dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.
Monday, July 31, 2006
10,000 Broads In Iowa Reach For Fresh Panties As Clay Aiken Single Leaks Online
After a rough start to the year where news broke of a reported sleazebag hotel room boink-fest with some internet hook-up, Clay Aiken became as scarce as a raging nancy on the set of a Girls Gone Wild shoot.
He did pop up on the American Idol finale, where he not only sent tingles up some lucky twinkle bell's back side, but he debuted his new Lesbi-Mod weave in what has to be the gayest moment in television history. Then all went cold and quiet again on Planet ClayMate. But thankfully, miracles do happen. It's been announced that the ginger-haired fantasy's new album will finally be released September 19. And even better news? The single, "A Thousand Days," has leaked.
This evening was the final broadcast of Britain's Top Of The Pops. The review of it in NME gives the impression that, rather than going out with a bang, the show was kind of lackluster. TOTP ran for 42 years, but suffered from a massive ratings slide in recent years. Ironically, MTV, one of the factors in the demise of the show, turns 25 on Tuesday. Shortly after its first decade, MTV began airing original episodic programming along with music videos, in an effort to adapt to the competitive realm of cable television.
Proving That Bad Taste Is Universal, The UK Puts Shakira Back At #1
Shakira returns to #1 in the UK four weeks after her first short stay there with "Hips Don't Lie." Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and Lily Allen all trail her, respectively. Good ol' Madge enters at #7 with "Get Together," which is better than she's fared here in the States with the song -- it hasn't even charted on the Billboard Hot 100, due to lack of Top 40 radio airplay.
Pet Shop Boys have a rather disappointing chart placing of #19 with "Minimal." While the song is definitely a fan favorite, the duo, currently touring, haven't done much to promote that specific single (as they did with "I'm With Stupid"). As of this week at least, "Minimal" has become the Boys' lowest-charting British single since "Was It Worth It?" hit #24 in 1991.
And finally, off downloads alone, Paris Hilton (going simply as "Paris" for some classy reason) makes an appearance on the chart at #35 with "Stars Are Blind." The physical CD single is in stores tomorrow.
The UK Top 10:
1. "Hips Don't Lie" - Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean*2 weeks* 2. "Ain't No Other Man" - Christina Aguilera 3. "Unfaithful" - Rihanna 4. "Smile" - Lily Allen 5. "You Give Me Something" - James Morrison 6. "Don't Stop Me Now/Please Please" - McFly 7. "Get Together" - Madonna*new* 8. "Voodoo Child" - Rogue Traders 9. "Empire" - Kasabian*new* 10. "Maneater" - Nelly Furtado
From about 1989 to 1991, I thought Bernard Sumner was the dreamiest. Of course, this started when I got New Order's Technique (on cassette!) for my 15th birthday in '89, and a moody blond boy with floppy hair was all it took to get my confused hormones racing. Add to that the fact that the band has always been press-shy, and there's nothing like a little mystery surrounding your favorite somewhat inaccessible thinking-person's dance band. So why bring this up now? Well, Rhino Records is releaseing Electronic's greatest hits in the U.S. on September 19.
When the promo of Get The Message: The Best Of Electronic arrived in the mail this week, it was instant nostalgia. Electronic, of course, was the side project Barny worked on with Johnny Marr and, occasionally, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. Surpisingly, their first single, "Getting Away With It," actually cracked the U.S. Top 40 in spring of 1990 -- and by cracked, I mean it went to #38. I can remember taping the video off MTV's 120 Minutes around Easter that year, then finding the single at the mall.
However, it was their follow-up single, "Get The Message," that provided the soundtrack to my long, dull summer of 1991 (along with Morrissey's "Sing Your Life," Siouxsie & The Banshees' "Kiss Them For Me" and Erasure's "Chorus"), when I spent the hot days drinking iced tea, playing on a ouija board with the neighbor girl and reading NME and Melody Maker.
The video is actually very homoerotic. About a minute into it, when they sneak inside the old mission together, it looks like Johnny's performing a none-too-hetero act on Bernard (the action really heats up 24 seconds later!). Then the next scene appears to have them walking through a dark field of empty cars looking for the right one to make out in. All the while, Barny's repeating the phrase "living in sin" throughout the chorus.
At any rate, by the time Electronic's second album came out in '96, I'd pretty much moved on and fogotten about them. Plus, these days, Bernard ain't lookin' too hot. Hearing the greatest hits, though, reveals that they did go on to put out two more great tracks: "Imitation Of Life" and "Twisted Tenderness." Those ones, along with my all-time fave "Disappointed" (which I've gushed over before) make this a worthwhile purchase -- if only for the trip down memory lane.
