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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Final Thoughts On Madonna And Mariah: Will Someone Screw These Two Old Broads Already?

There's been a lot of trash on Mariah and Madonna here this first part of 2008, mostly because the anticipation for their new albums was the biggest thing happening in pop up till now. But truth be told, I'm fatigued from these two rich old sluts at this point, so here's a final word on both.

First up, I'm not going to review their albums. Madge's Hard Candy and Mimi's E=MC² have gotten far more thought-out write-ups than anything I'd ever have the patience to come up with. I don't form a true opinion of a record until way after the fact, anyway.

Two of my favorite albums of all time are R.E.M.'s Monster and Madonna's Bedtime Stories, which I played over and over and still like to listen to -- but which are derided by hardcore fans. So what the hell do I know? Plus, album reviews are so subjective, and so, ultimately, what the hell does anyone know?

That said, this much is true: Madge and Mimi are still horny as shit in their new songs, singing about doing YouTube f*** videos and tasting raw candy. And it's no wonder! These two old vultures have been surrounded by gay men for so many decades, they forgot what it's like to have some big, gruff hetero guy give them hot bed slam. And now Madge -- look at her! As I said elsewhere yesterday, she looks like the Hooker Of Dorian Gray. She's tired of mincing yes-queens buzzing around her dried-up hive, and now she's gotta dress like a wonk-faced, three-dollar Old West saloon rat to try to get any straight guy's attention at this point. May your vagina see one last scrap of hetero meat before you retire, Macougar.

There are songs I like from each of these albums (Mariah's "For The Record" and, yes, "Touch My Body," and Madge's "Dance 2Night," which is killer old-school) and songs which completely chew (Madge: "Spanish Lessons," Mariah: whatever that one about the last kiss is called). At the end of the day it's just pop music, though, and we'll tire of some songs we thought we loved, and learn to appreciate others more.

Or, in the end, maybe we'll just file them away and sigh, Well, there's always the next album.

FINAL NOTE: Slate did a great write-up on Mariah today called "Bigger Than Elvis: Why The Haters Are Wrong About Mariah Carey."

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rihanna And Maroon 5 Duet In A Bid To Boost Flagging Album Sales

They each racked up #1 singles and albums last year, but neither Rihanna or Maroon 5's latest full-lengths -- each approaching a year old -- have crossed the two million mark as far as copies sold. (And Rihanna has to have released about 47 singles off that damn record by now!)

Welcome to life in the age of illegal downloading. In a bid to boost final album sales, Rihanna and Maroon 5 are each seeing their sets re-released by their labels in June, with a duet between the two -- a remix of Maroon 5's "If I Never See Your Face Again" -- to appear on both, Billboard reports.

Jesus, Rihanna's boyfriend Chris Brown must have caught the re-release fever, too, since his latest is coming out again with the awesome jam "Forever" added, along with four other tracks.

Hey, I'd like to re-release myself, actually, at age 21...this July. Because I didn't sell enough the first time around. Or maybe I'll just get a nose job.

Anyway, that pic of M5 singer Adam Levine and Rihanna above right is from the video shoot last week for "If I Never See Your Face Again."

New Towleroad column up now!

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Coldplay Must Be Sending Their Free New Single By Carrier Pigeon

These pics up over at the Madonnalicious fan site are pretty classy.

...but enough about that broad. Don't forget that Robyn's self-titled album finally came out in the states today. Plus, she'll be performing on Late Night With David Letterman Thursday.

Meanwhile, you can also download Coldplay's new single, "Violet Hill," for one week free from their official site. Of course, it said the track was e-mailed an hour-and-a half-ago and I'm still tapping my fingers waiting.

UPDATE: Tried a different e-mail address and "Violet Hill" finally arrived. Can we send it back, I wonder?

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Monday, April 28, 2008

D'luv Is Edgy

Mr. D'luv got profiled in a piece on gay bloggers for Edge Boston's website.

Check it out here.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

An Unreleased Early '90s Pet Shop Boys Track Surfaces On iTunes: It's The Bear!

The U.K. chart is a tad boring this week, and I'm a tad hungover from a drunken night that involved riding around shirtless with two straight guys on a golf cart (best not to ask), so instead, there's news of a new/old unreleased Pet Shop Boys track that's been made available on iTunes.

You may recall that Dainton "The Bear" Connell, the Boys' longtime bodyguard and personal assistant, was killed tragically in a fatal car crash last fall. According to the duo's official site, Chris Lowe recorded a rave track in the early '90s with Dainton on vocals, and it's now up on iTunes as "It's The Bear" by The Riders Of The Night. All proceeds from sales will go to Dainton's family.

