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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

'Fame Monster' Lady GaGa Not Going Anywhere

Lady GaGa told a San Diego radio station that, while performing on Saturday Night Live this weekend, she's going to do "Paparazzi" and "a new single."

Alas, it's not a brand new album she's tossing out there in time for holiday shopping. Rather, it's a re-release of The Fame—titled The Fame: Monster—which allegedly will have at least five new GaGa jams tacked on.

MTV News notes that she told the station, "I wrote almost a full album's worth of material and right now I'm kind of spending my time sifting through it all and doctoring it and making it perfect and deciding what I want everyone to hear. But I'm really proud of it. It's definitely life after The Fame."

To quote my old boss AJ Benza, "Fame—ain't it a bitch?"

But hold your horses, kidz. The Lady will also be honored on Friday, along with Beyonce, at Billboard's Women In Music event. GaGa will be receiving the publication's "Rising Star" award, while Beyonce has been named "Woman Of The Year."

Each of them recently won three MTV VMAs each.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Britney Spears' New Single Is About—Brace Yourselves, Children—Sex

Britney Spears' new Max Martin-produced single "3" popped up all over the place today after it debuted on New York Top 40 station Z100. And—what's this?—she's singing about getting nailed by three or four people or some shit. I can't tell, I kinda tuned out after half a listen.

Don't get me wrong! In the pantheon of Britney Spears singles, this is up there with the works of Tchaikovsky. I mean, lest we glance back in horror—"Do Something," anyone?

But, as a Max Martin jam? Sounds like someone's on $autopilot$!

In fact, "3" is on par with "Womanizer," possibly the most minimal, lazy hunk of scrap to land at #1 in this country. (And no, I haven't forgotten Snow's "Informer" or Usher's entire back catalog!)

Anyway, this is the new single from Britney's upcoming hits set The Singles Collection. Ironic title, since, according to some reported track listings, it manages to leave off "Sometimes," "Overprotected" and "Break The Ice"—you know, singles.

Oh, well. One, two, three—here comes more cash for Britney!

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The Cranberries Make Dates With North America

Those North American tour dates for newly-reformed Irish band the Cranberries have been set, with most of them going on sale over the course of the next two weeks.

And, call me nutso, but I'd rather go see this rehash than the creepy Michael Jackson movie, This Is It.

The tour kicks off November 12 at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, and wraps up December 5 at San Francisco's Regency Ballroom. Plus, ticket prices prices aren't too jacked up—at least not for the L.A. show, where they're $31.50.

Other cities the Cranberries will hit include Boston, Hampton Beach, New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City (MO) and, as mentioned, L.A.

Here's old school Cran-jam, "Ode To My Family":


I Should Be Force-Fed My 'Dragostea Din Tei' CD Single For Not Mentioning Crazy Loop Yet

Seriously, massive pop fail on my part for not giving a nod till now that former O-Zone member Dan Bălan's (aka Crazy Loop) très infectious single "Ma Ma Ma" is being released in the U.K. on October 12.

This is the type of trash that makes me wanna jam a pack of firecrackers down my shorts and pogo-stick into traffic during rush hour! (Surprisingly, that's a good thing!)

A few weeks back, we reviewed "Ma Ma Ma" on the Pop Trash Addicts Pop Panel, where the single got this classy review from yours d'luvvly:
"Who needs the Beatles when we have this rock legend creating another smashing pop anthem? I'd bang this guy, but only if he's wearing the Domino's Pizza outfit. 5/5"
Crazy Loop's single will be released in the U.K. via PopLife Records, which is headed up by PWL alum Ian Usher.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Mariah Carey Is Going Cheap

Much like a two-dollar hooker—or, in this case, a $5.99 hooker—Mariah Carey's Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel is on sale here in the States a day early at the Amazon MP3 store at a reduced rate.

Hear that? It's the sound of the lambs stampeding to feed from Mimi's trough! After all, iTunes has this trash for $12.99.

Judging from the sound clips, "Obsessed" was pretty much a tease, because Memoirs is a bucket of ballads. You'd have thought that after delaying the album twice in the past two months, it would have at least been to record a few upbeat tracks.

Imperfect angel, indeed.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Madonna Celebrates 92 Years Of Her Beloved Ditties On The U.K. Album Chart

With the U.K. singles chart remaining rather unchanged and snoozy this week (yay Mini Viva!), let's instead turn to the album chart, where Dame Vera Lynn is #1 with a collection of her most-cherished wartime standards, Celebration.

Looking at the photo above, it's hard to believe Vera is only 92 years old. One would assume there are some publicist shenanigans going on with that piece of info. After all, a bucket of spackling and a chisel can only drape over the ravages of time so much.

