dirty martini

old music for new people

burn baby burn November 1, 2008

i had hope that the shock exit of disco week would be be overstyled, overindulged irish brat eoghan. can’t see him doing too well on mariah carey week, can you? yes, it would even be worth cringing through another week of shameless opportunist daniel trying to parlay his loss into a career. just. as long as we can finally get shot of him the week after.

my retrospective wishlist for disco week. note, these are based on what would actually do the contestants justice, not the limited x factor playlist based on the paranoid assumption that every brit is too stupid to vote on the basis of a good performance. and only recognises a performance as such if the song in questions is a wedding reception or car advert staple and they already know all the words.

oh, and they’re actual disco numbers. not just songs from the mid-late 70s which some idiots equate with disco. of course the usual american idol/pop isdol/popstars faves were wheeled out…

download disco

jls – should have sung ‘heartache no9’ by delegation

but, good song choice for them tonight and nowhere near as predictable as i was fearing (more than a woman, relight my fire). i really want them to win – i think in terms of the credibility of the show and its future, they are the most likely to do well. leona ensured its relevance a few years back but its time for another real winner.

alex – should have sung ‘you know how to love me’ by phyllis hyman

what is it about that ‘on the radio’ song? it’s ok but it’s a nothing song. no opportunity show off her vocals, a complete waste.

rachel – should have sung ‘got to be real’ by cheryl lynn

you can’t help but like rachel. she’s coping admirably with her mentor, considering that given her background, a spoilt, childish and desperate woman like dannii must seem twice as irritating. tonight’s song choice was as ridiculous as ever. sack your mentor, rachel!

ruth should have sung ‘more more more’ by andrea true connection

should have been in her element next week as spain loves it some disco. still. another disco week another donna summer track. simon really needs to put some cash behind those song rights so we don’t have to endure the same tired old numbers next year. it’s like a pub jukebox that never gets refreshed.

laura should have sung ‘street life’ by crusaders

she sang jocelyn brown in the auditions, i thought they used to criticise contestants for that…anyway it was good but i think her days are numbered now that she has been revealed to cavorting with an itv insider.

diana should have sung ‘heart of glass’ by blondie

come on, blondie is only borderline disco, you could have chosen one on the fucking line. ‘call me’ is a rock track. one week, diana will actually sing something from the required theme.

austin should have sung ‘rock with you’ by michael jackson

he probably was always too much of a gypo to win. i don’t know what it is about him. at first he just looked really dirty and unhealthy, and now he’s channelling pale and gaunt, but cleaner looking, 80s popstars.

daniel should have sung ‘instant replay’ by dan hartman

perhaps that should read ‘daniel should be able to sing if he’s been put in final 12 of the x factor, instead of wasting a spot that could have been given to someone with talent’. there.

eoghan should have sung – in tune

are the judges deaf? it’s like they were preprogrammed to ignore how resoundingly crap he would inevitably be. he’s been shit every week but this week was atrocious. get him out, now, i refuse to choose a song for him.

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the prince factor October 20, 2008

well, who saw that coming? ruth lorenzo appears to have had more hits today on youtube for her bottom two performance than anyone other contestant.

it was a great performance, but the fact that so many people love the song plays a big part. it isn’t hard to predict that you will hear ‘i have nothing’, ‘i’ll be there’ and ‘summertime’ at least once every series. michael jackson week was slightly better than the usual themes.

apparently next week is big band…for christ’s sake. who listens to big band? if they do beatles, abba, david cassidy or rod stewart again i’m going on strike. these artists are hopelessly out of date. if any contestant struggle to cover one of their songs convincingly it says absolutely nothing about their talent for singing songs within a genre they ARE interested in pursuing.

the only theme worth introducing is prince. it’s a fair theme for everyone. prince covers the musical spectrum and so provides a level playing field.

there is no shortage of prince on this blog and i make no apology…

who influenced prince?