At first onset, the song is very "of its time," not sounding too unlike something 2 Unlimited or AB Logic would have offered up. Dainton certainly had a good sense of humor and knew how to ham it up. But then a typically heart-grabbing Chris Lowe pop hook is hinted at about 1:18 in, which gives way to an amazingly euphoric rave piano bit at 2:02.

As the song ends, it's sad in retrospect to hear Dainton saying, "Signing off now! Goodbye, now! See you again, now!" as he fades out overtop said emotional piano bit.

Depending on your tolerance for this genre of music -- and mine is very high! -- this is a great offering to Pet Shop Boys fans who are particularly fond of the Very Relentless era. In fact, "It's The Bear" would have sounded right at place on Relentless.

* Longtime Pet Shop Boys Assistant Dainton Connell Killed In Auto Accident

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake *2 weeks*
2. "Black And Gold" - Sam Sparro
3. "American Boy" - Estelle Feat. Kanye West
4. "Wearing My Rolex" - Wiley
"Cry For You" - September
6. "Low" - Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain
7. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
8. "Heartbreaker" - Will.I.Am
"Mercy" - Duffy
"Heartbeat" - Scouting For Girls

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Week That Was: April 26, 2008

This is the cover of that Eurodance compilation I mentioned in the Rage, "Run To You" Throwback post from earlier this week. I couldn't find a decent image online, so I just took my own damn one.

Big thanks (and Happy Birthday!) to Adem for also turning me on to Felix's "It Will Make You Crazy," an old Deconstruction label dance jam from '93. The cover art for that single is extremely classy. Mmmmm...tuna.

* FizzyPop Paul's having a shit week, but has Pete Waterman news.
* Poster Girl is speaking in tongues. And it's kind of hot.
* XO put up a pic of "Stop Me" singer Daniel Merriweather. Again, hot.
* I collab'd on a crap albums list with MySpace publicist Sir Pabz.
* Pop Trash Addicts is on fire this (and every) week.
* You'll never guess what country RobPop's latest obsession is from.
* I highlighted Midnight Juggernauts in a Towleroad Coachella preview.
* MuuMuse Brad called Fergie a whore, so I'd probably sexy him.
* It's a Dark Knight at So, And Thus...
* M.I.A.: Pop Laundromat.

That's that. I'm off to fry in the desert. xx

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Mariah Will Cut A Backup Singer Bitch!

Photo courtesy of DListed.

My mom e-mailed this morning, reminding me Mariah Carey was hauling her TrimSpa'd thighs onto Good Morning America to belt out her latest McSingles, and now I'm sorry I missed it -- but thank God for DListed and YouTube!

As you can see in the clip below (starting at about 3:00 in), something very bad happened wherein Mariah's backup singer belted out the diva's lead part, and the wicked wrath of Mimi was unleashed with violent fury!

MC turns and glares at her, then adlibs, "Stop singin' my part, baby!" over the song. At the end, just before she likely handed the shamed backing lamb her ticket to the slaughter, Mariah snidely says to the crowd, "A little creative....Chyna brings something new to the moment everytime."

It's been quite a wash for the Queen Lamb this morning. She was also supposed to appear on Live With Regis And Kelly, but her time apparently got cut because of news of the verdict in the Sean Bell case.

I'd fire that backing singer broad, too, though. Mariah was clearly thrown, and sounded like she had a Gucci thong stuck in her throat.

UPDATE: I've watched this clip way too many times now, and it sounds like maybe she does say "Tryin' to bring something..." instead of "Chyna brings something..." Sigh. Plus, that beginning part where Mariah's off with the backing track is paaaainful. Oh well. Her tits look great.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

I've Never Been Able To Decide If I'd Bang That Guy From 3 Doors Down Or Not

Hmmm. Maybe if he was paying. He's a bit frying-pan-upside-the-head...but in a kinda hot way. Well, we'll get back to him in a bit.

This week sees another in the annoyingly long line of low-brow, Bush-era one-hit novelty Hip hop songs land atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart, this time in the form of Lil Wayne and Static Major's "Lollipop." Tell you what, Lil Wayne -- you enjoy your few weeks stay at #1 while Terror Squad, Three 6 Mafia, Soulja Boy and Flo Rida get your paperwork ready at the unemployment office. Sisqo will be out with your coffee and danish in a moment, player. NEXT!

Then there's that little ho Miley Cyrus...and, what kills me is the news this week that she's penning her memoirs. HER MEMOIRS! Picture it: "Back in my day, when gasoline was only $2.98 a gallon, I'd put on my iPod and listen to oldies like 'Toxic' and 'Hey Ya' when the terror threat was raised to orange, just to escape. I even found myself talking to much older men on Friendster. And that's how I started wearing the blonde wig. Ah, the good old days..."