Wait—what's that? It's actually Madonna? Ah, it's all making sense now.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Break Your Heart" - Taio Cruz *2 weeks*
2. "Sexy Bitch" - David Guetta feat. Akon
3. Empire State Of Mind" - Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
4. "She Wolf" - Shakira
5. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z feat. Rihanna & Kanye West
6. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas
7. "Boys & Girls" - Pixie Lot
8. "Celebration" - Madonna
9. "Holiday" - Dizzee Rascal
10. "Left My Heart In Tokyo" - Mini Viva

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Anyone Else Catch Pet Shop Boys On This Tour?

Pet Shop Boys last night at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles—typically rad show! The ball and chain asked when we were leaving last night where this ranked in the different d'luvvly tours I've caught them on—four altogether—and I'd have to say this one (Pandemonium) was tied at first place with the last one (Fundamental).

Funny enough, I got tickets for this in the spring, and completely forgot it was coming up until I'd read XO's tweets about the Washington, D.C. show three weeks ago. We talked soon after, but I told him I'd slam his candy in a splintered desk drawer if he gave anything away.

Anyway, I won't bore with a concert review. Who wants to read that shit, anyway? BUT...since there's only one U.S. show left, I don't mind tossing out a few of the highlights.

The set: Their best since Performance (which I never saw live)

Tracks from Yes: Five + a brief refrain from "Building A Wall"

Yes tracks they should've played: "King Of Rome" + "More Than A Dream"

Jams the Boys thankfully dusted off: "Two Divided By Zero" + "Why Don't We Live Together"

Complete surprises: "King's Cross" + "Do I Have To" (!!)

Old chestnuts: "Heart," "It's A Sin," "Always On My Mind," "Suburbia," "Go West," "Left To My Own Devices," "Can You Forgive Her?" (briefly)

Absent chestnuts: "Opportunities," "Rent," "What Have I Done To Deserve This?," "Love Comes Quickly"

Cool factor moment: Teasing with the opening of "Domino Dancing" only to segue into a cover of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida"—and getting the entire outdoor audience to sing along

Encore: "Being Boring" + "West End Girls"

Only gripe: An hour-and-a-half? That's it?

Really great gig. My head is spinning.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Classy Broad Katy Perry Wants Her Next Album To Sound Like Ace Of Base

I've had a somewhat of a hot N cold relationship with Katy Perry from the get go—basically, if Max Martin and/or Dr. Luke ain't writing and producing the songs, C-YA, baby.

So consider me ecstatic to read this article at MTV News yesterday wherein Katy reveals: "I'm kind of thinking I want to do my record like a mesh between 'Lovefool' by the Cardigans and ['The Sign'] by Ace of Base. I want to make songs that people want to hold hands and roller-skate to."

That, Katy, sounds like a plan. The latest chart position (#85) for "Starstrukk," her song with 3OH!3, on the other hand, does not.

And speaking of the Billboard Hot 100, Black Eyed Peas have now logged 13 weeks at #1. Yes, 13. That's one week longer than "Boom Boom Pow," the previous #1 single in the country. That means BEP have spent 25 weeks at the top of the chart in 2009. That's almost half a F-ing year! The band's "Meet Me Halfway" debuts at #75 this week.

Thankfully, there's some news that doesn't make me want to crush my head in a vice grip, Scorsese-style! Lady GaGa uses her talent, originality and unrivaled beauty to hookerpult "Paparazzi" up from #18 to #7. Papa, papa-sexy!

Meanwhile, British singer Mr Hudson is making leaps and bounds here in the states, albeit from singing the chorus of Alphaville's "Forever Young" on Jay-Z's "Young Forever"—which this week is up from #75 to #41.

And then there's good ol' Leona Lewis, whose "Happy"—which, let's be honest, couldn't possibly sound like any more of "Bleeding Love" carbon copy—debuts at #50. She's no doubt getting a boost from performing on VH1's Divas Live last week, though I wish her rendition of "True Colors" with Cyndi Lauper had been made available on iTunes, instead.

Finally, LMFAO's somewhat decent (though quite frankly, it's a tad snoozy at this point) "La La La" debuts at #61.


The U.S. Top 10:

1. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas *13 weeks*
2. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z feat. Rihanna and Kanye West
3. "Down" - Jay Sean feat. Lil Wayne
4. "You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift
5. "Empire State Of Mind" - Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
6. "Party In The U.S.A." - Miley Cyrus
7. "Paparazzi" - Lady GaGa
8. "Forever" - Drake feat. Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem *new*
9. "Use Somebody" - Kings Of Leon
10. "Watcha Say" - Jason DeRulo

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Download Miley Cyrus Or The Terrorists Win!

Monday night, as I steered my car toward Pasadena, I had the urge to hear a driving song. This is America, after all, and we're all kings of the road.

