So I want to re-think this blog, and focus on “gym jamz.”
This could turn out into a very embarassing display of what I listen to when I am feeling my hormones while lifting heavy things at the gym….
This song, “Basic Instinct (U Got Me)” is the opener off the new Ciara album, which was mostly produced by The-Dream and Tricky. It has heavy guitar riffs and a lot of vocal swagger, which CiCi does better than anyone. The track is a bit up-tempo, but not too fast that you’d drop something, and I love the idea that this is “2 songs in 1.”
This album really didn’t deserve to flop like it did, poor girl. But if you see me singing in the mirror at the gym, its most likely to this song this week.
A new (and good) Robyn song is a good reason to post. “Bad Gal” (live for the spelling) featuring Savage Skulls & Douster (who the hell are they?) is a more club banger than the poppeir stuff she has been relasing thus far this year. This is the iTunes bonus track to “Body Talk Pt. 2”. The song, if it was on the mentioned EP, would be on the better 2/4’s of the album. Plus, it is really hard for me not to enjoy a song called “Bad Girl.”
In a summer without an outright anthem (for the gays I mean, because we aren’t accepting “California Girls”), one of my favorutie contenders for the title is “4th Of July” by the very amazing Kelis. She is abandoned her “R’n’b outcast” roots for the new dance music thing that everyone seems to be doing now. But Kelis is still my girl, and I gotta respect and follow her; she was the 1st bitch to scream on the track, after all.
Kelis has really stepped her remix game, and this track is a good example that she is listening to more gay people about her career (You know NaS hated her black queen friends…). Check out this Calvin Harris remix. The summer-y guitar, coupled with the added male back-up vocal are two nice additions to the track. It gets the typical Calvin Harris remix towards the middle, when it starts to go hard, but it works. The mix is almost comical at times, which I find typical If you can judge a well-written song by its remix, Kelis’ struck gold here. Out of all the remixes I have heard of this song, the Calvin Harris one is most festive. The other very excellent remix of this comes from one-time Kelis’ producer, Richard X, who did the very amazing “Finest Dreams” several years ago. X goes for a much more atmospheric approach to the track, allowing it to have much more mood and drama than the original. The “loving you” line is sewn in and out through the track, focusing on the catchiest part of the track. This one is my personal favourite of the two.
While I am not fully sold on this new look for Kelis, this song is one of the standouts on the new album. Kelis is still doing her thing, and is now more accessible, which means she will tour more, hopefully. I was able to see her twice this year, but I miss the days where she would play with a full live band, and do “In Public” and NaS would come out! Memories…
One of my favourite bands in recent years, Dragonette, played the Bowery Ballroom this weekend. I first heard about them on PopJustice, and read that they were opening for the Sugababes in the UK on their Overloaded: Greatest Hits tour. It was my third time seeing them live, and they have come a long way, but I am still confused about why they are not selling out much larger venues (and you best believe the first time I saw them, I asked them about the Suagbabes, which is a story for a different post).
Back to the show though. Besides paying rent, this tour was to support the release of a new remix LP, “Mixin’ To Thrill.” They did this track, “Volcano,” which was one of the highlights of the show .I really enjoy the strings they used on this. Dragonette is an odd-ball band in theroy, and their catalouge is very hit or miss, for me. For all their amazing, dramatic, well-crafted ABBA-like amazing pop songs, they also have goofy, chessy and over-all not good tracks like “Our Summer” (For which this track, “Volcano” is the b-side from).
I also included the very amazing Richard X remix of “Pick Up The Phone,” which is also on the remix EP. It was pretty smart for them to put out this complation, they have a lot of amazing remixes, and its really not fair that they are selling bootleg copies of this at their shows (I wish i was joking).
Goldfrapp has always been one of my favourite bands, and we are about to hit the decade mark of how long they’ve been on my iPod (is that really sad that i just referred to me and Goldfrapp’s music as having a couple-like relationship?). This song brings me back to winter 2008. I was working at the 9th Street Market (which was on East 9th street and (stupid) people always had trouble finding it) and had an early wake up time. So, when I hear this song, and most of Goldfrapp’s amazing “Seventh Tree” album, I think of cold winter mornings with a lot of sunshine, but maybe its just because of the artwork. This era of Goldfrapp, along with all of their eras, are always perfect, packaging and sonically, but this was by far, their best work. This remix in particular, by the then up-and-coming Hercules & Love Affair, showed so much promise, that H&LA they lived up to with an amazing debut album that came out a few months later. The remix doesn’t stray too far from the down-tempo electronica of the original, but still brings it to the dancefloor, perfect for the start of a party, or a morning. Two and a half years later, this remix sounds just as current, as does most of Goldfrapp’s work.
