dirty martini

old music for new people

2008: the newcomers January 3, 2009

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2008 was not only a year of comebacks but a year when, contrary to the declining viability of the music industry as a means by which to make an above average living, new artists emerged and those waiting in the wings made their debut.

and nkotb have been gone so long they count as a new act in my book.

these are my favourites of 2008.

download 2008 newcomers

candy hill – head gone

don’t know much about these girls. teairra mari featuring on this track is interesting. she might be better off joining them than trying to relaunch her solo career. i miss the days of tlc, swv and xscape.

jazmine sullivan – need you bad

have been hearing about this girl for a few years now. it seems like she had a failed contract a few years back which explain why there are so many tracks floating around that aren’t on the album.

jennifer hudson – all dressed up in love

i wonder if jennifer can ever really recover from what has happened, i don’t know. she was great in ‘sex and the city’ and i expect her to push forward with the acting now moreso than the music. somehow i think she will feel that is more appropriate and the accompanying promotional activity will be less about her and more about the characters.

karina pasian – 16 at war

born in 1991 – eek! not a typical def jam artist and i mean that as a compliment. her debut ‘first love’ didn’t exactly set the world alight but she has plenty of time and it was no reflection on the quality of the music.

michelle williams – unexpected

michelle’s mainstream debut was hotly anticipated as a the album to finally shut down beyonce or a damp squib depending on which camp you fell into. as it is, she didn’t even outsell kelly rowland.

nkotb – 2 in the morning

not strictly new artists, and would never have seen the light of day if they had been, truth be told. this was the track from ‘the block’ that showed their progression. i’m going to see them later this month…i will try to exercise some restraint but can’t promise anything.

santogold – shove it

seems to get a bit narky when labelled a hiphop/r&b artist. she isn’t, and i don’t care for most of her music but i liked this reggae track since i heard it on C4’s Transmission.

solange – sandcastle disco

sol-angel? nothing really that angelic about having a baby at 17, if we’re being picky. if beyonce had released this album, however, everyone would have lapped it up. it’s much better than her own.

stephanie mckaye – this letter

not to be confused with stephanie kay, wildchild of degrassi junior high. i wonder how many people reading this are old enough to get that…anyway, i hadn’t heard of her until her second album ‘tell it like it is’ dropped in 2008. kind of retrosoul/neo-soul fusion.

uness – woman got culture

his official arrival is taking forever…i could have put him on this list for the last few years. is it the state of the music industry or something else? how next selection can rush out a weak artist like cassie but sit on uness is beyond me.

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work it May 20, 2008

i’ve been watching the us version of the office recently, having loved the original uk version. i have to say, i’m pleasantly surprised. jim is of course, better looking than tim, but no less endearing. michael isn’t sad in quite the same way as david brent but he’ll come to a stickier end, i think.

pam, hmm, well i find it fairly unbelievable that every man in the office would have a crush on someone so frumpy but she’s actually a better character for it. i love jim and pam, or ‘jam’. dwight is cartoonish but i have no problem with the idea that someone so weird would run wild amongst average us citizens…

the american finchy, however, is so crap i don’t even know his name. angela is an interesting one. in the uk version i always said what was missing was a uptight, miserable old cow, as per my manager at the time, who existed (and probably still exists) to cause other people pain. i wish they didn’t make her obsessed with cats though – i love cats and its an old joke now.

chili’s – a texmex ‘restaurant’, uk people, there’s one in reading – is the scene of many crimes and this has left me wondering if america doesn’t have townie clubs like chasers, full of drunk suits and local chavs on a wednesday night?

inevitably, as with the uk version, aside from jam, the stupid office pranks are the best thing about the us version. tricks i would have liked to see tim play on gareth in the uk version:

  • all of gareth’s stuff in a vending machine for him to buy back
  • encouraging gareth to buy a women’s handbag
  • convincing gareth that thursday was actually friday, making him miss work the next day
  • paying colleagues to call gareth ‘gary’ for a day
  • convincing gareth that ‘gaydar’ was an actual, purchasable device
  • tricked him into believing he was completing special missions for the MOD

download here

altitudes – work it like a 9 to 5

blackstreet – i like the way you work

eyc – the way you work it

fonzi thornton – i work for a livin’

isley brothers – work to do

kelly rowland – work

mel stewart – no work no pay

michael jackson – working day and night

nel oliver – i have a good job

prince – let’s work

roots – thought@work

tcf crew – hardest working lover

 

r&b girl bands: voted off the island April 26, 2008

assuming they were famous enough to get on a reality show in the first place. the 00s have not really been a great time for girl bands. in the late 90s it was a crowded market, full of stage school wannabes thrown together with people they hate and a few genuine girl groups looking to capitalise on the spice trend.

who do we have now? sugababes? girls aloud? tch…

download here

3lw – feelin’ you

ok not exactly drifting towards obscurity but in music terms, it’s over. interestingly when they debuted in 2000 they were sounding too mature and now in their 20s, they’re disney. counter-intuitive.

