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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back When Those Two Guys From allSTARS* Had Really Hot Mouths

The U.K. chart is a bit too Dizzee Rascal for my tastes this week, so let's instead take a moment to remember the stellar talents of completely manufactured British boy/girl group, allSTARS*!

Most known for a.) being S Club 7 knockoffs with their own kiddie TV series from 2001 to 2002 called STARstreet, b.) their fair-to-middling cover of Duran Duran's "Is There Something I Should Know" and c.) landing their cover of Bucks Fizz's pop masterpiece "Land Of Make Believe" in the U.K. Top 10, this teen fivepiece band actually had two damn fine jams on their lone, self-titled album.

First up was their fourth nail-in-the-coffin single, "Back When." Penned by Cathy Dennis and produced by the guys from Metro, "Back When" only scraped its way to #19 in spring '02, and sealed the fate of the soon-to-be disbanded group.

But while I always found the idea of these youngsters rubbing and fondling themselves like adolescent porn stars in the vid kinda creepy, "Back When" was nevertheless their standout single.

And short-cropped Ashley Taylor Dawson grew up and turned into this...

...so now I feel completely justified for having all those naughty thoughts over his 19-year-old self seven years ago.

Anyway, the other rad track off the allSTARS* album was "Love Is," also written and produced by Metro. I maintain all these years later that it's one of this past decade's "should have been a single" pop songs.

Who knows—were it given a chance to be foisted on the public, "Love Is" might have garnered allSTARS* a stay of execution, at least for one more album.

Well, then again, maybe only if it were released in the land of make believe.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Holiday" - Dizzee Rascal *1 week*
2. "Sexy Bitch" - David Guetta feat. Akon
3. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas
4. "Ready For The Weekend" - Calvin Harris
5. "Never Leave You" - Tinchy Stryder feat. Amelle
6. "Remedy" - Little Boots
7. "Sweet Dreams" - Beyonce
8. "Outta Here" - Esmee Denters
9. "Supernova" - Mr Hudson feat. Kanye West
10. "That Golden Rule" - Biffy Clyro

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Sally Shapiro: The Chart Rigger Interview

Note: This is part two of my interview with Sally Shapiro. Catch the first part over at 'Instinct' magazine's website!

You know that girl who’s seated in the cubicle next to you at work—the one who’s usually ten minutes late into the office each morning, and whose frequent phone calls you can never quite eavesdrop on, no matter how hard you try? She might just be a hip, international Italo-disco recording artist by night. But you’d never know it.

So goes the myth of Sally Shapiro, which is actually more of a duo, comprised of producer-songwriter Johan Agebjörn and frontwoman, uh—well, we may really never be privy to what her name is! What we do know is that this Swedish act’s second album of synth-laden, dreamy pop, My Guilty Pleasure, was released this week via Paper Bag Records. (Plus, if you’ve not yet caught their debut LP, Disco Romance, it really is a guilty pleasure.)

At any rate, she let me call her up, so how mysterious can she be? Well, okay, she called me, and seconds after we hung up, my phone suddenly self-combusted.

ROBBIE DAW: ABBA, Ace Of Base, Robyn, Max Martin—why do you think Sweden produces to many great musicians?
SALLY SHAPIRO: One reason could be that we’re really an Anglo-Americanized country, with a lot of influence [coming from] there. And then we have—I don’t know if you have it—but we have this music education that’s practically free when you’re a kid. Nearly everybody goes to this music school in the afternoons once a week and plays an instrument. So, many people know how to play at least one instrument. Maybe that could be one reason, also. They have music with them since they were kids, in a way.

My Guilty Pleasure has nine songs on it. Are there leftover tracks that didn’t make the cut?

No, we just recorded these. That’s it.

What part has Italo-disco played in your life? Did you grow up listening to it?
I did a little. The most common stuff that was played on the radio, I wasn’t so into it when I was little. But Johan was more into it, ordering special compilations and stuff that wasn’t in the record stores. So he has grown up with it more than I have. I grew up more with the common '80s disco stuff.

What’s the process of how you and Johan get together and make music?
We start always with the music. Johan comes up with a music theme. I listen to it and say what I think of it. Often he starts to play on the piano, rhythm and stuff. If I like it, he moves on and makes a track out of it. Then we discuss the lyrics—there’s also a theme of what we want this track to be about. He writes some of it and then he sends it to me and I write some of it, and so on. In the end I record the singing. [Laughs] Sorry, I’m not so good at speaking English.

Are you kidding? You speak English better than a lot of Americans I know.
[Laughs] Well, if I sound a bit slow—

You sound perfect to me! I want to tell you, “Looking At The Stars” is one of my favorites on the new album. It’s very sad. Is it about someone in your life?
A little bit, it is. Both me and Johan have had that kind person in our lives who we thought would be there forever but, of course, they died because they’re old. You don’t really understand that they would do that when you’re small. You just expect them to be there, and they’re gone and you’re sad that you weren’t there more. You could say that the exact lyrics aren’t authentic, but we have had those people and those feelings.

