Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Christina Aguilera - Piano Vs The Pussy

Christina Aguilera is to be praised for completing her hat-trick of albums that set out to achieve a you'll-never-top-this result. More interested in conceiving a baby than hits? Corny but no doubt expensive sonics flesh out her prefab concept of Lesbo-Mommy: The Pop Diva Partial To A Bit of Cock Now & Again, and vibrate through every track some way or another.

Bionic begins rather uninvitingly with its melody-reluctant title track, mumbling her gameplan in trite gansta stylee. It's is really an electronic disco number glorified as something avant garde, with the chrome-plated 'are you ready to go' bridge peaks being so fleeting and high it's just a pity more couldn't have been built around these exhilirating moments of electro-voltage. There is something divisive about impregnable boasting, especially when the chorus her bloodthirsty critics are waiting to pounce on is more interested in sounding heavier, noisier and confrontational. It grows on you, and I prefer it vastly to Ain't No Other Man.

Venomously lubricated, Not Myself Tonight is a tornado of a vocal showcase for Christina, as if a natural disaster is ensuing and she is panicking to get all her range crammed into her song as a metaphorical suitcase. Self-coaching herself to 'get crazy', 'kiss boys and girls' and 'not give a fuck', her power-steering throat power manages to dominate some pretty rapid swervings: someonecallthadoctorcosathinkalostmamind is hilariously akward 90s chatshow speak that almost threatens to give Ricki Lake a job again. The song straps you in safely and gets you from A to B within 2 minutes 18 seconds - the rest is merely for the cool down. 'Yeah, I needed that' is more solo talk getting herself in the mood - who else is there to keep up with her? Her trigger-happy verses and bridge build speed for the turtle-head chorus - a lot of effort goes to getting it out, if at all (it sounds like the girl is gonna need to call the doctor for a lot of toilet roll if that 'movement' eventually does arrive). She goes full-pelt for well over a minute and the brute force of the skidmarking middle-8 is indicated when a gang of faceless black men chant '1, 2, 3, fo' before a skyward 'not toni-i-i-i-i-i-ight' cackles with sobering rage or fury or else simply mosochistic euphoria. Whatever attitude is being conveyed (I see it as one big glossy lick of the ultimate in-the-club facade that drag queens must dream of exuding), an intense series of accelerations and you'll-wanna-hear-this moments stand in the way of an actual song, but that's its stroke of genius. Christina on the rampage for a melody is an engaging quest, the experience of a highly skilled vocalist grappling to find herself a hit - it shouldn't be like this, and I can relate. This is her off-the-pedastal performance as the ultimate alpha bitch trying to impress her claque of cringey gays who'd z-snap Susan Boyle stepping out a changing room in BHS. I meekishly include myself as one of them. Not really.

Healthy independent sluts know to get their 5-a-day helpings of fruit and vadge. Serving her fanny with no plate is just fucking rude, and presumably she'll be asking the guy to bring his own 'salad cream' as well, ha. The signified single-entedre vadge-tastic titsilation of Whoohoo, ha! momentarily hesitates to flirt with her vague concept of furry-bits futurism as is necessary, ha. Instead, tastefully vulgar playground chants like typsy hookers jeering for business overtake focus and I love it, ha. Aguilera might be delusional, but she clearly enjoys being trashy as hell, ha. Christina 'dripping like a lolly' has to be down there with Britney's gammon slices hanging out her leotard, ha. 'Licky licky yum yum' probably means she's had a wash at least, but 'bitches keep it clean ha' stinks of fish regardless, ha. Christina's sense of orafice pleasure has no hesitation, which merely exaggerates the hilarity, and her unmistakably innate self-involved flair for inadvertant sarcasm is perfect for this low-brow smut, ha!

Melantronic mechanical riot Elastic Love (rhymed with 'spastic love') sadly is not about a secret Down's Syndromme lover (she is so 'out there' it's only a matter of time, etc) - they beat themselves off in public on their own accord anyway, and I am sure Christina would probably only go and use them for an innovative music video as opposed to real love, which is more of a Jessica Simpson thing to do. The deadpan verses are foreplay for the PC blurting chorus, making it one of the bloodiest cuts here. Sharp and useless utterances from start to finish: in other words it's amazing.

