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

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Feeling's Dan Gillespie Sells Vs. Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley

Dan Gillespie Sells...what a hot piece of ass! Here's The Feeling frontman on the cover of the latest issue of U.K. gay rag Attitude.

If you haven't yet caught it, make sure to check out Chart Rigger's interview with Dan from last April. It's a knee-slappin' hoot!

I've been wanting to point this out for awhile now -- a month back I caught this clip of Spandau Ballet performing their 1981 single "The Freeze" (my alltime fave Spandau song!) on Top Of The Pops, and damn! if Dan Gillespie Sells isn't the spitting image of Tony Hadley from that period!

Anyway, I finally got off my cheap ass and ordered the new Feeling CD, Join With Us, online. Amoeba here got it in and sold out within two days, and they were selling it for $50! So f*** those overpriced capitalists.

Long live mom and pop shops like Amazon.com!!

* Wow! It's A Great Week For Kylie And The Feeling

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A Delightful Look Back At When Paula Abdul's Pop Career Bit The Dust

Hey, remember how Paula Abdul had that third flop album in 1995, with "My Love Is For Real," which totally ripped off Kylie Minogue's "Confide In Me," and then she ironically co-wrote Kylie's "Spinning Around" with 37 other people, but never really worked again till American Idol?

Good times. Paula and Randy Jackson's "Dance Like Tomorrow" debuts on Billboard's Hot 100 chart this week at #80, making it her first single to chart since '95's "Crazy Cool."

I always kinda liked "Crazy Cool," if I'm being honest, and I thought it deserved to chart higher than #58. You know, somewhere around #49 would have been good. But it's crazycool to think back to how many hits she had between 1989 and 1992 -- including six #1 singles -- and then how quickly she disappeared.

Guess it's like grandma used to say to me when I'd twirl off to choir practice: when you've got a voice thinner than a chihuahua's crotch, America is quick to flush you off to the land of has-beens.

Good old granny. Anyway, here's "Crazy Cool":

Elsewhere on the chart, Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown's "No Air" jumps from #23 to #13 after a week of solid airplay gains, and Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" hops into the Top 40 at #34.

Also, Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" is at #4! How'd that happen? I'm still not quite sick of it yet, despite it being completely overplayed.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain *10 weeks*
2. "With You" - Chris Brown
3. "Don't Stop The Music" - Rihanna
4. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
5. "No One" - Alicia Keys
6. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
7. "Sensual Seduction" - Snoop Dogg
8. "Take You There" - Sean Kingston
9. "Independent" - Webbie, Lil' Phat & Lil' Boosie
10. "Sorry" - Buckcherry

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Mariah's Skirt In Her "Touch My Body" Video Barely Covers Her Music Box

Here's the video for Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body." You know, at 38, this is probably the last album she can whore it up with.

That dork is Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock. Yeah, I've never seen it, either. But I love that Mimi can poke fun at the overt sexuality of the song by wiggling her jugs in front of some geek for three minutes (i.e., re-enacting how she got a record deal in the first place).

And it's great that the pop divas are getting back to cheap, low-rent videos, like this and Kylie Minogue's "In My Arms." If Madonna's new one has her bouncing around on a pogo stick and whistling through a kazoo the whole time while a clown spanks her, I can die happy.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hopefully Madonna Won't Suck On Hard Candy

The Red Sea parted, time stood still and Jesus keeled over as Hard Candy, the name of Madonna's forthcoming album, was announced today.

There seems to be some sort of confectionary theme going on here since the album, her final for Warner Bros., also contains a song called "Candy Shop." As well, the set was previously rumored to be called Licorice.

I'm still always a bit suspicious of the Material Senior's entendres. Like, I can't help thinking "Candy Shop" is just naughty innuendo for her hoo hoo -- in which case she should have just called it "Ground-Up Rat With A Runny Egg Cracked Open On Top Of It." Alas, Madge's publicist offers up a less colorful explanation, saying the Olde Vampyre "loves candy."

Fascinating! But all kidding aside, I for one am looking forward to a fun record of summer jams from the ol' gal. Here's hoping she delivers.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

D'Luv Interviews Robyn

Lucky her. Why dont'cha show me luv and skee-daddle over to Towleroad to hear my podcast interview with the pop pixie.

