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…

 

the truth about boy bands August 19, 2007

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firstly, i am not a fan of boybands.

but tonight itv1 ran a show about them and i was surprised at how many songs i liked.

and no, i couldn’t bring myself to include northern line, topical or not since ziggy is in the big brother house. i don’t like liars and there is no way on god’s earth that man is only 26. i also haven’t included 911 cos they were too short and i can’t remember even one of their songs. 

i’ve also looked back to put together posts on the original 70s boybands and 80s hair flickers.

lastly, there are no irish boybands of any description as i absolutely cannot stand them.  i don’t like irish pubs either. my idea of hell? basement of an o’neills. low ceiling, limited spirit and cocktail menu and irish bloody dancers kicking me in the shins.

the best of the worstdownload here

bros – i owe you nothing

bros have gained immortality via a classic episode of only fools and horses that saw rodney win a spanish holiday courtesy of a drawing of the arc de triomphe he did at school. whilst pretending to be 14 throughout the holiday in order to keep his prize, he is stalked by a 13 year old bros fan called trudy. and thus, if matt and luke’s music hasn’t stood the test of time, they have cemented their place in history. smash hits, amusingly, used to call the other one ‘ken’ when his name was actually craig.

brother beyond – the harder i try

the only member of this band remotely in the public eye these days is nathan moore. nathan manages desperate lisa scott-lee and her long suffering brother andy. mtv’s totally scott-lee show hilariously saw the agent more in demand than his tragic and talentless client. poor old andy was also in a boy band, 3sl, with his brothers. he’s one of those people you want to do well, but you know never will.

nkotb – the right stuff

the only boy band i ever really loved, jordan in particular, rats tail and all. sadly, some cringeworthy interviews and an incident in which they turned up to going live completely pissed one saturday morning, accelerated their decline. i was 17 by then and was nursing a hangover myself. i had to stop myself hotfooting it to the hard rock cafe a few years back when i heard jordan was going to be there. he seems to have grown up now and so i have i (sort of) but at the time, he was a sorry indication of my taste in men.

take that – pray

when this song was no1, i had to pretend that i hated it as i was in sixth form college and liking take that would be about as bad as admitting you liked noel’s house party. i’d actually met them in a club just before they were famous, and it took me until ‘could it be magic’ to cotton on that it was the same band, as they hadn’t been wearing the leather perv suits on totp. my mum was furious when i told her this recently – not because i had sneaked into a club on a school night but that i had met mark owen and she still hasn’t.

east 17 – deep

again, east 17 did the rounds just before their first hit, and i saw them at a radio one roadshow (remember those??) and thought ‘god, they’re shit.’ and they were, at the time. deep is a great song though – ‘…outside it’s raining, inside it’s wet…’ – and their later reincarnation as essex soul boys was pretty impressive. brian looks like the template from which all chavs were created, but he has a great voice. in recent years he has become something of a comedy figure, like bez of the happy mondays – somehow he nearly ran himself over a year or so ago.

eyc – the way you work it

eyc had this hit and er, maybe a couple of others. they were like color me badd on speed. incidentally, color me badd didn’t make this list as i have posted ‘i wanna sex you up’ before and quite frankly, there’s nothing else going on there.  in fact i’m increasingly convinced that color me badd and eyc are the same group so unless forensic evidence to the contrary is produced, i’ll treat them as such.

mn8 – if you only let me in

it was a toss up between this lot and damage. i just think damage were more of an r&b band. they did a decent cover of earth wind and fire’s ‘after the love has gone’ and i’m not ashamed to have ‘ghetto romance’ on my mp3 player. mn8 had silly hair and were clearly targeted at those not old enough to know better. i wonder where they are now? yahoo answers says ‘probably working in tesco’ and i think that person is probably right.

backstreet boys – as long as you love me

i resisted this song for a good few years but, what can i say, i like it. despite not being very likeable people, with the possible exception of brian, they seem to have a hardcore fanbase of the same intensity of take that. but they are squarely responsible for boosting the career of little brother from hell aaron carter, and for that i can’t quite forgive them. uk people – doesn’t brian look like ashley from corrie?