But I'm not talking kid's stuff like Tom Petty's "American Girl"—after all, that broad from Silence Of The Lambs got thrown down a well with a poodle named Precious for blasting that pansy shit. No! I needed a true rock anthem. Cue up Miley Cyrus' "Party In The U.S.A."!

Seriously, I'm hereby declaring this jam to be the greatest American song since Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." In fact, lyrically, it puts the inferior teenage poetry in clumsier attempts like Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" and Don McLean's "American Pie" to shame.

Let's just take a sampling of a few lyrics from each:

From "American Pie": "And in the streets the children screamed/ The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed/ But not a word was spoken/ The church bells all were broken."

"Born To Run": "The highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive/ Everybody's out on the run tonight but theres no place left to hide/ Together, Wendy, we'll live with the sadness/ I'll love you with all the madness in my soul"

And now, witness Miley's awesomeness, children:

"Party In The U.S.A.": "Too much pressure and I'm nervous/ That's when the D.J. dropped my favorite tune/ And a Britney song was on/ And a Britney song was on/ And a Britney song was on"

Suck that, Shakespeare. And so, if you love good art—aw, screw that! If you love AMERICA, I want you all to go download "Party In The U.S.A." by singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus. Get this new national anthem to #1!

And then, patriots, hop in your sweet ride and let Jesus take the wheel.

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New Killers Song On The 'New Moon' Soundtrack

The tracklist to the soundtrack of New Moon, the new Twilight flick, was announced yesterday. Some interesting names are on there. Well, alright—some ok names are on there, like Lykke Li and Editors.

The most eye-catching is a brand new Killers track called "A White Demon Love Song"—which kind of sounds like that one off their last album, "A Dustland Fairytale."

There was also talk earlier this year of the Killers doing an album of covers (snooze), but they've been downplaying that idea in recent months each time they're asked about it. Which is good, because that idea sounds about as exciting as them admitting, look, we really only have a few more things to put out to fulfill our contractual obligations, so we're trying to do that as fast as possible.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Check Out The Drums + MGMT (For Free)

I was pretty jazzed to hear that MGMT were going to be doing free shows on the Kia "Soul Collective" National Tour. Of course, so far, the only confirmed upcoming date with the band is this Sunday (the 27th) in Philadelphia.

So that led me to check out the Drums, another act on the roster (check out the full lineup of the 10 city tour here).

Every fall I snap myself into being in the market for discovering some new indie pop, and this Florida band pretty much fits the bill.

Here's "Let's Go Surfing" by the Drums:

You can legally download some of the Drums' tracks for free at RCRD LBL.

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The Last Original Sugababes Member Gets Thrown Out On Her Taco

Once I wrote here that if I were more inclined toward the fairer sex, I'd bang Keisha Buchanan. As I recall, it caused a mild uproar.

At any rate, Keisha, the last original member of U.K. girl group Sugababes, has been thrown out of the group. It was surprising news today, as rumor had it all weekend that the most recent member, Amelle Berrabah, would be the one to walk.

"Although it was not my choice to leave, it's time to enter a new chapter in my life," Buchanan wrote today on Twitter.

Either way, it's a disaster, as the replacement is Jade Ewen, who might as well have a stripper pole jutting out from her lady funnel.

But, really, I could care less. I have a brand new lapotop, and nothing's gonna stop me now.


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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Madonna's New Single Is A Hit Somewhere!

Well, after an annoying week+ without my poor laptop—an iBook G4 I've had since 2004, which finally kicked the bucket—I finally bit the bullet and picked up a brand new MacBook Pro yesterday. This means less erratic posting on the fly from myself.

Anyway, not too much going on with the U.K. chart this week. If you're a Taio Cruz fan, of course, you've got cause to jam a pack of firecrackers down your pants and blast off.

Also, Madonna's "Celebration" is finally a hit somewhere! It goes in at #3. And here's a pic I took around the corner from Chez D'luv, outside a printing company:

I walked in and requested that they replace that image with something a little less traffic-stopping. You know, like Lady GaGa.

Shakira's "She Wolf," which has grown to be my second biggest guilty pleasure in recent months—behind Miley Cyrus' "Party In The U.S.A."—cracks the Top 10 at #5. And hoo-ray for Mini Viva for sticking around another week in the upper reaches with the über-D'luvvly "Left My Heart In Tokyo." Konichiwa, bitches.

Meanwhile, still no official word on what the F is going on with the latest in the tumultuous Sugababes saga. Their latest, "Get Sexy," drops to #10.

Finally, Paloma Faith, the latest low-grade Amy Winehouse knockoff to wander out of the hooker coop, debuts at #21 with her dirge, "New York."

I think Paloma really needs to just lighten up and stick two Barbie doll legs up her ham bucket. Life in plastic, after all...

