dirty martini

old music for new people

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

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 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…

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the soundtrack to any spanish holiday between 1977 and 1983 September 30, 2007

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if you went on a family holiday to benidorm, torremolinos, majorca or anywhere on the costa brava between the late 70s and mid 80s then this post is for you.

disco produced some enduring classics, yet most of the tunes that endured once the initial fad died down were the novelty tunes. these formed a staple musical diet for spanish hotels, wedding receptions and church hall discos until about 1990.

we used to go to the same hotel in majorca every year until i was about 8. it was the hotel flamingo in c’an pastilla, an area now overrun with germans. it was at this very hotel that i was introduced to the german-towel conundrum. my dad used to just chuck them in the pool. i loved sitting by the pool with my feet dangling whilst drinking chocolate milkshake with lots of ice.

i loved the hotel. it had shiny marble floors and the decor was brown and orange, well into the 80s. i used to gaze at the spanish kids tv – they looked like the muppets, but i couldn’t understand a word they were saying. i used to play donkey kong in the bar until we went out at night, where i would sit drawing until my parents were pissed.

when we would get back to the hotel, the disco would usually have started. and this was the inevitable playlist. i would jump around in my rara skirt, and wish i was allowed to wear makeup.

download here

baccara – yes sir i can boogie

bee gees – night fever

cliff richard – we don’t talk anymore

earth wind and fire – let’s groove

gonzales – i haven’t stopped dancing yet

ian dury and the blockheads – hit me with your rhythm stick

liquid gold – dance yourself dizzy

kelly marie – feels like i’m in love

ottawan – hands up

rod stewart – do ya think i’m sexy

taste of honey – boogie oogie oogie

tina charles – i love to love

 

miss jackson if you’re nasty April 17, 2007

ok, let’s get this out of the way first. janet jackson is not the best singer in the industry. but the standard appears to have now been set by artists who employ rampant melisma and the technically brilliant yet incredibly unappealing christina aguilera.

janet‘s breakthrough was in 1986 with the ‘control’ album produced by jimmy jam and terry lewis, previously members of prince‘s group, flyte time. no vocal gymnastics necessary, this album was anchored by janet‘s confident delivery and the precedent set by electro funk/soul such as shannon‘s ‘let the music play’ and cherrelle‘s ‘i didn’t mean to turn you on’.

the album was short – 8 tracks – but it was a crash course in being a young woman in 1986 and beyond. female assertion at a time when destiny’s child were trying to colour inside the lines at elementary school (subject to age verification, cough). janet instructed young girls to take control, cut family ties, kick your boyfriend into touch and make him wait for it.these were ideas that resonated with my pre-teen group, and even more so with the teenage community, who appreciated further reinforcement of the guidance from girls’ magazines like just seventeen and mizz on dealing with sex. in 1986, the media didn’t dare portray 12 year old girls getting pregnant and carrying on happily with their lives in the way coronation street and eastenders would have us believe is possible in recent years. they put out messages about safe sex and waiting until you were older, because society had a spiralling aids epidemic to combat before it even dealt with teenage mums. janet, in her own way, made it cool to say no.

hmm. twenty years ago, no one went online to find that 21 year old janet was in the process of divorcing first husband james debarge, whom she had married at 18. i’ve listened to the ‘control’ album differently since the 2005 claims that they in fact had a baby during their short marriage. back then, you got your info from magazines like smash hits and the one-off interview with parky or terry wogan, and so precious few people even realised she had been married.

of course, its entirely possible that some of the bitterness and icy resolve that made ‘control’ such a great album was a reflection of the fact that janet‘s first two albums, released in 1982 and 1984, flopped. actually they contained some great tracks but failed to inspire, the first merely reflecting the waning disco sound and the second lyrically damper but equally funky as ‘control’, let down by an ill-advised duet with cliff richard. yes, that’s cliff richard.

by the time janet followed up her successs with ‘rhythm nation 1814’ in 1989, social consciousness was the order of the day and this album’s title track remains the only credible plea for unity to date. almost making up for several self-indulgent cheesefests unleashed by her brother.

in the 90s she trod the safer, summery r&b route, to great effect, then lost her way slightly in the 00s by failing to live up to the standards she set for herself. however, in today’s gossip and scandal obsessed culture, surfacing rumours of an 80s baby with then teenage husband james debarge and that wardrobe malfunction have ensured her profile remains high regardless.

and you know you want to look that good when you hit 40. so here is some lesser known janet, enjoy!

top 10 lesser known janet tracksdownload here

making love in the rain
the first collaboration with jazz artist herb alpert released in 1987 , this is a sultry chillout track in a similar vein to ‘funny how time flies’.

diamonds
the second, and better known herb alpert track, following a similar path to the upbeat ‘control’ numbers.

he doesn’t know i’m alive
quintessentially 80s and often overlooked ‘control’ track. ok yes, i used to sing this into a hairbrush.

one more chance
1993 b side to ‘if’ from the ‘janet‘ era. probably left off due to the proliferation of slow jams making the album.

pretty boy
cool electro funk from the 1984 ‘dream street’ album. production-wise, a preview to things to come.

don’t mess up this good thing
janet was too young, and jumped on too late to be a disco pioneer. but this standout track from her self titled debut in 1982 was a taste of what might have been.

where are you now
mid-tempo remix of a melancholy ‘janet‘ track, made sunnier for the ‘janet:remixed’ album by nellee hooper.

70s love groove
janet:remixed’ track originally on the ‘you want this’ single. similar to ‘any time, any place’.

you need me
included on the re-released cassette version of ‘rhythm nation 1814’. a ‘miss you much’ clone (never a bad thing).

accept me
mid-tempo grower released as a b side to ‘every time’ from ‘the velvet rope’.