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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Take That: We R One

It's a big week for new single releases entering the U.K. chart, albeit one that sees profoundly differing results for Take That and Same Difference.

The big news is that Take That score their 11th #1 single in the United Kingdom with "Greatest Day," after a string of chart-toppers that began with July 1993's "Pray." Also, following "Patience" and "Shine," it's the foursome's third #1 since returning from a 10-year hiatus in 2006.

Interestingly, the That performed last weekend on The X Factor, as did former contestants on the series, Same Difference. The, uh, difference between the two was that Same Difference clearly lip-synced...which always seems odd on a live performance program when that happens. Especially a show that the brother-sister duo excelled on just last year.

And in a rather ho-hum turn of events, SD's debut single "We R One" debuts on the Brit chart at #13 this week, a position that doesn't look so hot when considering the cheery pop twosome's future.

Speaking of dismal, utter failure, Madonna's "Miles Away" has charted at #39 this week, thereby becoming her lowest placing in the U.K. ever. It's a far cry from her reign at the top with "4 Minutes" only seven months ago.

On the album chart, The Killers enter at the top with Day & Age. But I'd bet you 13 bargain-bin, half-priced "We R One" CD singles that Take That will give them the boot next week.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Greatest Day" - Take That *new* *1 week*
2. "If I Were A Boy" - Beyoncé
3. "Live Your Life" - T.I. Feat. Rihanna
4. "Human" - The Killers
5. "Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry
6. "The Boy Does Nothing'" - Alesha Dixon
7. "Womanizer'" - Britney Spears
8. "Hero" - X Factor Finalists
9. "Right Now (Na Na Na)'" - Akon
10. "The Promise" - Girls Aloud

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Kelly Clarkson's New Max Martin, Dr. Luke Single Out Soon

It floors me that it's been four years—this very week, actually—since Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway album was released.

Think about all that's happened since then: George Bush's whole second term. Britney Spears had two kids, a divorce, a meltdown and a comeback. Take That got back together. Rihanna.

Breakaway is certified six times platinum in the U.S., and has sold over 12 million copies worldwide. Meanwhile, there hasn't been an album to cross the three million sales mark in 2008. Next year may well see the death of the album as we know it.

But in the meantime, not sure how I missed this, but the other week MTV interviewed producer Dr. Luke. He talked about a song called "My Life Would Suck Without You" which he and Max Martin recorded with Kelly for her upcoming album. He hinted that it could be her next single, though her rep had no comment.

Dr. Luke said, "After 'Since U Been Gone,' we wrote all these songs for Kelly. This one, which I think is the first single — we had the chorus a while ago and added the verse more recently."

God, "Since U Been Gone" certainly takes me back to Chart Rigger Year One. It captured #1 on my Top 15 Songs Of 2005 list that December.

The article hinted that the single could be out as early as December, or as late as January. Which is good. After My December, the world is ready for Kelly Clarkson again.

* Chart Rigger's Kelly Clarkson Banterview

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rick Astley Rick Rolls The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade...In Person!

Okay, this is seriously the best Rick Roll ever. In the middle of the Foster's puppets performing on the Cartoon Network float during this morning's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, f-ing Rick Astley jumped out and lip-synced about a minute of "Never Gonna Give You Up."

I have faith in the fact that Rick woulda done it live had they given him more time than that. In fact, I'm putting all my faith in Rick Astley. He Rick Rolled America bigtime. He is God.

Rick, please do this at the State of the Union address! And Barack Obama's inauguration! The Oscars! My birthday party!

Oh, yeah...Miley Cyrus was there, too. That bitch only wishes she had a jam like "Never Gonna Give You Up" in her repertoire.

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Lady GaGa Throws Her Wig Into The Top 10

Happy Thanksgiving! Is it wrong to want to dig into the Honeybaked ham and turkey sitting in my fridge...at 7:59 a.m.? Maybe just one small piece?

Anyway, yay, Beyoncé, etc., for I Am...Sasha Fierce's availability last week propelling "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" all the way up to #2 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. She performed the song on the Today Show yesterday wearing a black skin tight catsuit. Meow!

