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

Monday, April 30, 2007

Courtney Love: "My Daughter Doesn't Need To Inherit A Giant Bag Full Of Flannel Shirts"

In a somewhat surprising move, ever-polarizing rock hooker Courtney Love has announced she's auctioning off most of Kurt Cobain's belongings.

Courtney told the site Spinner, "I'm going to have a Christie's auction. [My house] is like a mausoleum. My daughter doesn't need to inherit a giant bag full of flannel shirts. [D'luv: So touching...so classy.] A sweater, a guitar and the lyrics to `(Smells Like) Teen Spirit' — that's what my daughter gets. And the rest of it we'll just sell."

Lest you think poor Kurt is probably crowd-surfing in his grave, the fried-wigged widow adds, "We'll make a lot of money and give a bunch of it to charity." See that? All better.

The write-up mentions that Courtney's upcoming solo album is called Nobody's Daughter.

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Green Day, Christina Aguilera, Snow Patrol And Others: "Not On My Watch"

One of my boyfriends has a new single out tomorrow on iTunes!

Green Day's cover of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" will be made available on the online store tomorrow, NME confirmed. The charity single is from the forthcoming album of Lennon covers organized by Amnesty International -- Instant Karma: The Campaign To Save Darfur -- which has already seen R.E.M.'s version of "#9 Dream" and Corinne Bailey Rae's "I'm Losing You" released off it. The full album is out in late May and also features contributions from Snow Patrol, U2, Christina Aguilera and Blackeyed Peas.

All music publishing royalties go to Amnesty International's efforts to ease the strife in Darfur (which, sadly, seems like more than our government has done to aid the non-oil area in Western Sudan since the crisis began).

The genocide in the Darfur region, unfortunately, doesn't seem likely to end anytime soon. Visit SaveDarfur.org to find out how to encourage the government to get more involved, and to remind George Bush that, following the horror of Rwanda, he once promised, "Not on my watch."

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Darren Hayes Previews Another New Track, Confirms U.S. Dates In The Works

Today Darren Hayes slapped another tune off his This Delicate Thing We've Made LP, "Step Into The Light," onto his MySpace media player.

Over Easter weekend a few weeks back, Darren, pictured above with husband Richard, gave his first preview off the forthcoming double-album with an audio and video clip for "Who Would Have Thought" on his official site. The adorable Aussie crooner also confirmed in a blog entry that he'll be playing gigs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Chicago in June ("and maybe Philly!").

Don't forget to to read the interview with Daz in the May issue of Instinct, out now.

Darren & Richard photo from Darren's MySpace page.


Mika And Travis Take Advantage Of A Slow British Chart Week

There's not much change in the U.K. Top 10 Singles chart this week, save for Mika scoring his second hit with the Scissor Sisters-esque "Love Today." Two veteran '90s Britpop acts resurface, the first of which being Travis at #10 with "Closer." It's the band's first British Top 10 single since "Re-Offender" went to #7 back in 2003. The second return comes from Manic Street Preachers, whose "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough" enters the chart at #26. The physical single is out tomorrow.

Arctic Monkeys debut at #1 on the album chart with Favourite Worst Nightmare. At least in two weeks we have the nail-biting drama of seeing how Scooch will perform with "Flying The Flag (For You)," once the CD single is released the Monday before. That chart will fall the day after either their miserable Eurovision failure or, uh, victorious win.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Beautiful Liar" - Beyoncé & Shakira *2 weeks*
2. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake & N. Furtado
3. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne
4. "Because Of You" - Ne-Yo
5. "Stop Me" - Mark Ronson feat. Daniel Merriweather
6. "Love Today" - Mika
7. "Brianstorm" - Arctic Monkeys
8. "Cupid's Chokehold" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Patrick Stump
9. "I Wanna Have Your Babies" - Natasha Bedingfield
10. "Closer" - Travis

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Music Junkie Digest: Britney's Got A Not-So Secret, Interpol Returns And Kelly Slips

Its no secret that Kelly Clarkson's brand new single "Never Again" kinda bites the big Texas BBQ. But how will it fare chartwise, one wonders?

"Never Again" was released as a digital single this week, along with competition from Maroon 5's "Makes Me Wonder," Ne-Yo's "Because Of You" and the White Stripes' "Icky Thump." And while Maroon 5 has maintained being the top download all week, none other than fellow- American Idol Carrie Underwood has come along to cattle-prod Clarkson down from the #2 spot on iTunes with her Idol Gives Back charity single, "I'll Stand By You" -- a bland, soulless Bush-era by-product cover of The Pretenders ballad from 1994. But, let's be realistic, Kelly. Carrie's younger and just wanted it more.

Moving on to real talent...

