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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nero's "Crush On You" Video Is Like A Hot Dario Argento Horror Flick

Nero rework my elementary school bus jam — aka The Jets' '80s classic "Crush On You" — into a dubstep number, and the video is completely fucked. Radness.

And here I thought they couldn't do better than "Promises"! I might have to download this whole trash album now.


Aqua: Three New Photos

The one with the slicked-back hair and scruff — totally boffable. (No, no! Not Lene...the guy!)

Aqua's third album Megalomania is out on Monday overseas.


'Steps Reunion': The Audition Segment

Better quality video from the first episode of Steps Reunion than the trash I put up yesterday. The band discusses their individual auditions back in 1997, and their initial showcase for Pete Waterman.

* Steps Reunion Part 1: Watch This Sketchy Highlights Video
* Brand New Steps Photo
* Steps The Ultimate Collection: Utterly Useless
* Wonder Why Steps De$ided To Reunite?/Best Steps Singles

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Adele's "Someone Like You" Video = Iconic

Wow. Adele's video for her chart-topping 21 single "Someone Like You" premiered tonight, and the it features the London soulstress walking around the lonely streets of Paris at 5 a.m.

It's beautifully shot by Jake Nava, and it totally captures the feel of the somber piano ballad. Not really much more to say about it, other than it's an iconic visual that should cement Adele's status as one of the pop voices of this decade.


I Totally Just Interviewed JoJo

So I totally just interviewed JoJo for Idolator...on her tour bus! It was like being in the presence of Michelangelo as he created the statue of David. Or God when he created the universe.

Well, okay — I'll just say it was pretty cool. As we know, I've been stanning for JoJo for a long time. ("Too Little Too Late" was #2 on Chart Rigger's Best Pop Tunes Of 2006 list, and #21 overall on the Top 40 Pop Singles Of The '00s roundup.)

I totally should have told her the story about how, when I was working at Instinct and my co-worker/friend Brandon and I were shipped off in summer 2004 to sell subscriptions at Minneapolis Gay Pride, we heard "Leave (Get Out)" every time we turned the radio on in our rental car.

And then it poured rain and was freezing on our second day there, and, appropriately enough, we kept singing "Leave (Get Out)." Then, that last night there, we went to a club and Brandon mysteriously cut his hand open, so we had to rush to the nearest hospital so he could get stitches at 1 a.m., and we kept singing "Leave (Get Out)."

Then, because of that, we slept in and totally missed our 8 a.m. flight. And, again, we sang "Leave (Get Out)," while sitting in the airport, without having showered, and with Brandon's foot still covered in blood from his hand from the night before, while waiting the three hours for the next flight out to L.A.

Yeah — that would have been a lame story to tell her.

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U.S. Chart Roundup: Rihanna And Calvin Harris Debut At The Dreaded #16

Rihanna and Calvin Harris' "We Found Love" debuts at #16 on Billboard's Hot 100 this week, giving the latter his first entry on the chart. The song was released last Thursday, and so only its sales up to Sunday factored into its position.

Meanwhile, Coldplay's "Paradise," which debuted at #16 last week, is now down to #33. And going back two weeks, Kelly Clarkson's "Mr. Know It All" made its chart entry at #16. Last week the lead single off Stronger dropped to #35, and now it's at #38.

Guess it remains to be seen if Rihanna and Calvin will suffer the same drop the others did, but so far it's looking unlikely. "We Found Love" is hanging in there at #5 on iTunes currently.

Just below RiRi and Calvin, Dev is up one to #17 with "In The Dark," while Alexandra Stan is lodged at #29 for another week with "Mr. Saxobeat."

That Romanian hooker needs to get over here and step it up with the promotion, because that song is totally my jam, and it needs to crush some of this other garbage clogging up the charts at the moment.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Moves Like Jagger" - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera *4 weeks*
2. "Someone Like You" - Adele
3. "Pumped Up Kicks" - Foster The People
4. "Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO/Lauren Bennett/GoonRock
5. "Stereo Hearts" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine
6. "Lighters" - Bad Meets Evil feat. Bruno Mars
7. "Cheers (Drink To That)" - Rihanna
8. "You And I" - Lady Gaga
9. "You Make Me Feel..." - Cobra Starship feat. Sabi
10. "Sexy And I Know It" - LMFAO

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

'Steps Reunion' Part 1: Watch This Sketchy Highlights Video

Alright, so I wasn't around to watch the first part of this Steps Reunion trash today on the Sky Living site, but luckily some hooker Flip-cammed their TV set (classy) and made a sort of compilation reel of the best bits.

Yeah, you can't really hear some of what they're saying. But there's lots of crying from the girls, a bit with Lee saying he never got to sing and H admitting that he was the favorite.