Sally Shapiro, "Love In July"

When you were growing up, did you always want to be a singer?
No. I always liked to sit and play guitar and sing by myself, but I wasn’t really thinking I would record something that people would actually listen to. [Laughs]

You mentioned how unexpected it was when Disco Romance got a lot of attention. A lot of that support came from music sites and blogs. Do you spend much time reading about yourself online?
Not so much. I read the interviews that I’ve done and then I read some of the blogs. But I’m not searching for it very much. I’m reading mostly the things that people send to me.

You did an interview with Pop Trash Addicts that was pretty great. Have you read that one yet?
I don’t think so, but I will, because I always read the interviews! [Laughs] It’s mostly Johan that sits with the computer, and then he sends the interviews over to me and I read them. So maybe he hasn’t sent it yet.

Are you happy with the unexpected success you’ve found?
Yes, really! It still feels really weird, I must say. I’m still not really used to it, but it’s funny to see all this and hear that people like it, and hear it on the radio.

Well, I hope you keep making music, because there are a lot of people out there who like it.
Okay, thank you! That’s good!

Good luck with the album.

Read the first part of this interview over at 'Instinct'.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Guilty Pleasures Of Shakira, Jason DeRulo and Cascada Creep Up The Chart

Drop your socks and do the cha-cha, kiddies—it's time for this week's rundown of what's poppin' and floppin' on the Billboard Hot 100!

For the second week in a row, and third altogether, Mariah Carey's "Obsessed" is stuck at its thus-far peak of #11. Insterestingly, Mimi's never had a single stop at #11 before, though "Anytime You Need A Friend" peaked at #12 back in summer 1994.

Just below Mariah, at #12, is Shakira with "She Wolf." I didn't fully appreciate this disco jam until a friend and I spent 10 minutes on the phone one night recently discussing the lameness/brilliance of the "A-wooooooooo!" wolf call in the song. And now—total masterpiece!

Another one I'm strangley drawn to is Jason DeRulo's "Whatcha Say," which has been getting much airplay here in Los Angeles, and this week climbs 30 spots to #24. On one hand, the Imogen Heap-sampling track seems like typical by-the-numbers R&B balladry. On the other, it's so cheesy and novelty-song-esque, it's making me want to touch it in the dark and giggle like a naughty hooker.

Speaking of which, who's have guessed that Cascada would fly up from #80 to #57—no doubt propelled by frontbroad Natalie Horler's ample jugz—with "Evacuate The Dancefloor." Keep swingin' 'em, girl!

Small gains are made this week by Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears, respectively, as "Already Gone" climbs from #79 to #65, and "Radar" does the ho crawl from #88 to #90.

And, finally, Whitney Houston's "I Look To You" re-enters the chart at #99 after an initial lone week spent at #74 earlier this month.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas *9 weeks*
2. "Party In The U.S.A." - Miley Cyrus
3. "Down" - Jay Sean feat. Lil Wayne
4. "You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift
5. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z feat. Rihanna and Kanye West
6. "Use Somebody" - Kings Of Leon
7. "Best I Ever Had" - Drake
8. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
9. "Good Girls Go Bad" - Cobra Starship feat. Leighton Meester
10. "Hotel Room Service" - Pitbull

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bag Raiders 'Shooting Stars' = My New Obsession

Ever since reviewing Australian duo Bag Raiders' "Shooting Stars" on last week's Pop Trash Addicts Pop Panel, I've been more-than-mildy obsessed with the track.

The Sydney-based twosome—made up of Chris Stracey and Jack Glass—came out with the highest score after the grueling ratings test that is the Pop Panel, and deservedly so! "Shooting Stars" is up there with the best jams by fellow Aussies Cut Copy, another electro outfit I got hooked in recent years. Plus, if their highly-erotic/completely charming Tron-like animated video (directed by Ron Winter) doesn't make you smile—both upstairs and down—then you've got no pulse!

For me, "Shooting Stars" is all about the slow buildup to the dyanamic chorus. Check out the video below!

"Shooting Stars" was released as a single in Australia last week.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Cranberries Reforming, Touring The States

Ah, this warms the blarney stone that is my heart! The Cranberries have reformed and will be touring the U.S. by year's end, says NME. These broads went on hiatus in 2003, but all four original members are getting back together.

Why, you ask? Cash, children, CA$H! Says the British rock mag:
"The band said that they will perform old classics as well as material from singer [Delores] O'Riordan's new solo album, No Baggage, which was released in the U.S. today (August 25).

"'Over the last few years, each member of the band has had time to work on different projects and learn so much from their experience,' guitarist and co-songwriter Noel Hogan said in a statement. 'Now the time is right for The Cranberries to bring all of this together and move forward.'"
Those first two Cranberries albums definitely bring back some fond memories. My friend Matt and I used to stay up and watch MTV's 120 Minutes back in summer '93, and caught "Dreams" before most people on this side of the pond had ever heard of the band.

That fall, I went to see Duran Duran perform in Pittsburgh and was pleasantly jazzed to find that The Cranberries were the opening act. Two months later, "Linger" became a Top 10 hit, and the band were suddenly one of the most successful rock groups of the 1990s.


