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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Week That Was: May 31, 2008

You wanna know something funny? This week I was actually wondering whether or not the Sex And The City movie would attract the same droves to theaters that tuned in to the iconic HBO TV series each week. Last night I certainly got my answer.

In a nutshell, Friday night: met up with the ball and chain and a gal pal for pre-SATC cosmos, only to find every patron in the sushi restaurant around the corner from the theater had the same idea. Despite arriving half an hour early with our pre-purchased tickets, we still got stuck in the second, neck-breaking row. Was it worth it? Hell yeah! The flick is like one whole mini-season packed into one long episode! Does the show translate well to film, as so many fail to do? Sure!

A few gripes with the music: naturally, the soundtrack is available on iTunes only as a whole, i.e., you can't download the individual songs. The standout is Ciara's "Click, Flash," itself a Fergie/"Glamorous" soundalike. (A knock-off? How very un-Sex And The City!) Of course, that one isn't available on iTunes. You ain't gotta be slick to find it, though.

That's a shame, because the soundtrack has shot to #1 at the online store, and surely Ciara's track would've done the same. The Dutchess herself appears on the soundtrack, too, with a song called "Labels Or Love," where she warbles the typically juvenile sass mantra, "Supercalafragi-sexy!"

Anyway, if I didn't have my answer on whether the film would do well by that point, certainly it came when we were walking to down our post-SATC cosmos and saw a hundreds-deep line for the midnight show wrapped around the block.

Bottom line: if were/are a fan of the original series, you'll be be similarly raising your Prada to the flick.

Despite the fact that the reunited New Kids On The Block's single "Summertime" appears to be a collosal flop, the aging boy band still have a sold-out tour on the horizon and are trudging ahead with a new full-length album, to be released on Interscope September 8.

Ack. All this seems very depressing, so let's end that here.

On a final note, 2008 is proving to be a time of change in the land D'luv, and the posts here at Chart Rigger have slowed a bit obviously in the past two weeks while there's been some life-shuffling at hand. Mostly it has to do with taking on a new professional venture. That said, thanks to all for tuning in each day. And thanks for the luv. Things on here should be back to normal this coming week.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Wouldn't Even F*** This Chart With David Archuleta's D***

Between the two of them, American Idol winner David Cook and runner-up David Archuleta see 14 songs debut on Billboard's Hot 100 this week, after being made available on iTunes...that's so decadently ghetto that I'm not sure what this underlines more: the overall popularity of Idol or the complete irrelevancy of the old-school pop chart in the era of the downloadable single.

Regardless, David Cook is the big winner all the way around -- "The Time Of My Life" is the Hot Shot Debut, at #3, after selling 236,000 downloads last week, and it leads three other tracks by him that land in the Top 40 alone. Alas, Baby Queen's highest position is #36, with his turgid, Z-grade cover of John Lennon's "Imagine." Gag.

It's also a classy week for Coldplay, whose single "Viva La Vida" jumps 31 positions to #10 after its inclusion in an Apple commercial. You see, that's the way they do it these days. Radio? Over. MTV? Who? To have a hit you just have to suck off Steve Jobs (Great technique, Chris Martin!) or bend over for Simon Cowell (Holla, Archuleta!).

The rest of it's a sack of horseshit, except for the fact that Chris Brown's "Forever" is finally seeing some love; it's this week's Airplay Gainer. But it still falls from #20 to #23. Like I said...horseshit.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Lollipop" - Lil Wayne Feat. Static Major *3 weeks*
2. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
3. "The Time Of My Life" - David Cook *hot shot debut*
4. "Take A Bow" - Rihanna
5. "No Air" - Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown
6. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
7. "Sexy Can I" - Ray J & Young Berg
8. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
9. "Pocketful Of Sunshine" - Natasha Bedingfield
10. "Viva La Vida'" - Coldplay *sales gainer*

New Towleroad column up now!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cyndi Lauper's Bring Ya To The Brink: The Second Great Pop Album Of 2008

That's right -- blow the candles, Cyndi! This year marks 25 years since She's So Unusual, and quite honestly, other than her 12 Deadly Cyns compilation in 1995 and, more recently, The Essential Cyndi Lauper, I haven't paid much attention to the singer's albums since that first iconic one came out when I was nine (!!).

And so it's with some surprise that I find myself billing her latest, the just-released Bring Ya To The Brink, one of 2008's great pop albums. Sorry Madonna and Mariah, but goonies 'R' good enough for me!

The album first crossed my desk in April, but truth be told, after about two listens, I set it aside. When a final copy of the CD arrived Saturday, I popped it in the car D'luv, and realized that BYTTB is indeed a driving album. That's how it's meant to be heard! Well, okay, it's probably more meant to be heard on a dancefloor, but I'm 34. In gay years, that's, like, 79.