So anyway, Miley's "See You Again" finally cracks the Top 10 this week (at #10). Still a good jam, that one.

Two other singles making a bum-rush for the Top 10 are Danity Kane's "Damaged," up six positions to #14, and Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocketful Of Sunshine," up nine to #16.

This brings us to Mariah Carey, who not only has the Hot 100's Hot Shot Debut with "Bye Bye," at #23, but also sees "Migrate" enter at #92 and E=MC² top the album chart with the highest first-week sales of the year so far (463,000). As it should, the way she's been peddling her p**** to every TV show in sight! If you ask me, album sales aren't down these days because of illegal file-sharing...it's because pop stars have gotten lazy! Look at Mimi -- she's a workhorse! You can't expect us to buy your shit if you're not gonna promote it! Get on that soundstage and dance, Kylie!

So back to 3 Doors Down. To me, they've always been one of these corporate rock bands that produce emotionless, radio-friendly noise that says nothing to me about my life. And lead singer Brad Arnold always struck me as mildly cute, but in that drunken, one-night-stand sort of way. (Though here he just looks like Truman Capote.)

Now, maybe I'm getting more susceptible to such garbage, but I heard their latest single, "It's Not My Time," on the radio about a month ago, and found myself liking it instantly. I even downloaded it off iTunes. Should I be ashamed? Most likely.

Either way, "It's Not My Time" is up from #61 to #48 this week, so maybe there are others with the same problem out there, too.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Lollipop" - Lil Wayne Feat. Static Major *1 week*
2. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis *airplay gainer*
3. "No Air" - Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown *sales gainer*
4. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
5. "Touch My Body" - Mariah Carey
6. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
7. "Sexy Can I" - Ray J & Young Berg
8. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
9. "With You" - Chris Brown
10. "See You Again" - Miley Cyrus

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Out Of The Blue, Chris Brown Offers Up The Spring's Best Pop Song With "Forever"

Forget Madge, Mariah, Donna and all those other ho's putting out new jams -- Chris Brown's "Forever" is the best pop song you'll hear all spring!

I know, I know...this one caught me completely off guard, too! Added to iTunes today as a single, "Forever" is a new track available from the upcoming June 3 "Forever Edition" re-release of Brown's sophomore album, Exclusive. [Listen to "Forever"]

Let's get to the goods, though. You already know Fergie's "Glamorous" was such a guilty pleasure that it tipped the scale from being guilty to being just downright pleasure. Polow da Don, who crafted that one, goes totally Euro on "Forever," hooks Chris up to a vocoder and even throws in a filtered disco moment during the middle eight!

The lyrics employ the oft-used sex-disguised-as-dancing metaphor (think Rick Astley's "She Wants To Dance With Me" or Madonna's "Into The Groove"):

It's like I waited my whole my whole life
For this one night
It's gonna be me, you and the dancefloor
Because we only got one night
Double your pleasure, double your fun

I already drove down the freeway finger-poppin' along to "Forever" on repeat today, looking like a grinning idiot. And if a double decker bus, etc.

Between this and Ne-Yo's new single, "Closer," it's getting harder to complain that R&B is still stale these days. If there's any justice, "Forever" will hit #1 while spring's still blooming.

* RAWWK! Get your Coachella on with this week's Chart Rigger music column on Towleroad!

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Throwback: Rage, "Run To You"

Poster Girl did a post today mentioning Bryan Adams' "Run To You," which prompted me to recall early '90s U.K. dance act Rage (or En-Rage as they became) and their 1992 rave-tastic take on the '80s classic. This was a track I didn't discover till 10 years later, when I painstakingly made a 12-disc Eurodance compilation covering the decade from 1992 to 2002.

I spent the better part of '02 scouring used record stores and eBay for '90s dance compilations, and found "Run To You" on a 2-disc one from Germany called Viva Europop!

Chilly, mechanical music to my ears! And to think, I was an oblivious 18-year-old schlepping across campus one month into my college freshman year when this classy jam was out.

There's not much out there on Rage or this track, but I did find the following bit of info on a site about one of the original songwriters, Jim Vallance:
"Essentially, in the studio En-rage consisted of producers Barry Leng and Duncan Hannant, plus vocalist Tony Jackson. Leng and Hannant were also behind the group E'Voke, who released a successful dance version of John Waite's "Missing You".

Tony Jackson's voice was already well-know in the UK due to his work as a session singer on a number of popular television commercials, including Libby's Umbongo Juice and a Levi jeans commercial that used 'I Heard it Through The Grapevine'. Jackson passed away in 2001."
Rage's version of "Run To You" peaked at #3 on the U.K. chart in October '92. Surprisingly, the video is available for download from iTunes, though the song on its own is not.

