Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Step By Step: Whitney Triumphs At Gay Club

Decaying diva's are Diva Incarnate royalty, and they don't come more histrionic and entitled than Whitney Houston on the comeback trail, premiering her new single I Didn't Know My Own Strength in the form of a palpatating Peter Rauhofer remix in a gay club full of fit topless homosexuals high on ecstasy. Judging from around 2.26 there is a bit of a high note suggesting Houston still has some of her lightning bolt strength left yet. If shirtless gays make you feel a tad underprepared for summer, just press pause and breathe a sigh of relief as they ain't all 'all that'. It may just be the bad sound quality, but this is one thunderous, Thunderpuss-worthy remix I cannot wait to strip to in my own local gay venue.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Jackson Effects Celebrity Egos All Over The World

Since getting back from Germany, Diva Incarnate has been flooded with messages from so-called celebritites wishing to let me know how the death of Michael Jackson makes them feel and what it means for their careers. These were the voicemails left, which were in turns angry, pathetic, and profoundly self-centred (one friend remarked it was too bad it didn't happen on stage):

Diana Ross:
"I keep praying he'll 'touch me in the morning' like he used to sing to my kids."

Heidi Montag:"He inspires me to be the person I am today!"

Whitney Houston:"He was a deee vaaa. Deee. Vaaa!"

Beyonce:"The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on my thighs than any other artist in the history of music... I love you more than Solange, Michael."

Cher:I am sorry to report that Cher just started crying as she struggled to sing "If I could turn back time" before hanging up!

"Damn dude, who am I gonna talk about my sex change with?"

Madonna:"I dedicate the adoption of all black babies in Michael's honor - I have always admired Michael Jackson's original skin colour as a preference for my selection process, choosing lovers, children and disenfranchised back-up dancers alike. My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family, and will adopt them regardless - you may not be my own baby but it don't matter if you're black or white. God bless!"

Lisa Scott-Lee:"If my new single about Michael Jackson fails to crack the top 40 UK dance charts I will stop singing forever!"

Samantha Ronson:"My DJ career is just as relevant now as it was before, I’m sure it will remain so for generations to come.R.I.P.Mr Jackson".

Brooke Shields:“My eyebrows are overcome with sadness for the devastating loss of my true friend Michael. He was an extraordinary friend and expert brow plucker, artist and contributor to my own plastic surgery. Since Lipstick Jungle got cancelled it has been difficult enough, but now I join his family and his fans in celebrating his incredible life and mourning his untimely passing in order to get my own press.”

Sheena Easton:"Ever since he wrote ma song about ma Sugar Walls I'll always remember exactly who he was!"

Demi Moore:"I was more concerned about Farrah Fawcett tbh."

Lindsay Lohan:"NO OMG LOLZ … sending my freckles and prayers out to Michael and his family … i feel sick.. thank God I haven't eaten since he last had a hit record. He's like the reason I have the figure of a 12 year old boy."

Kirstie Alley:"Don’t know what to say…so I will just eat another hamburger either way… What a horrible way to find these things out…sorry, must eat and call Oprah!"

Dannii Minogue:"I was busy soaking up some sun and cum in Ibiza, guzzling away like no one's business when Kylie texted me (If I didn't have it on vibrate I would never have found where I even put my mobile). At first I thought she'd burnt her face off again, but when one of my Gays violently slapped me on the face, I finally sat up and fished it back out to read the most depressing words since I wrote So Under Presure. I am so sad as Michael penned Show You The Way To Go especially for my second album Get Into You - something I cherish even more than my Japanese number 1s and British number 1 dance hits. I have no other option but to capture this pain by re-releasing I Don't Wanna Takes This Pain on the advice of my intelligent and realistic fans from my official messageboard. Buy my music and remember Michael whilst listening to my early classics [here]".

