dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Fanny Pack

We are totally being held at gunpoint by rabid Chart Rigger fan Shananay LaChild. It seems she just got the Fantasia CD at the swap meet, and she wants you to all feel her pain:

Girl, 'member how even though as soon as you saw those fanny packs in the '90s, they wuz just tacky, but they got mo' and mo' popular for a long time -- especially with those white folks?

Well, a new kind of trashy fanny pack is back. It's Free Yourself, a pack of songs from "Fanny" Fantasia Barrino, winner of cheese-fest American Idol. You know the voice -- she sound like a cross between Macy Gray and a homeless crackhead 'hood rat, auditioning
for a "Chicken tonight!" commercial!

In other words -- she real ghetto! This debut CD is loaded with R&B driven tunes that someone fished out of Clive Davis's trash can, Xeroxed, and then slapped together as an album. Being an opportunistic yenta, ole Clive couldn't resist putting his name on as "Producer" so he can be first in line to collect them royalty checks.

This CD sounds like something Beyonce and Mary J. might have sputtered out into da toilet bowl after a hard night of drinking -- or taking it up the Jelly by Jay Z. The best highlight is the Ebonics sassy stylin' shout out, "Baby Mama." She black, single, got kids and all that! Check out the lyrics:

I see you get that support check in the mail
Ya open it and your like "What the Hell"

It's about time we had our own song
Don't know what took so long
Cuz now-a-days it like a badge of honer
To be a baby mama

This goes out to all my baby mamas
I got love for all my baby mamas

Let's all hope Fanny's Pack is as short lived as Macy
Gray's career, and not nearly as long as those real fanny packs lasted.

Get Back, JoJo

Hey! We like JoJo. Well, at least I do. She's like a Cambpell's Soup kid crossed with Lindsay Lohan. She also gets bonus points for looking kind of like our friend Meg. But don't get JoJo wrong - according to her new song and video, "Not That Kind of Girl," she's not into the fame game. No, JoJo prefers wearing hoodies and playing with her iPod. What else do you like, JoJo?

"I like daffodils."

Aww. How can you not love that? The best thing about JoJo's rocket to stardom is that you just know she's three seconds away from the "becoming mature", Britney/ Avril complete image makeover. She wants it, she's going to have it, she's practically already there with her one-piece jumpsuits and age-inappropriate make-up. She's also filming a movie in Australia entitled "Aquamarine," which we hope is about her favorite color of tube top. (Actually, it's about two girls who find a mermaid. Sounds magical.)

In the meantime, before she "blossoms," check out JoJo's awesome single "Baby It's You." It follows the I'm-not-superficial-because-I-like-hoodies theme of her entire debut album (we forget what it's called, but surely WalMart has overstocked it to the brim and you won't have any trouble finding it), set to a peppy R&B beat. Enjoy it now before she hires the Neptunes and gets all serious.

There's also a wicked Ultimix of "Baby It's You" which can be heard frequently at clubfmradio.com. Oh JoJo, don't ever grow up.

Careless Blather

The gay men of pop are such predictable drama queens. First it was Sir Elton, braying to the press about "leaving the biz," now George Michael is taking the failure of his last single as an opportunity to announce his retirement. These people can afford therapy -- must they let their insecure fantasies take up valuable press time? There's a war going on! And are we supposed to pretend not to notice when he's back in six months with a new single and no mea culpa?

A few weeks ago (hey, we're Chart Rigger, not CNN.com), George told the UK press he was quitting pop music forever, for all the usual whiny reasons. The industry "has changed," no one is in it for "the music" anymore, blah blah blah. Well if no one's in it for the music anymore, lady, how do you explain Nicki French's career resurrection? Or the existence of JoJo? Or the fact that Veruca Salt are still touring? Hmm?

At the end of his PR rant, George added he would really like to concentrate on movie musicals. Which kind of nullifies the whole idea of leaving the spotlight forever, doesn't it?

One More Try

I have a special place in my heart for the middle-aged ladies of dance, I do, and an especially wet portion of my aorta is cordoned off for the queen of 'em all, Kristine W. Nuff respect!

