dirty martini

old music for new people

the soundtrack to any spanish holiday between 1977 and 1983 September 30, 2007

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if you went on a family holiday to benidorm, torremolinos, majorca or anywhere on the costa brava between the late 70s and mid 80s then this post is for you.

disco produced some enduring classics, yet most of the tunes that endured once the initial fad died down were the novelty tunes. these formed a staple musical diet for spanish hotels, wedding receptions and church hall discos until about 1990.

we used to go to the same hotel in majorca every year until i was about 8. it was the hotel flamingo in c’an pastilla, an area now overrun with germans. it was at this very hotel that i was introduced to the german-towel conundrum. my dad used to just chuck them in the pool. i loved sitting by the pool with my feet dangling whilst drinking chocolate milkshake with lots of ice.

i loved the hotel. it had shiny marble floors and the decor was brown and orange, well into the 80s. i used to gaze at the spanish kids tv – they looked like the muppets, but i couldn’t understand a word they were saying. i used to play donkey kong in the bar until we went out at night, where i would sit drawing until my parents were pissed.

when we would get back to the hotel, the disco would usually have started. and this was the inevitable playlist. i would jump around in my rara skirt, and wish i was allowed to wear makeup.

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baccara – yes sir i can boogie

bee gees – night fever

cliff richard – we don’t talk anymore

earth wind and fire – let’s groove

gonzales – i haven’t stopped dancing yet

ian dury and the blockheads – hit me with your rhythm stick

liquid gold – dance yourself dizzy

kelly marie – feels like i’m in love

ottawan – hands up

rod stewart – do ya think i’m sexy

taste of honey – boogie oogie oogie

tina charles – i love to love

 

the house that dad built

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this is for the original house crew, you know who you are. you clubbed your way through the 90s and every now and then you get the urge to do it all again. but you’re pushing 35 and just haven’t got the energy. all of those lists entitled ‘you know you’re over 25 when…’ are scarily true.

so you frequent bars that play background house music and kid yourself that you’re not getting old…well, here is a mix of chilled out house from back in the day. dadhouse is not a new phenomenon, where did you think the shoom lot got to in the 90s?

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cajmere – underground goodies part iii

petra and co- just let go

kerri chandler – atmospheric beats

francois k – hypnodelic

underground resistance – jupiter jazz

paperclip people – throw

norma jean bell – i like the things you do

wamdue project – higher

glenn underground – feelin’ love

cajmere – wet dream

underground resistance – hi tech jazz

backroom – definition of a track

nu yorican soul – that nervous track

delano smith – metropolis

black science orchestra – new jersey deep

k-hand – street knowledge

green velvet – answering machine

jt company – feel it

red nail – never

floppy sounds – ultrasong

muskmen – never thought i’d see the day

 

80s girl bands – hair, hair and more hair September 29, 2007

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 there weren’t as many girl bands back in the 80s. boys shifted units and were infintely more marketable.

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bananarama – i heard a rumour

infamous for their total lack of singing ability but this added to their girl next door appeal. as a trio they managed to hold a note though, even when the lineup alternated, destiny’s child style. no one remembers the dark haired one they brought in to replace siobhan when she left to form shakespear’s sister. well, her name was jacqui and she looked like a prison warden.

bangles – eternal flame

possibly the most hair of all the girl groups. prince wrote their first hit, ‘manic monday’ and it was all good from there, for a god few years. have joined the long list of acts who have had one of their songs butchered by rough as old boots scouse band atomic kitten.

expose – seasons change

expose were huge in the US, not so much in the UK. predated en vogue and once they arrived, we really didn’t need expose anymore.

klymaxx – i’d still say yes

one of few all-girl 80s soul groups, and all the better for it. doubtlessly inspired many a 90s r&b girl band.

mai tai – body and soul

dutch group who had an interesting euro twang to their vocals and sound. huge smils, braids and pvc catsuits were the order of the day. this track is enjoyably bouncy machine pop but most of their output was smoother.

mary jane girls – in my house

sassy girls who must hopefully be reaping some royalties from the endless sampling of their biggest hit ‘all night long’. this track, sounds like it belongs in ‘fast times at ridgemont high’.

mel and kim – flm

chirpy cockney sisters who inspired a nation of girls to raid their local branch of chelsea girl for bowler hats and cropped jackets. mel sadly died only a few years after they found success. whilst the track refers to ‘fun, love and money’ the title actualy stands for ‘fuckin’ lovely mate’.

pepsi and shirlie – goodbye stranger

started their careers singing backup for wham and came into their own after the split. owned the puffball skirt look in 1987.

pointer sisters – automatic

responsible for enduring party classics ‘i’m so excited’ and ‘jump’. actually formed in the 60s and didn’t achieve commerical success for 15 years by which time the girls were in their mid-late 30s.

salt-n-pepa – i like it like that

first ladies of hiphop and there was actually a third member, spinderella, who was gradually coaxed out from behind her decks. now the subjects of a reality show, these girls astound me as they do not appear to have aged in 20 years.

seduction – heartbeat

another girl band with big hair and small clothes.

vanity 6 – he’s so dull

prince’s band, whose one and only album is quite literally the sound of four teenage girls on a sleepover.