I put this Blondie song on a mix for a party I “DJ’d” at, mainly because it’s in another language. I know it sounds pretentious, well it is pretentious to say that things sound cooler in another language (This is a fact and not up for debate, sorry). This UK #1 song (like, lifetimes ago), though, really works well in French, mainly because Debbie Harry can speak the langauge. And with “Sunday Girl”, with its light, popppy So-Cal 60’s feel has leanings of French pop and Serge Gainsbourg in it. Also, I find myself going back to older songs when they are relevant once again. I found out that one of my new favourite singers, Florie, had covered it for the new Nina Ricci campaign, so that had me fumbling back through the Blondie back-catalogue. Blondie really is one of the greatest pop bands of all time, along side ABBA and Girls Aloud, and I don’t really think they are given that respect. And don’t worry, there is ANOTHER bilingual Blondie hit coming soon!
A few years ago I worked at 2 Boots Video in the East Village. We would have to be playing something on the video screens all the time, so we usually opted for either something made strictly visual affect or “Mean Girls.” One of the best movies to play later in the shift was the Hype Williams film, “Belly.” Because he directed several amazing Janet Jackson videos, it made sense that this movie look like a hour of music videos on BET, and they had DMX star in it! And even though it may not be one of smartest films ever, the intro to the movie is all sorts of EVERYTHING! It features one of the most perfect uses of music and film, along with lighting, editing and NaS ever in film.
This song brings me back to that scene, always. Over twenty years later, this song could still be a number one (at least in the UK). It was one of the first big hits for super Birt producer Nelle Hooper, who went on to produce every amazing song to come out in Europe in the 90s. And this mix of the track highlights the amazing vocal ability of the hugely underrated, Caron Wheeler.
(I know I’ve been gone for a minute, but so has Missy Elliott, and you’d welcome her back with open arms, so why not me?)
Last week, I went to HoodLove Fest 2010, otherwise known as the free Toni Braxton concert in a high school football feild in Brooklyn (you can’t make that up). Despite loving Toni for almost two decades, I went in expecting… well, not the worst, but nothing to blog about. And you gotta give the girl credit, cos despite filling for bankruptcy (twice! Really girl, you can’t handle a few paychecks?!?), Toni has never really left the game, she has just been playing in little league. She sounded amazing, as most singers loose their higher range as they age, Toni, with her low, husky voice, is only getting better. And best of all, the show was not a “I’m going to bore you with new material until we get to ‘Another Sad Love Song,’” Toni did all the hits (some had new musical arrangements that were a bit…odd, but how often can you hear “You’re Making Me High” live?) ! She opened with “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” and from that first “Darkchild, Toni Braxton” into (well, she didnt say it, but let’s think she did), I knew it was going to be the world’s greatest concert… or something.
And it was, minus the abesnce of one her better, post- “Un-break my Heart,” songs, the very good, “Please” from 2005. Produced by the only sometimes amazing Scott Storch, this song has the best stripper beat not made by Lil’ Jon ever! I guess she didn’t do it because it wasn’t a very big hit, but either was “Hands Tied” and she sang that too…
She has been MIA for a bit now, but Sophie Ellis Bextor is gearing up for a long awaited comeback and she has enlisted the gayest electronica duo since the Pet Shop Boys to help her out. I am referring to, of course, The Freemasons. This new song, “Bittersweet” turns out to be a very appropriate return to forum for Sophie. It has her (and the Freemasons) doing what they do best: dramatic euro disco, somewhere inbetween London and Italy, where Donna Summer would meet up with Rachel Stevens for tea. The chorus is so big, I want ballons to fall from the sky during it (that actually did happen last year when I saw Kylie perform the Freemasons’ remix of “The One,” but thats another story, and yes, it was amazing). Thusfar, only the Freemasons Radio Edit has been released, I don’t know if its going to turn out to be the same thing as the “Offical Edit,” (those things are funny) but I am very glad that Sophie hasn’t thrown in the towel on being a post-30 pop star, because, after all, 40 is just around the corner for Kylie.
After much mystery and hype, the legendary Sade has/have (I am not good with the grammer here considering Sade is her name and her bands name, which truly angers me when I write about her) finally released a new album, their 1st in a decade. To the shock of no one, the music is a typical Sade affair, same musicians and Mike Pela on the production boards. It is something to be thankful for, I don’t think the world could handle Sade working with Timbaland and having Moto Blanco remix the single. The album is named after its lead single, “Solider of Love,” which leaves much to be desired musically, but astehtically sets the tone for a very dark album. My favoruite track on the album is the opener, “The Moon and the Sky.” It is very Sade, in that it is beautiful, sedated, baby-making music, but also, bizzarlly enough, a perfect soundtrack for the end of the world. With the album’s artwork contating Myan runins and lyrics about heartbreak and death, Sade makes 2012 seem as though it can’t come soon enough.