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Buch Von Dannii Minogue

Ich nehme ein Blatt aus dem Buch von Dannii Minogue und gehe im Urlaub mit meinem Russisch. Wenn ich auf Billie Ray Martin, Nina Hagen oder Hitler stoße, verlassen Sie sich darauf, dass ich alle in ihrem Grill mit meiner Digitalkamera und Vorschlägen für ihre folgende Single sein werde.

Basically, I'm going on holiday to Germany with my Russian - a bit of a test for someone who really likes his own company. No doubt I will be expected to have sex all the time, see the sites and go to nice restaurants.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Comin' Up Disco

Dusty Springfield's expressive vocals veered between two styles: an avalanche of tremmoring, spectacular heartache that could melt into desperate puddles of distilled melancholia; or breathlessly seductive and amused by life's natural charm. Her envigorating recording of Another Little Piece of My Heart is an example of Dusty clearing the skies with joy and rueful self-awareness. The rapture is a far cry from the 'tragic Dusty' stereotype. In fact, washing ashore from her 'wilderness years' Dusty released a decent album in 1978 hopefully-titled It Begins Again, containing the rusty electro disco stomper That's The Kind of Love I've Got For You. Bristling like unsightly lady-stubble, her vocals on the first verse are androgynous and ribbed and suggest a recording booth full of dense fag smoke: the sensitivity is now like marmalade being scraped onto burnt toast. The galloping chorus and verses give Dusty her first unequivocal dance record and it is a lost treasure in a catalogue of first-rate recordings bigger than her boufant. Most music fans are well educated in her story, but her introduction to disco always surprises me and gives insight to the sunnier disposition of her character - what's the point of lying on the floor for hours if you can't pick yourself up and triumpantly please your gay fans. The track was performed, but the album merely nudged the UK album charts at number 41.

Watch auntie Dusty hand over the torch to 'good girl' Sheena Easton and warn her to stay off drugs, bad diet and plastic surgery. Sheena doesn't have a clue what is in store for her (her Glaswegian accent is to die for):

I actually own the re-release of It Begins Again on CD as well as on LP - I could not resist having gigantic Dusty artwork where she looks faintly like an Indian tiger (just me?).

Monday, 15 June 2009

Queen of Clubs: The Ugly Truth

Murder on The Dancefloor

Above: AATW label mates Kelly Llorenna and Karen Parry smile whilst taking myspace pictures, but there are 5 men and cover versions to fight over.

Now that wig-on-a-turd Agnes Carlsson has gone and settled the worldwide chav dispute between Kelly Llorenna, Karen Parry, Tina Cousins and Dannii Minogue over who is 'Queen of Clubs' at AATW, I think it is best not to forget what a high drama it was - all that waiting for up to 6 months at a time just for a myspace update (Kelly's current mood is 'up yer maw' apparantly, with 3 pages of comments from her loyal fans), which was more excruciating than a post Ibiza visit to the GUM clinic (you just don't know what you are going to get, etc). In celebration of these gutter divas it is important to pay tribute to their behind-the-scenes legacy's.

While her chances of the crown are thinner than her eyebrows, the classy mother of six-by-twelve-different-fathers Karen Parry is largely unheard of outside her estate in northern England despite a colossal sized number 3 smash hit in the summer of 2002 with a Flip N' Fill usurping production of thewayward Shooting Star, an achievement she cherishes almost as much as her ASBO and teenage appearances on talkshow Trisha for reasons I won't go into.

Above: Parry's face had so much make-up applied it resembled a paper mache art project by ironic 5 year olds. Vying for title of 'Queen of Clubs' on Llorenna's home turf was clearly a faux pas on her part, as upon leaving the venue Parry was impregnated by 5 very angry and turned on lesbians.

