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

Friday, November 30, 2007

Babydaddy Scissors Chart Rigger

First Gary Barlow and now Chart Rigger! Turns out Scissor Sisters fox Babydaddy has peculiar taste in men and blogs:

The band's Hurrah: A Year Of Ta-Dah DVD -- containing a rad hour-long documentary chronicling their last world tour, a full concert shot at London's 02 Arena, plus videos and some naked sass -- is out Tuesday. Here's the groovy trailer:

Plus, if you're a cheap-ass like me, it's on sale at Amazon for only $14.99!


I Don't Think I Want A Piece Of Britney Anymore... Is It Too Late To Give It Back?

Rolling Stone sent a writer to the set of Britney Spears' "Piece Of Me" video shoot Wednesday, and there's a pretty hot account of it all up on the mag's website. The call time was apparently 8:00 a.m., and the article says Twitney didn't show up till 8:35 p.m.! Anyway, the premise of the video is B.S. slinking around with four look-a-likes in tow, as the paparazzi chase after them. Heavy.

"Sort of like real life," writes Rolling Stone, "except five Spears in real life would make the universe collapse." Ha!

The write up goes on to wax philosophical about "Piece Of Me" (currently at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100) -- and why shouldn't they ponder it with a bit more depth, seeing how as Robyn does backing vocals:

Given its reputation as the standout track on Blackout, its placement as the background music during the confrontation between Lauren and Spencer’s sister on The Hills and its anti-paparazzi theme, we thought for sure this was the song to propel Spears back to the top of the TRL charts — or at least help Blackout go gold (and draw attention away from Brit’s wig-shoplifting tendencies).

The "Piece Of Me" video is to debut sometime in late December. I don't know about helping Blackout go gold, though. After only four weeks, the album dropped out of the Top 40 and is now at #43 on the chart.

Meanwhile, did anyone else completely burn out on Blackout after the first week? I think I'd rather plunger my eyes out than hear it ever again. I just couldn't take it anymore, and had to move on to classier, more meaningful music. Like Hannah Montana.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Will Someone Put F***ing "Apologize" At #1 Already?!

Who the hell's running the payola department in Timba Land, anyway? Did they blow all the cash trying to make "Love Stoned/I Think She Knows" a hit? If OneRepublic's "Apologize" -- which has gone up and down the upper part of Billboard's Hot 100 at the velocity of Girls Aloud at a frat party -- doesn't make it to the top, while Soulja Boy was able to spend two years months at #1, there really is something fundamentally wrong with this country. Just hand the keys over to China already.

While we're at it, does this Top 10 need an enema or what? Who are half of these people? What the hell is Flo Rida? When did T-Pain become more relevant than the Bee Gees? Look, I know, I know...it sounds like the rant of some cranky old buzzard. But I'm an American living in a dying empire. If I had a kid these days who even entertained the notion of reaching for iTunes, I'd snap their fingers off with hedge clippers. (What up, mom!)

Taking the irony award this week is Jordin Sparks, who despite being panned yesterday for having the worst first-week showing for an American Idol winner on the album chart (and with sales figures), has the Sales Gainer on the Hot 100 with "Tattoo." The lovelorn single moves up from #16 to #12. Hey, maybe if Jordin covered "Sky High" and released it in the U.K. there might truly be some pop justice for her?

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "No One" - Alicia Keys *2 weeks*
2. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
3. "Kiss Kiss" - Chris Brown feat. T-Pain
4. "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain *airplay gainer*
5. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy
6. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
7. "Clumsy" - Fergie
8. "Good Life" - Kanye West feat. T-Pain
9. "Hate That I Love You" - Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo
10. "Cyclone" - Baby Bash feat. T-Pain

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Blowing It All Sky High

It's rare when D'luv gets the chance to read Pop Justice, mostly because I've got my own pop injustice to deal with, but I was surprised to take a looksee and read that the folks there claim they'd never heard of Jigsaw's classic dance jam "Sky High" before, and that they think someone should cover it or sample it.

Goodness! Are there a pack of kiddies running that joint these days? How could the mighty PJ forget the super-rad 1994 Mike Stock/Matt Aitken-produced version by Newton -- one of the higher-profile releases on Stock's Love This label, which got to a whopping #78 on the U.K. chart? Or its re-release a year later (#56)? And then it's re-re-release the next year (#76)? (Christ! No wonder that label sunk into a Tube line.)

On the heels of the success of NIcki French and "Total Eclipse Of The Heart," Love This even saw "Sky High" get a U.S. release in 1995.

Anyway, here are two of the videos shot for the Newton versions.

Newton went on to have a decent-sized hit in Australia and the U.K. in 1997 with a cover of "Sometimes When We Touch." The same-titled album, which includes "Sky High," is available on iTunes.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Maybe If Blake Lewis And Ryan Tedder Did Sex, Jordin Sparks' Album Would Sell Better?

Well, you never know! Billboard reports that Jordin Sparks' self-titled album has entered the chart at #10 after selling 119,000 copies -- the lowest entry and sales figures for any American Idol winner yet. Meanwhile, after the holiday weekend, the High School Musical 2 soundtrack jumped from #14 to #6, and is now the year's best-selling album.