I'm Over It, Katharine McPhee

Oh, Katharine McPhee. Remember when you were floundering around with that JoJo/"Too Little, Too Late" knockoff, "Over It," two years ago?

Sure, it's probably gotta suck looking back and realizing that you were the runner-up to Taylor Hicks and a product of the least successful American Idol season to date. (Then again, that Fantasia/Diana DeGarmo season was pretty dismal, too.) And, yes, you were dropped from your label after your album tanked and "Over It" undeservedly flopped at #29 on the chart.

But did you have to go and whore your wares in The House Bunny last year? And this new single "Had It All" (out today on iTunes)...isn't turning to country after-the-fact now usually viewed as the last ditch attempt of pop's fallen hookers? (See: Jessica Simpson, Donna Summer, Olivia Newton-John, etc.)

The press release states the following:
"Katharine traveled between Los Angeles, Nashville and Boston to write and record [upcoming second album] Unbroken, which was produced by John Alagia (John Mayer, Jason Mraz)."
Why didn't they just write:
"Katharine scaled mountains, swam through fjords and build a hut made out of Popsicle sticks and tin foil in order to bore you so much that you'll jam scissors into your eyes."
Oh, who am I kidding. I've been playing "Had It All" all morning. Call the doctor—I've got McPheever!

* Musical Styles Katharine McPhee Should Have Tried...


There's Something Fishy About The Saturdays' 'Forever Is Over' Single Cover

Hey, who doesn't like a five-pack of broads with salt water splashing between their thighs? I'm really digging The Saturdays' new single "Forever Is Over"—it's just the right blend of blandness (hey, it was recorded in America, after all), Stone Roses-y dreaminess and upbeat guitar pop.

I'm telling you—in retrospect it'll be looked at as a masterpiece. "Forever Is Over" is officially released in the U.K. on October 5.

Everyday is like Saturdays!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Saturdays Ascend The Girl Group Throne With 'Forever Is Over'

Damn! The Saturdays have thrown the multi-colored dresses of previous album Chasing Lights into the fire and slip into the sexy with brand new jam "Forever Is Over."

Hard to believe it was only one year ago they were hitting the scene with their debut single. Now they're on their sixth, with a new album due out in October.

Here's the vid for the upbeat slightly-rock-infused "Forever Is Over"—I think it's safe to say these broads'll be straddling the #1 position between their ample thighs shortly:

UPDATE: The video is now restricted to certain territories due to copyright, so below is a clip of the song only.


It's A David Guetta/Akon World

This week's U.K. singles chart has the dubious honor of having two songs with David Guetta behind them taking up the top two positions. I say dubious, because they're songs with Akon and the Black Eyed Peas.

To be sure, Guetta's jam with Kelly Rowland, "When Love Takes Over," was quite the spring jam. This week, his second offering off One Love—"Sexy Bitch"—becomes his second consecutive chart-topper as a solo artist (though he usually "features" another performer on vocals on his singles), and his fourth U.K. Top 10 hit.

As for BEP's "I Gotta Feeling," I think on Friday I dared to turn on the radio and flipped through stations and heard it playing on at least three of them at the same time. Urgh. Here in the States, the group has locked down the #1 position for 20 weeks in a row now.

Moving on, hoo-ray for Little Boots' "Remedy" hopping into the Top 10 at #6. And Just Jack's rather groovy "The Day I Died" goes in at #11. Below is a video of Jack performing the song in a park.

Warning: the sound level on his mic SUCKS.

On the U.K. album chart, Calvin Harris' second LP, Ready For The Weekend, beats Tinchy Stryder to #1.

I really dig "Flashback" off the Calvin album. Good stuff.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Sexy Bitch" - David Guetta feat. Akon *1 week*
2. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas
3. "Never Leave You" - Tinchy Stryder feat. Amelle
4. "Ready For The Weekend" - Calvin Harris
5. "Sweet Dreams" - Beyonce
6. "Remedy" - Little Boots
7. "Outta Here" - Esmee Denters
8. "Supernova" - Mr Hudson feat. Kanye West
9. "Behind Closed Doors" - Peter Andre
10. "Get Shaky" - The Ian Carey Project

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Friday, August 21, 2009

The Guild: One Of Those Things I Just Don't Get...But Nice Song!

Silly me—I thought web series went the way of the late '90s, along with books on the web, Y2K and Lolly. Alas, when you have Joss Whedon and his brother Jed touting your show, apparently anything is possible.

I read this item from BBC News this morning about The Guild, an independent online sitcom about gamers that's going into its third season. To promote the upcoming episodes, the cast members recorded a slightly Ace Of Base-y pop jam, "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar," with the show's star Felicia Day on lead vocals.

The video (below) was posted three days ago and already has nearly 2 million views. And the single has shot to the top of U.K. iTunes.

A-ha! So it's you Brits making this "happen."

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

iTunes Goes Boy Krazy

Two years ago this week I posted a short film by Kimerly Craig, which documented the then-state of former Boy Krazy lead singer Johnna Lee Cummings.