5ive – when the lights go out

5ive, for a time, were huge. this is not entirely evident as J sits in a shopping mall in milton keynes alongside dane bowers and lisa scott-lee, waiting for people to turn up and pay £10 for an autograph. abs has also tried and failed at a solo career. i can’t remember any of the others. when will these groups get the message that the sum of the parts is not always equal to the collective value? tsk.

n*sync – girlfriend

this was when justin trousersnake as we know him really came into his own. the first (and last) n*sync song that i took any notice of, and i am reliably informed that i should leave it there. as if the curly frightwig and dull relationship with britney hadn’t put me off already. i did hear an effort by jc chasez post-split though. yikes.

another level – i want you for myself

another level were dane bowers (fat rent a gob who milked a one-time collaboration with victoria beckham), bobak…something, the one who looked like andy abraham off the x factor and the one who looked like jamie redknapp. as if this in itself wasn’t enough to warrant chart success, they actually made some decent music. had a bit of a step-up thanks to early collaborations with jay-z and shola ama, and a sassy cover of silk’s ‘freak me’.

blue – if you come back

i did like blue i can’t deny it. like another level before them, they took a big r&b tune (too close by next) and didn’t butcher it, rather stayed true to the original but made it more accessible. something about them just worked and i can’t understand why they split so soon. you want to dislike duncan james but you can’t. lee ryan is the village idiot and therefore always good value. simon webbe just seems like a nice bloke, and anthony costa is…dane bowers post slimfast!

 

barbecue soul and an underage drinking session July 27, 2007

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ok, i don’t want this post to be premature, especially as its raining right now….but, we had a good weekend before last. sunny, reasonably hot and a red sky at night which enhanced our all day in the garden pimms drinking experience.

now i’m waiting on the next one. how sad that we’re reduced to hoping for one more summer’s day in this total washout. more importantly, there are thousands of people who have been evacuated from their homes due to flooding. whilst the uk crisis can’t be compared by scale to what happened in new orleans, for those affected its every bit as devastating. for once i’m lucky to live in a flat, miles from any water. like many natural disasters, those far removed from the flooding are carrying on with business as usual, transport permitting.

oh for reliable summers, not too hot like last year, and not hot and humid like 2003, just warm and sunny with the occasional scorcher. the summer of 1991 was significant for many reasons, and one particular barbecue party stands out.

i don’t actually remember there being any food, although there must have been, what i do remember is the drinks table. piled high with super strongbow, budweiser and k cider. various lurid hip flask bottles of 20/20 fruit wine. my favorite was the coconut one for the ridiculous blue colour. the most drinkable were the orange and green – kiwi? numerous spirits from which we mixed lethal concoctions.

long forgotten drinks of the 80s/90s – taboo and mirage. low % spirits for girls, basically. taboo survives but i haven’t seen mirage since about 1993. pernod and black – why did anyone drink this? that peach wine they used to sell in clubs. snakebite premixed in a bottle. thunderbird – people used to debate whether the red or the blue label was best; they were both horrible

test tube cocktails anyone? i had a particularly eventful 17th birthday thanks to 9 or 10 of these deceptively small treasures. the forerunner or vodka bars and trays of sweet inspired shots.

anyway, copious amounts of alcohol made for a messy night. it was a warm summer night and the dangerous combination of 30 or so 15 year old girls competing over half as many slightly older boys/men (never quite sure what to call them at that age) could have caused carnage. but it was a peaceful night. these days someone would probably get shot. 

somehow we were all out into the early hours – must have used the age old trick of everyone staying at someone else’s house and for once no one’s mum called and unraveled the decepeton. so we sat under stars, on blankets, just having a laugh and chilling out all night.