The other big news is that Lady GaGa's "Just Dance"—a single that's been out since April—finally flies into the Top 10, at #7. Alas, it's up in the air at this point whether the Lady will eke out a long pop career. She's certainly on the right track, penning songs for New Kids On The Block and Britney Spears.

At any rate, it's been awhile since there's been a bona fide dance/pop diva in the upper reaches of the American charts.

And just for fun, here are some other memorable singles that have peaked at #7 in the U.S. over the past two decades:
  • Technotronic, "Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over" (1990)
  • Rick Astley, "Cry For Help" (1991)
  • Seal, "Crazy" (1991)
  • Tara Kemp, "Piece Of My Heart" (1991)
  • Madonna, "Deeper And Deeper" (1992)
  • Duran Duran, "Come Undone" (1993)
  • Michael Jackson, "Will You Be There" (1993)
  • Take That, "Back For Good" (1995)
  • George Michael, "Jesus To A Child" (1996)
  • Robyn, "Do You Know What It Takes" (1997)
  • Jewel, "Foolish Games" (1997)
  • Aqua, "Barbie Girl" (1997)
  • Robyn, "Show Me Love" (1997)
  • Pink, "There You Go" (2000)
  • Kylie Minogue, "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" (2002)
  • Kelly Clarkson, "Because Of You" (2005)
  • Ne-Yo, "Sexy Love" (2006)
  • Rihanna featuring Ne-Yo, "Hate That I Love You" (2007)
  • Yael Naim, "New Soul" (2008)
  • Ne-Yo, "Closer" (2008)
  • Christina Aguilera, "Keeps Gettin' Better" (2008)
Of course, that's not to say that Lady GaGa's "Just Dance" has peaked just yet. Anyway, did I forget any? I'm sure. Fuck it, I'm going to eat turkey!

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Live Your Life" - T.I. feat. Rihanna *5 weeks*
2. "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" - Beyoncé *airplay gainer*
3. "If I Were A Boy" - Beyoncé
4. "Whatever You Like" - T.I.
5. "Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry
6. "Love Lockdown" - Kanye West
7. "Just Dance" - Lady GaGa feat. Colby O'Donis *sales gainer*
8. "So What" - Pink
9. "Miss Independent" - Ne-Yo
10. "Right Now (Na Na Na)" - Akon

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pink Bangs Herself In The "Sober" Vid

What do you do when your record label chooses one of the least exciting (read: non-Max Martin) songs to issue as a single off your album? Why, throw in some kinda-sorta lesbian sex in the video, of course!

Pink and her doppelgänger meet up at a party then bump baby-spitters in the sack in her clip for second Funhouse single "Sober." Classy!

The video was shot in Sweden a couple months back, and has a nifty Gothic feel to it. Check out the girlie fun:


David Cook 'Crushes' David Archuleta

First week sales figures are in for David Cook's first album, and while he debuted on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at #3, he still managed to sell 280,000 copies in the first week.

David Archuleta's self-titled debut entered at #2 last week, but sold almost 100,000 less copies (total = 183,000).

As of November, David Cook's debut single "The Time Of My Life" has sold over 1 million copies. It was released in May. David Archuleta's "Crush" is at about 992,000 sold, and was released in August.

Yeah, I have that Archuleta album. I haven't listened to it past song #4, because, quite frankly, I've heard more thrilling standards in the elevator at my dentist's office.

Meanwhile, Beyoncé's I Am...Sasha Fierce is the best-selling album this week, but has low sales figures in its first week of 482,000. By comparison, her 2006 album, B'Day, sold 541,000 out of the gate.

Nickelback are at #3 with Dark Horse.

UPDATE: Get a load of this horseshit from New York magazine:

The numbers are in! Last Wednesday, rightful American Idol winner David Archuleta posted first-week sales of 183,000 for his masterful debut record David Archuleta, landing the coveted No. 2 position on the Billboard 200. This morning it was announced that David Cook, Archuleta's balder, pitchier nemesis, managed to unload 280,000 copies of his new CD last week, which was only good enough for an abysmal No. 3 placement on today's chart — embarrassing! Better luck next time, Cook!
What, are they huffing Clorox and forgetting basic math in the New York offices? The chart positions are only different because you have to figure in each week's other releases. The sales figures speak the loudest.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From 'Tragedy' To 'Circus': Britney Spears Covered By 'Rolling Stone' Twice In 2008

Britney Spears will grace the cover of the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone. The photos were shot by Peggy Sirota. There's a whole set of the pics over at her official site.

