dirty martini

old music for new people

only when i laugh January 13, 2008

 nice orange leather catsuit.

every once in a while, a song comes along that actually injects some humour into the lyrics. its the artist’s stand up moment. it’s not that hard…why doesn’t it happen more often?

top five stand up:

  • eddie murphy and the ice cream you can’t afford
  • peter kay and the walking onto the dancefloor dance. and the ‘fine rain that soaks you right through’
  • al murray ‘was never confused’
  • chris rock and er, men who want credit for taking care of their kids…and not being in prison
  • ricky gervais when he isn’t being smug

an honorable mention* must go to lisa moorish. yes, lisa moorish, primrose hill bike, had a career in the 90s and had one vaguely amusing hit ‘mr friday night’, which poked fun at the white shirt brigade. apparently the sales of three cd singles is enough to finance a house in primrose hill and ensure you never have to work again. oh no wait, she actually made sure she got pregnant by someone with a bit of cash – liam gallagher – so she could keep up with kate moss. and fellow oxygen thieves meg and sadie.

*not so much of an honourable mention

download here 

alexander o’neal – fake

even in the late 80s, weaves, fake nails and coloured contacts were in abundance. alex calls them out. cos…yeah, i bet he really goes for the au naturel look….not!

amy winehouse – addicted

starting to lose her spot as the most fucked up celeb on the planet thanks to britney’s latest antics. how long can it be before her PR steals her shoes, pours a bottle of gin down her throat and chucks her out of a cab in the middle of camden again?

cypress hill – insane in the brain

let’s face it they even sound funny. i once knew someone who could do a great b-real impression if you gave him a wig and a baseball cap.

jay-z – 30 something

jay lays it down for all his fellow 30 somethings who know better than these young whippersnappers…um….wait a minute, isn’t jay pushing 40? didn’t he need to make this track, like, ten years ago?

jean grae – how to break up with your girl

jean ingratiates herself with females everywhere by reminding our men how crap our behaviour is. don’t you just know jean is one of those annoying tomboyish women who hate every girl their male friends come into contact with?

john legend – used to love you

well, i think john’s sales have probably edged his finances closer to jay and puffy’s now, so what a difference four years make…i’m pretty sure whitney and bobby were broke aready by 2004 so i’m not sure where that idea came from.

kanye west and jamie foxx – gold digger

now a staple of chicago rock cafes up and down the uk. danced to by women who can’t really pull off the whole gold digger thing anyway…

positive k –  i got a man

box favourite from 1993. the girl who participates in the call and response has a really annoying voice. surely they could have got someone better? or maybe that was the point.

skeelo –  i wish

skee-lo was vertically challenged. and like all shortarse men he wanted to emphasise this with a tall girlfriend. what is that all about? at least carlton banks knew his place.

slick rick – mona lisa

like b-real, slick rick sounds funny even before you hear the lyrics.

streets – don’t mug yourself

tower block humour. ‘mugging yourself off’ has become a national pastime and helped to propel essex boy brian belo to bb8 victory.

tony toni tone – my exgirlfriend

supposed to be about an ex who turns out to be a hooker. but the first time i heard: ‘my exgirlfriend is a hoooooooooo…’ i laughed out loud, and still do.

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babies making babies December 20, 2007

baby.jpg 

so, jamie lynn spears is pregnant. big surprise, that one. her family have been so busy watching britney self-destruct they took their eye off the hormonal teenager. textbook.

to be honest, she looks so much older its not that shocking. not like when sarah in corrie had a baby at 12. jamie lynn looks at least 23 to me.

er…congrats? good luck might be more appropriate.

as for the music – opinion is divided. as in life.

download here

aaliyah – age ain’t nothin’ but a number

now, aaliyah didn’t have any babies, but she did allegedly marry r.kelly at the age of 15. which was equally inadvisable. age is nothin’ but a number…and the law ain’t nothin’ but a judge in a wig.

alfonso ribeiro – not too young

yes, as in carlton banks from fresh prince. in the 80s he was apparently influenced heavily by new edition and this track has ‘candy girl’ all over it…no matter, all i can visualise is that dancing.

collie buddz – young girl 2 rude

don’t be fooled – collie may look like a trousersnake wannabe but he’s a reggae artist. and he’s not reggae’s answer to eminem either. he’s much better than that.

cool notes – you’re never too young

band members steve and lorraine’s baby is bradley mcintosh of s club fame. his musical heritage was not something that was mentioned during s club’s moment in the spotlight. probably thought it was too embarrassing – for the parents.

guru – young ladies

guru with added patra, kool keith and big shug.

