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

Sunday, December 30, 2007

December Always Goes Out With A Bang When You Think Of Shayne Ward's Mouth

Confession time: lame-ass (arse?) lyrics aside, Shayne Ward's "Breathless" -- still hanging around at #19 on the official U.K. singles chart this week -- has really grown (groan?) on me. It's much better when you're not watching the video, because then you can make up your own scene in your mind where Shayne's face is down your pants.

That said, Sugababes drop from #13 to #17 with poor-choice-for-a-single "Change," and Kylie Minogue manages to inch up four notches to #28 with "Wow," which has found an earlier-than-planned chart life thanks to her X Factor performance a few weekends back.

I'm off to the airport to head back to sunny Southern California for the New Year. Make sure you do something sparkling during the waning final weekend of 2007!

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "When You Believe" - Leon Jackson *2 weeks*
2. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
3. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy Tellem
4. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
5. "Rule The World" - Take That
6. "Valerie" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
7. "Call The Shots" - Girls Aloud
8. "Heartbroken" - T2 feat. Jodie Aysha
9. "Fairytale Of New York" - The Pogues feat. Kirsty Maccoll
10. "Goodbye Mr. A" - The Hoosiers

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Some Junk About The New Chart And Sara Bareilles Is A Classy Broad (With A Nose Ring)

In a quite unusual move for Billboard's Hot 100, the first chart of the new year (dated January 5) sees a brand new #1 (Flo Rida and T-Pain's "Low"). January 2006 and January 2007 had Mariah Carey and Beyoncé extending their respective December runs at the top of the singles chart into the new year, and before 2005, Chart Rigger wasn't around, so, really, who the hell cares about that insignificant time period?

Anyway, fellow pop blogger XO London wrote somewhere -- in a post on his own site, in the comments section here or on a Red Lobster bathroom mirror in lipstick -- that Sara Bareilles is the type of artist who is breaking out the "old fashioned" way, i.e., by having a slow-boiling hit off a well-crafted album that is picking up momentum by word of mouth...and TV ad tie-ins.

But anyway, Yay, Sara! She joins Colbie Caillat and Feist in the club of female singer/songwriters who didn't have to whip out their jugs to have a hit. She's probably saving that for her sophomore slump.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain *1 week*
2. "No One" - Alicia Keys
3. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
4. "Kiss Kiss" - Chris Brown feat. T-Pain
5. "Clumsy" - Fergie
6. "Paralyzer" - Finger Eleven
7. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
8. "Tattoo" - Jordin Sparks
9. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles *sales gainer*
10. "Hate That I Love You" - Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mark Brown And Sarah Cracknell's Haunting "Journey" Video

Here's the official video for Mark Brown featuring Sarah Cracknell, "The Journey Continues," which has been getting U.K. airplay on Radio 1.

Lovely and haunting -- I think this track is sort of in the similar vein of Robyn and Kleerup's "With Every Heartbeat." The Saint Etienne frontwoman makes a brief cameo in the video about halfway through. "The Journey Continues" gets an official release in England on February 4, and it'd be swell to see this one go straight to the top!

The highest Sarah's gotten so far in the official U.K. chart is #7 in 2000, with Paul Van Dyk's "Tell Me Why (The Riddle)," which was a collaboration with Saint Etienne.

* Also check out: Chart Rigger's interview with Sarah Cracknell

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What Do Blake Lewis And The Film P.S. I Love You Have In Common?

Nothing, that's what! But here's a photo of Blake Lewis and his boyfriend songwriter/OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder backstage on Blake's A.D.D. tour from earlier this month.

Billboard notes today that Little Fuzzy's Audio Day Dream has dropped from #32 to #44 in its third week on the album chart. Blake's album initially debuted at #10 two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, here's a classy quote from an Associated Press interview with Lewis that People has up on its website:
"I definitely don't ever want to be considered a role model. I'm just another human being who is passionate about his music and his art. If that's a role model for something, that's great, but I have a foul mouth, I'm tactless and have no shame."
I think I'm in love. Switching gears, here's some random but fun info about the Hilary Swank/Gerard Butler romantic dramady P.S. I Love You that's out now; turns out the novel the film is adapted from was written by Cecelia Ahern, who was once part of the Steps-esque pop act Shimma.

