Thursday, 29 July 2010

Paris Hilton Is Back

The news of Paris Hilton's return to the music industry has once again been met with mixed responces from internet gays without a clue, but I for one cannot wait. Her previous singles, Stars Are Blind and Nothing In This World, were confident outings for someone with talent thinner than their original hair, not to mention the respective mixes, or even her glossy album tracks such as Heartbeat and Screwed. Paris has been promising that her new album was inspired by Kylie Minogue's 'sound', which of course means it was inspired by Dannii Minogue since we all know who rips off who in that family. A video - for the first single - has already started production in Ibiza of all places (looks like Sophie Ellis-Bextor has some competition, then) and I can only hope that this package is loaded with remixes creaming all over her in the way she is accustomed to.

Rebecca - In My Dreams (2000)

Welsh bubblegum scrummer Rebecca Eve Sutter ups her game on her one and only debut album that was so good only Singapore and Japan got to hear it. No singles were released and sadly no videos accompanied this landmark release.

Title track In My Dreams treacles with beats so fast they give you hic-ups, establishing the uplifting momentum to be sustained throughout much of what else is on offer. Stodgy synths are what 2010 are crying out for even if no one was buying it back in 2000.

Below: In My Dreams.

Impatient rave-blaster Give Me Your Love craves a darker sensation that would make even the Real McCoy drool. Plummeting bassline deeper than her cleavage, sliced and diced with a razor sharp beat, synths are smeared with no hesitation for dignity and Rebecca 'wha-ooo's for an extra threat. The charts of 1995 would have been all the richer had this been released.

Feeling 'so real', Going Crazy commits to one too many cliches, but showcases her dizzying inferno well enough. Ballad with a beat, Wanna Be Loved is a lilting compromise between an Ace of Base outtake and a lesser Solid HarmoniE album track. The gorgeous-if-trying Love Is The Hand gets fingersome. Sounding galacial, tranquil and ethereal, Becky shows a surprising fertility for ballads.

Below: Give Me Your Love.

Giddy and rampant, Find A Way deposits a squidgy bassline, promoting a rapidity of dance that the tune itself can't actually keep up with, leaving it to sound like a prefab remix. The chorus is a bit too careful for my taste in hardcore eurodance.

Worthy of some faintly substantial praise, Su-Su-Surrender unleashes glossy electronic guitar strums in a very All Or Nothing fashion, and her plaintive plight might be rather passive to compete with dance divas such as Cher, but this is an elegant dance tempo for those still willing to drown in that whole late 90s style.

Imagine Gina G's heavenly intro to I Belong To You, with those synths spitting on your face like a mist. Now imagine a likeably inferior song called Once In A Lifetime that shares a very similar sensation. Rebecca needs very little encouragement, and when she finally lets rip 'oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah!' the moment just nails it for me. This is what I love dance music for - unthinking surrender to a manic hunger for pleasure.

With D. B. Boulivard-ish beat-start moment, Far Away sails into a dramatic tide of plaintively gutsy vocals, stoic piano sympathy sinking deep and a head-high disco beat is simply business as usual for this one.

Bubblegum bynumbers, One More Time springs to life with a honking disco interjection, but this one really needs to get a grip and stop asking when and if from her guy. In fact, I think she's a lesbian in denial - who needs to be this desperate for action in this day and age? She's clearly looking for love on all the wrong websites. Stunning bubblegumpop-viagra arousal of All That I Want wacks you in the face with swanky assurance, with not buts or maybes. If only clubs were this knowingly tragic to play this kind of high class trash.

Below: Once In A Lifetime.

Finally growing some balls on B4U Go-Go, a song that Scooch, Deuce or even vintage Vanessa Amorosi would have been proud to drop out there. 'Reach the sky' lights herher fire and gets me higher, etc. A rash of fast piano keys that could rival Katie Price's stunning Italo-piano pelter Free To Love Again, she sure knows how to unleash an anthem out of nothing.