* Throwback, Spring 1993: Don't Walk Away Boy
* Throwback: U.S.U.R.A., "Open Your Mind"
* Throwback: Cola Boy, "7 Ways To Love"

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Madonna Scores Her 13th U.K. #1, But Does She Still Have A Shot At The Same Here?

Madonna, who until today had clocked a total of 12 #1-charting singles in both the U.S. and U.K., now scores her 13th in Ol' Blighty with "4 Minutes." It's been quite a frustrating few weeks, no doubt, for American fans of "4 Minutes," as the single's dominance on digital sales charts has been offset by its slowness to gain in radio play -- thereby allowing it to rise no higher than #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Myself, I finally heard "4 Minutes" on KIIS-FM, Los Angeles' Top 40 station, yesterday. It was one of those instances where I was bored with all the music I had in the car, and thought to myself, I wonder if KIIS is playing "4 Minutes" yet. Lo and behold, it was on when I flipped to the station. Sexy when that happens.

And while we recently celebrated Mariah Carey's 18th #1 here in the States, in the U.K. it's quite another story. Mimi's only had one chart-topper there, her 2000 cover of Phil Collins' schmaltz-fest "Against All Odds" (no doubt urged to that position because of it being a duet with favorited Irish boyband Westlife).

But it might not be curtain's for Madge's U.S. chart-topping hopes just yet. Hard Candy's release next Tuesday will likely add extra downloads of "4 Minutes" from the album to her weaponry, and the same day a CD single featuring remixes will be made available.

Of course, she'll likely need to maintain her lead position on the iTunes download chart to do this, and there are still nine long days till April 29. Tick tock, tick tock...

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake *1 week*
2. "American Boy" - Estelle Feat. Kanye West
3. "Black And Gold" - Sam Sparro
4. "Low" - Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain
"Cry For You" - September
6. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
7. "Touch My Body" - Mariah Carey
8. "Mercy" - Duffy
9. "The Age Of The Understatement" - Last Shadow Puppets
"Always There Where I Need To Be" - The Kooks

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Why Is News About Clive Davis Getting The Axe From Sony BMG Being Buried?

There was a brief flurry of headlines Thursday night about Clive Davis' ousting from the Chairman and CEO positions at Sony BMG, and then by Friday it was gone. But if you do a Google News search, the truth is indeed out there...somewhat.

There aren't many details, but CNN does some speculating in a piece titled "Clive Davis' Swan Song":
Why did Davis and two of his longtime deputies Charles Goldstuck and Tim Bowen have to step aside? No matter how hard they try, SonyBMG and its major label peers -- Warner Music Group (WMG), Universal Music Group and EMI -- haven't been able to fix the structural problems afflicting their business. CD sales continue to decline. Meanwhile, record companies can't move enough digital music to make up the difference.

All they know is they can't cling to the old ways. With the passing of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, nobody embodies the past more than Davis...But the music industry has changed dramatically. Davis has a reputation for spending heavily on traditional marketing to sell records. Now labels can break acts much more cheaply on the Internet. A lawyer by training, Davis also negotiated famously rich contracts for himself as so many old-school record guys used to do. As long as Davis held one of the top spots at SonyBMG, it was hard for his employer to say convincingly that it was trying to reduce costs and adapt to the new industry's harsh new realities.
Hmmm. Maybe Clive used some of that lavish spending to convince news agencies to softball reports of his current situation?

Ironically, Davis was relieved of his positions in a week where his latest artist causing a sensation in the U.S., Leona Lewis, has the #1 single and album on the Billboard charts. And it's an irony that you can guarantee is not lost on the crotchety old diva himself.

Clive will now hold the title of Chief Creative Officer at BMG, whatever that means. And looking at that second picture above, what did ever happened to that Jennifer Hudson album? Maybe they're holding out till the Sex And The City film she stars in comes out?

One thing's for sure. Never count Clive out. Like a wiley cat, that old pussy still has about five more lives up her arsenal.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

All I See Is Justify My Love

Here's the video for Kylie Minogue's current U.S. single, "All I See."

And here's the cover of Madonna's 1990 #1 hit single, "Justify My Love."

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cyndi Lauper Works With Kleerup, Basement Jaxx And Dragonette On New Album

Here's the cover of Cyndi Lauper's upcoming album, Bring Ya To The Brink. My first thought was, This looks familiar...

...then I realized it's totally a throwback to the back cover of her 1983 smash, She's So Unusual, with the Vincent Van Gogh Starry Night shoes!

Bring Ya To The Brink is set to be released May 27, the same week the second True Colors tour kicks off, and the press notes reveal Cyndi co-wrote and co-produced the entire album. But the best part is all the hot co-producers she worked with -- Cyndi's gone all Scandi-pop!