Chances are you've already marveled at the sheer Holy shit, this is a rad jam!-ness of "Into The Nightlife." I'm actually glad that's to be a single, because "Same Ol' Story" didn't really knock my boots off.

"Lyfe" gets skipped everytime on this end -- which is ironic, since the title of the set comes from that song's lyrics -- but Cyndi's Andreas Kleerup collaboration, "Lay Me Down" and Axwell's "Rain On Me" are up there with "Into The Nightlife." In fact, I wish she would have called the album Into The Nightlife. It would've totally fit. "Echo" and the subtle, pensive "Raging Storm" are pretty bonza, too.

"Grab A Hold" is as close as it comes to '80s-era Cyndi Lauper. It makes me fondly think of the sheer joy "She Bop," "I Drove All Night" and "Change Of Heart" brought as a kid.

If you've not picked up Brink Ya To The Brink yet, download it from iTunes for the also-excellent bonus tracks -- the disco-y "Got Candy" and moody ballad, "Can't Breathe." (Why didn't these make the final cut instead of "Lyfe"?)

FINAL ASSESSMENT: Just really good stuff. Not the best album ever, but often the ones that stand out are the more subtle records that sideswipe you out of the blue. And make you wanna take a drive.

Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour starts this week.

* Ferras' Aliens & Rainbows: The First Great Pop Album Of 2008

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

U.K.'s Largest Retailer Giving CD Singles The Axe

Ah, the CD single. Toward the late '90s, it died an unjust death in the U.S. at the hand of greedy record labels hoping to surge album sales -- and it worked, albeit briefly -- though the format carried on alive and well overseas.

And until I finally broke down and got iTunes four years back, I still picked up import singles at inflated prices -- often just to obtain one track! Even now they overflow from my giant storage cabinet, which got so full that half the singles had to be moved to a cardboard box that's now stashed under my bed. At one point I thought of uploading them all to a hard drive and then doing away with them, but the thought of never seeing the Fast Food Rockers' vinyl drag again had me sobbing like a fool.

Anyway, Woolworths, the U.K.'s largest retailer of physical singles, has decided to discontinue sales of the format in August. The company's commercial directors had this to say:
"Digital downloading is now the true customer choice for listening and purchasing single music tracks. CDs are alive and well for album sales, but unfortunately the physical singles market is in terminal decline."
The above-linked article mentions Woolworths will continue to stock "high profile singles," such as those by X Factor winners.

That's good. Simon Cowell needs the money.

* Kiss The CD Single Format Goodbye

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rhythm Is A Dancer...Again

Behold, Brains! As most TV-watching Brits will know, the original Thunderbirds character grabs his crotch and shakes his budissy to Snap!'s oft-imitated Eurodance classic "Rhythm Is A Dancer" in a Drench Spring Water commercial, which has caused the 1992 single to crack the U.K. Top 40 again, at #36 this week.

Here's the Drench ad along with the original "Rhythm Is A Dancer" vid:

You may remember that "Rhythm Is A Dancer" once got voted the Most Quintessential '90s Eurodance Tune by Chart Rigger readers -- and rightly so! It really set the precedant for the dozens of future hits in the genre by Captain Hollywood Project, Real McCoy, Culture Beat, etc. The song originally topped the U.K. chart in July 1992 and peaked at #5 in the U.S. that winter.

Incidentally, the Pet Shop Boys, impressed by Howard Greenhalgh's "Rhythm Is A Dancer" clip, snagged the director for their own trippy 1993 "Can You Forgive Her" and "Go West" vids, as well as all other singles off Very and most from Bilingual.

Elsewhere on the U.K. singles chart, Rihanna's snoozy "Take A Bow" unseats the Ting Tings' one-week stint at #1, but the latter duo's We Started Nothing debuts atop the album chart. Hoo-rizzy.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Take A Bow" - Rihanna *1 week*
2. "That's Not My Name" - The Ting Tings
3. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
4. "Heartbreaker" - Will.I.Am Feat. Cheryl Cole
5. "Black And Gold" - Sam Sparro
6. "Wearing My Rolex" - Wiley
7. "Warwick Avenue" - Duffy
8. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
9. "Cry For You" - September
10. "Violet Hill" - Coldplay

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Throwback: I'll Remember

Oh, Madonna. What a tempestuous relationship we've had. I'm sort of the Madge anti-fan. The output I like from her is often the least favored among her followers. But here's a confession: my alltime fave song from Ye Olde Vampyre is spring 1994's "I'll Remember," from box office flop With Honors.