Scissor Sisters have announced details for forthcoming single, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'", which, if you're feeling naughty, you can find here...
The single will be made available outside the U.S. on most digital services tomorrow! In the U.S., the track will be added to iTunes on August 15. The physical CD single will be released in the UK on September 4.
Incidentally, that's Elton John playing the piano on it, which I was blissfully unaware of till after I'd heard the song. Personally, I think this one trumps any of the singles off the first album. Miss Pussy (pictured below while listening) certainly appears to enjoy it...
Yippee! Like a 14-year old girl, I'm off to buy the new issue of People, which has the big Lance Bass "I"m Gay" cover story. Meanwhile, now that Lance is playing a nancy in the supposed upcoming Odd Couple TV project, guess that means no more butch roles for him, like in this "amazing" 2001 treasure...
It seems that World Of Wonder, producer of such gems as the Party Monster documentary and feature film starring Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green, is at work on a documentary of none other than flamboyant and troubled trannie Pete Burns. The production company's site offers a running commentary on the making of the doc (which looks to be cleverly called Burns Unit) as they follow Pete's current travails in a London court after his alleged harrassment of an ex-boyfriend. "When and where will this circus finish," asked the WOW blog last week. "You can bet we'll be there, lenses spat and polished, when it does."
Well, the title really says it all. Nothing enters or leaves the Billboard Top 10 singles this week. Nelly Furtado has now tied with Beyoncé and Daniel Powter for the longest stay this year at #1. The Pussycat Dolls surpass their previous #5 chart-placing of "Stickwitu" to land at #4 with "Buttons." This gives them their second highest-charting hit, behind "Don't Cha." Too bad the song bites it. Outside the Top 10, Kelis crawls up another spot to #16 with "Bossy." Doesn't this one seem like it's taken forever to become a hit?
Janet's abysmally lackluster new single, "Call On Me," moves up 40 places to #23 after being made available as a paid download last week. Somebody somewhere said the video for the song is the most expensive ever made. Yikes! You can watch it here. Miss Jackson can be good when she's on (you know, "If" and all), but this is just a poor choice for a first single off a new album. Can anyone even make out the lyrics? She sounds like a multi-tracked robot. At least she has Top 40 single this time around.
Anyway, as previously warned, Ashlee Simpson has the Hot Shot Debut on the chart. "Invisible" enters at #28 after a week of being the second most-downloaded song on iTunes. But this week, with new singles by Beyoncé (ugh!!!) and Fergie (no!!!) made available, the scamp Simpson has been surpassed on the download chart. Meanwhile, Trashlee's sister Jessica Simpson saw a surge in downloads last week for some reason, which propels "A Public Affair" up to #30.
If only Nick Lachey could muster up another hit, so they could have a cheesy chart showdown. Dare to dream...
The U.S. Top 10:
1. "Promiscuous" - Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland*5 weeks* 2. "Crazy" - Gnarls Barkley 3. "Me & U" - Cassie 4. "Buttons" - Pussycat Dolls feat. Snoop Dogg*airplay gainer* 5. "It's Goin' Down" - Young Joc 6. "Hips Don't Lie" - Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean 7. "Unfaithful" - Rihanna 8. "Ain't No Other Man" - Christina Aguilera 9. "Over My Head (Cable Car)" - The Fray 10. "Snap Yo Fingers" - Lil Jon feat. E-40 & Sean Paul of YoungbloodZ
The pop stars are coming out left and right these past couple weeks. First Darren Hayes and now former (?) 'N Sync member Lance Bass, who's apparently dating former Amazing Race winner Reichen Lehmkuhl.
Lance revealed he was gay -- which, who didn't already know this? -- to U.S. magazine People.
But seriously, good for him. It's great that at this day in age, younger celebrities are choosing to come out, rather than be inadvertantly outed by an undercover cop in the can at a park.
The Killers Preview Sam's Town, Brandon Flowers Apologizes To Emo Bands
The Killers previewed forthcoming sophomore album Sam's Town at a listening party in New York City last night, and Billboardhas published a full review of it. Contrary to early reports of all its Springsteen-iness, the mag says "the set doesn't stray far from the sound introduced on Hot Fuss, with its throbbing bass lines, jagged guitar lines, vintage synth flourishes and singer Brandon Flowers' theatrical phrasing."
