dirty martini

old music for new people

mtv europe 1992 April 11, 2009

mtv1 

i could really do with another summer of 1992. gcse exams finished early, by june i had three months in which to do exactly nothing.

so, i sunbathed, wandered around with my friends and watched mtv. a lot. having cable was still a novelty, and watching a channel broadcast from another continent was fun. the vjs spoke in broken english, the adverts were a long way from aquafresh and hovis.

i hold mtv europe squarely responsible for the success of acts such as culture beat and ace of base. there were other, weirder acts that didn’t quite penetrate the uk but existed for those of us hooked on this european wide window.

i loved how i could come in at midnight and stare at trippy ambient videos like x-mix the likes of which i had never seen before. i loved ray cokes

once mtv uk set up in camden, everything went sharply downhill.

download summer 1992

bobby brown – good enough

chic – chic mystique

del tha funkee homosapien – mistadobolina

dr alban – one love

en vogue – my lovin’

hi-five  – she’s playing hard to get

joe public – live and learn

joe secada – just another day

luther vandross and janet jackson – best things in life are free

mariah carey – i’ll be there

marky mark – you gotta believe

tlc – baby baby baby

 

on the radio April 6, 2009

mayo

before chris moyles, there was the big breakfast. before that, there was simon mayo. a national breakfast experience.

in 1991, i actually liked getting up early to listen to the radio. we always listened to simon mayo, rod mckenzie and sybil ruscoe.

the thing that was interesting about the breakfast show was that they didn’t just play the current top 40. they tried to break new music, albeit fairly commercial music, but new jack swing and r&b wasn’t huge in mainstream uk at the time and they did a decent job of representing what was happening over the pond. remember, we didn’t have access to things like the billboard or casey kasem back then.

needless to say none of these tracks became huge hits over here but i might not even know them if it weren’t for simon mayo. of course he also had a penchant for right said fred, but we’ll let that one go…

download simon mayo’s forgotten classics

hi-five – i like the way

sadly, singer tony thompson died a few years back. he was only 15 when he released this. it pretty much epitomises the era. i love this sound.

jazzy jeff and fresh prince – ring my bell

how do you follow ‘summertime’? well, that used a little known kool and the gang hook but this used a more obvious anita ward one, and suffered for it.

jody watley – i’m the one you need

very typical of the house/r&b hybrid sound of the time. it’s quite difficult to listen to now, but this one stands the test of time.

karyn white – romantic

karyn white has moderate success here, but nowhere near as much as in the states. i remember this being promoted to death, too. well, for those days – by that i mean i saw the promo for this song at least twice on national tv!

keedy – save some love

part of the miami freestyle scene, which didn’t really penetrate over here…this was her only big hit on the billboard charts.

mantronix – don’t go messing with my heart

despite the massive success of ‘got to have your love’ and ‘take your time’, this didn’t really go anywhere.  featured artist jade trini.

natural selection – do anything

playing this after practically every newsbreak didn’t help it break the top 40. now that i listen back, it’s very prince…

nona gaye – love sign

…who coincidentally featured on this nona gaye track. but his purple magic didn;t quite rub off.

paula abdul – promise of a new day

now, paula struggles to articulate entire sentences in one go on american idol, but back in 1991 she was still trying to keep her music career going with that incredibly thin voice and limited range. good job she could dance, eh?

rythm syndicate – p.a.s.s.i.o.n

another prince soundalike band. i thought the slightly noveltychorus would have made this a hit over here, but nope. bob the builder and mr blobby, yes. i despair of this country.

 

i love 1988: fresh and fly April 5, 2009

 freshfly1

yes, in 1988, even north london schoolgirls could rap. yes, that is michelle gayle. back then in junior school, we could only aspire to be as cool as grange hill hip hop act ‘fresh and fly’.

if there is one way to describe the music of 1988 though, fresh and fly just about does it. hiphop, slick wine bar soul and the birth of new jack swing.

to be honest, my school was more bros and debbie gibson in 88, but london, as usual, was infinitely cooler…

download 1988

al b sure – night and day

bobby brown – roni

bvsmp – i need you

five star – godsend

karyn white – the way you love me

loose ends – watching you

mac band – roses are red

mica paris – my one temptation

pebbles – girlfriend

prince – alphabet st

slick rick – mona lisa

today – him or me

 

the return of celebitchy brother January 4, 2009

green-eye

i don’t usualy get into the celeb reality shows, partly as i don’t usually know who the ‘celebs’ are. the last celeb bb scraped the barrel but ended up the most controversial yet.

