dirty martini

old music for new people

hello kitschy July 20, 2008

a collection of tunes that are crying out for a super kitsch cartoon video.

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amerie – crush

possibly just meant to sound happy, not kitsch, but this remix conjures up images of bubbles, flying candy and glitter and there’s nothing amerie can do about it…

basement jaxx – romeo

you can tell the jaxx heart kitsch by their album covers, even if you haven’t heard the music. who else would put snowflake, the albino gorilla from barcelona zoo, on a cd?

bjork – big time sensuality

more quirky than kitsch, but bjork does look a bit like a japanese cartoon.

confection – i gotta thang 4u

confection are a group who make 80s jheri soul a la loose ends. i honestly didn’t realise for a long time that they weren’t authentic 80s.

daft punk – digital love

kids of the 80s went ‘aaaah…’ when they saw the video to this tune, featuring battle of the planets style anime.

deee-lite – say ahhh

unashamedly kitsch, and psychedelic at the same time.

groove armada and mutya buena – song for mutya

whoever thought they would be describing the chavtastic mutya as kitsch? not me…

keyshia cole – superstar

hate jameila. this is the only song of hers that i could remotely stand so i was happy that keyshia covered it for the us market. clearly, bitter brummie bitches don’t go down too well across the pond, either…

mariah carey – touch my body

eternally 12 apparently…mariah is the physical embodiment of kitsch and youth obsession taken too far. and no i don’t buy the nick cannon thing, that boy just looks uncomfortable to me.

model 500 – the flow

i doubt that derrick may intended to make anything that sounded remotely kitsch. but it so does…

st etienne – who do you think you are

if all of st etienne’s video has been animated kitsch, i think their music would have been more appealing. i liked it, but the oh-look-at-us-we’re indie!-and-quirky! band members ruined things somewhat.

sub sub and melanie williams – ain’t no love

the most cartoonish club classic i can remember – shouldn’t have worked but it did.

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sometimes it snows in april April 6, 2008

i’m speechless. what was i saying about the british weather? friday was the hottest day of the year and now this.

clearly something is changing in the northern hemisphere. we had a blisteringly hot summer in 2006 and barely a season ever since.

I vaguely remember that it snowed on our way back from a may holiday in majorca in about 1983, and that new year’s day in either 1990 or 1991 was unseasonally warm and sunny. but four seasons in one week? never.

prince wrote that song for a reason. most uk kids will remember the garage cover version by amar and mc rankin which is so far from the original that it’s barely worth comparing.

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angie stone – snowflakes

basement jaxx – hot and cold

faze – cold sweat

frank washington – ice

lemon jelly – nice weather for ducks

madame x – cherries in the snow

omarion – icebox

prince – sometimes it snows in april

tone loc – funky cold medina

vanilla ice – ice ice baby

 

90s brit soul – quality over quantity April 30, 2007

at the turn of the decade, it looked as if uk soul had found an identity. for the most part, artists eschewed the trappings of new jack swing, with its distinctly american, over-produced sound, for a truly local style.


soul ii soul spearheaded this movement, that whilst fiercely british, paid homage to the daisy age, summer of love principles of artists such as de la soul. some stayed true to their soul roots, some moved into dancier territory and others built the foundations of new genres – acid jazz and jungle/drum and bass.


it was looking positive. but as r&b moved into the mainstream in the mid 90s, uk artists gazed enviously at their us counterparts and tried to emulate their success. usually this resulted in a diluted experience that wasn’t street enough for the clubs, yet still too urban for the dinner party set.


these are the ones that survived despite the odds.


ten 90s brit soul survivorsdownload here

shola ama – you’re the one i love – 1996
shola
signed a deal on her 16th birthday that would lead her to become the UK’s most successful r&b female singer in the late 90s. in good rags-to-riches tradition, she was discovered singing at a tube station and released her first single ‘celebrate’ on an independent label in 1995. amusingly, her wikipedia entry declares an addiction to pork pies as a reason for her downfall. when ‘pork pies’ became a euphemism for ‘cocaine’, i’m not sure…





kele le roc – my love – 1999


kele has perhaps become more well known for guest appearances with artists such as basement jaxx than for her solo career. her debut arrived at a time when every r&b single was subjected to the 2-step remix treatment and the uk garage mix of ‘my love’ is one of the best known examples of the genre and certainly eclipsed this underappreciated ignorants‘ r&b mix at the time.


caron wheeler – i adore you – 1992

a stalwart of the uk black music scene since her days in teenage lovers rock band brown sugar in the mid 70s. in the late 80s caron hooked up with legendary dj jazzie b and the rest is history. her role in soul ii soul laid the foundations for a renewed solo career and her album ‘uk blak‘ was released in 1990 to critical acclaim. ‘i adore you’ is her best known solo track, from the 1992 soundtrack ‘mo’ money‘.


elisha la verne – i may be single – 1996

elisha seemed destined for bigger things when she arrived in 1996. like many other artists, she has found enduring success in japan. i can remember a pa she did at my local club in 1996 that was met with cool indifference by the predominantly house-loving crowd. if she’d arrived a few years later things could have been quite different.


tongue ‘n’ cheek – nobody – 1990

tongue’n’cheek’s initial outings, covers of cheryl lynn and patrice rushen disco-era classics, were met enthusiastically after the foundations for brit soul were laid by soul ii soul. this track, remixed from an 1988 original, had a new jack swing feel to it and was far more interesting. tongue’n’cheek suffered somewhat from being difficult to pigeonhole as either a soul or dance music act.


kenny thomas – thinking about your love – 1991

cheeky chappy kenny thomas charmed his way in to the british record buying public’s hearts with a cover of the gap band’s ‘outstanding’, together with winsome video in which he strolled through an east end market. this track was another cover, but not many people realised at the time. he also covered the force md’s ‘tender love’ as if it was his own soon after, capitalising on the fact that mainstream britain knew fuck all about soul music until quite recently. fair play to him.


celetia – missing your love – 1995

with aaliyah, monica and brandy on the scene, it was decided that the UK needed its own underage r&b starlet. enter brixon girl celetia martin, sort of. her debut album failed to ignite, with the then 14 year old slammed for her raunchy lyrics. sometimes i wonder what these critics were doing when they were 14 – knitting? it wasn’t really that shocking… her second album ‘runaway skies’ saw her adopt a more unique and organic persona and was infinitely more successful. she now lives in LA and is working with big name producers such as soulshock and carlin. impressive.


lynden david hall – do i qualify – 1998

could have been one of the biggest artists in the uk if his life wasn’t cut short last year due to hodgkin’s lymphoma. first album ‘medicine 4 my pain’ was a huge success in 1998, and was the first uk artist voted as best male by blues and soul readers. he went on to star in ‘love actually’ as a wedding singer.








don-e – love makes the world go round – 1992

don-e arrived in 1992 with this sunny track, from his debut ‘unbreakable’. although his career stalled after this brief success, he resurfaces occasionally, and joined forces with deni hines to cover new edition’s ‘delicious’ to great effect in 1995.

beverley knight – flavour of the old school – 1994

the most consistently successful artist on this list and owner of an amazing voice. beverley started out in 1994 with ‘b-funk’, and i prefer this early material to her later more poppy/mainstream offerings as I get a bit annoyed when uk r&b artists feel the need to start including guitars in their work to get any kind of recognition…