purple hook-ups

‘sounds a bit like prince…’

more princespiration

i can’t believe it’s not prince

the best prince setlist ever

rare prince

more rare prince

prince’s protegees

with that in mind, here are my suggestions…

prince week

jls – diamonds and pearls

alex – i feel for you

rachel – nothing compares 2 u

ruth – purple rain (obviously)

laura – if i was your girlfriend

austin – little red corvette

diana – if i love u tonight

eoghan – alphabet st (although i would refuse to watch)

bluecoat –  i could never take the place of your man

daniel – 1999 (for the comedy value)

 

madonna should have retired in the 80s July 23, 2008

i’m updating this post as the download link expired.

i’m not even going to pretend or aspire to a real appreciation of anything that madonna did after 1989.

at the start of her career, madonna represented a backlash against society. it was punk for people who didn’t like punk music. madonna swore, acted stupid and girly, married a bad boy and wore what the hell she liked.

for me, things started to go downhill when she tried to morph into marilyn monroe for her true blue album in 1986. by the end of the decade she was making good music but the controversy she incited was planned, not accidental. the religion baiting ‘like a prayer’ was pepsi endorsed , ‘justify my love’ had a full length video by jean baptiste-mondino. there was none of the grit left of a girl who worked in dunkin’ donuts to support herself while she recorded a demo.

we loved the electric, synthesised beats, raw vocals and a unique style. we don’t need to see madonna in jean paul gaultier or d&g, anyone with money can wear those labels. messy dirty blonde hair, stretch lace, ripped tshirts and leggings – all of these were her signature style but after desperately seeking susan she seemed to distance herself from the very image that made her.

if madonna had retired almost twenty years ago in 1989, and lets face it she could afford to have done, would her legacy be greater? the erotica phase was an embarrassment, the little girls who had idolised her were rapidly growing into young adults and didn’t need to see their childhood inspiration acting like a depraved teenager. the whole kabbalah thing is a joke, and the marriage to guy ritche makes her seem more likeable, which was never the point of madonna.

the only songs i have really liked from madonna post-dick tracy have been ‘deeper and deeper’, ‘take a bow’ and ‘don’t tell me’. but i could have lived without them. and then – i contradicted myself by listing ten songs by madonna post-gambler that i don’t hate

download madonna originals here

get up

very early 80s pop, almost post-disco soul with a blondie inspired copycat rap at the end. possibly penned as an ode to her time in new york pre-fame. its a long way from this to abba-sampling on ‘hung up’. now that was something i never expected…

crimes of passion

could have fitted easily into ‘like a virgin’ but wasn’t really dancey enough for her debut i suppose. if this had been leaked in 1985 we’d have been in raptures.

don’t you know

this song, recorded in 1981 along with ‘stay’ amongst others, was eventually incorporated into the version of ‘stay’ on the ‘like a virgin’ album. i like this demo, it’s bouncier and has nice zaps and bleeps.

ain’t no big deal

recorded to be madonna’s first single, but left off the album entirely due to a dispute with ex-boyfriend stephen bray, but later rerecorded and used as a b-side.

lucky star – original 12″ mix

posted in its full glory as you can’t have too much ‘lucky star’. one of my favourites and deceptively child friendly which is probably why my parents let me buy it. i wasn’t allowed to dress like she did in the video though. 

spotlight

we didn’t hear this until the ‘you can dance’ remix album in 1987, but it was recorded for the ‘true blue’ album. of course these days it would leak along with the album. makes you wonder what else exists. back then we literally only heard what artists wanted us to.

burning up – original uk version

when i bought ‘the first album’ on cd i was confused. i thought i remembered ‘burning up’ being better, and dancier, than this. it seems in the US and rest of the world, they used a guitar driven mix that I’d never heard. on the UK tape version, we had what was apparently used on only early vinyl copies. its so much better. but the demo version, which i recently discovered, is nice and sparkly, rather than grungey, as well.