1991 summer party groovesdownload here

hi-five – i like the way

after 7 – after 7

r.kelly – she’s got that vibe

janet jackson – alright

st etienne – only love can break your heart

jazzy jeff – summertime

color me badd – i wanna sex you up

prince – gett off

natural selection – do anything

ll cool j – around the way girl

de la soul – ring ring ring

heavy d – now that we found love

 

dick in a box April 23, 2007

you’ve all seen the saturday night live sketch where trousersnake parodies early 90s slow jams and, well, himself actually, if his hit rate is to be believed. maybe his moves are more sophisticated now, but I bet preteen justin listened and learned. janet jackson, scarlett johansson, emma bunton, cameron diaz, beyonce, britney, christina, alyssa milano, that dancer..countless others…they all fell for it.

in 1991, color me badd started something. three years after george michael‘s ‘i want your sex’ was banned, songs about sex hit the charts so fast that the regulators just gave up, it seems. la tour‘s ‘people are still having sex’, salt-n-pepa‘s ‘let’s talk about sex’ and the divinyls‘ ‘i touch myself’ were successful but they didn’t respectively alter the output of house, hiphop and rock in the way that ‘i wanna sex you up’ achieved.
until then new jack swing was mostly slickly produced, frenetic workouts requiring the running man dance, which was never going to work as foreplay really, was it? thus, bedroom music was, if not born, kicked into the 90s and made saucier than ever.color me badd never quite replicated the success of their first single, mostly because all of their other songs were shit. they started to overdo the foreplay and lost the sleaze, by appearing in magazines gushing about how they loved to stroke a woman’s hair, buy her roses and chocolates, before getting her into bed.

no woman on earth was gonna fall for that. but we do have them to thank for 90s slow jams and probably a lot of kids now aged about 15 or 16…

ten rude songs with which to woo your 90s lover – download here

 


color me badd – i wanna sex you up
obviously. I prefer the new jack city version not the way too obvious ‘let me take off all your clothes…’. cos that was the one we used to sing in classes run by ageing substitute teachers, leading them to denounce us as ‘devil children’. lol. no, i didn’t go to a convent.

r.kelly – your body’s calling
I was alarmed when my then five year old cousin named r.kelly as his favourite singer. turned out he’d only heard ‘i believe I can fly’ and ‘gotham city’. phew! i was so not gonna be buying him ’12 play’ for christmas.

kut klose – I like
I really like this song. and they do that popular mid 90s girl group ‘ohyeaheehyeahahahyeahyeah‘ bit in the chorus. oh you know what i mean… kut klose were keith sweat‘s girl group and they had some great slow jams on their one and only album.

changing faces keep it right there
nice remix by creepy devante of jodeci. changing faces improved over time from their awful debut ‘stroke you up’ to 2000’s great ‘that other woman’.

jodeci freek’n’you
later jodeci track bumped in every clapped out boy racer in london at some point in 1996. thanks to condition of said cars, it rarely had the desired effect on the ladies, sadly, and they looked a bit er, gay.

aaliyah age ain’t nothin‘ but a number
except it is when you’re 14, from a legal standpoint. try to ignore that fact and enjoy babygirl’s cooing vocals.1-900 – oh
forgotten new jack swing slowie with a nice color me badd style beat. so obscure i couldn’t find a picture of them.

adina howard – freak like me
the sugababes cover used an 80s electro classic and was coolly clever, but dropped the sleaziness of the original like a hot potato. which was half the point.

silk – freak me
another level‘s later cover version sounds impressively copycat given that they’re essex boys. but the original beats out dane bowers and co any day, for those that know.

swv – downtown
if you can’t work this song out you’re not old enough to be reading this. swv, along with mary j blige, inspired many of today’s r&b acts.