First of all...With Honors. Who could have guessed in '94 that the only one from the cast who'd still be working steadily in 2008 would be future Grey's Anatomy star, Patrick Dempsey -- here playing fourth banana to Brendan Fraser, Joe Pesci and Moira Kelly. (Also included was Josh Hamilton, who later played Edina's long-absent son, Serge, in a 2002 episode of Absolutely Fabulous.)

But, Lord, did that movie suck. It was one of a handful of college-themed films out that spring that also included Reality Bites, PCU and, my favorite back then, Threesome. (Though in retrospect, they all chewed.)

In trying to pinpoint why "I'll Remember" sticks out, I guess it just came out at the right time. My final semester of community college (hot) before transferring to university that fall was winding down, and all seemed right for a tune about "remembering" simple things. Other radio hits at the time were Ace Of Base's "Don't Turn Around," Lisa Loeb's "Stay" and Enigma's "Return To Innocence."

Of course, this was a period where Madge was sort of black and blue -- she'd suffered some poor-charting singles for the first time off her previous album, Erotica, and her Sex book two years prior had drawn sharp criticism. "I'll Remember" was a much-needed hit for the Material Senior, spending about a month stuck at #2 on Billboard's Hot 100.

At the time, Madonna even seemed to be having a Britney-esque public meltdown when she went on Late Night With David Letterman that spring and nervously tried to insult the nighttime host by using the F word about 17 times, smoking a cigar and telling bad jokes that just plain fell flat with the audience. And was she high? I recall Entertainment Weekly running a complete dissection of the fiasco the following week.

Here are the clips for the "I'll Remember" video and the Letterman episode. He really did a great job countering her jabs at every turn:

Overall, I think the zeitgeist of 1994 was literally scandal in general, though for the first time in awhile it wasn't Madonna causing it. There was the lingering icky-ness from the Michael Jackson child molestation trial the year before, the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan drama earlier that winter with the Olympics and then, just around the corner in June 1994 was the O.J. Simpson "crime of the century." Suddenly, Madonna just didn't seem that shocking anymore. In fact, she was almost passé.

Any lesser star, and this likely would have been the dénouement of their commercial success. So "I'll Remember" was probably just what we needed from her -- a sweet and non-threatening nostalgic ballad.

I'm far from an expert on this broad, but wasn't this also one of the first times Madonna worked with William Orbit, albeit in the form of him doing a remix for the song?

Anyway, here's a tradge pic of 20-year-old D'luv from May 1994, on a trip to D.C., with the Washington Monument off in the distance.

The denim shirt is so classy that I want to dig it out, roll it up and shove it down the front of my pants. While listening to Madonna.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Now That Duffy Is A Hit In America, Can We Get A Refund For Amy Winehouse?

The true sign that blonde-haired, '60s-channeling U.K. pop chanteuse Duffy has crossed over in the U.S.? No, it's not Rockferry debuting at #4 this week on the Billboard album chart. Nor is it the fact that her worldwide smash "Mercy" is this week's Sales Gainer, soaring from #66 to #27 on the Hot 100.

No, folks, the reason I know she's truly made it is because last night while watching TV, I heard "Mercy" in a commercial for the WWF. It featured so prominently in the ad that the lyrics were even spelled out on the screen in big block letters. Godalmighty, buy this funny-talkin' girl a hot dog and give her the key to Kansas City already, Mr. Mayor!

Elsewhere, Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" returns to #1 for a second non-consecutive week...and thank God, right? That's just such an awesome, inspiring song. Lollipop, y'all. Suck it.

The rest of the Top 10 remains basically the same, with no new singles entering. Mariah Carey and Chris Brown rebound with "Bye Bye" and "Forever," respectively up to #19 and #20. Katy Perry's faux lesbi-dirge "I Kissed A Girl" is at #40.

Meanwhile, what's up with Ne-Yo's limp showing with new single, "Closer" (#47)? See, this is why American radio bites it. Anything with a beat faster than what sounds like three crunked video vixens bumping coconuts while they dry-grind each other -- i.e., "Closer" and Chris Brown's "Forever" -- and it gets no airplay love. Have "Mercy," Clear Channel.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Lollipop" - Lil Wayne Feat. Static Major *2 weeks*
2. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
3. "Take A Bow" - Rihanna *airplay gainer*
4. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
5. "No Air" - Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown
6. "Sexy Can I" - Ray J & Young Berg
7. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
8. "Pocketful Of Sunshine" - Natasha Bedingfield
9. "Touch My Body" - Mariah Carey
10. "Damaged'" - Danity Kane

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Maybe Lou Pearlman Will Find A Nice Boy To Make Sweet Music With In The Slammer?