You can't handle what she has to say about Kylie and Snoop Dogg.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Lene Alexandra Has Two Very Big Talents

You know, there's just really some F'ed up S going on in the world when amateurs like Foo Fighters and Radiohead sweep up Grammys and Brits year after year, while true poets like Norway's Lene Alexandra go about weaving the tapestry of the lyric so beautifully, yet remain obscure in most parts of the world. Lene was a contender recently to represent her home country for this year's Eurovision contest. Alas, the cruel, uncaring shoulder of the industry was thrust at her once again.

Here's Lene's video for "My Boobs Are OK":

According to Wikipedia, darling Lene once claimed to have slept with Robbie Williams (during which, her boobs likely would not have been ok). He's apparently denied this, thereby putting her in the minority of women who actually have yet to be screwed by the randy hasbeen.

There was a bit of serendipity going on this weekend, because a friend sent me this video, and when I checked Don't Stop The Pop about an hour later, there was a post about Lene's full album. RopPop goes into quite a bit more detail about her, though, because quite frankly, he's a slut.

"My Boobs Are OK" is available as a digital EP on iTunes, as is Lene's latest single, "Sillycone Valley."

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wow! It's A Great Week For Kylie And The Feeling

After two months of hovering in the midsection of the U.K. Top 40, slinky trinket Kylie Minogue's"Wow" jumps up to #5 following the release of the actual CD single. Kylie performed "Wow" on the X Factor season finale in December, prompting heavy downloading of the track -- thus its early appearance on the chart.

"Wow" is Minogue's second U.K. Top 5 single from X, and also has the distinction of being the Aussie pop tart's 24th Top 5 single in Old Blighty, starting with a span that began 20 years ago last month when "I Should Be So Lucky" hit #1. Assuming it will go no higher, "Wow" will be only her second U.K. single to peak at #5, following 2004's "Red Blooded Woman."

Album-wise, Kylie's X also takes a leap, from #38 to #24.

Meanwhile, although The Feeling's new single "I Thought It Was Over" drops to #11 after a solitary week in the Top 10, the band of dandies has the honor of watching new album Join With Us go straight in at #1. Myself, I kept forgetting to order the CD from Amazon UK, and after a steady week of reading the music blogger love shoot from every orafice for Join With Us, yesterday I decided to hit up famed L.A. record store, Amoeba, to purchase it on import.

Alas, they were either out of it, or never got it in.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Mercy" - Duffy *2 weeks*
2. "What's It Gonna Be" - H Two O feat. Platinum
3. "Rockstar" - Nickelback
4. "Now You're Gone" - Basshunter
5. "Wow" - Kylie Minogue
6. "Chasing Pavements" - Adele
7. "Sun Goes Down" - David Jordan
8. "Don't Stop The Music" - Rihanna
9. "Stop And Stare" - OneRepublic
10. "Work" - Kelly Rowland

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Friday, February 22, 2008

The Week That Was: February 22, 2008

This is what I'm talkin' about...look at this crazy broad!

Goblet of Chablis in one hand, stiletto heels in the other -- both strategically placed over Mariah Carey's topless platinum hits! I now feel fully justified for my rant on Towleroad earlier this week about falling for Mimi's diabolical charms. After all, the Butterfly must be fed!

One pic from this "session" made the rounds online last month, but Egotastic just got ahold of all the gemz in their full, curvy glory.

This one actually just looks like trouble. You know she's got a jar of Skippy in her Fendi tote back at the cabana.

And what's a Friday without news about pop's most talented super-diva, Heidi Montag? (Cue up the "Higher" screencaps.)

Heidi's boyfriend Spencer Pratt, the master craftsman who shot the "Higher" clip, tells In Touch he's now also the soulful nightingale's manager.

"The next thing is to really focus on her new music and get her onstage and on a world tour," Spencer rambles.

Then he refers to Madonna, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears: "What we want is for Heidi is for her to perform like they do."

"She could have these huge, unbelievable, explosive performances, with pyrotechnics and lots of costume changes."

Careful, Spence. "Pyrotechnics" is a pretty big word, there.

Is anyone else really sick of hearing about how big Leona Lewis is gonna be in America? I'd say just happen already so radio overplay your hits and then toss you in the gutter with your sophomore album, but Leona's got Clive behind her, which is like having a big pink flop-proof vest on.