Chrsitina's pan-sexual/pan-ethnic quest continues on Desnudate, sort of like vintage J-Lo meets Jai Ho (others have compared it to Britney's Get Naked (I Got A Plan), but when Aguilera sings so it sounds more like the PCD's 'I'll take it'). Flaunting her Latina identity as if it's fading faster than the 90s did for Kelly Llorenna, the vadge-alicious vertiginous chorus catches its breath to appreciate some rather glorious percussion and evaporating synths as the track fades. Rigidly forward, and stubornly faceless - just as well she's into gimp masks.

Sneering self-confidence is clearly no embarassment for Xtina on Prima Donna. She ain't no Hollaback Girl. The undignified record is full of what this track is about: grunting and grimey melodica; except where it samples 90s dance classic I Feel It by The Tamperet ft. Maya - this is my favourite thing about this track, which vocally is the sound of an obese person suffocating you with their arm-pit, and detached from the simmery synths it's just aggressively bad. A Fat Man Scoop soundalike officially calls it a day.

Minimilist Vogue serum and 'get the look bitches' jam Glam sounds like it's screaming for Heidi Montag to cover it. For those enlightened enough to appreciate this, it's definately worth her teeth-gritting interlude before it. 'Ready, steady, now go, bitches'.

When I wake up after sharing a bed all I want to do is run to the bathroom and wash my hayfever eyebags away nevermind slobber my bad breath as I get down and finish where I left off, but Sex For Breakfast is a creamy and welcome change of paste (spelling intentional) that has been unfairly accused of sounding like a Janet Jackson album track. It would have been a standout on Back To Basics, and for one thing Janet would need to be able to sing to have recorded it for a start. This is about vocal intonations, softly layered like crawling under Egyptian cotton sheets. Christina emerging proudly from under the sheets declaring 'all done' is hilariously disgusting - she obviously swallowed, as if she hadn't she would have said 'mind the wet patch' like I do...

Dreamy soul flasher Lift Me Up is a soaring, piano-soaked torch song and well done listeners for getting there. Her faintly-ersatz black woman range is wide least we forget, and not just physically. She doesn't half go on about being a do-it-all Mother, and when she sings big you can imagine she gave birth that way as well. I had no time for these numbers on her previous career-best album Stripped, but they might just turn out to be the very thing that can save this witch-hunted DOA project. When she sings with genuine heart there is simply no need, if you enjoy it, to debate her floptina-age, as personally I am lifting the ballads to safety as they are songs for life. This one isn't as showstopping as You Lost Me, but there is something about the understated yearning vocally and musically that really absorbs me into an eye-blurry state of sensitive silliness. When her untamably wild roars go off like fireworks, I just hope her transition into soaring siren does not go above people's heads or even ears.

The seductively formative I Am strips herself completely of The Voice Within style Disney seepage, where she imbues every note with a sharpness as if they are cut with scissors, singing as if half apologising carefully and stubbornly without reducing herself to begging for any acceptance that isn't on her own terms (coming clean: 'I am a woman' she sings helpfully). The effect is more powerful that way. Vocally she is more spread out on this album, even if somewhat inevitably Aggy will be accused of simply imitating the idiosyncratic artists who have co-written some of these songs with or without her.

Proving she is bigger than her love blender, All I Need is a mid-afternoon after-hours-sounding jazz affair. Vocals spiralling with gentle relinquishing, the worry of love not being happiness tends to linger.

Giving the goosebumps on an album's second half that is obsessed with finding herself, You Lost Me severs the ties of a relationship with the devastated emotional insanity that characteristically veers from tender self-pity to moon-howling grief. To me this already sounds like the best song she is ever likely to record. It defines melancholic human emotions on a much bigger and richer scale than, e.g, the message of the career-defining Beautiful which was force-fed by comparison. Her singular talent flickers so vividly that her va-j-j doesn't get a look in. A genuinely staggering moment that deserves to be huge for her.