Meanwhile, can you believe this broad was only on Rolling Stone's cover a mere 9 months ago in a cover story entitled "Britney Spears: Inside An American Tragedy"?

Hold it together, Brit...your album's out next week! Almost there!


Christina Aguilera Has Apparently 'Still Got It'

I didn't watch the American Music Awards Sunday night because 1.) I was watching The Wiz for the first time in 20 years, and I just had to hear "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News," c.) That's what YouTube is for the next day, and 7.) It's the American Music Awards.

From viewing the clips, Rihanna seemed really snoozy with that "Rehab" bit, though she and Chris Brown won all the awards.

Anyway, the above clip is the medley of hits Christina Aguilera did. Pretty good, but still not worth missing "Ease On Down The Road" for.

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Beyoncé's Taking This 'If I Were A Boy' Business A Bit Too Seriously

Here's superstar recording artist Beyoncé out getting groceries on Sunday morning on the set of her new music video, which is apparently going to be "Diva." (As in the song, "Diva," not Beyoncé is a going to be a diva in it. She looks more like she's going to be the kid who flunked fourth grade three times who used to steal everyone's lunch money at my elementary school back in 1986.)

What I don't understand is why the next single isn't going to be this "Halo" jam everyone's drenching their pants over. Isn't that the one Ryan Tedder wrote that Leona Lewis threw into a dumpster and Sasha Fierce fished out with a broken off car antenna?

Beyoncé's latest album is expected to have sold between 500,000 and 550,000 in its first week when tomorrow's Billboard album chart is announced.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thank God Robyn's In The U.K. Chart So Beyoncé Isn't The Only Name In This Headline

Beyoncé lands her fourth U.K. solo #1 in the U.K. this week with "If I Were A Boy," but technically you'd have to go back nearly five-and-a-half years to "Crazy In Love" (July 2003) to find one that didn't feature another artist. UPDATE: Thanks to readers Greg and Arlen for both pointing out that "Crazy In Love" did indeed feature Jay-Z. Sorry, Hova!

The B last topped the Brit chart in April 2007 with her Shakira duet "Beautiful Liar." Before that it was August 2006 with (the godawful) "Deja Vu" featuring Jay-Z.

I do wish The Killers had made it to #1 instead, though, with "Human." At least they move up one to #3. Still, they deserve it after their home country woefully overlooked this groovy single and "Spaceman." Oh, sigh.

That said, Beyoncé's LP I Am...Sasha Fierce doesn't fair so well, and only manages to enter the British album chart at #10.

Moving on to Girls Aloud, the Xenomania-produced, Pet Shop Boys-written "The Loving Kind" has been announced as the their second single off Out Of Control. It's set to be officially released in mid-January.

Waaaaay down at #29, Christian Falk and Robyn's "Dream On" debuts. That gives pixie-haired Swedish single her third U.K. Top 40 hit this year, and fifth overall from her last album. Once again, it'll be great to finally get some new music from her.

On a final note, things should get interesting this coming week with the release of Take That's "Greatest Day" and "We R One" from Same Difference. Hopefully those two singles act as a pop-infused ice pick and break up the Top 10 a bit...or at least bury themselves in Beyoncé's forehead.

Put a ring on it, y'all.

The U.K. Top 10:

"If I Were A Boy" - Beyoncé *1 week*
2. "Hero" - X Factor Finalists
3. "Human" - The Killers
4. "Live Your Life" - T.I. Feat. Rihanna
5. "Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry
6. "The Boy Does Nothing'" - Alesha Dixon
7. "The Promise" - Girls Aloud
8. "Infinity 2008" - Guru Josh Project
9. "Womanizer'" - Britney Spears
10. "Forgive Me" - Leona Lewis

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Take That Knock 'Greatest Day' Out Of The Park On 'The X Factor'

Wow! I don't think Take That's new single "Greatest Day" really clicked with me (and maybe many others?) until they performed it tonight on U.K. reality contest The X Factor. Something about seeing the foursome do the song live just made it sound so much more vibrant.