Britney Spears was supposedly going to perform a secret gig here in Los Angeles Wednesday night, billed only by her band's name, The M & Ms. And who doesn't love a comeback? The bewigged hick was said to have shown up for rehearsals at hip club Forty Deuces, complete with back-up dancers and a three-song repertoire. Then she bailed before the show. However, despair not, art connoisseurs! The NME has caught wind that the grand hooker of Protools has rescheduled her "secret" performance for May 2 at the House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Thanks, The Secret!

The 2.75 folks that were reading Chart Rigger back in its early, gawkier, "growing pains" days (no, not last week)may recall D'luv's fondness for catching gloomy-but-foxy indie band Interpol the several times they rolled into town. Since their 2004 album Antics came out, their contract with Matador Records expired and they signed with Kylie Minogue and Colplay's U.S. label, Capitol. Billboard reported yesterday that Interpol's third album Our Love To Admire will be released July 10, preceded by the single "The Heinrich Maneuver." The full tracklist is here.

Finally, here are two music videos getting tongues wagging this week:

Scooch's "Flying The Flag (For You)" (check out more info about the single and mixes at Mobius' site):

Rihanna feat. Jay-Z's "Umbrella" (thanks to XO for the heads-up.)

Très Cabaret!

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hey (Hey), Avril, I Don't Like Your "Girlfriend"

It's a sad day in America when an anthem of wanton, brazen harlotry crafted by a married woman -- a Canadian -- has bewitched the masses and risen to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. And she says swears all through it! Oh, who the hay am I kidding? "Girlfriend," Avril Lavigne's man-stealin' "Mickey" rip-off, is the best thing to top the chart here in years. In fact, they should make this the new national anthem so George Bush can hum "Hell, yeah, I'm the mother-fuckin' prin-cess!" while he sharpens pencils and shoots up with Stoli. But "Girlfriend" isn't the only song in the Top 10 this week co-written and produced by Dr. Luke.

Pink's (P!nk's? P!nk Pong Song?) "U + Ur Hand" -- which has strangely become a hit after radio for years had all but given the vibrantly-coiffed Philadelphia dame the Dixie Chicks smackdown -- was also crafted by Dr. Luke along with Max Martin. This week it jumps to #9, giving Max his first U.S. Top 10 since Kelly Clarkson's "Behind These Hazel Eyes" landed at #6 two years ago. But where's he been lately? Dr. Luke has gone off and become a superstar, while poor Max was last rumored to be Oops! Working With Britney Spears...Again.

Daughtry's mindless corporate rock American Idol shit ballad "Home" zips up from #31 to #23 while Justin Timberlake makes a huge 40-position leap to #34 with "Summer Love." That makes Justin's fifth Top 40 single since "SexyBack" (including Timbaland's "Give It To Me"). Ne-Yo, who isn't gay, enters the Top 40 as "Because Of You" moves to #39. The Hot Shot Debut is Fergie with "Big Girls Don't Cry" at #41. (But, Jesus...you promised!)

Avril Lavigne also debuts at #1 on the Top 200 Albums chart with The Best Damn Thing, 'cause that's just how she rolls.

Here's the U.S. Top 10, Girlfriend:

1. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne *1 week*
2. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake/N. Furtado
3. "Don't Matter" - Akon
4. "Glamorous" - Fergie feat. Ludacris
5. "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" - T-Pain feat. Yung Joc *airplay*
6. "The Sweet Escape" - Gwen Stefani feat. Akon
7. "I Tried" - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony feat. Akon *sales gainer*
8. "This Is Why I'm Hot" - Mims
9. "U + Ur Hand" - P!nk
10. "Cupid's Chokehold" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Patrick Stump

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Des'ree To Beyoncé: You Gotta Be...Deleted

A mere two weeks after its release date, Beyoncé's B'Day: Deluxe Edition has been yanked from shelves, thanks to a lawsuit brought on by one-hit warbler Des'ree. (But what a hit it was, no?) The litigious London-born diva is probably best known for her 1994 smash "You Gotta Be," which charted at #5 in the States and was released about 467 times in the U.K. And, really, who needs The Secret when you can just follow Des'ree's Here's how it's gonna be, girl! advice in the lyrics?

God, that was a jam. And look -- Des'ree is right above Destiny's Child on my iPod's list of artists. What are we talking about again?

Oh, right...so, Beyoncé recorded Des'ree's "I'm Kissing You" for the new edition of B'Day and released it before getting full permission. Brilliant!

Lawyers for the team brokering the deal -- The Royalty Network -- stated that the dreamgirl could record the song so long as she didn't use it in video form or change the title. Naturally Beyoncé shot a video, changed the title from "I'm Kissing You" to "Still In Love (Kissing You)" and slapped it on the new version of her album. Now Sony has come to an agreement with The Royalty Network -- who are seeking $150,000 in damages -- whereby distribution of the record has been ceased until a hearing in a few weeks.