Former Backstreet Boys and *NSync string-puller Lou Pearlman has been sentenced to 25 years in the clink for money laundering and tricking me into buying shit albums that only had two good songs apiece in the late '90s. Well, that last part isn't part of the actual case, but I would have slapped it on there if I were the judge.

Here are the details, from Reuters:
U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp gave Pearlman the chance to cut his prison time by offering a one-month reprieve for every $1 million in cash he helps a bankruptcy trustee recover for his victims.

Theoretically, Pearlman could cancel his entire 300-month sentence by repaying the $300 million debt.

His lawyer, Fletcher Peacock, said in a written plea that 25 years amounted to a "sentence to death in prison" for the 53-year-old impresario who lived a jet-set life of mansions and luxury cars before the fraud scheme collapsed.

In an audacious two-decade scam, Pearlman admitted in his plea agreement to enticing individuals and banks to invest millions of dollars in two companies which existed only on paper -- Transcontinental Airlines Travel Services Inc and Transcontinental Airlines Inc.

He won investors' confidence with fake financial statements created by a fictitious accounting firm.

Vanity Fair did a pretty hot article on "Big Poppa" Lou last fall, called "Mad About The Boys," which alleges he was into more than just fingering cash.

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Which American Idol David Will Become A Hooker And Which Will Make Your Fries?

Oh, it's so exciting, isn't it? Which of these two Davids -- "Baby Queen" Archuleta or Cook -- will be the next to issue a tepid, cookie cutter dirge of a first single that radio won't touch with a 300 foot crane? Going by tradition, probably both.

But which to promote more heavily, Clive Davis, and which to give the ol' Blake Lewis treatment? David A. sure has a pretty....voice. But David Cook's fingers probably know their way around a guitar string better. (And around Baby Queen!)

Really, we should be wishing them both well. But let's be honest -- this is probably already a heavily-brokered, done deal before the finale tape starts rolling. Just imagine being a fly on the wall:

Baby Queen: If you win, I'll let you f*** me. But If I win, you have to f*** me.

Oh, I kid. You know Daddy Archuleta wouldn't allow that to happen...without a contract. But seriously, I'm putting my money on Paula Abdul. After her amazing comeback smash "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" charted at the soaring heights of #62, no wonder it seemed like she was crunked like there's no tomorrow this whole season!

The Party Gods say you're forever their girl, Paula! Now put that dog down before it chokes on a bottle cap.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Courtney Love Is One Lazy Broad

Let's get down to brass tacks here. In the past 10 years, Courtney Love has put out two albums -- one with her band Hole (rockin'!!) and that solo one that sucked so bad she should have just shoved it back up her Hole. (Well, that "Sunset Strip" song was kind of a jam, I guess.)

So today Billboard reports that Courtney Hole has taken to her MySpace blog to "refute an online report that she'd scrapped her next solo album":
"No 'scrapping' is going on, simply a few retakes, especially since all those recordings were leaked to the Net. Don't assume you know any songs on this album. Some may sound somewhat familiar or even have the same titles and arrangements. A few are just precious diamonds I wouldn't touch, but there's TONS of NEW ones which you haven't a clue about."
Courtney's apparently due to turn the album in to Linda Perry's label in July. JULY!?! Hooker, you've only been working on that trash for about four years now! What's the hold up?

Look at tween schizo Miley Cyrus, who's putting out her third album in two years this summer! Or workhorse Rihanna, who has thrown out three records since 2005 and even has time to re-release one of them because at this point, who's going to remember which was which anyway!

Sure, they're both younger and probably have a few less STDs, but, Courtney, time's a tickin'. Before long, no one's going to care about your grunge box anymore. [crickets]

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Hangin' Rough

Good God! The New Kids On The Block performed this painful medley of shit hits on The Today Show Friday:

Granted, they haven't sang live together in 15 years. (In fact, is this the first time they've ever sang "live," one wonders?) But it gives an idea on what folks have to look forward to from the group's reunion tour.

Their new single "Summertime" is currently #21 on the iTunes chart.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Keeping Up With The Ting Tings

Is it just me or is 2008 shaping up to be the first exciting year of new pop/rock talent we've seen since 2004, when The Killers, Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol broke through into the mainstream? Acts like Sam Sparro and Alphabeat scored big U.K. hits and started the early winter months off with something to look forward to, kicking down the door for this week's new #1, "That's Not My Name" by The Ting Tings.

Of course, I'm still just catching up with the erratic singles flying all over the place at the moment by the Brit girl/boy duo! Here in the States, my jam for the past month has been "Great DJ," which is in heavy rotation on alt rock radio (at least in L.A.), while "Shut Up And Let Me Go" recently charted at #55 on Billboard's Hot 100 after its inclusion in an Apple commercial.

