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?

 

vote jls December 1, 2008

jls2

i want jls to win the x factor. i also love alex but think she’ll do well whatever happens now. i can’t stand diana or eoghan! even though i’m not a fan of rock music, I liked ruth and loved her purple rain performance.

but i just love jls, there are so many reasons why it would be good for them to win. they’re talented, seem to be really nice people and just work really well together. they should have sung ‘born to make you happy’ on saturday night, by the way.

god i would be such a better mentor than louis although several million other could claim the same thing. loving james corden slating britney – the idea that she has a back catalogue worthy of a theme is pathetic. given that she’s in cahoots with brian friedman it wasn’t that difficult to negotiate her appearance, surely?

ruth is now urging her fans to support jls and alex – good for her, and this speaks volumes about the brattish behaviour of diana and eoghan. diana appears to believe her own hype and eoghan clearly believes simon’s relentless ‘you’re the one to beat’ mantra. simon – you can keep saying it but it won’t become true.

interesting that in a week where diana was told to tone down her quirkiness, she took it to new levels by actually snarling into the mic during ‘everybody hurts’. the judges, even cheryl, clearly have time for her after the fake laryngitis hissy fit, alleged diva strop when she wasn’t given a song she liked last week and now possibly bringing the show into disrepute if the rumours that she is pregnant with eggnog’s child are true.

eggnog…i mean, who the fuck is voting for this talentless irksome brat? be ashamed of yourselves.

download jls song choices

112 – only you

after 7 – can’t stop

alexander o’neal – criticize

another level – be alone no more

bell biv devoe – poison

bobby brown – don’t be cruel

hi-five – i like the way

lemar – if there’s any justice

new edition – mr telephone man 

new kids on the block – if you go away

take that – pray

troop – sweet november

 

tv heaven November 9, 2008

zammojackie

tv and music were once an unholy alliance. you didn’t get leona lewis, you got bonnie langford. actors who thought they could sing and songs used in adverts and tv themes populated the charts.

old skool tv tracks

babylon zoo – spaceman

once used in a levi’s ad, forever lodged in a nation’s consciousness. you’d forgotten it? well in 1995, people had forgotten about the jeans. each new ad was notable for the soundtrack and model, with jeans rapidly disappearing off the radar until flat eric and destiny’s child revived them complete with sequins and glitter a few years later.

five star – stay out of my life

a rework of this five star track moonlighted as the theme tune to citv game show ‘how dare you’, variously presented by playschool’s floella benjamin and bucks fizz alumni cheryl baker. it’s a hazy memory but i do remember a lot of gunge being thrown around.

brown sauce – i wanna be a winner

cheggers and soon-to-be but now ex-wife maggie philbin wrongly assumed that their presenting roles on saturday morning tv show the multicoloured swap shop implied any kind of musical talent. so, those of you who thought his career low point was baring his arse on ‘naked jungle’ were wrong. thank god for ‘cheggers plays pop’. i loved that, always wanted the yellows to win and they never did.

marlena shaw – california soul

kfc as soul food? genius. it’s not quite momma cherri’s but as close as a lot of people are going to get. soul food, like mexican and swiss cuisine, is way underrepresented in the UK.

dennis waterman – i could be so good for you

forget little dennis waterman in the little britain sketch, funny though it is. in the 80s, in ‘minder’, dennis was cool. this fell apart roughly around the same time as we found out that minger laura from eastenders was his daughter. you remember, the one who was married to ian beale, and in her 40s, played by someone in their 20s. yep, that minging.

dexy’s midnight runners – because of you

became the theme tune to popular 80s sitcom ‘brush strokes’ featuring the actor who has appeared in mr muscle adverts for the last ten years or so, as jacko. elmo putney and his pink wine bar…what happened to wine bars? in my not very legal drinking years the last few were dying out. this, and the one in ‘only fools and horses’ that del fell over in, are places I would have liked to frequent…for the kitsch value, naturally…

grange hill – just say no

yes, just a few years later on ‘the word’ the cast collided with the early 90s rave scene and undid all that good work…one of my favourite things about watching old grange hill episodes, apart from jackie and zammo, is the accents. no one speaks like that now! i’m not even sure they did then. they’re supposed to be cockneys!

v capri – haunting me

thought angry anderson was bad? this song featured in an episode, i think, where scott and charlene had split, but he raced to a bus station (always a bus station) to stop her moving to brisbane. cue lots of flashbacks of them playing on swings, slides, roundabouts..in other words the cheesiest bit of tv you’re ever likely to see. look it up on youtube.

cathy dennis – irresistable

used in a 1992 sky campaign. pretty sure the only reason it’s embedded in my memory is the fact that i – literally – watched cable for 20 hours a day back then. studs and full house on sky one, on the air with clive pearse on super channel, most wanted with ray cokes…good times.

