Monday, 31 August 2009

Dannii's X-tra Helping of Forehead

Saturday's X-Factor was more of the same as last week, only without the squeeling excitement of Dannii debuting more looks than she's had hit singles, Dannii's forehead thawing to room temperature, Dannii gasping 'yes' at anyone with a cock, and well you get an idea as to why I can stand to watch this conveyor belt of vainglorious misfortune-boasting. The oinking contestants use their families death count like league tables - we all know this, but when a fatherless kid is chased onto the stage with a chainsaw in order to cling onto his uncle who is alive and not letting us forget about it, then I think it is time for things to stop. Are producers secretly crashing funerals and asking 'well can anyone sing at least?'

Above: as the show heats up, so does Dannii's dartboard forehead - she literally beams with pride these days.

The biggest problem of this series has been the butchered editing - Simon reaching 'the end of his patience' has already been narrated last week in typically hyperbollic style, so how are they going to edit surprise talent at the end of more episodes if footage from all auditions are mixed together like a public school? Unlike Britain's Got Talent, diversity is a good thing, but serving vomit as ice-cream doesn't taste as good as it did first time around. And where are my bullimics at? It's all dead relatives when clearly the post-size zero 21st century contestants ought to be throwing up a curry live on stage instead. Dannii could crawl up and then go 'nah, I don't eat meat mate, has anyone got a big fish?'

Below: where my bullimics at?
And whilst Dannoushka uses any excuse to scrunch her newly set free forehead, I cannot wait until she flies her group to Iboiza where she is helped by Kylie to choose her final three fuck buddies: tears will flood as she grips onto her elder sibling, accidentally drawing blood.

Whitney Conquers More Gays

If Whitney Houston didn't know her own strength, I think 2000 drunk gays can prop her up if she continues to arm herself with solid remixes such as this one by those reclusive Freemasons. This is The Tarzan Song nevermind Million Dollar Bill - that sublime surmounting yelp swings from the chadeliers.

Hey Creepo's

Siouxsie Sioux's growling purr and abundant snarling on The Creatures' epic flamenco standstill Standing There lyrically stampedes over wolf-whistling jocks, hissing considerately 'mmmm you got a problem - we know, but there is something you oughta know' in composed, angry kindness before pulling the trigger. Beginning with the knuckle-scraping clastanets, it attracts like fluttering eyelashes assuming the guise of a willing object for the grunting gaze of gormless and gruesome sex-retarded greboes, before purposefully sending them on their way in particularly glamorous fury and teeth-cracking clatter.

Below: the striking cover for the 1990 album Boomerang was shot by Anton Corbin, the longtime collaborator with Depeche Mode.
But this is Siouxise just being kind: a moment later her throaty charge has started. Fuck Lady Gaga's grunting on the boredgame LoveGame, this is real confrontation designed to unsettle - none of this MTV dance crew crap that's feeding the masses with so much promise on the label and yet nothing substantial content-wise. Her gurning vocal charge is adeptly matched with the avalanche of Budgie's entraining percussion and drums.

Siouxsie continues to flare her nostrils all through this purging anthem: 'how empty and pointless you life - HEY! - must seem' is at the tame end of the scale. As a 15 year old I needed this kind of battle charge just to get through the day. Best of all:

Does what you won't understand scare and make you mad?
Resentful and envious, don't you disgust yourself?

So funny to see how pathetic some men can be

Many suppressed eye-rolls were compensated for by hearing the rapid flow of these knife-slashing lyrics whilst still at secondary school. Her aggrevated caution and fearless combat descend with vitriolic disgust into open fire. Chances are blown and 'somebody should show them where to go' packs the final punch.

The final single from the album was the less scorched Fury Eyes, a tropical thirst similar to another of their songs Ghecko, and nodded towards the lavish decoration of the next Banshees album Superstition. It sounds like a song of the affection shared between mermaid Ariel and crab Sebastian from Disney's the Little Mermaid, with typical joyful bite from Sioux. Splendid stuff, and remixed vibrantly for its perky release as a prediictably non-charting single.