Below: In My Dreams (UK Mix)

My pants have just exploded - In My Dreams (UK Mix) is simply bubllegumdance heroine. Fizzy enough to make you burp, something just clicks more profoundly with this mix. The gut-wrenching soul search of 'put a little faith in me now' is the lyric to remember, you'll be too out of it to hear anything else. This is on the same scale as Alexia spiked with the faint whiff of Gina G. I need a lie down after this. And a pregnancy test.

Find Away (Tony Loco Mix) brings music back to the days of DJ Quicksilver and Sash! with speeding trance skidmarks creating staines that Rebecca's feeble vocal detergent tries in vain to wash out. In amongst the euphoria the singer forgets herself and even alows her voice to crow, and it's a stunning moment to be grateful for. Making Kylie jealous, Young Forever does not disappoint. Eyeball-bursting beats don't create much mess, but it's another highly lubricated dance-pop affair and the song she is most well known for.


Dizzy dance rascal Rebecca sadly missed out on her chance to expoloit the world's insatiable appetite for rampant Euro-dance flavoured bubblegum pop. The album peaks beyond description when she proves capable of eclipsing the cliches that determine the undeniable facelessness of it all. The quality never dips, and fans of the genre she marries herself to on almost every single track have hit the jackpot with this gem. Corkers include In My Dreams (UK Mix), Give Me Your Love and Once In A Lifetime.


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Kim Wilde - Love Moves (1990)

Out of time, Kim Wilde's 1990 LP Love Moves should have been the commercial catapult that seemed like a natural conclusion after the 2 million selling Close from 1988. Failing to expand her sound, instead offering a clutter of lavishly arrayed splatters of ballad, MOR and sheeny disco surfaces. All gripping onto the tail of fashionable arrangements, Kim deposits her unmistakable vocal range from pelting aggression to the smoother transitions that lean heavily towards her Rn'B influences. Not many tracks take shape quickly, but they all unite together to accomplish one of her most consistent packages I have heard so far (the idea for me is to review all her back catalogue in time for the release of her new album next month).

Above: with more wind than a vegetarian adding chick peas to their diet, Kim's photoshoots might have stank, but created some of the singer's most iconic imagery.

The foamy lather of her vocals on the swishy love-fest It's Here make it as immediate as anything she has done before, but the rash of adrenaline from her back catalogue has almost cleared up completely into something smoother and more polished. The majestic intro could well be the album's peak at the 0:07-0:13 mark. However, I'm going to compare this old banger to a tractor: yes, the laidback electronic disco ploughs through vaguely country-feeling grains of instrumentation, with the watery nutrients of Kim's voice bringing all the goodness to the surface. Recycling 2nd hand arrangements fertilizes something memorable, but record sales failed to grow and it failed to harvest Kim a top 40 hit in the UK. The simmery track switches lanes at about 1 minute and 30 seconds, and Kim's 'confusion' emphasis give what essentially is one of those faceless big pop moments, that were often massive during the decade (Amy Adams might have had better luck with this), are the shadows tinting the big arrival of whatever it is with something reassuringly less prissy than it might have been. The spritual ressucitation of 2:28 is the reprise of what makes this track something very special and a bit extra.

Above: the La Toya Jackson look has been the kiss of death for not only La Toya Jackson's career, but in 1990 Kim Wilde was sadly added to this list of artists struck by 'hit single anorexia'.

Sounding a bit stale all these years later, Love (Send Him Back To Me) employs then-contemporary drum strikes and mechanical sexiness, with the plotline no deeper than being 'set free' by cock. Sharp and neck-snappingly bland enough to pass for an Abdul album cut, this is a bit frumpish for my liking, but Kim's sulky incisions always sink in even if it's a shame she can't overcome the facelessness of it all.

Above: the classic KylieFacial pose was the music industry's worst kept secret, as even Kim made a joke of it years before the Neighbours actress admitted to her mystery non-surgical skin treament.

