What is “Glam-Pop” you might ask? Well, it’s those songs that seem to be heard everywhere full of electro-beats, synthesizers, and lyrics about sex and making out with chicks. Requirements would be that the said artist AT LEAST claims to be bi, you see about five and upwards hipsters at their shows, they have a gay following (this is crucial, although straight people like myself love them too), the term “fabulous” is used more than once when describing their music, the beats sound like they’re sprinkled with glitter, and that the artist has somewhat of their own, outrageous style.
So come inside for the top ten pioneers of this movement, because really, glam-pop is the new indie-rock.
Goldfrapp is certainly not new to the game of glittery pop music that tends to sound like it’s literally sparkling when you listen to it, but they’re really just starting to make their mark. Fans might have recognized their song “Strict Machine” being used as of late in a few car commercials, and they’ve started to develop quite the cult following. The group hails from London and was formed in 1999 by Alison Goldfrapp on vocals and synthesizer and Will Gregory on synth. Ten years later, they’re still putting out incredible albums each one different and more creative from the last.
Up until about this year, the Veronicas were pretty much “those Aussie twins who sang ‘4Ever.’” Then Jess dyed her hair blonde, came out as bisexual after hooking up with an MTV VJ Ruby Rose, and the girls scored a massive hit with their single “Untouched.” After that, they reached crazed-fan-level stage. I experienced this first-hand when I went to one of their shows to meet Taylor Momsen and soon found myself on a dance floor surrounded by obsessive girls and their hyper-active gay guys who along with wearing their band t-shirts, were thisclose to crying but stopped themselves by screaming and dancing to their music in euphoria. (For the record, it was the most entertaining night of my life–the club lowered a DISCO BALL halfway through their set) Jess and Lisa lived up to their hype, and reminded me why I had been a fan for a nanosecond back in tenth grade and ever since then I’ve been eating up anything they’ve sent my way.
Well, let’s just start with the obvious: SHE’S VOMITING GLITTER OUT OF HER MOUTH ON THE ALBUM COVER. If that’s not a big enough indication, then please listen to the genius of Santigold’s music. Pop music’s answer to M.I.A, Santigold’s music is addictive and fresh, and her videos are always mad creative. Santigold (real name: Santi White) got her start as a songwriter and A&R rep for Epic Records before dropping her self-debut album in 2008 much to glowing reviews and press. She’s made it known that her music is pop and not R&B once saying,”Everyone is just so shocked that I don’t like R&B. Are you shocked that Good Charlotte isn’t into R&B? Why does R&B keep coming into my interviews? It’s pissing me off. I didn’t grow up as a big fan of R&B and, like, what is the big shocker? It’s stupid.” A bit of an underground sensation, hipsters love her and she’s developing quite the following. Just don’t call her an R&B singer.
Gossip is fronted by a wild, overweight lesbian hailing from Arkansas who looks like she’s escaped from a John Waters movie and has a propensity for stripping onstage during shows. It can be none other than Beth Ditto. Always outspoken, always outrageous, and always always always preaching the importance of staying true to yourself and loving who you are, Beth gives Gossip their sure-to-be cult status. But don’t let the description fool you, Ditto has raw talent that erupts from your speakers and shakes you. Baring an uncanny resemblance to Janis Joplin with her wailing voice, Beth has become a celebrity in her own right. Their new album “Music For Men” who is due out in October, and it’s sure to solidify their status as one of music’s most interesting acts.
A newcomer to the scene, La Roux is starting to invade clubs and dance halls everywhere with her latest batch of singles including “In For the Kill”, “Bulletproof” and “Quicksand.” Her music is the kind that will put you in a trance, and her voice will take you by surprise the second she opens her mouth. Hailing from Britain, La Roux has just started making buzz in the States with self-titled album debuting in July and garnering new fans with every listen.
Peaches is the queen of electro-glam pop. She’s been shocking audiences since her first album “Teaches of Peaches” dropped in 2000 with such gems as “F-ck the Pain Away” and “AA XXX” (pronounced “Double A, Triple X”) You can’t mess with this woman. Peaches also happens to be a proud bisexual (her song “I U She” dealt with how she didn’t want to choose whether she liked boys or girls) and declares it any chance she gets. While the first few albums dealt mostly with rapping about every possible way that there is to have sex, her latest effort “I Feel Cream” is decidedly more mature and as a result, shockingly more effective. As an artist who’s evolving and not anywhere close to losing her touch, Peaches will not stop shocking for a very long time.
As the lone boy on this list, Mika has an upperhand on most of the other male singers by creating a unique sound all his own. Mika hails from London and spent a childhood moving around from Lebanon to Paris until shooting to fame in 2007. Having just released his second album “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”, Mika recently came out as bisexual saying that he has “never limited who I’ve slept with” and ending it by saying, “You should be as free as you want.” Mika’s lyrics are quite deep and deal with difficult topics such as a man having both homosexual and heterosexual affairs while married in “Billy Brown”, and a woman dealing with discrimination in “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)” proving he’s not just someone you can write off for making pointless music.
Uh Huh Her
Uh Huh Her happens to be the newest band on this list, but their music is by far some for the best. Penning beautiful love songs about girls and matching them to beats that sound like cotton candy is their specialty, and they are awesomely good at it. The group is comprised of Leisha Haley (of “The L Word”) and Camilla Grey, and their chemistry is palpable. Their voices flow together perfectly and their album “Common Reaction” is one of my favorites of this year.
Say what you want about Katy Perry, but you can’t deny that she’s the one who made kissing girls cool and throwing glitter into the crowd awesome. Without her we wouldn’t have this new wave of Glam-Pop artists getting so much recognition and a whole nation of girls acting like they just don’t give a f-ck. Yes, before Gaga burst onto the scene Katy was dominating the pop charts with her summer smash “I Kissed a Girl” and was starting something of a phenomenon with bisexuality being throwing into the spotlight and specifically, whether Katy’s sexuality was all just a gimmick (personally, I don’t think it is). But whether Katy is actually bi or not is beside the point, after “I Kissed a Girl” she proved she’s not just a one-hit wonder by releasing three other hit singles: “Hot N Cold”, “Waking Up In Vegas”, and “Ur So Gay.” And coming from someone who saw her live in May, she can sing live and she puts on one heck of a show. Providing a nation of girls the chance to make out with each other and proving she’s not a one trick pony, Katy is definitely one of the most exciting acts to come out of this group.
Lady Gaga is a rare breed of an artist who considers everything she touches art, and creates music and a style so avant-garde it never fails to get people talking. While sometimes her antics make her come off as a famewhore, she is a genius at working the press. Gaga is also currently queen of the gays (a huge group to have on your side in a genre like this) and their devotion to her is so fierce that she’s being already called the next Madonna. Gaga’s music is all about the fame, and living a beautiful, glamorous life. And after scoring four smash hits including “Just Dance”, “Poker Face”, “LoveGame” and “Paparazzi”, she has every right to do so. Her mission, she says, is for everyone to create “the Fame” in their own mind so they can walk down the street and own it like a star. And really, isn’t that what Glam-Pop is all about?