Nonetheless, it's "That's Not My Name" which takes over the U.K. chart this week, keeping Rihanna's current U.S. #1, "Take A Bow," stuck at #2. Meanwhile, with all this new activity, poor Kylie, who debuted at #10 with "In My Arms" last week is knocked down to #17.

But I'm down with The Ting Tings. A little digging reveals that singer Katie White was in some teen pop act called TKO who once supported Steps and Five. And to think, she probably could have died happy back then...

Well, if she was lucky, Lee Steps hit it. And maybe H did her nails.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "That's Not My Name" - The Ting Tings *1 week*
2. "Take A Bow" - Rihanna *new*
3. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
4. "Heartbreaker" - Will.I.Am Feat. Cheryl Cole
5. "Wearing My Rolex" - Wiley
6. "Black And Gold" - Sam Sparro
7. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
8. "Violet Hill" - Coldplay
"American Boy" - Estelle Feat. Kanye West
"Cry For You" - September

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Week That Was: May 17, 2008

D'luv does an about face(book).

Last Sunday I rhetorically asked if we have Kylie fatigue. Funny thing is that this week I rather un-rhetorically have grown tired of another pop culture phemonena; I believe I'm suffering from social networking site fatigue. In particular, let's talk about Facebook.

I joined Facebook during a trip to Austin last September to see my pal Alex. He's found himself being a student again, pursuing his master's degree, and he got hooked on Facebook late last summer. And I'll admit, while visiting him, it was addictive watching him post pictures he'd just taken which then tagged and immediately linked to all his friend's profiles. (Ah, the origin of the notorious shirtless pic of D'luv at Austin City Limits...)

So I joined. Then I never checked my account after that weekend. The e-mails would come in over the months saying so-and-so had added me, and I'd struggle to remember my password and eventually remember then add them. Then I'd let another month or so go by.

But then things took a turn around February. "Kids" I went to high school with started adding me as a friend...people I hadn't spoken to in 16 years. Now, I'd been through this all before on MySpace, and it was the reason I was leery of joining Facebook; you get the friend add, you exchange one or two pleasant e-mails wherein you spill your past decade's life story into five or six paragraphs, then you never, ever, ever hear from this person again. But there they remain, on your "friends" list.

As a side note, in January I finally just deleted my personal MySpace (though the Chart Rigger one remains).

So, then this week rolled around, and I got a deluge of three friend adds from folks I went to high school with -- all three of whom were really, really nice people from what I can remember, but none of which I hung out with outside of whatever classes we might have shared. Maybe it's karma for the Throwback posts I've been doing?

And so I've been wondering about the kind of feelings these things dredge up. I guess it just depends on what your own personal high school experience was like. Me, I never, ever miss the high school years, though that's not to say I didn't enjoy them. In fact, I just kind of thought high school was strict and boring and couldn't wait to get to college.

Besides, shouldn't it be like Steps once sang -- some things are better best forgotten?

Inevitably, Facebook and MySpace are probably only what you make of them. They can be just what they say they are -- networking sites -- or they can be a means to sneak a peak at what kind of trash your former classmates got up to.

Me, I'm far to lazy to bother with either. I mainly just like seeing how ugly my exes turned out.

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon's wedding pics are in this week's issue of People. (Or was it last week? Who can keep up with this bitch?)

The couple celebrated their nuptials in the most classy way possible -- riding the roller coasters at California's Magic Mountain amusement park.

Hopefully a bat didn't fly up her wedding snack on the way down.

Lorraine (remember them) have a new single out! Here's the vid for "When I Return To The World."

Their full album is finally out this summer (promises the publicist).

Coldplay have a new politically-charged video for single "Violet Hill." They should have shot for album title-track "Viva La Vida," which charted higher on Billboard's Hot 100 this week, instead. It's much more upbeat. But it's still Coldplay.

* Worrapolava: No, you were right, Phil. Katy Perry's a dumb snatch.
* Olga Loves Yuri: Wife be damned, he's going to see Madonna.
* This Man's World: Wife be damned, Dan's going, too.
* Fizzy Pop: Paul claims Alannah Myles is still alive.
* Poster Girl: Still boy crazy. Slut.
* Towleroad: Cyndi Lauper fever is spreading.
* Pop Trash Addicts: More Cyndi. Plus, I didn't win the Dannii CD.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Like Any Good Stripper With Mad Skills, Rihanna Slides Back Up To The Top

She may have the voice of a 15-year-old boy with a clothespin clamped on his nose, but Barbadian beauty Rihanna has now landed her third springtime #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 with "Take A Bow," a trend that started with "SOS" in 2006 and carried on with "Umbrella" last year.

