dirty martini

old music for new people

britain’s got talent April 19, 2008

there is more to the uk than leona, joss and amy.

i’m not getting into estelle’s rant about whether white girls can claim soul. i’ve barley heard adele or duffy but from the snippets i haven’t managed to avoid, i would think we’re in danger of confusing soul, which they may well have a claim on, with r&b, which is the category estelle et al would fall into.

but her point about the under-represented existing soul/r&b artists in the uk is true. some – beverley knight, jamelia – are often persuaded to stray into pop territory to raise their profile. i would say there’s a huge talent chasm between those two however. somehow i don’t think anyone will be talking about jamelia in a few years, no matter who she’s slating. bitter 30 something brummie with cheating footballer husband – now that will not be a good look.

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corinne bailey rae – young and foolish

craig david and kano – this is the girl

estelle – 1980

keisha white – out of my hands

lemar – someone should tell you

lisa maffia – bad girl

nate james – universal

taio cruz – backseat love

terri walker – flirtin’

winta gordon – surveillance

 

guilty pleasures March 9, 2008

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ok so i’ve just been watching z list music acts covering their ‘guilty pleasure’ songs.

i’m not sure how embarrassing liking terence trent d’arby is, i mean he’s not exactly milli vanilli, but i enjoyed craig david the most. of course thanks to bo selecta many people now in fact feel embarrassed to listen to craaaaaig daaaaavid.

anyway, here are mine. none of them fit with the rest of my music collection. i make no apologies.

further proof of my bad taste can be found in the songs i turn down on my ipod, songs i use to annoy people on the tube and songs i used to taunt old people on the bus.

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a-ha – you are the one

well, back in junior school you didn’t like certain type of music, you either like it or you didn’t. perhaps unsurprisingly there was something melancholy about the norwegian boys. good job they weren’t from finland.

belinda carlisle – i get weak

MOR rock has never been my thing but there’s something i like about belinda. this has always been my favourite of hers.

billy joel – tell her about it

one of my first tapes was billy joel, except my mum kept nabbing it. i love how steve in sex and the city is a billy joel fan and i love how he asks the russian if he ‘knows any billy joel’ to play on his thousand dollar piano.

kylie minogue – hand on your heart

most girls my age were kylie fans but lets face it this was more to do with neighbours than her singing voice, which is terrible. like a cat singing through a funnel.

lisa loeb – stay

sensitive 90s twanging bypassed me, mainly, but i loved reality bites. its so worthy and look-at-me-i’m so-understated…but i love it.

phil collins – two hearts

the soundtrack to buster featured the four tops and this song was written in a similar vein to ‘loco in acapulco’. but they had to let phil sing it cos he was the main character. liking phil has never really been cool but loads of people do, anyway.

robbie nevil – c’est la vie

sunny ‘things aren’t so bad’ pop that was huge in the late 80s. i usually hate these songs but this really reminds me being about ten.

talk talk – it’s my life

sounds like it should have been in a john hughes movie. just sounds so 1985.

talking heads – once in a lifetime

back in the good old days on mtv europe, this used to be part of the intro for mtv’s greatest hits, along with inxs. i loved the early 90s mtv – 3 from 1, pulse with swatch, party zone, yo mtv raps, soul of mtv…fruit of the loom ads and ads for frightening german techno compilations…

soup dragons – divine thing

i can’t relate to wanting to be the indie girl the soup dragons are singing about cos she was probably had that mousy hair gone pink from trying to dye it red, doc martens and lumberjack shirt. so not me. but i almost wish i could stand to dress like that for the sake of this song.

stone roses – she bangs the drums

a friend who was into the whole madchester scene pointed out that it was all quite dancey. so i listened again. i now have a grand total of 15 baggy anthems on my ipod. well they did play them at the hacienda.

whitesnake – is this love

80s hair rock is the staple playlist of o’neills and chicago rock cafes the nation wide. i hate it. but not this.

