dirty martini

old music for new people

2008: the newcomers January 3, 2009

stars1

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?

 

vote jls December 1, 2008

jls2

i want jls to win the x factor. i also love alex but think she’ll do well whatever happens now. i can’t stand diana or eoghan! even though i’m not a fan of rock music, I liked ruth and loved her purple rain performance.

but i just love jls, there are so many reasons why it would be good for them to win. they’re talented, seem to be really nice people and just work really well together. they should have sung ‘born to make you happy’ on saturday night, by the way.

god i would be such a better mentor than louis although several million other could claim the same thing. loving james corden slating britney – the idea that she has a back catalogue worthy of a theme is pathetic. given that she’s in cahoots with brian friedman it wasn’t that difficult to negotiate her appearance, surely?

ruth is now urging her fans to support jls and alex – good for her, and this speaks volumes about the brattish behaviour of diana and eoghan. diana appears to believe her own hype and eoghan clearly believes simon’s relentless ‘you’re the one to beat’ mantra. simon – you can keep saying it but it won’t become true.

interesting that in a week where diana was told to tone down her quirkiness, she took it to new levels by actually snarling into the mic during ‘everybody hurts’. the judges, even cheryl, clearly have time for her after the fake laryngitis hissy fit, alleged diva strop when she wasn’t given a song she liked last week and now possibly bringing the show into disrepute if the rumours that she is pregnant with eggnog’s child are true.

eggnog…i mean, who the fuck is voting for this talentless irksome brat? be ashamed of yourselves.

download jls song choices

112 – only you

after 7 – can’t stop

alexander o’neal – criticize

another level – be alone no more

bell biv devoe – poison

bobby brown – don’t be cruel

hi-five – i like the way

lemar – if there’s any justice

new edition – mr telephone man 

new kids on the block – if you go away

take that – pray

troop – sweet november

 

the mariah factor November 2, 2008

next week is going to be so funny…i’m glad mariah has stamped her feet and demanded that if she appears, it has to be her theme week. this should sort the wheat from the chaff. if you think mariah oversings, fine, you don’t need to oversing to cover one of her songs. i’ve covered some of mariah’s less shrieky tracks before.

daniel and eoghan in particular will be stuffed, and since the group of finalists have already recorded ‘hero’ simon can’t rescue nauseating eoghan by letting him sing that cheesefest. oh shit, daniel is bound to sing ‘one sweet day’ isn’t he?

american idol’s mariah theme, i seem to remember, unendeared some of the snottier contestants to the voting public, as they acted as if mariah’s songs were beneath them. diana needs to watch her facial expressions – if she goes stroppy teenager she’s gone.

this week the nice thing is some of these suggestions might actually make it.

download mariah week

jls – always be my baby

still loving jls, i hope it’s not true that they can’t win. they should sing ‘one sweet day’ but you know tragedy exploitation expert daniel will wangle that one.

alexandra – we belong together

thank god she already sang ‘i’ll be there’. if they make her sing ‘without you’ instead of this i’ll be really pissed off.

rachel – vision of love

next week is make or break for rachel. it’s about time she got the best ‘singer’s song’ as simon likes to call them.

laura – emotions

it’ll either be really good or really bad. i don’t think she should attempt a ballad.

ruth – can’t let go

ruth needs to get back to what she does best.

diana – dreamlover

even diana can’t bend the rules on an artist theme week. i’m sure dreamlover is whimsical enough…

daniel – one sweet day

yuck…just yuck. but you know it’ll happen.

eoghan – anytime you need a friend

i’d rather the vile, tonedeaf little shit was gone and sang nothing at all.

