dirty martini

old music for new people

crush on you September 21, 2008

 this nkotb reunion is making me feel 14 again – without actually having to be 14 again.

reasons to be thankful for not being 14:

  • that aching feeling you had all year
  • fancying totally unattainable men
  • being mortified by your parents
  • having to choose cool friends over friends you actually liked
  • having to wear the same outfit outside of school, for most of the year
  • hating your skin, hair, everything about yourself
  • having no cash

download nkotb

2 in the morning

call it what you want

don’t give up on me

girls

i wanna be loved by you

if you go away

i’ll be missing you come christmas

my favourite girl

never let you go

single

valentine girl

whatcha gonna do about it

 

90s r&b boybands: the wannabes November 9, 2007

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somewhere online, on websites dedicated to mp3s from long forgotten artists, somebody somewhere might be requesting a track by one of these no-hit wonders. and i don’t mean that as an insult. when the music industry was booming, labels clamoured to replicate the latest success story, and after boyz ii men and blackstreet hit the big time, there was no shortage of pretenders to their crowns.

only the strong survive. these boys will be remembered fondly for one or two songs, by three or four people. well hopefully a few more than that. i wonder where they are now?

also check out the a list, b list and happy to be on any list.

download here

1-900 – oh

love this, bumpy. no idea who they are/were.

art and soul – dog in me

an al green sample and sub-blackstreet lyrics gave this group a club hit in 1996.

bubba – i like your style

very little info about this band online – assuming it was a band and not a solo effort with backing vocals?

coming of age – my side story

well tq was part of this band so we know at least one of the members is still in the industry – just about.

imajin – shorty

if a live website is evidence that the group is still going, then…they are. but it was last updated in 1999.

in essence – you’ll never find

again, has website, will travel. in essence performed with fellow canadian keshia chante two years ago…since then, who knows?

in the mix – dial me baby

no idea. this mp3 is all over the internet though.

lo-key – i got a thing for you

nice slow jam from 1993, and a minor hit.

riff – judy got a boyfriend

part of the new jack swing movement and i’m not aware of any other releases from this group.

rude boys – written all over your face

possibly too successful for this list, they had several club hits and even made an unprecedented third album.

 zhype – used to be your lover

new jack stomper a la johnny gill. no album.

z’looke – can you read my lips

actually started in the late 80s. held on till 91 but still no album.

 

90s r&b boybands – one hit wonders November 4, 2007

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 these boybands had their fans out there – somewhere. occasionally, one of these fans will recognise them when they sell them car insurance. maybe that’s enough to keep them going?

slightly more likely to get recognised are the b list and the a list are still gong strong. and now with added z list!

download here

3t – anything

sons of tito jackson who are probably around 30 now. apparently in 1996 their record sales in the UK were second only to the spice girls. who knew? tried to make a comeback but in boyband terms are a bit long in the tooth now although that hasn’t stopped take that…

911 – in a magazine

no not the geordie shortarses who had a way with the ladies. this was a teddy riley project fronted by basic black singer dezo adams. folded with their label after releasing this and ‘cutie’.

az yet – last night

az yet are still going, in two incarnations. disuptes over who owned the name led to two simultaneous groups and to be honest…i’m not going to unravel it all cos all you really need to know is that they had this hit and did a couple of chicago covers. sorted.

basic black – special kind of fool

the precursor to the above mentioned 911, with more of a new jack swing flavour. had a big hit with ‘she’s mine’.

f.s effect – i wanna be your lover

could win the coveted crap 90s album title award for ‘so deep it’s bottomless’. no other info.

kreuz – do you right

uk group who actually got signed to motown but something went wrong. not sure what exactly but, it did all sound a bit too good to be true didn’t it?

h-town – part time lover

better known for their collaboration with jodeci on ‘knockin’ the boots’, which must have made for a confusing recording session as to my mind, they are exactly the same group.

men of vizion – do thangz

had two hits that i can remember, this and ‘break me off’. little bit cheesy in a montell jordan kind of way.

motif and positive k – you told me

positive k at least, had that crazy video ‘i got a man’ that was always on the box music channel back in the day. this lot fell under the radar, big time.

p.o.v – anutha luv

probably best known for their collaboration with girl group jade ‘ all thru the nite’. wore dkny baseball shirts and bounced up and down a lot.

portrait – honey dip

perhaps the only group on this list to release three consecutive 90s albums. you could call them a poor man’s hi-five but that would be cruel…

smoove – all about her

another comedy 90s album title ‘smoove with a ruffness’ which perhaps is directly attributable to its lack of sales as in those pre-amazon days the man at the record counter would look at what you were buying and smirk..