physical attraction

i love the bleepy almost aquatic sound to this track. or maybe its because i got back from swimming on the day i was bought ‘the first album’ as an early birthday present and that’s just the association i’m making…this is the full album version cos i love the spoken bit in the middle. i was too young to understand or appreciate the sentiment.

borderline – first album version

again, the version those of us in the UK will be most familiar with as it was on our version of ‘the first album’. i really love this song, more so now.

gambler – dance remix

many people seem to forget about this track as unless you were going to buy the ‘vision quest’ soundtrack, and let’s face it no one was, you could only get this on vinyl. but it’s madonna at her best, the exact reason why we loved her and parents didn’t. at the point this was released, madonna could have sneezed and gone top 10.

crazy for you – soundtrack version

the perennial end-of-the-disco favourite. this song, along with ‘into the groove’ and ‘holiday’ was in the top 10 for most of the summer in 1985 and i played them incessantly. i was in my first year at junior school and madonna was like nothing else we’d seen before. this version goes on a bit longer than the single version i had, i think that’s the only difference

into the groove – original version

it took a while for me to realise that the version on the ‘immaculate collection’ is not the original. its obviously different, and utter crap, but we weren’t so finely tuned to recognise remixes back then. anyway, once i realised, i got rid, and replaced it with this far superior original. shep pettibone should be ashamed of himself.

dress you up – formal mix

this is a very 80s 12″ – ie. a bit longer, some extra beats, a few sound effects. its appeal has been tarnished somewhat by featuring in a gap ad but don’t let that put you off.

angel – 12″ mix

another very 80s 12″, but this one provides some much needed oomph, much as i loved the original.

 

more songs to turn down on your ipod: guilty pleasures October 21, 2007

tube.jpg

 do sound isolating earbuds also mask what you’re listening to?

i can barely be bothered to create an illusion of cool whilst i’m sat on the tube at 8am. lets face it, if i was that concerned then i probably would apply my makeup at home. after my last post – songs you turn down on your ipod – i realised that i have quite a lot of bad taste.

if you like something, why wouldn’t you listen to it? i don’t care what some suit with his legs wide open and a paper in my face thinks anyway. so these days i turn up my more embarrassing selections. at the very least someone will get a laugh out of it and god knows there’s not much to smile about if you commute into london.

unless sweat, delays and idiotic tourists with backpacks the size of a small shed are your thing, in which case…this playlist will seem tame by your standards.

download here

abba – that’s me

think ‘dancing queen’ is cheesy? have you heard the rest of ‘arrival’? the campest (best) abba album, dealing with such pressing subjects as kissing your teacher, your boyfriend preferring his violin to you, and being a tiger. and this – about being a bit of an old slapper and not someone to take home to the parents.

barry manilow – copacabana

the first line gives it away. ‘her name was lola. she was a showgirl.’ this camp classic by the hook nosed one actually wasn’t a big hit, but everyone knows it anyway.

betty boo – 24 hours

in 1990, betty was not cheesy and her west london twanged rapping was not ludicrous. i think world cup euphoria must have addled our brains…and this is the most credible track i could find on boomania. ‘doin’ the do’ and ‘where are you baby’ are so bad even i don’t listen to them.

billy ocean – get outta my dreams

if billy had been a poor man’s lionel richie to date, this track didn’t change much.  actual car noises at the start of any track mentioning a car should give you a sorry indication of what’s to follow.

deacon blue – chocolate girl

deacon blue are late 80s scot pop-rock and do not fit in my collection. they now inhabit the MOR scrapheaps of capital and virgin radio. probably. i never listen to either. i might be tempted if i thought this would be played…

gloria estefan – get on your feet

latin numbers are party and party equals cheese. the ‘sort your life out’ lyrics add to the worthiness of the proceedings but somehow this is still an enjoyable listen. or is it just me?