 

i can’t believe it’s not prince September 22, 2007

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oh yes, this is a sequel. there are definitely more than one post’s worth of prince jackers.

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alexander o’neal – innocent

well, alex was in a band, flyte time, with prince in the 70s. so it’s natural that their sounds would evolve similarly. especially with jam and lewis on production duties. i heard something about alex being spotted on kilburn high road looking confused last week. wtf if a soul legend doing on kilburn high road? shopping in primark?

cassie – me and you

no she can’t sing, especially not live, but the general consensus is that she’s getting away with it cos she has hot beats courtesy of er, her man ryan leslie. this sparse track is ‘kiss’ for the 00s. but not as good, obviously.

damage – ghetto romance

a very turn of the century sounding track from the boys and i’m not sure why it reminds me of prince exactly but i want to include it so…here it is.

janet jackson – if

in your face funk. janet, like prince, was never afraid to use rock in her production. she was also never afraid to tell it like it is which is probably they were my two favourite artists of the 80s. this track is every bit as hectic as ‘my name is prince’ which was out just a bit earlier.

karyn white – hungah

karyn’s earlier efforts were 80s machine funk and new jack swing respectively but for her third album she stripped her sound down somewhat.

mario vasquez – cohiba

the first time i saw mario on american idol i thought he had the potential to perform like prince, if not to be such an all rounder.  i’m not sure why this project has stalled…

natural selection – do anything

well this track fooled me the first time i heard it. the call and response chorus is very ‘erotic city’ and the beat is like a slowed down ‘extra loveable’.

nicole scherzinger – steam

there are no shortage of prince-style beats in 2007, which is just as well as nicole isn’t interesting enough without them. i’m not sure what all the fuss is about here. this will be another flop due to deluded self-belief that she’s as interesting on her own.

paula abdul – my love is for real

after cartoon cats and ethereal ballads, paula’s third album tried to channel prince and probably was more credible although not at all a success. her vocals are the problem. i find it incredible that she now judges others and that simon cowell has managed not point out the irony.

ryan leslie – rock u

to me, most of next selection’s beats are an attempt to recreate the buzz around early 80s prince. are ryan and cassie the new prince and vanity? probably, which is proof of the decline in quality and talent in the music industry.

spl2rge – scuse me

bear with me on this one – if prince had been born in london not minneapolis, twenty five years later, this is the kind of music he would have been making.

teedra moses – backstroke

well, teedra lies about her age but she does make decent music. this is very 90s prince.

 

let battle commence September 16, 2007

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wow, looking at this autumn’s release schedule you’d think people still bought cds. i’m joking…

 anyway, here are some of the more anticipated albums due over the next few months.

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leona lewis – bleeding love

album due november

well, this isn’t going to halt those mariah comparisons, and it’s a canny move much like mariah’s debut ‘vision of love’. midtempo, not too r&b, not too MOR, not too pop. i think she’s done the right thing, and watching the new series of the x factor, and hearing them say they’re looking for someone even better than leona this year could prove tricky.

mya -walka not a talka

album due…who cares?

apparently some people still care about mya’s album getting pushed back for the hundredth time. why? she’s crap. she can’t sing and even lumidee has had better songs than this. she’s a hook singer, at best, or perhaps a victoria beckham. as in, the one who doesn’t get to sing much in a group with at least four others.

teedra moses – take my love away

album due…once you’ve forgotten her real age

i really like teedra moses but i just checked her wiki and it says she was born in 1980. um, i remember reading that she was born in 1973 like her ex-husband, and then elsewhere that her management try to cover up her age, hence the delay in this album. must be annoying when they are people like me with an eye for detail.

keyshia cole – shoulda let you go

album due…late september

i like keyshia. i don’t think she’s the greatest singer but i do get the mary comparisons. the only criticism i would put forward is that so far her material doesn’t appear to have moved on that much. not necessarily a bad thing.