 

90s male r&b groups – don’t call them boybands May 13, 2007

male soul groups in the 90s were destined never to replicate the success of their pop counterparts. pop requires a manufactured yet individual, who’s-your-favourite type image. soul groups are usually quite similar. only fans can tell the difference. there’s no cute one, sporty one, fat one, funny one – and if there is, it’s real not a product of an over-zealous marketing department.

what also set these groups apart was their ability – robbie williams and jordan knight couldn’t hold a candle to these vocalists. the mass market, for the most part, seemed slightly threatened by this fact. they succumbed to some of the music, boyz ii men’s ‘end of the road’ a notable example, but swept the rest under the carpet where it couldn’t draw unflattering comparisons with their pin up popstars.

check out the b list and the c list too. and now, the z list.

ten boybands who could actually singdownload here



guy – do me right
kings of the new jack swing era, comprising teddy riley, aaron hall and his bro. pioneers of the sound in the late 80s they deservedly held the crown as the scene took off. aaron went to moderate solo success a few years later, and teddy



blackstreetbooti call
…from the ashes of new jack swing, teddy riley created blackstreet. possibly the biggest true male r&b act of the 90s, they had huge success with their first two albums and collaborated twice with swv ,who were somewhat their female counterparts. started to fall off after a tinny duet with weak-voiced mya for the rugrats movie. dave hollister has become a credible yet underappreciated solo artist.

boyz ii men – please don’t go
clean cut boys who met at performing arts school in philadelphia. first achieved worldwide recognition with ‘end of the road’ in the video for which they sang earnestly whilst wearing knee length shorts. the group sold itself on heartfelt ballads and released few uptempo numbers. their wholesomeness possibly allowed member wanya to get away with a relationship with then-underage brandy in the mid-90s.



jodeci – come and talk to me
jodeci were the bad boys of r&b from 1991 to 1996 and provided a sleazier alternative to boyz ii men. kci hailey has long been tarred by his troubled relationship with mary j blige. despite the group being a sorry shadow of their former selves today, their swing mob collective did launch the careers of missy, timbaland and ginuwine amongst others.

tony toni tone – my exgirlfriend
raphael saadiq and co were always the slightly less sleazy and more conscious act of this genre. several successful albums in the early to mid 90s then raphael went solo, and the other two…anyone’s guess. raphael has since discovered a penchant for very young girls and is rumoured to be dating joss stone, 23 years his junior. which goes to show its always the quiet ones you have to watch….
hi-five – i like the way
sweet new jack swing for the ladies, this hit the top of the billboard on release in 1991. the group split in 1994 and never really strayed from this tried and tested formula. now back together and releasing an album – how old must they be now???


mint condition – so fine
along with tony toni tone, revered as one of the more talented and credible groups from the 90s. originally tried to appeal to the new jack crowd but their harmonies were more suited to classic soul and they had many hits in this genre. still recording today, minus keri lewis who left the group to produce, most notably for his wife, toni braxton.
112 – only you
bad boy creation that went global thanks to a remix featuring then hot rappers mase and notorious big, shortly before his death. they have since made a living as members of the bad boy family despite possessing not much vocal talent and zero individuality. but their willing participation on infinite tribute songs keeps them on the payroll and in the recording studio, intermittently.

another level – be alone no more
uk lads who cheekily, like all good authentic cockneys, nabbed their name from a recent blackstreet album. bobak kianoush, dane bowers and the other two were fairly hot uk property in the late 90s. bobak mumbled alongside dane‘s surprising vocals and er, the other two who no one can remember. dane then disgraced himself by following victoria beckham around like a puppy dog for several years after a one-off uk garage collaboration.

jagged edge – let’s get married
twins brian and brandon are often credited for distracting letoya and latavia from the destiny’s child duties whilst touring together in the late 90s. the group have had reasonable success ever since but have the odd knack of making their songs impossible to pinpoint by year. i often hear a track of their and think its old, only to discover its new. hmm.