Danniipop moment World In Perfect Harmony's big surprise is that Cathy Dennis had no part in its creation, or that Dannii Minogue didn't record it in 1995, 1993 or 2007 on top of a Sash! instrumental. A rash of piano keys aggrevate Kim enough to pravoke her vocals to pour out like sunshine for the type of glossy finish only porn stars can relate to.

Flushing her heart like a toilet, highlight number two Storm In Our Hearts is a lush commitment of slushy love-lusting vocals and a flood of gushing piano keys. This is poor Kim's equivalent to Rachel from Friends staring out the window to the sound of U2. Her vocals ghost through visons of 'rain and thunder', translating the rhythms with an underlying pathos.

Below: Kim's position as the next Sugababe was already secured, with a mumsy sex vamp look that Heid would kill for, before the girls were even at school bullying their classmates (and teachers).
My divine favourite, Someday is like taking a cleansing wipe to my soul. Pretty, plaintive and vague-not-vacant, the icicle-dripping emotions, glamorous fragrances of pensive depression, and marble-eyed melancholia are all matched by the singer's discreet vocals vapourizing into the misty sounds. The gentle tide of backing vocals drift into nothing more than crystalised sighs. I highly recommend.

Clarifying chaos, Time is so good it must have scared the shit out of M People. It a bit ironic to call a song Time when the production on all the tracks make it oh so easy to pin down exactly the era they all came from, but this could have more thighs chaffing than The Nolans last UK tour. Jazzy grooves smoulder through the defensively decent Who's To Blame. 'Heard it on the news today / there's got to be a better way'. If she can't be bothered then neither can I.

Not a song too soon, Can't Get Enough cranks the voltage, cementing an established insatiable thirst for cliches even further as she threatens 'murder in the first defree'. Without the gravity-defying conviction of Never Trust A Stranger, a girl-group style narrative thrusts enough aggrevation to state a case for itself.

Dry-humping the same sound as Paula Abdul doesn't do Hollywood any favours, but turns into surprising good fun.

Still being hard on herself, I Can't Say Goodbye sadly is not a Liza Minnelli cover. It's a bit drippy for my taste, and I don't have the patience to get this serious. There's not a hair out of place on it though.

Exhiled from the pop charts and arriving after Close, Love Moves comes as something of a retreat but is not without undeniable charm. Commercially-driven, it tanked but the real capital is Kim herself, with her watery voice flooding into all the filler without hesitation. Initially lacking the infinite pinaccles such as You Came and Stranger, Kim is admittedly capable of dizzier heights than mostly everything here, but the album is a steady stream of well-matched songs all thriving on the good taste of its artiste and production flourishes. Her most unequivocal pop album.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

K-Lo Returns As Freakasylum

No, Heather Mills hasn't got an album coming out, neither has Jo Whiley and Madonna hasn't looked that old in years. No, it's simply the new look Kelly Llorenna, which is just as well as that's where she shoplifts her clothes from. With a voice deeper than most wells, K-Lo has teamed up with the guys from Infinity Within to purge her lungs out on a proper new album with some eccentric collaborators including some guys who have worked with late 90s nu-metal act Korn, which will be a first for our girl Kelly who is more used to the ones she has on her ankles.

Sounding very much like The Veronics's Untouched (unlike her pics), I am just relieved the old golden bird has finally flown from her Clubland Flip N' Fill sound. I wonder if new song That's What I Hate About You is a thinly spray-tanned dig at obese N-Trance twat Peter O'Toole (remember he called her 'an old slag' on the official AATW messageboard?). Not surprisingly her Myspace reveals the obvious, 'Toby Gad of Beyonce/Veronica's fame has written 'You Better Leave' for the the album'. And surprisingly, 'the Legendary Bassist Peter Hook of New Order and Joy Division has co written and played bass on 2 songs for the new album with Freak Asylum.' Holy shit, a might-not-be-shit shocker.