Here's the tracklisting, and I've noted the collaborators on each one, except for "Lyfe," which isn't listed (though this is apparently the song with lyric the album title comes from):

1. "High & Mighty" (Scumfrog)
2. "Into The Night Life" (Peer Astrom of Murlyn)
3. "Rocking Chair" (Basement Jaxx)
4. "Echo" (Peer Astrom)
5. "Lyfe"
6. "Same Old Story" (Rich Morel)
7. "Raging Storm" (Rich Morel)
8. "Lay Me Down" (Kleerup)
9. "Give It Up" (Digital Dog)
10. "Set Your Heart" (Rich Morel)
11. "Grab A Hold" (Dragonette)
12. "Rain On Me" (Axwell)

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"Bleeding Love" Back At #1, And George Michael Is Praying For Time

Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" won't take no for an answer, and returns to the top of Billboard's Hot 100 with a vengeance not seen since that frenzied slut in Fatal Attraction. This happens the same week her album Spirit debuts at the top of the Top 200 Albums chart.

Meanwhile, Madonna and Justin Timberlake's "4 Minutes" takes a tumble down to #7 after a two-week stint at #3. This occurs despite the single being the top download on iTunes for the past week or so. Chalk it up to a previous lack of airplay, though the song is just now starting to get some love from Top 40 radio. Ye Olde Vampyre just might suck the life out of programmers yet!

"4 Minutes" actually flip-flops with Jordin Sparks' and Chris Brown's "No Air," a choon which, to be honest, is probably the best sleeper jam of 2008. After less-than-stunning initial sales of her album, who knew Jordin would pull back-to-back hits out of her wig, with "Tattoo" and "No Air"? Somewhere Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks are sobbing into their Wal-Mart aprons while "No Air" trickles out of the muzak system.

And, Jesus, people will spend 99 cents on anything -- speaking of former American Idol winners, Carrie Underwood's cover of George Michael's "Praying For Time," from the recent Idol Gives Back special, debuts at #27, while Daughtry's "What About Now" is the Hot Shot Debut at #18 and the American Idol Top 8 enter at #43 with "Shout To The Lord."

Why not test your patience with the original "Praying For Time" video, which I literally haven't seen since 1990:

While we're on the topic of George Michael, his hits compilation, Twentyfive, debuted on the album chart at #23 last week. But now it's dropped faster than George himself in front of a toothless farmhand at a highway truck stop to #96.

On a final note, remember Britney Spears' "Break The Ice"? Back on the Hot 100, it jumps from #60 to #46. Can you believe that bitch's latest album hasn't even been certified Gold yet?

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis *2 weeks*
2. "Lollipop" - Lil Wayne Feat. Static Major *airplay gainer*
3. "No Air" - Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown *sales gainer*
4. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
5. "Touch My Body" - Mariah Carey
6. "Sexy Can I" - Ray J & Young Berg
7. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
8. "With You" - Chris Brown
9. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
10. "Low" - Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The New X-Files Movie: I Want To Believe!

If you don't know by now, D'luv is a major X-Files nut. I know, I know. My heart is truly in the '90s. What can you do. Something about the creepy show grabs me by the manhood and drags me into its dark mystique.

Today show creator Chris Carter revealed the title of the forthcoming July 25 film to be X-Files: I Want To Believe. Hot. That's the slogan that was emblazoned across the poster hanging in Mulder and Scully's office for the 9-season run of the program.

I didn't mention it here, but at the end of March, just before my trip to Italy, I went the Paley Festival here in L.A., and attended a reunion panel of former X-Files writers, producers and actor alumni -- which included Chris Carter, Nicholas Lea ("Alex Krycek") and Mitch Pileggi ("Skinner").

Here's the retrospective video they played at the event -- note all the crazy X-Phile shipper chicks getting all weepy at the end (and admittedly, I got choked up, too!):

And I'm not kidding -- some broad literally stood up during the audience Q&A and was like, "I just wanted to say that I watch the show and vibe to [David] Duchovny every night. Thank you."

I was fortunate enough to see the trailer for the movie twice -- and you can see the trailer that some naughty pirate at the event filmed and uploaded here.

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Leona Lewis Is The First U.K. Solo Artist To Debut At #1 On The U.S. Album Chart

You win this round, Clive Davis, but I'll be back! I'll be back, I say!!

British squealer Leona Lewis sees her debut set, Spirit, debut at #1 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart this week. The trade rag reports that she's now the first solo artist from the U.K. to enter at the top, which I find kind of hard to believe -- surely Simon Cowell's other critically acclaimed act, Mr. Blobby, came close to such a feat in the '90s?