Though it showed Johnna as someone who'd far-from-gracefully fallen out of the pop business a decade ago and was now working in a coffee shop and battling alcoholism, Kimberly stopped by Chart Rigger and left this comment:
"I just wanted to say that now looking back at the video, I think I made her life look more vulnerable than it really is. She's a very strong willed woman, and has since moved on. Out of the coffee shop. Out of Savannah. And although she is not in the music industry any longer, she is still happy."
Good to hear. Anyway, last week PWL made available all of Boy Krazy's remastered single EPs and their lone, self-titled Stock Aitken Waterman-produced album from 1993 on iTunes. Also up for download are two unreleased tracks—the upbeat jam "I'll Never Get Another Chance Like This" and the stellar ballad, "Exception To The Rule."

A few of the true highlights are the never released "Original" mixes of "That's What Love Can Do" (much more poppy, slightly Motown) and "Just Like A Dream Come True" (rougher than the album version), and the "Alternative" mix of "On A Wing And A Prayer."

And so, after spending a small fortune to further line Pete Waterman's deep pockets, I've compiled what I'm calling the best damn Boy Krazy playlist ever!

"Good Times With Bad Boys" and "That's What Love Can Do" vids.

Check it out below, and hop over to iTunes to listen and see if I'm right:

1. "That's What Love Can Do" (Original Mix)
2. "On A Wing And A Prayer" (Alternative Mix)
3. "I'll Never Get Another Chance Like This"
4. "Good Times With Bad Boys" (Dave Ford Mix)
5. "Exception To The Rule"
6. "One Thing Leads To Another" (Original Mix)
7. "Just Like A Dream Come True" (Original Mix)
8. "Who Could Ask For Anything More" (Original Version)
9. "All You Have To Do"
10. "Different Class" (Alternative Mix)
11. "Love Is A Freaky Thing" (Lurve Dog 7" Mix)
12. "Don't Wanna Let You Go"
13. "On A Wing And A Prayer" (Original Mix)
14. "Good Times With Bad Boys" (7" Backing Track)
15. "That's What Love Can Do" (Extended Version)
16. "All You Have To Do" (Extended Version)

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Mariah Carey Claws Her Way To The Middle As Miley Cyrus Fails To F-Up The Peas' Mojo

Damn you, Miley Cyrus! We were all counting on you to wrap your teen thighs around the Black Eyed Peas and drag them down from the top of the chart this week—or, at the very least, wrap your thighs around Fergie's head and claw her boobs off. Glamorous!

Alas, in light of Hannah Montana's failure, BEP have now spent a total of 20 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100—between the 12-week reign of "Boom Boom Pow"and the eight-week one of "I Gotta Feeling"—which is some new kind of record too horrendous to even fathom or continue writing about here. Miley's "Party In The U.S.A." debuts at #2.

Rihanna is featured on Jay-Z's "Run This Town, which is up to #3. This now gives that broad a total of 11 singles that have made the Top 10.

Elsewhere, Mariah Carey finally manages to drag "Obsessed" back up to #11, where it previously debuted and peaked at six weeks ago. Just...one...more...position...to go...Mimi!

Going way down (no doubt a specialty of this next artist) the chart, Natalie Horler and German dance outfit Cascada enter at #80 with their European hit "Evacuate The Dancefloor." It's Cascada's third appearance on the Hot 100, following "Everytime We Touch" (#10) and "What Hurts The Most" (#52). Incidentally, it's about the thirty-third single to rip off Lady GaGa this year.

And finally, in at #90, comes Britney Spears' "Radar." Who thought releasing this as a single was a good idea, over Circus fan favorites like "Unusual You" or "Shattered Glass"? "Radar" was originally on BriXXXney's 2007 album Blackout, for God's sake, then tacked onto Circus as a bonus track. In other words, it's been banged hard and thrown in a dumpster already—much like Britney herself.

Oh, okay, that was mean. Britney was probably at least thrown into the recycle bin after she was poked.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas *8 weeks*
2. "Party In The U.S.A." - Miley Cyrus *new*
3. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z feat. Rihanna and Kanye West
4. "You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift
5. "Use Somebody" - Kings Of Leon
6. "Best I Ever Had" - Drake
7. "Down" - Jay Sean feat. Lil Wayne
8. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
9. "Good Girls Go Bad" - Cobra Starship feat. Leighton Meester
10. "Hotel Room Service" - Pitbull

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kylie Minogue Does 'Instinct'

Kylie Minogue is featured on the cover of the September issue of U.S. gay mag Instinct, to promote her upcoming tour of North America. Geez, I shoulda hung around there just one more year, eh?

And I love the peacock hooker look! She looks great!

Says La KM:
"When I started out in music, going from acting to singing, that transition was very successful, but I also got flack for it. Many hurtful things were said. It wasn't easy. I was only 19 and I think the gay audience kinda picked up on that and decided to defend me and adopt me. They saw I was being criticized for being myself. While learning what does that mean, who am I? So I think all the attacks that were around at the time, took them to heart. And I love that. It means it was a totally organic coming together.
Also, regarding coming to the States to perform:
"I’m so excited, it’s ridiculous. There is still a certain amount of disbelief because it’s really happening. I’ve spoken about this for so long and I was sure the fans in the States had given up, hadn’t you?