janet jackson and cliff richard – two to the power of love

no that isn’t a typing error and no i’m not pissed. in 1984, janet recorded a duet with the pop dinosaur (even then) that only ever saw the light of day on her ‘dream street’ album. of course, if she was pregnant at the time as claimed, we can put it all down to hormones.

kylie minogue – shocked

preteen girls are fickle and after ‘better the devil you know’, most of kylie’s fanbase had delusions of adulthood that led them to aspire to an appreciation of such musical luminaries as er, color me badd. SAW was over. but you taped this off the radio, just in case.

nick kamen – each time you break my heart

levi’s model nick was a bit too pretty. but pretty boys worked in the late 80s, and his madonna association didn’t hurt much either.

paula abdul – opposites attract

the cartoon cat – mc skat kat for those that care, top cat with a cigar basically  – actually sang better than paula. i looooved this, and ant and dec turning up to an american idol audition and singing this to a confused paula, simon and randy was genius.

toto – hold the line

oh god, if ‘africa’ wasn’t bad enough, once my mum heard this, toto was firmly entrenched in her playlist. and now it’s got to me as well.

wilson phillips – you’re in love

big hair? check. record deal via nepotism? check. singing in unison as voices not strong enough individually? check. gratuitous use of white chiffon? check. for all that it should have been a disaster. and oh, it was.

it doesn’t end here…

or even there…

 

70s baby 80s child… July 9, 2007

disco.jpg

i’m proud to be a disco era baby, born the same time as saturday night fever.obviously this means i don’t have very clear recollections of disco, but there is evidence that it had an influence on my infant years.  a photo exists of me at about 18 months old, looking terrified as my dad, a bee gees lookalike in obligatory tight shirt, sporting shoulder length flicked hair, beams.  my mum, in my christening photos, looks like a member of hot gossip.

I also don’t remember saturday night fever first time round, but an eight track cartridge of the soundtrack became one of the first albums I played, along with abba and the wombles, whenever I could get near the stereo – a big wooden Baird monstrosity, like the tv. eight tracks were fairly childproof, which perhaps explains why my parents had one, since they weren’t exactly early adopters…they only got into cds about 5 years ago.

my recollection of the novelty disco that followed – ymca, ottawan, boney m – is sadly slightly sharper. I can clearly recall stomping around our majorca hotel singing ‘hands up, baby, hands up…’ and forcing my very straight and very unenlightened dad to march up and down with me in a camp fashion to ‘in the navy’ by the village people. if asked what activity I wanted to take part in, apparently the answer was always the same – I wanted to go to the disco.

still, the first time I really heard chic was probably as an underage clubber in one of those great cheesy late 80s/early 90s clubs that are slowly becoming extinct. you know, carpet on the walls, lots of mirrors, peach wine (this was before alcopops) and a fat dj. during their retro half hour, a pointless exercise since no one in the club was over 18, they would play some disco before the obligatory birdie song and god awful jive bunny style 50s rock and roll.  if you weren’t around then, you have no idea how much clubs have improved over the last 15 years. unless you’ve been to a chicago rock café, in which case, you know.

disco was a nice introduction to music, let’s face it, punk was around at the same time so I had a narrow escape. to me, as to many others, it is a soundtrack to hazy flashbacks of high chairs and swirly 70s brown and orange wallpaper that prepped us for the clubbing mayhem of the 90s. it paved the way for dance music in all its forms and its appreciation belies the frankly pathetic ‘disco sucks’ movement perpetrated by US rednecks. get back in your caravan and turn up your insipid MOR rock – the glitterball is here to stay.

12 dazzling disco gemsdownload here

average white band – let’s go round again

 

 

black ivory – mainline

chic – my forbidden lover

dan hartman – instant replay

delegation – heartache no9

diana ross – the boss

jean carn – was that all it was

loleatta holloway – runaway

melba moore – this is it

odyssey – native new yorker

rose royce – is it love you’re after

sheila and b devotion – spacer