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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mariah Carey's Man Drag = Big F.U. To Eminem

Well, in case you had any doubt that Mariah Carey's new single "Obsessed"—off her upcoming August 25 release Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel—was a diss aimed back at Eminem, check out her man garb on the set of the vid, which was being shot yesterday in New York.

Why doesn't this broad have an Oscar yet, again? Sigh. Eminem totally deserves it, and probably won't be able to take the stuff he usually dishes out being given back at him.

I mean, sure, he used to be the king of parodying modern day pop stars in his own videos, but no one cares anymore about that pasty sack of irrelevance anymore.

Besides, Mojo Nixon did this shit 20 years ago, with "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child"! (Check out Winona Ryder in the video as Debz...and the diss on Rick Astley, as well!)

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson Yanks The Rug Out From Under La Roux With Major U.K. Chart Feat

While La Roux snag the top single on the U.K. chart this weekend with "Bulletproof"—thereby besting the #2 peak of previous release "In For The Kill"—it's really Michael Jackson who dominates this week, both in news and in chart feats.

His 2003 collection Number Ones grabs the top spot on the Brit album chart, while 43 of his past singles have entered the Top 200 singles chart—20 of which are in the Top 75—following a resurgence of interest in Jacko's back catalog following his death on Thursday. The highest entry from him is "Man In The Mirror," in at #11. That one's also been the top download on U.S. iTunes since Friday.

Ironically, I remember picking up that Number Ones CD after a trip to London in late 2003, where it was on display everywhere you went.

The impressive part is that there were only two days left once Jackson died before the U.K. chart was tallied up, and yet over 300,000 of his singles and albums were snatched up in that time period.

Here's an article from Friday about Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble here in the U.S. selling out of all things MJ within 24 hours.

I also liked the ending of this other article, which sums up the legacy Michael Jackson will end up leaving behind, and puts it in terms of where he currently was as far as his relevancy was concerned when he died:

"A comeback seemed to be most unlikely. His reputation was considered irreparably damaged, his image mocked and his name an automatic punchline. But when he announced he'd be doing a series of comeback concerts at London's famed O2 Arena, not only did the initial dates sell out immediately, the demand was so insatiable he was signed on for an unprecedented 50 shows. He was expected to embark on a worldwide tour sometime after the concert series was completed in March.

"Of course, there will be no comeback now, no Jackson 5 reunion, no new music to share with millions of fans. But the legacy he leaves behind is so rich, so deep, that no scandal can torpedo it. The 'Thriller' may be gone, but the thrill will always remain."

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Bulletproof" - La Roux
*1 week*
2. "When Love Takes Over'" - David Guetta/Kelly Rowland
3. "Boom Boom Pow" - Black Eyed Peas
4. "Paparazzi" - Lady Gaga
5. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
6. "Release Me" - Agnes
7. "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)" - Pixie Lott
8. "Red" - Daniel Merriweather
9. "Bonkers" - Dizzee Rascal
"Untouched" - The Veronicas

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thoughtful Commentary On Mariah Carey's 'Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel' Album Cover

I meant to comment on Mariah Carey's album cover art for Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel earlier this week, but the Michael Jackson news kind of sideswiped that. So let's get to it now!

First of all, given the title of this trash, you kind of expect serious Mariah on the cover. Mariah with a grey background, looking pensive, if you will. Mariah feeling contemplative over her imperfections as a sad-winged missionary for God.

No, instead it's giggle-squeal Mariah—three of them, in fact—in a skin-tight cotton dress with her ass hanging out. In fact, is that even a dress? Maybe a T-shirt, stretched down just far enough to cover Mimi's secret.

And with that third imperfect Mariah on the cover, her cans look like Scylla and Charybdis, ready to slam into any poor sailor who dares to enter The Butterfly.

See, there's nothing imperfect about this at all. This is Mariah as we like her—out of her mind and high on her own eccentricities. All that's missing is a champagne flute poking up from her cleavage.

Or maybe the spout from a box of Franzia jutting out the bottom of her dress. Chin chin!

UPDATE: Loving the similarities commenters are pointing out between the Memoirs cover and other album art—such as '80s pop ho Sabrina's "All Of Me" single and RuPaul's Christmas album Ho Ho Ho—out there.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

Having a music blog, you feel sort of obligated to write about Michael Jackson's passing today. But truth is, I can't really add any more to what we're all going to hear over and over for weeks to come.

All I'll say is that I feel a little lost. I called my mom tonight and she told me about the first time she heard Michael on the radio—on the Jackson 5 single "I Want You Back"—40 years ago this fall, while driving to her freshman college classes.

She told me she was thinking, "Who's this little kid singing? I can't believe I like this—I'm a Beatles fan!"

In a lot of ways, for many folks—despite all the controversy—Jackson was and remained that kind of guilty pleasure.