For every disco floozy who one day longs to be taken seriously for her songwriting skillz (which is just about all of them), she's the only one with the skillz to pay the billz. Of course, it's hard to pay any billz when the only hitz you have are imaginary (aka number one on the Billboard Club Play Chart) and the W's considerable gifts have been greeted with mainstream ignorance for the past decade or so. On the eve of her latest single, "The Wonder of It All," we salute Krissy's tenacity and pray that Tommy Boy doesn't cancel it at the last minute and drop her like a sack of Amber-flavored potatoes. Of course, if released, "Wonder" will most certainly flop, which is a shame as it's the best thing she or anyone has ever done in the past one hundred years. A meditative deathbed ballad over a dissonantly poppy Erasure-esque arrangement, sans any hint of beats or bass, "The Wonder of It All" is both uplifting and funereal, mysterious enough for post-club chill and accessible enough for McDonald's morning muzak. We're feeling, to paraphrase the song, Kristine's "last one's done and gone and gone and gone," but we hope we're wrong. If we're not, we're glad somebody took the time to leave behind music as touching and memorable as this.

The requisite remixes add nothing but noise (Mig N' Brett's rub being the clear winner in an ignore-the-sad-lyrics-let's-dance sweepstakes) but that doesn't mean it's not worth $8.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Gun Control

Definitely the highlight of the Veruca Salt show Friday night was discovering opening band Shiny Toy Guns. We walked in a bit after they had started, but we could tell we were gonna love them as we climbed the steps and were assaulted by their sassy electro beats.

They're kind of like a younger cross between Scissor Sisters and Saint Etienne. The band all wore white, with bouncy singer Carah in white pants and a white jacket, dancing all over the stage as hottie singer/guitarist Chad posed and harmonized with her. Chad even took over vocal duties on '80s-soaked pop tunes like "Rainy Monday" and "Waiting." You ain't lived 'til you've seen Carah minx it up performing "Le Disko!"

We chatted with the drummer's dad, who was selling their CD We Are Pilots, after the show. He said Universal is looking closely at the as-yet unsigned band. You can download some of their songs and order their CD off the band's official site. We definitely reccommend checking out "Rainy Monday." It's guaranteed to go into heavy rotation on your car stereo! But skip the pointless note-for-note cover of "Puttin' On The Ritz."

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Lay Off The Salt

Last night The Duke and I went to see Veruca Salt play at The Viper Room. Now, I have a very fond memory of the first time I heard their seminal '90s brat rock anthem, "Seether" -- it was December '94, and I was heavily into Pepsi, because I was studying for my finals in the study lounge on my dorm room floor, and I needed caffeine! The Duke had just sent me a tape from L.A., where he was going to film school, and "Seether" was on it. I wore the damn tape out playing that sassy rocker over and over! I have less cherished memories of when I lived in Pittsburgh with a lesbian who used to play "Volcano Girls" over and over, but I digress.

Now, The Duke has been a huge fan of VS since their debut album, American Thighs, and he's had a major crush on Louise Post for 11 years. So, we were all excited to go see the show last night. Of course, Nina Gordon, the other pretty face behind the band, had left in early '98 -- but Louise Post still carries on.

Yeah, so the show was rockin' alright, and the place was packed. But I guess Louise has pretty much replaced her former, uh, substance abuse habits with a love of food. It looked like she's been washing down a pack of pink snowballs with a gallon of chocolate milk ever day for the past decade. It's like, Baby, we know you can rock the pink guitar, but how about jammin' on the treadmill now and then?

The poor Duke. His teenage dreams were left shattered.


Well, you knew this one was coming. After three UK singles ("Heaven & Earth," "Can't Say Goodbye" and "Serious") that tried, but failed, to land in the Top 10, pop puppets Scooch, er, Fast Food Rockers... sorry, now what were their names again? Oh, yeah -- Pop!.... Pop! have been dropped by Sony BMG. Out of respect, we're playing the "WIP Shala WAP" mix of "Serious" while we mop the bathroom floor.

In a note on one of the fansites for the group, tall, dark and handsome Glenn had this to say:

Heyy guys,

I promised quite a few of ya that I would come on as soon as I heard anything about the fourth single or the band, unfortunately we are not going ahead with the fourth single. BMG have decided they don?t want to pump any more money into the project. its a shame cause xanido is a great song and was already to go, but they looked at the last 3 and decided it wasnt worth it. All 4 of us have had a wicked time this year, and I personally have met some great people including you lot. We all wanted it so bad but I guess 'pop' just isn?t quite on the turn around yet. we all agree that next summer there will be another pop! that will just blow up cause it will be the right time. I hope to see ya all soon, thanks for ya support, ur all wicked
Love Glenn
PS, look out for me dancing with ya favourite bands!!!

