dirty martini

old music for new people

how do you solve a problem like mariah? August 19, 2007

mariah.jpg 

crazy is as crazy does. watching some of the footage of leona lewis on youtube has inspired this post. she was clearly influenced by early mariah – the shy girl with the big voice who dressed mostly in black and had curly hair to die for.

the fact that she became infinitely more successful in a global sense once she lost the plot and started squeezing herself into clothes three sizes too small is a worry. early mariah blows mad mariah out of the water as far as i’m concerned. she was real and had humility. 

she has bounced back remarkably well from her 2001 nervous breakdown and even seems to be relearning the fine art of putting on clothes that fit. whatever you thought of glitter, i found it to be her most honest work to date. clearly mariah loves the old skool and this shone through the soundtrack.

in the uk, we have been fans of her remixes but less so of her ballads. we’re less tolerant of oversinging and melisma than the US. so when she brought out a collection of remixes it was something i had expected for a while. its never really been cool to own a mariah cd since music box but her remixes are undeniable.

here are some rare tracks and some that newer fans might not be familiar with.

twelve mariah tracks under the radardownload here

weakness of the body

a mid 80s demo that sounds like something taylor dayne might have recorded. i actually like her early vocals, and she doesn’t really sound that young.

someday

always my favourite track from her debut and i loved this new jack swing mix.

sent from up above

amazing midtempo track that i appreciate better now i’m older. apparently there is another album’s worth of unreleased material from her debut recording sessions.

prisoner

mariah rapping? nothing new. this sounded pretty bad at the time but is now pleasingly retro.

to be around you

one of the best tracks on ’emotions’ that often gets overlooked as it sounds so 1991.

now that i know

another housey uptempo that gets glossed over. this, and the track before, were not quite enough for the dancefloor and too bouncy to chill to.

do you think of me

this was a music box era b-side and again it does sound very early 90s. crashing instruments and general moodiness.

always be my baby

for some reason i didn’t pay much attention to this when it was first released but now i love it. there is a youtube clip of leona lewis singing this in a karaoke competition back in 2004. i don’t see the huge problem with leona ‘copying’ early mariah. we need more artists like that, rather than more beyonce clones.

underneath the stars

as i didn’t have the daydream album, i didn’t hear this track until later. its very relaxed vocal for mariah

long ago

moody hiphop track.

slipping away

well, i didn’t originally realise that this wasn’t on daydream…i wonder why not? i definitely prefer her midtempo to ballads.

breakdown

funny that destiny’s child are thought to have invented speedsinging about a year after mariah released this track…hmm.

 

the truth about boy bands

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firstly, i am not a fan of boybands.

but tonight itv1 ran a show about them and i was surprised at how many songs i liked.

and no, i couldn’t bring myself to include northern line, topical or not since ziggy is in the big brother house. i don’t like liars and there is no way on god’s earth that man is only 26. i also haven’t included 911 cos they were too short and i can’t remember even one of their songs. 

i’ve also looked back to put together posts on the original 70s boybands and 80s hair flickers.

lastly, there are no irish boybands of any description as i absolutely cannot stand them.  i don’t like irish pubs either. my idea of hell? basement of an o’neills. low ceiling, limited spirit and cocktail menu and irish bloody dancers kicking me in the shins.

the best of the worstdownload here

bros – i owe you nothing

bros have gained immortality via a classic episode of only fools and horses that saw rodney win a spanish holiday courtesy of a drawing of the arc de triomphe he did at school. whilst pretending to be 14 throughout the holiday in order to keep his prize, he is stalked by a 13 year old bros fan called trudy. and thus, if matt and luke’s music hasn’t stood the test of time, they have cemented their place in history. smash hits, amusingly, used to call the other one ‘ken’ when his name was actually craig.

brother beyond – the harder i try

the only member of this band remotely in the public eye these days is nathan moore. nathan manages desperate lisa scott-lee and her long suffering brother andy. mtv’s totally scott-lee show hilariously saw the agent more in demand than his tragic and talentless client. poor old andy was also in a boy band, 3sl, with his brothers. he’s one of those people you want to do well, but you know never will.