But let's be honest, folks -- "Take A Bow" sounds like some limp dirge Beyoncé blew out in a snot rag after an allergy attack. This flimsy track is to be included on the June re-release of of Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad. "Take A Bow" was added to iTunes last week and the 200,000+ downloads caused it to jump to the top from last week's position of #53.

Also, new at #57 is the Maroon 5 and Rihanna duet to be included on both their album re-releases, "If I Never See Your Face Again."

And speaking of strippers, Diddy's 10-legged ho troupe Danity Kane poledance into the Top 10 with "Damaged" after what seems like an eternity just outside the door, moving up one notch to #10. Maybe they'll lapdance each other's faces in celebration?

Coldplay fans have something to put the bong and Tennyson down for and rejoice, too, as "Viva La Vida" is the chart's Hot Shot Debut at #15, while official single "Violet Hill" enters at #40. "Viva La Vida" leapfrogged "Violet Hill" after being made available for free with pre-order downloads of the full album on iTunes. Both cuts give Coldplay their third and fourth U.S. Top 40 singles, following 2002's "Clocks" (#29) and 2005's "Speed Of Sound" (#8).

Finally, while it looked like bye-bye after only three weeks in the Top 40 for Mariah Carey's "Bye Bye," the single rebounds this week and moves up from #38 to #27, no doubt due to the video making its debut last week and interest in her recent quickie marriage to Nick Cannon.

Hopefully a similar miracle happens for Chris Brown's excellent "Forever," which following its debut at #9 two weeks ago has slid from #15 to #24.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Take A Bow" - Rihanna *1 week*
2. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis
3. "Lollipop" - Lil Wayne Feat. Static Major
4. "No Air" - Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown
5. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
6. "Sexy Can I" - Ray J & Young Berg
7. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake
8. "Touch My Body" - Mariah Carey
9. "Pocketful Of Sunshine" - Natasha Bedingfield
10. "Damaged'" - Danity Kane

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cyndi Lauper Goes Into The (Gay) Nightlife

Hotness! According to this flyer, the first single off Cyndi Lauper's Bring Ya To The Brink to get a video will be "Into The Nightlife" [listen here], which if you ask me, is the best damn track on the album!

Aww, Splash... could Cyndi be any more of a gay man?

As mentioned last month, "Into The Nightlife" was co-written and co-produced by Peer Åström, who is part of the the Murlyn production team.

Of course, we know what a conspiracy-theorist D'luv is when it comes to songs sounding like other songs. And that said, I couldn't help but pick out a slight similarity between "Into The Nightlife" and Dance Nation's rad 2001 jam, "Sunshine" (speaking of homo-erotic videos!):

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

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This Is Just An Excuse To Mention What A Nice Ride Kavana Looks Like These Days

Not sure how I missed this one, but the Top Of The Pops Collection was made available in December, one disc for each year spanning from 1964 to 2006, when the U.K. music performance program last aired. The collection boasts "more than 650 original Top 10 hits" and "over 150 U.K. number ones," from artists who all appeared on the show during its 40+-year history. Play.com actually has 'em for cheap.

Say, why don't we look at the tracklisting for one of the CDs! Oh, I don't know...why not 1997? Oh, look -- there's one-time British teen heartthrob Kavana on there:

1. "Picture Of You" - Boyzone
2. "I Wanna Be The Only One" - Eternal & Bebe Winans
3. "Arms Around The World" - Louise
4. "I Can Make You Feel Good" - Kavana
5. "Slam Dunk (Da Funk)" - 5ive
6. "Bodyshakin'" - 911
7. "Mmmbop" - Hanson
8. "Your Woman" - White Town
9. "Barrel Of A Gun" - Depeche Mode
10. "Please Don't Go" - No Mercy
11. "You're Not Alone" - Olive
12. "Bellissima" - DJ Quicksilver
13. "Reverence" - Faithless
14. "Piece Of My Heart" - Shaggy & Marsha
15 . "Tubthumping" - Chumbawamba
16. "Bitch" - Meredith Brooks
17 . "Hush" - Kula Shaker
18. "Richard III" - Supergrass

Back in 1997, Kavana looked like forbidden no-no touch jailbait...

...but now, at age 30, he looks like big sexy mouth-bounce!

Mmmm. Makes me hungry for a Cicero sandwich. Thanks, TOTP! FYI, Special Kind Of Something - The Best Of Kavana is available from U.S. iTunes.

* R.I.P. Top Of The Pops

New Towleroad column up now!

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Throwback: That Loving Feeling

Sweet Jesus, if I had known Cicero was this hot back in 1993 when I bought the Crying Game soundtrack -- on which his duet with Sylvia Mason-James, "Live For Today," appeared -- I'd have begged, borrowed and stealed then to order his full-length CD, Future Boy, on import!

