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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Here's A Better Video For The Pete Hammond Mix Of Velvet's 'Chemistry'

In February I wrote about Swedish broad Velvet (aka Jenny Petersson) having her dance jam "Chemistry" remixed by legendary Stock Aitken Waterman/PWL mixer Pete Hammond for its April 20 U.K. release.

I also slapped a video in the post which was a bit dull. However, here's a more dazzling (unofficial?) clip of "Chemistry (The Pete Hammond Retro Remix)" that actually features Velvet grinding her hot jugs on some gay guy well-groomed male dancer:

For more things Velvet, please refer to Poster Girl.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Ashley Tisdale's Inevitable Rebellious Sophomore Album Due In June

High School Musical trinket Ashley Tisdale is about to reveal her naughty side on new album Guilty Pleasure, apparently. This time around she's a brunette, and she means tizzness.

In typical, carefully-calculated pop-girl-gone-wild fashion, Tizzly trashes her first, more bubblegum, album in the press release for the new one.

"Headstrong was a big learning experience, as it was my first album," Tisdale says. "This time I went in knowing exactly what I wanted to do and the message I wanted to put out there, which is that I'm 23 and I'm not just the cute, bubbly blonde girl you know from Disney. I have a tougher side and I love rock music, which are things people probably don't know about me."

Scandal! Rock us gently, though, Ashley...this is our first time.

And what wild, buck-the-system producers has "Sharpay Evans" turned to for this anarchistic affair? Why, Kara DioGuardi, Billy Steinberg and Toby Gad, of course. Christ, might be time to lock the children in the cellar, come to think of it.

The Ashley Tisdale revolution is unleashed on June 16.

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The Saturdays Recording 'Hard Candy 2'?

Pop kiddies, if you're not yet following Chart Rigger on Twitter, you're missing out on so many important little details that will rock your foundation till it cracks. For instance...the other day I'd read that U.K. girl group "sensation" The Saturdays were working with American producers (why?!?) on their follow-up album to last year's hugely successful Chasing Lights.

Then, this morning, former S Club 8-turned-Saturdays member Frankie Sandford tweet-elly-deetled the following: "Apparently were working with Pharrell Williams in America... 1st I heard of it!"

No, The Saturdays, NO!!! This can only mean one of three things:

1. Frankie was being facetious. Though this idea, if true, is more like feces-ous.

2. The Saturdays are big fans of Madonna's Hard Candy. Newsflash, girls: Madonna hasn't been good since 1973.

3. The Saturdays are big fans of Gwen Stefani. Newsflash girls: Gwen's last album tanked almost as bad as Hard Candy.

4. These broads are getting an American release. If so, let's hope it's not the same type of campaign Steps had, where the singles from their first British album were slapped together with half of their second for their U.S. debut.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Big Entries For The Noisettes, Pet Shop Boys

It's a second week at the top of the U.K. singles chart for Lady GaGa with "Poker Face." She could be poised to wrangle her second #1 on American shores this coming week, too, as the tune is inescapable at radio and has become the top download on the iTunes over the past few days.

The Noisettes' pleasant little indie-pop ditty "Don't Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)" arrives at #2, on the strength of the song's use in a Mazda ad.

Check out leggy, charismatic Noisettes singer Shingai Shoniwa (pictured above) shake her cans in the video:

La Roux stick around at #11 for a second week with their electro jam "In For The Kill." As mentioned yesterday, the pair will be hitting the U.S. for a handful of club dates ahead of their album release this summer.

Pet Shop Boys
' "Love etc." drops from #14 to #27. However, now the dust has settled on the week's album-chart battle, and the PSBs have managed to debut at #4 with Yes. This is the duo's highest entry for a studio album since Bilingual also reached #4 in 1996. Previously, Fundamental (2006) made #5, Release (2002) #7 and Nightlife (1999) #7.

Incidentally, Neil Tennant confirmed on The Graham Norton Show last week that "Did You See Me Coming?" will be the second single released off Yes.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Poker Face" - Lady GaGa *2 weeks*
2. "Don't Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)" - The Noisettes *new*
3. "Right Round" - Flo Rida feat. Kesha
4. "Halo" - Beyonce
5. "Jai Ho'" - Ar Rahman feat. Pussycat Dolls
6. "Love Story'" - Taylor Swift
7. "Dead And Gone" - T.I. feat. Justin Timberlake
8. "Beautiful" - Akon feat. Kardinal Offishall & Colby O'Donis
9. "Shake It" - Metro Station
10. "My Life Would Suck Without You" - Kelly Clarkson

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lady GaGa And David Cook Doing 'American Idol' Next Week

Lady GaGa recently had to postpone both her New York and Philadelphia concert gigs, originally set to go down next week. Coincidentally, it was announced yesterday that the blonde pop squealer will shimmy on the American Idol stage this coming Wednesday (April 1).

April Fool's Day, Philadelphia and New York! Ha......ha.

My hope is that GaGa grabs wacked-out judge Paula Abdul, stares into her dead eyes and says, "Wanna really get high?" then straddles her mouth.

Meanwhile, who the hell is David Cook?