The band disbanded in December 2001 when H and Claire Richards surprised the others by announcing they were leaving to form a duo. The result was a flop album for the pair in 2002 which produced three singles, "All Out Of Love" being the best of them (though "Half A Heart" and the Metro-produced "DJ" didn't totally suck).

Anyone know where I can watch this trash online? Hit me up.


Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Kelly Clarkson's "Mr. Know It All" Video

Here's the thing about Kelly Clarkson's "Mr. Know It All" — nice tune, but it feels like a second or third single, no? Every time I hear it, I just wish Kelly would totally go to town with the wailing.

Oh, well — that never happens with this song, but at least the video has her lashing out at the press. That's always fun.

KC eventually rips down a wall of negative articles written about her and heads out on a path...the path to Kelly Clarksondom, where, hopefully, she's now up on a mountain top, wailing away on a much more upbeat song.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

UK Chart Roundup: Dappy Rhymes With...

You really should have no regrets for thinking Dappy's debut single is complete shit.

The UK Top 10:

1. "No Regrets" - Dappy *new* *1 week*
2. "Moves Like Jagger" - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
3. "What Makes You Beautiful" - One Direction
4. "It Girl" - Jason Derulo *new*
5. "I Won't Let You Go" - James Morrison *new*
6. "All About Tonight" - Pixie Lott
7. "The A Team" - Ed Sheeran
8. "Heart Skips A Beat" - Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks
9. "Cannonball" - Damien Rice
10. "Jealousy" - Will Young

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Aqua's "Playmate To Jesus" Video Is Giving Me A Total Religious Experience

Aqua's "Playmate To Jesus" video has premiered, and unlike that, uh, cartoon-hero-ish, low rent clip for "How R U Doin?", this one actually has some classy visuals and a budget of more than 20 bucks and a stack of bingo chips.

The vid for the second single off the upcoming Megalomania (out October 3) features vocalist Lene Nystrøm in an empty house, doing the appropriate pop starlet slow-mo poses while decked out in goth drag (and Lady Gaga hoof heels).

The other band members are like angst-ridden bodyguards, occasionally hovering around her. And all I can think is that I'd still totally rip the clothes off the dude with the facial hair and make him my Jesus playmate.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Rihanna & Calvin Harris' "We Found Love"

So we're back to the Rated R-ish artwork. Thoughts on the song in a bit...

Okay, here we go: Admittedly, at first I thought the lyrics to Rihanna and Calvin Harris' "We Found Love" — what little ones there seem to be — were cheap and throwaway. Then, after about 17 listens, it finally hit me! This song is kind of what we've been missing from Ri-boxx since about "Hate That I Love You" (except that "Hate That I Love You" sucks stripper box) — a happy, uplifting song, without sexual menace or innuendo or whips or tongues licking your hee-haw (translation: Britney Spears guest vocals).

"We found love in a hopeless place" might just be the best pop lyric of 2011, and I'm not just saying that because Rihanna sings it about 20 times (or more) in this hot trash.


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Brand New Steps Photo

Steps are looking very shiny these days. Here's a new promo pic for their upcoming Ultimate Collection (out October 10 in the UK) and Sky Living documentary series on the band.

I'd still hit it with Lee. The other broads and that lesbian H can take a hike.


US Chart Roundup: It's Embarrassing How Much I Dig That Cobra Starship & Sabi Trash Jam

It's a third non-consecutive week at #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart for Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera's "Moves Like Jagger," a time length that now matches the stretch the Adam Levine-led band spent at the top in 2007 with "Makes Me Wonder." Xtina's last run at #1, with "Lady Marmalade" in 2001, lasted five weeks.

The rest of the Top 10 players remain pretty much the same, save for Cobra Starship and Sabi's Steve Mac-produced hit "You Make Me Feel..." hopping up to #7, thus bumping Lil Wayne's Auto Tune trash "How To Love" out of the upper tier of the chart.

I'm seriously hoping to be over "You Make Me Feel..." within a week or so, because it has so become my guilty pleasure jam while driving around. And have you heard those guys perform the song live? They make Britney Spears sound like Kelly Clarkson by comparison.

Elsewhere, Coldplay's second Mylo Xyloto single "Paradise" debuts at #16 (it's predecessor, "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall," reached #14 in June), while Dev's "In The Dark" inches up two positions to #18. Romanian hooker Alexandra Stan's ridiculously addictive "Mr. Saxobeat" is up to #29.

Finally, Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse's "Body And Soul" debuts way down at #87. Billboard points out that Bennett is now the oldest artist to have a single chart on the Hot 100.