Aggressive lesbionic anthem I Hate Boys sounds uncanilly similar to Keeps Gwenning Better during its verses. It boasts the album's easiest and catchiest choruses. Like a bimbo macho Portobello, it's a bitter lesbian's wet dream but so commercially driven I don't think guys will particularly care.

My favourite song of this proudly incoherent album is the violent ego of Vanity, a thigh chaffing disco rhythm that's itchier than crabs. 'Where's my Queens who live supreme? Let me hear you scream' really ought to offend me (I remember booing Beverley Knight for a similar holler during her performance at the Big Gay Out in 2005). However, Christina asserts her 'Queens' as equals, which given the big old erection slapping you in the face here that is her ego, is quite the backhanded back-door compliment. 'I make myself so much wetter' slams her pussy, and 'I'm a bad ass bitch' is what Motherhood in the future is all about. Skanktastic embarassment that is just as atrociously amazing as Vanilla's girls-together incredulity or some of Geri's worst offences.

Celebrating having a vagina (you'd think she was a tranny jumping off the operating table such is her excitement), the Sheryl Crow-going My Girls is dirty dyke disco with girlie-bitch interjections and a predatory manouveur via the effortlessly amazing Peaches ('I like a mullet or two, below the waist').

Bionic is a cause for concern - at the time of writing Christina Aguilera is mere hours from singing live on one of America's highest rated TV shows, the season finale of American Idol. Not Myself Tonight has been released and sank after a brief peak of #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. Stripped also suffered the afront of an underperforming lead single, Dirrty, reaching only #48, but was rescured by the rush-release of Beautiful. Furthermore, the spitting cagefighter imagery could not have been further away from the vampiric-Mariah ingenue of The Voice Within. The point is, this album by way of it's genre-grenade speudo-futuro funk with the occaisional stunner has the space to pull it back for her. I am genuinely captivated by her aloof unlikeable challenge. When the music softens she excells beyond the criticisms festering on messageboards and even blogs alike (which, no irony deliberately intended, we all know doesn't always come to much - it's the Simon Cowell final-most-brutal-criticism pursuit for that fine art that's known as being a cunt, but I digress). With her perspiring sailor-blushing middle-8s, the secondhand homegirl squirt of Glam and the more vampy bissexual vibes of Vanity, the waspy alpha 'more is more' girl bravado never gets tired - her much publicized Xtina persona persued in different manners, all seemingly unleashing her rotten ambition to bloat her albums with whatever her idea of being the best at every kind of sex sounds like. The grown up ballads are by far the best of her career, giving the album some much needed armor, and since she has the pipes, why not, like, use them to prove why she's the biggest stuck up unapologetic bitch who owns the thrown fo' sure?

Diana Vickers - Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree

After speeding into the vanishing point with the pedestrian Manhattan Clique remix of Once, I thought I had experienced all I wanted to by Diana Vickers, but with its highly pretentious title Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree demands a chance as much as any. Diana Vickers went to squaky expense on the X-Factor to irritate thousands of facebook haters ('hate' in TV terms though, which makes it fair game to judge anyone let's be honest), but Once has entitled the young artist a cutting off point wherein a pop star has emerged, which compared to the success of Leona Lewis I think is quite remarkable. Yeah. Yeah? Okay, yeah then.

I love the idea of a singer just losing it and holding civillians at gunpoint to make them buy their single, but Once isn't even nearly about that. Clearly this girl doesn't like being finished off and sets her limit for a one-off special occaision. Judging by her ex-beau Eggnog I don't think his balls have dropped anyway - her number one rule seems to have paid off, however, as I appear to have been wrong and he has recently got some little skank up the duff. Awwww.

Her blunt-edge tongue pronounciation makes her diction impossible to understand without a lyric sheet, but Remake Me & You is a pleasantly simmering electro number with synths coming at you from more angles that even Dannii at one of her famous squirting orgies would be able to handle.