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La Roux U.S. Album Coming In June

Well, after 27 years, now we finally know what happened to the other half of Phil Oakey's hair...

After becoming quite "a sensation" abroad, La Roux—aka singer Elly Jackson and knob-twiddler Ben Langmaid—will be doing a few North American club dates in April to promote the official release of their "Quicksand" EP on Interscope.

This is, of course, as opposed to La Roux's "Quicksand" EP that has already been on iTunes via the Kitsune label since December. Expect that thing to get yanked shortly.

The duo scored a #11 U.K. hit this past week with their early '80s-sounding synth jam "In For The Kill." Here's the vid:

La Roux's full-length album is being released in June. And if Lady GaGa's retro weave has indeed managed to blaze any kind of trail for electro in the United States, you'll be hearing a lot more from this pair.

Here's hoping the label doesn't slap Akon or Mims on any tracks to "Americanize" them, though. 'Cause that would just flatten Elly's $200 mop.

La Roux will hit Brooklyn, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Palm Springs and Los Angeles next month. (Dates on the band's MySpace.)

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Friday, March 27, 2009

The Pet Shop Boys Banterview: What Have They Done To Deserve This?

For everything they long to do, D'luv and his pal in all things banter MoogaBoo have always had one thing in common: The fact they they were raised on the Pet Shop Boys. It only makes sense, then, that these dynamic pop commentators would converge to discuss the British duo's 10th album, Yes, upon its European release this week.

D'LUV: Can you believe this our first Banterview since the MTV VMAs last September? Think of all the good music that's passed us by. Like... Uh...

MOOGABOO: Well, right, there's...

D: Naturally it would take the Pet Shop Boys to thaw out our urges.

M: Ooh, thawed urges. Now I'm flashing to Neil Tennant seducing some young chicken in "Gin and Jag." Not on Yes, of course, but still, great song for the "Love etc." B-side. I wonder if Elton John knows those two read his diaries?

D: Actually, Neil said in an interview that "Gin and Jag" is about an older man and a younger woman. So, right—Elton and Neil.

M: I just bought "Love etc." today from Amazon, which is the preferred download company for Luddites and the terminally out-of-the-loop, like me.

D: I downloaded Saint Etienne's cover of Gary Numan's "Stormtrooper In Drag" from there like a year ago, but I could never get the Amazon downloader to work for me again. Actually, I don't think Saint Etienne ever worked again after that, either.

M: Madonna's "4 Minutes" seemed to be the top download on Amazon till, oh, about two weeks ago. I think the monkeys forgot to update the chart.

D: I hear Madge is putting out a two-disc greatest hits. Expect her lobotomized army of fans to find some reason to storm the Warner Bros. offices and torch the joint. "You left off 'Who's That Girl'...AGAIN! Burn them, girlz. BURN THEM!!!"

M: Urgh. And how about the Madonna fans who think American Life is her best work? Time's tide will smother them.

D: Screw Madonna. She's a little too gin and hag.

M: Alright, getting back to female singers who are actually still relevant...Neil Tennant!

D: Yes, Neil still matters, despite music journalist James Masterton commenting this week, "You have to wonder why [Pet Shop Boys] continue to bother?"

M: Gotta love that distinctly British way of passively-aggressively telling someone they should off themselves because, hey, your single stalled at #14.

D: James is probably bitter because he reached to pinch Chris Lowe's arse one night at the bar, only to discover it was actually Madonna. Hey, easy mistake to make. Have you seen that pic of Chris with Lady GaGa backstage at the Brit Awards, by the way? The caption would read, "Oh, dear, there's a woman attached to me!"

M: Yes, that's probably exactly what Lady GaGa was thinking.

D: I like to think Neil and Chris see something in Lady GaGa—a sort of longevity—and that's what led to them asking her to sing Dusty Springfield's bit in their Brits performance.

M: Babe, Neil and Chris also thought Cicero had staying power... Oh, wait. Maybe he did. Cue up "Gin and Jag."

D: Ha! Ha! I'll never top that. Actually, that's probably what Neil eventually concluded—hence Cicero getting dropped from the PSBs' label.

M: Oh, love, Neil probably had a better chance with Liza than Cicero. And Liza probably had a better chance with Cicero than Neil.

D: Cicero, if you're reading this, we have money—almost $70! Fly on over and we'll give it to you. And bring that trenchcoat and Speedo you wore in the "Heaven Must Have Sent You Back To Me" video!

M: Oh, Babe...Babe...is this our future? Throwing has-beens bread and saying, "Make me scream"?

D: Look, the way I see it, you and I have been into the Pet Shop Boys since we were both 12, when "West End Girls" came out. So in many ways, they're our Beatles. Which, yes, may kinda make us, uh, "mature" to some. But we're still hot. So, coming full circle, we totally need to pull off Cicero's underwear.

M: Works for me. Okay, let's discuss Yes. I really like it, though "Did You See Me Coming?" sounds very for-another-artist, I think. It's the only song that really kind of grates on my nerves. Which is sad, because the rest of the album's a peach.