Shimma were an Irish outfit put together to compete in the 2000 Eurovision contest with the Pete Waterman-produced track "When You Are Near." The Irish Independent has a full rundown of 21-year-old Cecelia's showbiz career past, and below is a pic of the ex-pop-star-turned-novelist with Hilary Swank at the P.S. I Love You premiere earlier this month, courtesy of blog The Chancer.

The obvious moral of this story is this: keep auditioning for Eurovision, kids! Even if you don't succeed in becoming a woefully underpaid lip-syncing sensation, you'll still get to hang out at classy Hollywood soirees with women who win Oscars for playing dead trans-lesbians.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Never Again: The 10 Worst Pop Singles Of 2007

Just in time for Christmas, here is the year's worst in pop, as dictated by music's dodgiest of critics, D'luv and MoogaBoo.

10. "Clothes Off" - Gym Class Heroes

MoogaBoo says: "I hope Jermaine Stewart isn't just rolling in his grave -- I want him to plow through the cemetery and bowl a strike with the rotted remains of the Escape Club, the obvious musical ancestors of 2007's shittiest band."

9. "Shut Up And Drive" - Rihanna

D'luv says: "Yeah, yeah. I went there. But if you really stop and think about it, this song is completely useless."

8. "Stronger" - Kanye West

MoogaBoo says: "I'm sorry, but no. All goodwill points earned for sampling Daft Punk were lost by the third repetition of the word 'Isotoners.'"

7. "Never Again" - Kelly Clarkson

D'luv says: "It's best not to piss off Clive Davis, Kelly. No one likes watching that old woman smash dishes."

6. "Grace Kelly" - Mika

MoogaBoo says: "I tried to tune out the overly precious image -- the chrysanthemum hair, the canvas shoes -- and just focus on the music. Turns out that really sucks, too."

5. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat

D'luv says: "Stock away the cash from your hit, doll, because dinner theater in Milwaukee for the next 30 years is gonna be a drag."

4. "Don't Matter" - Akon

MoogaBoo says: "Nobody wanna see us too-geh-der, but it don't matter, no. Quit your whining and do it on the down-low, queen."

3. "Rehab" - Amy Winehouse

D'luv says: "Hasn't someone shot this ratty broad by mistake and mounted her over their fireplace yet?"

2. "Beautiful Liar" - Beyoncé & Shakira

MoogaBoo says: "Shakira, hon, your last two hits have set a bad, bad precedent. You'll never sing solo again. Maybe sometime around your 50th anniversary of being a showbiz ho Clive Davis will throw you a bone at one of his pre-Grammy fondue parties. But don't count on it!"

1. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy

D'luv says: "Soulja Boy gets a dishonorable discharge. And by that, we mean the kind your mom shot out right after you were born."

* ALSO SEE: D'luv & MoogaBoo's 10 Best Pop Singles Of 2007

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Even Santa Thinks "When You Believe" Sucks, And Jesus Probably Does, Too

And so, like previous X Factor winners Shayne Ward and Leona Lewis did the past two years, the newly-crowned Leon Jackson achieves having the Christmas #1 on the U.K. singles chart with the appalling "When You Believe." Listening to it, if I'm being generous, is like drilling a hole into your skull, sucking out your brain with a Dirt Devil Kone and replacing it with egg nog. Well, okay... it's actually not that good. With as high-profile as this show and others like it are, can they not afford to plug in the drum machine or to license something a bit less Grandma At Church for these saps to cover?

But speaking of Shayne Ward, all I gotta say is that his new album Breathless is the record Justin Timberlake and Blake Lewis probably wanted to make but were too Americanized to go for. I'm shocked and awed that Shayne came up through the Simon Cowell machinery. After spending the last two days playing it nonstop, I must admit Breathless could be tied with Kylie's X as my fave pop album of the year. If y'all don't download "Damaged," you'll be regretting it the rest of your waking life; it's pure, catchy, sugary pop magic!