If you've never heard "Live For Today," a Pet Shop Boys-produced track literally overspilling with synth-y arpeggios and overlapping chords, and topped with hopeful-if-not-desperate lyrics about forgetting the consequences and giving in to a doomed love affair, track it down!

For me personally, the sublime "Live For Today" appeared on every mix tape I made for my friends in 1993 and 1994.

David Cicero was born in 1970 in the Long Island part of New York, but was raised in Scotland by his mother. In the final chapter of the paperback version of Chris Heath's 1989 Pet Shop Boys book, Literally, there's a brief mention of how Cicero got signed to the duo's label in the early '90s:
That summer [1992], the Pet Shop Boys also launched their own record label, Spaghetti recordings. In its first year it released...records by its two longterm signings, rap duo Ignorance and Scottish singer, synthesizer player and songwriter, Cicero. The latter first met the Pet Shop Boys backstage after the [1989] Glasgow concert... He gave a cassette of his songs to [their assistant]...
Cicero had three singles off his 1992 Future Boy album (which sadly only saw a U.K. release that apparently suffered from distribution problems), and you gotta love how the homoerotic undertones of British "lad culture" were totally exploited in the videos! Is he gay? Is he straight? Who knows.

Here are the vids for "That Loving Feeling" and Cicero's only Top 20 U.K. hit, "Love Is Everywhere" (both of which Neil Tennant sings backing vocals on) -- dig the naked locker room and shirtless bedroom scenes:

Aww, bagpipes! "Love Is Everywhere" always kinda sounded a bit like New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" to me. The album also contains a rad, epic track called "Then," which gradually builds and comes close to packing the same emotional wallop "Live For Today" does.

Chris Lowe directed the video for the other single, "Heaven Must Have Sent You Back To Me." Future Boy is available on U.K. iTunes.

* Cicero fan site
* David Cicero's MySpace

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Do We Have Kylie Fatigue?

Something happened awhile back, in the fall, which seemed a bit odd and now, in retrospect, was the beginning of a troublesome pattern for Kylie Minogue. I'm referring to the U.K. chart position of "2 Hearts," which by all rights should have been a return to former #1-peaking glories for the dimunitive Aussie diva given her life's circumstances in recent years. Even a #2 position would have been somewhat of an acceptable "welcome back" nod to the singer. However, "2 Hearts" landed at #4, and that was that.

Don't get me wrong -- "2 Hearts" as a comeback single was a godawful choice, especially given the other pop treasures lurking on X. But that never stopped "Slow" from topping the U.K. chart (or, hell, even "Tears On My Pillow").

Then there was the odd marketing of mainland Europe getting "In My Arms" as a single in February while Britain got "Wow" (perhaps because she had performed "Wow" on the X Factor finale and it had prematurely charted in the Top 40?). "Wow" fared almost as well as "2 Hearts," hitting #5 when all was said and done.

So now the U.K. finally sees a proper single release for "In My Arms," a song which should have been a no-brainer choice for the first release off X. This week it enters the Top 10 at #10, a position Kylie's only ever peaked at once -- back in December 2000, with "Please Stay."

That's a cryin' shame, because "In My Arms" deserves much better than #10. Hell, "In My Arms" deserves #1! It's got everything you'd want or expect from a Kylie Minogue single, and seeing "2 Hearts" and even the ill-suited Mims-addled "All I See" (in the U.S.) get priority over "In My Arms" is a crime against pop!

Now, there are a lot of factors at hand, such as the charts not being calculated today the same way they were, say, 10 or even five years ago, and it's generally a younger demographic downloading singles and influencing the charts and blah, blah, blah. But that doesn't really jive when you look at the ancient transvestite Madonna, who is currently at #1 for a fourth week. Of course, there is a slight more youth appeal to "4 Minutes," as it's got Justin Timerlake, etc. attached.

So, are we just all tired of Kylie at this point? Do we still love her but not enough to pick up every release of hers that's tossed out there? That's usually what happens with your favorite artists when you "grow up." I know personally I used to grab all Kylie's import singles, as recent as Fever, but not so much anymore. Or maybe it's also a little bit of being a music fan in the Internet age. What current song or mix isn't instantly accessible for free these days?

Who knows. Maybe the real question is whether Kylie will go the the inevitable route with her next album...and work with Timbaland?