D: Wayne Studer, who runs the site Pet Shop Boys Commentary, has this to say about the final song on the album, "Legacy": "Is Yes their final 'pop statement'? Is this, indeed, their legacy? Personally, I don't think so. But, at the same time, this song reminds us that we should be prepared for that eventuality. And we can always take continued pleasure in their recorded legacy. Again, as Neil sings, 'You'll get over it--and what a ride it was.' By definition, legacy is what endures what endures when other things have passed away." Christ, that breaks my heart to think about.

M: They should definitely keep writing and producing for other artists. I remember in that first book on them by Chris Heath, Literally, Neil said that's what he and Chris would do eventually. I dunno, I still find the prospect of a Tennant-Lowe production for someone else to be very exciting. And their (prospective?) bowing out gracefully stands in sharp contrast to the Bonos and Madges of the world, forever trying to cling to youth and relevance.

D: There definitely seems to be two camps forming around this album; those who love the sheer pop numbers like "All Over The World," "Did You See Me Coming?" and "Pandemonium," and those who lean toward the moodier tracks, like "King Of Rome" and "The Way It Used To Be."

M: I can't say enough good things about "Love etc." I just think it's one of their best singles. And "All Over the World" is a great follow-up. Those two are high points for me.

D: To be honest, I haven't listened to the album the whole way through in over a week. I've even deleted the review copy MP3s from my computer. I'm just waiting on the CD to arrive from Amazon UK. But I'm sure I'll love it.

M: Well, will you still love the Pet Shop Boys when they axe you from their Twitter list after reading this Banterview?

D: Oh, what do I care...we've still got Cicero pencilled in for sex on Tuesday!

Yes is out now throughout Europe, and will be released in the States on April 21. The single "Love etc." is now on U.S. iTunes.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everything Comes Right Round To Max Martin This Week

At six weeks now at #1, Flo Rida and Kesha's "Right Round" has had the longest run a the top of Billboard's Hot 100 in 2009. Actually, it had that distinction when it crossed the four-week mark.

Another single that spent six weeks at the top of the U.S. chart is Ace Of Base's "The Sign," which was #1 this week in 1994. I kept meaning to mention that in these past few weeks, but repeatedly got distracted by things like swatting at a fly with my tennis racket and making a grilled cheese sandwich.

But, oh, how it all comes full circle. "Right Round" is produced by Dr. Luke and Timbaland. Dr. Luke also frequently collaborates with Max Martin, who was the late Denniz Pop's protege at Cheiron Studios in the '90s. And Denniz Pop, of course, produced "The Sign."

And speaking of Max Martin, he also twiddled Britney Spears' giant knobs on "If U Seek Amy," which is the week's Sales Gainer, and is up from #35 to #26. It's the sixth U.S. Top 40 hit Max has banged out of Britney.

What else, what else. Oh, yeah. Flo Rida's latest, "Sugar"—which owes it's main melody to Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)"—is the Hot Shot Debut, at #25. But I just like the names of these broads Flo slaps in front of the mic to sing the choruses. Kesha, Wynter... I just hope Trinkket is on his his third single! She's my fave!

On the album chart, Kelly Clarkson has a second week at #1 with All I Ever Wanted. See? Max Martin. I'm telling you...

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Right Round" - Flo Rida feat. Kesha *6 weeks*
2. "Poker Face" - Lady GaGa *airplay gainer*
3. "Kiss Me Thru The Phone" - Souljah Boy Tell 'Em feat. Sammie
4. "Dead And Gone" - T.I. feat. Justin Timberlake
5. "Gives You Hell" - The All-American Rejects
6. "My Life Would Suck Without You" - Kelly Clarkson
7. "Blame It" - Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain
8. "Heartless" - Kanye West
9. "I Told You So" - Carrie Underwood feat. Randy Travis
10. "Just Dance" - Lady GaGa feat. Colby O'Donis

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En Vogue, Back Together? Sure, Why Not.

Look, gang...it's a recession, and '90s divas need cash. (Please see Robin S.) This must explain why all four original members of En Vogue have reunited for a pile of money their 20th anniversary tour.

Hey, if New Kids On The Block, Take That, Boyzone, Blink 182 and Spice Girls can do it...

Trying to explain the timeline of these funky divas' departures from/rejoining with En Vogue would be an exercise in madness. And when you think about it, they only ever had that one good jam—"Don't Let Go (Love)," from the Set It Off soundtrack.

UPDATE: This just in—I've been reminded that "Give It Up Turn It Loose" was a total jam.

Also, wasn't "My Lovin' (Never Gonna Get It)" on the radio practially every five seconds from 1992 to about 2003?

You know, come to think of it, unless you broads are gonna get on stage and scissor for two hours, F you, En Vogue!!!


When Synth Bands Attack (Each Other)

It's Depeche Mode vs. Pet Shop Boys with dueling covers of the latest German edition of Rolling Stone. That said, both DM's "Wrong" and the PSBs' "Love etc." singles are available on U.S. iTunes and the Amazon MP3 store now.