janet jackson – young love

janet, of course, lives under the suspicion of having been a teen mum herself. the increasingly desperate debarges ‘leaked’ details of janet’s supposed daughter from her marriage to james debarge. the jury’s still out…

john david lewis – high school lady

quite who this person was and why he was singing about high school girls is anyone’s guess…

khadejia – here we go

wyclef jean affiliate khadejia didn’t do anything else, as far as I know.

musiq – 17

this song is about a girl who lies about her age in order to hook up with someone older…hey we all did it.

nicole ray – seventeen

i don’t quite get if ‘nicole’, ‘nicole ray’ and ‘nicole wray’ are all one and the same artist. did one of them do the song that was sampled for ‘nicole’s groove’?

prince – lolita

new skool prince that sounds satisfyingly old.

solange knowles – naive

b advises solo to act her age, slow it down, and….she ignored it. this was more of an embarrassment than matthew knowles was prepared to admit. when will people learn that the easiest way to get a kid to do something is to tell them not to do it?

 

everybody loves the old skool August 16, 2007

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this whole nostalgia thing is taking over. reminiscing used to be the preserve of old people, and at school, our biggest exposure to anything outside the early 90s was when we used to have to visit old people’s homes on what was known as ‘biddy patrol’.

in these, cough, fragrant environments, we just sat and listened to endless tales of ‘it was better in my day’ – a sentiment i’m starting to empathise with. we would smirk when they asked us if we were ‘courting anyone’ as we walked them round the garden. they then proceeded to tell us about the kind of music they listened to during the war, which most of us had never heard of. because it was fifty years ago.

a lot of people are scathing about the whole retro thing, especially the ‘i love…’ series. for most people, retro is several generations ago, not the 90s, a decade many people are still dressing in. i remember at the time of this series’ first run in 2001, the face magazine ran a pisstake article called ‘i love last week’. despite the fact that i loved the series, i found this right on the money. at the time i was 25 – should i be pining for my childhood already and oohing and aahing over such er, long lost groups such as take that and nkotb? nkotb haven’t even reunited yet, six years on! (although i am so anticipating that one).

we have long been encouraged to look backwards, its not an entirely new phenomenon. before the 00s, where the new, old and just-happened appear to share an equal platform in the nation’s consciousness, the first song i can remember that celebrated the old school was kylie’s ‘step back in time’ an ode to the disco era. there seems a unspoken agreement that old equals better – i think its just personal taste. i won’t listen to queen because they’re retro, anymore than i would listen to coldplay now.

my teenage cousins are more likely to listen to music made around the time they were born than i was at their age. this give us some common ground, but i do think its a shame if they can’t find anything new to relate to. we recently had a 15 year old work experience girl who listened exclusively to jungle, which was only really produced between 1993 and 1995. she was born in 1991. there is absolutely no chance that she could experience the culture behind the music. when i was 15 it was all about the new for me.

twelve artists who dig the cratesdownload here

aaliyah – old school

nostalgia’s an odd sentiment for a 15 year old but still, this is a nice mid 90s midtempo swing track from aaliyah’s first, r.kelly produced album.

amerie – reminisce witcha

from amerie’s new album ‘because i love it’ this track sees amerie nostalgic for a past relationship. there’s something very likeable about amerie and her voice sounds unique against the current crop of babyvoiced divas.

chante moore – old school lovin’

chante moore was a model-turned-singer and this is from her 1992 album ‘let’s stay together’. she had an early 90s supermodel look about her – lots of lipliner, pencil thin eyebrows and shiny, rollered hair.

estelle – 1980

this is an enjoyable romp through uk rapper estelle’s childhood, citing fresh prince, connect 4 and jheri curls as influences.

jill scott – family reunion

hazy happy barbecue days with the family. in a land where summer lasts longer than four days…

lauryn hill – every ghetto, every city

with more than a dash of inspiration from sir stevie, lauryn reminisces on an 80s childhood. its such a shame she couldn’t get it together to follow up ‘miseducation’. 

missy elliott and jay-z – back in the day

a look back to the 80s hiphop era – who knew british knights trainers actually orginated in the us? of course, missy was a huge five star fan, as well. hands up who wore their trainers with the tongues pushed up.

o’jays – family reunion

classic soul from one of the greatest groups of the 70s. used in the film ‘poetic justice’ for a barbecue scene, perhaps inspiring jill scott’s version.

shola ama – granny’s yard

cool. a very british excursion into shola’s 80s/90s upbringing. any song that namechecks soda stream, charlie brown and choice fm is ok with me.