Oh, well. I finally got around to listening to the album. When Clive rounds up the cream of the crop songwriters, he really doesn't mess around, does he? I mean, Avril Lavigne...that's major. Granted, the song she did was co-written with Dr. Luke and Max Martin, so that leads me to believe it was a leftover from Avril's last album. Hmmmm.

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Can You Believe Brandy Got Another Label Deal?

Eeek! Ever heard of microdermabrasion, Brandy?

God, I can recall watching a Making The Video on MTV back in 2002, for Brandy's "What About Us?", and she was such a complete snatch to the director, Dave Meyers!

Meanwhile, this broad was pregnant, lying about being married to the babydaddy and floppin' bigtime by then, and she shoulda been happy anyone wanted to stick her wonky-eyed ho ass in front of a camera.

So fast-forward to a few lawsuits and fatal car crashes later, and now she has a label deal with Epic. They must be hard up to fill their roster -- her last album for Atlantic, 2004's Afrodisiac, has sold just over 400,000 copies to date.

I did like "Sittin' Up In My Room," though. That was a good jam. I remember walking around my college campus with some gay in spring '96 who kept singing the "I must confess, I'm a mess over you..." part. Then again, he also wouldn't stop singing the Friends theme song.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mariah Does Oprah And American Idol, And Hopefully Sugars Up David Archuleta's Tank

Mariah Carey performed her new single "Bye Bye" and sat for a lengthy interview on Oprah yesterday, plugging the release of E=MC² this week.

These damn clips will probably get yanked from YouTube, but before they do, the first one is actually the middle part of the interview, where Mimi talks about the whole breaking of Elvis' chart record thing.

The Big O's looking like she's vigorously enjoying life lately -- as well as the craft services table -- so it's no wonder she spends so much time talking to Mimi about her diet secrets. There's a lot more of the interview, but I always think it's a goddamn pain in the ass to see a blog with four hundred video clips in a post, so F that.

Anyway, Mariah is the guest mentor on American Idol tonight, where the contestants will choose one of her songs. I hope David Archuleta, whom I've dubbed "Baby Queen," does something appropriately scandalous like "Honey" or "Touch My Body."

He'll probably do a boring one like "One Sweet Day," though. Where's Sanjaya when you need him?

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Sam Sparro and Estelle Are The Mariah And Madonna Of The U.K. Chart

Sam Sparro (below right) did BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge Friday, performing both "Black And Gold" and a cover of Estelle's "American Boy." Estelle and Sam are #1 and #2 this week, respectively, on the U.K. chart.

Meanwhile, the Mariah Carey and Madonna chart battle continues abroad, as it does in the States, and even Entertainment Weekly weighs in on the scuffle between the two pop powerhouses in a piece titled "Mariah Carey Vs. Madonna: Total Eclipse Of The Charts."

EW also favorably reviews Mimi's E=MC², though it brands the second single, "Bye Bye," a "somber elegy," and one of the set's "missteps."

Perhaps lost in all this swizzly-twizzle is the breakthrough of Swede doll September's "Cry For You," at #9. The song, which borrows from Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy," debuts this week on downloads alone, with a physical U.K. CD single released Monday.

Here's the souped-up vid, which differs from the original 2006 clip used when "Cry For You" was released in Sweden:

And finally, after 15 hours of traveling, I'm back home. It was a nice week and a half in Italy, but, damn, is that Zurich to L.A. flight a pain in the ass!

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "American Boy" - Estelle Feat. Kanye West *4 weeks*
2. "Black And Gold" - Sam Sparro
3. "Low" - Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain
4. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
5. "Touch My Body" - Mariah Carey
6. "Mercy" - Duffy
7. "Always There Where I Need To Be" - The Kooks
8. "Better In Time/Footprints In The Sand" - Leona Lewis
9. "Cry For You" - September *new*
10. "With You" - Chris Brown

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Life Is A Flower

I took this shot Thursday, on a Tuscan hillside.

Yesterday I heard "Life Is A Flower" by Ace Of Base in a tiny Italian café. I always forget that song was a huge hit and something like the most played song on radio in 1998 all around the world -- except for the U.S.

Anyway, after a week in Lucca, I'm back in Florence for a day before flying home. Being with a bunch of journalists who each had very distinct personalities -- or as one of them said, "a cast of thousands" -- was actually fun. OK, there were two we all wanted to knock through a window.

Alas, now it's time wrap it up. And go see the Statue of David's c*** at the Academia. Catch you Sunday evening for U.K. chart sass!

But I'll end with a few pics from the trip, starting with the view out the hotel window today of the Arno River.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Robyn's Doing David Letterman

It seems like Robyn's been banging around internationally so long, you could almost forget her album is still not out stateside till April 29.