Alright, Shayne-ranting over -- what's up with Sugababes? Why'd the label go with "Change" as a Christmas single? People wanna have fun at the holidays, not hear mopey, depressing ballads. People want "When You Believe," for Christ's sake! (Oops, sorry, Jesus... I shoulda waited till after Tuesday to blurt that out. My bad.) Oh well, Sugababes seem to have peaked at #13 with "Change." Better luck next time, dames. More impresseive is the #32 entry of Kylie Minogue's "Wow," which lands on the chart from downloads after she performed it on X Factor last week.

That said, I'm off for a day of travelling tomorrow, and will be back to chart-rigging in two days. Everybody out there have a safe, happy holiday, and be sure to chug some champagne and get thrown out of a bar or pub wherever you may be -- like I'll be doing in Pittsburgh this week!

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "When You Believe" - Leon Jackson *new* *1 week*
2. "What A Wonderful World" - Eva Cassidy & Katie Melua
3. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
4. "Fairytale Of New York" - The Pogues feat. Kirsty Maccoll
5. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy Tellem
6. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey
7. "Rule The World" - Take That
8. "Valerie" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
9. "Call The Shots" - Girls Aloud
10. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cracker And Miss Pussy Lazily Look Back

Santa arrived early with D'luv's Shayne Ward Breathless CD -- a pop masterpiece! -- so the kitties are taking over in the meantime.

Cracker and Miss Pussy wanted to make sure you didn't miss the following radness from this year on Chart Rigger:

* TOWLEROAD COLUMN: this week's got the kids in a whirl (check out those comments!) over the "Fairytale Of New York"/BBC drama. All the weekly Towleroad columns are archived in the drop menu in the sidebar.

* BEST POP SINGLES OF 2007: D'luv and MoogaBoo list their 10 faves.

* SAINT ETIENNE INTERVIEW: A groovy video presentation.

* SPICE GIRLS CONCERT: A review of their Spicy L.A. show.

* DARREN HAYES INTERVIEW: D'luv and Dazza do phone for Towleroad, then meet at Borders two months later.

* THE FEELING INTERVIEW: Dan Gillespie Sells is dreamy!

* FRANCE: D'luv goes riding on the Metro.

* BANTERVIEWS: HIgh-class trash talk on Scooch, Kelly Clarkson, Robyn, Shayne Ward and Britney at the VMAs.

* TERRIBLE TWOS: Chart Rigger hits the two-year mark and waxes philosophical...about Candy Flip and Black Box!

* NEW YORK: D'luv gets sick on the flight, loses his voice for the entire trip and reads the Gary Barlow book.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

As Far As Talented Irish Bands Go, U2 And Westlife Should Kiss The Collective Asses Of Six

Here's "Whole Lotta Lovin'" by Six, who won the Irish version of Popstars, er, six years ago, had the best-selling single ever in their home country, then disbanded when Simon Cowell ditched them to do American Idol.

The one or two Girls Aloud fans out there may recall Nadine Coyle initially being in the band till they found out she was underaged jailbait and sent her back to Hooker High. One can only imagine she's still kicking herself in the arse for this missed opportunity.

Anyway, why mention Six six (six?) years on? Well, via an extremely reliable source (read: YouTube video comments section) the band are back together and are aiming to represent Ireland at Eurovision in 2008.

Call it The Scooch Factor.

ALSO WATCH: this clip on Irish #1 singles, chronicling the fast rise and faster demise of Six, which shows them in London at PWL studios.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Like A Junkie Whore, Sara Bareilles Shoots Up The Charts While Blake Lewis Takes A Fall

But this is a good thing! After totally selling out (which we all do... wave me a fiver and I'm anybody's!) by having "Love Song" appear in a couple advertisements, California piano broad Sara Bareilles sees her single fling up Billboard's Hot 100 from #72 to #16 this week. I really like this song. I tend to think that if my Best Pop Singles Of 2007 list had extended beyond 10, Sara would be at #11. In fact, I can guarantee it would have been. But it didn't, so better luck next year, luv.

It bears mentioning that Alicia Keyes officially has the final #1 U.S. single of the year, as this chart is dated December 29. What a drag. Thank God I've successfully managed to avoid hearing this boring zombie's limp dirge on the radio for the past month. That one time was traumatizing enough.

And sorry, MoogaBoo. I know you included Alicia in your list of the year's best singles -- and I'm really trying to understand and work through it -- but you're not always right, you know!

