning a covers album. I suggest they talk to Duran Duran about what happened when they followed The Wedding Album with Thank You.

Oasis' new single Falling Down is their best single in 14 years (!) since their imperial moment. By far.

Immi Twitters

Tori Amos
may be playing SXSW in Austin. Her album is due in 2 months and no one has any idea what it's called. ? Epic is also rumored to be releasing "Best Of" live release from her American Doll Posse tour.

Jem is attempting to resuscitate her DOA 2008 album, Down To Earth. It was shit then and it's shit now. The only good song is the fluttery On Top Of The World.

Did Morrissey's nude pic last week signal his sad decline? Maybe. I found it quite droll and it did get a lot of attention.

Little Boots new music is like less melodic Sophie Ellis Bextor ...without the unique accent.

Much bettah is the Welsh band Torr turned me onto, The Joy Formidable. It's crunchy but also really melodic. Lead singer's name is Ritzy.

New Divine Comedy album out in last half of 2009.

PopJustice has a sample
of the new Simmons and Christopher remix of Paris Is Burning. Sounds BEYOND.

Lady BlahBlah (thanx, Paul) - her Eh Eh song sounds like a massive hit to me, but let's just say she has a face for radio and leave it at that. AND SHE IS NOT 22! Puleez.

The genius Lucky Soul have been recording their new album for quite awhile. Here is what Ali looks like in the studio. She is deluxe. More on Lucky Soul.

In 1998, Joni Mitchell released one of her finest songs, Stay In Touch. The lyrics are words to live by. Here is a bit from the end of the song:

During times like these
The wise are influential
They can bear the imperfections
They can keep the harmony
No doubt about it
No doubt that's essential
No doubt that's always been a tricky one for me

We should just surrender
Let fate and duty shape us
Let light hearts remake us
Let the worries hush

In the middle of this continent
In the middle of our time on Earth

We perceive one another

Stay in touch

We should stay in touch

February 3, 2009

XOvision: Can't seem to let Bareilles go

Sara Bareilles Gravity:

Years on - this was one of my Top Songs of 2007 - Bareilles continues to flog her debut album, though this song is truly worthy. Look / listen for the sublime vocal moment at around 2:45. I can assure you that if you attempt to belt this bit in your car, you will surely choke and almost run off the road. What's going on with the video though? I cannot actually see anything it's so dark.

The Cocknbullkid
I'm Not Sorry:

I didn't love her first single, but this tune is better. Thumb down, thumb up, we'll see what comes next. I think she needs a bigger budget or she teeters on "I could do that in my basement."

James Yuill No Surprise:

Yuill is very Erlend Oye, isn't he? Or Sebastien Tellier. Or any number of electro noodlers now trying to do pop music. This one is pleasant enough, jaunty even, but let me warn you that your speakers are fine. The first 30 seconds is inexplicably devoid of any sound. Brilliant move on the part of the director, as everyone will close their browsers before the music starts.

Gary Go Wonderful:

I am very concerned. Very. Concerned.* That Gary Go is the new James Morrison slash Adam Levine. The video is well-done and the song is not terrible (I worry you may like it), but it's derivative and his other tunes are pablum. This will likely be huge - the Big Machine wants to make him a star.

*well, not reallllly