Meanwhile, I totally bought Duets II. It's my new folding laundry/chasing the cats around the joint with the Dirt Devil Kone jam.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Moves Like Jagger" - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera *3 weeks*
2. "Someone Like You" - Adele
3. "Pumped Up Kicks" - Foster The People
4. "Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO/Lauren Bennett/GoonRock
5. "Stereo Hearts" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine
6. "Lighters" - Bad Meets Evil feat. Bruno Mars
7. "You Make Me Feel..." - Cobra Starship feat. Sabi
8. "Cheers (Drink To That)" - Rihanna
9. "Super Bass" - Nicki Minaj
10. "You And I" - Lady Gaga

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

R.E.M.: 25 Random Memories

R.E.M. announced today on their official site that, after 31 years, they've broken up:
"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."
And just like the lyrics "the photograph reflects, every streetlight a reminder" from "Nightswimming," one of my favorite songs by the band (which I'm listening to now), I don't think I could possibly sit here and type out exactly how much R.E.M. have sound-tracked certain events in my life. I'm not saying they were my all time favorites. And I actually never got to see them live.

But, ah, well — here are my 25 random R.E.M. memories:

* Not liking "The One I Love" when I was 13.

* Loving "The Finest Work Song," which my best friend in summer 1988 played all the time.

* Getting Green for Christmas in 1988 on cassette.

* Loving "Stand" in winter '88/'89 then being over it by February after too much radio overkill.

* Seeing the "Losing My Religion" video for the first time at my friend Mandy's house in March 1991.

* Playing Out Of Time relentlessly in summer '91 and buying all of the import CD singles at Randy's Records. 

* Feeling indifferent and not "getting" how rad "Drive" was when it was released in fall 1992. (I've since amended this mindset.)

* Not buying Automatic For The People (and missing out on their so-called "best album") until 2007.

* My entire floor of co-eds owning Monster and playing it non-stop my first year away at university, in fall '94/spring '95.

* A friend who lived on the floor above me introducing me to "Nightswimming" and Electronic's "Disappointed" (another one I'd missed when it was out three years prior) in the same day. Mind-blowing.

* My first boyfriend playing Monster frequently in his white Honda CRX.

* A group of friends from my floor going to see R.E.M. in concert in summer '95 and not inviting me.

* Driving around and turning "Strange Currencies" up loud every time it came on the radio in summer '95, while still trying to process my first year away at school.

* Getting Monster (though I knew it note-for-note by that point) and New Adventures In Hi-Fi for Christmas on CD from my mom in '96.

* Being really disappointed in New Adventures In Hi-Fi after loving Monster (but the moody "Leave" was pretty great).

* Buying Up in fall '98 but thinking it was awful.

* Moving to L.A. in '99 and being blown away by Man On The Moon soundtrack jam "The Great Beyond."

* Liking bits and pieces of Reveal and putting the great "Imitation Of Life" on several mix CDs I made for friends in 2001.

* Listening to "Leaving New York" and crying a lot in New York City the week after the 2004 Presidential election.

* Never getting around to 2008's Accelerate.

* Having a Twitter back-and-forth with Xolondon, Pop In Stereo, This Man's World and PopMuse in early March this year and debating what their best album was. (I said Monster, though I guess that's my favorite, not necessarily their best.)

* Buying Collapse Into Now, liking it, watching it debut at #5 on the album chart then plummet out of sight this past spring.

* Thinking the end was near given the above, and that R.E.M. didn't even tour in support of the record.

* Playing Automatic For The People repeatedly in April and May while writing a short story that I may or may not continue to work on more extensively, if I get the bug again.

* Buying Automatic For The People on vinyl off eBay, and playing it loudly one Thursday night in April while sitting on my balcony and watching the rain pour down at 11:30 p.m.

Side note: The band is apparently releasing a career-spanning greatest hits by year's end, with a handful of new songs included. Sweetness follows...

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It's Darren Hayes' "Bloodstained Heart" Video

At first Darren Hayes' video for "Bloodstained Heart," the third single lifted from upcoming album Secret Codes And Battleships (out October 17 in UK, October 21 US), is all like a woe-is-me (or them), the couple represented is either breaking up or having a rough patch, lying in bed looking all sad.

Scenes of the pair walking on the beach and then to the top of a building appear to be flashbacks to better times, until you realize they're going to jump off the roof — and then the big reveal comes at the end.

Simple concept packing a big sad-face wallop.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rihanna And Calvin Harris "We Found Love" Single Trash

Folks, when Rihanna's Calvin Harris-produced single "We Found Love" arrives shortly, it will kick off the campaign for her upcoming sixth (!!!) album in six years (!!!!!). I'm taking it pretty personally that, of the six singles issued off her Loud album, which was released only 10 months ago, this broad's label couldn't find the time to offer up "Fading" to radio.

Anyway, Ri Ri and Calvin are touring together now Down Under and, if she's smart, hopefully boinking on a nightly basis in some cramped tour bus bunk bed. Yeah, I know — I'm trash and Calvin's dirty. But he's still worth a bounce.