Well, maybe if Glenn goes back to grammar school, he might have more success in the music biz. Let's hope the labels and producers realize that dredging up the same formula that hasn't worked since Steps just ain't gonna cut it anymore. A little bit of originality would be nice.

Last Night Billie Joe Was All Lookin' Good And Stuff

So, last night I was at this really dumb party that I didn't even want to go to in the first place, and I was all, "This is boring and stuff." My totally dumb friend who was at the party with me pulled me over and said, "I want you to, like, meet Billie Joe," and I was like, "Whatever," but then it was all Billie Joe from Green Day and he was all lookin' good and stuff!

So, BJ and I got to talking about, like, clothes and stuff, and then it was like an hour later and we were all in another room all alone and making out and stuff. My hands were totally on his, like, butt and I was all untucking his shirt. It was totally hot!

BJ and I were totally gonna go to like 2nd base, but then the f***ing alarm clock went off and I, like, totally woke up. How pissed was I when me 'n' Billie Joe making out was totally just a dream? For real! I was, like, "No! Don't do this to me!" He was all cute and stuff and his butt was real hot!

So, I totally got out a hammer and smashed my alarm clock. I miss you, Billie Joe! Post a comment with your phone number if you ever read this!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Just How PopUlar?

Darren Hayes seemed to be having a hard time with his sophomore solo album, The Tension And The Spark. The first single, "PopUlar," was a hit in his homeland of Australia, but in the UK, it debuted at #11 and dropped off the charts faster than Geri Halliwell's pants at a frat party. "Darkness," the second single, flopped in Austrlia and got yanked from it's November release date in the UK indefinitely.

Yet somehow, "PopUlar" has resurfaced in the US, and this week has sauntered up the Billboard Dance chart to #1! Pretty amazing, since The Tension And The Spark has yet to see the light of day here, with Sony seeming very iffy on it being released. In fact, Darren's only US live performance has been a tsunami benefit concert last month in New York.

Although, we're sure Darren would probably rather the dance chart success cross over into some pop chart success and radio airplay. After all, how's a poor bloke supposed to make a few royalties?

Maybe his current home (he lives in the States now, in San Francisco --ahem!) will show the love, and he'll join the ranks of, among others, Boy Krazy, whose 1993 hit "That's What Love Can Do" tanked in the UK when it was originally released in 1990 -- only to magically find a life in US clubs two years later, resulting in a Top 20 here. We feel we should point out that it made the last time Stock/Aitken/Waterman had a hit single in the US charts. Yeah, yeah, yeah -- Nicki French's "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" was only Stock/Aitken.

Also, Chart Rigger fave Rick Astley found his career looking rather, uh, hopeless when he released "Hopelessly" in the UK in 1993. The single managed to become a hit in the US, albeit his last one. Hey, we remember it being played at the mall a lot! Okay, we really just wanted an excuse to mention The Rickster. C'mon, it's been a couple weeks.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Chart Don't Lie

Alright, it's time for our first ever weekly roundup of the only songs worth llstening to on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Hopefully we'll actually remember to do this on a weekly basis. Up first is Green Day with "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," which jumps up a notch to #2. Unfortunately, 50 Cent hopped in at #1 this week with one of his 37 songs in the Top 40, but since Green Day still has a bullet, maybe they can knock that f***er out soon. "Boulevard" truly deserves to go to #1, if only for the fact that it's been the one consistent pop song in the Top 10 for the past few months, amid a slew of R&B sound-alikes. Not only that, it's the best single of the band's career in our opinion.

Up next is the Max Martin-produced "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson at #8. Thank God Max decided to step out of his pseudo-retirement. Granted, he may have been a bit embarrassed by the teen pop revolution he had a heavy hand in 5 years back, but that makes it all the more refreshing to see him back with a different sound. We like to play this song while we tear up pictures of our exes!

Also by Kelly Clarkson, "Breakaway" is still hanging out in the Top 20, this week at #16. This is just one of those pop songs that never get old. We were actually pretty sure it was curtains for Kelly when all the other Idol winners started flopping. It's interesting to note that she's really the only one of that whole clan who is guaranteed radio airplay on Top 40 stations. It's also nice to see a young female pop star who isn't popping up in the tabloids every week with her tongue shoved down some other b-lister's throat. Aww, good Kelly!