From the moment her widescreen green-lit forehead shines gruesomely in the midst of an ilegal garage party in the Shooting Star video, a star was born, and also sworn (her atrocious bad language has saw her barred from appearing on British TV and radio leaving her forced to promote in clubs so dire that Kelly Llorenna wouldn't even squat to take a piss in). Despite being in debt, Karen is guaranteed to masacre any half-bad dance track that's going to pay for the vodka and cigarettes lifestyle she worked so hard for and has the rashes to prove it. She earned that success, and to Kelly Llorenna's cost started to steal favour with the critically acclaimed Pascal on their classic trance version of I Think We're Alone Now, which finally gave the song some personality exploiting Parry's trademark warmth and sensitivity. However, if she starts shagging the fat bloke from N-Trance, Llorenna will probably have her killed (just look what happened to Aaliyah). Parry sings with more clarity and honesty than most of her recent D.N.A tests would suggest, and her next logical move is to beat the Swedish tranny at her own game with a Flip N' Fill remix of her rival's On & On.

When not crashing planes (and her 9/11 whereabouts are still a mystery, despite her protests that she was locked safely in a tanning booth that week), old cowpat face Kelly Llorenna, the original chav-before-chav 'Queen of Chavs', has sang on no less than 4 top ten hits throughout her 15 year career in clubbing. Not without a sense of humour, her well-documented brawls over post-gig leftover kebabs scavenged from bins earned her numerous baseball bat injuries and the right to call her debut album All Clubbed Up (she even wears shades on the front cover to hide her black eyes). Affectionately labelled 'an old slag' by her former N-Trance producer on the official AATW messageboard, Llorenna is still waiting to crisp her skin up before taking to the stage again and reclaiming her crown - with skin like crispy batter, she'd better keep an eye out for Danniigoose swooping down and taking even more pecks at her.

Above: Llorenna languishing in the spotlight of Manchester's M.E.N arena, gurning to save her life. Kelly proves she really does call the shots, performing as N-Trance on their one truly enduring hit single Set You Free (notably bypassing Forever), as well as her two biggest solo hits Tell It To Me Pimp and True Tans Never Fade.

Below: Tina's hunched shoulders can't hide her homophobic discomfort, lip-synching in front of gays more interested in practicing their felatio technique on empty Bacardi Breezer bottles, in Glasgow's Bennets nightclub. Only when she got her cock out did the crowd fall under her dark spell of apocaliptic trance and MILF euro-pop. Tina's drink of choice was a shot of Amyl nitrite mixed with diet Fanta with no ice.
Equally as trodden on if her close-ups are anything to go by, Tina Cousins is my favourite bulbous-nosed antipodean stretch-marked dance diva - her stoic verses are cautious and seek justice for various narratives that all vary on her favourite subject of being a loser in love, life and the music industy. Her erupting choruses are so stodgy and epic they could block a toilet as they overflow with so much of the shit that woman has been through. Unwilling to fight anymore, Tina lost out on the chance to record Dannii's 2005 trash smash Persperation. These anxious days bored fans can look forward to being promised new singles every 2 years and are only too happy to help clean up her shit as I wasn't joking about her toilet issues - girl goes through bog-roll like Dannii does cancer victims.

Speaking of survivors, Dannii Minogue's 18 year slog in the music industry is well-documented, but her tactic of collapsing under pressure has taken a palpable influence in her infrequent, revered Ibiza hits. Dannii was never truly up to competing for the AATW crown; tantrums ensued, telling her fans (i.e. me) to fuck off for suggesting she release unreleased material and then doing so anyway, refusing to record trashy anthems such as Dannii's Theme by the then-unknown Shapeshifters (telling me again to fuck off for wanting this confimred) showed she wouldn't lower herself by recording anything as tacky as a number one hit single. Dannii still leaves smug voicemales to Cher, mocking the Oscar winner for cashing in on her leftovers and the damage it did to the potential record sales of the Believe album ('can you believe I'm in Ibiza and you're stuck in Las Vegas perfoming on stage - later, bitch' was a low blow from even Dannii who can't acknowledge her self-destructive sunlounger weekends are starting to bring out the worst in her). At least she never hung around with this lot for chem-friendly group sex in a Travelodge hotel:

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Reach Your Peak

When I am craving one of my disco binges, I always end up on a bitchin Sister Sledge bender - bible bashing siblings who made a point of blushing at such innocent lines as 'please take me home' (I call it 1am on a crap night out) yet boasted vocal harmonies that only En Vogue ever came close to out-fiercing. Pretty much anyone who isn't deaf or dumb will be familiar with their rent-paying Chic-produced classics, yet they hit a commerical stumbling block on the second of such affairs - 1980's Love Somebody Today was the final album from the seemless partnership. It saw their popularity take a nosedive despite prodding the American rnb charts with the jazzy almost title track Got To Love Somebody and Reach You Peak. These were examples of a more funked up style, not a million miles away from Diana Ross' Diana, perhaps in response to the unbelievable 'disco sucks big black dicks' movement from repressed middle American bisexuals (these days they are called 'str8-acting' but Sister Sledge weren't to know the solution back then). The album lacks the fizz of its predecessor but is strung together by their signature weightless harmonies and reliably tight, string-ladden instrumentation: Easy Street and Let's Go On Vacation are examples of the open-ended and unfinished insouciant nimble nibblings on offer. The two most emphatic tracks are the cummupence anthem You Fooled Around, which could have been adopted by the 1979 We Are Family album, and Pretty Baby is a jabbing, gutsy piano led stomp akin to early En Vogue (basically they are on fine form and leave pastiche-magpies Destiny's Child for dust).

Where to go next must have been a tough call, but their efforts were not all in vain. Their subsequent music became slicker although not necessarily more exciting. The first non-Chic album was the decent All American Girls in 1981. The title track is basically a He's The Greatest Dancer rip off and almost doesn't warrant any further discussion; however, their vocal strength remains sharply intact and as polished as ever. Through sheer grit it works: Kathy regains her lead vocals and sings 'we all get our share' - despite the impression that Kathy was the lead singer of the group, as is seen on Love Somebody Today, such duties were evenly distributed with no obvious weak link. Their unequivocal kink was the wanton abandon and connection to the material they were singing, a magnetism that could instruct even someone in a wheelchair to get up and dance (they're all just after insurance anyway - or perhaps that says more about the area I live in). The best disco engine is the thunderous He's Just A Runaway, a triumph from the girls and should have been a massive hit. They sing with uncharacteristic, scolding attitude far removed from their early uptight image - there isn't a whiff of Jesus here that's for sure (he smells of Jordin Spark's sex-fresh muffin incase you were wondering).

Despite the reputation of the group increasingly being linked to just 4 singles, their real tsunami happens to be a little known gem called Let Him Go. 'I think you better cancel' might as well be my motto - my msn contacts read like one big guilty gaydar list of postponed-indefinately prospects. The Sledge were finding it difficult to re-capture their late 70s glory, and by 1983 had beefed up their sound to Pointer Sisters levels of jittery, ecstatic giddiness. 'I think you better let him go!' is unashamedly their own 'jump! for my love'. Taken from the flop album Bet Cha Say That To All The Girls, it's not in great company but serves itself as the lubrication to ease one into the largely generic, contemporary early 80s clogged up synths to be found here. However, the album was a return to competent form after the aimless misfire The Sisters a year earlier.
Finally with When The Boys Meet The Girls in 1985, the group overcame nostalgia and notched up their sole UK number 1 single with the Disney-sounding Frankie: it's hard to resist its sweet nature and high camp appeal. In the video the girls tease an aroused postman whilst wearing their finest Puerto Rican prom dresses, and get their carb fix stealing his chips. The classic girl group song structure highlights how unique their We Are Family appeal really was - this is their most conventional single and it seems churlish to begrudge it being their only chart topper. The follow-up, Dancing On The Jagged Edge is another style-over-substance dance track - it's a bit like an under-ager begging to get in a club, good intentions but not enough persuasion to properly make the guilt worth it.
The girls had private lives to attend to and their only subsequent splashes of notice have been their competant and sadly underrated 90s remixes, and a dignified outing in 1997 with African Eyes, whilst continuing to tour with as little as one original member and just about any other black women they can find to make up the numbers. Debbie Sledge (with the long face) was always my favourite, with her sad expressive eyes - she is actually the one who has aged best if you ask me and has always looked stunning. Sister Sledge will never go out of date, and their lack of enduring success was not through lack of exertion: they may not always have the material to ignite the party beyond 4 major hit singles, but investigation is well worth making a non-porn internet purchase to discover their flop albums that were not without their own catchy compositions and lasting impressions.

