dirty martini

old music for new people

mtv europe 1992 April 11, 2009

mtv1 

i could really do with another summer of 1992. gcse exams finished early, by june i had three months in which to do exactly nothing.

so, i sunbathed, wandered around with my friends and watched mtv. a lot. having cable was still a novelty, and watching a channel broadcast from another continent was fun. the vjs spoke in broken english, the adverts were a long way from aquafresh and hovis.

i hold mtv europe squarely responsible for the success of acts such as culture beat and ace of base. there were other, weirder acts that didn’t quite penetrate the uk but existed for those of us hooked on this european wide window.

i loved how i could come in at midnight and stare at trippy ambient videos like x-mix the likes of which i had never seen before. i loved ray cokes

once mtv uk set up in camden, everything went sharply downhill.

download summer 1992

bobby brown – good enough

chic – chic mystique

del tha funkee homosapien – mistadobolina

dr alban – one love

en vogue – my lovin’

hi-five  – she’s playing hard to get

joe public – live and learn

joe secada – just another day

luther vandross and janet jackson – best things in life are free

mariah carey – i’ll be there

marky mark – you gotta believe

tlc – baby baby baby

 

advent calendar: the remix December 24, 2008

funkyxmas

ok, not quite the 12 days of christmas, and not even a bit seasonal, but a 90s r&b remix for every year. enjoy!

download 90s remixes

1990 – samuelle – so you like what you see – teddy riley remix

1991 – r.kelly – she’s got that vibe – jerv remix

1992 – shanice – i love your smile – hakeem’s remix

1993 – janet jackson – if – tnt bass remix

1994 – mary j blige – mary’s joint – puffy’s remix

1995 – smooth – mind blowin’ – kenny smoove illmatic remix

1996 – blackstreet – don’t leave me – goodbye remix

1997 – shades – tell me – characters remix

1998 – destiny’s child – with me – full crew remix

1999 – jennifer lopez – feelin’ so good – bad boy remix

 

90s r&b: long lost midtempos September 15, 2008

90s r&b albums were full of midtempos, even though it was usually the ballads or club bangers that got released as singles.

so, there are plenty of quality tunes that never really saw the light of day.

download 90s r&b midtempos

assorted phlavors – lovin’ on the d.l

the girls only released one album, and managed not to overdo the ballads. arrived at the same time as allure, who were more successful. well, they made it to three albums.

brandy – as long as you’re here

this is from brandy’s 1994 debut. like so many other r&b albums of its era, it had some tiresome interludes and so you often didn’t make it past ‘sunny day’, which is a shame as there were a couple of cool midtempos.

brownstone – revenge

like 3t, brownstone suffered somewhat from the michael jackson effect. believe it or not at one point he was considered a bit safe…anyway, by the time of the girls’ second album they appeared to have shaken off the worthiness that plagued parts of their debut.

braxtons – girl on the side

the fact that the sisters would only make one album was a foregone conclusion. spin-off family groups have limited success for a reason. if any were better than their famous sibling, they would have been the one with the career.

changing faces – am i wasting my time

less sleazy than their other earlier offerings. they marked their territory early with ‘stroke you up’, but could have had much more interesting careers if they’d switched to an A&R with a clue.

janet jackson – where are you now

janet only really started doing midtempos in the 90s as far as I can remember. this is the janet remixed version, which is far superior.

kreuz – crush on you

kreuz, in true copycat brit style, tried to emulate r.kelly with tunes like ‘slap and tickle’. this is so much better. these days, emulating r.kelly is best left to the comedians.

mariah carey – slipping away

not strictly an album track, but should have been as its better than the ballads on ‘daydream’. love this early 90s style mariah.

mokenstef – it happens

i always thought ‘he’s mine’ was a cute song, but didn’t have high hopes for the album. this is a really nice track, that could have made a great single.

shola ama – can’t have you

shola is the uk queen of midtempo soul, when she isn’t being remixed for the uk garage crew. that late 90s/early 00s style has been sounding tired of late but with the next decade approaching it will probably undergo a revival.

swv – coming home

swv’s first album saw many tracks released and remixed, but not this one. i think a remix would have lost the point, so its good that they left well enough alone.

xscape – is my living in vain

xscape don’t have a plethora of great album tracks in their back catalogue, their strongest tracks tended to get released, but this is the essence of their debut.

 

the other side August 3, 2008

 

you know all those bonus tracks that surface once an album is released? we used to get them as b-sides. occasionally an instrumental would be bunged on there, or a remix, but in the 80s, you were pretty much guaranteed at least an album track if not something which didn’t make the cut.

for kids with only a few 7 inches to entertain them throughout the summer, this could mean that you were as familiar with an artist’s rarities as you were their hits.

some b-sides i miss:

karyn white – language of love (superwoman)

sister sledge – hold out poppy (frankie)

download here

five star – love gamesb-side to rsvp

janet jackson – he doesn’t know i’m aliveb-side to what have you done for me lately

madonna – pretenderb-side to material girl

mai tai – rules of love – b-side to body and soul

mel and kim – systemb-side to showing out

michael jackson – can’t get outta the rainb-side to billie jean

new edition – jealous girlb-side to popcorn love

nkotb – valentine girl – b-side to step by step

pepsi and shirlie – dreamingb-side to heartache

prince – 17 daysb-side to when doves cry

whitney houston – moment of truthb-side to i wanna dance with somebody

wham – where did your heart gob-side to edge of heaven

 

hello kitschy July 20, 2008

a collection of tunes that are crying out for a super kitsch cartoon video.