joey scarbury – believe it or not

possibly the most 80s theme tune ever, from ‘the greatest american hero’. inspired later efforts for ‘cheers’, ‘the golden girls’ and ‘my two dads’.

robin beck – first time

everyone in coke ads was cool. even if they were in the middle of falling over, their first kiss, being hit by a tidal wave, whatever, because they were a) in slow motion and b) had a coke in their hand, the object of their desire still fancied them and they were unflappable. no wonder 80s kids are all in therapy now…

savage garden – truly madly deeply

ah yes, melted chocolate voiced savage garden, were a perfect fit with wet blanket dawson and the other improbably sensitive and articulate river kids. can’t remember if the song actually featured in the series or was just a channel 4 hookup.

 

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.

 

burn baby burn November 1, 2008

i had hope that the shock exit of disco week would be be overstyled, overindulged irish brat eoghan. can’t see him doing too well on mariah carey week, can you? yes, it would even be worth cringing through another week of shameless opportunist daniel trying to parlay his loss into a career. just. as long as we can finally get shot of him the week after.

my retrospective wishlist for disco week. note, these are based on what would actually do the contestants justice, not the limited x factor playlist based on the paranoid assumption that every brit is too stupid to vote on the basis of a good performance. and only recognises a performance as such if the song in questions is a wedding reception or car advert staple and they already know all the words.

oh, and they’re actual disco numbers. not just songs from the mid-late 70s which some idiots equate with disco. of course the usual american idol/pop isdol/popstars faves were wheeled out…

download disco

jls – should have sung ‘heartache no9’ by delegation

but, good song choice for them tonight and nowhere near as predictable as i was fearing (more than a woman, relight my fire). i really want them to win – i think in terms of the credibility of the show and its future, they are the most likely to do well. leona ensured its relevance a few years back but its time for another real winner.

alex – should have sung ‘you know how to love me’ by phyllis hyman

what is it about that ‘on the radio’ song? it’s ok but it’s a nothing song. no opportunity show off her vocals, a complete waste.

rachel – should have sung ‘got to be real’ by cheryl lynn

you can’t help but like rachel. she’s coping admirably with her mentor, considering that given her background, a spoilt, childish and desperate woman like dannii must seem twice as irritating. tonight’s song choice was as ridiculous as ever. sack your mentor, rachel!

ruth should have sung ‘more more more’ by andrea true connection

should have been in her element next week as spain loves it some disco. still. another disco week another donna summer track. simon really needs to put some cash behind those song rights so we don’t have to endure the same tired old numbers next year. it’s like a pub jukebox that never gets refreshed.

laura should have sung ‘street life’ by crusaders

she sang jocelyn brown in the auditions, i thought they used to criticise contestants for that…anyway it was good but i think her days are numbered now that she has been revealed to cavorting with an itv insider.

diana should have sung ‘heart of glass’ by blondie

come on, blondie is only borderline disco, you could have chosen one on the fucking line. ‘call me’ is a rock track. one week, diana will actually sing something from the required theme.

austin should have sung ‘rock with you’ by michael jackson

he probably was always too much of a gypo to win. i don’t know what it is about him. at first he just looked really dirty and unhealthy, and now he’s channelling pale and gaunt, but cleaner looking, 80s popstars.

daniel should have sung ‘instant replay’ by dan hartman

perhaps that should read ‘daniel should be able to sing if he’s been put in final 12 of the x factor, instead of wasting a spot that could have been given to someone with talent’. there.

eoghan should have sung – in tune

are the judges deaf? it’s like they were preprogrammed to ignore how resoundingly crap he would inevitably be. he’s been shit every week but this week was atrocious. get him out, now, i refuse to choose a song for him.

 

the prince factor October 20, 2008

well, who saw that coming? ruth lorenzo appears to have had more hits today on youtube for her bottom two performance than anyone other contestant.

it was a great performance, but the fact that so many people love the song plays a big part. it isn’t hard to predict that you will hear ‘i have nothing’, ‘i’ll be there’ and ‘summertime’ at least once every series. michael jackson week was slightly better than the usual themes.

apparently next week is big band…for christ’s sake. who listens to big band? if they do beatles, abba, david cassidy or rod stewart again i’m going on strike. these artists are hopelessly out of date. if any contestant struggle to cover one of their songs convincingly it says absolutely nothing about their talent for singing songs within a genre they ARE interested in pursuing.

the only theme worth introducing is prince. it’s a fair theme for everyone. prince covers the musical spectrum and so provides a level playing field.

there is no shortage of prince on this blog and i make no apology…

who influenced prince?