The remix EP for "Love etc." is actually registering on the iTunes Top Albums chart, where it climbed up to #78 today. Also made available to download is a separate digital EP for the regular version of "Love etc."—containing its two B-sides, "Gin and Jag" and "We're All Criminals Now"—as well as the music video.

Both Depeche Mode's Sounds Of The Universe and Pet Shop Boys' Yes are being released by Capitol in the States on April 21.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh, Cool...It's Yet Another Great Old Pop Song Being Recycled The New Flo Rida Jam!

Flo Rida has been at the top of Billboard's Hot 100 chart for five weeks with "Right Round," which as we all know, borrows liberally from Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)."

Here's his newest smash-aroo, "Sugar," which features female vocalist Wynter and, well, borrows liberally from Italian dance act Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)."

Can you believe "Blue" is now 10 years old!? In fact, it was technically the last Eurodance track to cross over in the U.S. in the '90s (eventually peaking at #6). And don't even get me started on summer 2001, when MoogaBoo and I set out to collect every Eiffel 65 mix of other artists' songs out there.

Say, whatever happened to Gala, anyway? And Peach? Bet Flo Rida doesn't know.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Someone Forgot To Write Electrik Red A Chorus

Here's a pack of broads called Electrik Red. And—not kidding you—their names are Naomi, Sarah, Lesley and Binki. No shit. Binki.

Now, with a label like Def Jam up behind them, a fab album cover/title for their debut, How To Be A Lady: Volume 1 (pictured below), and producers The-Dream and Tricky Stewart ("Umbrella," "Single Ladies") at the helm, you'd think the songs would be setting the wig gum on fire, right?

Alas, here's "So Good." (Sadly, no affiliation to the 2005 Rachel Stevens song.) And while the single deserves props for starting out promising with its groovy SWV-esque beat and boasting a video almost as camp as Electrik Red's album cover, the writers need to be spanked for utterly failing to pen these leggy ladies a compelling chorus...or any chorus at all.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Take That's Atrocious Video For 'The Garden'

The video for Take That's (German-only?) single "The Garden" premiered on Wetten Dass yesterday, and it's surely gotta be embarrassing lesson in how to slap together a promo clip with a budget of 40 Euros, a crew of three and a two-hour production schedule.

In fact, did Gary Barlow's 8-year-old kid edit this shit together on iMovie? The German's oughtta give Take That das boot right out of the country!

Word to the wise, Take That: If you're placing a 5+-minute epic at the beginning of your album for full dramatic effect, don't whittle it down to 3:25 for the single release. Otherwise it just ends up sounding like horse butt.

What a way to piss all over the best song on The Circus!

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

'Love etc.' Becomes The Pet Shop Boys' 40th U.K. Top 20 Single, Lady GaGa Tops Chart

After an aggravating week of not being able to find the Pet Shop Boys' two-track CD single for "Love etc." (featuring B-side "Gin & Jag") in stock at British online retailers, wouldn't you know it—I happened upon it here in L.A. yesterday, on import for $5.98 at Amoeba Records. That's D'luv grabbing the only copy the store had, above.

And so "Love etc." has today become the Pets' 40th Top 20 single in their home country, debuting at #14. I'm including the 1994 "Absolutely Fabulous" comic relief single and Robbie Williams' "She's Madonna" (technically billed as Robbie Williams & Pet Shop Boys) in there.

Of course, it would have been nicer to be writing about the Pet Shop Boys 22nd Top 10 single. Alas, said distribution problems probably didn't help matters, and so the duo's May 2006 release "I'm With Stupid" remains their last Top 10 to date.

Other singles from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe that have charted at #14 in England over the past 15 years include "Liberation" (1994), "Single-Bilingual" (1996), "New York City Boy" (1999) and "Home And Dry" (2002).

On a side note, there's Xenomania honcho Brian Higgins, who co-wrote and produced "Love etc.", to the right. Quite easy on the eyes, no?

Elsewhere, Lady GaGa achieves her second British #1 this week with "Poker Face," and Boyzone wonk Ronan Keating tops the album chart with his snoozy Mother's Day tie-in, Songs For My Mother.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Poker Face" - Lady GaGa *1 week*
2. "Right Round" - Flo Rida feat. Kesha
3. "Islands In The Stream" - Rob Brydon & Ruth Jones
4. "Just Can't Get Enough" - The Saturdays
5. "Love Story'" - Taylor Swift
6. "Dead And Gone" - T.I. feat. Justin Timberlake
7. "My Life Would Suck Without You" - Kelly Clarkson
8. "Beautiful" - Akon feat. Kardinal Offishall & Colby O'Donis
9. "Halo" - Beyonce
10. "Use Somebody" - Kings Of Leon

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Dancing To The Rite Of Spring

Today is the first day of D'luv's favorite season, spring. I took the above photo on Wednesday, while walking around in Westwood.

I also picked up the import of British mag Record Collector at the newsstand, which has a nice, fairly lengthy interview with Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. I stopped and read it at Starbucks on sunny Wednesday afternoon, and it truly did feel like springtime had arrived.

On Monday I declared that it was a "Pet Shop Boys kind of week." And, really, it is. For pop fans, in the days leading up to a new PSBs album being released (Yes is out Monday in the U.K.), is there really anything else that doesn't get muted in the wake of the anticipation?