P.S. Boo-hoo to Bananarama not even charting in the Top 75 albums with Viva.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Break Your Heart" - Taio Cruz *1 week*
2. "Sexy Bitch" - David Guetta feat. Akon
3. "Celebration" - Madonna *new*
4. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z feat. Rihanna & Kanye West
5. "She Wolf" - Shakira *new*
6. "Boys & Girls" - Pixie Lot
7. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas
8. "Holiday" - Dizzee Rascal
9. "Left My Heart In Tokyo" - Mini Viva
10. "Get Sexy" - Sugababes

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thoughts On Jade Ewen Allegedly Replacing Amelle In Sugababes (Children, Cover Your Ears)

I didn't pay an iota of attention to Eurovision this year. Let's face it, when warbling stripper Jade Ewen is the best the U.K. is able to cough up, well...

Now the deafening rumor is that Jade is replacing Amelle Berrabah, after the latter supposedly became the latest Sugababes member to walk out in a glitter swirl of drama. Argh.

I don't know much else about this Jade Ewen broad, other than the fact that I was forced to review two of her songs in recent months on the Pop Trash Addicts Pop Panel. Here was the glowing praise for each:
"My Man" — "Generic garbage. Couldn't even make it till the chorus before moving on. 0/5"

"It's My Time"
"Stick to stripping, baby. 0.5/5"
Come to your senses, 'babes, and let Mutya Buena back in!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Lady GaGa: Paparazzi Don't Preach!

Where does the day go, pop kids? I had every intention of doing the weekly chart post earlier this morning, but then one ridiculous thing after another happened, and, well, here we are at 9 p.m.

It's okay, though—there are really only a few things worth mentioning here this week. First up is Lady GaGa, who's "Paparazzi" not only jumps into the Top 40, but the Top 20 also (at #18).

Oh, I know, Madonna fans, I know. But the sooner you realize GaGa is the new Madge, the less painful it'll be. I bet by the end of Lady's co-headlining tour with Kanye West, he'll be opening for her. And I also predict by this time next year, Madonna will be opening for Lady GaGa.

Two other pop jams dip into the Top 40, as well—Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone," at #35, and Cascada's "Evacuate The Dancefloor," at #39.

Seriously, who would have thought Cascada would manage another U.S. hit? Not that I'm complaining. Shame goes out the window when I readily admit that "Evactuate..." has totally grown on me in the past month or so.

That's it—Natalie Horler is The next Madonna. (After Lady GaGa, of course.)

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas *12 weeks*
2. "Down" - Jay Sean feat. Lil Wayne
3. "Party In The U.S.A." - Miley Cyrus
4. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z feat. Rihanna and Kanye West
5. "Use Somebody" - Kings Of Leon
6. "You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift
7. "Watcha Say" - Jason DeRulo
8. "Obsessed" - Mariah Carey
9. "Hotel Room Service" - Pitbull
10. "Good Girls Go Bad" - Cobra Starship feat. Leighton Meester

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Turn Up The LIGHTS

I've had a promo of electro-pop broad LIGHTS' forthcoming album The Listening (out on Sire/Warner Bros. on October 6) sitting here for about a month or so, and I finally dug it out on Sunday.

Listening to it kind of gives the same feeling as the first time I heard Michelle Branch's The Spirit Room many moons ago—I can't believe this surprisingly mature, dreamy pop music is coming from a 22-year-old!

There really isn't a filler track on the whole LP, and hopefully LIGHTS gets as much press and hype as La Roux, Lady GaGa, Little Boots, etc. Because she deserves it.

Here's the video clip of LIGHTS' new single "Saviour" (available on iTunes now), which sounds like it should be on the soundtrack of some fantasy flick a la Stardust:


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Check Out Sally Shapiro's Angsty 'Miracle' Video

The video for Sally Shapiro's "Miracle" finally surfaces, months after the song was released as a single this past spring.

If you've not yet grabbed Sally's new album, My Guilty Pleasure, you're missing out on a really dreamy affair. Equally as sparkly is the clip for "Miracle," below. Naturally, the blonde-haired singer is nowhere to be seen in it—instead we witness the moody angst of a hip Asian couple.

* Sally Shapiro: The Chart Rigger Interview


Little Boots: The Chart Rigger Interview

Victoria Hesketh made quite a splish-splash this year as Little Boots, scoring both a Top 10 album (Hands) and two hit singles ("Remedy" and "New In Town"), and releasing the Illuminations EP here in the States.

So on the eve of Little Boots' North American tour (dates at the end of the interview), Victoria decided it was time to submit herself to the inevitable barrage of classy inquiries from Chart Rigger.

ROBBIE DAW: Hi Victoria! First of all, congratulations on your success in the U.K. with both Hands and "Remedy." Did you expect the single would do so well?

VICTORIA HESKETH: Thank you. I didn't really know what to expect so I am really pleased it has done so well.