purple hook-ups

‘sounds a bit like prince…’

more princespiration

i can’t believe it’s not prince

the best prince setlist ever

rare prince

more rare prince

prince’s protegees

with that in mind, here are my suggestions…

prince week

jls – diamonds and pearls

alex – i feel for you

rachel – nothing compares 2 u

ruth – purple rain (obviously)

laura – if i was your girlfriend

austin – little red corvette

diana – if i love u tonight

eoghan – alphabet st (although i would refuse to watch)

bluecoat –  i could never take the place of your man

daniel – 1999 (for the comedy value)

 

the ex factor October 18, 2008

guess who i’m loving this year?

so far this series is shaping up much better than the last. of course the judges have made mistake in their choices. especially simon, who needs a new sidekick to replace sinitta, a woman who not only wants us to believe that she’s been 39 for the last ten years, but who also allowed mali-michael to slip away in favour of a fucking bluecoat.

let me preface what i’m about to say by admitting that i have never had any time for cheryl cole and think she’s the weakest singer in girls aloud. BUT she is the only judge who got her top 3 spot on. louis needs to give up on the 90s, simon needs to stop trying to hoist demonic kids on the general public and dannii…needs to learn about the music industry. and then she might not only become a better judge but also find out why her career was such a damp squib that she was still doing guest spots more than ten years after arriving on the scene.

let’s hope the rumours that sharon will return to replace spoon face are true.

as is tradition, these are the songs they should sing, but won’t cos…they just won’t.

download here

alexandra

toni braxton – love shoulda brought you home

obviously the best singer but not sure she can win unless the sob stories are ejected early. i can see her coming a cropper against some talentless waste of space, a la maria lawson.

austin

prince – raspberry beret

looks like he was brought up on crisps. he’ll need to overcome the slightly mangy air he has about him if he doesn’t want to repel the snootier class of x factor voter with his caravantastic style.

bad lashes

sugababes – overload

bit too desperate, not at all surprising to me that they received the boot in the first week. when will girls who try too hard to be alternative realise that this completely misses the point they were trying to make…

daniel

simply red – you’ve got it

they took it a bit too far with the sympathy vote this year…when it comes to picking finalists you have to put emotion aside. that said, his ricky gervais inspired performance last week was supremely entertaining, for all the wrong reasons.

diana

tasmin archer – sleeping satellite

the music diana would make would be a million miles from the type of thing i would ever listen to, but i just about get why shes in the finals. she reminds me a bit, unfortunately, of the girl who claimed to invent indie music, said something racist and got slung out of big brother last year.

eoghan

stevie wonder – sir duke (because he couldn’t and then he’d get the boot – yay!)

x factor law dictates that there is always a token irish contestant who’s shit but provides louis with a valuable opportunity to remind everyone why they don’t take his decisions at all seriously, at each once a series. remember those hideous conway sisters? this one looks like a cross between jamie oliver and a vole.

girlband

don’t care…oh they should just go all out to escape the boot by singing a girls aloud song – chemistry

won’t win unless hell freezes over. how this lot got through i have no idea…girls aloud’s success is completely owed to stylists and producers. not louis walsh. this lot might as well rename themselves ‘girls are loud’ and start impersonating them at student unions.

jls

new edition – mr telephone man

love them. there are so many reasons why they should win and i hope they do. whether they’ll strike the right note with the sat-at-home chavs who vote thirty times a night is another matter. there are so many potential songs for them…I’d like to see them take it back to the 80s at some point.

laura

keyshia cole –  i just want it to be over

has a funny mouth. whether or not this will endear her to voters or put them off their chicken korma remains to be seen. is undeniably talented but it’s so obvious with some of these really young contestants that they’ve grown up imitating certain singers and you start to wonder whether’s it’s really ‘them’.

rachel

chaka khan – i know you, i live you

you know how it is when you have a boss who is shit at their job and you not so secretly believe that you know better? that was all over rachel’s face last week. dannii made herself and robyn, who could but wish to be able to sing like rachel, look like muppets.

ruth

jennifer lopez – if you had my love

not a very spanish name, ruth, is it? that girl has the biggest hair i’ve ever seen too. i bet she needs a lot of product to keep it under control. i think my hair might be spanish. she’s going to run out of recognisable latin songs to sing…but she might as well put jennifer lopez’s vocal skills in perspective while she’s at it.

the bluecoat

take that – pray

i couldn’t give a shit what his name is. he’s not even a redcoat, for fuck’s sake. at least butlins had those cool indoor swimming things with the flumes, back in the day. anyway, anyone who can’t even stand up to a mentor who makes them sing a 23 year old song by matt bianco has got no chance. what on earth was simon thinking? does he not even want to win anymore?