Okay, so the next 10 songs are utter crap - which brings us to The Killers at #28 with "Mr. Brightside." We've already professed our lust for Brandon Flowers and everything The Killers do, so we'll just add that we're sitting at home today waiting for him to come over dressed as a UPS delivery man. Bring the package over, Brando.

Finally, this is totally shameless, but we're giving a mention to Rob Thomas,- in at #31 with his solo song "Lonely No More" - because now that he cut off all his hair, he looks HOT! In fact, when Brandon brings that package over, maybe he can have Rob jump out of it. At any rate, this tune, like most by Matchbox Twenty, is annoyingly catchy, but in that I can't let anyone know I like this song kind of way. We're still trying to get "Unwell" out of our heads two years later!

That's it for this week. Do like we are, and go play those chart #'s in the lottery today! Actually, if you live in California or Pennsylvania, don't! We wanna win it all for ourselves. We're not greedy. We just wanna be rich so people will like us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Did We Ever Really Love Her?

Of course we did! UK singer Nicki French is set to release a new single over there on May 2nd called "Calling Out My Name." You can catch a 50-second or so clip of it on her official website.

We kinda thought her last single, "I Surrender," was ho-hum. It certainly didn't have any of the frenetic fun of the songs from her Love This salad days. "Calling Out My Name," however, is pure pop bliss, babes! So make sure you snag a copy from the import bins!

Speaking of Love This, her site says to look out for "Total Eclipse Of The Heart 2005" this summer. How many times are we gonna need to ask, "Has it really been 10 years?"

I'll Have What She's Having

Here's an actual conversation I overheard in a restaurant tonight:

Saul: I think my doctor's one of the queers!
Morty: Oh, Jesus.
Saul: I'm tellin' ya! I was getting my colonoscopy, then I felt his hands on my shoulders!
Saul: What did you do?
Morty: I said, "I don't mind, but we're takin' half off the bill!"
Saul: I'll tell ya who's a fagala, is that Michael Jackson! He's queer on the boys!
Morty: Oy! He's got the queer in him, alright! They should throw him into prison with the schvatsas!
Saul: Oh, it's a disgrace!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Moving Asses

Boy, am I on a rock kick lately. It's just something to hold me over 'til Nicki French's next single, I swear!

I caught The Secret Machines last night at Avalon in Hollywood. They were good, as usual, but I was more impressed with opening act Moving Units. I had never heard of them before, but the throng of kids jumping around while the band cranked out its energetic beat-driven dance/rock seemed to be passionately possessed by them. The crowd was bouncing all over the place!

They fall into the same category as The Bravery in my book, something I'll call "Post New Order Pop." Nevertheless, they're worth checking out. Here's their site. Their CD Dangerous Dreams is out in stores now. There's also a 12" for single "Available" that can be ordered on the site.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

It's About Time

Ah, it's spring time (well, almost), and what could be better than a brand new single from Natalie Imbruglia to get us in the mood for breezy, sunny days watching the clouds roll by in the lazy afternoon?

"Shiver" is the first single off Imbruglia's forthcoming album, Counting Down The Days. It looked pretty sketchy when her last album, White Lilies Island, met with a universal ho-hum three years ago. Personally, we always thought "Beauty On The Fire" was one of the most underrated singles of 2002! Thankfully, after many delayed release dates and Natalie having throat surgery, the new album is finally seeing the light of day.

For those of you who thought the last album was all doom and gloom, "Shiver" is more in the vain of the one upbeat tune from the last set, "Wrong Impression." It's got a catchy chorus that sticks in your head for days at a time! Perfect!

The single comes out March 21st in the UK, and the album hits shelves there on April 4th.

Concert On A Rainy Weekend

The Interpol show on Friday night was amazing. It's been a long time since I've been to a concert where I really just blocked out everyone around me and enjoyed the band.

They played pretty much every song off the latest CD, Antics, and about 6 or 7 tracks from the first one. Toward the end of the show, a couple of guys ran up on stage and threw their arms around singer Paul Banks.

With the first the fan, the blond frontman didn't know what to make of the sudden burst of affection. Clearly, he'd never been to a Morrissey concert.

When the second guy ran up on stage, bassist Carlos D kicked him in the leg. Yeah, Carlos sucks in my book. Paul seemed less shook up the second time around, and security quickly grabbed the scraggly twenty-something and dragged him off into the abyss of the backstage, and most likely tossed him out into a dumpster in the rain.