And what a lazy hooker. Here's what Leona's manager, Richard Griffiths, told Billboard:
"We have absolutely no plans for her to tour until 2010. We're going to make [Spirit] the biggest record in the world, then we'll make another record in 2009, and tour on the back of that."
If I were Leona's manager, I'd be like, "Get on the stage and dance, bitch! I want a pony!" Spirit drops (dead) in the States April 8.

He warbles on:
"America is looking extremely positive. J Records is doing an incredible job there. She's going to have a long, successful career. We'll be back and picking up awards in years to come. She's had so many great things happen in her life already."
Yeah, like lining your bank account, Geppetto.

Leona Lewis Can Kiss My Unimpressed Butt
* You Cruel Bastards All Made Heidi Montag cry!
* Heidi's other song, "Body Language," which is actually a total jam!
* You're On Notice, Madonna: Mariah Carey's New Album Out April 15

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Jack Johnson Makes Me Want To Kill Myself

Stare! Stare into the face of boredom. You're getting sleepy. Very sleepy...

If Jack Johnson's hair got any shorter and his songs were a bit faster (i.e., actually had a beat), he could almost pass for kd lang. Here's a guy who looks like he used to get high and bang tons of broads in his dirty, squalid room at the frathouse, and who now writes coffeehouse snoozerock even more boring than Colbie Caillat and Plain White Ts.

He probably thanks Jesus every day that Jerry Garcia kicked the bucket and Phish retired, so he could jiggle his whammy bar and wow their aging slacker fanbase. (Actually, picturing that is making me hot.)

This is all just arbitrary, of course, and I'm sure Jack's a really nice guy. Like, he'd probably lend you a fiver if you were jonesin' for a pack of Cloves at Bonnaroo. And, hey, he must be doing something right --he's had the #1 album for two weeks in a row. Keep on rockin' in the free world.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

So, Did We Know Jordin Sparks Has A Nose Ring?

Here we have a nice picture of Jordin Sparks pointing at Chris Brown's crotch. These swell kids finally got around to making a video for "No Air."

Thinking about it, a duet between these two could have easily equated to being a disasterous snoozefest. But somehow, luckily, it's a pretty dreamy jam! "No Air" jumps from #32 to #23 on Billboard's Hot 100 this week.

Here's the clip:

Personally, I'm glad they're glamming this broad up a bit. Those frumpy middle-aged matron dresses she's mostly been photographed in weren't doing her any favors. Oh, and Jordin Sparks looks good, too.

Elsewhere on the Hot 100, Miley Cyrus edges closer to the Top 10, as "See You Again" creeps up one position to #11, and Yael Naïm, whose "New Soul" impressively debuted at #7 two weeks ago and stayed there for two weeks, does the hooker plunge down to #42. The only thing that could probably drop faster is Heidi Montag's panties on the casting couch.

Finally, Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" is the week's Hot Shot Debut, at #57. Lordalmighty, get Mimi's slut jam on iTunes already so it can finish off Flo Rida.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain *9 weeks*
2. "With You" - Chris Brown *airplay gainer*
3. "Don't Stop The Music" - Rihanna
4. "No One" - Alicia Keys *sales gainer*
5. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
6. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
7. "Sensual Seduction" - Snoop Dogg
8. "Take You There" - Sean Kingston
9. "Sorry" - Buckcherry
10. "Independent" - Webbie, Lil' Phat & Lil' Boosie

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Take That: Pop Reigns At The Brits

Take That won two major categories at The Brit Awards tonight: Best British Single -- for last year's U.K. #1, "Shine" -- and Best Live Act. Somewhere, Robbie Williams just tripped over a pile of dirty laundry, hit his head on a stack of hookers and blacked out.

Kylie Minogue also won, for Best International Female. Here she is presenting 65-year-old Paul McCartney with his Outstanding Contribution statue, with the entire Osbourne clan behind them. (Sharon and Ozzy hosted the event.)

Too bad the Grammys couldn't be this classy. Here is the full list of winners at the 2008 Brits:

Best British Male Mark Ronson
Best British Female Kate Nash
Best British Group Arctic Monkeys
Best British Album Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys
Best British Breakthrough Mika
Best Live Act Take That
Best British Single "Shine" (Take That)
Best International Male Kanye West
Best International Female Kylie Minogue
Best International Group Foo Fighters
Best International Album Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace by Foo Fighters
Critics’ Choice Award Adele
Outstanding Contribution Sir Paul McCartney

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just When You Forgot About Paula Abdul's New Single, Here's The Music Video

Paula Abdul's video for "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" popped up online today, and it's actually a pretty classy affair.