In recent weeks Mariah Carey and Leona Lewis have performed on The X Factor (and Britney Spears is due on there...next week?), but the That blew those broads out of the water tonight. Check it out below...

"Greatest Day" is out this coming week in the U.K., and full album The Circus will be released December 1.

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Viva La Radio: Lolly 2.0?

Poster Girl alerted me to the purported "new" demos Anna Kumble (aka, Lolly!!) put on her MySpace awhile back, and, well...Lolly? New songs? Yes, we can!

First of all, this stripper is now 43 30 and is a TV presenter on Nickelodeon kiddie shows in England.

To do a bit of digging on the new tracks, I had to jump into the PopJustice forum—which, I'd sooner knife my eyes out with a half-eaten fish stick than dive into that swill of depression. Someone noted that the tracks ("We've Got a Good Thing," "I Like The Way You Move" and "Super Delicious") are actually sung by a session singer, with Lolly determining which she wants to record based on fan votes or some shit.

Do both "I Like The Way You Move" and "We've Got a Good Thing," Lolly! Release them as a double A-side and come back bigger than Coldplay!

"I Like The Way You Move" actually sounds like Fast Food Rockers' "Kiss Me Quick" a bit. (Ironically, Anna Kumble sang backing vocals on the FFR album.)

Anyway, below is the vid for Lolly's first hit, "Viva La Radio," which made #6 in the U.K. in summer 1999. I bought this single on import literally a month after I moved to L.A.

Did anyone else's CD have that digital glitch in it where it skipped a second?

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sugababes' "No Can Do" Video Is Mantastic!

...and has strangely similar, washed-out lighting to the clip for Hall & Oates "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)." Hmmmm.

Yeah, my abs look like that, too...Just not from October through March.

I didn't realize this till I looked at the credits, but Sugababes' "No Can Do" contains a sample of Sweet Charles Sherrell's "Yes It's You," a song that was produced by James Brown.


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What Do O-Zone, Guns N' Roses And Christina Aguilera Have In Common?

Everywhere I go, it's this damn "Live Your Life" song—the radio, in stores, the girl in front of me at the ATM waving an Oh, heeeeelll no! finger in the air while humming Rihanna's bit in it.

I don't even remember if I like it or don't like it anymore. It's just kind of a part of everything now, like the air and the sunlight.

That said, for the past few days I've been dying to dig out the CD single for Moldovan boyband O-Zone's "Dragostea Din Tei (Ma Ha Yi)"—i.e., the melody sampled for Rihanna's vocals in "Live Your Life". But then I always think a.) it's shoved under my bed somewhere with a bunch of other singles that aren't alphabetized anymore, and 5.) CD....single?

So, screw that noise. Here's the video:

Great, now that that's out of my system and I don't want to hear that trash again for another five years, here's some other jazz going on on the Billboard Hot 100 this week: 18-year-old country crooner Taylor Swift has six songs debut on the chart. Yeah, six. Like, at one point, almost every track from her new album was in the iTunes Top 100 downloads.

Who knew that many people wanted to screw her in a barn cherished her lyrical prose? The leader of Taylor's pack is "White Horse," which is the Hot Shot Debut at #13.

Meanwhile Guns N' Roses are back in the U.S. Top 40 for the first time in 16 years with "Chinese Democracy," the title track from their upcoming album being released through Best Buy stores on Sunday. "Chinese Democracy" debuts at #34.

On that note, check out my Towleroad column up today, which covers the various reactions to Chinese Democracy after it debuted on MySpace last night.

Over on the Top 200 Albums chart, Taylor Swift's Fearless debuts at #1 with nearly 600,000 copies sold. David Archuleta's self-titled debut is just behind her at #2.

And down at #9 is Christina Aguilera's Keeps Gettin' Better—A Decade Of Hits, which enters the chart after being available through Target last week. The American version of this sucks, though, as it leaves off "Lady Marmalade" and her Ricky Martin duet, "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely" (i.e., the only reason to buy it in the first place).