"Still In Love (Kissing You)" has already been removed from iTunes, so if you've got a copy of the actual CD, slap that shizz on ebay!

And remember, B' -- you gotta be wise.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dannii Minogue Had Better Come Up With Some New Dance Moves

He may be the greatest dancer, but he sure ain't doing any favors for Dannii Minogue. By all rights, after coming off a highly-publicized stint on Australia's Got Talent, the lesser-Minogue's latest single should have been a hit in her home country. She even shook her candy on Dancing With The Stars last week (again, the Aussie version). Alas, "He's The Greatest Dancer" has entered the chart at #37 down under -- a position that would cause any stripper to consider hanging up their thong. It's probably safe to say "Dancer" won't be getting a U.K. single release.

That said, here in the States, another scrapped single of Dannii's from last year -- "I Can't Sleep At Night" -- has mysteriously popped up on iTunes as a remix EP. It's actually been up there since January.

Speaking of iTunes, Maroon 5's "Makes Me Wonder," which surprisingly finds the band taking a decent stab at disco, is now available as a single.

The above clip for "Makes Me Wonder" has been the online store's top music video download for the past week, so maybe the song itself will be the one to finally knock Timbaland's "Give It To Me" from its perch.

Also new on iTunes today is Snow Patrol's new single "Signal Fire," which features on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

O my G!


Be sure to watch the entire five minutes, lest you miss Tony's delightful anecdote about the Backstreet Boys fan pillows, or his chilling lovefest with a cardboard Brian Littrell standee.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Beyoncé & Shakira Shock The Monkeys

"Aw, hay-ell no! Ain't no monkeys toppin' Beyoncé!"

Now, granted, "Beautiful Liar" by wiggly broads Beyoncé and Shakira oughta be beautifully-deleted from existence, but the fact that it's outperformed what should have been the Arctic Monkeys's sturdy return to the top of the U.K. singles chart is pretty hot. I hope Alex Turner blew a gasket and beat the other three dorks over the head with his Mercury Prize. It does seem strange, though, that we were spared "Beautiful Liar" hitting #1 in the States.

Natasha Bedingfield, posing here with some sleazy-looking fan in need of a shower, moves into the lower Top 10 with a song that makes "Brianstorm" sound as heavenly as "Beautiful Liar" by comparison. At #8 is "Away From Here" by The Enemy -- not to be confused with the NME, who will likely rave about The Enemy for approximately four-and-a-half consecutive issues until the band's second single flops at #42 and they're all working as roadies for Alex Turner by year's end.

Wooo-hoo. Yeeee-hoo.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Beautiful Liar" - Beyoncé & Shakira *1 week*
2. "Brianstorm" - Arctic Monkeys
3. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake & N. Furtado
4. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne
5. "Stop Me" - Mark Ronson feat. Daniel Merriweather
6. "Because Of You" - Ne-Yo
7. "I Wanna Have Your Babies" - Natasha Bedingfield
8. "Away From Here" - The Enemy *new*
9. "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" - The Proclaimers
10. "The Sweet Escape" - Gwen Stefani feat. Akon

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Chart Rigger Exclusive: In Conversation With The Feeling's Dan Gillespie-Sells

"I think pop music has to be fearless." - DAN GILLESPIE-SELLS

On the eve of their last American gig on VH1's You Oughta Know tour, The Feeling's shy and handsome frontman, Dan Gillespie-Sells, spent an hour talking with Chart Rigger about the merits of pop. "I think pop music has to be fearless," he explains, "because if you're writing pop music, you will be ridiculed by indie snobs." He even goes on to happily sing the praises of ABBA, Human League and Stock Aitken Waterman. Dan then reveals that he's now in the first real relationship of his romantic life, and swears he hasn't told this to anyone else. "Because no one ever asked directly."

Now would this charming gent lie to J'ason D'luv? Hmmm...let's find out.

J'ASON D'LUV: Hi, Dan! How are you doing?
DAN GILLESPIE-SELLS: Hello, hello! I'm very well, thank you.

I caught you guys at a showcase at The Troubador here in Los Angeles in the fall, months before your album came out here in the States. But even then, you had a large number of people in the audience who knew all the words to the songs.
They're everywhere, it's funny. It seems that no matter what town we go to [in the States], we do have super-fans who seem to know everything. It's never like a bunch of people who kind of like the singles...it's like a bunch of people who seem to know every word to every song. They're quite fanatical. That happens in Japan and places like that, but I didn't think it would happen here so much. Sometimes in some towns there are two or three of them, and then in some places there are 20 or 30 of them, or 40 of them. It just purely depends what place we're in. It is a funny thing. I know what you mean -- it seems to be that some people tend to be really into the band. [Laughs]

Photo by J'ason D'luv, property of Chart Rigger.