Rihanna tweeted what some are saying are lyrics to the new single: "Sometimes it feels like we find love in the most hopeless place."

Ah, so romantic. Now start fucking already.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

UK Chart Roundup: One Direction Can Just Steer Themselves Straight To Hell

Sorry, folks, but I can't get on board with this One Direction garbage. Sure, these X Factor losers carry on the tradition of pop-dappled boy bands who have worked with those in Max Martin's circle, but what does it matter when "What Makes You Beautiful" is complete shit?

Far more interesting than that trash being #1 on the UK chart is the fact that Will Young's "Jealousy" has climbed back into the Top 10, at #9, while his album Echoes is still lodged high up at #7 in its fourth week.

At least it distracts me from thinking about all the ways one could extinguish the members of One Direction with sharpened garden tools.

The UK Top 10:

1. "What Makes You Beautiful" - One Direction *new* *1 week*
2. "Moves Like Jagger" - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
3. "All About Tonight" - Pixie Lott
4. "Heart Skips A Beat" - Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks
5. "All Fired Up" - The Saturdays
6. "Stay Awake" - Example
7. "Feel So Close" - Calvin Harris
8. "Jar Of Hearts" - Christina Perri
9. "Jealousy" - Will Young
10. "Collide" - Leona Lewis & Avicii

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Lady Gaga Is A Tramp With Tony Bennett, Foster The People & Other Trash

Three things:

1. Thank Christ YouTube finally enabled that Joe Jonas "Just In Love" video so it can be seen/embedded in the States. Because, like you, I was over coming here and having it automatically start playing every time. Semi-hot video. Godawful song. Of course, the post got all wonky (curse you, Joe!) once I swapped the old video out for the new one. So I unpublished that shit and will fuck around with it later.

B. The Foster The People concert last night was so, so good. Those guys — particularly Mark Foster — are way more talented and entertaining than I gave them credit for. Below is one of a few really lousy pics I took at the show. I'd hit it with one or two (okay — all) of them.

4. That full Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga "The Lady Is A Tramp" song from Duets II is online now. I have a feeling I'll be playing that album through the rest of the year. I'm stanning so hard for Tony now that I actually want to go to one of that old hottie's shows now and throw my zebra-print thong on stage, so it gets hooked on his glasses.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brite Futures Have A Total Killer(s) 'Dark Past' Album Cover

Brite Futures' Dark Past LP arrived in my inbox this afternoon, and I thought of this:

Thankfully, the album is pretty rad, and was pretty accurately described in the press info as ""punk rock Abba disco Osmonds with chainsaws."

On the flip side, the artwork for Britney Spears' "Criminal" single surfaced yesterday...

...and conjured up thoughts of this:

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US Chart Roundup: I Heart Foster The People, Kelly Clarkson Is Back (And So Is JoJo!)

Adele's "Someone Like You" does a flip-flop with Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera's "Moves Like Jagger" on the new Hot 100, with the latter returning to the top of the chart for a second non-consecutive week.

I've been pretty off the mark about "Moves Like Jagger," too — I initially thought it would debut high then drop quickly, which it did. But I never predicted it would go to #1. And when that happened, I figured it would only be for one week. Go buy yourself a new crotchless zebra-print thong, Xtina. You deserve it, girl.

I'd also like to take this time to point out that I've totally fallen for Foster The People. I finally got around to picking up their Torches album (on Xolondon's recommendation), which is back in the Top 10 on the Top 200 album chart this week at #10, and have been playing it nonstop all week. I've had tickets to see the band live since early June, and the concert is tonight. All of this is riveting information, of course.

Anyway, back on the Hot 100, Rihanna's "Cheers" climbs up to #10, giving her a fourth Top 10 single off Loud. That's good. It's not like she has enough hits already or anything.

Elsewhere, Kelly Clarkson's lead Stronger offering "Mr. Know It All" debuts at #18, thus giving her a 12th Top 20 single, and Dev's sax-laden "In The Dark" moves up eight positions to #20. And speaking of saxophones, Alexandra Stan's "Mr. Saxobeat" climbs slightly, from #36 to #33.

Finally, let's pop a bottle for JoJo, whose "Disaster" debuts at #87 and marks her first appearance on the Hot 100 since her legendary (in my mind, at least) single "Too Little Too Late" reached #3 back in 2006.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Moves Like Jagger" - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera *2 weeks*
2. "Someone Like You" - Adele
3. "Pumped Up Kicks" - Foster The People
4. "Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO/Lauren Bennett/GoonRock
5. "Lighters" - Bad Meets Evil feat. Bruno Mars
6. "Stereo Hearts" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine
7. "Super Bass" - Nicki Minaj
8. "You And I" - Lady Gaga
9. "How To Love" — Lil Wayne
10. "Cheers (Drink To That)" - Rihanna

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse's "Body And Soul" Video

I never thought I'd be typing these words, but Tony Bennett's Duets II is probably the album I'm most looking forward to this fall (it's out on Tuesday, September 20). I did a writeup of the collaborative collection of jazzy standards over at Idolator, and we even got Tony to offer up a few words on working with Lady Gaga and, of course, Amy Winehouse:
“Recording with Amy was just so beautiful, and I knew after singing with her what a true artistic genius she was because she performed with total and complete honesty — that is a very rare quality.”
Below is Tony and Amy's video for "Body And Soul" (which is premiering today, on what would have been Winehouse's 28th birthday.) It's the last clip she shot before her death in July.