At any rate, as the title of this post suggests, Ryan Tedder and Blake Lewis would make one fine pairing. Here's a clip of the two blond foxes in the studio working on Blake's album, Audio Day Dream (out Tuesday), this past summer. And, hey, Steph Jones in the middle can watch.

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Mariah Set To Flatten Miss Jackson In Early '08

Run for cover! Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson -- two of pop's loosest screws -- are set to both release new albums in early 2008.

Billboard notes that Jackson's L.A. Reid-exec-produced album is due out in February. Poor broad. She's rushing that shit out quick after 20 J.O. or whatever the hell it was called flopped last fall like a high class hooker peddling box at a bat mitzvah.

Meanwhile, Janet's boyfriend Jermaine Dupri knows who the real star is -- he's been working on Mimi's next album, which should be out two month's after Miss Jackson's drops...off the charts.

But I don't see how there's any competition. Janet hasn't had a hit in ages, and unlike her brother, she doesn't have the Jackson 5 to fall back on.

Anyway, to satiate your appetite for Mariah's curves till then, check out this two-disc DVD trash that came out last week: The Adventures Of Mimi!

That's right, doll. You just keep twirling around the gold pole and eventually the space ship will come.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Jake Shears And Babydaddy Scissor Gary Barlow

Seems there's more to the Daily Star article where Jake Shears admitted he'd love to fill in for the ailing Howard Donald in Take That.

I found the full feature online and, after getting on the topic of the British man band, Scissor Sister Babydaddy said, “I don’t need to hear a word Gary [Barlow] says – I just love him. I know I’m not in the majority here, but I think he’s the sexiest creature ever.”

Jake Shears chimed in: “We’re not joking, he’s so cute.”

Meanwhile, this got me to thinking of one of the classiest passages from Gary's biography, My Take, which I read the other week -- when he describes how overweight and depressed he got in the early 2000s.

"I was wheezy and out of breath with even the slightest exertion. It would take me three rolls to get off the bed and I was reduced to wearing XXXL tracksuits...

...I was then 'papped' by the Daily Mirror's photographers coming out of our local pub. The article included gems like 'Back For Pud' and 'Relight My Fryer.' Of course it hurt, but their writers are clever."

"Relight My Fryer" is pretty much one of the hottest things I've ever heard.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Spice Girls' Chart Placing Nothing To Holler About

Well, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)" is sure to make some headlines for the Spice Girls, but for all the wrong reasons.

Despite the sold out concert dates and decent sales of the Greatest Hits, the majority of the U.K. public have decided not to spice up their lives by buying the single. It landed at #11 on the official U.K. chart this week after physical sales were factored in. But really, why pay for it when it's already on the hits collection? Perhaps if the CD version included more than one B-side (and one more enticing than a 2007 remix of "Wannabe")...

"Headlines" was the official 2007 BBC Children In Need single, and by far it was the worst-charting one since songs became associated with the charity in 1997. Spice Girl Emma Bunton fared much better last year when her Children In Need-sponsored cover of "Downtown" hit #3. At any rate, Martine McCutcheon and Liberty X can now breathe a sigh of relief, as their respective singles, which both ended up at #6, were previously the lowest-charting ones for the cause.

"Headlines" does see some love in other parts of Europe, though; it's reached #2 in Italy, #3 in Sweden and #7 in the Czech Republic.

Ah, well, the U.K. Top 10 still manages to see some girl group action as - heavy sigh - prostitute troupe Girls Aloud debut at #9 with whatever mediocre trill they're shilling this week. As well, Sugababes are still hanging in there at #10 with "About You Now," which by this point one would imagine has to be one of the best-selling British singles of the year.

And putting up a good fight for barely making it into the Top 20, Robyn's "Handle Me" slips from #26 to #35 in its fourth week on the chart.

On a final note, I have to say I'm a tad disappointed that Take That weren't able to nudge Leona Lewis from #1, if only for a week. It now appears as if "Rule The World" has begun its descent after being held for a month in the runner-up position.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis *5 weeks*
2. "Heartbroken" - T2 feat. Jodie Aysha
3. "Rule The World" - Take That
4. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
5. "Valerie" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
6. "Breathless" - Shayne Ward *new*
7. "No One" - Alicia Keys
8. "2 Hearts" - Kylie Minogue
9. "Call The Shots" - Girls Aloud *new*
10. "About You Now" - Sugababes

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Music Junkie Digest: A New Day For Australia (And George Michael!)

Congratulations to all our Australian friends on their new prime minister, the Labour Party's Kevin Rudd, who was elected today.

Rudd defeated the conservative John Howard, ending the latter's 11-year rule. Rudd promises to sign the Kyoto Protocol and withdraw Australia's 550 combat troops from Iraq.

In his victory speech, Rudd stated, "I want to put aside the old battles of the past, between business and unions; between growth and the environment.''

John Howard was one of George Bush's longest and staunchest allies. Here's hoping for a similar vote for change in the U.S. next year!