 

‘…sounds a bit like prince…’ January 4, 2008

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 as a new artist, or even as an established artist, one of the greatest endorsements is to be labelled as sounding ‘a bit like prince’.

the saving grace of lazy journalists everwhere, these few words can rescue a flopping album, even if they are only bestowed upon one or two tracks. now that prince himself is more rock-fixated, the promise of just one or two scraps reminiscent of his 80s prime can be sufficient to spark interest amongst the musical cognoscenti.

to a lesser extent, this peculiar brand of retro copycat hype has previously been applied to artists lauded as the new ‘stevie wonder’ or ‘madonna’. there isn’t going to be a new prince, and it turned out out that those artists were similarly irreplaceable. the excitable, yet totally unreal, music journalism of the the late 90s has given way to a more considered approach.

we don’t need a new prince – clearly the man has produced gargantuan amounts of music and yet more could be unleashed at any point (please). the accessibility of retro music means that we don’t need rafts of exciting new artists – gone are the days when you had to pay a premium to get hold of music that was no longer in the charts.

we just need a few new songs every now and then. and they should sound as much like ‘when doves cry’ as possible.

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alicia keys – like you’ll never see me again

debuted with an album containing a prince cover – a b side no less, to show her fan credentials.  on this track, not only the production, but the vocal style and lyrics ooze purple. a lesser artist could be accused of bandwagon hopping but alicia has already proved herself.

chris brown – take you down

chris brown, however, has clearly been advised that the tumble tots r&b will only take him so far and is trialling a new, more adult musical direction – prince. job one should have been to work on that childish feature in his voice that makes him sound like he’s not old enough to form singular vowels – evidence: ‘you make me say yeeeeeoooooaaaaaawwwwww’. shit, my cat forms better vowels than that.

the dream – fast car

i like what i’ve heard from the dream so far, which isn’t a lot. but this and album track ‘nikki’ do reek of ‘obligatory prince-esque production’ to hook gullible and lazy journalists and perk up enthusiastic but clueless PR. basically this is ‘little red corvette’ not-so-updated for the 00s.

erykah badu – honey

an interesting detour for ms badu. i love her music but neo-soul artists can often fall into the dull and worthy trap, making their albums unlistenable by the time they get to their fourth outing.

justin timberlake and beyonce – until the end of time

the influence is slightly more subtle here, but those ‘when doves cry’ instruments are there, just slower, and the overall vibe is classic prince slow jam.

kevin michael – liquid lava love

like robin thicke with a curly afro and arguably more soul. expect big things from this one.

ne-yo – sex with my ex

ne-yo got a lot of stick for allegedly being gay. then when he fathered a child, he got a lot of stick for being ugly. now he’s getting a lot of stick for churning out a raft of soundalike tracks for the artsts he produces for. with all this abuse perhaps he’ll soon have more in common with craaaaaaig david.

p diddy and keyshia cole – last night

an absolute, straight in your face ‘erotic city’ ripoff so blatant that you can’t really argue. as ever, diddy’s montone adds little to the proceedings.

ryan leslie – i-r-i-n-a

ryan leslie’s productions have more than a whiff of purple about them but his own album was fairly narrative and self-celebratory which isn’t prince’s style. prince’s lyrics are cute and playful and focus on the subject rather than the protagonist and so i’m talking production similarities here – there’s no parallel in terms of subject matter, although this is the closet r-les gets to purple greatness.

snoop – sensual seduction

the video and lyrics are classic prince, but the production?  not like anything i’ve heard from prince, but perhaps i’m missing something. the synths are straight out of early 90s chillout, i’m pretty sure they’re too floaty and random for the machine funk of the 80s. nice combo though, me likey.

sterling simms – nasty girl

sterling jumps right back to late 70s prince while everyone else tries to recreate the 80s.

van hunt – hot stage lights

i only just listened to van hunt after hearing his name for years. and now i have a new musical crush. the only good thing about discovering artists late is that there is usually plenty of material to whet your appetite.