It's also nice to see Jordin Sparks move up a bit within the Top 10. Don't get me wrong -- she's as dull as a sack of potatoes, but "Tattoo" is a pleasant enough pop song. Her self-titled album even regains its bullet on the chart this week, where it sits at #26.

However, Blake Lewis, who debuted last week at #10, plummets to #32. You'd best dust off those knee pads, Little Fuzzy. You've got some radio programmers to visit.

Meanwhile, Josh Groban... four times platinum after 10 weeks. It's a f***ed-up world.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "No One" - Alicia Keys *5 weeks*
2 "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain *airplay gainer*
3. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
4. "Kiss Kiss" - Chris Brown feat. T-Pain
5. "Clumsy" - Fergie
6. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
7. "Paralyzer" - Finger Eleven
8. "Tattoo" - Jordin Sparks
9. "Hate That I Love You" - Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo
10. "Good Life" - Kanye West feat. T-Pain

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Best Pop Singles Of 2007

Pop cads-in-residence Mr. D and MoogaBoo compile their lists of the year's best singles. But first, a D'luvvly holiday video message:


10. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson

Why? Timbaland blasts off into space with the most vanilla sistah since '80s-era Whitney! Without an actual sample, this track managed to be more Daft Punk than any of Tim's less-skilled contemporary's attempts.
MoogaBoo weighs in: It was also a nice respite from all the Timberlake. Although if I was tappin' that, I'd probably put him on all my records, too. (Just kidding, Justin & Tim's attorneys!)

9. "Gimme More" - Britney Spears

Why? In all it's ridiculous simplicity, "It's Britney, bitch!" could just be this decade's most poignant lyric in pop.
MoogaBoo weighs in: I admit, this was really catchy and waaay better than anyone expected. But I'm still a little bitter that The Crazy Bag Lady Of Pop got this gem while workhorse Dannii Minogue got re-reheated Sylvester.

8. "No U Hang Up" - Shayne Ward

Why? In the naughty corners of my mind -- so in other words, all four -- Shayne flew off to Max Martin's studio in Sweden and f***ed for tracks over and over and over again.
MoogaBoo weighs in: That probably totally happened! Well, okay, probably not. P.S., Shayne's ass looks hot in white pants.

7. "Because Of You" - Ne-Yo

Why? Glittering magic happens in the video when Ne-Yo furiously twirls in place to the faux Michael Jackson beat. This one is just really great pop.
MoogaBoo weighs in: Hell yes to that 4/4 hand-clap beat. Loved it all summer. Extra video love for the scene where he shtups Chaka Khan in the bathroom sink.

6. "Umbrella" - Rihanna featuring Jay-Z

Why? Yeah, it got overplayed after a bit and spent far too long at #1, but the immediate pleasure "Umbrella" brings is undeniable.
MoogaBoo weighs in: Plus, it will always remind us of that magical summer when Britney attacked some paparazzi with her Totes.

5. "About You Now" - Sugababes

Why? Not the gals' best single -- and the Dr. Luke/"Since U Been Gone" beat has about worn out its welcome by now -- but still better than 99% of what got airplay this year.
MoogaBoo weighs in: With the amazing success of this single, it's kind of like the 'Babes hijacked a steamroller and took it for a spin all over Mutya's face.

4. "Glamorous" - Fergie featuring Ludacris

Why? With this flurry of synths and handclaps, Fergie single-handedly absolved herself of the crime that was "London Bridge" (which topped our "Worst Of..." list last year).
MoogaBoo weighs in: Fergie's solo stuff isn't so bad. Actually, it's pretty okay. If she did something really cool -- guest star on the Paula Deen show, beat up Lily Allen, etc. -- I'd totally think about buying her album.

3. "Rule The World" - Take That

Why? Take That 2.0 have proven to be the masters of elegant power-balladry. This blows everything off their recent album away except for "Patience."
MoogaBoo weighs in: Lulu isn't on this, so of course I was wary at first. Then D'Luv assured me it was produced by Ian Levine and it became my favorite song ever!

2. "Apologize" - Timbaland featuring OneRepublic

Why? I still can't tell if I'd boff Ryan Tedder -- maybe if he bought me some pasta -- but this was at least the one catchy track that immediately leapt out from Timbaland's album. It's this decade's "No One Is To Blame."
MoogaBoo weighs in: This three-kleenex weepie regularly makes the meatheads at the gym stop in the middle of their concentration curls and have a good cry. And that's when I move in.