Anyway, the following is from a column I wrote on Towleroad, back in February 2008. Truthfully, it's probably my favorite of the pieces I wrote there over the past two years:
"[Thiller's] centerpiece (and master stroke) is the one-two punch of 'Beat It' and 'Billie Jean'—two brilliant pop achievements that sound as cinematic today as Jackson probably initially imagined them and then brought to life with their videos. Half these emo boy bands should be grabbed by the scruff, sat down and scolded with Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo from 'Beat It' over and over again. Some of today's radio-friendly young poppets would also do well to toss out their cookie cutter ballads and use 'Human Nature' as a template, the complicated layers of which I'm realizing initially escaped me at age nine.

"Whether he grasped that it was going to happen or not, Michael Jackson caught lightning in a bottle with Thriller in the early '80s. In a time before the mountain of career-destroying weirdness consumed him, he stepped through the pop culture window opened by E.T. and Pac Man and sent millions of suburban kids off dreaming. While I wanna think, Never say never, it's pretty much safe to assume a mega-selling phenomenon like that record could never happen again."

Goodnight, Michael. I have many fond childhood memories from 1983 through '84, which Thriller soundtracked.

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This Chart Sucks, So Here's The Jordin Sparks 'Battlefield' Album Cover

Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield" rebounds on this week's Billboard Hot 100 chart and jumps up from #46 to #31, one notch higher than the song initially debuted and peaked at back in May.

You know, last year when Jordin's first album was a-floppin' until the label released "No Air" as a single, I used to offer all kinds of creative suggestions for how she could get the record off the ground:

* Maybe If Jordin Sparks Did A Night-Vision Sex Tape Her Album Would Sell Better

* Maybe If Jordin Sparks Dropped Her Panties For TMZ.com Her Album Would Sell Better

Hmm. I thought there were more, but I must have been lazy on the Jordin career-saving front. Oh well, above is the cover for her upcoming sophomore album, also titled Battlefield. It's out July 28.

Oh, wait—there was also this one:

* Jordin Sparks Has Sex With A Tree

Class. Elsewhere on the Hot 100—like, way elsewhere, David Guetta and Kelly Rowland's "When Love Takes Over" debuts at #100. It's currently at #1 on the U.K. singles chart.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Boom Boom Pow" - The Black Eyed Peas *12 weeks*
2. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas
3. "Best I Ever had" - Drake
4. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
5. "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" - Pitbull
6. "LoveGame" - Lady GaGa
7. "Fire Burning" - Sean Kingston
8. "Birthday Sex" - Jeremih
9. "Second Chance" - Shinedown
10. "Every Girl" - Young Money

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When Did Shayne Ward Muscle Up And Shave His Head?

2005 X Factor winner Shayne Ward has always incited a twinge of lust in pop fans—D'luv included!

And while his third album has apparently now been pushed back from its original summer release date to December, thankfully Chart Rigger reader Ms. Tina sent along the below video she made of Shayne performing a cover of U2's "One" with Phebe Edwards in County Cork, Ireland, on Friday. Something to tide you over.

But, golly, when did Shayne beef up and completely shear off his usual buzzcut? He looks like a prison inmate.

Wait—Shayne Ward. Prison. No women around for miles. Naughty touch!


La Roux Are Wheeling Their Arses Across North America This Summer

That's right, pop chyldren—after La Roux's brief club tour back in April, Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid are coming back to the States and Canada for a proper North American tour. (Well, actually, Ben never made it over the first time around.)

Here are the dates:
July 22 — San Francisco, CA @ Café Du Nord
July 24 — Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
July 27 — Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore
July 28 — Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
July 31 — Toronto, ON @ El Mocambo
August 1 — Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival
August 2 — New York, NY @ All Points West Festival
August 6 — Washington, DC @ Town
August 7 — Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza

La Roux's full-length album is out Monday in the U.K. and this October in the U.S. on Cherrytree, the same label as Lady Gaga.

In the meantime, the singles "Bulletproof," "In For The Kill" and "Quicksand" are available on iTunes here.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Interview With Diane Birch

My interview with singer-songwriter Diane Birch—who's been compared to Carole King and Laura Nyro, and whose album Bible Belt was released last month—was posted today at GayWired.

Here’s an excerpt:
"In all honesty, I used to hate The Carpenters. Not hate. Hate's a strong word. But I associated that music with really old-fashioned, like, that's the kind of music that probably my parents would listen to if they were feeling wild. [Laughs]

"Then, I first heard [Carole King's] Tapestry when I was playing piano at the Beverly Hills Hotel. One of the waiters asked me if I knew any Carole King, and I was kind of like, 'No, it's not really my thing. I'm into Radiohead.

"One day I came to work and he had a little package for me on the piano. It was Tapestry. I put it in my car as I was leaving work and was like, 'Where has this been all my life?'"

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Saint And Stacey Barnes Cover A Rare PWL Track By Suzette Charles

Damn, making these retro-sounding remixes that sound like old Stock Aitken Waterman jams is on the verge of becoming a cottage industry.

The latest such song, "After You're Gone," is actually a cover of an unreleased Suzette Charles track. Here it's done by U.K. DJ/producer Saint featuring former X Factor contestant Stacey Barnes on vocals, for the company Roar Tunes.