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Cut Copy's "Blink And You'll Miss A Revolution": Far Sexier Than Joe Jonas' Video

In February, I was driving around in Los Angeles blasting Cut Copy's Zonoscope CD the entire week of my birthday in my car. The standout track, to me, was "Blink And You'll Miss A Revolution," which sort of sounds like Oingo Boingo meets Technotronic with a sprinkling of Big Fun (yes, the Stock Aitken Waterman Big Fun, not Heathers Big Fun).

Anyway, hoo-rizzle — there's now a video. Just in time for the latest Planet Of The Apes, too, no?


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Album Cover Slut-Off: Florence + The Machine Vs. Susan Boyle

Only one of these trilling ho's can suck the chrome off a bumper like a pro, so which is it: ginger-weaved drama broad Florence Welch or human elevator music box Susan Boyle?

Flo's sophomore LP Ceremonials hits the usual outlets here in the States on November 1 (which really isn't too far away — scary thought). SuBo's third (!!) album Someone To Watch Over Me arrives a week after that.

Simon Cowell must be getting nervous that Susan's vocal lady charms are wearing off on the public the third time around, because the brazen Scottish minx is tarting things up by showing the northern region of her cleavage on her album cover. And then there's the whole "Lunch money for a handjob, lads?" look she's flashing to the camera.

Meanwhile, Florence is slumped over and looking depressed. Maybe the batteries in her Rabbit are dead — in which case I highly recommend a good double-Barbie-doll-legging.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Madonna Rises From The Crypt, Releases Her Own Hyndrangea Video

Guess Ye Olde Vampyre missed the point that it wasn't her viral Venice Film Festival anti-hydrangeas quip that irked some folks, but rather her cold snubbing of a fan.

Oh well, at least we finally get to see some decent acting from the ho.

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Enrique Iglesias' "I Like How It Feels" Doesn't Exactly Suck

Let's face it, Enrique Iglesias was completely phoning it in with his last single "Dirty Dancer." I'd also argue the same could be said for  "I Like It" — but since that one became a smash, the world tends to forgive him.

And so "I Like How It Feels," a new RedOne-produced jam appearing (along with Jennifer Lopez duet "Mouth2Mouth") on the upcoming expanded edition of Euphoria (out in November), is probably the first Iglesias single since "The Ping Pong Song" that's been truly hit-worthy.

Well, I guess "Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You)" wasn't too bad, either. I mean, he does say "fuck" in it, after all. So that's worth something.

Meanwhile, can we just lose Pitbull from, I don't know, existence?

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Steps 'The Ultimate Collection': Utterly Useless

Forgive me for the late reaction to his, since I know this news has been out there for a minute. Like Aqua's Megalomania and Erasure's Tomorrow's World, the completely useless Steps compilation The Ultimate Collection is out on October 3 overseas in an effort to cash in on the upcoming four-part UK documentary on the band.

And on this trash is all 19 singles (including the double A-sides "Heartbeat/Tragedy," "Say You'll Be Mine/Better The Devil You Know" and "Summer Of Love/When I Said Goodbye") plus a cover of ABBA's "Dancing Queen" (produced by Eliot Kennedy and James Jayawardena).

Yes, a cover of ABBA's "Dancing Queen," folks. Some things are better best forgotten.


Aqua's "Playmate To Jesus" Aims For Emotion, But Sounds Appropriately Naughty

I keep forgetting that Aqua released a new single, "How R U Doin?", earlier this year. I really need to put that trash on a mix so I can play it the required three times for me to be totally sick of it.

Anyway, despite the fact that Rolling Stone's readers honored the band by declaring they have the worst song of the '90s, Aqua are back with mid-tempo power jam "Playmate To Jesus." Thankfully it sounds less like it was raped by The Cataracs than "How R U Doing?"

I'm not really sure you'd really say the single is leaning toward being religious, but I will note that every time lead vocalist Lene Nystrøm sings "let's go into space, heading for Venus," it sounds like she's saying "heading for penis."

So then maybe it is about religion, after all.