In the photo flip book on the VHI site, there's the photo of you and Rich at the Space Needle in Seattle. Did you go up in it?
The guy who ran the center with the sci-fi museum knew who we were, or the label tipped him off. For some reason, he knew who we were and we got free tickets to go on a free tour around the sci-fi museum. It was the rock and roll bit, really, that we were supposed to go and see, but we were more interested in the sci-fi [museum]. There's a music center there...

Yeah, the Jimi Hendrix Museum [Experience Music Project] at Seattle Center, which was actually under construction the one and only time I went up there, so I didn't get to see it.
That's right! They have the sci-fi bit which we were actually more interested in, because we're all proper sci-fi geeks in the band. I'm a big Trekkie and I love Star Wars. Especially really old, really tacky sci-fi -- I love it! So, we went around there. I think there's actually probably a picture of Richard with E.T.

It's funny you say that, because I'm actually in the process of watching every single episode of The X-Files on DVD. I'm up to season three now.
Oh, I love The X-Files! It's just coming around where that's cool again. It's just a really great genre, because there's nothing like it and there is always such brilliant social comment that always gets away with murder because it's about the future or it's about aliens. Sci-fi always works as a wonderful metaphor for things in life, I think.

Let's talk about your album; in particular, the U.S. version. Some fans were irked by the change in cover art for the American release, and also by order of the songs themselves being rearranged. Did you guys have any thoughts on this?
We were told that the European album artwork that we had wasn't going to work over here. I really liked it, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted, anyway. Then we were told, "We'll come up with something else," and the label sent a few things across and they were all really dreadful.


U.K. album cover

We had this photo shoot in London that was very last minute, and there were these shots taken of us, and the label chose a really moody one -- which is a shame, actually, because I think there are some with a slightly less moody edge to them that worked really well. It was kind of like going with a Talking Heads thing, because there were certain albums in the '80s that did that weird cropping that I quite liked. So, I didn't really mind it, but the thing is, I've never been very good at that kind of stuff -- the aesthetic stuff.

U.S. album cover

When I was doing school projects, I could never make the front cover look very good. I always used to think I was getting marked down because my presentation was appalling. And really, when it comes to the album, I've always just thought, I don't know! What I'm good at doing is making music. It's always been about the music, which is why we were never really a big fashionable band in the U.K. We just got by because we got enough radio play for people to hear the music. All of our success has just been around people who are fans of music. There was no buzz. We were never part of a scene. We were never cool and interesting amongst the fashion people or amongst, really, any cool niche. It was just about the music for us. And I think it's difficult for me to judge anything else. Even with our videos -- I like the "Sewn" video. I like its moodiness. I think with film, I'm slightly more getting into it now and learning about it and getting my own taste about it. But even then, some of our videos, I'm just like, Well, I don't know...it's just a video, isn't it? I'm really so focused on the music that I find it hard to concentrate on anything else.

Photo by J'ason D'luv, property of Chart Rigger.

That's almost the mindset The Smiths had 20 years ago
, where they made maybe four actual music videos for the boatload of singles they released, and embraced the fact that they were unfashionable in a highly stylistic time, culturally. I say almost, because Morrissey was actually very meticulous about choosing the artwork for their album and, in particular, single sleeves.
Yeah, and it's almost a struggle to be unfashionable now, and that makes it fashionable. It's gone around so many circles now that I find it all incredibly confusing. When all the mainstream record labels, major record labels are pushing what is still called "alternative rock," I can't get my head around it -- how can it be alternative when everyone's doing it, you know? In the U.K., certainly, when we were making the record, there didn't seem to be an alternative to alternative, and that was the irony of it. Everything was indie. Everything was alternative. Everything was super-credible and super-cool, and everything sounded like it was recorded in a shed. When we made [Twelve Stops And Home] in a shed, we wanted it to sound like it was from a studio! [Laughs] They're all in record studios trying to make their albums sound trashy, and I'm like, I don't want it to sound trashy...I want it to sound beautiful! I'm not afraid of that, and to our extent, I felt like our alternative was to make pop music. Because so few bands are doing it, not in the way our heroes did it. You know, our heroes, Squeeze and Talking Heads and a couple of bands doing great pop music up into the '80 were doing it. I love Human League and things like that. But as far as bands playing pop music, there's not that many of them going at the moment.

There are so many rad Human League tracks. I had Dare and Hysteria when I was a kid, but just got around to downloading The Very Best Of a few months ago.
The Human League greatest hits is definitely worth having. It's full of great tracks.

Did you hear this report from Planet Sound, where you guys were the most-played band on U.K. radio in 2006?
We were the most-played act on U.K. radio, which is more impressive than "band," I think. [Both laugh] I'm only joking! But, yeah, I think it's because we had four big singles that were all Top 10s. They were all either #1 or #2 radio play singles. There were five singles off the album and I think the four all fell in 2006, because we started in February and then by the end of the year, November or December, we had the fourth single. There's still huge radio play in the U.K. You know how it filters to commercial radio -- it takes awhile. But that wasn't so much a surprise to me, because we're a radio band. That's why it worked so well. I listened to huge amounts of popular radio when I was growing up, and I wanna make music that sounds good on the radio.