Below: 'If I see one more erection before breakfast I won't apologise for applying yet more lipstick' (still taken from the Standing There video).
Elewhere, the jazzy Killing Time was covered by man-babe Jeff Buckley, the burping Willow dares both Siouxsie and Budgie to keep going in spite of a missing melody, and the plummeting Pluto was performed on UK national TV. The beauty of Siouxsie's glistening vocals are evident and reflected from all angles on Boomerang, a peaceful and sometimes spitefully gargling deviation from their main work it is no less vital.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Express Yourself

Cyndi Lauper for Get Schooled from Get Schooled on Vimeo.

A proper Cyndi post is brewing, but I'll throw a little crumb with this hilarious lecture from Ms. Lauper herself, given whilst dressed up as Madonna for no apparant reason. What kid is going to care about some scary woman with no eyebrows telling them what to do? Bless.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Corks! Tie Me Billabong Down, 'Sport'! It's The Return of Dannii

Above: double-D do-gooder Dannii puts the British public's needs before her own religion by bravely quiting botox until studio lights go and ruin everything she wanted.

Apart from web-camming with a hot Spanish top it has been a quiet week for Diva Incarnate so apologies for the excruciatingly tense 4 day absense of new posts. I am going to squeeze the sleaze all out with one big flush: and pricking my g-spot this week are Therese, Lisa Scott-Lee's stoic resistance to rejection, Michelle 'Hagface' Heaton coming under fire yet again and Olympic forehead-mover Dannii Minogue returns to British television after an unbearable 8 month absence.

I have tried to keep tabs on Swedish dance chanteuse Therese ever since her brand of sticky PVC-chaffing basslines aggravated my musical complexion into a full-on visceral rash of morbid lust and thirst for sexual validation, but it has been tough. Feelin' Me's stuttering throb pounds remarkably sore like a BBD giving you much more than you can take whilst sober yet makes you beg for more simultaneously. Such innuendo is unecesarry when her questioning just wants answers.

Below: during the video for Feelin' Me, asking 'are you feeling me' might be a bit ambiguous were it not for the prudish use of bondage.
Her sultry collocation of needle-jabbing vocals, meaningless lyrics, and claustrophobic and scrappy rapidity forms a rejuvinating sensation of tingling elation similar to Sheena Easton's pugnacious delivery on U Got The Look. Her impulsive regime of smouldering compositions gives her the kind of magnetic charisma self-harmers Robyn and Agnes would kill for. Her notable vocal bullimia simply is not an issue when her sugar-crisp bee-stung voice rips into such fleshy material as her new single Neon Lights. This thrusting anthem has been ready for ages, a classic case of Sophie Ellis Bextor where the artist is relegated to second billing just to get the bloody thing released (the song is credited to Elektro Junkies featuring Therese).

However, it is the hooker-for-hire promotional clip that is the real faux pas. Her over-painted lips stick out like Britney's swollen vagina-flaps and her eye-shadow is very X-era Kylie or else like whisper-siren Annie's latest promotional shots (message to Annie: get over yourself, you ain't no senorita, girlfriend). The pulsating jam violently regurgitates the writhing ecstatic ejaculation of Feelin' Me's slithering formula of juxtoposing discomforting rhythms with cooingly emphatic vocals making sense of it all. Her unapolegetic conviction and creative cosmetics make her one of music's most reliable if sporadic achievers.

Above: with heavy make-up and protruding lips one might expect to see a baby calf delivered from, Therese says she is a new man.

It was a long Sunday afternoon at work selling moisturiser to poor people, and I was on my lunch break. How else can I explain avidly reading a rare and longed-for interview with one of pop's most sturdy cockroaches? I had seen the pictures, but not until today had I managed to read Lisa Scott-Lee's brand new and totally exclusive interview with Closer magazine (no news yet on Dannii reprising her column with them).