Similarly-titled and its verses similar-sounding, The Boy Who Murdered Love caves in and acquires a MOR taste for death disco. Varnished with an electronic gloss, it doesn't quite catch you off guard the same way Once did: she's going to get second-guessed if she ever tries to rob a bank, that's for sure. Oh yeah. Yeah? Okay, kill me then Diana. Ha, thought not.

Feeling numb and glum, when she sings so on Four Leaf Clover I actually thought she sang 'aww' for demonstration, but common sense tells me it was 'now' instead.

Lucky for us she's unlucky in love. Narina Pallot gives The Vickers the piano trembler Put It Back Together, which is the album's own Madonna's Promise To Try or even Linda Sundblad's Perfect Nobody - it's really lovely I promise. Swooping and moaning, she emotes like a goat going through puberty and yet it is album highlight number two.

Reminding me of Sara Jorge, You'll Never Get To Heaven is a rainbow-synthed pop gem. Adorable sounds and sick-of-it lyrics ignite together beautifully, Vickers wisks up the words with her inadvertantly effective deliberately-affected vocals. Three songs that I love is a big surprise for me.

The album's biggest dud has potential to grow on me, but right now Me & You sounds like a Mark Owen solo from Take That's Circus album.

Taught dance jolt My Hip is more tender and bruised defence mechanisms. Not only is she bruised and sore, but she's only got herself blind as well. The term 'attention seeker' comes to mind. We're at 4 good ones by the way.

These kids sure know how to spell, I think text-speak was all a myth. N.U.M.B is what Put It Back isn't - contrived and more forced than constipation. Even her Mother can't help despite her wishes.

Namesake prediction Hit doesn't disappoint. The DV electro formula keeps on giving. Although it lacks the forceful bulk that usually gets me attentive to dance music, flourishes are sprinkled when it counts. Backing vocals here and there, bleeps and bloops when there's gaps between the choruses. Of course 'this wasn't supposed to happen' isn't quite Bjork, but being a Sugarcubes cover I don't think most of her fans would even notice. Fans of the original are slating this, but praising Diana's bravery to go there - it's a good song, and worth not knowing the original for.

She does a good imitation of Imogen Heap on Notice, which is ultimately a precautious acoustic ballad with a drumbeat.

Because she sings like her, I wanted Jumping Into Rivers to be a Sinead O'Connor cover of Jump In The River (it even has gunshots and 'blood on the wall'!), but this is another effortless flutter in an album full of them. Dreamy techno folk-pop with genuine feelings of rejoice and spritual lilt. That yawny voice has found the perfect setting. I swear those whoo hoo hoos were lifted from Bohemian Like You, which I can only hope is Sigsworth's little joke.

To close this album, Chasing You had to be special and it really is. Still hate her? As she aptly sings herself, 'there's nothing else I can do, nothing I can say'. Immersed in tranquilized balladry emotions, both eerie and unnervingly calm. Her distinctive slur doesn't even ruin things, her quirky quaver avsolutely defines it.

Diana Vickers shoots herself with her deepthroating Sinead O'Connors bible vocals - emos hearing the vacuous evocation of exhibitionist 'deepness' will flock to it like flies to shit, but discerning collaborators turn the album into a real winner. Her affection is definately nails traveling down a blackboard for some, I thought including me, but Cherry Tree is one of 2010's biggest surprises. Guy Sigsworth, who produces the final three and mediocre number 2, seals the deal, but as long as she has expensive songs to squak over she could have a big career ahead of her. Tonsils removed and it is game over. She doesn't yell though, and I think that is the key even if she doesn't sing using one.

Beyonce - Halo Alternate

Everyone knows that if Beyonce is in a car there is fast food involved - it's no wonder her record comapany knew the general public would never buy her cruising in the woods. Completely ripping off Goodbye by the Spice Girls, Beyonce is obviously running out of people's careers to ruin. Her sick hobby of killing dogs to make burgers finally influenced her music videos: the record company probably should have leaked this the moment Halo edged itself out of the top 10 to lipo-suck some extra life out of it.