Last November, MoogaBoo and whipped up a banterview on George Michael cleverly titled, if I do say so myself, "Dissing A Fool." I always felt this to be one of the more underrated gems here on Chart Rigger. So, much to my glee, an angry George fan (Is there really any other kind?) stumbled upon it last night and anonymously posted the following rant:

"Must say ttly do NOT agree with you. I went to his 25 Live tour, it was fantastic. George Michael is back and stronger than ever. His voice is fantastic, his music is from the heart and moves you. He filled up stadiums and that should tell you enough. He will be touring the U.S. soon and I hope he will continue touring. I don't get it, how nasty people can write and act, just say you don't like something and that's enough, artists are also people with feelings and it is very nasty to read certain comments. When did we all become so harsh and inhuman. It's a pitty. I can only add that he has attracted all his fans to the tour and has gained a whole lot of new and young fans as well, I am one of them. Never was a fan of Wham, but I am from the George Michael the way he sings now. Ah and all you male out there, that do listen to his music,but never would openly admit it, get over yourselfs please, the sexiest thing in a man is him being secure of his sexuality & that includes in having no problems with gay men. Else you are just one sorry ass (sorry) of a person. There is room in this world for all people no matter what colour, believe, background and lifestyle, just as long as we respect each other.
Love, peace and respect."
First off, I'd like to thank you, whoever you may be, for commenting. You raise some excellent points... for being a George Michael fan. Oh, just kidding.

George is indeed quite talented. Not so much at driving, mind you. But, look, the bottom line is that he hasn't made a listenable record since "Fastlove," and if he spent half as much time in the studio writing decent music as he does gumming old bastards in the park, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

But as always, you gotta have faith.
Jake Shears is one classy broad. According to The Daily Star, the head Scissor Sister said he'd fill in for the recently-injured Howard Donald in Take That if he were asked:

"I absolutely love Take That and would drop everything to join them on stage. It sucked that Howard got injured. I would have been him for a while if they'd asked. Right now I have time in my schedule and it means I'd get to dance again - though I'd probably pass on the backflips."

Congrats are also in order for Robyn, who took the the title Best Female Of The Year at Don't Stop The Pop's curiously Swede-heavy Pop Awards. Robyn's next U.K. single off her self-titled album is to be "Be Mine!", which will get a physical CD release January 14. The month of January is typically a slow time for new singles, so here's hoping the lack of competition enables Robyn to see a high chart entry. "Be Mine!" originally peaked at #3 in Sweden in 2005.

It looks as if the days of the Spice Girls landing songs atop the U.K. chart with each release have long gone by. U.K. midweek reports show "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)" sitting around #10 after about 6,000 CD copies were sold this week. Granted, it has been seven years since they last put out a proper single.

Guess we'll see what happens tomorrow.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm Not Entirely Convinced NLT Aren't Actually Justin Timberlake In Teen Boy Drag

Yes, it's two boy band posts in one day.

So, while driving home from Pinkberry, KIIS-FM started playing a pop song that I assumed was Justin Timberlake, only there was something a bit off -- it sounded like five Justin Timberlakes, circa the *NSync days, like all nasally and boy band-y and shit.

Then Timbaland's vanity vocals kicked in. When it was over, the radio DJ said it was NLT [website], who are apparently a boy band comprised of 17- and 18-year-olds, and their song is called "She Said, I Said (Time We Let Go)." It's not that bad! The single is on iTunes, along with a couple other not-as-good songs by them called "Heartburn" and "That Girl."

Meanwhile, 17 and 18? More like 13 and 14. I feel like I might get arrested just from watching the video! And I dunno, given the Timbaland connection, it still sounds like Justin to me.

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Varsity And Menudo Strike Up The Boy Band

Folks, this is Varsity, a teen-aged boy band who, despite this being the year 2007, somehow seem to have a major label deal with Virgin/EMI.

Varsity sing the typical fodder -- songs like "Complicated Girl," with the obnoxious refrain Lemme get, get, get that chick! which you can hear on their MySpace.

One of these boyz is named Jayk Purdy. I'm not really sure which one, but I'd like to think it's the blond in the green shirt with Cloris Leachman hair.

Varsity also appear to be into strange group S&M rituals, as evidenced by the following promo shot. Jayk Purdy seems to be enjoying himself.

What's more curious is that Ryan Tedder and Jesse McCartney are apparently writing songs for Varsity. Tedder, as we know, is the lead singer of OneRepublic ("Apologize"), and he and Jesse wrote "Bleeding Love" for Leona Lewis. So how the hell did this boy band -- whose songs include vocoder effects circa 2000 -- get a major label deal and classy songwriters? Or Jesse McCartney?

Maybe the labels are sick of watching old geezers like Take That and Backstreet Boys rake in the cash, and want a new crop of less-wise youngsters they can rip off. Speaking of which, here's a pic from DListed of the new Menudo that MTV slapped together.

Is it just me, or does the one in the middle look like Robbie Wiliams' much-younger/gayer brother?