Kelly can now be found on popjustice trolling her own thread and addressing readers as 'Freaks' (as in her own 'monsters') - I am only disappointed that she didn't spell it with a 'z' as she is obviously not the speller I thought she wasn't.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Melissa Tkautz - Glamorous Life (2006)

Warning: this is not a classy post, and ever-so contrived - I'm going back to my roots! I also get far too carried away for my own good.

With a voice that oozes like crusty puss from places I can't even begin to imagine, Melissa Tkautz peels away the flakes and 'fakes it better' than anyone on her unreleased MASTERPIECE Glamorous Life that was meant to botox her name on the forehead of pop history back in 2006, instead injecting herself as mere footnote fodder at best. Illuminating the dark side of sleazy pop, her paper-cut vocal pressense asserts itself like a pen with no ink - leaving little trace, it's still a sharp device she can use as a weapon defensively or otherwise.

Sheila E. classic The Glamorous Life is given the trash treatment it always deserved. Sighing her lungs out, she rides on top of a slalom slurge of guitar dredges, pumping drumbeats and unmistakable conviction.

Denying haters outright, raunchy guitars smear thicker than her slap on Fake It Good. Slurping lyric of choice 'if you feel it come, drink it up' is a single-entendre with a salty after-taste and the satisfaction of all my favourite NBA locker room fantasies. Absorbing a fizzy electronic serum, Mel breaks out in a rash of 'so what' put-downs. Sounding bruised and rouged has never seemed so, well, glamorous.

Shocking AIDS anthem Easily Infected is too un-PC for words. A tantalisingly hot tempo provokes a gang of thumping beats to ravage her, temptation waits with every thud getting that little bit deeper than you thought you were prepared to go, and the sharp flamenco guitar strums flick faster than Melissa watching herself in the mirror. Just wait until you get your next STI test and try not humming this with nervous guilt and horror. A scintilating car-wash of synths hydrate Mel's finite vocal matter, but the girl might just need a good 3 minutes with a wet-wipe instead.

Getting greedy, Not Enough is grime-time set to a stunning disco eclipse of all care and is surprisingly classy. Pulling all the disco strings, Melissa is pinching herself with vibes more cleansing than a well-planned colonic (last minute ones can just have the worst 'follow-through' consequences I have been told). The forthright track gets damp with intended soundeffects, and then Mel just continues to whimper emotionally.

Emotions are purged and flushed on the decisive taunt of Lies, a taut electro pledge to cut out all insincere debris with breathlessly passive contempt.

Finding the time to have feelings, Breakway surrenders masochistic tendencies. It's not long before a dance-groove begins to simmer from down below and pulsate

Sinewy burst of curiosity Gotta Know second-guesses a mysterious lover, and an agrivated bassline zips up and down faster than her knickers doing the same.

Glum fizzer Waiting dribbles into a trancey dancefloor climate, rimming her tongue around an infatuation for self-help, it's not long before she's in the passengers seat again waiting on some guy to decide.

Serial dogger Melissa soon begins an elegant man-search on the dancefloor declaration True Love, which is her K-Lo/Tina-C/L-Fab moment for conciencious cruising. Piano spillage, galvanizing bass, passive forlon belting and thumping disco create a cocktail impossible not to guzzle down in one go.

Paul Okenfoald classic Southern Sun is such a wise choice to cover. Jagged electronic guitars fence around Melissa's refusal to even attemp the operatic key of the original, instead interpreting the emotion with a frightneing sense of restraint. Those slithering synth lines are as appealingly haunting in any guise, and Mel sinks her slinky velvet vocals with lubricated ease. 'Sex me free' seeks emancipation from vocal limitations via fucking for track. Maybe.

Getting the funkay house treatment, nimble disco touch-up All I Want (007 Remix) is a perky number injected into the throbbing veins of Lisa Scott-Lee, Sarah Whatmore, pastiche-junkies Alcazar and top-40 flunkies Atomic Kitten. It manages to blow most of those contemporaries to smithereens.