Your previous single, "New In Town," was written while you were in Los Angeles, and has kind of a dark feel to it. What about this town made you feel that way?
I think it's a great place but can be quite intimidating if you are new and don't know many people or your way around, so the song was about the mix of excitement and scariness I experienced.

While we're talking about Hollywood, have you seen the godawful Renee Zellweger film that was released earlier this year called New In Town?

No! I saw the ad, it looked pretty bad.

What can we Yanks expect from you North American tour dates this coming week?
We will be playing quite a stripped down set. There are just three of us and we can't bring all our props and singers with us but I think it makes it more raw and more of a live feel, and we still make a pretty good racket.

Speaking of racket, you'd been in the band Dead Disco prior to taking on your own project, Little Boots. Are you in touch anymore with any of your previous bandmates?


Well, that answers that. Can you explain how you come to work with pop producer extraordinaire Greg Kurstin in Los Angeles?
I met Greg through working with my old band, then we worked on some tracks together and just kept going. He's ridiculously talented and I really enjoy being in the studio with him, it's very easy and natural and fun to write. Plus he has a great dog.

Doggone it! What, to you, is the significance of the name Little Boots?
It's really a name for the whole project, not just me, so I like that it's kind of bigger than just me as a person and stretches to cover everything that I do in this project.

So when can we expect to get our, uh, hands on Hands here in the States?
I think the date is not definitely set yet but probably January.

The Illuminations EP is available in America, and "Not Now" has gotta be my favorite track on it! How did this come to be a U.S.-only song?

Like any album there were extra songs I had to choose between, and it was really really difficult— but this track didn't make the album. So I was really pleased we could feature it on the U.S. EP and make it more of a special feature.

Being from Blackpool, have you ever bumped into Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys?
Not in Blackpool, but we have played a show with them in London. They both watched all of our set and were very complimentary.

And along those lines, you recorded a duet with the amazing Philip Oakey called "Symmetry." Describe that day in the studio.

It was great. Philip is really talented and his voice is still incredible, so it was a real honor to work with him, as I've always been such a big Human League fan.

And, most importantly, what color are your favorite pair of little boots?
Black and gold.

Ooh, just like Sam Sparro. Sparkly!

Below are Little Boots' U.S. tour dates, starting tomorrow in New York. (Tickets available here.)

September 16—Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY

September 17Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL

September 18—Roxy Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

September 19—The Independent, San Francisco, CA

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Lady GaGa, The Only Classy Thing At The Televised Abortion That Is The MTV VMAs

Lady GaGa arrived at the MTV VMAs with Kermit the Frog. They tongued each other a few times, then later, GaGa performed a medley of "Poker Face" and "Paparazzi."

It was the only non-boring moment at the event. And at least she sang live. She also ended up covered in blood at the end.

Lady GaGa won for Best New Artist, plus her "Paparazzi" video won for Best Editing and Best Art Direction.

Choke on that, Christina Aguilera, you washed-up stripper.

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Fuck You, Kanye West

Fuck that crybaby scumbag Kanye West for jumping onstage and interrupting Taylor Swift's Best Female Video win at the MTV VMAs for "You Belong With Me" to protest and say the following:
"Hey Taylor, I'm really happy for you, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time."
Seriously, who's still inviting that tuneless douche to these events, anyway? Thankfully the entire audience booed him when he jumped off the stage.

But there is some justice. Pink later tweeted the following:
"Kanye west is the biggest piece of shit on earth. Quote me...douche bag got kicked out. HA"

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Viva La Mini Viva!

First up, apologies for the lack of posts this past week. My poor laptop is down to about its last few electrical giga-breaths. Granted, I've had it since November 2004, two months before I started Chart Rigger, so it's had quite a long run.

I dropped it off to have it jump-started like an old hooker heading out on the whorepath for one last hurrah. Hopefully it'll be ready for pickup asap in the coming week.

And, talk of hookers brings us rather naturally to Pixie Lott, who has yet another chart-topping single in the U.K. this week, with "Boys & Girls." I bet Amy Winehouse sees Pixie and screams in horror at how, this far down the line, she's managed to spawn an army of imitators—and especially one as cheap as this broad.

Me, I much prefer my pop dames to be in the form of Mini Viva, who this week land their Xenomania-produced jam "Left My Heart In Tokyo" at #7.

While at first there doesn't seem to be too much to differentiate Mini Viva from the usual Brit girlie pop Xenomania crank out, there's something quite infectious about "Left My Heart In Tokyo" after a point. By all rights this shoulda come out as a by-the-numbers track, but it sort of turned out to be a happy accident, maybe?

This finally brings us to Bananarama's "Love Comes," which debuts at #44. To be honest, I thought it would have done much worse, so color me strangely pleased with that chart position.