* Also read Pop Poster Girl's update on all things Jesse McCartney

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Alicia Keys: The Most Boring Pop Star Ever

Sorry, you 712,000 people that ran out and bought As I Am last week, but Alicia Keys has to be dullest broad in the pop game these days.

Look, I'm sure she's a very nice lady. But where's the personality? Where's the sexy? What's the appeal? Is it the hair? The pleather? She's somehow had four albums that all debuted at #1, yet can anyone actually think of three Alicia Keys songs? If it wasn't for American Idol auditions each year, would you even remember her cloying, overwrought dirge "Falling" existed?

Basically Alicia Keys is just another case of Clive Davis using his ancient voodoo and buckets of Whitney Houston blood cash to bully an impressionable public into thinking they need to hear her stale piano standards warbling out of their iPods.

And so it was inevitable that the soul robot's latest single, "No One," would end up on top of Billboard's Hot 100 the same week her album debuted at #1, as well. After all, she really switched it up this time; "No One" almost has something resembling a beat. Look out -- Alicia's gettin' crazy, y'all!

Sure, baby, tell us what a cold world it is. And who taught her how to do one-note synthesizer posturing in her videos? A Flock Of Seagulls?

Don't give in to Alicia Keys and her Stepford pop, folks! If you look deep into her eyes, there's really nothing staring back but deep pools of Clive's chowder. Out there is other, more poignant music with actual feeling and heartfelt passion to it. I mean, Fergie's got another single in the Top 10.

Elsewhere, on the album chart, there are a few notable entries this week: The Killers at #12 with Sawdust, Seal at #35 with System and Duran Duran at #36 with Red Carpet Massacre.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "No One" - Alicia Keys *1 week* *airplay/sales gainer*
2. "Kiss Kiss" - Chris Brown feat. T-Pain
3. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
4. "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain
5. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
6. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy
7. "Good Life" - Kanye West feat. T-Pain
8. "Clumsy" - Fergie
9. "Cyclone" - Baby Bash feat. T-Pain
10. "Stronger" - Kanye West

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

BBC On Chart Rigger: "Big Jealous Club Of Ugly Geeks"

Goodness! BBC's Chart Blog, in its review of Shayne Ward's single "Breathless," gives more than a short mention of Chart Rigger. Oh, Mom! Oh, Dad! I've finally arrived! Upon watching the video for said Shayne ballad on Saturday, I felt it my Rigger-ly duty to alert the masses to its unfortunate blandness. Thankfully, the BBC heard the syren cry from across the vast ocean.

Let's see what flattering compliments the Beeb heaved upon D'luv:

Shayne fans aren't going to be won over by snarky critics, and snarky critics tend to form opinions in clumps anyway...
Pearls of wisdom, that. Never jump the snark, children.

...so even if I hate the song and, say, Chartrigger agrees with me, all it does is add fuel to the idea that we're just a great big jealous club of ugly geeks who wish we had a fraction of Shayne's raw sexual magnetism.
Splutter! But...ugly? Geek? You spelled the site as all one word? And...it...hurts...with...every...heartbeat.

Well, I can't speak for anyone else (Chartrigger seems to be quite the hottie-magnet though), but what I do know is this: It's my turn to review the new Shayne Ward single.

Well when you put it that way, who can argue? Thanks, Fraser! The geeks shall inherit.

* Check out BBC Chart Blog's hysterical review of "Breathless."


Ace Of Base Planning Global Tour For Next Year

More news from the Ace Of Base camp. Looks like 2008 is shaping up to be a big year for them (though note Linn's absence from this poster).

AOB's website states the following: "In Yekaterinburg, Russia will the first step of a world tour start. This as the band are now proud to announce that they are planning a global festival tour next summer and will try to reach as many countries as possible!" Incidentally, the Russian show mentioned has sold out.

They've also posted the email address of their manager "for bookings." How completely hot would it be if the Base teamed up with Aqua for their tour? Nah, screw that... Ace Of Base don't need to share the stage with anyone! Hopefully it's all four of them, though.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Do You Remember The First Time?

Today, Rhino Records releases the four-disc compilation, The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze And British Pop Gems Of The Last Millenium.
I'd just like to state that disc 3 was the entire soundtrack to my college career...well, give or take some Ace Of Base, Kylie and Gina G. And kudos for including Saint Etienne's "You're In A Bad Way"! I did up a full review of The Brit Box for Towleroad today.

The Brit Box is on sale at Amazon for $36.99. Also, an excellent companion piece is John Harris' book on the era, Britpop!: Cool Britannia And The Spectacular Demise Of English Rock, which I read last year. Lots of Suede/Blur/Oasis/Elastica sex and bitchery!

In the spirit of the box set, here's a classic clip of The Stone Roses from Tony Wilson's Other Side Of Midnight program in 1989.