Check out the band's official website to see creepy new video for the lastest single, "Evil."

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Friday, February 18, 2005

Where The Hell's My Ride?

It's Friday night and I'm sitting waiting to be picked up by Miguel (and he's super late, as usual!) to go see Interpol downtown at L.A.'s Grand Olympic Auditorium. Sounds like a complete dive hiding behind a classy name. I'm playing the group's latest album, Antics - which I bought in New York City this past fall - to get in the mood.

Last night I caught Ringside at the Viper Room. Monday night it's The Secret Machines, then Veruca Salt a couple nights later.

I hope Interpol are good. I've heard they're better on their albums than live. Guess I'll find out soon. At any rate, "Not Even Jail" off their latest should be the next single. It's too much of a perfect rock anthem to go without radio airplay!

Who The **** Is Kitten Pinder?

Crikey! Sometimes even Chart Rigger fucks it up. In our zeal and impatience to line the borders of our lovely site with our favorite pop stars, we [Moogaboo: ahem!]... okay... I went on a hunt for a photo of Jarvis Cocker, which led me to this rather androgynous photo.

Now, of course, before Mr. Cocker let the, uh, spoils of fame take over, he looked something quite like this, no? I mean, hell, I just thought this was his high school yearbook photo or something.

Alas, (the only) one of our loyal readers in the UK, Mr. PopDance, emailed and asked why it is we have a photo of Kitten Pinder up. Well, who the fuck is Kitten Pinder? Apparently the Kitten is some British lesbian who was a contestant on one of the seasons of Big Brother UK. Hell, she didn't even make it through the first week before being kicked off. Now, if you want to know more about Kitten, and we know you do, just click here.

Sigh. We're leaving her picture up. At this point, we're just happy anyone's reading. But, c'mon, it KIND OF looks like Jarvis Cocker, no? Hello? Anyone? Ah, fuck it.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Feeling Fine?

Oh, those crazy Japanese! Leave it to them to put out a much-sought after compilation of obscure PWL rarities. Disco Fine 2: PWL Hits And Super Euro Trax contains the usual suspects: Kylie, Sinitta, Lonnie Gordon and the like. But, there's an interesting mix of oddities that even the most obsessive Stock/Aitken/Waterman fan might have been unaware of (okay, so there are a lot of SAW freaks out there who probably did know about these songs, and chances are, the PWL underlings most likely produced them, but whatever).

Of particular interest:

1. Venice, "Ever And Ever": Oh my God, this song starts out so cheesy/dance awesome, with really '80s keyboard riffs, but then some guy who can't speak or sing English starts warbling and, well.... ugh.

2. Jackie Rawe, "I Believe In Dreams": A really trying "Flashdance (What A Feeling)" knock-off that also manages to pillage from "Xanadu."

3. Moulin Rouge, "Boys Don't Cry": Almost note-for-note rip-off of "Cross My Broken Heart," which is also on this compilation. This is actually the best find on here! We love discovering new cheese pop... even if it sounds like old cheese pop!

4. Michael Fortunati, "Alleluia": How this guy never sued Pete Waterman is a mystery. They really managed to rape his melodies for their own doing. The most notable quality of this song is the opening synths sound exactly like those of Jason Donovan's "Too Late To Say Goodbye."

There are a couple others that are kinda lackluster, but I'm too bored to describe them. Anyway, if you're up on your Japanese and feel adventurous, attempt to purchase this compilation from Tsutaya Online. Otherwise, just swipe the mp3s from Limewire, like some other bad people did.

Illegally Yours (Not Ours, Leave Us Alone RIAA)

Sure, Billboard is finally recognizing legal downloads as singles - but what of the other kind? You know, the ones the kids care about enough to steal. We're already compiling our fantasy Top Tens of songs we just know would instantly shoot to number one and stay there forever if people actually paid for the shame of owning them. To whit:

1. O-Zone, "Dragostea Din Tei" - God, we really dislike things that become "popular on the internet," especially when they ruin things were previously enjoyed. Thanks to some fat Swede and his webcam, this tacky eurohit is slightly sullied. No less brilliant.

2. Miss Ross, "Fuckin' Christmas" - the holidays are over but this festive, expletive-riddled karaoke diva track lives on in all of its horrifyingly tasteless glory. We're waiting for Ultra to pick this up in the UK and give it an Eric Prydz-like media blast.

