dirty martini

old music for new people

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?

 

21 again? April 9, 2008

there is no news in the revelation that celebs lie about their age but it doesn’t get any less ridiculous.

they can get caught out by their voting records like ashton kutcher, resentful ex-classmates or their own desire to purge themselves and tell the truth, thus angering their publicist.

alicia keys

enemy of the stars, wendy williams, claims that rootsy alicia isn’t quite so authentic and is a few years older than she claims. her apparent maturity suggests that this could be true. she debuted in 1997 with ‘sexy thing’ on the men in black soundtrack.

amerie

her opening offer was 1982. no one bid. do i hear 1980? *crickets* ok, 1978? going once…

beyonce

who knows if that 1974 birth certificate is real? bee looked about 27 ten years ago and rumour has it this wouldn’t be the only secret she’s managed to keep. personally i think she may be telling the truth and just had a bad case of the catherine zeta joneses. just think how old she would look if she wasn’t spending an alleged 20k a month on her beauty regime.

jennifer lopez

achieved career nirvana and sang like a canary (once) when faced with police interrogation, and admitted to being born a year earlier than previously stated. hey, who else can we do this to?

kelis

shaved a year off her age in her early career until a la guardia classmate blew the whistle. others claim its more like five years. i just don’t see the point…she’s not that type of girl. i’m going to try and be tactful here….it just doesn’t make a difference, you know?

madonna

apparently her publicist made her lie about her age in the early days, but madonna herself revealed that she was two years older, having been born the same year as wacko. bet the leotard botherer wishes she had those two years back now that the big 5-0 is approaching.

michelle williams

made the mistake of standing in front of a banner reading ‘class of 1989’ for a yearbook photo. lol. even if that was just an old banner, everyone is too ready to believe she looks old enough to be 37, so it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not.

smooth

without a shadow of a doubt the most barefaced liar on this list. check her 1990 videos on youtube when she was apparently 11. although nothing would surprise me in that family i think chris stokes has an older sister not a younger one. a source claims that she was actually 34 a few years back – you do the math.

snoop

wiki says he could be anything up to 41 years old by now. which makes sense seeing as how he’s been on the scene since i was at school…and i’m not going into how long ago that was right now…

teedra moses

i’ve mentioned her age on here before and been told off (well, as far as you can tell someone who isn’t bothered). the wiki changed pretty quickly from 82 to 76 and that’s only three years off the truth. progress.

 

‘…sounds a bit like prince…’ January 4, 2008

snoopss3.jpg

 as a new artist, or even as an established artist, one of the greatest endorsements is to be labelled as sounding ‘a bit like prince’.

the saving grace of lazy journalists everwhere, these few words can rescue a flopping album, even if they are only bestowed upon one or two tracks. now that prince himself is more rock-fixated, the promise of just one or two scraps reminiscent of his 80s prime can be sufficient to spark interest amongst the musical cognoscenti.

to a lesser extent, this peculiar brand of retro copycat hype has previously been applied to artists lauded as the new ‘stevie wonder’ or ‘madonna’. there isn’t going to be a new prince, and it turned out out that those artists were similarly irreplaceable. the excitable, yet totally unreal, music journalism of the the late 90s has given way to a more considered approach.

we don’t need a new prince – clearly the man has produced gargantuan amounts of music and yet more could be unleashed at any point (please). the accessibility of retro music means that we don’t need rafts of exciting new artists – gone are the days when you had to pay a premium to get hold of music that was no longer in the charts.

we just need a few new songs every now and then. and they should sound as much like ‘when doves cry’ as possible.

download here

alicia keys – like you’ll never see me again

debuted with an album containing a prince cover – a b side no less, to show her fan credentials.  on this track, not only the production, but the vocal style and lyrics ooze purple. a lesser artist could be accused of bandwagon hopping but alicia has already proved herself.

chris brown – take you down

chris brown, however, has clearly been advised that the tumble tots r&b will only take him so far and is trialling a new, more adult musical direction – prince. job one should have been to work on that childish feature in his voice that makes him sound like he’s not old enough to form singular vowels – evidence: ‘you make me say yeeeeeoooooaaaaaawwwwww’. shit, my cat forms better vowels than that.