And color me outta here. It's a beautiful Sunday outside. Ciao!

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Boys & Girls" - Pixie Lott *1 week*
2. "Sexy Bitch" - David Guetta feat. Akon
3. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z feat. Rihanna & Kanye West
4. "We Are Golden" - Mika
5. "Holiday" - Dizzee Rascal
6. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas
7. "Left My Heart In Tokyo" - Mini Viva *new*
8. "Get Sexy" - Sugababes
9. "Uprising" - Muse
10. "Remedy" - Little Boots

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Attention All Richard X And Saint Etienne Fans

It's time again for another limited edition Saint Etienne fan club-only release, and this time it comes in the form of their very first album, Foxbase Alpha, completely re-imagined, remixed and re-everythinged by Richard X (who swizzed up their recent single, "Method Of Modern Love").

This new version is called Foxbase Beta. Says SE's Bob Stanley:
"Using the original masters, adding cellos, electrix, choirs, and the spirit of Brian Cant he has created something really special—spruced-up yet reverential, it is essentially a 2009 up-date of Foxbase Alpha, given a shot of vodka and a loving caress. We're chuffed. It feels unnervingly like jumping into a Tardis.

"FOXBASE BETA will be issued, via the fan club, as a limited, numbered 2CD set of 3,000 copies, which will also include FOXBASE EXTRA, three unreleased recordings from the original album sessions: a just discovered coda to 'Girl VII' (we'd forgotten it existed), a summery instrumental called 'Richard III,' and the first, very different, take of 'Kiss And Make Up,' which was the very first Saint Etienne recording. We cut it one afternoon in January 1990, and then 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' in the evening! It was all so simple then. These tracks won't be available anywhere else."
It's been a fun year for Saint Etienne fans, what with the two-CD deluxe editions of Foxbase Alpha, So Tough, Continental and Sound Of Water being released. (I just finally picked up the latter two on Saturday at Amoeba Records).

Foxbase Beta will be made available for pre-order on the band's website September 21. But you've gotta be a fan club member first to get them the limited edition two-disc edition.

Thanks to Daft Monk for pointing out the following: An un-numbered, single disc edition will be available at gigs and through Rough Trade. It will also be available for digital download via itunes (with the commentary but without the bonus tracks).

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just When You Thought No One Was 'Obsessed' With Mariah Carey's Latest...

Well, it took nine weeks, but Mariah Carey finally pushes into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 with "Obsessed." The single lands at #7.

And, just in time, since her cover of "I Want To Know When Love Is" is set to be made available digitally next week. After all the yo-yo-ing and hovering of "Obsessed" like a mid-air hooker doing the business, will her new-old jam have just as much of a struggle? Oh, Mimi, at least you're never predictable. Oh, wait. You're covering a #1 single from the '80s. Scratch that.

It's now time for our weekly Cascada watch, where the German act is just outside the Top 40 at #41 with "Evacuate The Dancefloor." Other jams just behind Natalie Horler and company include Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone" at #44 and Lady GaGa's "Paparazzi" at #46.

Meanwhile, the big news this week is over on the album chart, where Whitney Houston's I Look To You debuts at the top after sales of over 300,000 copies. Yes, it appears that this is one of those albums that got Aunt Suzie Q out of her rocking chair and into Target to pick it up after seeing poor Whixxxey warble on Good Morning America.

Back on the Hot 100, "I Look To You" (the single, not the album—yes, these are confusing times), is up from #98 to #70.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas *11 weeks*
2. "Down" - Jay Sean feat. Lil Wayne
3. "Party In The U.S.A." - Miley Cyrus
4. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z feat. Rihanna and Kanye West
5. "Use Somebody" - Kings Of Leon
6. "You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift
7. "Obsessed" - Mariah Carey
8. "Hotel Room Service" - Pitbull
9. "Best I Ever Had" - Drake
10. "Watcha Say" - Jason DeRulo

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Will Love Come For Bananarama?

Bananarama's first single in four years, "Love Comes," was released in the U.K. this week. [Watch the video]

And while they managed to shake out two hits off their last set, Drama—"Move In My Direction" made it to U.K. #14 in August 2005, while "Look On The Floor" landed at #26 (and #2 on the U.S. Dance Club Play chart)—"Love Comes" has yet to dent the Brit iTunes chart, while the CD single is #7 on Amazon UK. Come on, you cougars—sell that jam!

Alas, it's not been a great season for British girl groups. Poor Dolly Rockers crawled in at #46 this past week with their swell disco number "Gold Digger" (video below) while Booty Luv landed just inside the Top 20 at #16 with "Say It" and Sugababes had to settle for the the #2 spot with "Get Sexy," behind Jay-Z and company.

So will love come for the B'rams when new album Viva hits the shelves Monday? At least the Saturdays' label Fascination is behind them.