Also, after being "out of stock" for a week, I finally canceled my Amazon UK order of the physical single of "Love etc.," as HMV has it available. On their website, the duo mentions that the single is currently at #14 in midweek chart positioning.

On a final note, my new Towleroad column went up today. That said, have a great weekend. And Happy Spring! (And don't forget, you can now follow my bite-sized rambling on Twitter.)


That Justin Timberlake/Ciara Trash Is Out Now

A month back I posted a YouTube clip of Ciara and Justin Timberlake's duet, "Love Sex Magic." The single was slapped onto iTunes this week.

I'd go back and play the clip again, because honestly I can't remember a single note of this shining gem...but the one thing that is memorable about "Love Sex Magic" is that it sounds like Madonna and Justin Timberlake's "Dance 2Nite" off the tea coaster that was Hard Candy. This negates any motivation to return to it.

Regardless, the actual video for what's sure to be another effortless hit for Justin and a career-saver for Ciara premieres on Monday.

1, 2 step straight to the shitsville USA.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Britney Spears Has Really Big Hits

It's all just a bit of a shuffle in the Top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100 this week. Stuck at #3 for a third week, Lady GaGa's "Poker Face" is the airplay gainer, which makes sense since I had to have heard it at least ten times on the radio while driving around in recent days. Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" is the sales gainer and moves up from #9 to #5 after her recent television appearances (American Idol, Saturday Night Live). The availability of All I Ever Wanted—at #1 on the album chart—also increased downloads of the track.

Three pop singles have now been certified triple platinum after sales of 3 million: Lady GaGa's "Just Dance," Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" and Coldplay's "Viva La Vida."

That brings us to Britney Spears, who, after the premiere of her whoretastic "If U Seek Amy" video last week, sees the single shoot from #53 to #35. Spears, no stranger to things shooting up her, now has three Top 40 singles off Circus, after "Womanizer" hit #1 and "Circus" peaked at #3.

The last time she pulled that stunt out of her Amy bucket was with her 2003 album In The Zone, when "Me Against The Music" flopped at #35, "Toxic" rocked it at #9 and "Everytime" slumped over like a rickety old transvestite kicking up her thighs for the last time on can-can night at Ladybugz.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Right Round" - Flo Rida feat. Ke$ha *5 weeks*
2. "Dead And Gone" - T.I. feat. Justin Timberlake
3. "Poker Face" - Lady GaGa *airplay gainer*
4. "Kiss Me Thru The Phone" - Souljah Boy Tell 'Em feat. Sammie
5. "My Life Would Suck Without You" - Kelly Clarkson *sales gainer*
6. "Gives You Hell" - The All-American Rejects
7. "Heartless" - Kanye West
8. "Blame It" - Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain
9. "The Climb" - Miley Cyrus
10. "Just Dance" - Lady GaGa feat. Colby O'Donis

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chart Rigger Jumps Into 2009, Joins Twitter

Chart Rigger has joined "social networking phenomenon" Twitter. Be sure to follow every sultry detail here.

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Kelly Clarkson's Life Probably Wouldn't Suck Without The Fat Comments

Kelly Clarkson's All I Ever Wanted knocks U2 off the top of Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart this week after selling just over 254,000 copies to the Irish rock band's 125,000. She's also on the cover of this month's Blender magazine, as you see above there.

Meanwhile, Kelly appeared on Saturday Night Live over the weekend and performed current hit "My Life Would Suck Without You" and upcoming single "I Do Not Hook Up." Since then, her figure seems to have become quite the, er, weighty topic.

Check out some of these comments from YouTube users, posted on the vidoes above:
  1. She needs to lose a few pounds. i'm sure her BMI says she's clinically overweight.
  2. She needs a makeover....a MAJOR one. I would give her a weave...wavey....chocolate brown. She would have to lose 20 lbs and then I'd dress her in clothes that fit the music genre in which she sings.
  3. Why, because all popstars have to be super skinny...??? and all those thin bitches cant even sing for god sake...i think its sad that people have to judge her on her body rather than on her voice which is really what its about!!!!!
  4. i wonder if shell stay popular despite being 200 pounds.
  5. Sing songs, make money, eat like there's no tomorrow.
Honestly, is it just now dawning on people that Kelly's a chunky girl? Yeah, she slimmed down for that piece of shit From Justin To Kelly movie back in 2003, but every other time you see her, she's looked the same.

Actually, if we're going by the standards of the commenters above—all of which are no doubt stunning beauties in person—I think Britney Spears still looks like just as much of a tank in the "If U Seek Amy" video as she did two years ago during her disasterous MTV VMAs performance. The difference between the two is that Kelly Clarkson can sing.

Aw, fuck...now I'm hungry.

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Pet Shop Boys Wanted To Duet With Tina Turner On 'Yes'

Below is an interesting intereview the Pet Shop Boys have put YouTube, where they talk about making new album Yes. In their conversation they mention that they'd originally intended the track "The Way It Used To Be" as a duet with Tina Turner.