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Live Your Life" - T.I. feat. Rihanna *4 weeks*
2. "Whatever You Like" - T.I.
3. "If I Were A Boy" - Beyoncé *sales gainer*
4. "Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry
5. "So What" - Pink
6. "Let It Rock'" - Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne
7. "Womanizer" - Britney Spears
8. "Right Now (Na Na Na)" - Akon
9. "Love Lockdown" - Kanye West
10. "I'm Yours'" - Jason Mraz

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Take That Have A New M&S Ad, While Gary Barlow Is Working With Cathy Dennis

U.K. rag The Sun reports that Universal has given Take That frontDILF Gary Barlow his own imprint on the label to develop new acts:
"He has already started work signing his first artist—a young male singer—and the lucky lad is now working with Gary and songwriting pal Cathy Dennis. The lucrative agreement is Gary’s reward from Universal’s head honcho Lucian Grainge for the amazing success of Take That’s comeback."

Classy! In the past year alone Cathy's co-penned the number one jams "About You Now" for Sugababes and "I Kissed A Girl" for Katy Perry. She's probably jamming a Barbie Doll leg up her music box at the chance to bang write with Gary.

Meanwhile, the top photo is from the new ad campaign for U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer's men's clothing line. Below is the TV commercial:

Sexy! How is it humanly possible that Gary and Howard Donald just keep getting hotter with age...or that Jason Orange thinks we believe he can play guitar?

Take That's new single "Greatest Day" is out in England next week. Their album The Circus is released December 1.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pop Fights: Christina Aguilera Not Sure Whether Lady GaGa Is A Guy Or Not

Okay, so this interview is now a week old, and I kept meaning to throw this up here, but life gets sexy sometimes. Basically, Christina Aguilera got all uppity with the Los Angeles Times during an interview when it was suggested that her "new" futuristic look is very similar to that of Lady GaGa's.

In a backhanded diss, Xtina tried to act like she didn't know who the Lady in question was...or that it was a lady at all!
L.A. Times: What do you say to those on the Internet who are hinting that you borrowed Lady GaGa's look?
CA: "You know, that’s funny that you mention that. This person [Lady Gaga] was just brought to my attention not too long ago. I’m not quite sure who this person is, to be honest. I don’t know if it is a man or a woman. I just wasn’t sure. I really don’t spend any time on the Internet, so I guess I live a little under a rock in that respect."
Kind of dirrty, no?

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Goodbye, 'TRL'

MTV bid adieu to Total Request Live last night in a special two-hour finale.

Original host Carson Daly showed up, as did Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, JC Chasez, Backstreet Boys, Snoop Dogg, Kid Rock, Hilary Duff, Taylor Swift, Backstreet Boys, 50 Cent and a bunch of other bozos.

A couple highlights:

1. Beyoncé's "If I Were A Boy/Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)/Crazy In Love" medley, which opened the show.

2. Backstreet Boys performing TRL staple, "I Want It That Way."

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why The F-U-C-K Isn't Britney Spears' "If U Seek Amy" Her Next Single?

Gotta love how Britney Spears is down for recording any trash now. Take, for instance, her Max Martin jam "If U Seek Amy"—which leaked this weekend—off upcoming album Circus:

Love me, hate me
But all of the boys and all of the girls
Are beggin' to if you seek Amy

"If U Seek Amy." If you seek Amy? F-U-C....hey, wait a minute!

A couple observations about this trashtastic, insanely catch choon:
  1. It sounds like Pink's "So What" (also done by Martin). I wouldn't be surprised if she turned this down.
  2. It's got an old-school Euro-y Max Martin, extra-terrestrial-sounding middle eight, a la "Stronger" and "Oops!...I Did It Again."
  3. There's a probably-intentional running "Oh, baby, baby..." lyrical homage to "...Baby One More Time."
  4. "Ha-ha, Hee-hee, Ha-ha, Ho!" If "Oops!..." once referenced Titanic, is this a nod to The Dark Knight?
Listen to clips of Circus tracks at Pride Radio.

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The Killers Score Fourth U.K. Top 10 Hit, Work With Pet Shop Boys On Christmas Single

When I started this blog back in January 2005, the single re-release of the Killers' "Somebody Told Me" had just landed at #3 on the U.K. chart. It would still be another few months before the Las Vegas band would rack up their (so far) one and only Top 10 U.S. hit, "Mr. Brightside."

