dirty martini

old music for new people

x factor 2007:back to the day job December 1, 2007

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 now, i love the x factor but this year it’s going downhill. finding someone as talented as leona lewis was always going to be a problem but something is seriously wrong here. i can barely watch what’s going to happen.

simon is staking his claim on an unlikely spice girls reunion induced girlband fever and the high school musical cashcow rather than credibility this year. louis is doing that odd rocking backwards and forwards thing again which makes him look like an outpatient on bingo leave. sharon’s frustration at the vote fixing is bubbling over for anyone to see. dannii is clearly trying to rise above the unspoken criticism that she’s in no position to judge anyone’s singing ability.

they tried to turn this series into american idol – so much so, hell, why not call it a season. the four judges sit there, knowing that brian friedman, the allegedly straight choreographer has screwed the acts up so entirely with his ludicrous performance direction that they can’t concentrate. but they can’t say anything, see, cos he’s playing along with this whole charade that he decided to step down from the judge’s panel himself. if they place the decline of this year’s x factor squarely at his feet, as well they might, he’ll sing like a canary. a really camp one.

most of these acts have already gone but i hope and pray for a wildcard week. forget lady shiverz and the fact that alisha was given bum songs apart from ‘valerie’. forget that rhydian is essentially a novelty act. forget that hope are sorely needed to relieve those queues back in primark. forget the fact that niki appears to have gone a bit doolally. forget the fact that simon is running out of non-incestuous songs for same difference. we need to start over.

in reality, i don’t really care about any of the acts who are left but i suppose i would prefer niki to win, of anyone. and this is what they should sing:

download here

alisha should sing…tracy chapman – fast car

kimberley should sing…tina arena – show me heaven

emily should sing…amerie – crush

futureproof should sing…after 7 – nights like this

hope should sing…mary jane girls – in my house

same difference should sing…rihanna and chris brown – umbrella

beverley should sing…gladys knight – if i were your woman

niki should sing…wendy moten – come in out of the rain

old faceless bloke who thinks he’s james blunt…hall and oates – rich girl

leon should sing…stevie wonder – knocks me off my feet

rhydian should sing…barry manilow – weekend in new england

young faceless bloke who think’s he’s james blunt…savage garden – to the moon and back

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the uk’s answer to the jackson five…?? April 18, 2007

five star – a family r&b group comprising five siblings – were touted as the uk’s answer to the jackson five. in 1985. come on, back then there was definitely a delayed reaction as we responded to musical and cultural missives from across the atlantic, but 16 years?deniece, doris, lorraine, delroy and steadman were just teenagers when they burst onto the scene in 1984 with their brassy bleached hair (the girls) and jheri curls (the boys). plus braces all round. their first single, problematic, failed to make an impression despite landing the plum performance spot on pebble mill at one. actually maybe that was the problem…before they enjoyed chart success and proved the old adage that money can’t buy taste, five star, despite their tender ages (ranging from 14 to 21) produced classic 80s brit soul a la loose ends. seriously, that good. they had their own label, tent records, and ok, like the jackson five and later beyonce, their dad, buster pearson, was pulling the strings.

the obvious family schtick aside, their careers took off because deniece had a great voice. the others found roles for themselves beyond backup, ‘why don’t you’ style. delroy was the, er, baby. (actually this is sounding more like the spice girls). steadman was the oldest and ‘looked a bit like michael jackson‘. doris was the choreographer and ‘looked a bit like janet jackson‘. lorraine, brainwashed by blue peter, felt compelled to make mock ups of their video sets out of old cardboard boxes. and dated eddie murphy, briefly. you can decide which of these achievements is greater.

so their first album, ‘luxury of life’ was a triumph of slinky mid 80s electro soul replete with bubbling basslines, sweet vocals and summery instrumentation. so much so that an unprecedented seven singles were released, with moderate success right up until the last one, a song about being mechanically manipulated – ‘system addict’. someone in a&r (probably buster) had finally noticed that in 1985, we were obsessed with futuristic gadgetry and convinced that by the year 2000, computers would rule the world.

but soon they were bonafide popstars and commerciality struck resulting in the music becoming more hit and miss quality-wise. they bought more cars than their romford home could accommodate and started wearing matching catsuits. yep, including the boys.

so, if you’re too young to remember what they looked like, don’t look too closely at the image at the top of this page. it’ll only put you off, just listen to the music…

ten five star tracks you need to owndownload here hide and seek
lots of people think this is a new edition song that five star covered – in fact its the other way round. this was their first proper single and the dancing in the video is hilarious….

let me be the one
the five star track most likely to be mis-labelled as loose ends if you try to download it from limewire.
all fall down
a big hit stateside and a popular choice to accompany majorettes (remember wanting to be one of those?) and aerobics classes nationwide.
love take over
hmmm. either five star‘s music videos are intended to have nothing to do with the song or there is a genius undercover message that I can’t decipher. five star gatecrash an empty country house and prance about.
find the time
actually, I seem to remember the video for this track had lots of clocks in it, cos of the time thing. there goes my last theory.

if i say yes
another upbeat track that I didn’t appreciate at the time. I think partly because in the video they wore awful oversized grey suits and pranced about a haunted house.
show me what you got for me
best track on their second and most successful album, ‘silk and steel’. perhaps because as a non-single, it was not sullied by live performances in matching shoulder padded frightsuits with a dance routine in which poor delroy looked increasingly unwieldy, what with him being in the throes of puberty and all.
whenever you’re ready
the first single from 1987’s ‘between the lines’ album. more polished, but still good with nice bubbly sound effects.
strong as steel
a great slow jam from 1987 that has been covered by gladys knight amongst others.
rock my world
from their last commercially successful album in the UK, ‘rock the world’. different again, but worth a spin.