dirty martini

old music for new people

on the radio April 6, 2009

mayo

before chris moyles, there was the big breakfast. before that, there was simon mayo. a national breakfast experience.

in 1991, i actually liked getting up early to listen to the radio. we always listened to simon mayo, rod mckenzie and sybil ruscoe.

the thing that was interesting about the breakfast show was that they didn’t just play the current top 40. they tried to break new music, albeit fairly commercial music, but new jack swing and r&b wasn’t huge in mainstream uk at the time and they did a decent job of representing what was happening over the pond. remember, we didn’t have access to things like the billboard or casey kasem back then.

needless to say none of these tracks became huge hits over here but i might not even know them if it weren’t for simon mayo. of course he also had a penchant for right said fred, but we’ll let that one go…

download simon mayo’s forgotten classics

hi-five – i like the way

sadly, singer tony thompson died a few years back. he was only 15 when he released this. it pretty much epitomises the era. i love this sound.

jazzy jeff and fresh prince – ring my bell

how do you follow ‘summertime’? well, that used a little known kool and the gang hook but this used a more obvious anita ward one, and suffered for it.

jody watley – i’m the one you need

very typical of the house/r&b hybrid sound of the time. it’s quite difficult to listen to now, but this one stands the test of time.

karyn white – romantic

karyn white has moderate success here, but nowhere near as much as in the states. i remember this being promoted to death, too. well, for those days – by that i mean i saw the promo for this song at least twice on national tv!

keedy – save some love

part of the miami freestyle scene, which didn’t really penetrate over here…this was her only big hit on the billboard charts.

mantronix – don’t go messing with my heart

despite the massive success of ‘got to have your love’ and ‘take your time’, this didn’t really go anywhere.  featured artist jade trini.

natural selection – do anything

playing this after practically every newsbreak didn’t help it break the top 40. now that i listen back, it’s very prince…

nona gaye – love sign

…who coincidentally featured on this nona gaye track. but his purple magic didn;t quite rub off.

paula abdul – promise of a new day

now, paula struggles to articulate entire sentences in one go on american idol, but back in 1991 she was still trying to keep her music career going with that incredibly thin voice and limited range. good job she could dance, eh?

rythm syndicate – p.a.s.s.i.o.n

another prince soundalike band. i thought the slightly noveltychorus would have made this a hit over here, but nope. bob the builder and mr blobby, yes. i despair of this country.

 

american redneck idol May 23, 2008

i can barely be bothered to watch the american idol final on itv2 tonight now that i know snoozefest david cook has won.  ooh lets kills every assigned song with exactly the same grunge rock arrangement. how clever.

grandparent favourite david archuleta was obviously not a hugely better prospect but at least he wasn’t a throwback to the early 90s unless you think the fact that he was born in 1990 qualifies that comparison. neither of them are a leona, hell, they’re not even a jordin sparks. i’m even going to go out on a limb here and say i preferred carrie unde-robot-wood and taylor ‘father ted’ hicks.

god i just didn’t really care that much about any of the contestants after chikezie went. he peaked too early with ‘i believe to my soul’. i liked syesha but she clearly wasn’t as good as similar artists from previous years, like vonzell a few years back.

do kids still listen to complaint rock? seriously? i didn’t believe it in the 90s and i don’t believe it now. scenes of kids jumping up and down on their bed playing air guitar are always the most unrealistic elements of any movie or tv show for me, and I didn’t know anyone who did that.

at least we had a few who were enjoyably shit keeping up the sanjaya malakar/that stupid marine/jasmine trias tradition. that er, jason er…dreads bloke, clinched the cringe of the ‘season’ with his double bob marley massacre. jason castro, just looked it up. kristy lee cook was unenjoyably shit. brooke white looked like a little old alien, like gail from corrie…

doubtless there will be another ‘season’ so here are some of the better performances from the last 6 years…

ruben studdard – a whole new world

latoya london – somewhere

elliot yamin – if you really love me

tamyra gray – a house is not a home

chikezie eze – i believe to my soul

jennifer hudson – weekend in new england

mario vasquez – do i do

lakisha jones – and i am telling you

anwar robinson – what’s going on

mandisa – i don’t hurt anymore

 

how do you say…deee-lite? October 30, 2007

deelite-3.jpg 

not everyone gets deeelite.