So were you a fan of pure pop growing up, like Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan?
Oh, absolutely! Probably moreso now, actually, because I'm probably starting to kind of look back on that stuff and seeing it for what it is. You know, in the way that when ABBA was out, a lot of people saw it as being something tacky. Now everyone looks back on ABBA and realizes there was so much genius there. And I think that if I look back on some of that Stock, Aitken and Waterman stuff, and also the stuff Madonna was doing in the '90s -- any kind of really innovative pop music, really -- yeah, I'm a real fan of pure pop, completely.

I really think that what worked for all the music you just mentioned is that the simplest chord change, or going up the right octave with the chorus, can make really beautiful pop. And I get the same impression from Twelve Stops And Home, that you five understand the structure of really great pop.
We do, but I also think that it takes a little bit of not worrying about being cool to do that. If you have any fear, then you can't write pop music. I think pop music has to be fearless, because if you're writing pop music you will be ridiculed by indie snobs. But you just have to remember that they're wrong, and you're right! [Both laugh] It's so easy to be avant garde. There's no challenge to it! To be cutting edge, supposedly, is so boring. You can't judge it against anything else. Everyone sounds a bit like Joy Division but they haven't got "Love Will Tear Us Apart Again." They've got the sound and they've got the jeans right, but they haven't got the song. Even Joy Division didn't have that many songs! There's a wonderful challenge in pop music. It's not easy to do and I find it really fulfilling.

As you know, this site is called Chart Rigger. If you could rig the charts so that one of your singles had made it to #1, which would it have been?
I can't choose between the songs. I find it hard. You know why? I feel like a mother who has children and you can't choose between them. [Laughs] Don't make me choose between the children! It's like that. I can't judge them on their own. I mean, I think "Never Be Lonely" [Video] possibly should have been a #1, but only because it kind of straddles the different emotions and different things that I like to have in pop music. It's got a bit of sadness, a bit of angriness, a bit of quirkiness. It's got a nice big outro. It falls in the middle between the "Sewn" side of what we do and the "Love It When You Call" side of what we do that I think are very much, you know, they're quite separated, really. We can do some things that are quite intimate and moody, but we can also do things that are very bouncy and fun and sometimes very epic as opposed to being very intimate. "Never Be Lonely" has got a bit of everything, really.

I agree. God, "Never Be Lonely" was my MySpace jam for 6 months straight! But I have to say, if there could be a sixth single, I wish it would be "Kettle's On." That's probably my favorite album track of yours.
Oh, really? It was a real toss-up with this last single, because "Rosé" was a big favorite of lots of people, and it seemed to be a little different from anything else that we'd released. But a lot of people thought it should be "Strange," and then a lot of people thought "Kettle's On," as well. It was three songs that everyone thought could have been singles. I still get people here in America, particularly, saying "I Want You Now" should have been a single. So my head spins when I think about it.

Well, just look at it as testament to how good all the songs are.
I guess it's a good problem to have, isn't it? It's either a really good or a really bad problem! [Both laugh] Nobody can hear a single or everyone hears lots of singles...I don't know.

So let's talk about you. Are you a single guy?
No, I'm not. I have a boyfriend. This is a fairly recent thing. I started dating someone on New Year's Eve.

Oh, wow!
I've never told anyone before, because no one ever asked directly. This is really pathetic, but it's probably the first proper boyfriend I've really ever had, because I've just totally scuttered around the whole thing for so many years. And I'm 28 years old and I'm, like, talking about my first real boyfriend...but certainly, it's the first relationship that I've been really happy to talk about.

Good for you! Is he someone you met on New Year's Eve or did you know him before?
I met him once before and then I invited him to a TV show that I was filming on New Year's Eve. It's great being in this business because you can invite people to really posh things! It was someone's house on The Thames, and we were playing the New Year on BBC 1. It was 10 million viewers, and I remember getting ready to play just before the strike of midnight, bringing in 2007, but I was much more nervous about the date than I was about the TV show. [Laughs]

See, that's another good problem to have.
It's going really well. He came over to visit me in New York, so that was nice.

I have to ask: have you had the proverbial sit-down lecture by Bono backstage at some event yet?
No I haven't. I've never met Bono. I can't wait!