Here's the full Brit Box track list:

Disc 1:

01 The Smiths - "How Soon Is Now?"
02 Cocteau Twins - "Lorelei"
03 Felt - "Primitive Painters"
04 Shop Assistants - "Somewhere in China"
05 The Mighty Lemon Drops - "My Biggest Thrill"
06 The Cure - "Just Like Heaven"
07 Echo & The Bunnymen - "Lips Like Sugar"
08 The Jesus and Mary Chain - "April Skies"
09 Spacemen 3 - "Walkin' With Jesus (Sound of Confusion)"
10 The Primitives - "Crash"
11 The Wonder Stuff - "Unbearable"
12 The Stone Roses - "She Bangs the Drums"
13 The Charlatans UK - "The Only One I Know"
14 Happy Mondays - "Step On"
15 Primal Scream - "Loaded" [single version]
16 Inspiral Carpets - "This Is How It Feels"
17 The Trash Can Sinatras - "Obscurity Knocks"
18 The La's - "There She Goes"
19 The Sundays - "Here's Where the Story Ends"

Disc 2:

01 Ride - "Vapour Trail"
02 Pale Saints - "Sight of You"
03 My Bloody Valentine - "Only Shallow"
04 Lush - "For Love"
05 The Telescopes - "Flying"
06 Chapterhouse - "Pearl"
07 Catherine Wheel - "I Want To Touch You"
08 Bleach - "Trip & Slide"
09 Curve - "Coast Is Clear"
10 Five Thirty - "You"
11 Moose - "This River Will Never Run Dry"
12 The Family Cat - "(Thought I'd Died) And Gone To Heaven"
13 The Dylans - "(Don't Cut Me Down) Mary Quant in Blue"
14 Thousand Yard Stare - "0-0 A.E.T. (No Score After Extra Time)"
15 Ned's Atomic Dustbin - "Grey Cell Green"
16 Birdland - "Shoot You Down"
17 Manic Street Preachers - "Stay Beautiful"
18 Teenage Fanclub - "Star Sign"

Disc 3:

01 Suede - "Metal Mickey"
02 Swervedriver - "Duel" [radio edit]
03 Eugenius - "Breakfast"
04 Superstar - "Barfly"
05 New Order - "Regret"
06 James - "Laid"
07 Nick Heyward - "Kite"
08 The Boo Radleys - "Lazarus"
09 Saint Etienne - "You're in a Bad Way"
10 Stereolab - "Wow & Flutter"
11 Blur - "Tracy Jacks"
12 Oasis - "Live Forever"
13 Pulp - "Common People"
14 These Animal Men - "Speed King"
15 Mega City Four - "Wallflower"
16 Echobelly - "Insomniac"
17 Gene - "Sleep Well Tonight"
18 Menswe@r - "Sleeping In"
19 Supergrass - "Alright"
20 Cast - "Alright"
21 Elastica - "Stutter"

Disc 4:

01 Dodgy - "In a Room"
02 Ash - "Girl From Mars"
03 Sleeper - "Sale of the Century"
04 Marion - "Sleep"
05 Kula Shaker - "Tattva"
06 Ocean Colour Scene - "The Riverboat Song"
07 Babybird - "You're Gorgeous"
08 The Bluetones - "Slight Return"
09 Super Furry Animals - "Something 4 the Weekend"
10 The Divine Comedy - "Something for the Weekend"
11 Cornershop - "Brimful of Asha"
12 Silver Sun - "Service"
13 Spiritualized - "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space"
14 Mansun - "Wide Open Space"
15 Hurricane #1 - "Step Into My World"
16 The Verve - "Lucky Man"
17 Rialto - "Untouchable"
18 Catatonia - "Mulder and Scully"
19 Placebo - "You Don't Care About Us"
20 Gay Dad - "Oh Jim"

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Jordin Sparks Benefits From Working With Swedes, Not Clive Davis, On Her Debut

Surprisingly, Jordin Sparks' self-titled debut (out now) is packed with pretty decent pop. In fact, it's almost close to being a solid, sugary-sweet album, but a few by-the-numbers ballads drag it down a bit. Chalk the good tunes up to Jordin working with a bunch of the Swedes (including Robyn collaborator, Klas Åhlund). It's also one of the rare albums from an American Idol winner that isn't tainted by the geriatric hands of Clive Davis.

Is it just coincidence, then, that it's miles ahead of the usual Idol fodder? Here are the tracks to download, in order of pure pop hotness:

"One Step At A Time" - An upbeat dance track that has a beat similar to Ne-Yo's hit from earlier this year, "Because Of You." Interestingly, though both "Because Of You" and Sparks' "Tattoo" were produced by StarGate, this one was crafted by Robbie Nevil, Jonas Jeberg and Cutfather.

"Shy Boy" - A superb, squiggly electro number written by Christian Karlsson, Henrik Jonback, Pontus Winnberg and Klas Åhlund, and produced by Bloodshy & Avant -- the team behind Britney Spears' "Piece Of Me." (Åhlund also wrote and produced Robyn's "Handle Me.")

"Young And In Love" - More electro from the above writers (along with Cathy Dennis) and producers. This one sounds like vintage Madonna.

"No Air" - An epic, sweeping ballad featuring Chris Brown. It's a grand pop duet done the way duets ought to be -- with two young singers crooning atop shimmery synths, handclaps and a soaring, multi-tracked chorus.