i kind of hope standby contestant tony mortimer gets a go.

ben adams

was apparently in a band called A1. i don’t remember them at all. i didn’t remember the band ziggy from the last bb was supposedly in around the same time either. clearly i wasn’t paying attention.

mutya buena

not sure she needed to do this, she just needs to do more work with people like groove armada. or get all the sugababes back together as a fivesome.  it’s also a bit of a risk, can see her being at the very least on the fringes of any controversy.

terry christian

he’s 48! who knew. far less annoying than i remember on ‘the word’. not that he ever came remotely near honk voiced, self-deluded oxygen thief dani behr. her comeback has been thankfully squashed. did she forget how much everyone hates her?

coolio

is so far following samuel l jackson’s tried and tested ‘i heart the uk’ route. worst behaviour so far has been to fart in bed. is a serial reality show contestant and also has recently hosted an online cooking show, the fabulously titled ‘cookin’ with coolio’.

michelle heaton

fresh from her divorce from andy scott-lee. since the split she’s been linked to matt di angelo, ziggy lichman and liam mcgough from 2007 bb. who i’m sure aren’t rubbing their hands together at the thought of revealing all to a few quality publications whilst she’s in the house. silly girl.

latoya jackson

has released 11 albums. of which i have heard precisely none. i wonder what it was about jermaine’s experience two years ago, exactly, that made her want to participate??

ulrika jonsson

clearly there to ensure that the glamour model isn’t the biggest slapper in the house, which would have been too easy. old leather face saggy boobs wants us to believe that she’s only 41. considering she was a grown woman when i was about 5, i don’t think this is possible…call me stupid…

tina malone

aka the mouthy mum from shameless. who has allegedly undergone a bit of a makeover and wants to show it off. um…

lucy pinder

oh zzzz….another glamour model who thinks she has something to say by virtue of the fact that she’s a brunette and therfore can’t be classed as dumb. think again. oh sorry, you can’t.

tommy sheridan

is famous for campaigning against the poll tax about 20 years ago. if he plans to start a council tax revolution from behind those four walls i am so in.

verne troyer

it’s of course perfectly safe to put a midget in the bb house, what with the show’s history of caring, politically correct celebutard contestants. smh although watching him drink drive his way around the house is amusing to say the least.

 

2008: the newcomers January 3, 2009

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2008 was not only a year of comebacks but a year when, contrary to the declining viability of the music industry as a means by which to make an above average living, new artists emerged and those waiting in the wings made their debut.

and nkotb have been gone so long they count as a new act in my book.

these are my favourites of 2008.

download 2008 newcomers

candy hill – head gone

don’t know much about these girls. teairra mari featuring on this track is interesting. she might be better off joining them than trying to relaunch her solo career. i miss the days of tlc, swv and xscape.

jazmine sullivan – need you bad

have been hearing about this girl for a few years now. it seems like she had a failed contract a few years back which explain why there are so many tracks floating around that aren’t on the album.

jennifer hudson – all dressed up in love

i wonder if jennifer can ever really recover from what has happened, i don’t know. she was great in ‘sex and the city’ and i expect her to push forward with the acting now moreso than the music. somehow i think she will feel that is more appropriate and the accompanying promotional activity will be less about her and more about the characters.

karina pasian – 16 at war

born in 1991 – eek! not a typical def jam artist and i mean that as a compliment. her debut ‘first love’ didn’t exactly set the world alight but she has plenty of time and it was no reflection on the quality of the music.

michelle williams – unexpected

michelle’s mainstream debut was hotly anticipated as a the album to finally shut down beyonce or a damp squib depending on which camp you fell into. as it is, she didn’t even outsell kelly rowland.

nkotb – 2 in the morning

not strictly new artists, and would never have seen the light of day if they had been, truth be told. this was the track from ‘the block’ that showed their progression. i’m going to see them later this month…i will try to exercise some restraint but can’t promise anything.

santogold – shove it

seems to get a bit narky when labelled a hiphop/r&b artist. she isn’t, and i don’t care for most of her music but i liked this reggae track since i heard it on C4’s Transmission.

solange – sandcastle disco

sol-angel? nothing really that angelic about having a baby at 17, if we’re being picky. if beyonce had released this album, however, everyone would have lapped it up. it’s much better than her own.

stephanie mckaye – this letter

not to be confused with stephanie kay, wildchild of degrassi junior high. i wonder how many people reading this are old enough to get that…anyway, i hadn’t heard of her until her second album ‘tell it like it is’ dropped in 2008. kind of retrosoul/neo-soul fusion.

uness – woman got culture

his official arrival is taking forever…i could have put him on this list for the last few years. is it the state of the music industry or something else? how next selection can rush out a weak artist like cassie but sit on uness is beyond me.