Below: marking her first trashy magazine cover in years, Scott-Lee shamelessly steals Posh's thunder by not being skinny and not being a guest judge on the most watched TV programme in the world.
She has a baby inside her, we all understand how it works, but she opens up in other ways about her party girl former sister in-law Michelle 'STD Junkie' Heaton: 'I had lots of run-ins with michelle' laughs Scott-Lee as she scoffed the last of Heaton's hair extensions still left in her bathroom, before chirpily telling readers she plans to lose her baby weight by doing no more than 20 sit-ups a day unless her busy schedule of keeping it together gets in the way, nevermind record any new material for her myspace friends.

In a world full of people, we can lose sight of the fact that Dannii Minogue wants to have a career. Not just any career, she wants to move her forehead like she were a hot overweight goth adolescant desperate for a Logie award all over again. The 2009 format for the X-Factor has been adapted in order to revolve completely around Dannii's voracious demands for a live audience to scream 'bitch' at her like they mean it this time, and the audition episodes are now a mixture of footage from each venue as opposed to a separate city per show as the series draws closer to 'boot camp' and the studio performances.

This is Dannii's wet dream: every 5 minutes she has a new hairstyle, different ensemble and even finds the will power to express her forehead whilst not slapping Cheryl's. As usual Dannii simply can't keep her mouth shut to the press, squeeling like a gay Will Young about how her botox days are in the past, but this was the case last year where a noticeably obese size 8 Danielle quickly trimmed up for the live shows in order to give 'Madame Tussauds tranny' Cheryl a run for her money.

But Dannii does it better, ageing slowly like a scoop of ice-cream melting horrifically under TV lights, she simply ups her game for the studio recordings. Already we have seen a daring Betty Boo style bob (mistakenly compared to Natalie Impruglia and Kim Ryder), lesbian power suits and a love serum set hair flick Cameron Diaz would dissaprove of, all the while doing just enough with her room-temperature brow to make it all seem real and organic. Mark my words, her botox masacre is just a live show chart-position jibe away from hardening her career troubles out of existence once again.

Strewth! - thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Where's The Love?

With face-slapping attitude, Lisa Scott-Lee shams her critics and slams her dancefloor agenda with 'no batteries required'. The prickly but bitchin' song Electric was a 2005 slam dunk smash hit, with Lisa appropriately dressed as the 'bad girl' at an 80s Puerto Rican prom in a video that looked like a low budget Pepsi commercial, and had more bounce than me jumping on a basketball player. A disappointing chart position of #13 in the UK dimmed a schorching 3 single dance-pop career blaze, for baffling reasons that involved Lisa thinking it was a good idea to go along with her manager's suggestion that she make herself appear as desperate as possible by announcing she would quit making music if her single swerved passed reaching the elusive top 10. Female dance artists have it hard (and not in a good way): many do not even have a myspace profile, a 'featuring' bill, or even get to star in the video if one is actually made. Labelling a solo female dance singer a 'flop' is a tad self-fulfilling when radio, TV and newspapers are notoriously hard to impress within this genre.

Simultaneously released along with Dannii Minogue's Perfection and Jenny Frost's Crash Landing, it was an exciting era where sadly none of them got their just deserts. Lisa's unsure determination was evident with her face furrowed like a cracked egg shell as the blistering track rattled on compelling her to 'buzz like a vibrator' whilst keeping a straight albeit-asymmetrical face. Disposable lyrics are part of what pop is loved for and here she boasts: 'I'll buzz like a vibrator, an energy creator, yeah, yeah, yeah' ... 'duracell got nothing on me' ... 'jack me up feeling the E' ... and 'feel me, I’m unprotected / see spots now we’re connected' (as if sharing an STD is the new sharing an ice-cream cone).

Above: Lisa's live P.A's are legendary at gay clubs where her loyal and crazy fans will claw at homosexuals and stop at nothing to try and touch their favourite Steps member.