This is the "King & McQueen '80s Radio Mix":

"After You're Gone" will be made available sometime in August. In the meantime, find out more info here.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

JoJo's Latest Scandal Trash

Holy shit! Chart Rigger's all-time favorite age-inappropriate teen pop ho JoJo has been arrested for posession of an illegal substance!

Oops—wrong JoJo. Well, there's goes this f'ing post.

Oh, I kid, kids, I kid. JoJo is getting high, alright...high and mighty. Earlier this month she slapped together a video rant about the drama she's been struggling with in dealing with her record label.

Get this—18-year-old JoJo actally handed her third album in a year-and-a-half ago and, in turn, has put college on hold, thinking she would have been promoting it by now. Alas, as you hear below, that hasn't exactly been the case.

"I just wanna hear concrete answers," JoJo shrieks. "I deserve to know what's going on. I don't deserve to be waiting every day like, Gee, are they gonne get their deal done today?"

Also below is a leak of a new song from her, "25 To Life."

JoJo, doll, that sure ain't no "Too Little, Too Late."

Oh, well. If you took a flamethrower to this damn blog, I think the JoJo banterview would survive. It's gotta be the hands-down best piece of class that ever graced this dive.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kelly Rowland Is Still Lurved In England

Fret not, former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland, for you may have been ditched by your label here in the States, but your David Guetta dance jam "When Love Takes Over" has now topped the U.K. singles chart!

This gives now gives Guetta a simultaneous #1 single in Ol' Blighty and a #2 single—with Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling"—in the States.

Elsewhere in the U.K. Top 10, Lady Gaga crashes in at #8 with "Paparazzi," making it her third straight Top 10 hit there. Over here, we got "LoveGame" as her third official single, which sits at #5 on this week's Billboard Hot 100.

And Take That clown their way to #9 with "Said It All," the band's third single off The Circus, and 18th overall Top 10 hit in their home country.

Meanwhile, just as Kelly Rowland found salvation with a dance producer after a testy relationship with her label, Sophie Ellis-Bextor has teamed up with Freemasons for the single "Heartbreak Make Me A Dancer," in at #15. (She's also worked with Calvin Harris, Cathy Dennis and Groove Armada for her upcoming fourth album).

Here's the "Heartbreak Make Me A Dancer" vid:

On a final note, Blazin' Squad go down, but not in a blaze of glory. Their comeback single "Let's Start Again" makes a dismal debut at #51. Let's stop again, lads.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "When Love Takes Over'" - David Guetta/Kelly Rowland *1 week*
2. "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)" - Pixie Lott
3. "Boom Boom Pow" - Black Eyed Peas
4. "Release Me" - Agnes
5. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
6. "Bonkers" - Dizzee Rascal
"Red" - Daniel Merriweather
8. "Paparazzi" - Lady Gaga
9. "Said It All" - Take That
"Untouched" - The Veronicas

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Kristinia DeBarge Keeps Her Mic *Where*?

Here's a clip of Kristinia DeBarge performing her #15-charting semi-hit "Goodbye" on So You Think You Can Dance last night.

I say "performing," because I'm hard-pressed to believe she was actually singing. You can tell she shrieks a couple times overtop a vocal track, but, where was the microphone? I don't see it. Where...

Ohhhh....wait a minute.


No More 'Waiting' For Industry, Baby!

Irish pop act Industry finally see their debut single "My Baby's Waiting" get its official release today in their home country! And, good news—over at Ireland's Download Music site, the song is currently at #2 on the daily chart.

Also check out Chart Rigger's interview with Industry's Donal Skehan if you haven't already, or Fizzy Pop's sit-down with the whole band.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Confession Time: I Gotta A Feeling That I Actually Like The New Black Eyed Peas Album

I knew this day would come. With the arrival of the Black Eyed Peas' album The E.N.D. comes their latest hit "I Gotta Feeling" slamming straight into the Billboard Hot 100 at #2, right behind the band's "Boom Boom Pow," now in its 11th week at the top of the chart.

However, the arrival of The E.N.D. brings something else; my admission that I actually like some of the album. In fact, I like most of the album, save for "Boom Boom Pow" and "Imma Be." Yes, I've railed against the former on more than one occasion.

But what can I say—I'm a sucker for artists who are ditching hip hop for dance pop and David Guetta these days. Plus, Fergie kinda sounds like Michael Jackson circa the Jackson 5 in "Missing You," which is both creepy and cool.

Okay, before moving on from that scandaltrash confession, can someone put me out of my misery and tell me what old song that Woah-oh-oh-oh melody in "Meet Me Halfway" is based on? At first I thought it was "Video Killed The Radio Star," but that's not quite it. Anyone? Or am I imagining that it sounds exactly like something else?

Elsewhere, Kristinia DeBarge slips one to #16 with "Goodbye," while Pink moves up a position to #20 with "Please Don't Leave Me." This now gives the short-coiffed minx her 13th Top 20 hit in the U.S.