deeelite were retro at a time when retro was not cool. in 1990 we looked to the future not the past and the 70s sound was a stark reminder of the recent past. we laughed at photos of our parents in flares, platforms and afros – deeelite defiantly wore all three and looked cool. we were dumbstruck, and fell in love with their barefaced cheek.

their sound and their image complemented each other perfectly. swirly, quirky and full of colour. as 60s babies, the trio had updated the 70s rainbow funk of their childhood and updated it for the new generation. they were so not cool in terms of the new age image of the time that clothed itself in crystals and white chiffon, but their positive vibes complemented the ethos perfectly.

when they broke up in the mid 90s, it was probably just in time. their skippy, flower fairy psychedelia was still working. bjork didn’t manage to maintain it beyond one album. look what could have happened…

download here

apple juice kissing

grass roots soul – like any of today’s screechy r&b divas on valium and forced to sit in a garden all day.

groove is in the heart

this is the sampladelic relics… version as i’m sure you all have the original by now.

how do you say…love?

early house/bleep with a human edge.

picnic in the summertime

i remember the cd single cover looked like a victoria plum pencil pot i had in infant school. actually i still have the pot somewhere – and this guru remix.

power of love

the second single from their debut album ‘world clique’ and long a bone of contention for me as the single remix is vastly superior to the album version. and yet you can’t find it anywhere – so, this is a ‘pitchy’ as paula abdul would say, youtube rip.

pussycat meow

anyone remember mtv europe in the good old days? well during fashion show ‘the pulse’ (with swatch) this was often the soundtrack of choice. god the early 90s were camp…

runaway

from second album ‘infinity within’ this was a clubbier direction.

say ahh

chilled jazz hop with a floral trim.

somebody

ravey, rumbling track that was a bit darker than anything else on ‘dewdrops’.

stay in bed…forget the rest

lady miss kier can get down with the best of them…its not all butterflies and eyeliner.

what is love

bouncy rave track wth breathy vocals.

who was that?

popcorn style electro.

 

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…

 

i can’t believe it’s not prince September 22, 2007

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oh yes, this is a sequel. there are definitely more than one post’s worth of prince jackers.

download here

alexander o’neal – innocent

well, alex was in a band, flyte time, with prince in the 70s. so it’s natural that their sounds would evolve similarly. especially with jam and lewis on production duties. i heard something about alex being spotted on kilburn high road looking confused last week. wtf if a soul legend doing on kilburn high road? shopping in primark?

cassie – me and you

no she can’t sing, especially not live, but the general consensus is that she’s getting away with it cos she has hot beats courtesy of er, her man ryan leslie. this sparse track is ‘kiss’ for the 00s. but not as good, obviously.

damage – ghetto romance

a very turn of the century sounding track from the boys and i’m not sure why it reminds me of prince exactly but i want to include it so…here it is.

janet jackson – if

in your face funk. janet, like prince, was never afraid to use rock in her production. she was also never afraid to tell it like it is which is probably they were my two favourite artists of the 80s. this track is every bit as hectic as ‘my name is prince’ which was out just a bit earlier.

karyn white – hungah

karyn’s earlier efforts were 80s machine funk and new jack swing respectively but for her third album she stripped her sound down somewhat.

mario vasquez – cohiba

the first time i saw mario on american idol i thought he had the potential to perform like prince, if not to be such an all rounder.  i’m not sure why this project has stalled…

natural selection – do anything

well this track fooled me the first time i heard it. the call and response chorus is very ‘erotic city’ and the beat is like a slowed down ‘extra loveable’.

nicole scherzinger – steam

there are no shortage of prince-style beats in 2007, which is just as well as nicole isn’t interesting enough without them. i’m not sure what all the fuss is about here. this will be another flop due to deluded self-belief that she’s as interesting on her own.

paula abdul – my love is for real

after cartoon cats and ethereal ballads, paula’s third album tried to channel prince and probably was more credible although not at all a success. her vocals are the problem. i find it incredible that she now judges others and that simon cowell has managed not point out the irony.

ryan leslie – rock u

to me, most of next selection’s beats are an attempt to recreate the buzz around early 80s prince. are ryan and cassie the new prince and vanity? probably, which is proof of the decline in quality and talent in the music industry.

spl2rge – scuse me

bear with me on this one – if prince had been born in london not minneapolis, twenty five years later, this is the kind of music he would have been making.

teedra moses – backstroke

well, teedra lies about her age but she does make decent music. this is very 90s prince.