He's Just A Runaway
Let Him Go

Thursday, 11 June 2009

'I can give you what you need'

Something gorgeous and luminating is in order, and the crisp and redemptive 'Refrigerator Box' remix of Ladyfingers by Luscious Jackson restores my faith in a band I always believe never truly fulfilled their unique promise of flair and slightly stuck up attitude: the pure-sounding guitar riff (like a cross between Mmm Bop and Halleluja) just seems to thaw out all the badness. Helming from New York and signed to the Beastie Boys label Grand Royale, they were about as cool as Ricki Lake yet afforded themselves the luxury of an occaisional amazing song, with singer Jill Cunnif's sly vocal always adding depth despite her lack of range. Their impressive scattering of sporadic highlights included their single breakthrough hit Naked Eye, Here which featured in the 1995 Clueless movie, the city-dwelling ennui of City Song and Under Your Skin which sounds like music the title character from Daria might have listened to with her fictional best friend Jane. However, my introduction to them was seeing an advert for their 1999 album Electric Honey in the pages of an NME magazine I took with me on holiday to Majorca when I was 15 and going out of my mind with loneliness, bless. So whilst I was giving my parents hell with dramatic outbursts and inwardly not having a clue what to do with myself, I saw their image and was intrigued by the cutesy name and album title alike, which was helpfully reviewed positively in the same issue. It is strange when one is in an emotional panic - 'teenage angst' - and suddenly an image can just penetrate you with something stunning and intriguing; I knew I had to get this album.

Above: The original line-up in a still promoting the album Fever In Fever Out in 1996 (L-R); Kate Schellenbach, Vivian Trimble, Gabby Glaser, Jill Cunniff.