Scott-Lee's stellar career in Steps does not invest me beyond the stunning Love's Got A Hold of My Heart and the sun-reflecting Last Thing On My Mind. Nevertheless, Lisa's solo singles showcased the kind of vocal grit, production gusto and glamorous edge that helped make 2003 a fantastic year for fans of alpha-female electronic dance-pop. Holly, Dannii, Rachel, Britney, Libery X, Jamelia, Sugababes - they were all at it.

Above: Lisa's courageous reality TV venture on MTV distracted attention away from the music, and despite her likeable enthusiasm she came across to many as laughably desperate. Her album Never Or Now was eventually released in South Africa with a horrible 'we don't think you're that beautiful' front cover.

Lately is her unfortunately-titled sole and last top 10 hit to date, a flashy number with a sweet chorus with designs on blending Kylie and Dannii and coming up with a titanium groove that is all her own. Its improbably fun and frothy b-side I'm Burning is just magnificently delicate but is Hi-NRG inspired. Her best was yet to come: Too Far Gone performed admirably, stabbing the charts at #11 in a tough sales week. Echoing Alcazar, it remains her finest single and could have been released by Dannii or even Infernal.

Above: Sex siren Lisa gets famously impatient, pictured here waiting to find out if she got the part of 'skank on a chair' to tide her over financially until her next magazine deal.

I personally saw Lisa perform at a really nasty gay dive called Bennets in Glasgow: basically I was very drunk and sensibly pushed my way right to the front not knowing where my friends were (this is when it all went wrong). I had to cling onto the railing by the stage for dear life as her hysterical fans tried all but knawing my hands off in order to prize my fingers off the banister. Luckily for me, when these nutters got the attention of a security guard, even whilst pissed out my face, I was still able to eyeball some sanity to the burly bouncer and got to stay put. Now onto Lisa: she basically stood as far back as possible within this tiny 'stage', from her fans leaning out to her like starving African children at a Madonna concert, and even her backing dancers looked at her with such incredulous embrassment which made the ordeal almost worth it. The next day I had bruises, but that might just be another story.

Below: creating 'buzz' for her #23 guest vocalist single Get It On with her collaborators Intenso Project too embarassed to be seen.
Special mention must go to her sultry secret weapon Back In Time (later covered by Angel City), a slinky distortion of painful regret and brittle self-preservation. It boasts her most lusty vocal to date, cracking under the pressure of things going wrong: 'such deep regrets can't pay my debts' and an ad-lib that twirls down the plughole make the singer a sympathetic and highly emotive performer far beyond what she will ever be given credit for.

Above: 'Oh to have a second chance to try ... I wanna go back and do it all again'.

Lisa might have a face like an egg shell, but her similarly dented and bashed beauty has never been more evident than on a recent photo-shoot 'doing a Demi' whilst 7 months pregnant - publicity whoring shows her back very much in form, and I for one cannot wait for her to come to her senses and get her priorities straight by finally releasing more sexually ecstatic dance fodder, singing about sex, dancing sexily in a club and more filthy anthems about having it off 'unprotected'. Lisa's 3 single legacy of trashy publicity stunts and dancefloor sass grooves on.

Here is what I wrote about Lisa back in 2007 on popjustice:

Everyone associates desperation with Scott-Lee, but I think she is mostly just very sensitive and not really equipped to properly deflect her critics. Electric is still a good song, but it came a couple of years too late, amongst a smug media portrayal (her CD:UK treatment was almost sickening) and a time-limit and budget all seemed to catch up with her on close-up. She was without her safely net. I think she sounded all the more compelling for it, but battling these ridiculous barriers, she did very well. At the time it was herself, Dannii and Jenny Frost releasing tracks with very narrow appeal. Of the lot, Electric was the most commendable. Not that that is saying much; Dannii was doing herself no favours mixing botox with Ibiza and Frost at least got the sentiment right with her song title. Lisa should avoid questions of giving up, or just answer "what do you think"; "fuck off, I was in Steps".