You always hear of him putting his arm around the newbie frontmen of rock and then giving them his drunken pearls of wisdom.
Is that what he does? I'd love to have that. I feel like I've missed out now. Maybe that's the measure of success, to have the Bono talk. That's pure success. [Both laugh]

Bono and Brandon Flowers

I read that you had met Neil Tennant, and when you told him what an influence the Pet Shop Boys had been on you, he replied, "That's interesting, because you don't sound like us." Did he really say that?
Yeah, but not in so many words. I knew that, and I knew he knew what I was getting at. He was talking about production and I wasn't talking about production. I was talking about songwriting. There's something very pleasing about intelligent lyrics and great pop melodies, and Pet Shop Boys have got all that stuff. And what they're still doing now is always very exciting.

Have you been writing songs for your second album?
Well, there's a connection with the Pet Shop Boys, because I know Trevor Horn did their latest record, and he did my favorite album of theirs, Introspective. I'm a big fan of his, and he's not doing the album with us, but he's doing a track with us. I don't want to commit to a producer for an album, but I do certainly want to do a track with Trevor. We're working with him as soon as we get back to London, just really to experiment and have some fun and see what he comes up with. I do love his production, and I did tell him I want that full-on '80s, no-messing-around, orchestral, over the top...I want the Trevor Horn works! I don't want him to be subtle. I want him to be proper Trevor Horn.

Producer Trevor Horn

Would you be able to say if "Join With Us" will be on the second album?
You never know, but I think it probably will. That's like a single contender, I think, for the next album.

Yeah, you guys played that one here in L.A. in the fall and it sounded great.
It needs a bit of work, because it sounds to me, like if I listen to my demo of it, it sounds too much like the last album. I mean, the song was recorded three years ago on that demo. It sounds a little dated to me. It might change a little bit, but as I say, that song's pretty much going to be on the next record.

You recently did the Marks & Spencer ads that singer Bryan Adams shot for the new men's line. Were you a fan of his growing up?
Yeah, completely. My first school band used to play "Run To You," and I told him that. I'm sure he probably hears that all the time and it makes him feel really old! Which is the one thing you do when you meet your heroes; you make them feel old saying, "I listened to your album when I was six." They must hate it. Maybe one day someone will say that to me. [Laughs]

Maybe that's how Neil Tennant felt.
Yeah! Bryan Adams is an amazing songwriter with great pop records. It was certainly strange having him take my photograph, as well. That's one of the reasons I wanted to do it. I wasn't like, Oh, I'm dying to do an ad campaign. It was more to do with the fact of who it was connected with, and the idea made me chuckle.

I must say, you look very dapper in those photos.
Oh, I'm glad! I'm glad! I was really ill that day so I thought I'd look terrible. I had bronchitis so I was coughing. That was really awkward, because I was trying to have a conversation with Bryan and I was just coughing the whole time, and he was worried about catching it off of me. He was kind of like inching away. It was a slightly awkward situation. I had it for a month and I really felt ill. I was properly gaunt. But maybe that adds to the model-y look. I look kind of gaunt and half-dead. That's what most models look like nowadays, isn't it?

Maybe all but Tyra. One last question....you're wrapping up the VH1 tour in Atlanta on Friday. Are there any plans for The Feeling to come back to the States for shows this summer?
Hopefully. It depends on what comes up. There are a few little tours and things in the pipeline. It just depends. These things are all decided very much at the last minute. I'd love to come back, definitely.

Well thank you so much for your time. I know you've gotta go. It was wonderful to talk to you.
Yeah, thank you very much.

I'll see you next time you're in L.A.
Thanks! Bye!

VH1's You Oughta Know tour ends today, April 20, in Atlanta. Purchase tickets here. The Feeling's Twelve Stops And Home is available now.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ne-Yo The Only Bright Spot In A Dull Chart Week

It's a bland chart week for the Billboard Hot 100 Singles, Diddy's "Last Night" is the only new (re-)entry into the Top 10. Pink is at #11 with "U + Ur Hand," which makes it her highest charting single since "Just Like A Pill" peaked at #8 five years ago. Hilary Duff drops four notches to #28 with "With Love," Christina Aguilera disappears from the Top 40 as her latest failed single "Candyman" plummets from #35 to #44, and Ne-Yo's "Because Of You" gets bumped down one spot to #47, but retains its bullet. Watch it zip up upon its May 1st iTunes availability.

For a second week, NOW 24 is the top-selling American album.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake/N. Furtado *2 weeks*
2. "Don't Matter" - Akon
3. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne
4. "Glamorous" - Fergie feat. Ludacris
5. "The Sweet Escape" - Gwen Stefani feat. Akon
6. "This Is Why I'm Hot" - Mims
7. "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" - T-Pain feat. Yung Joc *airplay*
8. "Beautiful Liar" - Beyoncé & Shakira
9. "Cupid's Chokehold" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Patrick Stump
10. "Last Night" - Diddy feat. Keyshia Cole

Vote for how you think Madonna's next album will be, in the sidebar.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Music Junkie Digest: Things Heating Up For The Minogues As Rihanna Tries To Stay Dry

Is this young lad boffing Kylie Minogue?

