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

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2008: the comebacks January 3, 2009

cd

despite declining sales, labels continued to throw money and effort into album promotion instead of finding new and creative ways to make money from music. which is now basically free, let’s face it.

i enjoyed these the most of all the comebacks last year.

download the comebacks of 2008

anthony hamilton – the day we met

consistent and underrated, anthony hamilton’s new album ‘the point of it all’ is a little more punchy, i think, than his previous efforts. it’s worth seeking out his mostly unknown 1996 debut if you like this side of him.

ashanti – you’re gonna miss

ashanti is that girl who has more male friends than female. she gets a lot of hate, but, she delivers some good music. ‘the declaration’ was a solid effort that would have achieved more had it not been for her audience connection issue mentioned previously, and the state of the music industry.

beyonce – single ladies

well, if you thought ‘bday’ was a disappointment…i’m hoping some of the other tunes on ‘i am…sasha fierce’ will grow on me. there’s nothing groundbreaking there though. i did love the fact that she appeared on x factor to sing with alexandra though. who, by the way, i think outsings her on ‘listen’ when she sings solo.

common – sex 4 sugar

common is taking a more commercial route this time round with ‘universal mind control’. that’s ok, it works.

erykah badu – honey

..speaking of which, his formerly crazy former missus has also lightened up a bit. see, it didn’t hurt that much did it? but for a time there it looked as if she had a touch of the lauryn hills.

john legend – can’t be my lover

i tried but failed to get into ‘once again’ but i’m loving the return to form on ‘evolver’. the reggae tracks are totally his comfort zone and the euro-electro tinged tracks even work, much as i am hating this current trend, which should in my opinion have started and ended with britney’s ‘gimme more’.

keyshia cole – where this love could end up

keyshia was hailed as the new mary. to my mind, she has not evolved or developed even slightly past her 2004 debut. this is not to say that ‘just like you’ and ‘a different me’ are bad – they’re as good as ‘the way it is’. if prince were to unleash another few albums that took up where ‘1999’, ‘purple rain’ or ‘sign of the times’ left off then this would be eaten up. but keyshia’s not prince.

mariah carey – i’ll be loving you long time

‘e=mc2’ is nowhere near as good as ‘mimi’ let’s get that out of the way. and ‘touch my body’ is shit. but as r&b albums go it’s head and shoulders above most of the crap we get launched at us these days and everyone is so relieved to see her settled and wearing some clothes for once that this is good enough.

raheem devaughn  – woman

a consistent neo-soul artist who returned in 2008, like clockwork, with ‘love behind the melody’. despite the rubbish neo-soul genre tag, surely grown up soul is where the money’s at these days?

raphael saadiq – sure hope you mean it

like several others, mostly brit, artists, he went the retro route. to great effect and in a far more authentic and endearing way than gimmicky amy winehouse and duffy. raphael has, of course, been doing this since his tony toni tone days. i could have picked almost any of the tracks from ‘way i see it’ as my favourite.

snoop dogg – cool

not much promotion behind ‘ego trippin’ as it goes, which is a shame cos i heart the retro flow of this prince-inspired track and ‘sensual seduction’.

usher – before i met you

i wonder if poor old usher realised just how critical the salivating teen girls and his momager were to his success? not at all, apparently, until ‘here i stand’ bombed and he bricked it. marrying a ropey looking older woman when you have the pick of a population? bratz generation say what?

 

90s girls: the remixes December 24, 2008

 

suddenly the 90s seem like a long time ago. one more year left of the 00s, how did that happen?

i remember when these girls were ruling the clubs despite not being out of high school. aaliyah would have been the first to celebrate her 30th birthday next month.

download aaliyah remixes

back and forth – uk flavour remix

age ain’t nothin’ but a number – linslee remix with cash rex

if your girl only knew – timbaland remix with missy elliott

hot like fire – timbaland remix with missy elliott

download brandy remixes

i wanna be down – carson ca remix

baby – allstar party mix

best friend – character r&b remix with channel live

top of the world – boogiesoul remix

download monica remixes

don’t take it personal – street tracks remix

like this and like that – k.o remix with c-knowledge

before you walk out my life – pete rock remix

why i love you so much – soulpower remix

 

remix me baby November 7, 2008

bluestrawberry

there are very few tracks that I will have mutiple versions of on my ipod. seems like a waste of space.

these are all exceptions. they’re either very different form the original, resung or i just couldn’t choose between mixes…

download 90s r&b remixes

brownstone – if you love me – characters funk remix

destiny’s child – say my name – timbaland remix

groove theory – tell me – 6 karat hip hop mix

jade – don’t walk away – mack daddy walk

mariah carey – dreamlover – theo’s club joint

mary j blige – you remind me – daddy hip hop remix

mokenstef – he’s mine – big ham remix

monica – like this and like that – full crew remix

shola ama – who’s loving my baby – ignorants remix

swv – weak – bam jam’s jeep mix

tlc – creep – untouchables remix

 

the mariah factor November 2, 2008

next week is going to be so funny…i’m glad mariah has stamped her feet and demanded that if she appears, it has to be her theme week. this should sort the wheat from the chaff. if you think mariah oversings, fine, you don’t need to oversing to cover one of her songs. i’ve covered some of mariah’s less shrieky tracks before.

daniel and eoghan in particular will be stuffed, and since the group of finalists have already recorded ‘hero’ simon can’t rescue nauseating eoghan by letting him sing that cheesefest. oh shit, daniel is bound to sing ‘one sweet day’ isn’t he?

american idol’s mariah theme, i seem to remember, unendeared some of the snottier contestants to the voting public, as they acted as if mariah’s songs were beneath them. diana needs to watch her facial expressions – if she goes stroppy teenager she’s gone.

this week the nice thing is some of these suggestions might actually make it.

download mariah week

jls – always be my baby

still loving jls, i hope it’s not true that they can’t win. they should sing ‘one sweet day’ but you know tragedy exploitation expert daniel will wangle that one.

alexandra – we belong together

thank god she already sang ‘i’ll be there’. if they make her sing ‘without you’ instead of this i’ll be really pissed off.

rachel – vision of love

next week is make or break for rachel. it’s about time she got the best ‘singer’s song’ as simon likes to call them.

laura – emotions

it’ll either be really good or really bad. i don’t think she should attempt a ballad.

ruth – can’t let go

ruth needs to get back to what she does best.

diana – dreamlover

even diana can’t bend the rules on an artist theme week. i’m sure dreamlover is whimsical enough…

daniel – one sweet day

yuck…just yuck. but you know it’ll happen.

eoghan – anytime you need a friend

i’d rather the vile, tonedeaf little shit was gone and sang nothing at all.

 

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.

 

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.