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe also discuss the process of recording with Xenomania. Apparently "Love etc." was intended as a song for Brian Higgins' own project he was working on, but Chris really wanted it for their album because, as Neil says, it just seemed like "an obvious hit."

Perhaps because of this, Neil says Higgins insisted "Love etc." be the first single off Yes, even before the album was completed.

Of course, if you're like me and ordered the good ol'-fashioned 2-part "Love etc." CD single off Amazon UK, you no doubt by now know that it's out of stock—as it is apparently everywhere in England.

I even got an e-mail from Amazon yesterday stating that they were trying to locate copies, and then asking if I even still wanted the single!

Yes is released in the UK on Monday (and hopefully won't have the same distribution problems as the single) and the U.S. April 21. Don't forget to read my full track-by-track review of the album over on Towleroad.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Time To Show Robin S Love...Again

It's a tough economy, folks. And when you're a one-hit wonder whose song charted way back in 1993, you jump at any opportunity to keep flogging that hit like a dead, sun-dried concubine being whipped with reeds on the muddy banks of the Yangtze River!

Case in point: Next week's UK single release of Steve Angello and Laidback Luke's updated remix of "Show Me Love," featuring new vocals by the song's original belter, Robin S.

Hey, a Gay Pride circuit diva's gotta eat! And like heartbreaks and promises, Robin's had more than her share of hot dogs and Ramen noodles, too!

Below is the vid for the re-jigged "Show Me Love," out Monday on Data. Gotta love the pair of skinny ho's gyrating to Robin's soul shrieks! They were probably all of three years old when the original version was out.

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St. Patrick's Day Is Always A B*Witched-ing Affair 'Round These Parts

It's that time of year again, pop kids. No, not for D'luv to evade his taxes! It's time to lift a McDonald's Shamrock Shake in honor of the greatest Irish rock band that has ever blessed our ears with their sonic wall of sound.

Yes, that's right. I'm talking about B*witched.

St. Patrick's Day here on Chart Rigger just wouldn't be the same without one of Keavy, Edele, Sinéad and Lindsay's videos.

And while sisters Keavy and Edele continue to tour around their home country of Ireland together, rumors always abound that these Spice Girls knockoffs all four girls will one day reunite. Dare to dream, children.

In the meantime, draw a heart in the sand and try your luck with B*witched's 1998 #1 U.K. hit, the mournful pop ballad "2 Become 1." Oops! Sorry, that's "To You I Belong," actually:


Monday, March 16, 2009

It's A Pet Shop Boys Kind Of Week

There's Cracker, sifting through D'luv's Pet Shop Boys singles and wondering why there has yet to be a follow-up B-sides collection to 1995's Alternative!

At any rate, the PSBs new single "Love etc." is finally out today! The (sort of) good news is that it's already out of stock at Amazon UK. As well, the two digital EPs for "Love etc." are currently positioned at #21 and #55 on UK iTunes. If memory serves correct, "Numb" didn't even crack the Top 100 on iTunes, and still managed to chart at #23 three years back. Yay etc.

There have been a slew of interviews with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe over the past week. Below are excerpts from a few of them:

* From Metro: "Playing at the Brit Awards was dominated by a row over the budget—everything costs a fortune!' exclaims Tennant.

"Lady GaGa seemed to fit into our world because she's so visual and self-manufactured, and she's a great singer," explains Lowe. "We've always worked with people whose records we loved—the same goes for Xenomania and Girls Aloud."

* From The Observer: (Neil Tennant to Johnny Marr) "From [Dusty Springfield], I learned things that had never entered my head; how you arrange a song, how you change the melody at every verse and every chorus, how you give it a climax. There's a song on our new album called 'Pandemonium' where, at the end, I finally do a Dusty Springfield. On the last chorus I change the melody and take it up and I thought, 'Wow, I've never done that before—I'm trying to be Dusty!'"

* From The Guardian: "I was reading in a book about EMI that we were their most successful artists in the world in the second half of the 80s," Tennant says, "but nobody told us at the time."

"The thesis that I've had for many, many years about beards is that pop music always goes wrong when pop stars grow beards, because they're going serious, they're going natural, they're letting it all hang out. So I mentioned to a journalist about Brandon [Flowers] growing a beard, which I found very alarming, because he has a great pop voice, a great pop sensibility. But he seems to have stuck with the beard. I read this great quote, where a journalist asked him, 'What are you going to do when you shave your beard off?' He said, 'I'm going to put all the hairs in an envelope and send them to Neil Tennant.' Anyway, they haven't arrived yet."

FUN CLIPS: Found these on YouTube over the past few weeks. The first is the 1986 U.S. interview with the original Chris Lowe/"Paninaro" quote, "I don't like country and western...", and the second is a cheesy interview with Cicero (once signed to the Pet Shop Boys' now-defunct Spaghetti Records label) for U.K. program The Ozone:

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Islands In The Scream

Oh, good—another classy Comic Relief single at #1 in the U.K.! This time it's in the form of the BBC's Gavin & Stacey characters Bryn West and Vanessa Jenkins (aka Rob Brydon and Ruth Jones) teaming up with Robin Gibb and Tom Jones for a cover "Islands In The Stream." Music-wise, utterly useless. But at least it's for a charitable cause. Or something.