Enough! - thanks for reading.

Never Or Now download here.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Livin' Proof


I wrote this post below in disbelief thinking a song had been credited to one singer and had vocals belonging to another. It turns out there are simply different versions for each vocalist available - a nice little touch actually given the history of the act they are paying tribute to. Except these remixers are extracting the actual vocalists and at least giving them some credit. How was I supposed to know?

Read below with a pinch of salt, then:

Above: Janice Robinson originally released Dreamer 3 times until it became a hit, and has since released it a further 2 times just so we get the point.

Something fishy is going down within the Australian dance community right now and I am not referring to the stench of Dannii's native chart positions. Livin' legend and ex-Livin' Joy vocalist Janice Robinson's good name is being destroyed by over-anxious evil gays falsely re-releasing her signiture hit Dreamer using vocals from that of her Livin' Joy replacement Tameka Starr.

Now, I have mixed feelings about the abs-ulous Tameka, whose real name is the faaabulous Doris Diggs, as a singer who sounds as if singing someone to death with her ear-drilling vocals. Her sparse catalogue of sporadic recordings is not much to look at, and yet in 1993 she fearlessly gurned her guts out on the Capella-tastic and rampantly spectacular Feel The Rhythm:

Movin' back to Janice, she herself has already re-released Dreamer back in 2005/6 with some pretty epic remixes so solid that there wasn't enough fibre in the world to slide them out the American Bilboard dance charts for a whole week before they vanished without a trace. There are two superior edits to choose from, either the funky-house elasticity of the Joe Bermudez Club Edit or the racous Nic Mercy's Epic Anthem which makes all other dance tracks extinct throught its 9:28 minutes of titanic destruction. The relentless open-fire purring persuasion of 'here we lie all alone, am I dreaming' once again erupts her unforgettable rapture - Tameka's exhaustedly shrill take on this track does not get anywhere near her rival's full-throttle roar.

Below: an all-too brief wig-free solo-sprint from Robinson with the gutsy singer-songwriter single Nothing I Would Change sadly never got off the ground despite touring with idol Tina Turner and singing her song on an unforgettable episode of US sci-fi drama Charmed, as seen here posing with cast-members (L-R) Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs.

Because Starr superseded Robinson before an album was written or recorded, it was decided to re-record Dreamer for inclusion of the album and the original was tagged on the end as a hidden track - basically Tameka recorded it to seal over any confusion anyone might have had with 2 vocalists on the 1 album. Remixes such as Wayne G's tranceplant-treatment prove Starr's efforts were not completely useless, but there is one definative singer who wrote this track, and when she sounds like a higher-sexed Tina Turner as well, it's not as if there would be any doubt which is which. However, everyone knows the definative remixes of Dreamer are the piano-stampeding Loveland's Viva Tenerife Mix, the stop-start carnival carnage of the Junior Vasquez Soundfactory Mix and the head-spinning trance of the Big Rollo's Mix.

Dreamer '05 (Nic Mercy's Epic Anthem) - credited to Janice Robinson
Dreamer '09 (TV Rock / Darbuck & Klien mix) - credited to Viani DJ/Veerus & Maxie Devine Feat. Janice Robinson

News Dump: A Week in Pop!

Professional air breather Lisa Scott-Lee is back letting it all hang out for the readers of Closer magazine to gawk at. She is however-many 'too far gone' months preggars, but really, anything to draw attention away from those gazelle-flaring nostrils - so huge she could lose frozen turkey's or her dignity up them.

Speaking of foxy oxygen hoggers, hog-face Michelle Heaton was in attendence of a gay wedding last week and looked stunning. Moving on from her ex-husbands Heat magazine cover stating 'I married a slag' back at the start of the year, Michelle makes being trashy look accidentally classy. She arrived at the glitzy z-list event with her Eurovision star 'best friend' Katie Price, who Holy Moly reports upstaged the two queens getting hitched by taking a piss on the dancefloor. A mystery source leaked the story.