Other points of interest in the article:
*Two potential singles, "For Reasons Unknown" and "Read My Mind," are close relatives to the propulsive pop of the band's breakthrough single, "Mr. Brightside."
*Material for Sam's Town was initially worked up during soundchecks, guitarist Dave Keuning told Billboard.com afterward. "We used to play about an hour extra in soundcheck and throw around ideas," he said. "Five or six songs made it out of that but another 10 or 12 were thrown away."
*Keuning admitted there are "at least four great B-sides," including some tracks he "really wanted to make the album. They'll wind up on places like iTunes," he said.
Meanwhile, Brandon Flowers has now apologized on AOL Music for verbally bitch-slapping bands like Fall Out Boy and The Bravery in the press:
"These people are just doing what they want to do, just like I am. I'm actually a nice person and I love people. I just am opinionated, and sometimes jealous. It's not something I'm proud of."
He had this to say about Panic! At The Disco, who have also received a soundbite tongue-lashing by Flowers in the past:
"I don't even know what their music's like, or if I would even like it. That made me feel even worse, to think they could have been fans of ours and I hurt their feelings. That's just stupid."
Don't Lie... You Know You Want To Hear Clips From Jessica Simpson's New Album
Someone at Oh No They Didn't has posted a few clips of songs off Jessica Simpson's new album, out next month. And if you thought she was mining the '80s with her single, "A Public Affair," wait till you hear "B.O.Y.", which samples The Cars' "Just What I Needed," and, of course, her trashola update of "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)."
This week's #1 single in the UK is a Sports Relief charity cover of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now," by boyband (or is it boy band?) McFly. It's double A-sided with an original song from the Lindsay Lohan flop movie, Just My Luck. Exciting stuff. This gives McFly their fifth British #1 in just over two years. How much longer till they go the way of rivals Busted, though?
Just below McFly, Rihanna matches her #2 chart placing of "S.O.S." with her new single, "Unfaithful." Here in the U.S., "S.O.S." went to #1, while "Unfaithful" has been hovering in the lower-half of the Top 10 for a few weeks. And in only its third week, the latest single by George Michael is at #39 in England. After reports of his latest "adventure," maybe it should be renamed "A Sleazier Affair."
The UK Top 10:
1. "Don't Stop Me Now/Please Please" - McFly*new**1 week* 2. "Unfaithful" - Rihanna 3. "Hips Don't Lie" - Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean 4. "Smile" - Lily Allen 5. "You Give Me Something" - James Morrison 6. "Voodoo Child" - Rogue Traders 7. "Maneater" - Nelly Furtado 8. "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker" - Sandi Thom 9. "Last Request" - Paolo Nutini 10. "Smiley Faces" - Gnarls Barkley
If George Michael spent as much time writing decent music as he does getting busted for publicly making an ass out of himself, people might almost still find him relevant. And now for quote of the month:
In a sweat, the ashen-faced singer declared: "Are you gay? No? Then f*** off! This is my culture!"
Speak for yourself, George. A lot of gays would be embarrassed to be standing next to you at this point, if any of this story is accurate.
We are living in dark, uncertain times. Israeli tanks are rolling into Lebanon. More U.S. troops are being deployed into Baghdad. Bush is still the President. And Trashlee Simpson somehow has a new single out.
It happened out of nowhere, really. On Tuesday, iTunes uploaded the new Trashlee track, "Invisible." Things appeared to be normal for a few days -- one of my co-workers downloaded it, but as I've said 99% percent of the time when he downloads anything, "There's no accounting for taste, doll."
But then, like a deadly, mutating virus of tackiness, iTunes users started posting their comments -- "[Tr]Ashlee is becoming STRONGER," and "OMG! This rocks!!!!" And just for the record, Texasboy06 -- it doesn't rock.
Alas, the public's reservations about Trashlee's music seem to have disappeared along with her old nose, as "Invisible" has now pushed past Nelly Furtado on the download chart, and is currently sitting at #2.
There's always the hope that this will be just another song that will have a high debut and a quick disappearance, while being virtually ignored by radio. Then again, I would have expected the same for Paris Hilton, and I heard her played twice by a large Top 40 station the other day.
Don't Feel Like Dancing? Then Check Out The New Scissor Sisters Single
In a ballsy movie that has stunned both the music community and the blogosphere, Paul from Zappin' It To Ya has posted the MP3s for not only the surprisingly awesome new Scissor Sisters single, "Don't Feel Like Dancing"...