stevie wonder – i wish

i watched a documentary about stevie wonder’s childhood and loved the fact that he didn’t his blindness affect his little boy instinct to leap off walls and sheds. ouch.

uness – old skool joint

newcomer uness pays homage to his girl and the old skool in one easy step. i’m loving uness.

will wheaton – old school soul

appreciation for the old school in the old school style. no its not that will wheaton…: )

 

songs you turn down on your ipod… August 12, 2007

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..in case the person next to you hears and it shatters your illusion of cool. you know what i’m talking about.

past a certain age, these things are retro, but if ipods had been invented when i was 20, i wouldn’t have even dared to have these mp3s on mine. once you hit 25, crap music from your childhood is acceptable, and of course the girl/boybands you cried over are wheeled out again once they run out of cash and need to make a comeback.

those 100 worst songs ever shows they have on vh1 are always required viewing. one man’s trash another man’s treasure and all that. i’ll take these cheesy masterpieces over a radiohead gloomfest anyday.

don’t play these out louddownload here

kid creole and the coconuts – i’m a wonderful thing baby

kid creole and his coconuts were a tropical, clashing inclassifiable group who made comedy records with some credibility. i did say some, they were funky novelty records at the end of the day. post benny hill political incorrectness, but positively chaste compared to today’s r&b bootyvideos.

mark morrison – crazy

he needn’t have made this list but for the fact that he’s an absolute tosser, and for that reason alone you feel slightly dirty listening to his music. when he’s not banged up for the usual drugs/gbh/theft, mark likes to parade around london nightclubs with two ‘bitches’ on his arm. classy.

mc hammer – u can’t touch this

in 1990, everyone loved mc hammer despite the fact that each and every one of his songs was a blatant ripoff. once we caught on, after our indignant parents played us the originals to demonstrate how crap he was, his career sunk faster than his dancing. everyone ignored his attempt to drop the ‘mc’, and soon his trousers were out of fashion and so was he.

michael bolton – how am i supposed to live without you

michael bolton looked like an ageing chippendale and sang power ballads that were oddly compelling. for a 14 year old girl, the curly mulleted one shouldn’t have resonated, but did, because it sounded like he had loved and lost a few paperboys in his time as well. i was over it in a week.

vanilla ice – ice ice baby

where to start. well forget the proto eminem, pretty-fly-for-a-white guy persona, and the fact that he looked like he’d been brought up on crisps. and gloss over the fact that every other song he ever put out was shit. this tune still rocks a yates wine bar on a friday night, for those of a certain age, and you know it.

milli vanilli – girl you know its true

that miming incident and the ensuing revelation that milli vanilli didn’t sing their own songs was puzzling to me. from the outset, there was clearly a woman singing in the background and rob’n’fab were german not american. the idea that the braided ones couldn’t sing was slightly less shocking to me than their shoulder pads and odd wooden puppet style dancing.

mn8 – i’ve got a little something for you

a boyband song i liked when i was just about too old to like boybands, ie of legal drinking age. i think one of my university flatmates pulled the lead singer one night. she didn’t sell the story – we had grants in those days. plus we were only just realising the phenomenom of being able to carve a whole career from a one night stand or by being a celebrity girlfriend who wears a dress fashioned from safety pins.

spice girls – say you’ll be there

i hated the spice girls. every boy i knew was obsessed with them, and baby spice was my age and had millions in the bank, while i was a student. an anti-student who shopped in harvey nicks, nonetheless. i liked this song and hated myself for it. now i really couldn’t give a shit. i promise many of you will feel the same way about girls aloud in a decade’s time.

vanessa paradis – joe le taxi

again, vanessa was dislikable for the very fact that boys liked her so much. still, you could sing along to joe le taxi without being expected to know the correct lyrics, which was a bonus. ‘ampoule day ash’ anyone? apparently she was singing ’embouteillage’. she needs some elocution lessons. perhaps johnny can buy her some *hisssssssssssssssssss*

nkotb – i wanna be loved by you

this track, from their debut album, way before they were famous, sounds like an old creme egg advert. but instead of listing what they liked to do with creme eggs, they boys introduced themselves, their starsigns and somewhat unnecessarily pitched themselves as possible boyfriends to millions of teenage girls. red flag, bull. has to be heard to be believed.

wham – young guns

george michael encouraging people to be unemployed and play the field? imagine such a thing from such an upstanding citizen. more criminal was possibly the worst (best) rapping ever. if you haven’t seen the george michael episode of star stories, you need to. now. ‘we’re wham boys, and we’re on the dole. ooh yeah!’ classic.

will smith – getting jiggy with it

we’ve since established that jazzy jeff was the talented musician, but will had the charm and the character. this tune was a favourite for women in white stretch lace in branches of time and envy up and down the UK. i defy you not to sing, dance, or both.