3. Jayne Mansfield, "That Makes It" - c'mon, it's great. "Chantilly Lace" rewritten for sluts of the 1950's. It's like an episode of Petticoat Junction directed by Russ Meyer. (You aren't getting any of these references, are you?)

4. Marlon Brando's Tirade Against Burt Reynolds Circa 1978 - If the chartmongers had a real interest in what people were listening to, crap like this would make Usher look about as popular as Billy Ocean's last single. (See also: Colonel Sanders Studio Goofups, Casey Kasem's Tirades Caught On Tape, Judy Garland Drunk, etc.)

5. Sandra Lou, "Le Banane Split" - We'll start hating this the minute it actually does become popular outside France. Hear it at her official site.

The Upside Of Billboard

Okay, we can all safely agree that the music scene in the US is a tad uninspiring, no? The one or two times a month I attempt to turn on KIIS-FM, all is hear is Mario's "Let Me Love You," which sounds like a Tommy Page featuring NKOTB b-side from 1990.

However, the good news is that Billboard recently (finally!) changed their chart rules and are including paid digital downloads in the tallying for the official Hot 100 Singles Chart. Since most music fans with a taste abandoned radio long ago, charts such as iTunes Top 100 Songs of The Day are pretty much a fairer example of what people are listening to.

Allowing downloads to feature into the Billboard charts has caused decent tracks like The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" to slip into the top 40. This week, it's sitting at #30 with a bullet. Also, Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" moved up to #50.

Now we're again seeing gold and platinum-selling singles on the charts, marked as such. It's pretty cool to witness the rebirth of the singles market. And for those who can't get enough of their Top 40 radio, just stick with Billboard's new Pop 100 chart. That's one's all Usher-ed up for ya.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Not Even This Stunt Will Guarantee A Hit Anymore...

Okay, so this photo is old and Daniel Bedingfield is probably too classy to lift his shirt these days. But still, maybe if he had mooned a few fans, they would have been more likely to go pick up his latest single, "Wrap My Words Around You," in the UK.

The song missed the Top 10 this week, landing at #12. It was a sign of something amiss when "Nothing Hurts Like Love," his first single from the latest album, failed to hit #1 last fall.

Well, Daniel, if you lay off the scones and shed a few pounds, you can come flash your tummy to us. We swear we'll buy your records!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The New New Order

I heard "An Honest Mistake" by next-big-thing New Yorkers, The Bravery, last week on the radio and couldn't get the damn song out of my head!

It's sounds like New Order's "Perfect Kiss" and everything by Interpol after being filtered through the Calrec Soundfield System. Yes, dolls, it's that damn good. So, I checked last week on the iTunes music store to see if I could download it, but all I found was a 3-song EP of other songs by them, called "Unconditional." Those songs were pretty good, but still no "Honest Mistake."

But wait! Today I checked again and lo and behold, there was the single for "An Honest Mistake." You can even catch the video on the band's official site. Island is putting out their full length album at the end of March in the States.

Me, I think singer/guitarist Sam Endicott is a dreamboat who can slap me around for a few.


Didn't I, Like, Already Buy This Single?

Will lightning strike twice for Erasure? Depending on how you look at it, landing a #4 UK hit with "Breathe" last month was either due to a quiet week for single releases or a genuinely curious record-buying public.

That said, their album Nightbird has pretty much tanked in the US and UK. Will their tour in both countries revive interest in the LP? Who knows. I had a promo copy back in November, but since I'm a nostalgic sucker that can't let go, I still bought the damn CD on the day of its release.

In the meantime, the second single, "Don't Say You Love Me," comes out in the UK on March 14th. Now, call me crazy, but the artwork for this single looks almost identical to that of "Breathe." Okay, so the background is blue, but so is the background for Nightbird, which this also looks like. Tacky. Guess Mute Records didn't really wanna shell out any cash on designing the sleeves.

Personally, I think "All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love" should have been the 2nd single. It's a stomper that will hopefully be the 3rd release, provided this one doesn't flop.

I Like It Better When It Hurts

People often ask me, "What does your name mean, Moogaboo?" And I tell them it's Swahili for "he who subjects himself to music by people who have no business being in the industry."