... but also "When You Were Young," the new single from The Killers. (Oh, and there's also some new Robbie Williams song on there that will make your ears bleed.) I'd really planned on hanging up my "love affair with The Killers" schtick after the tour for the first album ended last fall. Lord knows the band got posted about here every week for awhile. But, thankfully, the new single is so amazingly infallible in all it's Springsteen-ish glory that love's back, and I just can't fight this feeling anymore.
Button-Pushing Pussycat Dolls Score Another Top 10 Hit
Not much new going on in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles this week. In fact, the Top 6 remain the same. The Pussycat Dolls are the only new entry into the upper tier, with "Buttons." It becomes their third Top 10 single, after "Don't Cha" and "Stickwitu." The Hot Shot Debut this week is from John Mayer, at #25 with "Waiting On The World To Change." Unfortunately, looking at the news, that seems like an increasingly unlikely prospect.
The U.S. Top 10:
1. "Promiscuous" - Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland*4 weeks* 2. "Crazy" - Gnarls Barkley 3. "Me & U" - Cassie 4. "Hips Don't Lie" - Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean 5. "It's Goin' Down" - Young Joc 6. "Unfaithful" - Rihanna 7. "Buttons" - Pussycat Dolls feat. Snoop Dogg*sales gainer* 8. "Ain't No Other Man" - Christina Aguilera 9. "Snap Yo Fingers" - Lil Jon feat. E-40 & Sean Paul of YoungbloodZ 10. "Over My Head (Cable Car)" - The Fray
Gotta love how 15-year-old pop sparkle box JoJo has put out a new single -- "Too Little Too Late" -- which has the exact same beat as her first hit from two years ago, "Get Out." The good news is that "Too Little Too Late" is super-duper, and it's even getting radio airplay (at least here in L.A.)
JoJo's second album, The High Road, is out in September.
Well, whaddya know? You forget all about Darren Hayes for a few months and before you know it, he's coming out out of the closet... or at least forthcoming about marrying a guy last month. "As so many of you have given me your heart and soul over the past 10 years I thought it only fitting that I too return the respect and inform you of the most significant event in my life," he wrote on his website yesterday. "On June 19th 2006 I married my boyfriend of two years, Richard, in a Civil Partnership ceremony in London."
Good for him! It was such a crime that The Daz-Master's last single, "So Beautiful," didn't chart higher than #15 in the UK this past November. But as he also writes in the same post yesterday, "Most recently, I've been moving toward a career that is more closely aligned with 'art' than it is 'commerce'."
"So Beautiful" is available domestically on Savage Garden's Best Of
Yay! This week's issue of Billboard reports that, starting tomorrow, you can go onto Jessica Simpson's website or Yahoo Music and purchase a Custom Cut of "A Public Affair." It's basically a version of the song where the blonde broad calls out your name in the lyrics. I can't wait to order my own version as "Trashlee Simpson." But, gee, I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the song is only at #38 on the U.S. charts in its second week available?
Lorraine, the romantic Nordic trio who opened for a few Pet Shop Boys dates recently, were set to release their second single, "Transatlantic Flight," at the end up the month. However, according to their official site, it's now been pulled from release. Luckily, they're offering the radio edit as a free download here.
Lorraine's first single, "I Feel It," peaked at #29 in the UK this past April.
** Last fall we posthumously dissected the career and demise of too short-lived act Pop!, and more recently, Gareth Gates. It's now come time to finally lay S Club 8 to rest.
Now, occasionally one will think of a song out of the blue and have a certain urge to hear it -- such as the other week when I had the hankering for S Club Juniors' (as the 8 were first known) "New Direction." Digging the song out of the archives led me to realize that, while it seemed like the tweensters had a British single out every month during the first few years of the new millenium, they'd been missing from the pop scene for quite some time now. So what happened?
THE CONCEPT: While most pop outfits in 2001 (Steps, N-Sync, Britney Spears, etc.) consisted of good-looking teenagers or twentysomethings, S Club Juniors -- cobbled together on a UK TV show and meant to support parent group S Club 7 on tour -- were actually a gaggle of 12 and 13-year-old wide-eyed hopefuls. Right off the bat, this lent an air of creepy awkwardness to the lovelorn lyrics that would make up their hits. The icky-ness was further enhanced by the sleazy Simons (Cowell and Fuller) being their puppetmasters. No doubt the brand was seen as viable by 19 Management when S Club 7, already a huge success in England, finally achieved a U.S. Top 10 hit in 2001 with "Never Had A Dream Come True."