For a broad that's been in showbiz since Reagan was in office, she's still got a hot body -- you know, if you're straight and shuffle around the retirement community in orthopedic shoes and all. 

Guess we'll have to wait and see if the video helps out the single. It kind of had its sales peak on iTunes before the Super Bowl, and I don't think that trashy "performance" helped matters much.

Read this week's Towleroad column, "Shopping At The Mall Of Mariah."

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pet Shop Boys Get Even More PopArty

The Pet Shop Boys' official site has news that the duo have covered the The Passions' lone hit from 1981, "I'm In Love With A German Film Star," with world famous photographer and Pet Shop pal Sam Taylor-Wood providing vocals. (The Foo Fighters have also covered the track in their live sets on occasion.) Quite frankly, this sounds so low-rent that I'm salivating and chewing through a No. 2 pencil at the thought of it. Apparently the original version only got to #25 on the U.K. chart. Below is a clip of The Passions performing their moody dirge on Top Of The Pops.

Sam Taylor-Wood's "I'm In Love With A German Film Star" will be available on CD at an undetermined date from the Pet Shop Boys' site. There will be a 7" mix, a full-length mix and a dance mix.

Check out today's Towleroad column, "Shopping At The Mall Of Mariah."

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Throwback, Spring 1993: Don't Walk Away, Boy

In suburbia. March 1993.

Spring 1993 brings back some pretty chipper, innocent memories -- one of which was the It's about f***ing time! thaw after the so-called Storm Of The Century buried the east coast of the U.S. under several feet of snow that March. I was a freshman college student at the time, and I shacked up watching videos at a friend's house during the stormy weather since classes had been canceled.

In the photo above is 19-year-old D'luv in front of a neighbor's car that week. Hard to beleive that sexy outfit alone didn't melt the snow.

Once that shit did finally melt, it seemed to coincide with a string of sunny pop songs that flooded radio throughout the spring: Jeremy Jordan's "The Right Kind Of Love," PM Dawn's "Looking Through Patient Eyes" (which I never realized Cathy Dennis did the female vocals on till about a month ago) and this one, Jade's "Don't Walk Away":

Gotta love how Jade's image was "street ho," while their vocals and lyrics belie a much softer side. One them is even a gospel singer now.

"Don't Walk Away," which peaked at #4 on Billboard's Hot 100, will always remind me of sitting outside the house in a lawn chair my last spring as teenager, listening to the radio and taping all the songs I liked. Days were spent throwing together a video commercial for a fictional product we had to come up with in Mass Communications. Evenings were spent drinking iced tea with friends at Eat 'n Park. A young, hip President had recently taken office and there seemed to be so many suburban possibilities back then.

On the flip side, I walked into K-mart on April 19, 1993, to pick up a roll of film in the electronics department. There were about two dozen TV screen by the cash register broadcasting the same jarring image of a massive fire on the news. It was the day the FBI triggered the events of the fire at the ranch of the Branch Davidian sect after a 51-day standoff in Waco, Texas. Something about watching the televised seige in the middle of a crowded store will never leave me.

I'd subsequently go on to write my 20-page English term paper that semester on David Koresh's cult. I got an A.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

This Duffy Broad Seems Like A Pain In The Ass

Oh, just yanking your tassles! Personally I love that Amy Winehouse took off the homeless Russian prostitute drag and is now calling herself Duffy. Her new single, "Mercy" [Watch video] is #1 in the U.K. (Although, I don't think it's very fair that these skinny, zonked-out dames keep topping charts and winning Grammys while true, raw talent like Cascada and Heidi Montag is universally panned.)

At #7 comes H Two O's "What's It Gonna Be," which has to be the most nettlesome club track since 2004's "Baby Cakes" by 3 Of A Kind.

And then there's The Feeling. It's a funny thing; two years ago I couldn't get enough of this British pop/rock band, and last year Chart Rigger even served up a rather super duper interview with singer Dan Gillespie Sells. So this week, The Feeling's "I Thought It Was Over" creeps into the Top 10 at #9, but I completely forgot they even had anything new out.