craig david – 6 of 1 thing

album due november

at one point it looked like bo selecta had killed his career but craig is back looking better than ever. the collaboration with kano won’t hurt. he appears to have stopped referring to himself in the third person as well. which is why avid merrion picked on him in the first place no doubt. i did laugh a lot at that ”wack’ is american for ‘shit” line…

alicia keys – no one

album due november

well, ‘no one’ is both vintage alicia and also a slight departure in terms of vocals, so its the best of both worlds so far. she’s going to sell whatever as she’s tapped into most markets, and inhabits that rare space of cool and commercial.

ashanti – you can’t deny it

album due december

irv gotti’s recent revelations and the resulting fallout may push this back further. clearly she’s keeping schtum so the inc don’t let her flop. i don’t understand the hatred some feel towards ashanti, she’s just kind of there. been in the right places at the right time i suppose.

chilli – gliding

album due january

why someone like chilli would need akon to steer her career is beyond me. in a sea of faceless, talentless r&b girls, I’m sure someone with a tlc pedigree and a usher-related story to tell could find a better deal. luckily it turns out none of it was true. she is getting on a bit now though.

d’angelo – really love

album due ?????

anything from d’angelo is welcome. the downside of the digital age is that so many quality artists struggle and have to wait so long for some backing. by the way, maxwell’s record label, i’m walking to you too.

jennifer hudson – special

album due early 2008

well ok this one has been pushed back too but she has been slightly busy. can’t wait for the satc movie. time will tell whether her big personality draws her into more and more film roles and away from the recording studio. and as she blew away beyonce in dreamgirls, i wouldn’t fancy the chances of anyone releasing at the same time.

jill scott – hate on me

album due late september

i like the bigger sound she’s going for here. the laidback neo soul is nice but this sounds fresher. i wonder what made jill more successful than angie stone in the end? both are on a level talentwise but jill seems to have come out on top.

lauryn hill – lose myself

album due…about 8 years ago

ok so she didn’t want to do another ‘miseducation’ and that’s her choice. creative and personal freedom is all very well and good but she doesn’t exactly look happy as the freakshow she’s turned into. don’t hold your breath, judging by this track it might not be worth it anymore.

mariah carey – love

album due november

well, how to follow the career saving ‘mimi’? hooking back up with longtime collaborators bone thugs’n’harmony is a start. i don’t doubt the album will be quality, i just hope she continue to keep the ballads to a minimum. and starts to acknowledge the fact that she’s pushing 40 and puts on some clothes and stops singing about ‘boys’.

teairra mari – missing you

album due…when she gets a deal?

better than rihanna in most respects, she fell down on likeability. jay-z totally misread the market on this one – disliked by parents as a bad influence, feared by her peer group as more experienced and annoyed the fuck out of those older and wiser by acting like she knew it all. she can sing though and with the right image and material should make a comeback.

trey songz – wonder woman

album due october

trey occupies an interesting space as a bad boy with eloquence. hopefully this contradiction in marketing terms can be overcome as his debut was solid but flopped badly.

 

meeting in the ladies room

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surely the best part of most nights out is getting ready. as soon as you start drinking it all goes downhill, and once you’re in a sweaty club its all over. but the damage can be limited with the following:

  • waterproof mascara
  • hairspray on slippery soles to stop bambi-style entrances
  • proper underwear for graceful cab exits
  • copious amounts of lee stafford dehumidifier spray on straight hair before you go out
  • mark hill anti frizz serum
  • tesco makeup powder foundation – matt without being cakey
  • cotton buds to get the blobs of eyeliner out of the inner corners
  • nars orgasm / laguna – yes its £££ but it will last forever
  • clinique touch tint eye mousse – does not budge
  • marc jacobs splashes unless you want to asphyxiate everyone  i love rain, orange, amber and cucumber
  • wear your shoes with thick socks for an hour before you go out – trust me on this one!
  • liz earle skin tonic
  • fresh breath drops

you’re going to need to share or take a very large handbag…

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amy winehouse – fuck me pumps

that’s right, amy wants us to believe that she is sometimes coherent enough to make conscious fashion choices. she has, however, been spotted in camden without any footwear whatsoever. surely one of the worst places in the world to do that in…

beyonce – freakum dress

oh so that’s how she hooked er, super rich and fugly joe camel. i’m guessing she doesn’t really wear house of dereon – how ghetto is that name? it looks like the stuff you get in fenwick in brent cross… no i actually like jayonce. it would be really boring if she was with someone like usher.

india arie – i am not my hair

india may not be her hair but i bet it pisses her off when she gets caught in the rain. or in humidity. or too near central heating. god hair is a pain in the arse. but if it looks crap, you feel crap – fact.