On a final note, at least the video for Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield" has finally caused the single to catch some, er, spark. It jumps up from #65 to #46 this week. The song previously debuted and peaked at #32 in May.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Boom Boom Pow" - The Black Eyed Peas *11 weeks*
2. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas *new*
3. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
4. "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" - Pitbull
5. "LoveGame" - Lady GaGa
6. "Birthday Sex" - Jeremih
7. "Poker Face" - Lady GaGa
8. "Fire Burning" - Sean Kingston
9. "Second Chance" - Shinedown
10. "Halo" - Beyonce

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mariah Carey Is 'Obsessed' With Being Ghetto

Oh, Mimi. You just can't let go of your ghetto inclinations.

After announcing the '80s teen hooker movie-themed title of Mariah Carey's upcoming album, Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel, last month, news has now come that the LP will drop on August 25.

First single "Obsessed" also coincidentally leaked. Here's a clip:

"Obsessed" is brought to us by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, aka the fine folks behind Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies."

But hasn't history kind of shown that, in general, the public wants tame, ballad-warbling Mariah? When she gets all hoodrat, she usually has a big hit right out of the gate (see: "Honey" and "Touch My Body") then the album sputters out and dies shortly after, with nary another smash single to be found.

I suppose there was "My All," which hit #1 and was off the same album as "Honey." But that was, like, the 46th single from that Butterfly trash, and the previous ones were all DOA.

Oh, well. "Obsessed" will probably be huge. But whether Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel can cough up a second hit will be the true test.

Keep it classy, girl.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kylie Minogue's PWL Singles Hit iTunes

Following up with Jason Donovan's entire catalog of Stock Aitken Waterman-produced singles from the PWL label being added to iTunes in May, today sees Kylie Minogue's single EPs from the same era (1988 through 1992) added the digital store, as well.

Each individual EP averages at about $9.90 a pop. Christ, where's a small fortune when you need it?

Like the deal with Jason, the EPs for Kylie include the remastered singles, unreleased instrumentals and backing tracks, mixes and B-sides. Of course, a lot of this stuff was made available about 10 years ago on Ms. Minogue's four-disc Greatest Hits Remixed series.

Still, there are some hidden gems, like the backing track of "Enjoy Yourself," with all it's ooh and aah background vocals.

Also thrown onto iTunes today is Hazell Dean's unreleased version of "Can't Help The Way That I Feel," originally an album track for Sonia's 1990 SAW album Everybody Knows. Hazell's single EPs for "Love Pains" and "Better Off Without You" (also recorded by Lonnie Gordon) are available, too.

Highly Recommended: Hazell Dean's "Better Off Without You (A Touch Of Leather Mix)"! Handclaps, the trademark SAW bassline, a Matt Aitken guitar solo and a whip-cracking effect—this one's got it all!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

What's Going On With Chart Rigger: June 2009

Today D'luv got to meet up with blogger Dan of This Man's World, who's in town visiting family. We hung out at Starbucks in Santa Monica for an hour and a half, but I wish we had more time because I wanted to show him the cemetary where Madonna is buried.

Oops! I mean, I wanted to show him Madonna's old house, and also the Hollywood Forever cemetary. My bad.

* I finally sat down with a bucket of grain alcohol and watched Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus. Wish I could report that it was at least good-bad. I had Debbie Gibson's "Foolish Beat" on repeat earlier for two hours in a vain effort to remind me she once made classy art.

* Check out D'luv & Co. on this week's Pop Panel at Pop Trash Addicts. Australian chanteuse CC Martini is guest judge. You've probably had her.

* After barrelling through season one of HBO's True Blood on DVD two weeks ago, I caught the season two premiere tonight. So far so good, but I still can't decide who's hotter—shapeshifter Sam Merlotte or vampire Bill Compton?

* It was Gay Pride weekend in L.A. I'll have to read about how it was.

* If you missed it, I interviewed Vanessa Williams for GayWired the other week. More lined up, which I'll post links to here soon.

* Which reminds me, I interviewed Ferras (who's now penning songs for Adam Lambert) like a year ago for Instinct, and it never ran 'cause I left the mag. If I get motivated enough, I'll transcribe and post the interview here.

* Like Adam Lambert, Ferras is openly gay. Didn't know that till the other day.

* Follow me on Twitter. It's riveting.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pixie's Lott's Pretty To Look At, But So's A Bag Of Peanut M&Ms

Pixie Lott's "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)" makes its way to #1 on the U.K. singles chart this week, and to be honest, we kind of knew this was inevitable.

Pixie is one part '60s sex kitten, one part modern jiggly pop blonde. She's sort of what you'd imagine Duffy's sluttier kid sister to be like—you know, the one who sneaks out her bedroom window on Friday nights and gets rammed from behind in the roller disco parking lot.

That said, "Mama Do" is derivative, harmless and just boring enough to be a smash hit. It's just kind of...there.

In fact, it's a shame French DJ David Guetta and Kelly Rowland's much more anthemic "When Love Takes Over" didn't surge past Pixie in sales. Instead, it settles for a ho-hum entry at #7. (However, official release is tomorrow, so perhaps it'll knock "Mama Do" for a loop yet?)

Elsewhere, while Little Boots hangs out in the mid-teens (#15) for a third week with "New In Town" on the Brit singles chart, her LP Hands rides into the album chart at #5. Here in the States, we got the electro-pop chanteuse's Illuminations EP this week as a digital-only release.