The mix-tape I brought with me on holiday included: Hole (She Walks On Me, Doll Parts, Celebrity Skin, Malibu, Miss World (live), Garbage (Vow, I think I'm Paranoid), Marilyn Manson (The Dope Show), Depeche Mode (Enjoy The Silence), No Doubt (Just A Girl), Placebo (Allergic To Thoughts of Mother Earth), Smashing Pumpkins (1979), Kate Bush (Running Up That Hill), Texas (The Saint), Tricky (She Makes Me Wanna Die), Bran Van 3000 (Drinking In L.A) and Steps (Love's Got A Hold On My Heart - rushedly taped from the Jo Whiley show on Radio 1). I remember the last minute panic before leaving about getting all the songs I wanted taped and waiting for the Steps track to get played on the radio as it was not yet released; and I have never bought a single Steps CD I should add. Music was my crutch at this age, and felt like my secret revenge on people, with or without it I was starting to feel autistic or someting.
Upon my return, my purchase of the album did not disappoint and welcomed me back to enjoying pop music properly since my Spice Girls and Madonna obsessions had dimmed whilst I tended to my teenage anguish. The week before my 13th birthday, my 2 best friends stopped speaking to me just like that: at first it was only 2, but by the next day my other two friends followed suit and let's just say after a whole day of sitting in class on my own and filling up break time with long walks, I needed something a bit more sophisticated than 'zig a zig a' to help me through this quite bizarre predicament, to compensate for the sheer embarassment. More and more, music had became my intense, personal and private coping strategy - I still do it and actually get very agitated unless I can hear whatever new sound I happen to be craving. My long-winded story is basically that with Luscious Jackson, it was a return to pop, to embrace a genre of music that I felt I had to banish in order to perhaps give me something of a defence having pretty much dropped off the social radar (it wouldn't actually be until I was 17 that I met my best friend - it does feel weird to discuss a period which to me just feels like a black hole that sucks me in if I dwell on it too long). Nevertheless, it was a great summer as I could not stop buying 2-3 new albums every week, which my Mother would pay for perhaps out of pity or guilt (I remember giving her massive lists incase any were not in stock), and whilst Luscious Jackson were not the most influencial of my purchases (1999 was the year I got into the life-changing Deee-Lite), I have fond memories for a this group of slightly average-looking New York women who knew a half decent tune when they seen one, and clearly thought a lot about themselves which I suppose is exactly what sucked me right in there and then. I still remember fixating my eyes on their image, wondering what the music sounded like beyond what had been descirbed - I knew enough.
On the actual album: the original version of Ladyfingers is a bristling summer gem with the typical LJ lyric 'she is standing with her suitcase ready to run incase you are wondering why she is so quick to come and go', the basement thump of Nervous Breakthrough is pumped up and squares up to dry hump the Spice Girls' Who Do You Think You Are without flinching (it is also similar to She Wants You by Billie Piper), the dreamy and haunting Christine featuring country cadaver Emmylou Harris, the tarty Space Diva spills the beans, Summer Daze captures the comedy of unbrearable emergency toilet dashing, the aloof rampage of Sexy Hypnotist satiates the thirst for another Under Your Skin but as sung by Shampoo, Friends is maudlin and could have been perfectly poignant for an episode of the sitcom, the cosmic love ballad Beloved, and the tipsy Fantastic Fabulous featuring Debbie Harry who is too embarassed to contribute anything beyond a voicemale. Put it this way, the line on the latter 'making up all the friends for the friends you need' was akwardly bittersweet but the mock-impressed scorn really singed the thread for me. Much like the me ten years ago, they were always suspicious but made their mark when it counted; this remix is aching and fragile, revealing a little courage behind the facade.

Ladyfingers (single edit):

Ladyfingers - Refrigerator Box Remix

'I got heart'.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Tag Team MILF 'Drama' Volume 2

Sometimes when you are bloated you just need to keep squeezing until you get the end result you are after: Bananarama have similar 'back exit' stamina with their ever-enduring brand of breathless Hi-NRG substance abuse. Their baffling gimmick has survived 20 years now without original member Siobhan Fahey, and for many this period is one of 'wilderness' begging the question 'where are those fierce bitches now?' In 2005 they re-surfaced with their most emphatically charged attempt to launch themselves into the lives of gay men of all ages and the girls-with-no-friends who love them. Move In My Direction was rather inept and limp - in the video the girls turned to prostitution in order to generate interest in the still-born first single which was like a blow-up doll, over-inflated and lifeless. From the same album Drama (cos they are down with the Gays innit), Look On The Floor (Hypnotic Tango) has verses vocodered by producers Mute 8 to give them the sought-after septic flair of a 2003 Dannii Minogue B-side. Look To The Floor is given extra lubrication on the Solasso remix - it's a blistering tribute to every amazing remix from the summer of 1997. Their vocals are warm and foggy - the orchestral trance is mezmerizing and the sinewy bassline properly dives into dancefloor Dannii-esque sleaze. 'I can't slow down' is their poker-face responce to anyone who dares criticize their dancefloor blow-job technique - these girls take a chance wherever they can get it, and on this track I can't ever imagine leaving the dancefloor again no matter what these MILFs do to me in the process.

Look On The Floor (Hypnotic Tango) - Slasso Remix