As we all learned two months back, 38-year-old Kylie plucked budding Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, 23, off MySpace to work on her new album. A few weeks later, he had his own U.K. Top 10 hit with "Acceptable In The 80s." Now rumor has it the two are an item. Hmmm. That doesn't seem likely. He's scruffy, dumb-looking and probably a major horndog. In other words, send him over this way when you're finished with him, Kylie!

Seems rumors and the Minogue sisters go hand in hand. Has it even been confirmed yet that Dannii is actually an official X Factor judge?

The latest is that now American cheeseball Donny Osmond may join her as the newest face on the British starmaker reality show this fall.

Hey, remember Donny's 1989 hit, "Soldier Of Love"? That was kind of a jam. Normally, this is where I'd throw up a YouTube clip of the video, but Donny famously bucked '80s tradition and saw "Soldier Of Love" become a U.S. Top 5 hit without making a video for it.

Speaking of the '80s, remember this iconic image?

Yahoo Music has an interesting article up about digital music bringing about the death of big speaker hi-fi systems, and how folks have grown willing to sacrifice excellent sound quality for the compact mobility of MP3 players. So say goodbye to that Maxell ad above, which has still been running after 20 years in Rolling Stone magazine...

Meanwhile, if you're one of the three folks (myself included) that has yet to hear Rihanna's groovy new single, "Umbrella," check out the link below...

* [Listen to "Umbrella"] Real Audio
* [Listen to "Umbrella"] Windows Media

What is it with this girl and the excellent springtime power jams?

Vote for how you think Madonna's new album will be in the sidebar!

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Oh, Boy(band): The Jig Is Up For Louis Pearlman

Bloated pop mogul Louis Pearlman, who once upon a time churned out a series of successful boy bands in the shapes of Backstreet Boys, *NSync and O-Town, is now wanted by the FBI and the IRS after Florida state officials claim he wrangled $317 million out of investors in a fraudulent pyramid scheme, as well as bilking an extra $150 million from several banks. The entire investigative story done by ABC News, which you can read here, is pretty crazy. Most of the conned investors were senior citizens, many of whom are now penniless.

Pearlman has fled the States, and one of the last times he was seen was when his act US5 (pictured below) won an award in Berlin two months ago.

The article ends by stating, "Calls to Triple-M Music, the Berlin-based company that manages his band US5, were not returned."

Well, so much for that American version of Top Of The Pops he was touting a year ago.

Vote for how you think Madonna's new album will be in the sidebar!

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Timbaland Tops Both Sides Of The Pond As Gareth Gates Makes A Modest U.K. Return

You have to go back to September 4 of 2006 for the last chart week where the U.K. shared a #1 single (Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack") with the U.S. This week, Justin achieves the same feat again by featuring on "SexyBack"-producer Timbaland's "Give It To Me."

On a coincidental note, exactly one year ago this weekend, I did a post-mortem on Gareth Gates' career, who was the runner-up to Will Young's crown on the very first Pop Idol in 2002. Poor Gareth hasn't had a hit since "Say It Isn't So" peaked at #4 in Britain in December 2003, and last year he got dropped by Sony. But this week he returns with "Changes," which goes in at #14 on the U.K. singles chart. Who knows if this is good enough for a full album to be released?

Just behind Gareth is Natasha Bedingfield with her bland return single, "I Wanna Have Your Babies," which jumps from #25 to #15 based on downloads. Her full album, N.B., drops April 30 in Europe, while us Americans have to wait for an August release. And surely law-abiding pop-pickers will wait that long stretch and refrain from illegally downloading the fairer Bedingfield's offering, no?

Finally, as a bit of trivia, Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather's cover of The Smiths' "Stop Me" is at #2. Surprisingly, the seminal Morrissey-led group split up in 1987 before the song was issued as a British single for them, though I clearly remember the video getting considerable airplay on MTV here in the States.

This is what the original version sounded like:

This video truly captured my D'luvvly, 13-year-old imagination at the time...

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake & N. Furtado *1 week*
2. "Stop Me" - Mark Ronson feat. Daniel Merriweather
3. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne
4. "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" - The Proclaimers
5. "Beautiful Liar" - Beyoncé & Shakira
6. "The Sweet Escape" - Gwen Stefani feat. Akon
7. "How To Save A Life" - The Fray
8. "Glamorous" - Fergie feat. Ludacris
9. "Ruby" - Kaiser Chiefs
10. "Destination Calabria" - Alex Gaudino feat. Crystal Waters

Vote for how you think Madonna's new album will be in the sidebar!

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Another Dumb Blonde's Dad Died

Aww -- big hugs to Hoku, whose dad, Hawaiian crooner Don Ho, died today at the age of 76. Don Ho is best known for his song "Tiny Bubbles." But who could forget Hoku? She surfed in on the wave of late '90s teen pop and had a TRL hit in early 2000 with "Another Dumb Blonde," which appeared on the Snow Day soundtrack and eventually peaked at #27 on the U.S. chart. And yes, her full name is Hoku Ho.