All in all, a pretty lacklaster week leading up to the start of summer.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)" - Pixie Lott *1 week*
2. "Boom Boom Pow" - Black Eyed Peas
3. "Release Me" - Agnes
4. "Bonkers" - Dizzee Rascal
5. "Red" - Daniel Merriweather
6. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
7. "When Love Takes Over'" - David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland
8. "Fire" - Kasabian
9. "Untouched" - The Veronicas
10. "Kiss Me Thru The Phone'" - Souljah Boy Tell Em feat. Sammie

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Pet Shop Boys Cover Coldplay

At a Russian concert in St. Petersburg this past week, the Pet Shop Boys slipped a mash-uppy 35 second bit of Coldplay's legal minefield of a hit "Viva La Via" into the performance of their own "Domino Dancing."

This rendition was perhaps foreshadowed by Neil Tennant leading the London audience at a Brit Awards after-concert put on by Coldplay in "Viva La Vida's" closing Woah-oh-oh-ohs back in February.

Now, why wasn't this included on the "Did You See Me Coming?" single?

Thanks, XO.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Yes, This Is Actually A Post About Blazin' Squad

I never paid attention to 10-piece (!!) U.K. boy band Blazin' Squad back in their early '00s heyday because, well, let's face it—they pretty much bit. (However, when Kenzie and those other two splintered off and formed Friday Hill back in 2005, they cranked out the decent jam "Baby Goodbye.")

Five of these chav studz must be short on their mortgage payments, though, because they got back together and have a new single out on Monday called "Let's Start Again." There's so much Auto Tune going on in the surprisingly decent synth-heavy track that it makes T-Pain sound like an opera singer by comparison.

Below is the vid for "Let's Start Again," which is shaping up to be my guilty pleasure for June.

Well, okay, maybe just for this weekend. And P.S., black shirt Squadzie in the top pic, far left looks like he'd be dirty fun for an hour or so.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Ay Caramba! The Killers' 'Human' Gets A Spanish Makeover By Two Hotties

Thanks to reader Todd Noonan from Tampa, Florida, for sending this—it's contestants Jon and Mario of Spanish TV's Operacion Triunfo 2009 belting out the Killers 2008 hit "Human."

I'm already envisioning how these two hot pieces can make a lucrative career together, but it won't be from singing with each other...


Thursday, June 11, 2009

No One Has Conquered Mount Mimi

In the digital music era, Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" is still the champ. What a tough broad.

First off, the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" has now been #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks, the longest run at the top of the chart since Flo Rida and T-Pain's "Low" spent the same amount of time there in January through March of 2008.

Prior to that, Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" also spent 10 weeks at #1, from December 2006 through February 2007, as did Kanye West and Jamie Foxx's "Gold Digger," from September through November 2005.

And so, we have to turn to our eyes to Mariah's sturdy rack for the last time a single spent more than 10 weeks atop the Hot 100.

Yes, children, it's now been four years since "We Belong Together" ruled the roost for an Mimi-tastic 14 nonconsecutive weeks between June and September 2005. Where does the time go when you're a loopy champagne-swilling diva?

Sigh. I can still hear the tinkling piano intro and clicky hi-hat beat in my head like it was the first time.

Alright, what was the point in any of this? Oh, right. Kristinia DeBarge's "Goodbye" jumps up to #15 this week while Kelly Clarkson's "I Do Not Hook Up" is at #20. This gives Kelly her tenth Top 20 hit in the States. Meanwhile, Pink's "Please Don't Leave Me" jumps from #34 to #21.

And belows the video for Jordin Spark's "Battlefield," which popped up online this past week. After initially debuting at #32 in May, the song has flizz-opped down to the lower reaches of the chart. Perhaps this clip will sent it racing back to the top. Or not.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Boom Boom Pow" - The Black Eyed Peas *10 weeks*
2. "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" - Pitbull
3. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
4. "Birthday Sex" - Jeremih
5. "Poker Face" - Lady GaGa
6. "LoveGame" - Lady GaGa
7. "Second Chance" - Shinedown
8. "Halo" - Beyonce
9. "Fire Burning" - Sean Kingston
10. "Blame It" - Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Kleerup Album Is Pretty Awesome

It's been a highly gloomy June this year in Los Angeles, the likes of which I haven't seen since my first summer here in 1999. Some days the sun comes out by the afternoon, some it doesn't come out at all.

And so, while running errands yesterday, Swede producer Kleerup's self-titled album seemed to provide the perfect soundtrack while driving through the overcast city. It's a sad collection of moody electronic tracks featuring guest singers such as Lykke Li, Marit Bergman and Linda Sunblad. But there are a few happy pop moments ("On My Own Again," which Kleerup himself sings on).

As for the melancholy qualities, the press release mentions that a lot of the album was recorded while Andreas Kleerup was in a rehab center after suffering both "a massive emotional breakup and a massive emotional breakdown."

That said, overall, it's quickly rising up my extremely short list of 2009's truly great albums. Definitely grab this one.