1. "With Every Heartbeat" - Robyn with Kleerup

Why? An emotional pop punch to the gut that deserves its place on Oldies stations for centuries to come. And, really, who'd have thought?
MoogaBoo weighs in: If you played this alongside "Apologize" it would make baby kittens cry. (But not D'luv's cat, Miss Pussy, that jaded cow!)



10. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson

That Timbaland could make me love an umpteenth rework of Salt n' Pepa's "Push It" hook (a song I've been sick of for 20 years) says a lot about his abilities as a producer. Couldn't get enough of it.
D'luv weighs in: Timbaland's just a big girl who likes to dance at heart.

9. "Undisco Me" - Billy Ray Martin

Why? Like most BRM projects, as dancey as it is weird and as acutely tuned toward the future as it is the past. In short terms: exhilarating.
D'luv weighs in: This bitch scares me.

8. "Call the Shots" - Girls Aloud

Why? Great song title, great chorus, great new blunt cut on the girl in the middle. Yep, that's all it takes, kids.
D'luv weighs in: Between you, me and the firewire cable, I like this song, too. But don't tell anyone.

7. "Umbrella" - Rihanna featuring Jay-Z

Why? It was everywhere and I was sick of it after about a month, but I still love it for its sweetly-wholesome friends-forever lyric. Makes me want to put together some friendship bracelets and give them to everyone who signed my yearbook.
D'luv weighs in: Rihanna gets bonus points for doing Posh hair before the rest of the world's female population and Tom Cruise did.

6. "With Every Heartbeat" - Robyn with Kleerup

Just the right admixture of vulnerability and stomping dance beats. Much-needed.
D'luv weighs in: Robyn is so handsome, but he's a tad bit too femme for me.

5. "Me And My Imagination" - Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Why? There wasn't a lot of great disco this year, but what little there was proved amazing. The strings alone put this one in my top five.
D'luv weighs in: At least she married platinum-selling c**k.

4. "Two Times Blue (Nickel & Dime Mix)" - Deborah Harry

Why? Legwarmers ahoy! On this perky '80s-styled single, Debs sounds like a spring chicken, which is quite a feat if you've seen her lately.
D'luv weighs in: Can you believe I completely let this song pass me by this summer in lieu of trumping The Sheilas? I'm sure there are at least four countries where that's a punishable-by-death offense.

3. "No One" - Alicia Keys

Why? She's still a pill, but there's no denying a soulful chorus and wonky synths.
D'luv weighs in: You do know this isn't an April Fool's Day post, right, luv?

2. "Let Me Know" - Róisín Murphy

Why? Winning lyric: "I'd risk my reputation, just to get a room." Extra points for restaurant dancing in the video.
D'luv weighs in: I walked into the Hollywood Virgin Megastore recently and this was blasting over the sound system. I'm such an impulse buyer.

1. "One More Chance (Mark Ronson Mix)" - Candie Payne

Why? Oddly, the album version sounds like a (rather poor) remix, and the remix sounds as pristine as the rest of the album. Confusion! Otherwise, the perfect kind of heart-rending retro pop number for which I live.
D'luv weighs in: This picks up perfectly where Emma Bunton's Free Me left off. Why couldn't Kate Nash or Amy Winehouse be this non-abrasive?

Coming next week: The year's worst singles!

NEW festive Towleroad column up now!
* REVISIT: D'luv & MoogaBoo's Best Pop Singles Of 2006
* REVISIT: D'luv's Best Pop Singles Of 2005

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Timbaland Unveils New Madonna Single

Timabland has caused some of The Vampyre Madonna's fans to jiggle around like tasered crack ho's after premiering her new track "4 Minutes To Save The World" to a crowd at last night's Jingle Ball in Philadelphia.

Life Partners Timbaland and Justin Timberlake worked on the track with The Vampyre, and NME states the song, which showcased her "new Hip hop edge," is "reported to be the single from her 11th album."