download here

amerie – crush

possibly just meant to sound happy, not kitsch, but this remix conjures up images of bubbles, flying candy and glitter and there’s nothing amerie can do about it…

basement jaxx – romeo

you can tell the jaxx heart kitsch by their album covers, even if you haven’t heard the music. who else would put snowflake, the albino gorilla from barcelona zoo, on a cd?

bjork – big time sensuality

more quirky than kitsch, but bjork does look a bit like a japanese cartoon.

confection – i gotta thang 4u

confection are a group who make 80s jheri soul a la loose ends. i honestly didn’t realise for a long time that they weren’t authentic 80s.

daft punk – digital love

kids of the 80s went ‘aaaah…’ when they saw the video to this tune, featuring battle of the planets style anime.

deee-lite – say ahhh

unashamedly kitsch, and psychedelic at the same time.

groove armada and mutya buena – song for mutya

whoever thought they would be describing the chavtastic mutya as kitsch? not me…

keyshia cole – superstar

hate jameila. this is the only song of hers that i could remotely stand so i was happy that keyshia covered it for the us market. clearly, bitter brummie bitches don’t go down too well across the pond, either…

mariah carey – touch my body

eternally 12 apparently…mariah is the physical embodiment of kitsch and youth obsession taken too far. and no i don’t buy the nick cannon thing, that boy just looks uncomfortable to me.

model 500 – the flow

i doubt that derrick may intended to make anything that sounded remotely kitsch. but it so does…

st etienne – who do you think you are

if all of st etienne’s video has been animated kitsch, i think their music would have been more appealing. i liked it, but the oh-look-at-us-we’re indie!-and-quirky! band members ruined things somewhat.

sub sub and melanie williams – ain’t no love

the most cartoonish club classic i can remember – shouldn’t have worked but it did.

 

garage city: masters at work June 25, 2008

by 1993 it was clear that us heavyweights david morales and masters at work would define the 90s garage scene. david went for the house crowd with vocal club bangers and the big money remixes. masters at work retained their latin flavour and took on leftfielders like jamiroquai and brand new heavies.

i made my first trip to the ministry of sound that year and was almost perplexed by the alcohol free bar and bizarre location. a million miles from the clubs up and down the country who were rocking the hell out of ‘oh carolina’ and ‘mr vain’ and peddling test tube cocktails.

how different my 17th birthday could have been if I had lived in London and able to frequent the ministry more often…instead of technicolour vomit and fat djs I could have been shaking it to a legend.

download 1993 mix

bizarre inc – took my love

hardrive – deep inside

sound of one – as i am – fire island mix

jamiroquai – emergency on planet earth – danny tengalia remix

shara nelson – down that road – def classic mix

mariah carey – dreamlover – def club mix

dajae – u got me up – danny tenaglia mix

ten city – fantasy – masters at work mix

janet jackson – if – brothers in rhythm mix

joe roberts – lover – k-klass klub mix

judy cheeks – so in love – west end in love club mix

martha wash – give it to you – maurice’s underground playground mix

aftershock – slave to the vibe – club mix

black sheep – strobelight honey – def mix

house of virginism – i’ll be there for you – stone’s club mix

masters at work – i can’t get no sleep – her fantasy mix

reese project – so deep – k.o.k club mix

incognito – givin’ it up – uplifting club mix

garage city 1992

garage city 1991

 

camp as a row of tents June 14, 2008

we didn’t go on many holidays when i was a child, as my dad was a miserable git. we did go to the same resort in majorca several times and also to butlins, both bognor and minehead.

although the idea of staying in a holiday camp now seems faintly ridiculous and very restrictive, at the age of ten, it means you can roam unhindered. i’m sure it woldn’t be safe enough now but back in the 80s we had a different type of freedom and it meant a lot to escape your mum’s constant sunscreen application and flicking bits of fluff off you at every opportunity.

so, you went on holiday with your parents, found some friends near your age on the first day and off you went.

around the times we visited, the camps were being updated, which i can see now, lost the point. they were cheesy, retro and stuck in the 60s, which is why people wanted to go. still, i loved the sunsplash pools with flume rides and wave machines, which have no doubt been replaced by something else now. but, the old swimming pools with the windows were far more interesting.

these holidays were the only times i can remember me and my mum dancing out together in public. we danced a lot at home, but whenever I hear these tunes from the summer of 86 I think of her dancing happily.

download here

billy ocean – when the going gets tough

did anyone else get the 80s health education video that had this playing throughout? I can’t for the life of me remember what it was about…

club nouveau – lean on me

well i had no idea that the al green original existed when this came out…

five star – find the time

i remember being bought this on the way home from our butlins holiday, to cheer me up. yes, i was gutted to leave!

gwen guthrie – ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent

tell it like it is, girl. broke men suck. gwen (rip) was at least ten years ahead of beyonce and co on this.

janet jackson – when i think of you

this was my favourite ‘control’ track back in the day. loved the remixes a decade later as well.

jermaine stewart – we don’t have to take our clothes off

we sang this at brownies, much to the disapproval of brown owl, who clearly couldn’t fathom why ten year olds were singing about being naked and drinking cherry wine.

madonna – true blue

i actually recognised actress debi mazar from this video, when she was on ugly betty. i hated madonna’s short, bleached hair though.

mel and kim – showing out

its sad that several of the artists on this list have passed away, like mel. i can imagine mel and kim as a duo would have gone on to become popular entertainers, possibly like a female ant and dec.

midnight star – midas touch

jheri soul troupe. yes, troupe. there were nine members.

steve winwood – higher love

i always think of that bette midler film, big business, as well, when i hear this.

taffy – i love my radio

more dj adulation. not a new phenomenon.

wham – edge of heaven

the last wham song ever recorded. millions of tears were cried over george and expert tambourine player andy.