This week sees the lead single from the Killers' third album Day & Age, "Human," enter the U.K. chart at #4—their highest ranking since "When You Were Young" hit #2 there two years back (held back by Scissor Sisters, with "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'").

"Human" got more love in England than it did here in the States, where it debuted at #32 then quickly fell. The Killers have always been very much a European-friendly band in nature, sound-and-style- wise, and it's a shame that mainstream American radio hasn't embraced the four-piece as much.

Meanwhile, Brandon Flowers & Co. are working on their third annual Christmas charity single, "Joseph." Here's what Neil Tennant wrote on the official Pet Shop Boys site earlier last week:
Last week Brandon Flowers asked me to help him write some lyrics for The Killers' Christmas single, "Joseph", which is a duet with Elton John. I wrote the lyrics for one verse and sang a guide vocal of them. It was fun spending a little time in the studio with him and Stuart Price.
Brandon Flowers, Elton John, Neil Tennant and Stuart Price? Sounds like a gay ol' time, in every hall-decked sense of the word!

Elswhere on the U.K. chart, the physical CD single release of former Mis-Teeq member Alesha Dixon's "The Boy Does Nothing" indeed boosts the song's fortunes, moving it up from #8 to #5.

And, lookee here! It's the return of Lemar, at #14, with "If She Knew."

Is that a good thing? I think so. Watch the video for the Soulshock and Karlin-produced jame and decide for yourself.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Hero" - X Factor Finalists *3 weeks*
2. "Live Your Life" - T.I. Feat. Rihanna *new*
"If I Were A Boy" - Beyoncé
4. "Human" - The Killers *new*
5. "The Boy Does Nothing'" - Alesha Dixon
6. "The Promise" - Girls Aloud
7. "Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry
8. "Womanizer'" - Britney Spears
9. "Infinity 2008" - Guru Josh Project
10. "Forgive Me" - Leona Lewis

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Time's Tide Will Smother You

I did a column on Towleroad this week wherein I mentioned caving in and buying the new two-disc "Deluxe" edition Sound Of The Smiths compilation that came out on Tuesday. XOLondon has mentioned this collection a few times.

Even though I kinda/sorta told myself I wasn't going to buy it—since I already own all their stuff on CD—I caved in anyway. The tracks were remastered by Johnny Marr, plus I had never heard the B-sides "Jeane" and "Wonderful Woman" before. iTunes also has "The Draize Train" as a bonus track.

Morrissey is said to have had some input (song selection, was it?), though he's not credited inside.

Has anyone else ever lamented how poor the sound levels are on the original albums?

The 28-page booklet inside is exquisite, photo-wise, if not entirely devoid of any liner notes.

In the end, The Smiths will always be:

* 9th grade
* A series of inspired haircuts on my part
* Walking home in the spring rain
* Kim
* A multitude of broken $10 walkmans
* How I learned the art of the mix tape
* The songs that save(d) my life

Driving yesterday listening to the second disc, I was reminded how devastating "Back To The Old House" is:

When you cycled by, Here began all my dreams, The saddest thing I'd ever seen

And you never knew how much I really liked you, Because I never even told you, Oh, but I meant to

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Listen To Tracks From Britney Spears' 'Circus'

Pride Radio is streaming five new tracks ("Circus," "Out From Under," "Kill The Lights," "If U See Amy" and "Unusual You") from Britney Spears' Circus, plus "Womanizer."

These D'luvvly ears are hearing "Out From Under" (produced by Guy Sigsworth) and "Unusual You" (Bloodshy & Avant) as the standouts.

Max Martin's "...Amy" is good, too, and sounds a bit like Pink's "So What." This is looking to be a far less "dark" album than Blackout.

UPDATE: Amazon now has clips of all the songs up for listening. "Shattered Glass" is pretty brilliant!

What do you think?

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Internet Love

Take that, Kanye West.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Live Your Life" - T.I. feat. Rihanna *3 weeks* *airplay gainer*
2. "Whatever You Like" - T.I.
3. "Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry
4. "Heartless" - Kanye West *hot shot debut*
5. "If I Were A Boy" - Beyoncé
6. "So What" - Pink
7. "Womanizer" - Britney Spears
8. "Let It Rock'" - Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne
9. "I'm Yours'" - Jason Mraz
10. "Right Now (Na Na Na)" - Akon *sales gainer*

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Entire Generation Of Pop Stars To Say Farewell To 'TRL' On Sunday

As lamented mentioned a couple months back, after 10 years MTV's video countdown program Total Request Live is going off the air. Its final episode airs this Sunday (November 16) at 8 p.m.