"Islands In The Stream" gives me a bit of a d'luvvly tickle, because when I was a kid and the original Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers version was out in 1983, my dad and I used to torment my mom by singing, "Nancy, don't you scream!" Ha! Good one.

Alright, on to my latest guilty pleasure. I know by all rights I should be shot and stuffed in the pop dumpster for admitting this, but Akon's new single "Beautiful" has always struck me as très Euro. And so it's not surprising that it's faring much better in the British chart—this week at #9— than here in the U.S., where it's currently at #19.

The track also features Akon's usual suspects Colby O'Donis and Kardinal Offishall. Here's the video:

Not much else going on, so turning the album chart, it's a good week to be Annie Lennox in jolly England. Her Annie Lennox Collection hits set debuts at #2. Back on the singles chart, her song "Shining Light" enters at #39.

U2 still retain the #1 position with their album No Line On The Horizon. Sigh. Isn't that record, like, soooo last week?

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Islands In The Stream" - Rob Brydon & Ruth Jones *1 week*
2. "Right Round" - Flo Rida feat. Kesha
3. "Just Can't Get Enough" - The Saturdays
"Poker Face" - Lady GaGa
"Love Story'" - Taylor Swift
6. "My Life Would Suck Without You" - Kelly Clarkson
7. "Dead And Gone" - T.I. feat. Justin Timberlake
8. "Use Somebody" - Kings Of Leon
9. "Beautiful" - Akon feat. Kardinal Offishall & Colby O'Donis
10. "Falling Down" - Oasis *new*

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lady GaGa Debuts 'Future Love' On Tour

Last night's Lady GaGa show at the Wiltern here in Los Angeles was a fun affair, if not a tad short. Granted, she only has one album out.

While D'luv was waiting in line to grab a drink, Lil Wayne rolled up with a bodyguard and some leather-clad woman who looked like a cross between Cher and Alice Cooper. Hey, it's L.A. ... Anyway, they saw how long the wait to get hooch was and were like, "F it."

Lady GaGa's set consisted of her with three dancers and a DJ, several costume changes and kitschy '70s exploitation-style movie projections featuring the singer onto light cubes (much like the Pet Shop Boys' 2006 Fundamental tour).

Curiously, she didn't do "Paper Gangster," "Brown Eyes" or "Summer Boy."

That said, on this tour she's debuting a brand new song, "Future Love," albeit in piano ballad form while singing to a mannequin and wearing a dress made of bubbles. The song contains, much to the audiences delight, the classy line, "I wanna fu-fu-fu-fuck hard as I can!"

At the end of the rousing performance of the tune, Lady quips to her dancer, "Will you help me kill Prop 8?" in reference to the California proposition to ban gay marriage in the state.

Way-too-L.A. Moment: The concert veered over the top a tad when, at the very end of the encore (and to a mixture of boos and cheers), Perez Hilton walked out onstage and presented Lady GaGa with her triple platinum award for "Just Dance" selling three million downloads in the U.S. He then proceeded to dub her the "Princess Of Pop." Careful, Perez...you're aiming to have a gaggle of pissed-off divas after you.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Chart Rigger Gets Some Love From Lady GaGa

I'm off to see Lady GaGa tonight at the Wiltern here in Los Angeles. While driving downtown the other day, I pulled over and took this photo of the "sold out" marquee at the venue. (Click the pic to enlarge.)

I sent it off to her camp, and they in turn posted it on Lady GaGa's official site and gave a d'luvvly credit to Chart Rigger!

Talk about 15 minutes of The Fame.


Throwback: Return To Innocence

Late winter/early spring 1994 was a period of constant activity and naive, youthful fun. D'luv was halfway through his final semester of community college, and was in the midst of being the managing editor of the student newspaper, The Cube.

There was a clear-cut changing of the guard at the paper's office for the first time. The older students who were in charge moved on by early '94, and myself and the editor in chief, Tony, were kind of the rogue upstarts who, quite frankly, were pretty wet behind the ears. But we still had a strong vision for what the publication should be.

The two of us had attended a college journalism convention in Dallas the fall beforehand, where we picked up some ideas. When the next semester began and Tony and I took over, we implemented some changes; one of them being that, for the first time in the newspaper's history, writers, photographers and illustrators would actually be paid for the their work.

Bang! All you had to do was say "paid," and suddenly the Cube office went from the same six people doing everything to being a constant hub of freelancers hanging out on breaks between classes, doing actual work while philosophizing about vastly important matters in the way only 19- or 20-year-olds can.

"Reality Bites, the defining movie of our generation? More like the defining movie of horseshit!"

"What do you mean Ace Of Base have no soul?!?"

Anyway, one song on heavy rotation in those months, both on the radio and in the eternal jukebox of my mind when I think back to then, is Enigma's oddly stirring hit, "Return To Innocence."

"Return To Innocence" was always on somewhere in the background at that point—on the local Pittsburgh Top 40 station, on MTV or the newspaper office stereo.