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "4 Minutes" - Madonna Feat. Justin Timberlake *4 weeks*
2. "Wearing My Rolex" - Wiley
3. "Black And Gold" - Sam Sparro
4. "Heartbreaker" - Will.I.Am
5. "Love In This Club" - Usher Feat. Young Jeezy
6. "American Boy" - Estelle Feat. Kanye West
7. "Cry For You" - September
8. "Violet Hill" - Coldplay *new*
"Low" - Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain
"In My Arms" - Kylie Minogue *new*

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Friday, May 09, 2008

The Week That Was: May 9, 2008

I took this pic in Italy last month, thinking it was very "springtime." That's right -- look the F out, Western art world!

Jeez, y'all are suckers for schmaltz! Earlier this week I did a somewhat personal, nostalgic "Throwback" post ("These Are Days You'll Remember"), and between the e-mails and comments, it seems folks like knowing D'luv has a beating heart.

So, for those interested, below are five more similar posts from the past three years -- in descending order of hotness -- all of which are personal stories wrapped around the music of the era they occurred during.

At the very least you'll get to see tragic pics of young D'luv:

* Someone Who Won't Leave Me Feeling...
* It's Tearin' Up My Heart
* Don't Walk Away, Boy
* Ride On Time
* Back When Bernard Sumner Was Hot

Other than that, Madonna announced she's embarking on the "Sticky And Sweet" tour, but fuck that humorless old transvestite -- the real tour to see this summer is Pete Burns from Dead Or Alive, who's doing gigs (with Human League) in the U.S.!!! Holy Jesus, it'll be more enlightening than when that geriatric queen, the Pope, came through last month!

Here are the dates that were announced for Pete Burns' "Regeneration Tour":

July 26 New York City @ Live Nation
July 27 Farmingdale, NY @ Crazy Donkey
August 2 Las Vegas, NV @ Planet Hollywood
August 4 San Diego, CA @ Viejas
August 5 Los Angeles, CA @ Gibson Theatre
August 7 Salt Lake City, UT @ Usana Theatre
August 9 San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine
August 11 Saratoga, CA @ Mountain Winery

Clay Aiken, who posed for this lovely photo over at Planet Hiltron, released a new album this week, On My Way Up There or Here's My Vagina or something. There's really not much to say about her that hasn't already been worded gloriously in Chart Rigger's Clay Aiken banterview. You can find it and all past banterviews in the sidebar drop menu.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thieving Coldplay's Pop Shame

You can fool the masses, Chris Martin, but you won't fool D'luv!

Revered rockers Coldplay saw their upcoming fourth album Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends added to iTunes Tuesday for pre-order, with title track "Viva La Vida" tacked on as a freebie.

But! One listen and I couldn't help noticing the striking resemblance "Viva La Vida" has to French pop starlet Alizée's 2003 jam, "I'm Fed Up." 

Witness, children! (NOTE: The original fan vid for "Viva La Vida" got yanked from YouTube, so I replaced it with one of a home DJ remix someone made -- it still contains the basic melody of the original.)

Hmmm. No wonder there's a French flag on the cover of the album. Too bad Chris Martin couldn't come up with lyrics as classy as "Legs up for hours, my goldfish is under me," though...the amateur!

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The Most Pop Top 10 You've Seen This Year

Take a picture of the Top 10 of this week's Billboard Hot 100 -- it's the most pop it's been in years! While unfortunately Chris Brown's "Forever" fell to #15 after a solitary week on the upper reaches of the chart, Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocketful Of Sunshine" and Jesse McCartney's "Leavin'" hop in at #8 and #10, respectively. That gives Natasha her second U.S. Top 10 hit (after "Unwritten") and fourth one to reach the Top 20 (including "These Words" and "Love Like This").

Natasha performed "Pocketful Of Sunshine" on American Idol last week, which not only boosted the single, but causes her so-so same-titled album to fly up to #24 from last week's position of #97 on the Top 200 Albums.

Does anyone else smirk when she sings "a sweet escape," thinking of Gwen Stefani? Here's the sweet escapist video:

Meanwhile, back to Chris Brown's "Forever," it'd be a shame if radio doesn't pick up on the track simply because it's got a more pop edge to it. Last week's debut at #9 was purely based on downloads, which is a testament to Chris' popularity -- so why not give the song some damn airtime? Aw, screw radio. Who even listens, anyway?

Elsewhere, keyboard-driven emo act Metro Station -- kind of the new Hellogoodbye -- jump into the Top 40 at #36 with "Shake It," and Duffy's "Mercy" climbs to #61.

On the album chart, Madonna's Hard Candy is #1 with first-week sales of 280,000, while Robyn's album debuts way down at #100. Check out my latest Towleroad music column to see a video of Madge being a total snatch to MTV's John Norris when he asks her about turning 50.

Meanwhile, that sounds like him being nice -- I thought she was already 60!

The U.S. Top 10:

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

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