Kylie's Still A Makeshift Madge

Like pus oozing from a 'sore bit', Kylie's All The Lovers video has leaked onto the net. It'a not giving me a full facial of anything other than boredom - I guess Kylie's addiction to bukkake doesn't translate into the innocent sexiness she was hoping for. It's damn right dull, no wonder she has to botox her right eyebrow halfway up her forehead against Dannii's advice. Girl's love blender must be the size of the pacific coast highway after filming wrapped. Stodgy disco.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Just Jane

As she looks like Kelly Llorenna's younger sister, I won't lie to you, I am as partial to ex-cruiser Jane McDonald as she is to any artery-clogging pie, but not when she sings. When she is not bye-ecking and oh weren't it great when women were women and gays were men on her career-saving role on ITV's Loose Women, she actually releases a steady flow of covers albums with each concept even more flat than her real hair: 2001s Jane Does The Movies (or whatever it is called) is a life-changing experience for various reasons. Former cruiser Jane is the thinking man's Daily Mail reader's wife, and from the broken heart song titles she comes across as more battered than some of her favourite meals. My curiosity was piqued with a prick when I had the Almighty remix of her Doctors Orders prescribed to me via necessity, and thought I'd see what the fuss was all about.

Perhaps it is her andearing-but-daft ambition to be womanly and glam like her idols, but banishing her Northern spoken idiom is a great loss. Not once does she adapt any of these songs to exude her innate camp girth. Her dry-but-sweet comb-over vocals stick stubbornly to the same banal melodies, her flatliner old lady fans will probably wet themselves for it. Being a glorified cruise singer, she at least elicits a strange kind of auntie drag queen sisterly sympathy, her sweetness is like affordable buck's fizz.

In 2008 Jane brought the London gay scene to a standstill with this disco version. The 47 year old clearly wants to be Dusty Springfield when she grows up, but it's nice to know she would happily settle for Belle Lawrence. The songs: all of of them warm, thoughtless and likable, tinged with propriety and self-regard, and sparing us the ordeal of co-writes, Jane is free to bung her man in his shed and occupy herself doing lady things (I swear David Walliams used Jane as inspiration for his ubiquitous Little Britain sketch).

Vocally Jane's got her work cut out: only on Doctor's Orders' first verse does any grit rise to the surface. With a voice like melted butter, her ductile, dispassionate and docile contralto rarely gets hot under the collar. Except on this single's monologue where she gets all hot and bothered down the phone, but ditches her northern charm now that she's out to impress. Ps and Qs are remembered on Time For Love. Gasping ballad Song For You gets a bit carried away - 10,000 people watching Jane McDonald sing, oh as if sister. Mas Que Nada is an almost daring choice: once again the arrangements are considerate of her audience's incontinence; she could have let rip on this one and she kind of blows it. If I Knew Him uses some autotune - at this stage a Flip N' Fill remix wouldn't go a miss. How Do You Keep The Music Playing reads my mind - I'm wondering where her gusto has gone.

Above: Jane on slightly better form - if being crap and tragic works for you that is, which it does for me.

Sweet Talker
is better slightly, cheeky and ramming the message down some poor guy's throat - it's nothing I'll ever listen to again so don't judge me if you ever track any of these down. If You Love Me has an orchestra and it's a faithful version. Time to wake up her front row, Nine Times Out of Ten probably anticipates their sense of rhythm as well. You Do It All For Me almost wants to be a Tina Turner arrangement or Cher's World Without Heroes.

Above: 'hold me back Mother, I'm goin' out for a pie'.

Covers are hard to get hold off, lyrically they don't identify the singer, and it really limits herself to simply sound as if the songs are recorded 5 minutes after choosing which ones in a hurry before Loose Women goes back on air after a commercial break (speaking of, this was a top ten album for the singer, her first in 8 years). In neither wit nor brass does she approach her Loose Women persona (she doesn't even keep that up whilst sitting up straight when she gets the chance whilst promoting 'Jane - the singer'). She doesn't stick up for herself the way I would expect and the effect is utterly flaccid. The Almight remix pointed her in the right direction, but she has yet to exploit her potential as being even more tragic than Mary Kiani having a sister on the game, or Nikki French asking you if you need any help whilst you happen to be shopping in ASDA. Full of glop where there should be gusto and even some raunch - where her regional rough-around-the-edges/wrong-side-of-40 experience could provide credible seasoning, Jane just stands there singing, thinking of England. 14 frigid documents of sexless autocue lust - only suckers for kitsch and ooh doo-doo-doos will accept it.