Kleerup's debut set is coming out Stateside on Astralwerks, the EMI/Capitol imprint that released Kylie Minogue's X and Pet Shop Boys' Yes here. The release date is July 28.

One intereresting thing to note: While "With Every Heartbeat," his hit collaboration with Robyn (and Chart Rigger's annointed Best Pop Single Of 2007), is included, "Lay Me Down," the song he produced for Cyndi Lauper's Bring Ya To The Brink is here as mostly an instrumental—and it's been retitled "Thank You For Nothing." Hmmm.

Anyway, here's the vid for first single "Longing For Lullabies," which features Neneh Cherry's sister Titiyo on vocals:

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Okay, I Love The Pet Shop Boys, But...

The EPs for new Pet Shop Boys single "Did You See Me Coming?" were added to U.S. iTunes and Amazon's MP3 store today.

Admittedly, I kind of avoided listening to the B-sides up till today. "After The Event" and "Up And Down"...not bad! Can't wait to add them to my unnofficial Alternative 2 iPod playlist.

Alas, "The Former Enfant Terrible" sounds like the aborted lovechild of "What Keeps Mankind Alive" and "The Sound Of The Atom Splitting," after it was ground up with ProTools and served on a hot plate to a one-legged stripper with wooden teeth.


'Idol' Runner-Up Adam Lambert Finally Comes Out In 'Rolling Stone'

In a move that should surprise no one, this past season's #2 American Idol, Adam Lambert, reveals that he's gay in a cover story with Rolling Stone. You know, because all those online pics of him sucking face with guys just weren't proof enough.

Says the the fastest tongue on the 'net:
"I don’t think it should be a surprise for anyone to hear that I’m gay... Right after the finale, I almost started talking about it to the reporters, but I thought, ‘I’m going to wait for Rolling Stone, that will be cooler. I didn’t want the Clay Aiken thing and the celebrity-magazine bullshit. I need to be able to explain myself in context. I’m proud of my sexuality. I embrace it. It’s just another part of me."
It'll be interesting to see how his album sells with him pretty much being openly-gay right out of the gate, before any music comes out.

Oh, and to the person who chided me in the comments for not supporting the "gay contestant" on this past season of Idol, he wasn't gay until today.

So there!

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Black Eyed Peas Have Been #1 For The Duration Of Two Pet Shop Boys Singles

Urgh. Just when you thought the Brits were gonna be spared a lengthy reign at the top of the chart by Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow," the incessant single returns to #1 for a second nonconsecutive week.

Here in the States, we've been stuck with that cack for nine weeks at #1. In fact, think of it this way—"Boom Boom Pow" was released on U.S. iTunes the same week at the end of March that the Pet Shop Boys charted in the U.K. with their latest album Yes.

Fast forward, and "Boom Boom Pow" has stretched its stint at #1 all the way to the week the Pet Shop Boys' second single off Yes debuts on the U.K. chart.

Alas, the Boys squeak in at #21 with "Did You See Me Coming?" If we don't include the first releases of "West End Girls" and "Opportunities" from before they were signed to EMI, or the digital-only single for "Integral," this marks only the third time Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have missed the U.K. Top 20 with a PSB single. ("Was It Worth It" made it to #24 in December 1991, and "Numb" crawled in at #23 in fall 2006).

Ah, well. Those two have had a long run, and still managed to chart high with their album. However, they ought to have saved the small amount of cash they splashed out for that godawful "Did You See Me Coming?" video.

Elsewhere, in at #31 is Carolina Liar with "Show Me What I'm Looking For." It's a Max Martin-produced tune that got a bit of notice when it was used in an episode of 90210 this past winter.

There's still a Los Angeles radio station that plays "Show Me What I'm Looking For" constantly (Star 98.7), though it failed to reach higher than #69 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Boom Boom Pow" - Black Eyed Peas *2 weeks*
2. "Bonkers" - Dizee Rascal
3. "Fire" - Kasabian *new*
4. "Release Me" - Agnes
5. "Red" - Daniel Merriweather
6. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
7. "Kiss Me Thru The Phone'" - Souljah Boy Tell Em feat. Sammie
8. "Number 1" - Tinchy Stryder feat. N-Dubz
9. "Untouched" - The Veronicas
10. "In For The Kill'" - La Roux

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Pet Shop Boys Announce North American 'Pandemonium' Tour Dates

Current Out magazine cover stars the Pet Shop Boys announced today the dates for the North American leg of their Pandemonium Tour. The duo will start off August 29 in Montreal, then clomp around the states, finally ending the shows in Las Vegas on September 26.

So that makes the PSBs in September, then Kylie Minogue in October. Sweet!

The Boys' second single off new album Yes, "Did You See Me Coming?", was released in the U.K. this week. The digital single with its various B-sides and mixes is due to hit U.S. iTunes on Tuesday (June 9).