Above and below, probably below, Read My Lips (Electro Pusher Remix) applies some honking-electro gloss with an even coverage of smirking harassment coming from Mel's inner Mel B. This could only feel better if it were an Alex Party application. As it is, dripping with gorgeous disco strings, it's bursting with an appeal all of its own.


I absolute adore this album and honestly have died and gone to heaven with it. Mel doesn't mince her disco, this is straight up wanton trash galore. Thumping disco, guitar bruises and blunt lyrics are her high-value currency, but despite the studio thrills, it is Mel herself who superficially exerts full control with a seemingly courageous inability to justify it beyond celebrating and dissing matters of the flesh. There is not one dud here, just thuds and studs. Perhaps the defiantly insular nature of dance music that dares to articulate different shades of sexualised dancefloor lust just isn't considered classy enough for the charts. Just ask Holly Vallance and Colleen Fitzpatrick. Fans know this of course. Perhaps, for the (generalised) gay fan, it is the thrill of hearing a woman's desire for the hot straight guy we all know she can get with just one click of the finger, accidental condom drop or drink-spillage down a top. 'Our' own world left to draw parallels with the toying sense of irony or intentionally self-dramatizing fascination with one's own emotions and image. The music has to be good for sure, but dance-pop with a kink delivers sensations that are arguably drawn from interpreting the image in vicarious terms whether intended or not, and usually they are embraced by the performer in various ways. Conversely, 'we' like the music regardless of appearance, but it is a tangible layer of experience worth mentioning whether it's a fact or not. Respecting the conventions of the genre, Melissa Tkautz is that curious case of floptastic singer producing an album that makes its splash without adhering to social responsibilites, which gives it the added pleasure of rewarding far greater than ever could have been expected. Somehow, a 'nobody' commercialy-speaking, for me at least has just managed to stir up waves far greater, usurping and obliterating than the work of many of my so-called favourites have in recent times. Functioning unquestionably via an aesthetic mission, I don't regard myself as an escapist - Mel does not equate her own self-preservation with complacency. Undoubtedly contrived, but remarkably unforced, I am blown away by this.


JX - A Brief Remembrance

The jittery Hi-NRG-trance of JX's There's Nothing I Won't Do presents a huge case for being the anthem of 90s dance. There were so many to choose from, not least Vanilla's two Xeonomania make-overs, but it's effective hook and unforgettable ad-libs kind of vanished through the horizon point well before most songs get past the first verse. Leaving a trail of minor hits as their legacy, the act briefly made a comeback in 2004 with the one-off single release called Restless, a less fearlessly frantic pursuit but nevertheless was on my cross-trainer playlist at the time for months. Whoring themselves out on the PA circuit, I was there but sadly they couldn't be bothered belting out their signature smash and I was not impressed.

What a shame there was no album as - unique for a 90s dance act that had more than just one single - they were never camp, 'chav' or girlie, and I'm guessing album sales probably would be consistent as far as casual interest purchases go. The mighty Shena, who was their original vocalist, has since ditched the techno for cheepskate retro offerings that are just begging for bigger, beltier productions, but we can live and hope that a more fulfilling reunion might be on the cards eventually. However, DJ Jake Williams has found ongoing success as Rex The Dog. Poor Shena.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Kim Wilde - Close

Despite something of a 90s glitch of camp kitsch (no bad thing I must point out), Kim Wilde has managed to resist the danger of becoming passed over as a novelty still-around 80s act. Sure, the nostalgia-feeding Here & Now tours have paid for her roots to get done a few times, but her striking legacy as an electro-pop icon have only been strengthened in Europe at least with the singer continuing to adapt herself by recording new versions of her old songs and taking up gardening. When albums and singles haven't been hits though, her 6th album Close stands out as her crowning commercial achievement, selling over 2 million copies worldwide, but what about artistically?

Flop single Hey Mr Heartache is a weak-willed attempt at personal affirmation. It's a bit dismal, but a brave choice for opening an otherwise polished album. It functions well in context, and might have benifitted from sliding down the tracklisting a good 7 or 8 places.