Diva Incarnate is sad to break wind of the news that Kerry Katona has been caught sniffing the shameful sherbet again. Caught on camera, it is pretty obvious either her beetroot-head husband Mark or obese 'social service emergency' Mother planted the device on purpose. Her advertising contract with the critically acclaimed supermarket chain Iceland has been frozen indefinately.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A Woman's Work

Cher's theatrical whore-ballads were to the 70s what AIDS was to the 80s - i.e, everywhere. Try as she did, the public were simply immune to her infectious invasion of additional haunting folksy torch ballads. The short period between 1975-6 was Cher's most imaginative and rewarding personification of her foreign bissexual sensuality, yet was lean on actual hits. Her deadpan androgyny gave her ravaging vocals a ploughing depth that unearthed introspectively creative crevices that have not lost their vital nutrients some 30 years later despite subsequent neglect and obscurity.

Above: 1975 Playboy magazine photoshoot (a cowgirl's work is never done, etc).

Having sung backing vocals on Darlene Love's torrential Christmas ballad Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (being told to stand 2 steps behind the other singers), and recorded Ringo I Love You under the pseudonym Bonnie Jo Mason, Cher's first and only names-sake collaboration with ladies favourite Phil Spector some 10 years later was a long time coming. The fact that Sonny worked in this man's studio, and that Sonny & Cher's early material positively aches to reproduce his bombastic 'wall-of-sound' signiture, makes it all the more appealing that Cher should ignite her vintage 70s vocals onto Spector's slow-burning candle A Woman's Story.

However, whilst the 60s Spector chemicals clearly remain, these productions put their talents into a languid brewing stew, and the results are dense and hotter than a Turkish baths. With her reputation up in smoke Cher blows caution to the wind, her opening line mourns 'there are many who have laid with me, then gut up and walked away from me'. A job well done is a job worth doing I suppose. Armies have marched over this woman, a woman who has seen things that would make good little white American soldier boys from the 1970s wet their pants in both moral horror and high-five arousal.

Above: Cher takes extra care with a fag.

The seething and cutaneously operatic backing vocals blister with burning inferno whilst Cher flatly grimaces 'hell no'. Wrenching further, 'a woman who was passed around' (with the salt I would imagine) is howled with a vocal simultaneously deliciously rotten and convulsively plaintive in equal reaction. However, when the song gives direct testimony to finding true love, Cher sings with the tide of skin-crawling tension savagely against her and the britstling track remorselessly fades out as it drags her back down into the drenching flames.

The raining ballad treatment of The Ronette's Baby, I Love You is crestfallen and dewy, oozing into hibernating meditation. Cher draws out a new-found tenderness to the lyric: usually full of so much joy, it is hard to wonder if Cher is laughing into her double chins with this one or else shuddering her face that is raddled with rage and tears. Whether an emotional robot or hysterical masochist, you are going to feel restored with this one.

Above: Nilssonny & Cher strike back!

The song A Love Like Ours is as famous as a knickers-free Britney leg-spread, recorded by Dusty Springfield amongst others, and Cher duets with Harry Nilsson on an affable version locking eyes with each other like Madonna sizing up 3rd world orphanages. Cher is not afraid to make sure lil' Nil does not get a look in, over-yelping and slightly out of key as she belts 'knock, knock, knocking every day'. It is actually very compelling to hear Cher sharpen her voice back to her vintage 60s sandpaper style, but this is nowhere near as incisive as the other two cuts.

Sadly these lingering recordings incredulously remain unreleased (for my standards anyway). Her record company deemed them too old fashioned to rekindle Cher's diminishing public appeal at the time. Spector discreetly disinterred Cher's nightclub singer past whilst presenting an unseen smouldering allure unafraid of revealing gruesome details that would make even sailors in a brothel blush. However, they pack more heat than all of her oil-gargling cougar schlock-rock from the mid-80s to early 90s and deserve to qualify Cher as the uniquely graceful and occaisionally thunderously disgraceful performer she truly is.


