dirty martini

old music for new people

more songs to turn down on your ipod: guilty pleasures October 21, 2007

tube.jpg

 do sound isolating earbuds also mask what you’re listening to?

i can barely be bothered to create an illusion of cool whilst i’m sat on the tube at 8am. lets face it, if i was that concerned then i probably would apply my makeup at home. after my last post – songs you turn down on your ipod – i realised that i have quite a lot of bad taste.

if you like something, why wouldn’t you listen to it? i don’t care what some suit with his legs wide open and a paper in my face thinks anyway. so these days i turn up my more embarrassing selections. at the very least someone will get a laugh out of it and god knows there’s not much to smile about if you commute into london.

unless sweat, delays and idiotic tourists with backpacks the size of a small shed are your thing, in which case…this playlist will seem tame by your standards.

download here

abba – that’s me

think ‘dancing queen’ is cheesy? have you heard the rest of ‘arrival’? the campest (best) abba album, dealing with such pressing subjects as kissing your teacher, your boyfriend preferring his violin to you, and being a tiger. and this – about being a bit of an old slapper and not someone to take home to the parents.

barry manilow – copacabana

the first line gives it away. ‘her name was lola. she was a showgirl.’ this camp classic by the hook nosed one actually wasn’t a big hit, but everyone knows it anyway.

betty boo – 24 hours

in 1990, betty was not cheesy and her west london twanged rapping was not ludicrous. i think world cup euphoria must have addled our brains…and this is the most credible track i could find on boomania. ‘doin’ the do’ and ‘where are you baby’ are so bad even i don’t listen to them.

billy ocean – get outta my dreams

if billy had been a poor man’s lionel richie to date, this track didn’t change much.  actual car noises at the start of any track mentioning a car should give you a sorry indication of what’s to follow.

deacon blue – chocolate girl

deacon blue are late 80s scot pop-rock and do not fit in my collection. they now inhabit the MOR scrapheaps of capital and virgin radio. probably. i never listen to either. i might be tempted if i thought this would be played…

gloria estefan – get on your feet

latin numbers are party and party equals cheese. the ‘sort your life out’ lyrics add to the worthiness of the proceedings but somehow this is still an enjoyable listen. or is it just me?

janet jackson and cliff richard – two to the power of love

no that isn’t a typing error and no i’m not pissed. in 1984, janet recorded a duet with the pop dinosaur (even then) that only ever saw the light of day on her ‘dream street’ album. of course, if she was pregnant at the time as claimed, we can put it all down to hormones.

kylie minogue – shocked

preteen girls are fickle and after ‘better the devil you know’, most of kylie’s fanbase had delusions of adulthood that led them to aspire to an appreciation of such musical luminaries as er, color me badd. SAW was over. but you taped this off the radio, just in case.

nick kamen – each time you break my heart

levi’s model nick was a bit too pretty. but pretty boys worked in the late 80s, and his madonna association didn’t hurt much either.

paula abdul – opposites attract

the cartoon cat – mc skat kat for those that care, top cat with a cigar basically  – actually sang better than paula. i looooved this, and ant and dec turning up to an american idol audition and singing this to a confused paula, simon and randy was genius.

toto – hold the line

oh god, if ‘africa’ wasn’t bad enough, once my mum heard this, toto was firmly entrenched in her playlist. and now it’s got to me as well.

wilson phillips – you’re in love

big hair? check. record deal via nepotism? check. singing in unison as voices not strong enough individually? check. gratuitous use of white chiffon? check. for all that it should have been a disaster. and oh, it was.

it doesn’t end here…

or even there…

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the true sound of miami May 21, 2007

what’s freestyle? even if you think you aren’t familiar, chances are that if you have more than a passing interest in hiphop r&b soul or even house and garage, then you will have heard several of its exponents.