nkotb – the right stuff

the only boy band i ever really loved, jordan in particular, rats tail and all. sadly, some cringeworthy interviews and an incident in which they turned up to going live completely pissed one saturday morning, accelerated their decline. i was 17 by then and was nursing a hangover myself. i had to stop myself hotfooting it to the hard rock cafe a few years back when i heard jordan was going to be there. he seems to have grown up now and so i have i (sort of) but at the time, he was a sorry indication of my taste in men.

take that – pray

when this song was no1, i had to pretend that i hated it as i was in sixth form college and liking take that would be about as bad as admitting you liked noel’s house party. i’d actually met them in a club just before they were famous, and it took me until ‘could it be magic’ to cotton on that it was the same band, as they hadn’t been wearing the leather perv suits on totp. my mum was furious when i told her this recently – not because i had sneaked into a club on a school night but that i had met mark owen and she still hasn’t.

east 17 – deep

again, east 17 did the rounds just before their first hit, and i saw them at a radio one roadshow (remember those??) and thought ‘god, they’re shit.’ and they were, at the time. deep is a great song though – ‘…outside it’s raining, inside it’s wet…’ – and their later reincarnation as essex soul boys was pretty impressive. brian looks like the template from which all chavs were created, but he has a great voice. in recent years he has become something of a comedy figure, like bez of the happy mondays – somehow he nearly ran himself over a year or so ago.

eyc – the way you work it

eyc had this hit and er, maybe a couple of others. they were like color me badd on speed. incidentally, color me badd didn’t make this list as i have posted ‘i wanna sex you up’ before and quite frankly, there’s nothing else going on there.  in fact i’m increasingly convinced that color me badd and eyc are the same group so unless forensic evidence to the contrary is produced, i’ll treat them as such.

mn8 – if you only let me in

it was a toss up between this lot and damage. i just think damage were more of an r&b band. they did a decent cover of earth wind and fire’s ‘after the love has gone’ and i’m not ashamed to have ‘ghetto romance’ on my mp3 player. mn8 had silly hair and were clearly targeted at those not old enough to know better. i wonder where they are now? yahoo answers says ‘probably working in tesco’ and i think that person is probably right.

backstreet boys – as long as you love me

i resisted this song for a good few years but, what can i say, i like it. despite not being very likeable people, with the possible exception of brian, they seem to have a hardcore fanbase of the same intensity of take that. but they are squarely responsible for boosting the career of little brother from hell aaron carter, and for that i can’t quite forgive them. uk people – doesn’t brian look like ashley from corrie?

5ive – when the lights go out

5ive, for a time, were huge. this is not entirely evident as J sits in a shopping mall in milton keynes alongside dane bowers and lisa scott-lee, waiting for people to turn up and pay £10 for an autograph. abs has also tried and failed at a solo career. i can’t remember any of the others. when will these groups get the message that the sum of the parts is not always equal to the collective value? tsk.

n*sync – girlfriend

this was when justin trousersnake as we know him really came into his own. the first (and last) n*sync song that i took any notice of, and i am reliably informed that i should leave it there. as if the curly frightwig and dull relationship with britney hadn’t put me off already. i did hear an effort by jc chasez post-split though. yikes.

another level – i want you for myself

another level were dane bowers (fat rent a gob who milked a one-time collaboration with victoria beckham), bobak…something, the one who looked like andy abraham off the x factor and the one who looked like jamie redknapp. as if this in itself wasn’t enough to warrant chart success, they actually made some decent music. had a bit of a step-up thanks to early collaborations with jay-z and shola ama, and a sassy cover of silk’s ‘freak me’.

blue – if you come back

i did like blue i can’t deny it. like another level before them, they took a big r&b tune (too close by next) and didn’t butcher it, rather stayed true to the original but made it more accessible. something about them just worked and i can’t understand why they split so soon. you want to dislike duncan james but you can’t. lee ryan is the village idiot and therefore always good value. simon webbe just seems like a nice bloke, and anthony costa is…dane bowers post slimfast!