Whey, it's me - Jane!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Belinda Carlisle - Runaway Horses

More store-bought sugar-coated romantic idealism from the crimson godess of skyscraper rock-pop, Belinda Carlisle followed up the massive success of Heaven On Earth with Runaway Horses. Coming unstuck commercially in the US, the singer continued to make impact in Europe and Australia instead, releasing no less than 6 singles out of a possible 10.

The album's biggest chart attack and lead single Leave A Light On's instructive verses are sexy extensions of compassion, but the chorus is Belinda on full beam. Plus it reminds me of some guy (who despite being two years older than me now pretends to be three years younger) when I was seeing two ex-boyfriends of each other at the same time 'back in the day'. To put things in perspective, 'afterwards' in his car, after this had played, the Three Degrees' When Will I See You Again? came on and I think we both knew the answer.

With glinting U2 effects coming into focus, Belinda is 'shaken' and focused on a romantic energy I want in on. I heard things I didn't want to hear, that armies had marched over this one, but horses as well really takes the biscuit. Me? I'd be pressing charges, but Runaway Horses is a galloping 'whoah ho' rampage that more than excuses the hideous acts she underwent to accomplish such a strident anthem that is now firmly lodged inside my very own top ten favourite Carlisle classics.

Diva hallucination Vison of You is seductively sulky. Her vocals have never been so sympathetically attended to with enchanting percussion being particularly picturesque. Failing to skidmark the Billboard Hot 100, Diva Incarnate favourite Jeniffer Rush released her own warmer Rn'B treacled version in 1992, but Belinda need not worry. The incredulous middle 8 is mortified and more devastatingly sachirine touches have one in hummable agony.

The stoic mid-tempo flow Summer Rain ignites yet more open-wound passion with an ingratiatingly girlish chorus at odds with suspicious verses. She momentarily threatens to sample Madonna's Papa Don't Preach, but settles for a similar exotica to Avalon-era Roxy Music instead.

Quite possibly the most hideous song she ever recorded, La Luna was a successful single in Switzerland and Germany. With vocals gushing like a severed artery, whatever she is crowing about is beyond me.

The British top ten single (We Want) The Same Thing in its original album form is more of a country-willing bar rocker, but that wind-through-the-hair chorus would sound great under any guise. Gutsy and unequivocal - it's a spiritual orgasm. Remixed into a massive Roxette-style explosion of sounds, the single edit is my reccomended definative Belinda experience.

Deep Deep Down is preaching to the choir, tell me a different technique girlfriend. More witchy quaking vocals tremble to pass the time before another towering chorus swamps everything else. Spiced with subtle oriental sounds, Valentine is a sexy slice of self-preservation: 'I'm hurtin so bad' comes too little too late, obviously she regrets her previous song choice demand. Glum strum Whatever It Takes is a vulnerable treat: 'I didn't have much to believe in' is her downbeat resignation, but the shimmery soundscapes soon sort her out.

Dramatic closer Shades of Michaelengelo is an atmospheric ballad concerned with 'quiet storms' and other slow-motion unicorn-racing-through-the-waves imagery. Quiet and serene, Belinda's vocals could make glass bleed, and she projects with heartbreaking honor. Wounded, aching and overcome, this is one of her finest ever ballads and atypically sensitive.

Belinda's dark and stylish-not-stylized vocals make her one of the 20th centuries defining stars even if she criminally remains a footnote for rock purists and pop tourists. Commercially, Carlisle lived and died with her producer Rick Nowells - that's not the case quality-wise, and perhaps in the future I shall get down to explore more, but Runaway Horses was her gooey-inside artistic peak. And for what it is worth, the chorus on We Want is a pop landmark landscape without precedent.