And, you know what? I don't even care. I've got my copy pre-ordered. Viva la vida, divas.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Michael Bolton Slams Madonna, Discusses Leeching Off Of Working With Lady GaGa

By now everyone likely knows Michael Bolton's upcoming album (out Sept. 21) has a collaboration with Lady GaGa titled "Murder My Heart."

Love how in the below quote from Bolton—where he talks about his label setting her up for a studio session with GaGa before she became famous—he manages to not-so-subtly trash Madonna.
"...I realized she was not only about to have a big hit record but Gaga was a superstar about to launch—energy was so high and her focus excited me," he said. "She reminded me of a young Madonna—with more exuberance and emphasis on the art rather than the marketing."
Only a true craftsman like Michael Bolton could get away with saying this!

Here's "Murder My Heart":

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sugababes And Booty Luv's Chart Positions Feel Like Some Kinda Bum Rush

Indeed, poor Sugababes got side-checked into a wall this week on the way to #1 on the U.K. chart by Jay-Z. I can't help feeling that the success of "Run This Town" on both sides of the pond has more to do with Rihanna (and Kayne West?).

Ah, well, the 'babes can't be too angry about new single "Get Sexy" settling for a #2 debut behind Jay-Z—after all, he's signed them to his new label Roc Nation for a three album deal in the States. Of course, this means they're working with Ne-Yo and Ryan Tedder. We'll see how that turns out. Hopefully they don't get watered down to the point of sounding like American ho squads Danity Kane or Pussycat Dolls.

Sugababes talking to Chart Rigger about stripper poles:

If "Get Sexy" doesn't go any higher than the runner-up position on the Brit chart, it'll be their first single to peak at #2. In addition to their six #1s, "Ugly" and "Girls" peaked at #3.

Elsewhere, fab girlie duo Booty Luv maintain their #16 midweek position with "Say It," now that all is said and done. Definitely not the best they could've done—especially considering it's the lead single off the new album—but it gives the Hed Kandi broads a fifth Top 20 hit.

Over on the album chart, the Arctic Monkeys have a second week at the top with Humbug, and though Just Jack's "The Day I Died" hangs in there at #15 on the singles chart after debuting at #11 two weeks back, his LP All Night Cinema makes a rather ho-hum splash at #22.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z feat. Rihanna & Kanye West *1 week*
2. "Get Sexy" - Sugababes *new*
3. "Sexy Bitch" - David Guetta feat. Akon
4. "Holiday" - Dizzee Rascal
5. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas
6. "Kings Of Leon" - Kings Of Leon
7. "Remedy" - Little Boots
8. "Never Leave You" - Tinchy Stryder feat. Amelle
9. "Sweet Dreams" - Beyonce
10. "Outta Here" - Esmee Denters

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Robbie Williams' 'Bodies' Is DOA

I've tried to like your music, Robbie Williams. Really, I have. It's just that any affection for the songs that didn't bray on my nerves like a cheese grater was always fleeting. "Rock DJ" was good for about three drunken listens while shimmying at the club in 2000. "Feel," maybe two. I chalk it up to the neurotic lyrics and the self-conscious/arrogant demeanor.

So, at any rate, along comes Robbie's new single "Bodies" (boasting production credits from no less than three heavyweights—Trevor Horn, Guy Chambers and Mark Ronson). Below is a 30-ish second clip of the video. I'd have posted the full song clip, but, well, you pretty much get the idea from this:

Sorry, but Robbie really hasn't had a truly great song since Take That's "Everything Changes." Or "Could It Be Magic," the one where Gary Barlow wrote that producer Ian Levine tried to pass another, more soulful singer off as Williams for half the song.

Now that was a good jam.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Throwback: The Best Thing In The World?

2009 has been one bitch of a year, no? In talking with different people over the past few months, it seems that frustration, misfortune and overall wariness has set in for many.

And so, it was with some irony—but, overall, excitement—that I stumbled upon the below "live" clip last night of onetime British fivepiece pop group Optimystic doing their third (flop) single "Best Thing In The World" on the program Fully Booked in 1995. (I say "irony" because I'd just just come from visiting a friend in the hospital who's been in a bad motorcycle accident, and, well, the song is called "Best Thing In The World.")

By my third year of college, I was heavily caught up in trading CDs with pals I'd made online. In 1996, a guy in Philadelphia sent me a copy of Optimystic's lone album, Heartbeat. They were like a much cheesier (if you can imagine) Steps, and really only eked out one minor U.K. Top 40 hit, with "Nothing But Love".

That's their album to the right there. Lovely rainbow logo, gang. Naughty Hi-NRG/dance-pop producer Ian Levine had his fingers in the Optimystic pie, but "Best Thing In The World" was produced by Nigel Lowis, who'd worked with Take That (remixing their single "Everything Changes"), Dina Carroll and Eternal (producing my fave jam by them, "Stay").