 

purple music April 17, 2007

so, for my first post i’m tackling the big one. prince.

well, prince himself is rather small but his catalogue of work is…a monstrosity. with another artist, a prolific output could amount to countless filler, mediocre demos and alternate (ie. crap) versions of their better known work. but with prince, not so much.

some of prince‘s b-sides, leftover album tracks and unreleased gems are as popular amongst fans as his hits. and just when you think there can’t be any more, he unleashes yet more lost jams – seriously, from 1976 to 1990 this man must have only have been let out of the studio to perform.

I’m going through a serious prince moment right now. 2007 has seen a return to his patented minneapolis funk style amongst the r&b community in particular. p diddy and fergie’s press play reject ‘all night long’, ashanti‘s ‘my number babe’ and unklejam‘s ‘love ya’ to name just three.

one of the disconcerting things about growing up listening to prince was that at an early age, you suspected that you were already taller than him. his songs had cute, girly titles like ‘pink cashmere’, ‘peach and ‘kiss’ that failed to alert your parents to the rudeness that lied beneath. and like most little girls he loved purple and was unashamedly crazy. he loved to dress up and act like a diva – we identified.

during the ‘symbol’ era, many thought he had taken self-obsession a step too far – he thought he was unique, and therefore untouchable. the critics disagreed but guess who ended up being right?

one of great things about prince is that he was happy to share the limelight. to give up some of his best songwriting to other artists such as chaka khan (i feel for you), the bangles (manic monday), and sinead o’connor (nothing compares 2 u), was an inspired move that ensured his longevity. back in the day, when you literally bought the album and hoped for new b sides, his output was consistent rather than overwhelming and you never had the opportunity to get tired of him (beyonce, take note). whilst his latest protege or composition, liberally sprinkled with his signature style, wowed the public, he was backstage plotting his next move.

he remains to this day the daddy of the protege business, using his purple magic to launch the albeit short-lived careers of taja sevelle, vanity 6, jill jones and sheila e amongst others, and the various bands he performed with over the duration of his career – the time, the family, the revolution and the new power generation.

this is my current hard to find prince top 10 – it changes daily. i have more prince on my mp3 player than any other artist – about 150 tracks. ok, so these days you can download anything but these are non-album tracks, at least.

you can find more rare prince here, some tracks he wrote for other artists and some varying attempts to replicate his style.

top 10 hard-to-find prince mp3s… download here

17 days
originally written for vanity 6 sequel project appollonia, prince eventually released this as the b side to ‘when doves cry’ in 1984. amazing bassline, almost as good as the a side.

wonderful ass
classic prince circa purple rain. no idea why it didn’t make the cut – maybe warner bros. couldn’t handle the concept of a song with ‘ass’ in the title? well, it was 1983.

sex
again, prince tells it like it is and this gem doesn’t make the cut for the ‘batdance‘ soundtrack released in 1989. just before color me badd moved the boundaries of acceptability…

tell me how u wanna b done
remix of ‘the continental’ from the ‘symbol’ album. but much better.

cindy c
1987’s controversial ‘black album’ was pulled due to concern over the overt eroticism of the lyrics…uh…had they been listening to the other lyrics up until this point? prince apparently had a huge crush on cindy crawford, despite her towering over him by a good nine inches.

erotic city
ok, so prince is obsessed with sex. but this b side to ‘let’s go crazy’ is a fan favourite and still tears up the dancefloor.

love or $
hard to find track featured in the film ‘under the cherry moon’ that failed to make the cut for the accompanying soundtrack, ‘parade’. only ever officially released as the b side to ‘kiss’.

last heart
an album track from the 1985 ‘dream factory’ project that got shelved when prince was forced to streamline the content to create 1987’s ‘sign of the times’ album.

18 and over
1991 diamonds and pearls-era reject that picks up where ‘gett off’ and ‘cream’ left off…

underneath the cream
a track from 2004’s ‘chocolate invasion’ album which was only available via the npg music club.

expect more prince in future posts…