And while Beyoncé was the first one to step up to the plate and announce she'd be performing on the special two-hour finale, Billboard now reports a slew of others will be joining her—including almost all the big names of late '90s teen pop (alas, no Britney Spears) that helped spawn TRL.

Also scheduled to appear on Sunday's episode are: Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock, JC Chasez, Christina Aguilera, Travis Barker, Mariah Carey, Taylor Swift, Hilary Duff, Fred Durst and Korn's Jonathan Davis.

That's right, folks. Fred Durst.

But wait—there will also be a special performance from Nelly, Snoop Dogg and Ludacris.

Can we trade them in for a performance of Andy Dick reprising his role as Xtina's cousin Daphne Aguilera, doing "Naughty Baby Did A No-No"?

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David Archuleta: Baby Queen, What A Big Surprise

Baby Queen (sometimes known as David Archuleta) sees his self-titled album released today. Awwww! It's like he's putting on his favorite pair of Quicksilver jeans, hopping in his Toyota Camry and nervously driving to his first BiGayLes dance at the bingo hall the next town over!

If "Crush" is your cup o' tea, definitely download "Barriers."

Hearing Baby Queen's soaring tenor makes me think of my favorite cheeseball, high-pitched crooner from the '80s, Peter Cetera (Daddy Queen?).

Here's the vid for "Next Time I Fall," Cetera's 1986 duet with America's top Republican adulteress recording artist, Amy Grant:

Man, I gotta get a haircut like that (Amy's, not Peter's).

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Alesha Dixon Scores Her Biggest Hit Since The Mis-Teeq Days, No Thanks To Britney

Four new singles crash into the U.K. Top 10 this week with the ferocity of Jordan's jugs slamming into a wall. You can't help but wonder if former Mis-Teeq vixen Alesha Dixon might not have fared a lot better than a #8 entry with "The Boy Does Nothing" if she didn't have the misfortune of going up against new offerings from Beyoncé and Britney Spears.

Nonetheless, "The Boy Does Nothing" gives Dixon, last year's Strictly Come Dancing winner, her highest-charting song in the U.K. since July 2003, when Mis-Teeq's "Can't Get It Back" also hit #8. It's also her best go with a solo hit.

Here's the clip for Alesha Dixon's Xenomania-written/produced "The Boy Does Nothing":

Also slowing the above track's ascent this week is Leona Lewis' "Forgive Me" (#5), which appears on the U.S. version of Spirit and is slated for the "Deluxe" edition re-release of the album in the U.K.

Meanwhile, despite her spending the past month in jolly old England doing promotion, Christina Aguilera is only able to manage at lackluster #14 debut for "Keeps Gettin' Better," the title track off her greatest hits collection out this coming week.

Down the chart a bit, at #35, Will Young's "Grace" makes an early appearance ahead of its December 1 single release. Will performed the song on The X Factor last week. And, quite frankly, based on sales and the performance of previous single "Changes," he could use all the publicity he can get for his new album.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Hero" - X Factor Finalists *2 weeks*
2. "If I Were A Boy" - Beyoncé *new*
3. "The Promise" - Girls Aloud
4. "Womanizer'" - Britney Spears *new*
5. "Forgive Me" - Leona Lewis
6. "Infinity 2008" - Guru Josh Project
7. "Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry
8. "The Boy Does Nothing'" - Alesha Dixon *new*
9. "Another Way To Die" - Alicia Keys & Jack White
10. "So What" - Pink

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Throwback: Five, "It's The Things You Do"

Keeping in theme with Steps' "Heartbeat" and Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time," here's another one from 10 years ago—Five's (or 5ive) "It's The Things You Do."

For some reason I was dying to hear this the other week, so I went digging through my box of old CD singles and found it. British boy band Five had one lone Top 10 U.S. hit with "When The Light's Go Out" in summer 1998. This one was the follow-up (in the States only). Alas, while it charted, it didn't make it to the Top 40.