The Vampyre is one of the 2008 inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Past inductees are a bunch of other people over the age of 70.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

British People Like When Kylie Dresses Like A Ho, So They Voted For Leon Jackson On X Factor

Well, ain't that a kick in the lace onesie! Eighteen-year-old Leon Jackson, the underdog on X Factor, won the damn thing last night after Kylie came on stage and basically pole-danced on him as they duetted on a jazzy rendition of "Better The Devil You Know." Leon was judge Dannii Minogue's darkhorse choice to nab the crown, and, looking at her music sales in recent years, it's about time that broad scored! But I like this Leon. He's no Shayne Ward, but rather a tall, dark geek like myself. Which means he's probably got a monster Jackson down his shorts.

Meanwhile, everyone thought this Rhydian Roberts freak was gonna win. He told the press that he's a virgin, and now it looks like he'll probably stay that way. After all, nobody f***s a runner-up.

Today Leon's single , "When You Believe" -- a cover of that crappy Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey duet from The Prince Of Egypt -- was made available on the U.K. iTunes store. Why the hell'd they pick that flop? Simon Cowell really does have the worst taste in music.

Regardless, you can bet Dannii's velvet thong that "When You Believe" will be the Christmas #1 in the U.K. next week. And come to think of it, I'd rather have that than Alicia Keys, who we're stuck with over here.

Below is the clip of Leon and Kylie doing "Better The Devil You Know." Also, click here to watch losers Same Difference perform "Any Dream Will Do" from last night's finale with Jason Donovan.

Meanwhile, on this week's U.K. singles chart, last year's X Factor winner Leona Lewis finally is nudged from the top spot after seven weeks by Katie Melua's version of the Eva Cassidy rendition of "What A Wonderful World," the proceeds of which benefit the Red Cross.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "What A Wonderful World" - Eva Cassidy & Katie Melua *1 week*
2. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
3. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy Tellem
4. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey
5. "Call The Shots" - Girls Aloud
6. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
7. "Rule The World" - Take That
8. "Fairytale Of New York" - The Pogues feat. Kirsty Maccoll
9. "Heartbroken" - T2 feat. Jodie Aysha
10. "What Hurts The Most" - Cascada

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Video Exclusive: Chart Rigger Speaks To Sarah Cracknell From Saint Etienne

Something I put together with the amazing Taco Twins last night.

I'd been wanting to do something with these unused bits from a 2006 interview with Sarah Cracknell of Saint Etienne for a long time, especially since there's some great stuff in there about Kylie Minogue recording "Nothing Can Stop Us," plus other SE songs.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kylie And Jason Are Peforming On The X Factor Finale, But They Probably Won't Have Sex

Oh, it warms the stoic glacier that is D'luv's heart to find out that Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan will be performing on the finale of U.K. dog-and-pony show The X Factor tomorrow night. This shit better be on YouTube pronto so us Yanks can watch, too! It doesn't look like the former couple will be singing together, but you never know -- maybe they'll knock the socks off viewers by belting out their 1988 duet, "Especially For You"!

Meanwhile, I'm about halfway through Jason Donovan's autobiography, Between The Lines, and here's a real hot part:
...when I had been promoting Ten Good Reasons, I had been invited onto a major prime-time TV show in France. In rehearsals, the producer, who I remember had one of those tiny fluffy dogs that only the French seem to have, told me that once I completed the interview I would then move to the centre of the studio and sing.

"It'll be live, of course," he told me.


I flashed Sally Atkins, the PR representative with me, a sideways glance. "I guess I can do the verses but I'm not sure about the chorus. It's a little high for me," I whispered. Sally was only all to aware of the fact that this was a real issue for me, and so she talked the producers round and, to my shame, convinced them to let me mime.

It wasn't that I couldn't sing - I could - it was just that sometimes I couldn't cope with the musical range in the songs that Stock, Aitken and Waterman were giving me. I think it would be fair to say that Mike and Matt weren't writing the music with the intention of it being sung live, they were writing to sell singles. If a song was either too low or too high for an artist it would be ironed out in the studio.

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Maybe If Jordin Sparks Dropped Her Panties For TMZ.com Her Album Would Sell Better?

Jordin Sparks' maudlin schmaltz "Tattoo" finally manages to enter the Top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100 this week (at #10). As for her album, well...