"With my management and production team, we talked about it many times, but as you know, my shows are on the bigger side. They’re bigger girls. [Laughs] And it just was never feasible for us to do it. So I just ended up biting the bullet and saying, ‘It’s now or never.’ I’m having such a good time performing at the moment and the X tour last year was something of a revelation."
Six more weeks till Kylie hits the Hollywood Bowl here in Los Angeles. Damn, now where did I put those tickets?


Mariah Carey Plays It Safe, Covers Foreigner For Her Next Single

Well, not only is the track "I Want To Know What Love Is" off Mariah Carey's upcoming album indeed a cover of the #1 Foreigner snoozefest hit, it's also apparently going to be her next single, says the Los Angeles Times' Pop & Hiss blog.

The Foreigner ballad was first released in late 1984 and hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1985. It was also #1 in Sweden and the U.K. Meanwhile, did anyone at the time realize that both Jennifer Holliday and the F-ing Thompson Twins sing backup on it? Maybe Mimi can get Jennifer Hudson and La Roux to do background vocals on her version!

Anyway, here's what the L.A. Times has to say:

"If anything, tackling a well-known power ballad seems like a safe choice. It's a comfortable fall-back plan after 'Obsessed' performed well, but did far from blockbuster numbers. It will undoubtedly be a hit, but it's giving me more reason to fear Imperfect Angel. The sort-of-real/sort-of-not feud with Eminem seemed largely a ploy to keep Carey in the headlines, and covering Foreigner seems just as calculated to steer Carey back onto familiar ground."

And here's Foreigner's original version of "I Want To Know What Love Is":

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kristinia DeBarge Gyrates In Leather In Her New Music Video, 'Sabotage'

So the other Sunday I was driving around listening to Kristinia DeBarge's Exposed in my car, thinking, Hey, there's a pigeon on the guard rail of this bridge that could probably use this CD as a plate for bread crumbs or something.

Then "Sabotage," her new single came on, and I thought, Well, I'll at least upload this song to my computer before I drive back and donate the disc to furthering the progress of Columbidae.

Here's the video for Kristinia's new single, "Sabotage":


The Bananarama 'Viva' Album Cover Is Blue, Which Makes Me Happy

Yeah, forget the Black Eyed Peas album. That was fun for, like, a day. And I wanted to love Frankmusik's Complete Me, but I feel like it'll maybe be one I get into six months from now—i.e., when he's dropped from the label.

And F Whitney and Mariah—the only real album I'm looking forward to is the new one from the Saturdays. But until that comes out, it's Bananarama's Viva.

Really, I just wanted to post the cover here. But since it's a stretched-out version of the low-res image, it doesn't look so hot. Total bust.

Oh, well. Viva is out September 14.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Peter Andre Is So 2000-And-Late

For about seven months last year I whored myself out by anonymously writing celebrity gossip garbage for the low-rent site Celebuzz. (Hey, I had bills to pay!) One of the few highlights was when I got to crank out posts about Katie Price and her hapless husband, seemingly-washed-up pop star Peter Andre.

Katie was always either schlepping around some club, getting plastic surgery in L.A., doing a book signing in London, or hocking her line of pink equestrian sportswear. And all the while, Peter was either absent or in the background.

So it's no shocker that the couple announced their separation a few months back. But meanwhile, who'd have thunk that Peter would someday manage to score another Top 10 hit? This week, on the U.K. singles chart, "Behind Closed Doors" goes in at #4.

"Behind The Doors"is now his 10th single to make the Top 10 in his home country. Let's chalk it up to pity downloads?

Just above Andre, at #3, comes Calvin Harris' latest single, the superb "Ready For The Weekend." It's a shame it didn't make it to #1. After all, do we really need this much Black Eyed Peas?

Here are the vids for "Behind Closed Doors" and "Ready For The Weekend":

Elsewhere, hoo-rah for Little Boots squeaking up to #10 with "Remedy, and for Lily Allen popping in at #37 with "22" two weeks ahead of its official release date.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas *2 weeks*
2. "Never Leave You" - Tinchy Stryder feat. Amelle
3. "Ready For The Weekend" - Calvin Harris *new*
4. "Behind Closed Doors" - Peter Andre *new*
5. "Sweet Dreams" - Beyonce
6. "Supernova" - Mr Hudson feat. Kanye West
7. "Beat Again" - JLS
8. "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" - Pitbull
9. "Get Shaky" - The Ian Carey Project
10. "Remedy" - Little Boots

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Madonna's Greatest Hits Track Listing: Not Bad

Madonna rose from her crypt like a thousand-year-old fiend of darkness to reveal the track list of her upcoming two-disc greatest hits collection, Celebration. And, surprisingly, it's not too shabby.

Major omissions: "I'll Remember," "This Used To Be My Playground," "Angel," "True Blue," "Power Of Goodbye," "Causing A Commotion"

Okay, I know I'm not really up on all things Madge, but I also realize this is the Vampyre's final obligation for Warner Bros.—so, like, why not just go all-out and put out a box set of like four of five discs, with all of her singles to date? Maybe that's later down the line? Greedy broad.

