dirty martini

old music for new people

eurovision: a history of crime May 23, 2008

a few years ago, the bbc stopped trying to make eurovision cool. thank god. now we can start enjoying it again.

they’ve streamlined the voting which is quite annoying and has contributed to a decline in my ability to count to 20 in every european language and to verbalise the words ‘united kingdom’ in 25 different languages. 

they used to spend about four hours trying to connect by cb radio to gruff foreign presenters floating somewhere off the coast of depressing old finland, and that was half the entertainment…

you could get the atrocious and frankly superfluous singing out of the way early and settle in for the real event. playground politics implemented at nationwide level – all prejudices, past, current and future grudges displayed for all to see and guaranteed to have your dad hopping mad in front of the tv. jingoism, disguised as patriotism, at its very best.

1981 – bucks fizz – making your mind

well, jay left early on and was replaced some faceless woman. mike nolan had a car crash, cheryl baker became a tv presenter and bobby g, who knows…none of their subsequent achievements matched the then risque ripping of skirts to reveal…shorter skirts. bucks fizz are one of my earliest memories and this may explain a lot.

1982 – bardo – one step further

wait – the girl was a crackerjack presenter? never knew that. god i love this footage – its eurovision, the fast show’s channel 9 and 70s spanish holidays (which you could still go on until about 1990) all in one. love how standing back to back and a few badly timed power grabs passed for a dance routine back then. oh and the obligatory leg in air ending.

1983 – sweet dreams – never giving up

i didn’t realise i remembered this until i saw it today. carrie grant from fame academy! i’m assuming she had a makeover by the time she met david. apparently the blonde girl still sings and the limahl lookalike is now a welsh radio presenter. sooo smashie and nicey.

1984 – belle and the devotions – love games

i forgot this one too. thanks to the football hooligans that ruined most of the uk’s european activities throughout the 80s, this lot were booed offstage. back when that used to be an insult, kids. i’m sure for no other reason…cough…no actually they had some other hits. umm…

1985 – vikki – love is

she was channelling princess di back in 1985, but now is called aeone and writes tv and film scores. she looks kind of nuts now. she did also almost get flattened by meatloaf once but i’m sure there’s a lot of people with that particular claim to fame…

um…lots of hair rock…and then…

1990 – emma – give a little love back to the world

really cheesy effort for 1990 by a 15 year old welsh girl called emma booth. she looked exactly like all the older girls at my school at the time, who also had backcombed hair par excellence. but, significantly, they spent their spare time working out whether thunderbird or super strongbow got you pissed faster, instead of swaying around in shoulderpads singing about the environment with people two or three times their age.

1991 – samantha janus – a message to your heart

yeeeeeowch. it was a good job she could act wasn’t it? i suppose she slunk back to sylvia young’s theatre brat camp for a few years after this – its terrible what they get some of those kids to do in the name of celebrity. thankfully, a few years later she was surprisingly funny as mandy in fab 90s sitcom game on, and her career was back on track. until that ended. but now she’s in eastie, which let’s face it, is as good as it’ll get.

i can’t bear to include michael ball, sonia and frances ruffelle….

1995 – love city groove – love city groove

ok, at the time we thought this was going to win. all of a sudden, the 70s were over because lets face it, in eurovision world they got a 15 year extension. cool britannia was in full swing, britpop (which i admittedly hated) was all over the place, and we dared to enter a song which wasn’t sung exclusively by and for white people. it fell on its arse. eurovision was not ready.

1996 – gina g – just a little bit

this is not as bad as i remember. its terrible what nostalgia can do to you.

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00s brit soul – national identity June 3, 2007

finally, after the copycat 80s and highs and lows of the 90s, british soul was ready to take on its own identity.

one of the first ways in which it achieved this was by redefining soul. house and garage were big business in the 90s, but the urban clubs and superclubs rarely mixed. typically, r&b was a smaller room adjacent to the the cheesier, townie clubs and didn’t even get a look in at cream, renaissance and the ministry of sound.

 

the speed garage scene that took off in the late 90s eventually slowed to a two step beat, and created a completely new sound. r&b vocals were married to stuttering, club-friendly beats and for a few years, between 1999 and 2002, uk garage was the sound of young UK.

 

after the inevitable drop in demand, uk hiphop and r&b were faced with a decision. either they could continue to emulate their US counterparts or they could use elements of uk garage to make their output distinctly british.

now we have traditional soul, copycat r&b, grime and some artists that defy classification and confuse the hell out of the yanks. we’re back in business…

 

twelve very different uk tracks from the 00sdownload here


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lemar – if there’s any justice

the only good thing to come out of the dull fame academy, simon cowell surely wishes he’d been able to get to lemar first. lemar, like girls aloud, has truly transcended his reality show beginnings and is pretty much the best current british male r&b act.

 

 

misteeq – why

south london girl band who leveraged links with the so solid crew to create a successful career in the early 00s. swiftly shook off their uk garage roots by the time they reached their second album in 2002. the group split largely due to their label, polydor, sinking after investing way too much in tone deaf victoria beckham. that’s got to hurt.
 

unklejam – love ya

relative newcomers who have been blessed/cursed with the ‘sounds a bit like prince‘ tag. time will tell if there is more to them than this track, but the odds are in their favour with the hype reaching all corners of the globe right now. another myspace success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sadie ama – so sure

shola’s little sister had a valuable induction into the industry at an early age, and she’s making some good choices production-wise, collaborating with the likes of kano and terror danjah amongst others. looks and sounds exactly the same – with shola expected to relaunch anytime soon, could be interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

conner reeves – oughtabelaw

irish soul boy who first came to prominence in the late 90s. this track from last year deserved way more attention. possibly one of the breed of artists that has suffered greatly from the download revolution as his image doesn’t quite fit his music. i always think people navigate this poor fit by just grabbing the audio.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

emmanuel and terri walker – flirtin’

always tipped to break through. hopefully it will happen for her before she is talked into a beverley knight-style commercial compromise. this track is from emmanuel‘s 2006 project that featured numerous british soul artists on his productions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

keisha white – open like so

came through around the same time as keyshia cole, and is far more talented, but received about 5% of the promotion. so, keyshia collaborates with p diddy and is set to release her second album whilst keisha‘s future is unknown. harsh. a good example of why leona lewis has been whisked off to the us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nate james – universal

actually received some promotion around his debut in 2005, and it did ok. i’m going to be lazy and say he’s a hybrid of stevie wonder and lenny kravitz and worthy of your attention. hopefully an association with next big thing, sway, will catapult him back into the limelight.

 

 

 

 

 

craig david – seven days with mos def

back in 2000, referring yourself in the third person was even more ridiculous than it is now. the ensuing bo selecta parody may outlive his music in the nation’s consciousness if he doesn’t pull his finger out soon. craig, unfazed, still refers to himself in the third person when appearing on mtv cribs showing us how all his cash has enabled him to construct a state of the art pulling den. no women in sight though, and you can’t swing a jocasi bag round london without hitting someone he’s tried it on with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ms dynamite – fall in love again

made a good contract choice and got the promotion other uk artists would kill for. this resulted in numerous awards for her debut album which, although nice enough, sounds dated only five years later. this track, from her largely ignored second album, will hopefully age a bit better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

spl2rge – scuse me

like unklejam, appear to be on the verge of big things, promotion notwithstanding. i never hold my breath on these things anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

taio cruz – i just wanna know

mario soundalike who can’t be accused of trying to create a british identity. which is fair enough. we don’t want to end up like the irish, who have to be irish all the time.