Last month I raved about some of the tracks on Jordin's self-titled CD. Hey, they're not that bad! But the public obviously needs some convincing, since its at #24 on the album chart in its third week.

But look, Jordin, just take your Top 10 single and be happy. You're a cute broad, but you're not Blake Lewis, who we all know, for a short, scruffy guy, is probably packing a foot-long sub in his shorts. Why else do you think Clive Davis got behind him... and then in front of him?

Uh-oh. I'd better stop here. I have to go beatbox.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "No One" - Alicia Keys *4 weeks*
2. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
3. "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain *airplay gainer*
4. "Kiss Kiss" - Chris Brown feat. T-Pain
5. "Clumsy" - Fergie
6. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
7. "Hate That I Love You" - Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo
8. "Paralyzer" - Finger Eleven
9. "Good Life" - Kanye West feat. T-Pain
10. "Tattoo" - Jordin Sparks

** ALSO CHECK OUT: "If Blake Lewis And Ryan Tedder Did Sex, Maybe Jordin Sparks' Album Would Sell Better?"

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blake Lewis Enters The Album Chart At #10 And iTunes Publishes Its Best Sellers Of 2007

This year's American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis enters Billboard's album chart at #10 with Audio Day Dream. Aww, hang in there, fuzzy!

While it's not the best debut -- Billboard notes that as far as other runner-ups, Clay Aiken, Bo Bice (Who?) and Katharine McPhee (What?) all entered higher on the chart -- Blake still managed to match Idol winner Jordin Sparks' position from two weeks back. Sparks' self-titled album sold 119,000 copies in its first week, while Blake's has moved 98,000.

Audio Day Dream turned out to be a really great pop album, despite a few cookie-cutter Hip hop numbers, but perhaps the problem lies with Arista trying to market it with the lackluster "Break Anotha" as the first single. On iTunes, the public has taken the matter into their own hands by downloading the Human League-esque synth ballad "How Many Words" enough times for it to land in the online store's Top 100 Songs. Currently it's at #96.

But listen up -- in a Christmas season that's lacking any big releases, you'd be wise to take a chance on the surprisingly rad Audio Day Dream. If anything, download "How Many Words," "1000 Miles" and the BT-produced "She's Makin' Me Lose It," which features *NSync alum Chris Kirkpatrick on backing vocals(!!).

Meanwhile, iTunes, which is now the third largest music retailer behind Wal-Mart and Best Buy, has published its best-selling albums and songs of the year.

1. Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long
2. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
3. Kanye West - Graduation
4. Daughtry - Daughtry
5. Colbie Caillat - Coco
6. Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight
7. Various artists - "High School Musical 2" soundtrack
8. Timbaland - Timbaland Presents: Shock Value
9. John Mayer - Continuum
10. Various artists - "Hairspray" soundtrack

1. Fergie - "Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)"
2. Gwen Stefani - "The Sweet Escape"
3. Plain White T's - "Hey There Delilah"
4. Avril Lavigne - "Girlfriend"
5. Fergie - "Glamorous"
6. Kanye West - "Stronger"
7. Maroon 5 - "Makes Me Wonder"
8. Akon - "Don't Matter"
9. Timbaland (featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.) - "The Way I Are"
10. Shop Boyz - "Party Like a Rock Star"

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

After Hacking Her Nose Off, Ashlee Simpson Made Some New Music

Now here's a broad we haven't heard much from lately. Ashlee Simpson's new single, "Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)" was thrown up on iTunes today. Hu-zoo! As a testament to Ashlee's true originality and staunch punk ethos, the song was produced by Timbaland. (See, haters? Never let it be said he'll whore himself out to just any old hasbeen!) The video for "Outta My Head" is set to premiere on Yahoo Music December 19.

Even more disturbing than the since-debunked rumor that The Cure's Robert Smith would be working on the singer's third album is the fact that Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley penned a track for Trashlee.

In an interview with Billboard, the pop bimbo revealed her influences for the new record: "One of my favorite artists is Salvador Dali. You'll see a little bit of that surrealism in it. There's a bit of Being John Malkovich in there too." Salvador Dali? That's kinda deep, Ash.

Hey, maybe the next time she goes to see her plastic surgeon, she'll ask him to make her look like this:

New Towleroad column up now!

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