dirty martini

old music for new people

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

american redneck idol May 23, 2008

i can barely be bothered to watch the american idol final on itv2 tonight now that i know snoozefest david cook has won.  ooh lets kills every assigned song with exactly the same grunge rock arrangement. how clever.

grandparent favourite david archuleta was obviously not a hugely better prospect but at least he wasn’t a throwback to the early 90s unless you think the fact that he was born in 1990 qualifies that comparison. neither of them are a leona, hell, they’re not even a jordin sparks. i’m even going to go out on a limb here and say i preferred carrie unde-robot-wood and taylor ‘father ted’ hicks.

god i just didn’t really care that much about any of the contestants after chikezie went. he peaked too early with ‘i believe to my soul’. i liked syesha but she clearly wasn’t as good as similar artists from previous years, like vonzell a few years back.

do kids still listen to complaint rock? seriously? i didn’t believe it in the 90s and i don’t believe it now. scenes of kids jumping up and down on their bed playing air guitar are always the most unrealistic elements of any movie or tv show for me, and I didn’t know anyone who did that.

at least we had a few who were enjoyably shit keeping up the sanjaya malakar/that stupid marine/jasmine trias tradition. that er, jason er…dreads bloke, clinched the cringe of the ‘season’ with his double bob marley massacre. jason castro, just looked it up. kristy lee cook was unenjoyably shit. brooke white looked like a little old alien, like gail from corrie…

doubtless there will be another ‘season’ so here are some of the better performances from the last 6 years…

ruben studdard – a whole new world

latoya london – somewhere

elliot yamin – if you really love me

tamyra gray – a house is not a home

chikezie eze – i believe to my soul

jennifer hudson – weekend in new england

mario vasquez – do i do

lakisha jones – and i am telling you

anwar robinson – what’s going on

mandisa – i don’t hurt anymore

 

britain’s got talent April 19, 2008

there is more to the uk than leona, joss and amy.

i’m not getting into estelle’s rant about whether white girls can claim soul. i’ve barley heard adele or duffy but from the snippets i haven’t managed to avoid, i would think we’re in danger of confusing soul, which they may well have a claim on, with r&b, which is the category estelle et al would fall into.

but her point about the under-represented existing soul/r&b artists in the uk is true. some – beverley knight, jamelia – are often persuaded to stray into pop territory to raise their profile. i would say there’s a huge talent chasm between those two however. somehow i don’t think anyone will be talking about jamelia in a few years, no matter who she’s slating. bitter 30 something brummie with cheating footballer husband – now that will not be a good look.

download here

corinne bailey rae – young and foolish

craig david and kano – this is the girl

estelle – 1980

keisha white – out of my hands

lemar – someone should tell you

lisa maffia – bad girl

nate james – universal

taio cruz – backseat love

terri walker – flirtin’

winta gordon – surveillance

 

show me the money April 18, 2008

this post is self explanatory but i’ll say one thing. those gold diggers are not feeling the credit crunch in the same way as the rest of us. i’m not saying it’s right…

top 5 gold diggers

1. heather mills

didn’t fab-macca-thumbs-aloft blaze a hot publicity trail during the divorce trial? two weeks of beatle songs on american idol, brit appearance…now a liverpool concert.

2. kevin federline

even k-fed was well out of that family, who made even shar jackson look classy by comparison.

3. tameka foster

can you say ‘marriage of convenience’? never been more convinced that usher is gay. this week chilli revealed she still loves him…hmmm…

4. most WAGs

no news there then.

5. meg matthews

surely even monobrow could have done better at the height of oasis’ fame?

 download here

amerie – money maker

big bub – material girl

blu cantrell – hit em up style

cashflow – spending money

destiny’s child – bills bills bills

gwen guthrie – ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent

janice christie – my love is money

junior mafia – get money

kanye west – gold digger

ol’ dirty bastard and kelis – got your money

shades – tell me

tlc- no scrubs

 

everybody loves leona April 11, 2008

so leona has cracked the US, big time. i’m pleased for her and now I see why her album contains so many ballads. their cheese radar is lower than that of the endlessly critical brits, perhaps…and some people find ballads cheesy. leona does them well though.

so whilst ‘spirit’ is good quality, there’ll be plenty of time for a mature sound later on. now that she’s cemented her popularity for the foreseeable future, she really needs to nail the pop/r&b crossover next time. anyway, since leona’s second album must be a sure thing by now I was wondering how it’ll turn out. so, these are the types of songs that I’d like to hear from her.

download here

aaliyah – hot like fire

leona has the right tone to her voice to copy aaliyah’s style but has much more range, so it would be interesting…

adriana evans – looking for your love

this type of sweet, live instrumental track would be a good personality fit for leona, who appears to have won over the US and UK public with her sweet, down to earth manner. i’m not with those who translate this into a lack of personality – if she was delivering witty asides to camera, that would be fake.

amerie – crush

this would have been a cute track for leona. for whatever reason amerie continue to flop, maybe leona could take this off her hands…

brownstone – if you love me

no point having that vocal capability if you’re not going to show it off?

juicy – sugar free

in fact she did record an updated version of this called ‘suga sweet’ pre-x factor, and it’s not bad. midtempo 80s soul would be a nice contrast with her voice.

mariah carey – we belong together

in a way, ‘better in time’ is her ‘we belong together’. but another one won’t hurt. maybe she should keep it back for her third album.

prince – if i was your girlfriend

some princespiration won’t go amiss…why not, everyone else is doing it. if leona’s going to shake off her good girl image, she should go classic, not sleaze.

keisha white – open like so

leona will need to do sass at some point. not in a trashy beyonce style, or man-bashing late 90s jittery r&b, but something a bit more direct. like this.

kelly rowland – can’t nobody

i see this as the type of club track leona might do – not too aggressive or desperately current, just something that works.

alexander o’neal and cherrelle – never knew love like this

leona and lemar. please.

shola ama – you’re the one i love

this was the song that i remember shola for the most, not sure if it was her biggest hit but it was the perfect balance between pop and r&b. but in the 90s, for a uk artist, this was about as r&b as it got.

swv – weak

if leona sticks with some ballads, I would love to see her tackle some 90s style slow jams.