Here are the Pet Shop Boys' North American dates:

Aug 29—Montreal, Candada (Metropolis)
Sept 1—New York, NY (Hammerstein)
Sept 2—New York, NY (Hammerstein)
Sept 3—Washington, DC (Constitution Hall)
Sept 5—Boston, MA (House of Blues)
Sept 6—Atlantic City, NJ (House of Blues)
Sept 9—Miami, FL (Fillmore)
Sept 10—Tampa, FL (Tampa Bay PAC)
Sept 11—Orlando, FL (House of Blues)
Sept 12—Atlanta, GA (Chastain)
Sept 14—Chicago, IL (Chicago Theater)
Sept 15—Milwaukee, WI (Pabst Ballroom)
Sept 19—Vancouver, BC (Vancouver Centre of Performing Arts)
Sept 20—Seattle, WA (Moore)
Sept 22—San Francisco, CA (Warfield)
Sept 23—San Francisco, CA (Warfield)
Sept 24—Los Angeles, CA (Greek Theatre)
Sept 26—Las Vegas, NV (Joint)


MGMT Scare The Hell Out Of 'Kids'

Despite my lackluster encounter with them at Austin City Limits, MGMT really do make creative videos. Case in point being the New York band's new clip for "Kids," a single which has been around since last year. Oh, well, better late than never!

Naturally the horror element appeals to D'luv's twisted senses. NME points out that the oblivious mother in the vid is singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom (who, incidentally, is also the second cousin of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom).

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This Isn't Exactly The Kind Of Video Blog We Want To See You Making, Blake Lewis

Wow...it's already been two years since Blake Lewis became the runner-up to American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and one year since he got dropped from Arista after releasing lone album, A.D.D.

But, fear not, Blake fans, for as the blond beatboxer confirmed in this video blog from two weeks back, his new single "Sad Song" will be made available in the next month or so, and a new album is due on October 6. (He's apparently signed to Tommy Boy.)

Warning: This clip also contains random encounters with Katy Perry and Jordin Sparks. Proceed with caution.

On a final note, in case you were ever teetering toward thinking video blogs are utterly annoying and no one ever comes off as being cool in them, Blake is here to happily prove you correct.

For the next production, might we suggest shutting your mouth and beating something other than your box, Bshorty?

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Greatest Cougar Of All: Whitney Houston's New Album Out In September

It was announced today that Whitney Houston's new album has a September 1 release date. Now, see, I just love when they stick these divas in the oven and bake 'em till they're good and crazy (see: Carey, Mariah) then unleash them upon the public.

"Oh, no—she's fine. She's a star, remember?"

The press release says this is her seventh album since 1985. Only the seventh? Damn, girl, how long was that crack bender you were on, anyway?

The first single off the as-yet-untitled masterpiece is set to be "I Don't Know My Own Strength."

Truth be told, I never really gave a flying leap about this broad, though I did see The Bodyguard in the theater. And Waiting To Exhale. Here's hoping her new Max Martin and RedOne-produced jams are super duper!

Oh, she didn't work with Max Martin or RedOne? Sigh.


Lady GaGa Lands A Third Top 10 Hit And Pink Is One Sturdy Bitch

Katy Perry's "Waking Up In Vegas" spent a brief seven days in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, but got its ass kicked back to Barstow this week to make room for Lady GaGa's "LoveGame" and several other singles.

In fact, with "LoveGame" at #10, Sean Kingston's "Fire Burning" at #9 and "Poker Face" at #2, that gives producer RedOne three Top 10 singles this week. "LoveGame" is now also Lady GaGa's third U.S. Top 10 hit.

Here's the video for "Paparazzi," what is so far officially deemed as Lady GaGa's third U.K. single and most likely fourth here:

Other pop singles on the steady climb include Kristinia DeBarge's "Goodbye," which finally gets nudged up from #33 to #20, no doubt due to that scandalous little hooker's video premiering last week.

And, I guess you can never underestimate the durability of Pink. Since its October release, her album Funhouse has quietly gone on to sell over four million copies worldwide, over a million of which were moved here in the States.

I say quietly because it seems like after the album's splashy first single "So What" hit #1 last fall, it seems like Pink fucked off the face of the planet.

However, this week she knabs her third Top 40 U.S. single off Funhouse with the Max Martin-produced "Please Don't Leave Me," which climbs to #34. The song has already reached #12 in the U.K., #11 in Australia, #10 in Canada and #7 in Germany.


The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Boom Boom Pow" - The Black Eyed Peas *9 weeks*
2. "Poker Face" - Lady GaGa
3. "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" - Pitbull
4. "Birthday Sex" - Jeremih
5. "Blame It" - Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain
6. "Halo" - Beyonce
7. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
8. "Day 'N' Nite" - Kid Cudi
9. "Fire Burning" - Sean Kingston
10. "LoveGame" - Lady GaGa

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Throwback: You Can Depend On Me

This jumps ahead a year from the last Throwback post (from spring 1994 to spring 1995). But read on, for 'tis an exciting tale of mix tapes, first gay dance parties, forging friendships and—oh, yes—cheesy, cheesy pop.