Nevertheless, "I Thought It Was Over" becomes Dan and co.'s fourth U.K. Top 10 single, and ties the peak position of "Never Be Lonely" at #9 to share their "second highest-charting song" category, behind "Sewn" (#7).

Right behind The Feeling is Goldfrapp, whose subdued "A & E" moves up to #10. While the track won't be setting anyone's panties on fire at the disco, there's a pleasant-enough remix EP available on iTunes.

Other noteworthy singles: Kylie's "Wow" is up to #18 the week before its CD physical availability, Mark Brown and Sarah Cracknell's "The Journey Continues" drops from #11 to #19 (I finally got my copy from Amazon UK this week!) and Morrissey's "That's How People Grow Up" falls from #14 to #36, no doubt giving him something new to be cranky about.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Mercy" - Duffy *1 week*
2. "Rockstar" - Nickelback
3. "Now You're Gone" - Basshunter
4. "Sun Goes Down" - David Jordan
5. "Chasing Pavements" - Adele
6. "Don't Stop The Music" - Rihanna
7. "What's It Gonna Be" - H Two O feat. Platinum *new*
8. "Work" - Kelly Rowland
9. "I Thought It Was Over" - The Feeling
10. "A&E" - Goldfrapp

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Entertainment Weekly Is Nasty, Miss Jackson

Chyldren of Janet, you might want to shield your tender eyes whilst perusing the new issue of Entertainment Weekly: "It's more agony than ecstasy on Discipline, the star's latest effort," EW warns. Damita no!! Surely, after 20 Y.O. saw some diehard JJ fans down gallons of Ajax in tortured shame over the diva's bland output, she wouldn't dare let them down again.

Here's what the rag has to say:
If you thought the 41-year-old Jackson, not unlike Madonna and Prince, would drop the nympho schtick and embrace more age-appropriate songwriting and production instead of competing with the Beyoncés and Rihannas of today...you'd be wrong.

...Jackson scuttles the maturing process and regresses even further to the creepy, X-rated lyrics that weighed down 2004's Damito Jo.

Only a few midtempo grooves ("Curtains") and schmaltzy ballads ("Never Letchu Go") are thrown into the mix, leaving Discipline heavy on forced, forgettable dance cuts (like "The 1," featuring Missy Elliott). Indeed, though Jackson boasts in "Feedback" that her swagger is "heavy like a first day period," it's more like a bloody mess.
Speaking of which, Rolling Stone has news about the new Madonna record, after being previewed five of the album's tracks:
The new album takes a few steps away from the hyper-polished future disco of Confessions toward a more urban-oriented, thumpy funk, featuring production by Timbaland and Pharrell, as well as collaborations with Justin Timberlake. Danja says he worked on the album in London, and that Madonna indicated “she just wanted uptempo, dance, club [sounds] and everything to have a hip-hop underlining.” He adds that Madonna was easy-going and frequently in the studio putting in long hours alongside himself, Timbaland and Timberlake: “She would come in and sit in her chair in the corner and just vibe with us.”
Read the full Janet Jackson review here and Madonna article here.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

You Cruel Bastards All Made Heidi Montag Cry!

After rocking Western culture to its very foundation last week with her music video for "Higher" [watch here], Hills star Heidi Montag's magnum opus continues be a sensation on iTunes and in headlines. The cover of the new issue of Us Weekly contains the shocker, "Heidi's Video Shame: 'I Cried Myself To Sleep'". And what's the best way to put drama like that behind you? Sit down with a tabloid for a four-page interview all about it, of course! "I think it has made more of an impact than any music video has in years," Montag tells the rag.

That's the attitude -- don't listen to the haters, trinket!
Here are more pearls of wisdom from the aspiring pop damsel's interview:

"We expected people to realize that this was the first music video I've ever been in. We did it in one take, maybe two, and it took us 20 minutes to film and cost us zero dollars."

"We don't need a budget or a director. Madonna's done a song like that on the beach. Janet Jackson has. Same with Paris Hilton."

Heidi's boyfriend Spencer Pratt (i.e., the director): "I don't think I need to defend it. It's a piece of art."

"I want people who have said negative things to eventually be my biggest fans."

"I just couldn't understand why people I didn't even know felt the need to be so cruel and hurtful toward me. I am just a 21-year-old from a small town in Colorado trying to follow her dreams."