 

2008: the comebacks

cd

despite declining sales, labels continued to throw money and effort into album promotion instead of finding new and creative ways to make money from music. which is now basically free, let’s face it.

i enjoyed these the most of all the comebacks last year.

download the comebacks of 2008

anthony hamilton – the day we met

consistent and underrated, anthony hamilton’s new album ‘the point of it all’ is a little more punchy, i think, than his previous efforts. it’s worth seeking out his mostly unknown 1996 debut if you like this side of him.

ashanti – you’re gonna miss

ashanti is that girl who has more male friends than female. she gets a lot of hate, but, she delivers some good music. ‘the declaration’ was a solid effort that would have achieved more had it not been for her audience connection issue mentioned previously, and the state of the music industry.

beyonce – single ladies

well, if you thought ‘bday’ was a disappointment…i’m hoping some of the other tunes on ‘i am…sasha fierce’ will grow on me. there’s nothing groundbreaking there though. i did love the fact that she appeared on x factor to sing with alexandra though. who, by the way, i think outsings her on ‘listen’ when she sings solo.

common – sex 4 sugar

common is taking a more commercial route this time round with ‘universal mind control’. that’s ok, it works.

erykah badu – honey

..speaking of which, his formerly crazy former missus has also lightened up a bit. see, it didn’t hurt that much did it? but for a time there it looked as if she had a touch of the lauryn hills.

john legend – can’t be my lover

i tried but failed to get into ‘once again’ but i’m loving the return to form on ‘evolver’. the reggae tracks are totally his comfort zone and the euro-electro tinged tracks even work, much as i am hating this current trend, which should in my opinion have started and ended with britney’s ‘gimme more’.

keyshia cole – where this love could end up

keyshia was hailed as the new mary. to my mind, she has not evolved or developed even slightly past her 2004 debut. this is not to say that ‘just like you’ and ‘a different me’ are bad – they’re as good as ‘the way it is’. if prince were to unleash another few albums that took up where ‘1999’, ‘purple rain’ or ‘sign of the times’ left off then this would be eaten up. but keyshia’s not prince.

mariah carey – i’ll be loving you long time

‘e=mc2’ is nowhere near as good as ‘mimi’ let’s get that out of the way. and ‘touch my body’ is shit. but as r&b albums go it’s head and shoulders above most of the crap we get launched at us these days and everyone is so relieved to see her settled and wearing some clothes for once that this is good enough.

raheem devaughn  – woman

a consistent neo-soul artist who returned in 2008, like clockwork, with ‘love behind the melody’. despite the rubbish neo-soul genre tag, surely grown up soul is where the money’s at these days?

raphael saadiq – sure hope you mean it

like several others, mostly brit, artists, he went the retro route. to great effect and in a far more authentic and endearing way than gimmicky amy winehouse and duffy. raphael has, of course, been doing this since his tony toni tone days. i could have picked almost any of the tracks from ‘way i see it’ as my favourite.

snoop dogg – cool

not much promotion behind ‘ego trippin’ as it goes, which is a shame cos i heart the retro flow of this prince-inspired track and ‘sensual seduction’.

usher – before i met you

i wonder if poor old usher realised just how critical the salivating teen girls and his momager were to his success? not at all, apparently, until ‘here i stand’ bombed and he bricked it. marrying a ropey looking older woman when you have the pick of a population? bratz generation say what?

 

90s girls: the remixes December 24, 2008

 

suddenly the 90s seem like a long time ago. one more year left of the 00s, how did that happen?

i remember when these girls were ruling the clubs despite not being out of high school. aaliyah would have been the first to celebrate her 30th birthday next month.

download aaliyah remixes

back and forth – uk flavour remix

age ain’t nothin’ but a number – linslee remix with cash rex

if your girl only knew – timbaland remix with missy elliott

hot like fire – timbaland remix with missy elliott

download brandy remixes

i wanna be down – carson ca remix

baby – allstar party mix

best friend – character r&b remix with channel live

top of the world – boogiesoul remix

download monica remixes

don’t take it personal – street tracks remix

like this and like that – k.o remix with c-knowledge

before you walk out my life – pete rock remix

why i love you so much – soulpower remix