Ah, memories...Hoku's last hurrah was the song "Perfect Day," which appeared in the film Legally Blonde. It didn't chart, but you gotta give her a gold star for trying.

Hoku's self-titled album is available for download from iTunes.

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The Zapping

You might have noticed that Miss Pussy was chewing the wires last night, as Chart Rigger was all kinds of fugged up for the past 12 hours.

Luckily, she got distracted with gnawing the wig of her Mariah Carey voodoo doll, and I was able to restore the site.

HOWEVER...you can see that the blogroll was a casualty of whatever it was that happened, as was the post I did last night with the results of last week's poll. I'll try to add as many fellow pop bloggers as I can conjure up from memory, but if I forget to add you, don't be offended -- just shoot me an email (address in my profile).

And here are the results of last week's poll on which pop star should retire:

1. Westlife (25 votes)
2. George Michael (24)
3. Madonna (7)
4. Robbie Williams (6)
5. JC Chasez (4)


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Timbaland Produces His Own #1

It's hit or miss when D'luv makes a prediction (I called that Franz Ferdinand's second album was gonna be huge, after all), but it was almost a no-brainer that Timbaland and pals Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado would fly up to #1 on this week's Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart with "Give It To Me."

Last week "Give It To Me" was at #42, but due to finally being made available as a paid download -- and topping the iTunes chart the entire past week -- the single made leaps and bounds after sales of 248,000. Billboard notes that "Give It To Me" historically scores the second highest ascent to the top of the Hot 100, following only Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This," which made a jump from #52 to #1 five years ago.

Hot on the heels of "Give It To Me" is Linkin Park's "What I've Done," which is the Hot Shot Debut at #7.

Pink edges closer to the Top 10 as "U + Ur Hand" creeps up five notches to #14. Her album I'm Not Dead is proving to be somewhat prophetically-titled since it came out last April and she's just now having her second U.S. hit off it. Another pop tart who ain't dead is Hilary Duff, whose Dignity enters the Top 200 Albums at #4. Additionally, her single "With Love" is this week's Sales Gainer on the Hot 100, and it finally goes Top 40, impressively jumping up from #43 to #24. Incidentally, Pink co-wrote Hilary's song "Outside Of You," which by all rights should be the next official single off Dignity.

Finally, Ne-Yo is at #46 with "Because Of You" in the upbeat toe-tapper's sixth week on the chart.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Give It To Me" - Timbaland feat. J. Timberlake & N. Furtado *1 week*
2. "Don't Matter" - Akon
3. "The Sweet Escape" - Gwen Stefani feat. Akon
4. "Glamorous" - Fergie feat. Ludacris
5. "This Is Why I'm Hot" - Mims
6. "Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne
7. "What I've Done" - Linkin Park *hot shot debut*
8. "Cupid's Chokehold" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Patrick Stump
9. "Beautiful Liar" - Beyoncé & Shakira
10. "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" - T-Pain feat. Yung Joc *airplay*

Last day to vote for which pop star should retire, in the sidebar.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Back To The Ol' Stripper Pole: Willa Ford To Play Anna Nicole Smith

Somewhere, Sugar Pie just hacked up a fur ball. It appears as if washed-up pop skank Willa Ford is playing Anna Nicole Smith in an indie biopic.

Variety reported today that Anna Nicole begins shooting next week with Ford -- best known for boning Nick Carter, and her modest 2001 hit "I Wanna Be Bad" -- in the lead. Is it too late to suggest casting Sanjaya Malakar as Bobby Trendy?

Anyway, "I Wanna Be Bad" actually wasn't a bad jam. I bought the CD single back then on a whim, and was into it for about two days.

Willa was about nine years old when this video was shot, so it's kinda like seeing what JoJo would have turned out like if she'd been given three bottles of Whore to nurse on each day as a baby.


NOW That's What I Call Upset

Yowza! I was betting that Hilary Duff's new album would get trumped by a #1 debut by Timbaland on this week's Billboard album chart...

However, both of them were not only beat to the top by the latest NOW compilation, but Tim McGraw and Martina McBride, two Micks...er, hicks with a microphone, took the #2 and #3 positions, as well. (Yeah, yeah -- I'm one, too, so put the car bomb down, Murphy.)

Duff's Dignity debuts at #4 this week with sales of 140,000. Most Wanted, her greatest hits, entered at #1 two years ago. Hilary's single "With Love" will surely finally go Top 40 on tomorrow's new singles chart, as it's climbed up to #11 on iTunes this week. Meanwhile, Timbaland's Shock Value is right behind Dignity at #5. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised his single "Give It To Me" begins a long stay at #1 tomorrow.

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