I guess I didn't know it then, but it was a poignant song for the fleeting, simple pleasures life held at that age. Here are few exceprts from my journal from between March 12 and March 19, 1994 (which, incidentally, was spring break at my school):

  1. "Went to Eat N' Park with Nick and talked for an hour + 1/2. I came home + my Dad and I put transmission fluid in my car. Then some other friends picked me up and we went back to Eat N' Park till 1 a.m."
  2. "Today Tim and I went to Taco Bell, Pharmor and the pet store."
  3. "I went to Carrie's house. All we did was watch TV. Then I went to Tim's house. We started watching For Love Or Money, but it was boring so we turned it off. Then we tried to decide where he could go to college next year. It didn't work."
  4. "My dad and I drove to visit the IUP campus this morning [incidentally, where I'd end up transferring to that fall and graduating from three years later]. Then Nick and Carrie picked me up and we drove to Pittsburgh. We ate at some pizza dive then went to see Short Cuts."
  5. "It snowed a lot today. I got Carrie, cashed my check, then we came home to eat at my house. We drove to the Beehive in Pittsburgh, drove back to get Jen, then went to Eat N' Park. After we ate, we all went to the Regal to see What's Eating Gilbert Grape."
I always thought the most powerful, tearjerker part of "Return To Innocence"—aside from the excellent video, which begins with an old man dying under a pear tree and then proceeds to goes backward in time to when he was born—is the second verse:

And if you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself, don't hide
Just believe in destiny
Don't care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don't give up and lose the chance
Your return to innocence

I played "Return To Innocence" several times last night while thinking back to those days which, in this post 9/11 world of grim economic collapse, now almost seem unreal.

And if I didn't know any better—or perhaps if I didn't have my fraying old journal or a time-worn album of photographs to bring a bittersweet smile to my face—it was an era that I could almost swear to you must have been fiction.

* Coffee, Drugs, Death And Ace Of Base
Pet Shop Boys' 'Very' At 15: How Can I Even Try To Explain?
* These Are Days You'll Remember

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh, Wow, It's The New Britney Spears Video. Wonder If She'll Act Like A Ho In It...?

Here's Britney Spears' video for third Circus single, "If U Seek Amy." If it gets pulled from YouTube, here's what you're missing:

1. Britney dressed like a whore.

2. Britney simulating group masturbation with a bunch of other broads.

3. Britney entering a dreamy sequence where she's dressed like a Doris Day-type '50s mom.

The end. Absolutely worth the wait, no?

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Screw Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift's Spooky 'You're Not Sorry' Remix Beats 'The Climb' Any Day

Pint-sized teen Miley Cyrus scores her third Top 10 single this week as "The Climb," from the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack, debuts at #6. This bests the peak chart positions of both "See You Again" (#10) and last summer's "7 Things" (#9).

All this would be great news if, like most safe soundtrack ballads, "The Climb" didn't make me want to put a flare gun up to my forehead and fire off to the dirt nap. Sorry, Miley, but your dirge can suck it.

It's a second week stuck at #3 for Lady GaGa's "Poker Face." Meanwhile, her new U.S. single "LoveGame" debuts at #96, and her album The Fame is the week's "Greatest Gainer," moving up to a new high of #4.

Alright, on to the classy trash. Country/pop broad Taylor Swift appeared on CBS crime program CSI: Las Vegas last week (pictured right), playing a teen who's murdered outside the motel her parents run. A haunting remix of her previous #11-charting single "You're Not Sorry" was played during the episode, prompting the track to re-enter the Hot 100 at #67 this week. Expect it to jump higher next week, as the official "CSI Remix" of "You're Not Sorry" is now available on iTunes (clip below).

And that brings us to rag tag uncle and newphew duo (for real!) of RedFoo and Sky Blu, better known as LMFAO. Their sure-to-be novelty electro club hit, "I'm In Miami Bitch"—or, in the somewhat cleaned-up version that debuts on the chart this week, "I'm In Miami Trick"—makes its Hot 100 appearance at #73.

Here's the vid for "I'm In Miami Bitch," and a clip of Taylor Swift's "You're Not Sorry" (The CSI Remix)":

Finally, on the Top 200 Albums chart, U2 are the ones to finally knock Taylor Swift's Fearless off the top after 11 nonconsecutive weeks. No Line On The Horizon debuts at #1, having sold 484,000 copies. But Kelly Clarkson will surely make mashed potatoes out of those bums this time next week.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Right Round" - Flo Rida feat. Ke$ha *4 weeks*
2. "Dead And Gone" - T.I. feat. Justin Timberlake
3. "Poker Face" - Lady GaGa
4. "Kiss Me Thru The Phone" - Souljah Boy Tell 'Em feat. Sammie
5. "Gives You Hell" - The All-American Rejects
6. "The Climb" - Miley Cyrus *new*
7. "Just Dance" - Lady GaGa feat. Colby O'Donis
8. "Heartless" - Kanye West
9. "My Life Would Suck Without You" - Kelly Clarkson
10. "Blame It" - Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain

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