Saturday, 15 August 2009

Breathless Composure

I am late for everything, and hearing new music that is 8 months old is no different. I love the occaisional sprinkling of Saint Etienne: I never feast on them, but every once in a while when partial, I can't get enough of their flirtatious melodies - a style that projects beyond the mundane and into kitchen-sink kitsch bliss. The supernatural promenade trance of Avenue is a good example of their self-aware juxtoposition of beauty and elegance with blatant crapness, formed by imagination alone. A more literal trance offering was their Paul van Dyk collaboration Tell Me Why, which remains their highest credited chart placing at number 7.

They hit their commercial peak in 1995 with the unforgettably romantic He's On The Phone, a collaboration with Gina G's nemesis Steve Roadway, and have never struck a chord with UK radio or record buyers since.

In 2009, a spirited return to the UK top 40 looked irresistably iminent with their sugar-fused Richard X collaboration Method of Modern Romance (a verse dedicated to gaydar was curiously absent). Sarah Cracknell's vocals are technically limited and yet have their own acquired perfection: like carelessly spilled red wine, they stain forever. Suffice to say, the syngeing electronic tingles dangling together with Cracknell's breathless composire made a heroic number 56 and lord knows if these forces shall ever combine again.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Come Back To Eurotrash

Unless you have been under a rock or a black man, you will be aware that one of pop's most important 90s acts is back. 2009 skidmarks the return of Europe's finest, Aqua, who have already released their first greatest hits package in Denmark and are set to storm the stage at London's G-A-Y club on 18 September. I for one, can't wait to possibly be there - it all depends if my subtle hints to a 'special friend' shall blossom into a spontaneous offer to pay for my train tickets.

Below: 'Awkward, much?' Lene feels bad and relieved she never got round to shagging Claus on the left.
The male members of the group herald from Denmark, but lead singer Lene descends from my 'homeland' Norway, which is a running joke amongst friends as my surname is of Norwegian origin. Back To The 80s is a thumping euphoric knockout of a track, with sweet verses and a chorus full of nostalgic references making the song utterly irresistable: personally I would have thrown in some Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Sheena Easton, Cher and Depeche Mode nods but we can't have everything.

Above: it is very regrettable that the infinitely sellable lyric 'when Michael Jackson's skin was black' has been replaced for the UK release - if anything the lyric would have marketed the track beyond one-off PA's at gay bars.

Next up is the trailor-trash junkie Mother ballad - it's probably about a Mother dying of cancer, but it is so dark that my mind goes slightly macabre as I have yet to properly pay attention to the lyrics. My Mama Said is their most mature effort yet, but when a Rene's burping vocal chips in there is no doubt which act is singing this.

Live Fast, Die Young is just as good as anything they have done, with Lene on particularly fine form. Yes, there is no galloping Dr Jones eurodance, but the material lives up to all the best solo tracks from Lene herself, and it is a quiet shame her legendary solo single It's Your Duty was not included on the tracklist.

Below: who wouldn't want roasted by Søren Rasted?
The CD unfortunately leaves off the stupendously gorgeous Good Morning Sunshine, a tempo ballad I have always likened to Gina G's plaintive classic It Doesn't Mean Goodbye, but whatever. Let's hope I get to go see these eurotrash superstars even though Lene's live vocals are notoriously atrocious, but whatever of course.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Don't Fuck With Jenny Frost

Oh yes she did!

Self-styled orange nazi Jenny Frost stunned an indifferent audience of gays into restless submission with her smash hit Don't Fuck With Me at 2005's Big Gay Out, which also featured promising young acts such as Gina G, Human League, Sybil and Angie Stone (the last two of which had to be heckled off by the tragic host as they were not for leaving the stage without singing the same song again acapella).