THE MEMBERS: Yeah, right. Whatever.
THE HITS: Probably meant as a one-off, "One Step Closer" was released in spring of 2002 and hit #2 in the UK. The video borrows heavily from Britney's "Baby...One More Time" concept, though the song is equally as good. It was even recycled in the U.S. by the flop 2003 American Idol spin-off show, American Juniors. The U.S. Juniors released their version of "One Step Closer," which was DOA. The UK group's next two singles ("Automatic High" and "New Direction") also hit #2 in Britain. About three in particular of the choreographed munchkins featured prominently in the videos, arousing some suspicion as to whether the other members had decent voices -- or whether all eight sang on the actual recordings at all.
FOOL NO MORE: Their best single by far was "Fool No More," off their commerically disappointing second album. By this point, S Club 7 had disbanded, and reports surfaced that each member had scandalously only made a paltry $200,000 due to their contracts when all was said and done (things didn't look too hot for the Juniors). The younger band then altered their name to S Club 8. "Fool No More" and its follow-up release, "Sundown," would be their last UK Top 10 hits, both reaching #4 in the latter half of 2003.
THE AFTERMATH: "Don't Tell Me You're Sorry," released in January 2004, was the last single by the dancing moppets. Although it just missed reaching the Top 10, it had an awesome remix by Europa XL (what ever happened to them?). That year, the eight joined other actors (including Christopher Lloyd!) on a BBC musical kiddie program, I Dream. The show's theme tune, "Dreaming," was released as a single by S Club members Frankie Sandford and Calvin Goldspink. Thankfully, the label left their last names off the CD. Finally, the band officially split up in late 2004.
CALVIN: Mr. Goldspink, now 17, won the PopJustice readers poll award for "Most Inappropriately Fanciable Pop Star" three years in a row. According to Wikipedia, the fanciable one signed to a new management deal last year, and is planning on launching a solo career in the future... most likely when he's a bit more appropriately shaggable.
X-Factor winner Shayne Ward once had the best-selling British single of 2006... until Gnarls Barkley came along. Now, his gag-tastic "Unchained Melody" retread, whatever-it's-called, has failed to crack the British Top 10, and settles for a middling #14 entry. The Brits didn't seemed too jazzed about the return of George Michael, either, as "An Easier Affair" falls out of the Top 20 to #26 in its second week on the chart.
Speaking of Gnarls Barkley, their second single, "Smiley Faces," debuts at #23 based on downloads alone. The physical single is out in stores tomorrow. With "Crazy" having blown up over here and being played constantly, it's hard to muster up excitement for more Gnarls, but that aside, "Smiley Faces" is certainly worth your time to take a listen.
The UK Top 10:
1. "Smile" - Lily Allen*2 weeks* 2. "Hips Don't Lie" - Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean 3. "Voodoo Child" - Rogue Traders 4. "Maneater" - Nelly Furtado 5. "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker" - Sandi Thom 6. "Last Request" - Paolo Nutini 7. "In The Morning" - Razorlight 8. "I Love My Chick" - Busta Rhymes 9. "Buttons" - Pussycat Dolls feat. Snoop Dogg 10. "Sexy Love" - Ne-Yo
Hmmm. Mr. Brady raised an interesting point recently when he commented that Brandon Flowers (right) is looking very Matt Willis-y these days...
And while it's true that The Killers frontman appears to be sporting just the right amount of facial hair and black clothing to be suspect of ripping off the ex-Busted member's schtick, the devil's in the details. Willis looks like he just got run over by an eighteen-wheeler after drunkenly stumbling out of ditch in a wheat field at 7 a.m., while La Brando -- snarl as he might -- gives the impression of having pampered himself with high tea and an herbal bath wrap administered by his personal Shamen at the Canyon Ranch Day Spa.
What the hell is this look all about? Is terrorist chic "in" now?
And is there even a chorus to "SexyBack"? It sounds like a throwaway b-side from Nelly Furtado's latest hit.
Just....no. If there was any doubt that The Killers' new single (leaked all over the internet) is awesome, play it after listening to Timbertrash and you'll think it's the best thing since sliced Lily Allen.
The Killers Name Sophomore Album As Brandon Flowers Gets Hotter
The Killers have named their second album, due out the first week of October, Sam's Town. Also, their official site is now streaming a longer clip of the first single, "When You Were Young." And finally, how hot is this pic of Brandon Flowers?