The above photo is from a series taken and posted up at MTV's site. Robyn will contain a U.S. bonus track, titled "Dream On."

In addition to a 10-city U.S. tour to promote her album, Robyn will perform on The Late Show With David Letterman on Thursday, May 1, and will also do a live appearance and signing at the Union Square Virgin Megastore in New York earlier the same day.

Also, you can now read my rockin' interview with Robyn in the April issue of Instinct Magazine (or here on the mag's website), as well as revisit a separate streaming podcast interview I did with her in February for Towleroad.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Three Divas Stay Put On The Chart, NKOTB Set The Bar Low With New Single

Mariah Carey and Madonna stake out the #1 and #3 positions, respectively, for a second week in a row on Billboard's Hot 100.

Meanwhile, Leona Lewis scrapes back up to the runner-up spot, after a minor, brief, extremely short, blind-and-you-missed-it peak at the top with "Bleeding Love."

So anyway, have you heard this new New Kids On The Block song, "Click Click Click," which is apparently a cover of a song by an artist called Nasri?

I just don't understand the thinking here...why bother coming back with such a limp dirge? I mean, sure, it's all about the cash, but couldn't they at least hire someone to come up with a semi-upbeat original song? Donnie Wahlberg's gotta at least have about $46 stocked away from his acting career over the years, which could have been used to hire some kid with a laptop and a four-track off MySpace to produce their trash. Oh well...

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Touch My Body" - Mariah Carey *2 weeks*
2. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
3. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
4. "Lollipop" - Lil Wayne Feat. Static Major *sales gainer*
5. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
6. "Sexy Can I" - Ray J & Young Berg
7. "No Air" - Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown *airplay*
8. "With You" - Chris Brown
9. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
10. "Low" - Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain

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Mariah Claws, Scratches And Squeals Her Way Through Idol Gives Back

At first this performance seemed like dullsville, but then watch! Marvel at Mimi pawing at the sky like a wild, untamed kitten of desire as she shrieks each syllable! Scratch, bad girl, scratch!!

You know, for the longest time now, I just assumed Mariah couldn't hit those upper register squeal-notes anymore, the ones she used to belt out with ease on her early jams. But no! The payoff at the end of "Fly Like A Bird" here will shatter your contact lenses.

Also, she's looking pretty slim. It's like she washed down a bucket of TrimSpa with her memosas every day for a year. Whatever she did, I wanna try it!

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New Ace Of Base Pictures Are Great, But I'm Spendin' My Euros On Gelato

Pop hearts are pitter-patting over new Ace Of Base promo shots that are circulating. Mine was more aflutter after meeting this strapping young Divo who performed at an opera in Lucca last night.

He looked less like Lance Bass in person than this photo allows. Much to his horror, I pounced on him and took it outside the venue afterwards.

Anyway, the cops here are all hot. I'm thinking about getting arrested. And I'm addicted to gelato. Here's me pounding down two at once.

So is Madonna going to be #1 this week on the U.S. chart? I keep wondering, but then who cares -- I'm never leaving Italy!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

"Toca's Miracle 2008" And The Boy Who Wouldn't Drop His Pants

Okay, I don't know what the F is up with "Toca's Miracle 2008," but it's #29 on the U.K. singles chart this week, and I feel pretty old.

In May 2000, I bought the "Toca's Miracle" CD single by Fragma. I was kind of seeing this boy who was a tad bit older -- also from Pennsylvania, and also transplanted to L.A. -- who had crystal blue eyes and was a Bhuddist. So, we hung out a lot, but he never wanted to make out. (??) I figured he must either have a major case of former Irish-Catholic guilt, or maybe he was secretly straight. Either way, totally classy.

So, finally, one night we went to dinner, and he came back to my place. My roommate at the time was out with her friend, and this guy and I went to my room, listened to music, then both passed out on my bed. We woke up at like one a.m., then just starting making out for about 10 seconds. That was it -- finally!

Suddenly, he's like, "I have to go!" and he jetted off. The next weekend, we decided to go for this big bike ride from Venice Beach, where he lived, down to Manhattan Beach. He was huffing and acting irritated because I couldn't pedal my bike as fast as him, and he kept having to stop while I caught up.

About 15 minutes into that shit, it hit me like a lightning bolt -- this guy sucked, and I was totally outta there. I put on the brakes, called him over to me, and when he finally rode up, I was like, "Uh, yeah, so this isn't gonna work." He was like, "I can ride slower," and I go, "No, you and me." It felt like a scene out of Felicity!