"Freeze" - This borders on being a bit of a copy of Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right," but it's still pretty rad. It's the only track Jordin gets a writing credit on. Like current single, "Tattoo," it was co-written by Amanda Ghost, Ian Dench, Mikkel S. Erikson and Tor Erik Hermansen, and produced by StarGate.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Beyoncé Goes A Little Bit Country

Aww, I find this clip extremely charming. It's country act Sugarland performing "Irreplaceable" last night at the American Music Awards, with Beyoncé surprising the audience halfway through for a duet.

Justin Timberlake and Daughtry were the big winners at the awards show. For the full list of this year's nominees and who won, go here.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

A History Of Kylie Minogue At #4

We know "2 Hearts" has proven, amongst fans, to be a dividing choice for a comeback single by Kylie Minogue. Nothing points to this more than the fact that, after a somewhat lengthy absence followed by a triumphant tour and overall media blitz, she still wasn't able to nab the U.K. #1 slot away from Leona Lewis (or sneak past month-old offerings from Take That and OneRepublic).

All that aside, the dust has settled and "2 Hearts" has charted properly at #4. Here, then, is a look back at the 39-year-old singer's past dalliances with the #4 position on the U.K. chart. (Note the pattern with them all being released in either October or November.)

"Never Too Late" - October 1989 [Video]

This third promo from Enjoy Yourself finds Stock Aitken Waterman at their most formulaic. Mike Stock -- who I'm guessing here was in complete auto-pilot mode -- was literally cranking out a new hit each week at this point, though one wonders if he scratched the opening lyrics to "Never Too Late" on a napkin while grabbing his morning coffee: Why can't you see that I'm still mad about you? / Even though I found out about you / I'll always stay forever true. This harmless treacle broke Minogue's string of seven consecutive singles that all peaked at either #1 or #2.

"Step Back In Time" - November 1990 [Video]

SAW were infinitely more inspired for Kylie's third album, though that might be chalked up to the fact that, for the first time, they weren't burdened with the task of writing and producing the whole thing themselves. Each of Rhythm Of Love's singles are top-notch -- "Better The Devil You Know," "Shocked," "What Do I Have To Do" and "Step Back In Time." Goodbye, teen princess. Hello, sex-kitten-next-door! The accompanying video is ten times more energetic and invigorating than the one for "Never Too Late."

"If You Were With Me Now" - October 1991 [Video]

Ugh! This duet with U.S. R&B singer Keith Washington is the very definition of dullsville. The two recorded their respective vocals on separate continents. They ought to have sunk the master tape in the ocean between them. Redeeming factor: Kylie looks absolutely stunning in the video.

And so, "2 Hearts" becomes Minogue's fourth U.K. #4-charting single. Elsewhere, Robyn's "Handle Me" slips from #18 to #26 in its third week, and the Spice Girls fall from #20 to #23 with "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)." The physical single for the latter is released today, a day earlier than usual. Darren Hayes' "Me Myself And (I)" debuts at #59.

Spice Girls' Greatest Hits was pipped to the #1 slot on the album chart by Leona Lewis' Spirit, which at 375,000 copies sold in its first week, has become the fastest-selling debut in the U.K.

Interestingly, in Australia, Kylie and Spice Girls have topped the single and album charts respectively.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis *4 weeks*
2. "Rule The World" - Take That
3. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
4. "2 Hearts" - Kylie Minogue
5. "Valerie" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
6. "No One" - Alicia Keys
7. "Home" - Westlife
8. "Flux" - Bloc Party *new*
9. "Runrig/Tartan Army" - Loch Lomond *new*
10. "About You Now" - Sugababes

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Shayne Ward's New Single Makes You Long For The Chipmunk Voice In "If That's OK With You"

Shayne Ward's lucky he makes everyone wanna slam their body down and wind it all around, because his commonplace new single sure ain't no "No U Hang Up." In fact, "Breathless" would have been more appropriately titled "Lifeless" (although the fluttering handclaps are nice). Anyway, Shayne performed the ballad on X Factor last week, and it becomes available as a single in the U.K. Monday.

Personally, I think Rami and the rest of the Swedish Maritone gang must've been in a Häagen-Dazs-induced coma when they banged this one out. The only good part is when Shayne lets out a Patti LaBelle-esque falsetto shriek two-thirds the way in. That made me spit out my Cheerios.

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Spice Girls Perform At Victoria's Secret Show, Plus Move Half A Million Albums Off The Bat

Here's a clip of the Spice Girls being interviewed by Entertainment Tonight before peforming at a L.A. Victoria's Secret fashion show last night.

The fivesome apparently lip-synced "Headlines" and "Stop," and the show will be broadcast on CBS on December 4.

And here they are, uh, performing (Ahem!) "Stop" in L.A., which was then broadcast for the BBC's Children In Need charity telethon.

Perhaps they're simply resting their voices for the tour.