jade – out with the girls

much as i like this track, it would be far more authentic if the girls sounded as if they had polished off a bottle or three of cherry lambrini in the cab.

jay-z – change clothes

proof that money can buy style, jay-z tries to get in on the act. i thought all most men did was shit, shower and shave?

klymaxx – meeting in the ladies room

a very 80s restroom hookup – i can just see the plastic earrings, smell the exclamation and picture the rimmel lipgloss.

lamont dozier – take off your makeup

a midtempo disco soul cut from a man better known as part of songwriting and producing trio holland-dozier-holland, who worked with most of the motown stable.

lil mama – lip gloss

has far too much makeup for someone her age. at that age i wore the same makeup to college, nights out, weekends, family gatherings, shopping….

missy elliott – let me fix my weave

what is the big deal with weaves anyway? it seems to be the ultimate insult to point out that someone has a weave. so what? most people have fake something these days.

patra and aaron hall – scent of attraction

i’m being won over by lighter scents these days. if other girls can identify you a mile off, that can’t be right…marc jacobs and gucci are getting it right. sjp’s covet isn’t bad either. if this track was a perfume though, it would probably be obsession by calvin klein.

sister sledge – il macquillage lady

makeup has come a long way since the 70s. even in the early 90s we were subjected to pink rimmel foundation, too much shimmer and way too much pearl. eyeshadow was brown or ivory. thank god for sephora, which they have now closed in the uk. thanks a lot!

vanity 6 – makeup

well, of course they did a song about makeup, prince wore a ton of the stuff. all of their songs were cute and this is no exception.

 

princespiration or just prince-piration? September 15, 2007

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since the mid 80s, prince has been an inspiration for many artists, across all genres. his signature sound is uniquely prince and hard to define – for those not lucky enough to work with him or be granted their own piece of purple magic, there was considerable effort behind emulating those tight, suggestive vocals, flirty lyrics, electric production and syncopated beats.

‘sounds a bit like prince’ is lazy music journalism these days but his influence has shone through, and to be awarded such a accolade is every new artists’ marketing department dream, with stevie wonder a close second.

check out some rare prince and some even rarer prince and some artists he actually wanted to share his style with.

here are some songs that make me think of prince when i hear them:

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black buddafly – sexyback

nasty delivery and those beats. the girls’ answer track definitely outsasses justin timberlake and their musical upbringing has clearly taken in some of prince’s sleazier joints.

britney spears – i’m a slave for you

the neptunes were most definitely channelling lovesexy when they produced this track for britney. christina aguilera may have stronger vocals but could never pull off something like this. ‘dirty’ sounds horribly dated only five years later.

chromeo – needy girl

dirty mind-era funk updated for the 00s.  the theme is vintage prince – obsession.

ciara and r.kelly – promise

i was sceptical when i heard the new ciara track sounded like prince. but she does appeared to have transcended her crunk beginnings quite successfully.

egyptian lover – freakaholic

if prince had made a track for a high school prom scene in a john hughes movie…i could see molly ringwald, anthony michael hall and co dancing to this – badly. could also have worked as the soundtrack to the african anteater ritual in can’t buy me love.

entouch – all nite

slinky graffiti bridge era prince ripoff. understated but more soul and less mechanical than the new jack sound that prevailed at the time.

michael jackson – in the closet

so you’re the king of pop, what more could you want? to be the prince, clearly. wacko shouldn’t attempt to be sexy cos we’ve also seen how that turns out. even certified shortarse prince would have looked more natural alongside naomi campbell in that video.

ready for the world – oh sheila

one of the first acts to jack prince’s sound, this lot had clearly done their purple homework. at the time their debut, bar this track, was dismissed as ‘prince-lite’ which will do nicely for me until we get some more unreleased 80s prince material from the vaults.

robin thicke – cherry blue skies

darling nikki meets the greatest song title prince never used for the parade soundtrack. robin sound a bit like camille too.

rythm syndicate – p.a.s.s.i.o.n

what prince might have sounded like if he had been signed to sony in the late 80s. so, a hell of a lot better than most of their artists. 

sterling simms – nasty girl

this would have slotted effortlessly into late 70s disco influenced prince sets.

unklejam – love ya

i’m not sure if any of unklejam are really old enough to have been influenced by prince unless their parents have been playing prince to them since a young age. which is commendable but not quite authentic. we don’t want a situation in ten years time where every new band sounds like watered down prince a la all guitar bands since 1994 and the rolling stones…