Here's what's on Celebration:

1. "Hung Up"
2. "Music"
3. "Vogue"
4. "4 Minutes"
5. "Holiday"
6. "Like a Virgin"
7. "Into the Groove"
8. "Everybody"
9. "Like a Prayer"
10. "Ray of Light"
11. "Sorry"
12. "Express Yourself"
13. "Open Your Heart"
14. "Borderline"
15. "Secret"
16. "Erotica"
17. "Justify My Love"
18. "Celebration"

1. "Dress You Up"
2. "Material Girl"
3. "La Isla Bonita"
4. "Papa Don't Preach"
5. "Lucky Star"
6. "Burning Up"
7. "Crazy For You"
8. "Who's That Girl"
9. "Frozen"
10. "Miles Away"
11. "Take a Bow"
12. "Beautiful Stranger"
13. "Hollywood"
14. "Die Another Day"
15. "Don't Tell Me"
16. "Live to Tell"
17. "Cherish"
18. "Revolver"

* Madonna: Banterview With The Vampyre


Friday, August 14, 2009

At This Rate, Mariah Carey's Album Should Be Out Sometime Before She's 40...Again

Damn, hooker, get it together.

Mariah Carey has now pushed the release date for Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel back—again. This trash was originally supposed to come out this month. Then it got pushed to September 15. Now it’s been bumped to September 29.

Billboard also reports that she’s pulled out of appearances at the MTV Video Music Awards (can’t blame her!) and the Today Show.

I wonder if Mariah secretly infiltrated Clive Davis’ boudoir, broke open his pink satin lockbox, heard a promo of Whitney’s album and let out a whistle-register death rattle?

Says her official site:
"Mariah is putting the finishing touches on her newest album, Memoirs
of an Imperfect Angel
, and we have shifted all of our TV and promo
appearances to coincide with the new release date of September 29th. We can't
wait for the fans to hear the new album!!"

And as Joshua points out in the comments, this is now the same day Madonna's greatest hits will be released.


Ace Of Base Aiming For The U.K. And The States, Possibly Adding Fourth Member

This Digital Spy interview with Ace Of Base's Ulf Ekberg from earlier this week seems quite promising. (Thanks, Phil, for forwarding!)

The blond DILF discusses the touring the now-three-piece band has been doing in areas of the world that would take me like three-and-a-half days to fly to. But then he hints at the new album, and doing shows in the U.K. and the States! Hoo-ray!
"We've also just completed a new album. Performing in Britain and the US is definitely on the agenda too, but we feel we need to have our record out before we come to those countries and do a good show.

"Malin [the now-departed blonde broad] never really liked the fame side at all and hated being in the spotlight, which is eventually why she decided to leave.

"We're just deciding now whether to add a fourth member to the group again or to bring it out under a new name. At the moment we think it would be stronger with two female singers, so it's a little technical problem to solve!"
Incidentally, Ace Of Base's official site seems to be down? Either that, or my computer is ghetto (very likely) and won't let it load.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lady Gaga Speaks 'OUT'

Not only is Lady Gaga the cover girl for the latest issue of Billboard, she's also adorning the front of the September OUT. But this time she's not just missing her pants—she's sans clothes, period.

Here's a quote from the Gaga article, via Socialite's Life, regarding what she told Kanye West ahead of their upcoming fall co-headlining tour:

"I just want to be clear before we decide to do this together: I'm gay. My music is gay. My show is gay. And I love that it's gay. And I love my gay fans and they're all going to be coming to our show. And it's going to remain gay."

Just to be clear, that was a quote from Lady Gaga, not Kanye West.

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Like A Rash On An Old Stripper's Ass, Madonna And Whitney Houston Return To The Charts

This week sees the grand old broads of pop, Madonna and Whitney Houston, take a crack at pop chart hitdom a quarter century after they both slinked onto the scene.

In the case of Madge, she debuts at #71 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Celebration," the title track from her upcoming third greatest hits collection. (And if you've not yet read the Madonna banterview that went up this week, what the F are you waiting for?)

At the moment, based on how "Celebration" has slid down the iTunes daily downloads chart like a rickety old hooker falling on her knees to gum junior's Twix bar, it would seem there's no hope of the single climbing any higher. But then again, we've yet to endure the arrival of the song's music video.

And then their Whitxxxey, who's "I Look To You" enters the Hot 100 at #74. I already gave a review of her upcoming album—which, kiddies, is only two-and-a-half weeks away from release—so I'm not extending my fingers by typing any more about this snooze-inducing trash track at this point.

This brings us to Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone," which got a tad filleted by yours truly and the Pop Panel over at Pop Trash Addicts this week. After initially peaking at #70 awhile back, the supposed "Halo" knockoff re-enters the Hot 100 at #89.