"Playmate To Jesus" is out today overseas. Aqua's third studio album Megalomania will be released on October 3.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

UK Chart Roundup: Pixie Lott, The Saturdays And Leona Lewis Really Fucked It All Up, Didn't They?

This is clearly the point in Pixie Lott, The Saturdays and Leona Lewis' careers when they figure they coast along and toss any three-minute garbage into the market. How else to explain the complete piles of shit that are, respectively, "All About Tonight" (#1 this week on the UK chart), "All Fired Up" (#3) and "Collide" (#4)?

Pixie I'm not surprised by, since her very first #1 hit "Mama Do" made Chart Rigger's 10 Worst Singles Of 2009 list. (Said yours D'luvvly at the time: "Just what the world needed—Duffy in a thong.")

Leona, okay — on the surface, it seemed as if I was dismissing her when she arrived on American soil three-and-a-half years ago. But really, I was just ticked off at Oprah Winfrey (who gave the UK X Factor winner her big break stateside, at the time) for endorsing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary race. At any rate, I do think "Better In Time" was a total jam. "Collide," on the other hand — well, keep that pole greased, luv. It's gonna come in handy about two more flop singles from now.

That brings me to The Sats. I don't know what's been going on with these strippers since the first album came and went, but it appears as if they've been spending more time at the tit factory getting new double D cups screwed on than recording anything resembling a listenable tune. And that's a shame, since Xenomania + The Saturdays, by all rights, should = total awesomeness, right?

I mean, Alex Gardner is huge now... And Florrie... and... [*shotgun blast*]

The UK Top 10:

1. "All About Tonight" - Pixie Lott *new* *1 week*
2. "Moves Like Jagger" - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
3. "All Fired Up" - The Saturdays *new*
4. "Collide" - Leona Lewis & Avicii *new*
5. "Stay Awake" - Example
6. "Heart Skips A Beat" - Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks
7. "Feel So Close" - Calvin Harris
8. "Jar Of Hearts" - Christina Perri
9. "Party All Night (Sleep All Day)" - Sean Kingston
10. "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" - Ed Sheeran

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Friday, September 09, 2011

Uncanny Alliance: Friday Trashback 3

Yeah, yeah — I've been woeful at keeping up with the Friday Trashback series here on Chart Rigger. But that all changes today! First off, if you've been wandering through life fully unaware of the sheer awesomeness of Uncanny Alliance, then go grab the skillet off the stove and bash yourself on the head a few times. And then read on!

I've often felt this Queens, New York duo was like a far sassier version of Deee-Lite. I've even likened them to friends as a '90s version of Sly & The Family Stone. (The mention of that one piqued my mom's curiosity during my last visit to Pennsylvania — she's now a total Uncanny Alliance stan.)

Vocalist E.V. Mystique (her name alone should indicate the sheer class of this act) and producer Brinsley Evans met, according to legend, at New York's Paradise Garage. The pair unleashed the original version of their single "I Got My Education" on clubland in 1992.

"I Got My Education"

The song was heavily pilfered by others, causing Uncanny Alliance to issue their finger-wavin' Bootleggers Response mix of "I Got My Education." However, they eventually landed a label deal with A&M, which led to "I Got My Education" being remixed, and the "bitch got nowhere to live" refrain was replaced with the more politically correct line "Miss Thing got nowhere to live."

The pair's one and only LP The Groove Won't Bite was released in October 1994, and it yielded the singles "I'm Beautiful Dammitt!" (which was covered by Bette Midler three years later), "Everybody Up" and "Happy Day."

Spin's review of the album at the time noted the following:
"Combining funk arrangements, house beats, disco energy, schoolyard chants, pop urgency and hip hop's respect for the spoken word, this boy-girl knows how to deliver a consciousness-expanding punchline as well as induce mass booty movement. Like Deee-Lite and RuPaul, Uncanny Alliance radiates perky New Age positivity, but not at the expense of a nasty groove."
I first got my hands on the album eight years after its release, when I found it for $1.95 in an under-the-counter bargain bin at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles. Moogaboo happened to be visiting at the time (Halloween 2002), and I think we jammed to "I Got My Education" and "I'm Beautiful Dammitt!" a few times in my car, then I filed the CD away a short while later.

"I'm Beautiful Dammitt!"

Fast forward to this past January, when I was finishing up the project of uploading all of my CDs onto iTunes then adding to my new iPod Classic. I got to the U's, and there was Uncanny Alliance's The Groove Won't Bite, which I finally played the whole way through for the first time ever — over eight years after I first bought it, and 16 years after its release.

As you can probably tell from the fact that I've typed this much on the band, I couldn't get over how rad the album was. I have no idea how Arrested Development made it, but Uncanny Alliance were somehow overlooked by the mainstream. Sure, The Groove Won't Bite sounds more than a little dated now. But it hasn't left my car since January, mostly due to the infectious hooks and, as Spin alluded to, intelligent, comical lyrics that serve as a commentary on urban living.