They did not have class like lady muck Frost, who lip-synched her lungs off to her debut solo flop Crash Landing (a minor blip that has so far cancelled any further plans to slaughter more half-rank dance tunes), and bravely fed off the audience's insatiable anorexia for her solo material by singing her unreleased sultry mantra completely live. It was a wonderful feeling.

Trust lesbians to ruin everything by chanting along, no doubt sensing faceless youtube glory was upon them faster than growing a FUP*. Frost didn't waste any time connecting with the audience, they knew the score, preferring to pose-as-if-dancing-instead-of-actually-dancing to secure her Daily Star front cover, and deliberately made her frumpy dress ride up as far as it could go without giving the front row an idea of which footballers she had been sleeping with. I wish I had the patience to pause-frame this clip in order to potentially point myself out as I was right at the front, just for Gina, but Frost was the surprise of the event - although sadly this anthem has yet to see the light of day.

*Fat upper pussy.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Cher - I'd Rather Believe In You

After the stark failure of 1975's Stars, Cher's follow-up from 1976 was another fine album called I'd Rather Believe In You, which was something of a return to the familiar narrative style of her biggest 70s hits. Cher's voice - a throaty elixer of hot lead and ash, so deep it sounds as if she has swallowed herself whole - is on reliably fine if unspectacular form throughout. Recorded whilst pregnant with Elijah, the album did not chart anywhere despite being badly promoted, with Cher rightfully sulking years later that the label were hopeless.

The album's sole single Long Distance Love Affair is a solid opener, re-activating Cher's gritty signature grimacing lyrics, presumably attempting to re-establish her star image. However, the title track is the album's real winner: sad and joyful in equal measure, the gorgeous piano rouses Cher's anthemic 'yeah, oh yeah' fist-in-the-air 'it's only us' style chorus.

Above: Cher takes her fags with her everywhere.

I Know (You Don't Love Me)
is a fun stumbling, jazzy affair also built on a solid electronic folk foundation. Cher yo-yo's between octaves on the tender Silver Wings & Golden Rings, a MOR middle of the week tale of meeting lonely companions at the bar. The languid Flash Back is a slow-burning Dark Lady-esque dilema perhaps too dramatic to warrant much description but is compulsive soundtrack music - Cher embraces her storytelling, but sadly she has done it so many times that by this point the facade is no longer hiding what is underneathe.

Above: another stunning shot, even though Cher looks more famished than her chart positions.

It's A Crying Sham
e is another arms-wide showtune number giving her cushion of straight pop some vintage poof. Early Morning Strangers is an alluring judgement-dilluted, gin-soaked lament to faceless libidinal interest and longs for something more meaningful or at least more regular.

Align CentreThe obvious song to look out for is Knock On Wood (yes, that one), thriving on Cher's visceral charisma and dodging disco for a more mainstream pop appeal, it's not too dissimilar to her version of Rescue Me. It certainly does not light the fuse towards Take Me Home, but proves her effortless ability to capture what is popular and never lose the essence of Cher.

She soars on the syrupy country-tinged Spring, another explicit 3rd person narrative - the lyrics are beautiful and baffling in equal measure. Borrowed Time is slightly apt given the nature of the LP, but is a radiant gem unleashed right at the end. I'd Rather Believe In You is a fine record, but not an exceptional one. Cher doesn't put a foot wrong - jazzy showtunes were the singer's well-worn stock and trade on her TV shows - but, despite reliably embracing and connecting to the material on offer here, the vivid emotion conveyed on Stars is sorely longed for.

Nevertheless, Cher is a cement-cracking architect of her own material despite hardly ever writing any of it: she wastes no time with uncertaintly, and her 'deadpan' portrayal is what makes her so real - if the Cher of Stars is supressed here, her vamping glory is the burning flame that's never diminished. I'd Rather Believe In You might not hit the sublime groove of its predecessor, but the sheer poetry of Cher's vocal is adequatey impressive.