 

boys don’t cry – new edition go solo April 25, 2007

if there was ever a gender stereotype that was true, its that girls can’t get along. so when female band mates part ways, the media holds their breath for the name calling, backbiting and never has to wait for too long. a lot of women would rather eat nothing but salad for the rest of their lives than see a former female friend do their thing.witness beyonce and kelly‘s unceremonious dumping of destiny’s child cohorts letoya, latavia and farrah at the first sign they wouldn’t toe the line. and now, not content with daddy hampering kelly and michelle‘s solo ambitions since the dc3 finale, beyonce is now rumoured to be sabotaging newly famous solo star letoya‘s efforts. recently she allegedly demanded letoya be removed from a soundtrack project before she would participate and made herself look like a petulant child when she flew into london for last year’s mobo awards only to boycott it when the organisers refused to strike letoya from the lineup.

boy bands just never seem to have all these problems. seemingly, they’re happy just to be there having a laugh with their friends. and if one leaves, they wish them well and even make guest appearances on their new solo material. which may well be the clue to why every member of new edition found solo fame – karma.

ten reasons i can’t decide if i prefer new edition together, or apartdownload herebobby brownevery little step, don’t be cruel, roni, rock witcha
bobby wasn’t always the village idiot. before reality tv uncovered the madness that led him to yell at plastic fruit, bobby was the most successful of all the former new edition boys. although the erratic behaviour that led to his eviction from the group would resurface in later years, he pretty much held it together from 1988 to 1994. in 1988, at the age of 19 he hit pay dirt with ‘my perogative‘ and never looked back.

bell biv devoe – poison, do me, in the crib
hot on the heels of new edition’s ‘heart break’ tour, ronnie devoe, michael bivins and ricky bell formed bell biv devoe and has instant success with new jack swing classics ‘poison’ and ‘do me’. in 2002 they returned with a new album, and ‘in my crib’. all are still active as part of new edition and ronnie devoe is married to shamari fears of blaque, who is probably not old enough to remember the boys in their early days…

johnny gill – rub you the right way, there you go
unlike the others, johnny had been successful prior to joining the group, with three albums already under his belt. after, he had one of the biggest hits of the new jack era, ‘rub you the right way’ and went on to record five more albums and joined forces with gerald levert and keith sweat to form lsg in the late 90s. ‘there you go’ was one of the highlights of the popular 1992 soundtrack to the eddie murphy film ‘boomerang’.

ralph tresvant – sensitivity
wacko soundalike ralph was slightly more cautious about striking out on his own. ‘sensitivity’ is his biggest hit although his collab with bobby brown on ‘stone cold gentleman’ comes close. like johnny, he is still part of new edition but has had consistent solo success and is still recording today.

 

new edition – the beginning April 24, 2007

you only have to say their name and ladies of a certain age melt. as noted by kanye west in ‘slow jamz‘, girl needs to hear some new edition if you’re planning to get lucky tonight.bobby brown, ralph tresvant, michael bivins, ronnie devoe, rickey bell, and later johnny gill, gave an entire generation of girls a standard of boyfriend to aspire to. before they wound up with broke ass players ten years later. how big were they? madonna was their support act on tour in 1983. they appeared in ‘knightrider‘ with the hoff.

their first single, ‘candy girl’ was my first ever record in 1983. a shout out to seven year old girls everywhere, we rejoiced as finally there seemed to exist boys who understood how we wanted to be treated.

whilst our infant school nemeses pulled up our skirts, yanked our hair and made us pretend to be princess leia, minus gold bikini, new edition made it clear they were up for playing kiss chase.

sadly boys grow up more quickly than you think. After two great albums, bobby brown left due to behavioural issues (cough) and started his solo career in 1986. johnny gill replaced him and the next two albums were lacklustre.

then, they found their groove at the turn of the 80s on the burgeoning new jack scene with ‘heart break’. due to contractual obligations leaving them an album short of their agreement with mca, they reunited in 1996 as grown men, and their 2008 regroup as thirtysomethings is imminent. not so much a comeback as a ten year reunion.

no matter how old they or I get – I’ll always be their candy girl.

ten sugary sweet new edition classicsdownload here

candy girl
the one that started it all complete with sonic whooshes, bleeps and tambourines.

popcorn love
the follow-up, not nearly as successful, but classic. get the feeling the boys liked their junk food?

cool it now
their only real low point as a band has been letting amish casualwear sweatshop gap use this 1984 hit in one of their insufferably smug adverts.

mr telephone man
smooth 80s boy soul at its best. nice use of late 70s wah wah sound. there are no words to describe how much i loved this song.

my secret
1985 hit from their second and best album ‘new edition’. ‘ooh! sparks begin to fly, lightning in the sky…’

leaving you again
recently sampled for ciara and bow wow‘s ‘like you’….took me ages to recognise where it came from.

delicious
surprisingly mature effort from 1985 ‘new edition’ album. was covered in the 90s by british soulsters don-e and deni hines.

can you stand the rain
lush ballad from ‘heart break’ with johnny gill on lead vocals.

crucial
uptempo hit from ‘heart break’ that showcased the boys transition into new jack swing dons.

hit me off
the lead single from the 1996 comeback. slotted effortlessly into the mid 90s bumpy r&b scene.