"My sister loves 'Higher' and has it as her ringtone. But my mom said it wasn't her favorite song..."

"I can't say too much, but my next single is coming out soon and will be a little bit more planned. It's a party track and I think that people will really enjoy it."

* Heidi's other song, "Body Language," which is actually a total jam!

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There's Nothing About Dead Clowns Here, But There Is The New Girls Aloud Video

Not too much change on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, so since I'm such a huge, major, so insane I want to touch all their candy buckets fan of Girls Aloud, here's their new video for "I Don't Speak French":

Elsewhere, Kylie Minogue's X, which at one point way back had a domestic release date this week, has at least popped up on U.S. iTunes. And, it's actually doing pretty well -- and by that, I mean well for Kylie in the States. Yesterday X was #100 on the store's chart, and this morning it jumped to #75. Of course, I just checked again and it's #79. Aww... Kylie.

And speaking of albums, after a pretty wretched two months of sales, wherein the past few weeks have seen the #1 albums sell less than 70,000 copies, Jack Johnson debuts atop the chart with whatever that record is he has out now on sales of 375,000. Sheryl Crow is right behind him at #2 with Detours. Aww... Sheryl.

Finally, let's once again take a look at the declining fortunes of Natasha Bedingfield. A mere two weeks ago she entered the album chart at #3. Now Pocketful Of Sunshine has gone down faster than a Hills cast member at the Playboy Mansion, to #53. Aww... 'Tasha.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain *8 weeks*
2. "With You" - Chris Brown *airplay gainer*
3. "Don't Stop The Music" - Rihanna
4. "No One" - Alicia Keys
5. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
6. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
7. "New Soul" - Yael Naïm *sales gainer*
8. "Sensual Seduction" - Snoop Dogg
9. "Take You There" - Sean Kingston
10. "Sorry" - Buckcherry

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ferras: This Season's Real American Idol Winner

Say hello to 25-year-old singer/songwriter Ferras. You're probably going to be hearing a lot more of him in the months to come -- or at least his ballad, "America's Not Hollywood" (on iTunes now), which was chosen to be played when American Idol contestants get axed each week this season.

Now, I'm not saying Ferras looks like he'd be the drop-dead best pop star shag of the new millenium. No! This kid's got more going for him than that, such as more talent than any of these Idol duds will likely offer up.

Some of his other songs like "Liberation Day" and "Aliens And Rainbows" are kinda reminiscent of my favorite David Bowie song, "Life On Mars?", which makes me wanna take my hand and mess up his screwed-up eyes and screw-down hairdo.

Anyway, here's yowza-cute Ferras on The Today Show yesterday, performing "Hollywood's Not America". (And here's hoping his career goes a bit more Daughtry than Daniel Powter!)

Ferras' full Aliens And Rainbows album is due out April 1.

Also see:
* More on Ferras in today's Towelroad column, along with a D'luvvly review of Michael Jackson's 25th anniversary edition of Thriller.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You're On Notice, Madonna: Mariah Carey's New Album Due Out April 15

Lambs, rejoice! Madonna no doubt slapped an assistant and smashed some of the fine china today as news came that Mariah Carey's 11th (!!) studio album, E=MC², is set to be released April 15. That's around the same time Madge is looking to unveil her new set of Timbaland-produced, age-inappropriate Hip hop slut chanties. But enough about the cranky Vampyre!

Mimi is back, and her first single is called "Touch My Body." Classy! According to the press release, "Touch My Body" is "blasting out worldwide on February 12th," whatever the hell that means. Apparently it's hitting radio stations today at 6:30 p.m. Additionally, "the video for 'Touch My Body' was directed by feature filmmaker Brett Ratner - internet, cable and network premieres for the video will be announced in the weeks ahead."

Great -- so the video's gonna look like a Jackie Chan movie. But, as for Madonna, I kid. I'm quite looking forward to seeing what the Material Hooker comes up with this time around, as it's a banner year for her: She's being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on March 10, and then she turns 70 60 50 in August. [Thanks for pointing out the typo with the age, Luciano. Oopsie!]

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Some Random Stuff (That You Can Dance To)

The Grammys were last night...

So anyway, Robyn performed at the Troubadour here in the West Hollywood area of Los Angeles Saturday. Below is a clip of the audience getting to know her "clumsy side, her bitchy side and her vulnerable side."