 

jack your body June 1, 2007


for the under 25s, new jack swing is a hazy childhood recollection. it’s a young will smith running on the spot as the fresh prince of bel air, dwayne wayne after a few too many alize’s at the campus club in a different world.
new jack swing was the natural progression from slick yet laidback jheri soul, thrown into the 90s by adopting faster beats for crowds getting used to the more hectic pace of the house and garage scene.
of all the retro revivals, its difficult to see the flat top, loud clashing hammer pants and two tone shirts making a comeback to the fashion world. although it would be a laugh to see desperately trendy 16 year olds looking so ridiculous in the pursuit of fashion. i would definitely invoke the ‘if you remember it the first time round…’ rule and leave the girls’ lycra minidress and bubble perm well alone.
the music however, was the most futuristic that r&b had sounded until timbaland turned the entire genre on its head in the late 90s. it was criticised at the time, like jheri soul, for being over-produced, and strangely, sounds about right listened to now. anyone who’s anyone tried their hand at the sound though, and there’s nothing that date’s a genre so effectively as joey lawrence, nkotb, debbie gibson and those damn turtles.
for the real deal, check for those reruns of house party, in living color and new jack city.
twelve hi top fade anthemsdownload here
al b sure – if i’m not your lover
fondly remembered, mostly for this track and the dreamy/bouncy late 80s track ‘night and day’. about to launch a radio show called ‘the secret garden’, full of slow jams and celebrity insights. sounds unintentionally hilarious, i can’t wait!
basic black – she’s mine
almost one-hit wonders, this is the remix club version. also check out ‘special kind of fool’, a popular ballad.
bel biv devoe – do me
now the new edition veterans were all grown up, and claimed their rightful place alongside bobby brown as new jack swing pioneers, with this, their second single after the hugely successful debut, ‘poison’.
father mclisa baby
popular track, in its remixed form, from the band known mostly for ’69’. yes that masterpiece of subtlety. father dropped the ‘mc‘, like hammer before him, and went on to duet with a young mary j blige.
guy – i wanna get with you
so many guy tracks, so little time. the band were established by the time this was released, having practucally invented new jack swing a few years earlier.
keisha jackson – mama told me
one of the few girls on the new jack scene, before swv, tlc and jade came along and were labelled as the new jill swing invasion. i actually wasn’t sure that keisha was a girl, until recently….oops! in fact i’m pretty sure i used to confuse her with tevin campbell.
mantronix and jade trini – don’t go messin‘ with my heart
hiphop and electro were kurtis mantroniks comfort zones but even he got in on the action in 1991. this track, more obviously than keisha‘s somewhat masculine effort, gave a much needed injection of girlieness to the proceedings.
mariah carey – someday remix
mariah was new to the scene in 1990 and whilst she was gaining a reputation for her soaring vocals and that whistle register, she already had one eye on the club scene and drafted in shep pettibone, 80s remixer extraordinaire.
ready for the world – yo that’s a lot of body
a brash yet bubbling bassline and jacking beats give way to vocals that creep and you can just imagine rotfw bogling next to you in the club…still, can’t imagine a njs set without it.
rythm syndicate – p.a.s.s.i.o.n
had two hits then disappeared. used to get regular play on mtv and like so many others before and since, labelled as ‘that group who sound a bit like prince‘.
samuelle – so you like what you see
originally part of club nouveaux, samuelle released one solo new jack album in 1990.
today – him or me
had actually been recording as ‘the gents’ during the 80s, but a chance meeting with new jack supremo teddy riley proved fortuitous after years of flops.
 

90s r&b ingenues – some cautionary tales May 1, 2007

in today’s r&b scene there are several artists that you feel like you’ve grown up with. and there is a good reason for that – you have.the rise of teenage r&b singers in the early and mid 90s probably wouldn’t unfold in quite the same way today. it wasn’t entirely a new phenomenon – there have always been child stars but they usually made age appropriate music, or acted younger than their age. but representing real teenagers is a bit more difficult. we know they do the same things as adults, but it’s illegal so we don’t talk about it too much.
before the spice girls changed the rulebook, image and identity were just an added facet of celebrity rather than something you planned in great detail, either to complement talent or disguise a lack of it. it was possible to make music and be a bit vague about who you were and more importantly, how old you were.

the fact that these singers were the same age or even younger than they audience they were targeting, wasn’t immediately apparent. their songs dealt with adult issues, they collaborated with adults and existed within adult spaces. in some cases, this did impact on their personal lives by accelerating their development. we’ll never really know the truth about aaliyah and r.kelly‘s alleged underage marriage, unless it surfaces in the fallout from his court case.