411 – on my knees

brit girl band from a few years back. like danity kane but less porn channel and more smtv. fond of hiphop sampling to communicate street credentials.

aaries – strangers to lovers

have collaborated with sir musiq of soulchild and this alone should have raised more interest. add that to the fact that they’re a fairly talented bunch and make quality soul not ringtone r&b and it’s difficult to see where it went wrong.

anjel – not the way i pictured it

after being dumped by beyonce and kelly (ok, beyonce and mathew..), letoya and latavia hooked up with naty quinones and tiffany beaudoin to form short-lived anjel.

bella  – never be me

yet another ‘big on myspace’ act that didn’t translate. see also ‘jazzy’ and ‘unklejam’.

blaque – i’m good

had a not bad run thanks to their mentor, left eye. blaque actually started out ten years ago nowm as blaque ivory. this track is now a staple of show like ‘so you think you can dance’ and ‘bump’n grind’ on trouble.

gyrlfriend – sprung

produced by the underdogs, but it wasn’t enough. their names is so 90s, as well.

her sanity – xclusive

over-produced and silly name. like a budget version of allure.

isyss – not letting him go

including the sister of actress meagan good, this group were quite good and focused on uptempos, which is always a bonus.

js – someone

think changing faces, not updated a great deal, for the 00s. i might have missed something but i don’t recall the original group being so popular that we needed a sequel.

phajja – checkin’ for me

their two albums were actually ok. a bit like brownstone to me. but they nicked a classic album title, ‘meeting in the ladies room’ and this seemed to seal their fate.

tg4 – two minutes

not very tastefully sang about virginity with needa s…yes that old woman once known as smooth. eww. that family are sleaze. lying about their ages and allegedly corrupting kids.

 

show me the money April 18, 2008

this post is self explanatory but i’ll say one thing. those gold diggers are not feeling the credit crunch in the same way as the rest of us. i’m not saying it’s right…

top 5 gold diggers

1. heather mills

didn’t fab-macca-thumbs-aloft blaze a hot publicity trail during the divorce trial? two weeks of beatle songs on american idol, brit appearance…now a liverpool concert.

2. kevin federline

even k-fed was well out of that family, who made even shar jackson look classy by comparison.

3. tameka foster

can you say ‘marriage of convenience’? never been more convinced that usher is gay. this week chilli revealed she still loves him…hmmm…

4. most WAGs

no news there then.

5. meg matthews

surely even monobrow could have done better at the height of oasis’ fame?

 download here

amerie – money maker

big bub – material girl

blu cantrell – hit em up style

cashflow – spending money

destiny’s child – bills bills bills

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

janice christie – my love is money

junior mafia – get money

kanye west – gold digger

ol’ dirty bastard and kelis – got your money

shades – tell me

tlc- no scrubs

 

the two step invasion April 12, 2008

no genre of music has ever divided clubgoers like uk garage. after speed garage, which was basically still 4/4 and just like us garage but faster, 2 step garage emerged. a significant proportion of the first wave of 2 step records were r&b covers or bootlegs.

i seem to remember that after an initial bang in 1997/8, garage went back underground in 1999, bar ‘sweet like chocolate’, before a resurgence of interest later in the year that eventually took it mainstream. i was in london, so it never really went away, but there was little evidence during 1999 that it had a presence beyond the m25.

this was an expensive scene saturated with champagne and designer labels, and many of the clubs such as twice as nice operated an over 25’s door policy. the attitude was reminiscent of the wine bar scene of the late 80s – only now you needed to be cool and have the cash (credit…come on, most of the clubbers were on less than £20k a year, those promoters should be ashamed).

my man did not like uk garage at all. to me, it was the house/r&b hybrid i’d often tried to imagine.

download here

ramsey and fen – lovebug

dhl – favourite girl

lenny fontana – spirit of the sun

n’n’g – right before my eyes

future underground nation – the way

sweet female attitude – flowers

destiny’s child vs jameson – bug a boo

brandy and monica vs architechs – the boy is mine

richie dan – call it fate

tin tin out and emma bunton – what i am

artful dodger and romina johnson – movin’ too fast

dem 2 – destiny

kele le roc- my love

christian falk- make it right

n’n’g and rose windross – liferide

doolally – straight from the heart

 

everybody loves leona April 11, 2008

so leona has cracked the US, big time. i’m pleased for her and now I see why her album contains so many ballads. their cheese radar is lower than that of the endlessly critical brits, perhaps…and some people find ballads cheesy. leona does them well though.

so whilst ‘spirit’ is good quality, there’ll be plenty of time for a mature sound later on. now that she’s cemented her popularity for the foreseeable future, she really needs to nail the pop/r&b crossover next time. anyway, since leona’s second album must be a sure thing by now I was wondering how it’ll turn out. so, these are the types of songs that I’d like to hear from her.

download here

aaliyah – hot like fire

leona has the right tone to her voice to copy aaliyah’s style but has much more range, so it would be interesting…

adriana evans – looking for your love

this type of sweet, live instrumental track would be a good personality fit for leona, who appears to have won over the US and UK public with her sweet, down to earth manner. i’m not with those who translate this into a lack of personality – if she was delivering witty asides to camera, that would be fake.