As well, Olaf "O-Jay" Jeglitza from Real McCoy got the piss taken out of him on U.K. game show Nevermind The Buzzcocks last week by Jamelia, amongst others.

Jamelia...Jamelia... Who was she again?

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wet Wet Wet Make A Surprise Comeback, While Sarah Cracknell Just Misses The Top 10

Argh! Poor Sarah Cracknell. It seems as if she's destined to have always just missed having a Top 10 hit. Fifteen years ago this month, Saint Etienne's grand "You're In A Bad Way," peaked at #12 in the U.K., while 10 years ago their "Sylvie" matched that same position. Sarah and the band's highest-charting British single came with 1995's "He's On The Phone," at #11. And this week, her and Mark Brown's "The Journey Continues" jumps from #24 to #11 following its CD release.

Oh, well. It's still a bonza jam, and #11 is probably higher than any one involved initially thought it would get to. UPDATE: Sorry, folks. I realized about an hour after typing this up that Sarah and Saint Etienne did enjoy a #7 hit with Paul Van Dyk and "The Riddle" in 2000, which even I pointed out two months ago.

There's are certain inevitabilities you can expect every decade, and one of them is the pop comeback. To be sure, we've had plenty lately: Take That, Robyn, Spice Girls and, if rumors are to be believed, New Kids On The Block at some point. But Wet Wet Wet? Nearly 11 years since their last big hit, "Yesterday," the aging Scottish geezers slide onto the singles chart at #10 with "Weightless."

Wet Wet Wet initially had a nice 10-year run from the late '80s to late '90s, wherein they racked up two dozen chart hits and singer Marti Pellow did some grade A heroin. And surely no pop fan of a certain age can forget the five bazillion weeks they spent at #1 back in '94 with their cover of "Love Is All Around."

Anyway, "Weightless," the second single off Wet Wet Wet's Timeless album, is a pleasant enough ballad, if maybe a bit, uh, late '80s- or '90s-sounding. That said, it also sounds a tad Robbie Williams:

Elsewhere, The Feeling return with "I Thought It Was Over" at #12, Morrissey pops in at #14 with "That's How People Grow Up," off his umpteenth greatest hits package, and Goldfrapp are at #18 with "A&E" after digital-only sales were tallied up. (The CD single is out tomorrow.) Kylie Minogue's "Wow" is hovering at #20, still a bit ahead of its official single release date.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Now You're Gone" - Basshunter *5 weeks*
2. "Rockstar" - Nickelback
3. "Chasing Pavements" - Adele
4. "Don't Stop The Music" - Rihanna
5. "Sun Goes Down" - David Jordan
6. "Work" - Kelly Rowland
7. "Ready For The Floor" - Hot Chip
8. "Piece Of Me" - Britney Spears
9. "Superstar" - Lupe Fiasco feat. Matthew Santos
10. "Weightless" - Wet Wet Wet *new*

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

George Michael Writing "One Of The Hottest Remaining Untold Celebrity Memoirs"

George Michael is penning his autobiography, which is due out in fall 2009. Let's hope he writes books better than he does music these day.

That's not saying George has hit a creative block, musically. Just that you might as well take the DATs for everything he's put out since '92 and chuck 'em into a combine. Except for "Fastlove." That was a jam.

Anyway, here's some trash about his memoirs:
Singer George Michael has signed a multimillion-pound deal to pen a "no-holds-barred" autobiography, it has been announced. HarperCollins said former Wham! star Michael, 44, would write the "access-all-areas" autobiography "entirely himself". Publishers said the deal is "one of the biggest ever concluded in UK publishing", but would not divulge figures. The book, dubbed "one of the hottest remaining untold celebrity memoirs", will cover the pop star's personal and professional life and will hit the shelves in autumn next year. Michael's manager Andy Stephens said: "George has promised HarperCollins a no-holds-barred biography, and it's certain to be just that. People aren't stupid, they're beginning to notice that the truth is more interesting than the stories the press come up with."
And speaking of old sluts from the '80s, here's Madonna with Timbaland at some UNICEF charity event this past week.

Check out her evil Vampyre man-knuckles wrapping around his successful throat, just before she drains him of his soul!