In March of '95, I went to the "Chase Party," the tragic dance held by the IUP campus gay organization at the local church bingo hall (!). Christmas lights Scotch-taped to the ceiling tiles. Pretzels and potato chips in baskets. The DJ playing Madonna's "Bedtime Story" and Real McCoy's Run Away"...on cassette. It was the first time I'd attended this particular shindig, though sadly not the last.

That night a group of students came from another Western Pennsylvania university about an hour away, and I bumped into a guy I'd met briefly a year prior through a mutual friend. He had on a what I recall being a vintage men's tweed coat and retro-looking thick black-framed glasses. Today we all know him as Chart Rigger's Banterview master, MoogaBoo.

We got to talking, and suddenly the DJ played Dead Or Alive. So then MoogaBoo and I got to talking about Stock Aitken Waterman, British producers I'd paid little more than passing interest in during their late '80s heyday, though I did notice their credits on the Bananarama greatest hits I bought in '89 and, four years later, Boy Krazy's "That's What Love Can Do" cassette single.

MoogaBoo and I hung out the whole night, and then stayed in touch via e-mail and this ancient form of communication called handwritten letters, too. (It was still 1995, after all!) Within a week, we cemented our friendship with the most sacred rite of music-geek passage: Making mix tapes for each other.

On that very first one he mailed to me (pictured at the top of this post), I immediately latched onto Lonnie Gordon's "Happenin' All Over Again '93" and played it while walking to classes on a lame yellow walkman I'd borrowed from a girl on my floor (and didn't return for two years) to the point of causing audible crackling on the tape both before and after the song.

Moog also pointed out that Mike Stock and Matt Aitken were staging a bit of a comeback, and had produced a cover of "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by someone named Nicki French. (This was still three months before it climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.) I bought the single and, again, played it to the point of snapping.

It seemed that at least once a week that semester I was having to tell one of my friends that I was gay, either in person or on the phone. The process of "coming out" is different for everyone. For me it was just tedious. I think, in retrospect, it was probably harder for some of the people I told.

Everyone I mention this to always finds it somewhat unbelievable, but on my residence hall floor of 30 students, there were 10 of us who came out over the course of that '94-'95 school year. We all used to joke that it was something in the water fountain. But, being more practical, what did anyone expect—it was the English major floor!

Here's D'luv that year. The flannel was a super-dashing, no? (And to this day I still never know what to do with my hands in photos.)

Meeting MoogaBoo was so refreshing; here was a ready-made friend who was the same age, with the same interest in pop music, and, most importantly, with whom I didn't have to have some awkward conversation with about sexuality.

The next tape I got in the mail from him was, at my request, one with songs all produced by Stock Aitken Waterman. Sinitta, Brother Beyond, Laura Branigan, Sonia...and one in particular that stood out—Jason Donovan's "You Can Depend On Me."

For some reason, I couldn't shake that track in particular. I recalled seeing in an old issue of Smash Hits from 1989, which I bought in 9th grade, that Jason Donovan's first album got released here in the States. But, having long been out of print, where to find it in '95?

While most of the students went home that Easter weekend to be with their families, I stayed on campus and got online to search for more info on SAW and their artists. I came across an old-school "mailing list" for Kylie Minogue and Stock Aitken Waterman—the kind where updates were e-mailed en masse to everyone on the list, and if you wanted to contribute, you had to send your own e-mail to some general address.

The group was run by a Brit named Jeremy Kay (and, as someone pointed out in the comments, Aussie Paul Burnim), who would go on to be one of the overseers of this year's recent remastered Lonnie Gordon, Princess and Mandy Smith album releases from PWL and the Cherry Red label.

I printed out the massive list of SAW-productions that Jeremy forwarded to all new members that weekend and remember well how it took about two hours for the whole damn thing to come through my friend's poor old printer.

I was determined to track down as much of this obscure music as possible.

Another friend and fellow student at IUP named Mike picked me up in the final weeks of the semester that May, and we drove into Pittsburgh. I made him stop at a record/comic book store called Eide's on Penn Avenue, and there it was—Jason Donovan's Ten Good Reasons. Annoyingly, they only had it on cassette, but I paid the $4 for it anyway.

Yes, while everyone else was listening to TLC, Live, Pearl Jam and Coolio in summer '95, Jason Donovan's outdated 1989 album was my soundtrack.

One of my most vivid memories is driving to a club in downtown Pittsburgh on a Thursday night that June with a friend of mine. My car's tape player had been defective for about two years at that point, and music sounded really muffled when played through it.

She was so sick of the radio, though, that she grabbed the Ten Good Reasons tape without knowing what it was and said, "Just put this trash on!" After that, I think the only other person on the planet who played that album as much as I did that year—or at all—was her.

Here's the big single off it, "Too Many Broken Hearts":

Anyway, Ten Good Reasons (as well as Jason's second album Between The Lines) was added to iTunes last week. It's classic pop, and was actually the best-selling record in the UK in 1989.

If you're not willing to grab the whole thing but have got the 99 cents to spare, definitely give "You Can Depend On Me" (the album version, not the candyass "original mix" included on the "Hang On To Your Love" EP) a shot.

There was once a 21-year-old kid in the middle of nowhere who romantically dreamt away an angsty summer to that song.

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