But praise the almighty—or at least the Disney Channel—since next week could very well see the reign of the Black Eyed Peas end at the top of the chart once Miley Cyrus' surging sales for new single "Party In The U.S.A." are tallied up.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas *7 weeks*
2. "You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift
3. "Best I Ever Had" - Drake
4. "Knock You Down" - Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
5. "Use Somebody" - Kings Of Leon
6. "Down" - Jay Sean feat. Lil Wayne
7. "Good Girls Go Bad" - Cobra Starship feat. Leighton Meester
8. "Fire Burning" - Sean Kingston
9. "Hotel Room Service" - Pitbull
10. "Boom Boom Pow" - The Black Eyed Peas

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Annie's Second Album 'Don't Stop' Will See The Light Of Day In The U.S.

The good news: Annie's majorly-delayed second album Don't Stop will be made available in the U.S. The bad news: "Anthonio" isn't on it.

Don't Stop will be out in the States on November 17 via indie label Smalltown Supersound. Collaborators include Timo Kaukolampi, Richard X, Paul Epworth, Brian Higgins of Xenomania (Yay!) and Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos (Sure, why not?).

01. Hey Annie
02. My Love Is Better
03. Bad Times
04. Don't Stop
05. I Don't Like Your band
06. Songs Remind Me Of You
07. Marie Cherie
08. Take You Home
09. The Breakfast Song
10. Loco
11. When The Night
12. Heaven And Hell

That's a total biter about "Anthonio" being left off (not to mention "I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me" and that Stacey Q cover), but after she was dropped by Island last year in Europe, guess you can't look a Norse electro-horse in the mouth.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here's the clip for "Anthonio":

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Madonna: Banterview With The Vampyre

It was bound to happen sooner or later. And when lady Madonna announced her upcoming Celebration hits collection (and its accompanying same-named single) three years after the very first "Banterview" took place here on Chart Rigger, D'luv and MoogaBoo knew the time was finally right to dissect Ye Olde Vampyre Of Pop.

D'LUV: So, I actually kind of like "Celebration." It's nice to see SOMEONE thought recycling the backing track for DJ Sammy's cover of "Heaven" was a good idea.

MOOGABOO: Yes, Madonna's ahead of the curve, yet again. Nostalgia for 2002 isn't scheduled to start for another six months!

D: By the way, happy three-year banter-versary! Just think, these all started three years ago this month. But, let's get down to brass tacks—why is another Madonna greatest hits being foisted on the weary public again?

M: Well, to be fair, the last one was out nearly a decade ago, and M has had so many hits since then. You know, like "4 Minutes" and...uh...

D: I keep forgetting about "4 Minutes"—you know, like radio did once the payola checks started bouncing. (Just kidding, Madonna's lawyers!)

M: Hmm. Do you think a slightly-positive banterview will convince Guy O'Seary to book us a trip to the Bahamas?

D: Gasp! Maybe? Did I mention how good "Celebration" is?

M: "Celebration" is tragic like a wedding reception at Cici's Pizza, and that's why I love it. Fuck trendy! The fun Madonna is having comes through in the music for the first time in a long while—and not just in the press materials.

JD: Well, if they play this song at the next wedding reception I go to at Cici's Pizza—and, yes, I've been to at least two—I might have to jump out of the wedding cake and give the priest an HJ on the cheese plate.

M: I wish Madge would do another epic ballad, a la, "This Used To Be My Playground," "Live to Tell," or "Frozen." You know, the kind of song Jordin Sparks would sell her purity thong for.

JD: I'd just like to state for the record that I think "I'll Remember" was truly one of Madonna's high points. It's a personal fave of mine. But, see, I just wasn't cut out to be one of her fans, because they all probably despise that song.

M: I remember hating "I'll Remember" when I first heard it, thinking it was a total sell-out after the Sex/Erotica brouhaha. It didn't take long for me to realize its merits, though. A beautiful arrangement and melody, plus they wisely kept Joe Pesci out of the video. I think its timeless. Sigh.

JD: "Celebration" follows in the long line of Madonna singles that command her loyal (read: enslaved) fans to get on the dance floor. I imagine she's just behind the disco scrim, waiting with jaws open as they march to their doom.

M: Madge is the personification of wrinkles on a circuit queen's face, writ as large and unforgiving as all of time itself.

JD: Have you been spending time in the PopJustice forums again?

M: Babe, I remember when your mom bought you a used copy of Bedtime Stories from CD Zone and you shrieeeeked at how much you loved it. And BTW, it was 1998, and you were 24.

JD: Yeah, well, I still say that was her last truly great album! Of course, nostalgia might have a bit to do with this—the "straight" guy I was boinking in '94 used to play it all the time my first semester away at college.

M: Class. Meanwhile, how many straight guys do you think Madge has dated?

JD: Sigh. Remember that halcyon period when we actually gave a toss about Madonna? We used to hang out in your bedroom, play her cassette singles and eat blueberry popscicles, just dreaming about what she was doing. Or am I thinking of Tara Kemp?

M: I think that's what Tara Kemp is doing now, luv. And bless her for it—it keeps her off the streets. Sadly, you and I didn't know each other during our respective Madgedonna phases. But I like to think we were twirling simultaneously, albeit cities apart, to the tingle-making bridge of "True Blue." In 1987, I was literally head-over-heels for her!