ten 90s jailbait anthemsdownload here

brandy – baby
born 1979, debut 1994 at age 14
poor old brandy. until recently, one of the most successful of the 90s ingenues, having completed 4 successful albums, a tv show, movie and a panel spot on america’s got talent’. after the birth of her first child, her marriage was exposed as fake and she is currently awaiting trial for manslaughter after a crash that killed another driver. we won’t even go into her errant brother ray j, those tapes and the whitney thing…

tevin campbell – can we talk
born 1976, debut 1990 at age 13
tevin
‘s first taste was as a guest performer on prince‘s 1990 album ‘graffiti bridge’. a year later, his first album hit and he became an overnight star. he famously dated tatyana ali, both on and off-screen, after a cameo role playing himself in the fresh prince of bel air. there has been considerable speculation about his sexuality and he has been arrested for a george michael-style incident with an undercover cop.


aaliyah – the thing i like

born 1979, debut 1994 age 15
since her tragic death in 2001, aaliyah‘s popularity has spiralled. before, she was a popular yet often overlooked singer on the verge of superstardom as an actress. she blossomed as she broke away from r.kelly and hooked up with visionaries missy elliott and timbaland. aaliyah’s smooth, caramel-like voice sounds even more soothing against many of the melismatic, shrill and shouty copycat acts she’s inspired since.


usher – think of you

born 1978, debut 1993 age 14

in 1991, 13 year old usher‘s appearance on star search led to a contract with laface. precocious beyond his years thanks to an ill-advised internship at bad boy, usher was well known on the circuit by 1992 and in 1993 his first track appeared on the soundtrack to poetic justice. in 1994 he released his eponymous debut, but didn’t hit paydirt until worldwide smash ‘you make me wanna’ in 1998.


monica – angel
born 1980, debut 1995 at age 14

in 1991, 11 year old monica started work on what would become her 1995 debut ‘miss thang‘. an astonishingly mature effort given that fact, it remains her best album to date and stood confidently alongside offerings from more mature artists. like many of her peers, monica has suffered significant personal trauma with the suicide of her boyfriend, and has been criticised recently for dressing her three year old son as a thug. these critics best not visit croydon. despite being only 26 now, she looks much older thanks to a dodgy bleach job.

smooth – mind blowin

born “1979”, debut 1990 age “11”…
ok, something here doesn’t quite add up. if her alleged birth year is correct, mc smooth debuted at age 11 in 1990 with an album produced by her brother, chris stokes who also produced b2k and iMx. we’ll suspend disbelief…in 1993 she recorded a sophomore effort, now as smooth, ‘you been played’, but it was her third album at age 16 in 1995, that broke her. now recording under an alias, ‘needa s’. her real name is juanita stokes if anyone can be bothered to uncover the truth…i hear she was born in 1973 but having viewed a clip on youtube that would have been recorded in 1990, i find it a stretch to believe she was even 17 at the time.




mona lisa – can’t be wasting my time
born 1979, debut 1995 age 16
had no idea she was so young at the time. if she was – she named her debut album ’11-20-79′, her birthdate, so more likely than the aforementioned ms stokes. if that picture’s anything to go by, mona tried a bit too hard to labour the point about her youth by wearing bunches. at the age of 16. her second album was shelved but a comeback is imminent and several tracks have leaked.




destiny’s child – no no no
born 1981/2 – debut 1997 ages 15
so, despite ongoing allegations that beyonce was born as early as 1974, and not 1981 as drilled home during recent bday promotion, it doesn’t seem as odd looking at the rest of this list. after several members and incarnations, which would later prove to be just the tip of the iceberg, their arrival in 1997 heralded the new era of jittery tracks overlaid with rhythmic rather than melodic vocals.



immature – feel the funk
born 1981, debut 1992 age 11
after a childish debut, immature, including future actor and r&b star marques houston, had to wait for their third album and er, puberty, before gaining success in 1995. several years later they realised that their name was perhaps not doing them any favours and they became IMx.


kris kross – i missed the bus
born 1978/79, debut 1992 ages 13/14

research has failed to uncover an earlier example of clothes being worn backwards. therefore, millions of fashion crimes can be traced back to a pair of early teens, both called chris, in 1992. just to clarify, an entire culture took style cues from a 13 and 14 year old. never in 2007. i have resisted the temptation to put ‘jump’ on here. it’s usually played in clubs right after ‘jump around’ if you seriously can’t remember it…