dirty martini

old music for new people

2008: the comebacks January 3, 2009

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?

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90s girls: the remixes December 24, 2008

 

suddenly the 90s seem like a long time ago. one more year left of the 00s, how did that happen?

i remember when these girls were ruling the clubs despite not being out of high school. aaliyah would have been the first to celebrate her 30th birthday next month.

download aaliyah remixes

back and forth – uk flavour remix

age ain’t nothin’ but a number – linslee remix with cash rex

if your girl only knew – timbaland remix with missy elliott

hot like fire – timbaland remix with missy elliott

download brandy remixes

i wanna be down – carson ca remix

baby – allstar party mix

best friend – character r&b remix with channel live

top of the world – boogiesoul remix

download monica remixes

don’t take it personal – street tracks remix

like this and like that – k.o remix with c-knowledge

before you walk out my life – pete rock remix

why i love you so much – soulpower remix

 

90s r&b: long lost midtempos September 15, 2008

90s r&b albums were full of midtempos, even though it was usually the ballads or club bangers that got released as singles.

so, there are plenty of quality tunes that never really saw the light of day.

download 90s r&b midtempos

assorted phlavors – lovin’ on the d.l

the girls only released one album, and managed not to overdo the ballads. arrived at the same time as allure, who were more successful. well, they made it to three albums.

brandy – as long as you’re here

this is from brandy’s 1994 debut. like so many other r&b albums of its era, it had some tiresome interludes and so you often didn’t make it past ‘sunny day’, which is a shame as there were a couple of cool midtempos.

brownstone – revenge

like 3t, brownstone suffered somewhat from the michael jackson effect. believe it or not at one point he was considered a bit safe…anyway, by the time of the girls’ second album they appeared to have shaken off the worthiness that plagued parts of their debut.

braxtons – girl on the side

the fact that the sisters would only make one album was a foregone conclusion. spin-off family groups have limited success for a reason. if any were better than their famous sibling, they would have been the one with the career.

changing faces – am i wasting my time

less sleazy than their other earlier offerings. they marked their territory early with ‘stroke you up’, but could have had much more interesting careers if they’d switched to an A&R with a clue.

janet jackson – where are you now

janet only really started doing midtempos in the 90s as far as I can remember. this is the janet remixed version, which is far superior.

kreuz – crush on you

kreuz, in true copycat brit style, tried to emulate r.kelly with tunes like ‘slap and tickle’. this is so much better. these days, emulating r.kelly is best left to the comedians.

mariah carey – slipping away

not strictly an album track, but should have been as its better than the ballads on ‘daydream’. love this early 90s style mariah.

mokenstef – it happens

i always thought ‘he’s mine’ was a cute song, but didn’t have high hopes for the album. this is a really nice track, that could have made a great single.

shola ama – can’t have you

shola is the uk queen of midtempo soul, when she isn’t being remixed for the uk garage crew. that late 90s/early 00s style has been sounding tired of late but with the next decade approaching it will probably undergo a revival.

swv – coming home

swv’s first album saw many tracks released and remixed, but not this one. i think a remix would have lost the point, so its good that they left well enough alone.

xscape – is my living in vain

xscape don’t have a plethora of great album tracks in their back catalogue, their strongest tracks tended to get released, but this is the essence of their debut.

 

girls dem sugar July 5, 2008

in contrast to what looks like a male dominated roots reggae scene, in the uk, the lover’s rock movement was exemplified by young girl bands. lovers rock merged reggae with smoother soul sounds in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience.

way before brandy, monica and aaliyah became notable for launching careers barely into their teens, groups of south london schoolgirls were rocking sound systems and making some of the best reggae music of the late 70s.

download here

15-16-17 – funny feeling

althea and donna – uptown top ranking

brown sugar – hello stranger

cool notes – i’ve got to let him

the gaylets – lonely feeling

revelation – with you boy

the sadonians – goodbye my love

sister love – goodbye little man

the tonettes – i’ll give it to you

winsome – am i the same girl

 

dance yourself dizzy June 1, 2008

 

the george sampson backlash has started already. i’m not usually in favour of kids but this is not your average brat. those who have labelled him a chav are disgusting – vilifying children, or in fact adults, who dare to appreciate anything other than dull plodding indie and rock music is pathetic.

this kid deserves to win britain’s got talent, and anyone griping about the other acts being more deserving are missing the point. this is a cash prize and a chance to leverage the exposure of being on tv. once. at the royal variety which no one has watch in 15 years.

i would not have wanted another singing act to win. why is it the uk is so bothered about opera all of a sudden? i’m an operatic x factor would die on its arse. that andrew johnston kid that played the bullying card was annoying and did not take defeat well (which i enjoyed). faryl is not 12. i liked paul potts last year but we’re still suckers for nessun dorma 18 years after that world cup, aren’t we?

and for the money aspect, i would not have liked buck toothed escala to do well. they don’t need the cash  -clearly that brunette can just ask daddy to pay for her much needed nose job. 100k would not have bought that dog girl a personality.

any of the others i would have been pleased for. i loved nemisis although next year i would so love to see dance acts that do not employ any of the following: masks, robotics, identical costumes, anyone under 13, irish music, ‘it’s like that’ and any theme whatsoever. themes are limiting and the rocky horror show was crap the first time round. those cheeky monkey kids were demonic.