So I acquired the Sharp Boys Club Mix of Ashlee Simpson's latest attempt at reviving her joke of a career, "La La," and it is truly something to behold. Lurching disco bassline, kinetic hi-hat, filtered effects and sampled vocal bits thrown about like a mangled corpse through a woodchipper. The centerpiece is Ashlee's heavily treated performance, singing half-convincingly of being a French maid, an alleycat, and a... well, a total la la head. It's a turkey, and she's not fooling anyone.

But me. I love this mix!

No, I'm not proud, but I do have a name to live up to.

Monday, February 07, 2005

It's My Party

Today's my birthday (don't worry about which one), and I celebrated by going out and buying CDs! I hit Tower Records at the Sherman Oaks Galleria and snagged both of the new Bright Eyes releases, because, quite frankly, I'm tired of hearing about what a genius Conor Oberst is - I wanted to find out for myself!

Not too shabby, I must say. The first disc, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning is kind of country/twangy/Dylan-esque. I pictured myself taking a lot of baths with the lights out while playing it. The second one, which came out simultaneously, Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, is kind of moody pop with a beat. Good for driving around at night to when you hate your day job.

After that, I headed over to Amoeba Records on Sunset and Cahuenga and sold a couple DVDs. After browsing the store, I ended up leaving with a used copy of Black Box Recorder's The Facts Of Life, which I'd been meaning to get for years now. BBR are a great band that everyone should check out if they haven't yet! As Moogaboo says, they're like Saint Etienne, but a tad darker. So far my fave tracks are "Sex Life" and "The English Motorway System," although "The Art Of Driving" is catching up to them.

I also grabbed the new EP by Louis XIV, a great band that opened for The Killers when I saw them at the Troubador on Santa Monica Blvd. this past summer. They're from San Diego, and you can check out their nifty site to find out about upcoming shows. I kinda forgot about them 'til I heard their single "Finding Out True Love Is Blind" at Club Bang! on Saturday, when the gang took me out dancing for my birthday. Afterwards, we went to get milkshakes at Mel's Diner, and I kept thinking about that dang Louis tune. Now I have it.

2 Cool 2 B 4Got10

So I forgot to bring a cd into the office today and decided to just slum it on Windows Media Radio. I found some classy 60's-thru-90's retro station playing all the expected misty balladry that somehow hits close to home now that I've rounded 30.

Quite out of nowhere, they played Fun Factory "I Wanna Be With U." What a fab pop song, and not at all in line with most oldies stations' Eagles-Celine-Mariah menu. It immediately took me back to a summer's day at the Cedar Point water park, riding the slides with Mark Church. He was this stud waiter at the restaurant where I was a busboy. One day we decided to go out and enjoy the park together, culminating in us taking the inner tubes around Soak City. I remember how everything looked that day, saturated with color and beautiful, as if it were already an idealized memory. As we floated along, reclining next to each other in the burbling pool, I laid my arms over my chest and steepled my fingers. Mark and I had a relaxed, easygoing flirtation that lent itself to just chilling on a nice day, looking at each other and not needing words. A monarch butterfly flew out of the sky and landed on my hand. It sat for a few seconds and fluttered away.

Ok, so Fun Factory weren't playing that day - that wasn't out for another year - but it sounds like it could have been. Besides, it fits better with my impressionistic remembrance, doesn't it, than En Vogue & Salt n' Pepa's "Whatta Man," which was blaring every five seconds from waterlogged speakers? And when I make the movie of my life, I will totally use "B With U" over the opening credits.

Interested in working at Cedar Point, the Rollercoaster Capital of the World!? You know you are, you big girl. Or maybe you saw Edge of Seventeen and changed your mind....

(Can't Start) Giving Up Believing In You

By the end of last year, we had truly had it with Kylie. We bought Body Language, hook, line, and sinker and, sadly for us, it was weeks before we realized how dreadful 99% of it was. ("Slow" and "Sweet Music" making up the good 1%, which you could have gotten just by attaining the "Slow" single by itself.) It was a long spring and summer as Kylie, Inc. squeezed out single after misguided single, subjecting fans to a Narcotic Thrustless "Red Blooded US Radio Lady" single and a clumsily video'd "Chocolate." By the time we heard the leaked castoffs "My Image Unlimited" and "I'm Just Here For The Music," we were thinking the music had become limited to her image. That is, the image of Kylie as a puppet to her American record label, Capitol, grooming the Grammy winner to steal away all of J.Lo's husky, velvet jumpsuit-clad, income-unfettered fans. Nice try.