My faves, aside from the big singles: "The Groove Won't Bite," "Release" and "Diggin' For A Brand New Hole."

Strangely, after 1994, Uncanny Alliance pretty much disappeared off the face of the planet. You can find Brinsley on Facebook. But, sadly, E.V. Mystique is one diva who's gone completely AWOL.

In a way, I kind of like that they only ever released one album. (It rarely shows up on eBay, though there are currently three copies up for grabs at Discogs.com.) Combined with the fact that they slipped through the cracks just before we began to figure out how to track down anyone and everyone online, Uncanny Alliance are sort of like a rare pop unicorn. 

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Avril Lavigne's "Wish You Were Here" Video Is A Real Tearjerker

I'm not sure how exactly the campaign for Avril Lavigne's Goodbye Lullaby album went off the rails, but she (or rather, her label) has released the best trio of singles possible from it. And for the record, "Smile" was totally one of my summer jams.

Anyway, today Av released the video for her third single "Wish You Were Here." Like  "What The Hell" and "Smile," the song was produced by Max Martin and Shellback, though this one is a heart-tugging power ballad with a more subdued video.

Last night the Canadian broad tweeted, "My music video for 'Wish You Were Here' is coming out tomorrow (and the tears are real... no onions!!)"

I'd be really surprised if Avril gets another single/video release off the album. So at least this is a nice way to go out.

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

US Chart Roundup: Adele And The Past 20 Years Of UK Artists At #1 In The States

There are a few interesting things going on with the chart this week, the least of which is that, at this point, half of the singles in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 have spent time at #1.

Also, Katy Perry is now in her 69th consecutive week of having a single in the Top 10. That could all end by next week, since "Last Friday Night" is at #10. But I couldn't think of a more appropriate number than 69 for her to go out (or down) on.

So on to the big news, which is that Adele's ballad "Someone Like You" leaps up 18 positions to the top of the Hot 100 following her performance on the MTV VMAs two Sundays ago. This puts her with Katy Perry and Britney Spears in the category of artists who've had more than one single reach #1 this year.

By my estimation (and correct me if I'm wrong), "Someone Like You" is only the 15th single by a British artist or group with members from the UK to top the Hot 100 in the past 20 years. (I'm counting Elton John's double A-side "Candle In The Wind '97/Something About The Way You Look Tonight" as one single here.)

The breakdown is as follows:

1. "I've Been Thinking About You" - Londonbeat (1991)
2. "Unbelievable" - EMF (1991)
3. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" - George Michael/Elton (1992)
4. "I'm Too Sexy" - Right Said Fred (1992)
5. "Can't Help Falling In Love" - UB40 (1993)
6. "Kiss From A Rose" - Seal (1995)
7. "Wannabe" - Spice Girls (1997)
8. "Candle In The Wind '97" - Elton John (1997)
9. "You're Beautiful" - James Blunt (2006)
10. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis (2008)
11. "Viva La Vida" - Coldplay (2008)
12. "Down" - Jay Sean (2009)
13. "Break Your Heart" - Taio Cruz (2010)
14. "Rolling In The Deep" - Adele (2011)
15. "Someone Like You" - Adele (2011)

It's also worth mentioning that we'd have to go back to 1989 to find the last year where, like Adele, an artist from the UK placed two singles at the top of the US chart: Phil Collins' "Two Hearts" spent two weeks at #1 in January that year, while "Another Day In Paradise" marked the very last chart-topping single of the '80s here in the States (and very first one of the '90s); and Fine Young Cannibals reached the peak position on the Hot 100 with both "She Drives Me Crazy" and "Good Thing."

On a final note, Lady Gaga's "You And I" climbs from #16 to #6, giving her an 11th Top 10 single. At this point, if she squeezes one more single out of Born This Way and releases another album with a handful of likeable radio jams, she'd have a decent greatest hits compilation (with, of course, the required two new songs tacked on).

Hey, here's an idea — she can call it The Immaculate Collection.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Someone Like You" - Adele *1 week*
2. "Moves Like Jagger" - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
3. "Pumped Up Kicks" - Foster The People
4. "Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO/Lauren Bennett/GoonRock
5. "Super Bass" - Nicki Minaj
6. "You And I" - Lady Gaga
7. ""Lighters" - Bad Meets Evil feat. Bruno Mars
8. "You Make Me Feel..." - Cobra Starship feat. Sabi
9. "Give Me Everything" — Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer
10. "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" - Katy Perry

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

'Rolling Stone' Readers Vote Aqua's "Barbie Girl" The Worst Song Of The '90s

Rolling Stone is on a real "worst" kick. After the publication's readers recently selected Miley Cyrus' rendition of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as the Worst Cover Song Of All Time, they've now gone and given a similar honor to her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. His "Achy Breaky Heart" ranks high on the mag's new Worst Songs Of The '90s tally.