amerie – crush

this would have been a cute track for leona. for whatever reason amerie continue to flop, maybe leona could take this off her hands…

brownstone – if you love me

no point having that vocal capability if you’re not going to show it off?

juicy – sugar free

in fact she did record an updated version of this called ‘suga sweet’ pre-x factor, and it’s not bad. midtempo 80s soul would be a nice contrast with her voice.

mariah carey – we belong together

in a way, ‘better in time’ is her ‘we belong together’. but another one won’t hurt. maybe she should keep it back for her third album.

prince – if i was your girlfriend

some princespiration won’t go amiss…why not, everyone else is doing it. if leona’s going to shake off her good girl image, she should go classic, not sleaze.

keisha white – open like so

leona will need to do sass at some point. not in a trashy beyonce style, or man-bashing late 90s jittery r&b, but something a bit more direct. like this.

kelly rowland – can’t nobody

i see this as the type of club track leona might do – not too aggressive or desperately current, just something that works.

alexander o’neal and cherrelle – never knew love like this

leona and lemar. please.

shola ama – you’re the one i love

this was the song that i remember shola for the most, not sure if it was her biggest hit but it was the perfect balance between pop and r&b. but in the 90s, for a uk artist, this was about as r&b as it got.

swv – weak

if leona sticks with some ballads, I would love to see her tackle some 90s style slow jams.

 

saucer of milk? April 5, 2008

you know how your parents used to say people who were nasty to were just jealous? turns out most of the time they were right.

female celebs are always under pressure to comment on their counterparts, and the latest under attack is leona lewis. well she’s talented, pretty, unassuming, has simon cowell on her side…and is from a reality show. which is so much worse than being from a stage school, apparently.

download here

beyonce – back up

where do we start? letoya, latavia, farrah, michelle, keke wyatt and blu cantrell might all have something to say about this diva’s behaviour. although letoya probably owes her second album to those who wanted to see the queen bee’s feathers ruffled at her former rival’s success. if you’ve seen that clip from trevor nelson’s mtv show ‘the lick’ just after farrah and michelle joined, you know jay-z better watch his humps if those wedding rumours are true.

britney spears – gimme more

it’s britney, bitch. actually she’s a remarkably clever (bear with me) bitch. her girlish war of words with rival christina aguilera, fuelled by a mutual desire for then-curly disaster justin, left christina with egg on her face and branded a boyfriend-baiting bitch. despite having a technically better voice, people seem to prefer a drugged up, fat, scruffy, medicore brit than the desperately showboating and cleaned up ms aguilera. gutted, much?

christina aguilera – hurt

she had the better voice but britney got there first, in more ways than one. in fact, slaguilera is more likely to have criticism directed at her than give it out, and has become the poster girl for oversinging precious r&b wannabes the world over. much as i love r&b myself, kelly osbourne had it spot on. i can just about stand this song as it’s so heavily remixed by the snowflakerz.

jamelia – b.i.t.c.h

you could assume that jamelia recorded this with a sense of humour, in response to fabricated media stories of her various lashings of any female celebrity better looking or more talented than herself. however, since the release of parent album ‘thank you’, her desperate needling has gone into overdrive…and i’m not blaming her PR anymore. they probably quit by now.

jennifer lopez – ain’t it funny

famously branded madonna a useless singer and actor and claimed gwyneth paltrow only found fame after brad pitt. was snubbed by the macriobiotic twosome at what was probably a really unappetising dinner party. um, didn’t she kind of have a point? on that note, gwyneth was always way too minging for brad and should have known better. jen took their snub and raised them an almost-marriage to one of their exes, ben affleck. fun – loving your style, jen.

leona lewis – the best you never had

has so far maintained her dignity, only venturing that jamelia is ‘insecure’ and made a slight dig at whitney and mariah’s continued wearing of fur. she clearly has mariah rattled, who seems eager to communicate that no one in america is talking about leona. except, she’s number one and everyone is? well, mariah does also believe that she’s 12 years old so…whatever…it’s 1982 and everything’s lovely.

lily allen – smile

gently baits her chat show guests in her smug, cockney-with-more-cash-than-you manner, when not singing about her chav boyfriends. baited other serial slagger cheryl cole on the use of autotune in girls aloud. like, no shit, lily, we didn’t see popstars the rivals. and your singing voice lily, really could do with it as well?

mariah carey – heartbreaker

ironically depicted herself as two sides of a catfight in the video for this track after a war of words with both whitney and madonna. claimed not to have ‘taken any notice of anything madonna did since the early 80s, when she was popular’. well i have my thoughts on the exact time and place madonna should have taken a bow, but come on, you can’t ignore the leotard loving granny.

miss jones – don’t front

this lady (and i do use the term loosely) has pissed off *deep breath* beyonce, her scary looking mama, christina milian, danity kane, p diddy, monica, wendy williams (!)…asian people everywhere, victims of the tsunami…

whitney houston – my name is not susan

used to elegantly sidestep any opportunities to bitch about her contemporaries but, hasn’t been interviewed much post-drugs. i’d like to hear what velour tracksuited ‘hell to the naw’ whitney could unleash on the young generation.