Anyway, I used to ride my bicycle around Indiana, Pennsylvania—the town I went to college in—circa 1996/'97 and play this song over and over on my walkman on Sunday afternoons. Something about it still sounds kind of timeless to me today. No matter what mix tape I'd made each month (or, sometimes, week) back then, it was always on there. Much simpler, un-complicated times, in hindsight.

Eventually, I traded Heartbeat off to someone else, deeming "Best Thing In The World" the only decent track on there. But—oh, ho HO!—smarty-smart me made sure to save that song on TAPE! Sigh.

OK, who am I kidding? I got rid of the damn thing because of the cover art. I mean, it was one thing to have Aqua's Aquarium being the grand peak of cheesiness in your music collection in 1997, but there were only so many R.E.M. CDs you could hastily throw on top of Optimystic each time your friends came over, to avoid embarrassment!

At any rate, Optimystic's Heartbeat is available on iTunes. It's not exactly the, uh, best thing in the—well, you get the picture. But that one song alone is at least deserving of making its way onto your next "Lost '90s Rewind" playlist.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

It's A Lady GaGa World, And She'd Like You To Kindly Just Get Over It

Now, kiddies, I know, I know. Lady GaGa angers some of you. Look, she angers me, too—one week I hear it's GaGa, with two capital Gs, and the next it's only one. Dammit!

At any rate, this week the Lady in question brings her recent European hit, "Paparazzi," over to the Billboard Hot 100, where it debuts at #74. As well, Wale's "Chillin'," which features squealing by Lady GaGa, enters the chart at #99, thereby bumping Whitney Houston's "I Look To You" up to #98.

We previously saw Wale in the Top 10 of the U.K. chart in February, when he featured on that hot piece Daniel Merriweather's single "Change." And as for Whitney, "I Look To You" will likely do the old hooker trawl up the chart next week, now that her full-length album is available and folks are downloading that track and "Million Dollar Bill" like barnyard animals feeding out of Whitney's trough.

What the hell was I talking about? Oh, right—Lady GaGa. She's also still got "LoveGame" and "Poker Face" kicking around the upper half of the chart, at #24 and #41, respectively.

Elsewhere, Mariah Carey's "Obsessed" and Shakira's "She Wolf" are stuck at #11 and #12 yet again. Cascada threatens to have a second U.S. Top 40 hit, as "Evacuate The Dancefloor" moves up from #57 to #47, and Peal Jam debuts at #56 with "The Fixer."


The U.S. Top 10:

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

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sugababes Talk Exclusively With Chart Rigger About—What Else?—Pole Dancing

I'm extremely honored to have been asked to submit a question to the Sugababes to coincide with the release this week of their new single "Get Sexy" in the U.K. (Watch the video.) But this being Chart Rigger, these gals weren't gonna get off easy with some wishy-washy inquiry.

So what, pray tell, did D'luv ask the 'babes? Whether or not any of them were skilled at stripper pole dancing, of course!

Basically, Keisha Buchanan says she'd been to a strip bar here in the States, in Atlanta, and so later when the three of them were out on tour, she took the 'babes to a strip bar along with some other friends.

"After about an hour-and-a-half, Amelle was going upside-down in a split, going up and down," she says.

Oh, and Keisha now has her own stripper pole in her house. Class!

Check it out below:

God, I love them. "Get Sexy" is out now!

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Where's The Booty Luv?

"Say It," the new-ish single from Britain's girlie underdogs Booty Luv has knocking around for months now, though it was only just released officially on Monday. And I call these two underdogs because they've yet to achieve the type of luxurious heights that their more filled-out (roster-wise) counterparts Sugababes, Girls Aloud and The Saturdays have.

And, it appears as if "Say It" is at #16 on the U.K. mid-week charts. That's a far cry from the #2 position "Boogie 2Nite," the lead single from their debut album, reached nearly three years ago.

Here's the "Say It" vid:

Dare I "say it, say it," along with Girls Aloud's "The Loving Kind," this is probably the best girl group pop jam this year. And, as I said a couple weeks back on the Pop Trash Addicts Pop Panel, "I've had a soft spot for these scrappy broads from day one. [This is just really] great pop!"


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Madonna Has A Thigh High 'Celebration'

Visually, Madonna's video for "Celebration," the title-track to her upcoming greatest hits set, is pretty decent. The clip was directed by Jonas Akerlund, and has a brief cameo, supposedly, from her man Jesus Luz (around 2:20, though can you really tell it's him?), and Madge's daughter, Lourdes, toward the end.

As for the mix of the song used here, I think re-reading Chart Rigger's Madonna banterview is 20 times more exciting.

The "Celebration" video is available for free from iTunes until Thursday.