The everlasting pop ejaculation You Came was a full facial of wailing euphoria (just hear the moment Wilde unleashes those adlibs whilst the synthesised instrumental breaks loose), and became one of the singer's biggest hits, epitomizing her lush vocal style and softened the hard-boiled sensibility of earlier material, and is reduced to simmer via a chugging bassline that never loses flavour. The stridently fertile Shep Pettibone 7" slides in all the momentum you'd expect from double that length and I swear I'm not normally so easily pleased.

Four Letter Word sounds like a vasceline-lensed 80s soap opera theme tune, but nevermind, it was her 3rd consecutive UK top ten hit. With damp vocals dripping like a tap, she coos to the apex of sophistication, with her characteristically remote and faintly bitter expression, I can imagine her singing this with both wide, hurt eyes and the thinnest trace of a smirk not least at the obvious innuendo.

Kim's only major shortcoming on this album (and something that might be more relevant to her elegant follow-up LP Love Moves) is that she is something of a creature of her arrangements, and on Love In The Natural Way she delivers one more 80s quite-OK pop-soul number. Her bid here stiffed at a megre UK #32 and bizarrely this was the direction to launch her career into the 90s. Also, stealing Live To Tell's keyboard-trembling mist is no less pleasing.

Above: wacking out hits with Wacko on his tour helped Kim not just love in the natural way, but pledge to look it as well.

Spending yet more time feeling sensitive, Love's A No huffs and puffs itself up into a right old state. However, Kim's MOR journey is ornate enough to dazzle those willing to put up with it.

Slitting through the sulky serenades, slut failure anthem Never Trust A Stranger makes use of the singer's parallel penchant for harder edges, shrieking with the sore sense of seeking solance after getting ravaged by some cad she must have found at her local biker bar. Posessing gratifying moments of mortification and sardonic self-deprication ('I thought it was heaven' couldn't be any more sarcastic, it almost sounds nasty), I don't know what the big deal is myself: 'savaged my soul and took all the control' sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Kim's oil-gargling gurning is only matched by sheer bristling guitar energy. Emotions activated, it is a wounded song where there's no room left for weakness. 'Defeated' but not out of the game, and not on it or anything let's hope, Kim sinks her teeth into the words with an insatiable appetite, which is probably why I can't get enough of it even after all these years. Struggling put-out humiliation and sharing it with the world on a hit single can't be easy but emphasising muscle over sweetness pays off in spades.

Despite verse 1 initially suggesting a melody-eclipse, You Be The One gets going with a poignantly concealed-sounding but determined chorus. I just hope he's not a stranger.

Slightly more profitable with a languid disco insouciance, European Soul is a bit lost in the crowd. Her piano man even helps her out when she's got no wandering chorus to snore to us.

Recharging the same batteries used for the electrifying rampage of Stranger, Stone ripples with a ripped and ribbed bass. Kim sings as if tasting stars in the sky, I just love how stylish she sounds during the bridges. Declaring 'cos this is our time' sentiments attracts all my attention and eats away all my cares.

Sounding troubled and burdened by a suddel lull in solid material, Lucky Guy is a dripping ballad with arrangements that don't fully warrant much effort from the singer. Imparting trite spiritual longings to little fanfare, it is a faintly flaccid finale.

The album's collision of Wilde's trademark tough and pouty style with the softer material makes for an album that never loses its queasy tension. At her most instinctive and assured, Kim triumphs on the stadium-ready You Came and Stranger and even when the material dips, she delivers a credibility that such substances wouldn't deserve if sung by any other 80s any-others. Reigning in her shoulder-pad pop is brave, but politely executed sultriness is something she pulls off along with not just her bra, but also an unassuming wit and subtle sense of guessing exactly what we're all thinking when she sings that love is a four letter word, etc. Her man problems are simply more engaging when complimenting their semen volume or grimmacing reverberations about trusting strangers that's all, but altogether it's a slick and cohesively compelling collection.