originating from miami in the mid 80s, freestyle can best be described as a straight mashup of electro, hiphop, r&b, house…anything goes. hence the name. it became hiphop for girls. yes, female rappers such as roxanne (both of them) salt-n-pepa and jj fad were doing their thing, but this was much sweeter and more accessible.sometimes, it was so plaintive as to be almost offkey and out of tune but I think that adds to its charm, and is more honest than giving cassie, britney and mya recording contracts and manipulating their weedy warblings. freestyle sounded like it had been made on a casio keyboard, and it most probably had been. the studio version without the ‘wake me up before you go go’ demo button though. vocals that sounded like they had been recorded into a handheld tape deck gave the whole affair a more dangerous edge.

the look? quintessential late 80s styling with a latin edge. big backcombed curls, big earrings…and relaxed pastels for the heat. freestyle itself could perhaps be summarised with the above image – aspirational neon cocktail. totally 80s, totally miami.

when I visited florida a few years ago, I didn’t expect to hear any freestyle. i thought that one of the things that had made me want to visit miami for so long would be long gone, a distant memory of twenty and thirtysomethings now fully immersed in the house or r&b scenes. but it was everywhere!

 


crunk had just exploded but from the local radio stations, you’d never guess. we cruised happily up and down the a1a, and in and out of walgreens and taco bell, to the sounds of freestyle for two weeks. i highly recommend florida to anyone needing some sunny late 80s nostalgia…

ten sounds of party 93.1 south floridadownload here


lil suzy – take me
well, if i hadn’t known this track before i went to florida, i certainly did by the time i arrived home. played about four times a day and considering we didn’t spend that much time in the car listening to party 93.1, you can safely assume this was a dj favourite…

stevie b – spring love
uk peeps may only know stevie b for his dreary 1991 hit ‘because i love you’. it seems the only reason he got away with releasing that dirge was that he had already established some credibility on the freestyle circuit. and promptly flushed it down the toilet.

nice and wild – diamond girl
no pic exists for this group, who had several freestyle club hits – this is my favourite. perfect example of electro meets hiphop meets 80s jheri curl soul.

expose – let me be the one
i do remember expose being hyped as the next big thing in smash hits in the late 80s. well, they didn’t take off in the uk but appear to have done well natively and are fondly remembered. i think when en vogue arrived i was slightly confused then realised they were a completely different group.cover girls – show me
like expose, touted as the next big thing but the uk didn’t really get freestyle so they sank without trace until they shifted direction. i seem to remember they covered ‘wishing on a star’ so they must have had some success over here.

lisa lisa and cult jam – i wonder if i take you home
electro favourite that was hard to categorise at the time. lisa lisa and cult jam continued to have success, with ‘all cried out’ (later covered by allure and 112) and c&c music factory remixed ‘let the beat hit em’ (heard that on the radio last week – still sounds amazing). lisa went solo in 1994 with album ‘LL77’ to rapturous reviews but uh, it was all a bit alternative and grey for me…i much preferred the colourful nonsense of the 80s.

shannon – let the music play
perhaps the first freestyle hit, apart from freeez‘s ‘iou’, which i’m not sure counts as they were from london, not miami. plus, ‘iou’ was a wedding reception favourite even back in the day, which surely disqualifies them. anyway, this track along with madonna’s poppier ‘holiday, changed the face of dance music in 1984.

 

 

 

joyce sims – all and all
this song was doing nothing and going nowhere until kurtis mantronik picked it up and laid the vocals over his ‘bassline’ instrumental. suddenly it was everywhere and not everyone realises its a remix – a bootleg at that.

debbie deb – when i hear music
one of the biggest freestyle hits. i had to include a more recent photo of debbie as she looks awful in her 80s shots. circulation defying skintight bleached jeans, sausage in a condom style boob tube, blonde hairdo that looks like it would come off in one piece…ick…sometimes i’m glad i wasn’t really old enough to pick all of my own clothes in the 80s. 

 

seduction – two to make it right
much like expose and the cover girls, assembled to cash in on their success. probably wore the least clothes out of the three and had the least hits as well…