"It's The Things You Do" was produced by Max Martin and Jake. It's a bit more subdued than the stuff Max was doing with Backstreet Boys, NSync and Britney Spears at the time, though, for the most part, it follows the same Cheiron formula.

Five were initially put together by Bob and Chris Herbert, (who'd previously wrangled the Spice Girls) and were signed by Simon Cowell.

Anyway, "It's The Things You Do" always reminds me of fall. Below is the video. (There was another clip on YouTube, without the Spanish subtitles, but it had audio problems.)

Meanwhile, hit up the gallery on former Five member-turned-DJ Richard "Abs" Breen's official site for some rather, uh, revealing photos!

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Madonna Sapped Britney Of Any Youth She Had Left Last Night In L.A.

So was the meeting of the hookers at Dodger Stadium—where they sang "Human Nature"—any good, one wonders?


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Is Simon Cowell And Pete Waterman's Big Bucks Bromance Over?

Like a pair of cranky old women swatting each other with brooms at the church social, it seems Simon Cowell and Pete Waterman may have had a falling out over the recent capsizing of X Factor winner Leon Jackson's latest single.

In a nutshell, Simon's apparently got a bee up his nightgown over Pete taking part as a faux judge in Brit comedian Peter Kay's Britain's Got the Pop Factor ... and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice last month.

The TV special's resulting single, "The Winner's Song" by Kay-as-trannie Geraldine, debuted at #2 on the U.K. a few week's back, keeping Leon Jackson's "Don't Call This Love" held at #3.

Waterman tells the Daily Telegraph, "Simon doesn't have a sense of humour, we're best mates but he's fallen out with me. I rang Simon so he could say, 'Your comedy acting is genius, Pete'. But it seems he doesn't think it's at all funny."

Meanwhile, Simon previously had Pete and Mike Stock work with last year's X Factor runner-ups Same Difference on a cover of Kylie Minogue's "Turn It Into Love," which is set to appear on their December 1 debut album Pop.

You don't need him, anyway, Pete. Now get to work putting Steps back together!

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Beyoncé Will Never Be As Talented As Britney

Once again Beyoncé has proven to be an immense failure. While Pink and soul legend Britney Spears were able at least to break up the T.I. monopoly at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart for a week each, the onetime-successful Destiny's Child defector's latest, "If I Were A Boy," has been a colossal disappointment after only peaking at #3. It's now sliding down into obscurity like a stripper on a greased pole.

It must espcially burn B's hive to see Rihanna having so much luck—five #1s over the course of two years. Sorry, Sasha Fierce; she's just younger and has better hair than you.

And while California has passed Proposition 8, thereby denying gays the right to marry, at least the music-buying public is welcoming transvestites with open arms: Lady GaGa's "Just Dance" finally makes a giant leap into the Top 40 and lands at #27.

On the album chart, Lady SlutBox's The Fame debuts at #17. Doll, with a chart position like that, you'd best lose the shirt and panties if you want the fame.

Pink's Funhouse has a big week and enters at #2, while in its third week, Keane's Perfect Symmetry has fallen to #80.

Anyway, gotta go, now. I'm meeting Beyoncé for brunch. But I'll leave you with Dan, Ralph, Andy and Tom:

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Live Your Life" - T.I. feat. Rihanna *2 weeks* *airplay gainer*
2. "Whatever You Like" - T.I.
3. "So What" - Pink
4. "Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry
5. "If I Were A Boy" - Beyoncé
6. "Womanizer" - Britney Spears
7. "Let It Rock'" - Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne
8. "Miss Independent" - Ne-Yo
9. "Right Now (Na Na Na)" - Akon *sales gainer*
10. "I'm Yours'" - Jason Mraz

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A Red Letter Day

Brits and American expatriates hit up a party at the U.S. embassy in London last night to watch Barack Obama win the Presidential election.

Among those in attendance were Josh Hartnett, Andrew Lloyd Webber and none other than Neil Tennant (above, with British politician David Davis and Janet Street-Porter) of the Pet Shop Boys. That pic is from the BBC.

"It's an exciting night," Neil wrote on the Boys' official site. "We were invited to the election party at the USA embassy in London to watch the results start to come in."

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