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Friday, February 08, 2008

The Week That Was: February 8, 2008

Having my birthday this week got me thinking about just how long I've been a music fanatic. Twenty years ago yesterday I turned 14. It being 1988, my parents got me a carrying case for all my cassette tapes; one that held 24 altogether. It's odd to think that at that point, I didn't have enough tapes to fill it up yet, but then I guess that was the year I had my musical "awakening." My mom also took me to National Record Mart and said I could pick out one tape that she'd buy for me. I got Pet Shop Boys' Actually.

That summer, I spent a lot of time riding my bike or going to amusement parks like Cedar Point and Kennywood, and would always be listening to my walkman. As my tape collection grew, I soon had enough music to discover the art of making mix tapes for friends. I suddenly became the guy in my circle that everyone would ask, "Hey, who sings that song...?"

Here's a photo of my dad and I outside the Pittsburgh Aviary in February 1988. The pegged Bugle Boys, the bowl cut and the scowl -- what a precocious monster! (But, enough about my dad...) No, when I think back, I can't believe it's been 20 years since that particular birthday, which I remember so clearly. Then I think to how much life had changed between 1988 and 1998: I'd been through the rest of my teens, the rest of high school and college, as well as all the angst and drama packaged with that.

And through it all, music has always been the common thread. Sure, my collection has grown a bit since those days of lugging around the Pet Shop Boys and The Cure in that tiny carrying case, and folks tend to give me iTunes gift cards rather than cassettes as presents, but more often than not, I still feel like the same 14-year-old kid who would go to school dances and ask the DJ to play "Dreaming" by OMD, or "Always On My Mind."


One nice birthday surprise that came rather unexpectedly this week was from Yahoo-owned European-based search engine Wikio. Someone that works there emailed to let me know that Chart Rigger made the ranking of the Top 100 Music Blogs, at #28.

Wikio - Top of the Blogs - Music

You'll notice I put the widget linking to the list in the upper part of the sidebar. Kudos, also, to Arjan Writes and XO London, for making #10 and #35, respectively.


That said, I was sorry to see blogger buddy Paul put an end to his two-year-old site, The Zapping, last week. Here's hoping he follows through on his promise to pop up again in the future under a different guise.

Of course, one thing that's helped me get over my grief is the video for Heidi Montag's "Higher." As I predicted, it's become somewhat of an unhealthy obsession, and I thought I'd share my three favorite moments from the clip:

On that "high" note, have a fantastic weekend!

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Who Needs American Idol: Apple Shaping Up To Be The Real Hitmaker

Hey, cats -- it's my birthday, and now I'm finally old enough to vote and buy porn! Yippee! Moving on, my fellow chart-watchers-in-arms may have caught the fact that Apple sent four artists into the Top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100 over the past six months. I'm calling them the Dames Of iTunes.

The latest such Dame is French-Israeli Yael Naïm, whose "New Soul" features in commercials for the new MacBook Air laptop. "New Soul" subsequently topped the iTunes download chart, and this week enters the Hot 100 at #9. Billboard notes that "New Soul" scored 135,000 paid downloads last week. Here's the video:

That's nice. Too bad it sounds just like all the other Dames' tunes -- Feist's "1 2 3 4," Colbie Caillat's "Bubbly" and Sara Bareilles' "Love Song." These broads were all touted by Apple over the past year, usually as the iTunes "Free Download Of The Week." It remains to be seen if any of them can fend off the seductive call of the One Hit Wonder.

Miley Cyrus' "See You Again" jumps up from #28 to #17, becoming the biggest hit from either her or her be-wigged alter ego. As it should. That's a damn fine tune. That part after the middle eight where the music drops out and then the kicky drum comes back in is so good it just makes me wanna take Miley over my knee and spank her.

Meanwhile, so much for Jesus. Natasha Bedingfield's Pocketful Of Sunshine debuted at #3 on the album chart last week, but now plunges to #21. And after edging oh-so-close to having a second Top 10 hit, "Love Like This" falls from #11 to #24.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Low" - Flo Rida feat. T-Pain *7 weeks*
2. "With You" - Chris Brown
3. "Don't Stop The Music" - Rihanna *airplay gainer*
4. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
5. "No One" - Alicia Keys
6. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
7. "Clumsy" - Fergie
8. "Sensual Seduction" - Snoop Dogg
9. "New Soul" - Yael Naïm *new*
10. "Take You There" - Sean Kingston

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