JD: Yes, and in 1997, you were heels-over-head for her. So, when the mothball dust of Madonna's career finally settles years from now, I wonder if anyone is gonna remember any of her music from 2000 onward?

M: Does anyone remember any of it now?

JD: Good point. I hope she puts "Hanky Panky" on this upcoming set of trash. People need to be reminded that Madonna really took the art of music to a whole new level.

M: You so didn't need to bring up "Hanky Panky."

JD: Not only did I bring it up, but I'm postin' the single cover. The one with pink leopard print, just like the inside of her Madonna's pop taco.

M: When I think of the year 1990, I pretty much see just that.

JD: To its credit, this Celebration collection is gonna include "Everybody." That was a good jam. Here's hoping it also has those other misfit Madge hits that never made it onto The Immaculate Collection, like "Dress You Up," "Angel" and "Burning Up."

M: I love all of those "misfits" more than some of the hits, which is probably why we've both felt alienated from the herd of gay Madonna fandom. I love the entire Like A Virgin album, which is apparently like saying "I love rags soaked in gasoline" to some fans. To each his own, I suppose, but I pity anyone who can't muster a feverish twitch around the coffee table to "Over and Over."

JD: Now that Madonna's on the market again, she needs a good sex scandal to really jumpstart her career, like in the Warren Beatty days. Miley Cyrus is single, no?

M: I think she just needs to take the Kabbalah stick out of her butt, slap around some queeny dancers and get back to being The Real Madonna. You know, the one she had killed shortly before Evita.

JD: Well, I feel like "Celebration"—trite as it is, lyrically—is a true return to The Real Madonna. It's what her legion of fans have wanted for years from her. It's dancey, it's fun, it's, well, celebratory. So, naturally, you and I love it, and it'll probably peak at #87 on the chart.

M: Of course that's going to happen. But then again, that would probably happen even if we hated it, so we can enjoy it sans guilt. This is the first Madonna single I've really liked in years. Sure, there was the occasional it'll-do release: "Jump" was fine. But "Celebration" feels genuinely joyful where most of Confessions and Hard Candy felt forced.

JD: I wonder if a Madonna or a Whitney Houston can truly stay relevant in the post-music video age. Let's face it, since MTV switched formats from pop vids to Heidi Montag tit shots, the giants of yesteryear have slid into a slump. Is it that they're just past their prime, or that the careers they built on the cable music medium had the rug pulled out from under them?

M: Mmm, good point. Being "bigger than life" isn't where it's at now. Anyone can be a star, and just about anyone is. Big budgets and big egos, for better or for worse, have gone the way of TRL. So judging Madonna by today's pop music standards is really not fair. I almost feel bad for her. She seems downright quaint compared to her new peers, the flashy grostesques of YouTube.

JD: You're right! Screw Madonna—when's Chris Crocker putting out his greatest hits?

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Natalie Imbruglia Tries Dance Pop On For Size With New Single 'Want'

Aussie pop broad Natalie Imbruglia usually brings a smile to D'luv's ears, and her new single "Want" is no exception. Well, alright, it's a bit repetetive, but I'm sensing it'll be a grower.

Check out the Dannii Minogue-ness below.

Natalie's fourth studio album Come To Life—which contains songs co-written by Coldplay moaner Chris Martin—is due out in October throughout various parts of Europe. There's also word that it'll be released in the States, too.

Meanwhile, the video for a pre-release promo-only single "Wild About It" also made its way online last week. It apparently contains a cameo by Little Britain's David Walliams. (I'm guessing that's maybe him at 1:21 in?)

Here 'tis:


Lady Gaga Deconstructed

Lady Gaga graces the cover of the latest issue of Billboard, wherein this interesting info about her single sales is revealed:

She has the Nos. 3, 4 and 26 top-selling digital songs of the year, with "Poker Face"selling 3.6 million, "Just Dance" moving 2.6 million and "LoveGame" selling 1.4 million. In total, she has sold more than 10.7 million tracks.

She also has the Nos. 2 and 8 best-selling digital songs of all time: "Just Dance" (4.4 million) and "Poker Face" (3.8 million), respectively. "The Fame" is also the fifth-best-selling album (1.1 million) for the year and the best-selling set from a debut artist for 2009.

Also, whether you're a fan of Lady Gaga or not, you might get a kick out of my pal Alex Cho's thoughtful piece he wrote on her over at Flow TV, called "Lady Gaga, Balls-Out: Recuperating Queer Performativity."

Below is an excerpt:

...there is another, deeper reason to spend time thinking about Lady Gaga. While it may be simple to dismiss her outright as a bit of normative pop fluff, this, I argue, misses the point. In fact, Lady Gaga makes a very explicit attempt to shrewdly, purposefully—even politically—expose the nature of our fascination with pop icons by making it her mission to foreground the artifice of her own performance. As opposed to those pop stars to whom Lady Gaga is often (and erroneously) likened such as Madonna and Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga in fact makes it her chief purpose to expose pop’s artificiality; her performance is the performance of fakeness.