oh – now that mrs o has gravitated stateside, can we get the hoff over here to replace piers next year? ta.

bgt – the first two years …

george sampson

nemisis

flava

bar wizards

tony laf

paul potts

 

when life imitates art May 11, 2008

this mariah and nick cannon thing…has to be fake surely. i know she’s madder than a bag of ferrets, but shotgun wedding to serial dater and no pre-nup? come ON…

download here

aaliyah and r.kelly – the thing i like

very seedy – aaliyah signed with r.kelly’s label at 13…and two years later they allegedly married when she was 15 although the certificate said she was 18. maybe she was? of all the discussions i’ve seen on this topic this hasn’t been raised a possibility. aaliyah went on to date damon dash. and r.kelly? not going there.

ashanti and nelly – switch

not sure if these two are still together or not – in any case both are releasing albums shortly so you can bet that they’ll let us know one way or another, depending on how their publicists decide to play it.

beyonce and jay-z – upgrade you

i want to like jayonce, but they have really dull friends like ‘new bono’ chris martin and gwyneth paltrow. on the upside, their inevitably impending offspring will have fabulously ghetto names, probably chosen by worlds’ scariest mama tina knowles. bet she’s scouring those 80s music lists for a faux francais babyname that jheri soul’s finest would be proud of.

bobby brown and whitney houston – something in common

oh how we loved bobby and whitney – 80s badboy teen falls for older woman and mends his ways. for about five years, then he has an early midlife crisis and it all goes badly wrong. now whitney is trying to replicate the good old days with an even younger model and bobby is trying to get it on with anyone who’ll have him.

brandy and boyz ii men – brokenhearted

think those child protection laws must’ve been a bit slack in the early 90s. like aaliyah, brandy fell prey to an older counterpart but *sigh of relief* it was sensible old wanya of non-threatening boyz ii men, and he apparently waited until she was 16…

common and erykah badu – the light

after splitting with andre 3000 of outkast, crazy bag lady erykah (i do mean that in a nice way) hooked up with smiley rapper common. this woman outcrazied two rappers. do not mess.

jennifer lopez and p diddy – feelin’s so good

i did like j lo and puffy. it was a shame about that inconvenient little shooting incident which scared her off. they were fabulously trashy and didn’t care. she also was channelling the best outfits of her life when they were together. i still want that green tropical versace number…

kelis and nas – popular thug

seemingly solid couple and i’m kind of impressed with nas that he chose kelis, who clearly is not your run of the mill model-video actress-clinique salesgirl by day type, which he no doubt had his pick of.

mary j blige and kci hailey – i don’t want to do anything

a bad move for mary, and i would say that jodeci were more than a little tarnished by the revelations concerning the destructive nature of her relationship with kci, which she was dealing with for years before she met kendu. karma’s a bitch – have you seen the state of jodeci lately?

notorious big and faith evans – one more chance

not the likeliest of lotharios but biggie managed to charm quite a few women in his 23 years…faith and lil kim faced off quite publicly about him for a while and let’s face it, must have felt a bit ridiculous fighting over someone so er, non-standard.

prince and vanity – if a girl answers

prince and vanity lead denise matthews had a short lived relationship, once they split, denise aka vanity, hightailed it and was replaced by patricia kotero in a new group, appollonia. *crickets* yes of course he did, why do you think she got the job? vanity went on to date slighty taller men – adam ant and billy idol.

rihanna and chris brown – umbrella

so, blabbermouth jordin sparks lifted the lid on the relationship and now they’ve been ‘spotted’, unwittingly, in kfc…oh god…i mean they’re both like, 12 years old, why do i know this?  chris has only just started to form vowels properly.

 

the two step invasion April 12, 2008

no genre of music has ever divided clubgoers like uk garage. after speed garage, which was basically still 4/4 and just like us garage but faster, 2 step garage emerged. a significant proportion of the first wave of 2 step records were r&b covers or bootlegs.

i seem to remember that after an initial bang in 1997/8, garage went back underground in 1999, bar ‘sweet like chocolate’, before a resurgence of interest later in the year that eventually took it mainstream. i was in london, so it never really went away, but there was little evidence during 1999 that it had a presence beyond the m25.

this was an expensive scene saturated with champagne and designer labels, and many of the clubs such as twice as nice operated an over 25’s door policy. the attitude was reminiscent of the wine bar scene of the late 80s – only now you needed to be cool and have the cash (credit…come on, most of the clubbers were on less than £20k a year, those promoters should be ashamed).

my man did not like uk garage at all. to me, it was the house/r&b hybrid i’d often tried to imagine.

download here

ramsey and fen – lovebug

dhl – favourite girl

lenny fontana – spirit of the sun

n’n’g – right before my eyes

future underground nation – the way

sweet female attitude – flowers

destiny’s child vs jameson – bug a boo

brandy and monica vs architechs – the boy is mine

richie dan – call it fate

tin tin out and emma bunton – what i am

artful dodger and romina johnson – movin’ too fast

dem 2 – destiny

kele le roc- my love

christian falk- make it right

n’n’g and rose windross – liferide

doolally – straight from the heart