the dream – fast car

i like what i’ve heard from the dream so far, which isn’t a lot. but this and album track ‘nikki’ do reek of ‘obligatory prince-esque production’ to hook gullible and lazy journalists and perk up enthusiastic but clueless PR. basically this is ‘little red corvette’ not-so-updated for the 00s.

erykah badu – honey

an interesting detour for ms badu. i love her music but neo-soul artists can often fall into the dull and worthy trap, making their albums unlistenable by the time they get to their fourth outing.

justin timberlake and beyonce – until the end of time

the influence is slightly more subtle here, but those ‘when doves cry’ instruments are there, just slower, and the overall vibe is classic prince slow jam.

kevin michael – liquid lava love

like robin thicke with a curly afro and arguably more soul. expect big things from this one.

ne-yo – sex with my ex

ne-yo got a lot of stick for allegedly being gay. then when he fathered a child, he got a lot of stick for being ugly. now he’s getting a lot of stick for churning out a raft of soundalike tracks for the artsts he produces for. with all this abuse perhaps he’ll soon have more in common with craaaaaaig david.

p diddy and keyshia cole – last night

an absolute, straight in your face ‘erotic city’ ripoff so blatant that you can’t really argue. as ever, diddy’s montone adds little to the proceedings.

ryan leslie – i-r-i-n-a

ryan leslie’s productions have more than a whiff of purple about them but his own album was fairly narrative and self-celebratory which isn’t prince’s style. prince’s lyrics are cute and playful and focus on the subject rather than the protagonist and so i’m talking production similarities here – there’s no parallel in terms of subject matter, although this is the closet r-les gets to purple greatness.

snoop – sensual seduction

the video and lyrics are classic prince, but the production?  not like anything i’ve heard from prince, but perhaps i’m missing something. the synths are straight out of early 90s chillout, i’m pretty sure they’re too floaty and random for the machine funk of the 80s. nice combo though, me likey.

sterling simms – nasty girl

sterling jumps right back to late 70s prince while everyone else tries to recreate the 80s.

van hunt – hot stage lights

i only just listened to van hunt after hearing his name for years. and now i have a new musical crush. the only good thing about discovering artists late is that there is usually plenty of material to whet your appetite.

 

you can’t give a baby booze September 3, 2007

blurry-spirits.jpg

 drinking and music just works.  given that we do not live in a musical and most of us aren’t one of the kids from fame, we need a little liquid encouragement to start shaking it in a public place.

alcohol has moved on during my clubbing lifetime. in my early 90s, underage with someone else’s fake ID days, we drank some disgusting concoctions. snakebite and black, pernod and black, malibu and pineapple. not forgetting of course the infamous taboo and mirage which were rubbish because they didn’t get you pissed as quickly. pimms was avoided for the very same reason. it was spirits, cider, lager and wine.

the alcopops invasion happened when i started university, with hooch and two dogs ‘lemonade’. the former made my throat hurt it was so acidic and the latter’s alcohol content seemed to be entirely derived from sugar. bacardi breezers are still going strong but others we have loved and lost – ginzing, jammin’ (loved the blue and silver ones, yellow banana one was yuck), decoda (cream soda, yum), metz, woody’s and the best ever, smirnoff mule.

when you’re a penniless student though, sod sophistication and refinement. your alcohol budget (all of your available cash not spent on bus fare and bagels) can be stretched further than six 79p alcopops from the offie. oh yes, you can make the ‘i’ve been tangoed’ by mixing lambrusco, gin and orange juice for that just been hit over the head feeling. the unpopular and therefore cheap castaway, mixed with diamond white for a cocktail that will render you senseless in the student bar. 

once you graduate and have a bit more cash (I did only say a bit) all three flavours of aftershock can be dumped into a pint glass containing a bottle of smirnoff ice to produce a deceptively misty looking yet lethal concoction best consumed when you have a designated driver. ok, as a girl, i have never done this but its a twentysomething male staple along with vodka and red bull for those morning after shakes.

now? well, if i order a cocktail that costs less than a fiver I congratulate myself on not going overboard. pathetic…

download here

2pac – pour out a little liquor

busta rhymes – pass the courvoisier

d’angelo – one mo’ gin

j-kwon – tipsy

jutbox and cassie – at the bar

omarion and usher – icebox

public announcement – put your drink down

snoop dogg – gin and juice

solange knowles – champagne chronic nightcap

tony toni tone – slow wine

too short – cocktails

ub40 – red red wine

young black teenagers – tap the bottle