Meanwhile, Capitol Records has sold 600,000 copies of the Spice Girls' Greatest Hits to Victoria's Secret outright, though the CDs resold by the store will not be elegible to register on the U.S. Billboard album chart, as Victoria's Secret is not SoundScan enabled like Wal-Mart. The collection is also available on iTunes, and gets a wide American release on January 15.

Two weeks and six days till the L.A. concert!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Everything Old Is New Again

How the F did collections of previously-released material from The Killers and Spice Girls end up being the best "new" albums this fall?

I grabbed Sawdust and the Girls' Greatest Hits while here in New York (along with -- finally -- the import of Robyn's U.K. album), and right off the bat, the Killers one is pretty rad.

In fact, Sawdust is infinitely better than either Hot Fuss or Sam's Town as a whole. Since it's B-sides, unrleased tracks, etc., it's the band at a much more creative plateau than their safer album cuts.

All of a sudden -- with them all together -- you're finally pricking up your ears to songs like "Sweet Talk" and "All The Pretty Faces" that you previously had buried in iTunes or stuffed away somewhere on an import single. And "Shadowplay" is one of my jams of the year, for sure.

As for Spice Girls, that shit's been getting nonstop play since Wednesday on the iTunes D'luv. It's like bumping into your ex from a decade ago at the mall -- "Oh, wow, it's great to see you! What? Sex? Sure...how about the dressing room at Forever 21 or Gap Kids?"

Oh, I kid. But, hey, you know what to expect, and if you really sit down and play it 47 times over the course of two days, "Headlines" kinda rules!

Anyway, it's back to L.A. in a couple hours. Posh and Co. should come in pretty handy during a three hour layover in Detroit.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Looks Like Backstreet Boys Need A Comeback From Their Comeback

T-Pain features on four songs in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Here's hoping that instead of spending all the cash rollin' in on hookers, he at least pays off any further traffic tickets he receives (you know, while being flagged down by hookers). Meanwhile, outside the Top 10, Natasha Bedingfield's "Love Like This" -- extolled upon here last week -- jumps up to #36, giving the blonde Londoner a third U.S. Top 40 hit.

Over on the album chart, the Backstreet Boys take a wrong detour and see their latest set, Unbreakable -- which debuted at #7 last week -- fall to #40. And that makes you lar-ger than life...

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Kiss Kiss" - Chris Brown feat. T-Pain *3 weeks* *airplay gainer*
2. "No One" - Alicia Keys
3. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
4. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy
5. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
6. "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain
7. "Good Life" - Kanye West feat. T-Pain
8. "Cyclone" - Baby Bash feat. T-Pain
9. "Stronger" - Kanye West
10. "Paralyzer" - Finger Eleven

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New York Afternoon

D'luvvly and a few co-workers are in NYC for a few days. It's been fun so far, but I have a sinus infection, and lost my voice today.

I walked down to Union Square and had lunch in the park, then spent a relaxing couple hours zipping through Gary Barlow's bio.

Like a good pop tart, I also popped into Victoria's Secret and bought the Spice Girls' Greatest Hits! It's all about the radio edits...

In the evening I had a coffee date with the charming Andy Towle at Vynl in Chelsea (where he got to hear me croak like a frog for two hours since my voice was shot). This ain't no lie -- the place has a Justin Timberlake-themed bathroom. Like, really!

I was doin' my business (pissing, not dealing), and noticed the LoveSounds of a Justin song playing in the bathroom, but nowhere else in the diner. I tried to get a shot of the tile Timberlake mural on the other wall, but it was tearin' up my heart that the camera was out of juice. Luckily I got the doll inside the glass cabinet, staring at a JT poster.

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Britney's Blackout Could Use Some Reviving

While The Eagles only slipped to #2 on the Billboard album chart this week, Britney Spears' Blackout has practically slid off the stripper pole!

Her collection of catchy slut jams initially debuted in the runner-up position on the strength of 290.000 copies sold, but falls like a flatlining crack ho to #7 this week after only moving 87,000 (a 70% sales decrease).

Perhaps reissuing a deluxe edition of Blackout at the holidays with the following mash-up included can save Britney's album...

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Throwback: Cola Boy

After being on a Saint Etienne kick for, oh, the last 16 years, imagine the rip-roaring radness of finding Cola Boy's "7 Ways To Love" video on YouTube yesterday! Cola Boy was a side project of Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs from SE, who put out that single (with Radio 2's Janey Lee Grace on vocals) and another track, "He Is Cola," in 1992. "7 Ways..." hit #8 on the U.K. chart, and was also covered by Japanese pop singer Nokko.

Says Bob Stanley:
"'7 Ways To Love' sounded like a good single but was too cheesy for Saint Etienne. We'd have been finished overnight. So we pressed some white labels with Sarah [Cracknell] singing under the Cola Boy pseudonym and they flew out. It was a massive underground hit, which made us laugh because nobody knew who it was. We were absolutely broke, so it was to get some money. When Arista picked it up, we couldn't do it with Sarah because she was totally Saint Etienne. So we redid it with a friend of hers."