 

teenage love affair July 10, 2008

before t’internet, there were magazines. ok there still are magazines but i now buy two per month – heat and glamour – whereas back in the day i used to get about ten.

just seventeen was good for horoscopes and those little free books that taught you to be a total stalker, in a completely non-harmless way of course…’close your eyes and think of a question. stick a pencil down anywhere on the page. find the symbol you land on and the answer will be revealed….’he thinks you’re too good for him’. well, durrrr.

more! was of interest primarily for the problem pages, which went slightly beyond that of the other titles. there was no ‘shoud i kiss him or not?’ boys at school would pore over these pages in great detail, before checking position of the fortnight. ‘oh yeah…done that already.’ ‘who with?’ ‘you don’t know her…i met her on holiday…’

mizz dealt in hardcore compatibility charts. so if you were an aries and you liked a pisces you were basically screwed. question: did anyone actually look a compatibility chart, see that their intended target was suitable and then march up to them at school the next day? no. it made no difference except if he turned you down…’we weren’t compatible anyway, he’s a fucking leo, i can’t be doing with it…’

minx ruled. it dared to take the piss out of gormless celebs like ‘louise out of eternal’ and the spice girls, much to the anger of their PRs, as I remember. i have no idea why it disappeared so suddenly, everyone i knew loved it.

download here

alicia keys – teenage love affair

amazulu – too good to be forgotten

aaliyah – age ain’t nothin’ but a number

beyonce – my first time

chairmen of the board – since there were pigtails

cool notes – you’re never too young

erykah badu – back in the day

hot chocolate – it started with a kiss

ryan leslie – used to be

shanice – i love your smile

sister sledge – frankie

slick rick – teenage love

 

sweet like chocolate June 6, 2008

yes, it’s diet season and so thoughts turn to…chocolate.

well, after reading chocablog, i felt compelled to do a post of my own, on this subject close to my heart.

top five chocolate bars

  1. bounty – and i am so dying to try the bounty cherry bars they have in cybercandy
  2. cadbury’s caramel – old style, with the cartoon bunny, not the new generic brand
  3. those caramel marshmallow things they have in sainsburys – not enough chocolate/marshmallow products in the UK
  4. fry’s chocolate cream – not enough fondant either
  5. twirl – sometimes simple is best

five bars i wish they would bring back

  1. mint wispa – now!
  2. ice breaker – little blue minty chips in it
  3. coconut square – like turkish delight but blue
  4. strawberry or lime aeros – i knew there was a red aero…was too young to try them
  5. nestle secret – like a nest with chocolate mousse inside

download here

aaron skyy – chocolate

bros – chocolate box

deacon blue – chocolate girl

ex-girlfriend – sexual chocolate

kool and the gang – chocolate buttermilk

orlando johnson – chocolate city

prince – chocolate

shanks and bigfoot – sweet like chocolate

y?n-vee – chocolate

zapp – chocolate city

 

work it May 20, 2008

i’ve been watching the us version of the office recently, having loved the original uk version. i have to say, i’m pleasantly surprised. jim is of course, better looking than tim, but no less endearing. michael isn’t sad in quite the same way as david brent but he’ll come to a stickier end, i think.

pam, hmm, well i find it fairly unbelievable that every man in the office would have a crush on someone so frumpy but she’s actually a better character for it. i love jim and pam, or ‘jam’. dwight is cartoonish but i have no problem with the idea that someone so weird would run wild amongst average us citizens…

the american finchy, however, is so crap i don’t even know his name. angela is an interesting one. in the uk version i always said what was missing was a uptight, miserable old cow, as per my manager at the time, who existed (and probably still exists) to cause other people pain. i wish they didn’t make her obsessed with cats though – i love cats and its an old joke now.

chili’s – a texmex ‘restaurant’, uk people, there’s one in reading – is the scene of many crimes and this has left me wondering if america doesn’t have townie clubs like chasers, full of drunk suits and local chavs on a wednesday night?

inevitably, as with the uk version, aside from jam, the stupid office pranks are the best thing about the us version. tricks i would have liked to see tim play on gareth in the uk version:

  • all of gareth’s stuff in a vending machine for him to buy back
  • encouraging gareth to buy a women’s handbag
  • convincing gareth that thursday was actually friday, making him miss work the next day
  • paying colleagues to call gareth ‘gary’ for a day
  • convincing gareth that ‘gaydar’ was an actual, purchasable device
  • tricked him into believing he was completing special missions for the MOD

download here

altitudes – work it like a 9 to 5

blackstreet – i like the way you work

eyc – the way you work it

fonzi thornton – i work for a livin’

isley brothers – work to do

kelly rowland – work

mel stewart – no work no pay

michael jackson – working day and night

nel oliver – i have a good job

prince – let’s work

roots – thought@work

tcf crew – hardest working lover