Upon "Achy Breaky" heart landing at #3 on the Worst Songs Of The '90s poll, the magazine stated the following:
"A hit like that should have forever destroyed Billy Ray's career, but he started acting in the early 2000s – and in 2005 his daughter Miley landed the role of Hannah Montana and Billy Ray was cast as her father. He's now a TV icon to teenagers all across the country, most of whom have probably never heard 'Achy Breaky Heart'."
Global hit "Barbie Girl" by Aqua had the misfortune of landing at the top of the heap. Though the song crowned the charts in the UK, Australia, Germany and Sweden in 1997 — and landed at a respectable #7 here on the Hot 100 — Rolling Stone readers looked past the dance-pop jam's irony and pegged it as a bad relic of the 1990s. Or maybe they got the irony and still just felt it was a big pile of doll parts?

Interestingly, nearly half of the songs here ("Barbie Girl," "Tubthumping," "My Heart Will Go On" and "MMMBop") were released in 1997. Also, I'm totally crying foul on Baha Men's "Who Let The Dog's Out?" being included, since it was released in the latter half of 2000.

Oh, well — I proudly admit that I bought one of the limited copies of Aqua's CD single when it was released 14 years ago, and totally stanned for the band through the whole run of their first album Aquarium

Says Rolling Stone about "Barbie Girl":
"Many people were offended by the portrayal of a woman as a man's plastic doll, begging him to 'undress me everywhere.' Others loved the over-the-top cartoonish video and bizarre sound of the song. Mattel (the makers of Barbie) were less than pleased that their product was being presented in such an overtly sexual way and filed a lawsuit."
This probably won't do much to aid the band's comeback. Feel the glamor and pain, Aqua.

Final thought: how the fuck did trash like Snow's "Informer" and All-4-One's "I Swear" escape this list?


1. Aqua, "Barbie Girl"
2. Los Del Rio, "Macarena"
3. Billy Ray Cyrus, "Achy Breaky Heart"
4. Vanilla Ice, "Ice Ice Baby"
5. Chumbawamba, "Tubthumping"
6. Hanson, "MMMBop"
7. Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On"
8. Baha Men, "Who Let The Dogs Out?"
9. Right Said Fred, "I'm Too Sexy"
10. 4 Non Blondes, "What's Up?"

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Enrique Iglesias Will Be Doing "Mouth 2 Mouth" With Jennifer Lopez On New Duet

DJ Frank E, who produced Enrique Iglesias' trashy hit "Tonight (I'm F***in' You)," announced on Twitter last night that a new duet from Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez is on the way. Then, about 45 minutes ago he tweeted the song's title: "Mouth 2 Mouth."

And you know what? I hope this shit is actually a hit. Because I'm sick of turning on the goddamn radio and hearing "On The Floor" and "I Like It."

Let's pray that when Enrique puts his mouth on top of J.Lo's it's such an act of sexy combustion that all of their other hits (except for "Be With You" — that was a jam) are obliterated, and "Mouth 2 Mouth" is all that remains.

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It's Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" Album Cover

Kelly Clarkson's new single "Mr. Know It All" was added to iTunes this week, and is currently at #6 on iTunes. Last week I said the song was about a 7 out of 10, but I'd upgrade to an 8 if she shows her Texas tits in the video. I've had a few more listens since then, and I guess I'd peg it at about 7.5.

Anyway, Kelly revealed her Stronger album cover today, as well as the the news that the LP will now be out on Monday, October 24, instead of its original released date of October 25 (probably so it has a better chance at competing with Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto, which arrives the same week).

Nice bracelet and ring combo on an otherwise ho-hum cover.


Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Adele & The Best First-Week Albums Of The Year

Inevitably, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV has topped the album chart this week, thus becoming the 21st album to reach #1 on the Billboard Top 200 in 2011. (In the UK, the rapper didn't fare so well — his ninth album only squeaked in at #8.)

And for a LP that received reviews ranging from lukewarm to downright harsh, it's all the more impressive that Weezy racked up first-week sales of 964,000 copies. By comparison, last week's #1, Game's The R.E.D. Album, opened with 98,000.

This still trails the 1.1 million Lady Gaga's Born This Way did in May. (Hardly deserving. Now that the dust has settled, it's Britney Spears' Femme Fatale that I personally listen to the most — but that's because I'm a gold-plated whore.)

At any rate, here are the five albums that have had the best opening week sales so far in 2011:

1. Lady Gaga, Born This Way (1.1 million)
2. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV (964,000)
3. Jay-Z & Kanye West, Watch The Throne (436,000)
4. Adele, 21 (352,000)
5. Beyonce, 4 (317,000)

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