RnM, “Call the Doctor” (2012)
WIYL Danity Kane.
D3 ft. Zigi, “Good Girls Gone Bad” (2012)
What if I posted nothing but Ghanian pop songs for the rest of my life?
Raquel ft. Sarkodie, “Sweetio” (2012)
Further evidence re: Ghanian R&B. She’s a bit of a Kelly Rowland, he’s a bit of a Kanye (more of that here).
Special note to the section of my dashboard that would be interested: Girl’s hair/makeup/nail game is. On. Point. Jaw-dropping even to an ignorant civilian like me.
Seriously, if this doesn’t become a stealth Tumblr hit I don’t know what people’s problem is. There need to be gifs.
Becca ft. MI, “No Away” (2012)
One reason I don’t often keep doing research on a topic once I turn a roundup piece in is that it’s too heartbreaking when I find something better than the vast majority of what I’d included. Ghanian R&B is killing it right now.
Toilolo Girls, “Island Beauty” (2012)
Last one (for now). Samoan girl-power R&B, sweet and lo-fi.
Gis Maj Es, “Unreachable” (2012)
Serbian jazz combo. No, wait, come back! The song is about technology and communication. Sorry, let me try again. It takes as its starting point one of the most famous three-note figures in the world. Okay, there’s nothing I can say about it that won’t make it sound boring, except maybe: You like hair-metal guitar, right?
Tereza Kerndlová, “Tepe Srdce Mý” (2012)
Czech electropop, pretty and insubstantial in the best way.
Fi Fi Bloom, “Till the Sun Comes Up” (2012)
Gorgeous dreamy soca ballad from Barbados, a Crop Over (the Barbadian equivalent of Carnival elsewhere in the Caribbean) entry. It owes nothing to the most famous Barbadian singer, and there’s no reason it should — Rihanna hasn’t sounded this laid-back in years.
Taxi, “Eşti iubibilă” (2012)
Romanian kind-of turbo-folk, maybe on a lower setting than normal. The video feels like stealth marketing for Go On, but I think it’s probably funnier than any given episode. Google Translate refuses to do anything with “iubibilă,” so aside from wondering whether it shares a root with “jubilation,” I’m guessing it’s either nonsense or current slang. Any Romanians in the house?
Yuli & Havana C, “Bailando” (2012)
Warning: Cuban music, made by people who live in Cuba! If you’re in the US, only click play if you’re comfortable breaking the federal embargo on Cuban imports! Also, bright colors, 90s-style salsa, adorable children, and dorky dancing!
Benny Dayal ft. Sunidhi Chauhan & Nazia Hassan, “The Disco Song (Disco Deewane)” (2012)
I know I shouldn’t be surprised to hear a Bollywood song that sounds like current Western pop — Bollywood is huge enough that there’s room for everything — but this still gave me a thrill. (The five-minute non-video version is here.) It’s apparently going to be the big dance number from Student of the Year (not yet in theaters), and it samples Pakistani pop singer Nadia Hassan’s 1981 hit “Disco Deewane” (also excellent).
Okyeame Kwame ft. Irene Logan, “Mr. Versatile” (2012)
Excellent Ghanian hip-hop/R&B. The rhythm, and the language, switches up every few minutes, as per the title.
But he had me at “I’m too old for swag.”
Abby Lakew, “ሽኮሪና (Shekorina)” (2012)
Ethiopian R&B-inflected pop. AutoTune only adds to the generally gauzy effect.
น้ำชา (Namcha Chiranat) ft. Southside, “Fine Fine Fine” (2012)
Thai pop would seem to be the next frontier.
This is very much indebted to Western (and of course Japanese and Korean) pop of the past few years, what with the AutoTune, the guest rappers, and the dubstep breakdown, but little as I know about Thai music it seems very much of the region too: the high-pitched vocals, though they mostly follow the “rules” of Western pop, are very much a Southeast Asian pop sound. It’s the fact that Namcha sometimes slips “out of key” — in quotes because different cultures use different harmonic scales, obviously — that makes me think of pop naïfs like Rebecca Black or Kim Kardashian (or in early, inaccurate readings, Ke$ha), but she’s clearly a trained dancer and a strong enough comedian for the goofy video. A pop star, in other words.
I’m a sucker for bright colors and twisted-blurt productions, though, and this delivers on both counts.
(I’m going to be posting pop videos from around the world all night, probably, so be warned.)