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Craig David Dances Past Kylie And The Spice Girls

Remember when a suave, sophisticated Craig David sent classy pop choons like "Fill Me In," "Walking Away" and "7 Days" fluttering up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with all the smooth ease of a bottle of Cognac before a one-night stand?

Yeah, well screw that! Now Craig's gettin' his sold-out, ghetto, '80s samplin' machine on and kicking hot jams like "Hot Stuff (Let's Dance)" into the U.K. Top 10 (#7). Love the retro Bobby Brown fly girls! And the tiger? Class.

Outside the Top 10, as mentioned yesterday, Spice Girls debut at #20 with "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)" based off download sales ahead of the single's physical availability. Kylie Minogue fares better, entering at #12. Though for all the collective hype surrounding these six broads and their comebacks, you'd expect higher positions -- especially since Sugababes landed at #1 a month ago on downloads alone.

Anyway, congrats to Robyn for hanging in there and only falling one notch to #18 with "Handle Me." Good tune, that.

On the U.K. album chart, Britney Spears sees Blackout plunge from last week's debut of #2 to #13. It'll be interesting to see how much it drops here in the States. So far her chart positions for Blackout and "Gimme More" (#3) have been equal in both countries.

Of course, this is all trivia that will pass Britney by, as she's likely more concerned with shoving a frappucino straw up her coffee filter. Oops!...

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis *3 weeks*
2. "Rule The World" - Take That
3. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
4. "Valerie" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
5. "Home" - Westlife
6. "About You Now" - Sugababes
7. "Hot Stuff (Let's Dance)" - Craig David
8. "Gimme More" - Britney Spears
9. "No One" - Alicia Keys
10. "Uninvited" - Freemasons feat. Bailey Tzuke

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Saturday, November 10, 2007


Dammit! Just when "Headlines" was growing on me, the Mirror reports that the new Spice Girls single is struggling at British radio and with sales.

"Headlines" is currently only available digitally, and the physical CD single comes out in the U.K. next week. But apparently it's been relegated to the C-list on Radio 1, where it only gets one play at day. It's now hovering around #20 in the midweeks for tomorrow's chart, after about 5,000 paid digital downloads.

Here's what the Mirror had to say:
George Ergatoudis, the station's Head Of Music, explains: "The opinion of the Radio 1 playlist team is that the song isn't strong enough. Clearly there's a huge number of Spice Girls fans out there - look at the tickets they have sold. But 'Headlines' is very disappointing. The song simply isn't strong enough.. it would have been a B-side in their heyday."

The Girls' 19 Management are also dismayed with Headlines' poor impact on the download market. One source admits: "Everyone's putting on a brave face. But the focus is very much on the tour - they can always fall back on the success of that instead."

Let's not even talk about the States, where "Headlines" crept up to #88 on the iTunes download chart a few days ago, but has now fallen down to #98.

Elsewhere, in honor of ITV's airing of the Kylie Show special, the Daily Mail ran a special feature on the Aussie vixen where her sister Dannii Minogue, former beau Jason Donovan and her original producer Pete Waterman all commented in depth about her life and career. The piece also included the picture to the right of Kylie and Jason reunited. Awwww.

Here's just some of what Jase says:
If I am honest, I was extremely envious of her success at that time. Kylie went from being a homegrown talent to an international star. In 1988, it became increasingly difficult to juggle her dual careers of television and pop... I'll never forget the whole Stock Aitken Waterman thing, songs weren't particularly written before you'd even go in the studio. I struggled with that.

But she had a very strong musical ear, her vocals - even on those tracks where she was given just two hours to put them together - still stand up. You'd be a fool - and I wasn't - to jump the boat just because you were struggling a bit with the musical element of the Stock Aitken Waterman process halfway through what was to be an extremely successful time.

In 1989 we met in LA and I noticed she wasn't the same with me. I went to New York and she went to Japan, then she called. All I can remember are the words, "it's over". It was like a blow to the stomach. I tried to get her to change her mind but she wasn't having any of it.

When we broke up, it was thrown very much in my face. Why wouldn't one be hurt on that basis? And Michael Hutchence was someone I admired and respected. She never did give me a reason for the breakup. I'm not sure if I asked her if there was someone else. If she had started seeing Michael Hutchence when we were still together is something I can't say. But all those things take a cooling down period. There was never resentment; that's life.

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Book 'Em, Darren

Well, after featuring Darren Hayes three times over the past year and a half in Instinct magazine, we finally got to meet tonight at Borders in Hollywood.

He's currently traveling around the States doing some in-store acoustic performances at Borders, a few concerts and the White Party in Miami (along with Cyndi Lauper) at the end of the month.

He performed "Who Would Have Thought," "Truly Madly Deeply," "On The Verge Of Something Wonderful," "I Like The Way" and "Casey." (Sadly, he didn't do my fave -- "So Beautiful.")

Darren had a huge turnout tonight at the Hollywood store -- lots of screaming girls, lots of gays and a screaming, gay D'luv.

Check out Darren's MySpace for the full list of his U.S. dates. If you missed D'luv's podcast interview with Darren, you can listen here.
Photos: Chart Rigger.

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