And, like a good TV show heroine, I'd totally learned a valuable lesson: that summer, I only dated guys who put out. And that's my "Toca's Miracle" story.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "American Boy" - Estelle Feat. Kanye West *3 weeks*
2. "Low" - Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain
3. "Always There Where I Need To Be" - The Kooks
4. "Black And Gold" - Sam Sparro
5. "Mercy" - Duffy
6. "Touch My Body" - Mariah Carey
7. "Better In Time/Footprints In The Sand" - Leona Lewis
8. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
9. "With You" - Chris Brown
10. "Rockstar" - Nickelback

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

My Two Cents On Madonna's "4 Minutes" Video

Thar Madge blows!

First off, the "4 Minutes" vid -- pretty rad. It's got three icons of pop and some great dancing, so what else do you need? Even the CGI effects don't suck too bad. And, yeah, instead of faux-kissing Justin Timberlake at the end, Madonna should be tonguing Timbaland's fruity butt for giving her a big hit again. "4 Minutes" is now the top downloaded single on iTunes.

Of course, it's pretty hot that Madge is now lit in all promos by 15 candles and a searchlight. As for all the flirty bumping and grinding and stripping between JT and Madonna, sure, it'd be easy to get all grossed out by it -- what with the 20-something year age difference -- but what else were they gonna do? She's a one-track sex machine, and he's a boy whore, so if they didn't fully go for it in the video, it'd be kinda lame.

What is nasty is Justin's scruff...this ain't no Fu Manchu flick. And it looks like the Material Senior's never gonna take off those boots.

By the way, does anyone else think the horns in this trash sound like Black Box's "Everybody Everybody"?

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Friday, April 04, 2008

It's Chart Rigger In Italiano!

Hey, cats, I'm in Italy for the next week and a half. This is the D'luvvly view out my hotel window, in Florence (with the Duomo in the upper right).

Needless to say, since I traveled all Wednesday night and Thursday, I didn't get to do the usual Thursday chart post. But it seems as if there was some uproar of Mariah's "purchase" of her latest #1 in the comments of that one, so there you go! Check said post for the major activity this week. As well, Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocketful Of Sunshine" slips into the Top 40 at #38.

Just as a matter of record, below is this week's Top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100. UPDATE: Okay, just a word on this whole controversy of Island "buying" Mariah's chart position that's popped up in the comments of the prior write-up -- kids, Leona Lewis and Madonna are behind her for a week, so let's get over it. Island picked a release date for "Touch My Body," put it on iTunes, and 300,000 folks downloaded it. Showbiz will go on and all three bitches will be rich while you and I are not.

I'm heading off to Tuscany on Saturday, where I'll be till next Friday, and will probably post more regularly from there. Ciao!

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Touch My Body" - Mariah Carey *1 week*
2. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
3. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
4. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
5. "No Air" - Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown
6. "Sexy Can I" - Ray J & Young Berg
7. "Lollipop" - Lil Wayne Feat. Static Major
8. "With You" - Chris Brown
9. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
10. "Low" - Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Mariah Carey Surpasses Elvis To Score Her 18th U.S. #1 Single On Billboard's Hot 100

Mimi's probably got a champagne IV hooked up right now...

Mariah Carey has scored her 18th #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and leaps ahead of her previous tie with Elvis Presley, who had 17. The trade publication notes that "Touch My Body" will be at the top of the new chart posted tomorrow, after 286,000 paid downloads last week.

Priscilla Presley would've let out a nine-octave shriek over the news if this were six faces ago for her. Now she'll probably just stand there and nervously fidget with her bank card. Mimi now only trails The Beatles, who have 20 U.S. #1 singles.

As well, Madonna moves past Elvis; "4 Minutes," which jumps from #68 to #3 on tomorrow's chart, gives her a total of 37 U.S. Top 10 hits, beating the 36 racked up by The King. Madonna has had 12 Hot 100 chart-toppers, and last hit #1 with "Music" in 2000. "4 Minutes" ended up with 217,000 paid downloads in its first week of availability.

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Kylie Throws On Her Wig, Dances With The Stars

Here's Kylie Minogue doing "All I See" and "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" on Dancing With The Stars tonight.

You just know she was sitting in the green room thinking, Christ, the shit I gotta do when I come to America! Then she probably made her assistant phone ahead to Chateau Marmont to ensure there'd be a stiff drink on hand the second she stepped out of the town car.

Meanwhile, gotta love Kylie's Freddie Mercury garb in the second clip!

Now that X is back on U.S. iTunes, it's zipping up the album chart at the online store. Today in my weekly Towleroad column, I posted the video of Matt Lauer's interview with Kylie on the Today Show yesterday.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

So I Say Thank You For The Traffic

Hey, gang -- a brief message expressing my thanks for making this a super year so far for Chart Rigger! (Warning: language NSFW!)

The Chart Rigger YouTube page