But hey, everyone makes mistakes and Kylie's pretty hard to stay mad at, so we're giving it all up for love now. It helps that "I Believe In You," produced by Scissor Sisters, preceded the latest of a million greatest hits collections. The single is the best thing Kylie has done in quite some time - and the only good thing the Scissors have done, ever, in our opinion - and its greatness was rewarded by a number two UK chart placing back at Christmas. Not wanting to alienate what's left of her USA fanbase, Capitol have put out the 2CD Ultimate Kylie for a very low price and are promising an accompanying DVD in the weeks to come. We have word that the collection's other amazing newbie, "Giving You Up," is also slated to be an import single soon, which is great news as it's a Xenomania production that makes Girls Aloud sound even older and scarier than they already are.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

"The Chart Has Died."

Well, so declares UK pop guru Pete Waterman in an exclusive interview with the Pop Justice website.

He gives a very cryptic statement after alluding that hip hop is on its way out: "The Americans are about to get the biggest shock of their lives. They've dominated the world with their sales by pushing all their rap acts. That's going. That's all in trouble. But it's all in trouble. The chart has died. Why has it died? Because nobody's buying music anymore. All of us in the pop industry are guilty. And you know what; nobody wants to be in the pop industry anymore."

Oh, please, please, please! Er, we mean ... what? Usher, Nelly, and Snoop Dogg might never be heard from again? The horror!

At any rate, judging from the interview, things look rather sketchy as far as the future of Pop!, the latest project to come out of the PWL factory. Perhaps the chart truly died after the foursome failed to land a Top 10 single after three tries in the UK?

On a sad note, Pete's son Paul recently passed away. You can post your condolensces at his official website.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Sound Of A Bright Middle-Aged Britain

Well, you might not have read it here first, but we'll repeat the info, anyway. According to his official website, Rick Astley has signed a "world wide recording contract" with Sony BMG, to release 4 albums.

Now, before you dig out your copy of "Whenever You Need Somebody" on vinyl and prepare to run up the wall and do a back flip, we should warn you that the first set, due in September of this year, is a collection of "classic songs." Somehow, we doubt that means Rick's PWL rarities and b-sides, kids.

No, that sounds to us like an annoying covers album. Can you picture it now? Rick Astley covering "Singin' In The Rain," as only he can! Mr. A's rendition of "Unforgettable!" And, forget Clay Aiken! No one does a cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" like the Rickster!

Why, Rick, why? Is this some rite of passage with Sony? First they re-sign Cyndi Lauper and she puts out the dreadfully snooze-inducing At Last album. Now, they lure in Rick, and force him to do an even worse album than Free, if that's possible.

Oh, Rick. Hold us in your arms and tell us it's all lies.

Oh, Paula, Shut The F*** Up, You Dumb Ho!

Okay, so last night on American Idol, Paula Abdul straight up almost had a meltdown when the rapidly aging Simon Cowell (we can say it, because we're young, dolls) and thin-challenged Randy Jackson didn't share her opionon that the queen in the red blazer who danced a little James Brown number was Hollywood material.

Well, look, Paula, American Idol hasn't been Hollywood material for three seasons now, but you don't see Moogaboo or J'ason D'luv threatening to quit Chart Rigger, now do you?

So just pop another pill and get happy already. Geez!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Call Me Now, Clay!!

OMG!!! Today I was soooo mad at my stupid locker because it like wouldn't open before algebra and I totally needed to see my new Clay pix that Sharlene emailed me. Grrrrrr!

Oh well, that's okay because I'm posting the pixx here in my blog for the whole world to see what fiiinne man Clayton is! LOL! Just call me J'ason D'aiken! Yummmmm!

BTW, I found the best blog everr!!!!!! It's called I LOVE CLAY AIKEN!! WOO HOO! Thanks so much for making my day when I was chillin and surfin the net the other night, Jillian! I love Clay, too, so WOO HOO right back at U!

Clay! If you read this, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE call me! I heart u soooo much LOL! OMG! If you really do read this, I'll die! I hope you like the pix! I still play your xMas CD every single day even though it's almost Valentine's Day LOLOLOL! Call me, ClaaaayyyyYYY!!! Wait, OMG, Clay u should totally put out a CD for Valentines Day. And St. Patrikk's Day (sp? LOL) And Easter!!! Can u tell I want more Clay NOW? I wish u were here! I heart u! Okay, I have History homework! Gotta go, but CALL ME PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, CLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!