dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Are you talkin' to me?

On Sunday at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, the swanky Stardust premiere went down. Silver screen luminaries Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Claire Danes shimmied up the red carpet, so it was just another day in L.A -- until none other than Mark Owen and Gary Barlow of Take That showed up.

With their new tune "Rule The World" strategically placed as the film's theme, you can rest assured that in Take That's beautiful world, a lofty bid is being made for the legendary Brit act to relight their fire stateside and land some success here this time around. All you need to do is turn an eye toward the snowballing PR blitz in the press that's calling "Rule The World" to win the best song category at the Oscars next year.

photos: The Sun/Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd.

While no slapped-together-by-a-fan YouTube clip for the song has surfaced yet, Take That's Wikipedia page states "Rule The World" was recorded at London's Abbey Road studios, and was, as snarkily stated here before, produced by John Shanks.

Granted, if it's being considered Oscar-worthy, chances are good that it'll be a ballad so utterly boring, it would make an elevator plummet and crash through the basement floor [see Collins, Phil].

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Grating Broad Kate Nash Still Denied A #1

The great thing about Rihanna's stretch atop the British chart is that it kept tuneless Lily Allen knock-off Kate Nash stuck at #2.

And, really, hammering a railroad tie into your eardrum is a bit more enjoyable than listening to "Foundations," so news that Timbaland and Keri Hilson's quite rad "The Way I Are" has leapfrogged Kate's marble-mouthed femi-rant to #1 is quite relieving. (The silly girl -- you'd think nobody told her that to be taken seriously as an artist, you need to employ Protools and a drum machine.)

Additionally, it's great to see Groove Armada's "Song 4 Mutya" finally crack the Top 10. At #8, it gives the electronic act only their second U.K. Top 10 single, after "Get Down" peaked at #9 just this past May. It's also Mutya Buena's second solo Top 10 since "Real Girl" hit #2 in May.

At this point, Take That deserve a shout-out for hanging in at #29 with "Shine," which first appeared on the chart in February. In that time, the follow-up single already came and went after spending about two seconds in the Top 40. In its 29th week, Beautiful World, the parent album for "Shine," is at #8 on its respective chart.

And kudos to Garbage, whose hits collection, Absolute Garbage, debuts on the album chart at #11.

The U.K. Top 10

1. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E. *1 week*
2. "Foundations" - Kate Nash
3. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z
4. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
5. "Do You Know" - Enrique Iglesias
6. "Worried About Ray" - The Hoosiers
7. "When You're Gone" - Avril Lavigne
8. "Song 4 Mutya" - Groove Armada feat. Mutya Buena
9. "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" - Mika
10. "Autumnsong" - Manic Street Preachers

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Friday, July 27, 2007

We'd Like To Banterview Shayne Ward Into Bed, If That's OK With Him

Shayne Ward pops his buttons in the video for "If That's OK With You," which sends J'ason and MoogaBoo to the nearest cold shower.


MOOGABOO: Shayne Ward...this is the guy that won X Factor in England two years ago. Didn't he used to suck?

J'ASON D'LUV: Who knows, maybe he still does. I'm too busy staring at his chest to figure it out. However, he seems really dumb, which can get old eventually -- and by that, I mean after having sex with him 40 times.

M: Well, he can't be all that dumb. After all, he was smart enough to know that Sweden is still ground zero for excellent pop hits. On the music-intelligence scale, that puts him way ahead of the pack.

JD: True that. I love the way this song starts off all minimal, then gradually the synths come in. Then the harmonies. Max Martin did a bonza job -- I'm guessing his girlfriend wanted another summer home in Visby.

M: You know how I can tell Britney's eventual comeback is going to fail? Because while she's dicking around with overrated, hot-five-minutes-ago R&B producers like Danja, smarties like Shayne are going to Sweden and buying her old hooks wholesale and wearing the shit out of them.

JD: Yeah, Max has reinvented his sound yet again here, and he keeps getting better. It almost makes you want to forgive him for giving Bon Jovi a hit not too long ago.

M: With the right lighting and requisite video posse in this clip, Shayne Ward comes off as being more street than Justin Timberlake! But you just know that without their camera filters, those two white boys reflect more sunlight than Jessica Simpson's dentures.

JD: Copping Steps' dance moves from 1998 really gives Shayne's masculinity that extra sparkle, too. And to think, he shot this video here in L.A. sometime in June. Christ, why didn't I know about this?

M: I love how he dances so lightly in his loafers. It says, "America, I want you. I'm going to have you. But you see, I'm not going to hop in your lap, slobber on your face and make an embarrassing mess of myself in the process. I am not, after all, Robbie Williams."

JD: Haven't the feds deported Robbie Williams by now? Surely they can get him on some legal loophole...terrorism of the ears, perhaps?

M: I'm just glad Shayne spent enough time in the States to know that a.) nobody likes ballads anymore, and b.) when shirts open, so do doors. Do you think he met Clive Davis?

JD: I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that all roads to American stardom lead to Clive's jacuzzi.

M: Poor Clive. I bet all that Kelly Clarkson drama made his penis shrivel to a size even smaller than hers.

JD: Ick! Back to "If That's OK With You" -- the helium-sucked backing vocals...brilliant or worthy of the death penalty?

M: Annoying hooks are big right now, if Akon's career is anything to go by.

JD: Oh, right...Akon. Chartwise, he seems to be rebounding after stage-banging a toddler south of the equator a few months back. He must have gone to drive-thru rehab at McLohan's.

M: Yes, and Akon's new song is an improvement over his last 12 chipmunk-voiced sex ballads. The lyrics in each refrain actually give us hope that he's going to off himself.

JD: Wait. Aren't you thinking of Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls"?

M: Here's a great idea -- why don't you watch Shayne Ward's video again?

JD: You know, the image of Clive Davis' geriatric, quadruple-platinum wang is scarring my mind. I wonder what that old buzzard slips into when he's feeling sexy?

M: Barry Manilow. Or maybe Whitney Houston's wig.

JD: That's not right. But it's OK.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The High School Musical 2 Cast Crushes Akon At The Home Game

"What Time Is It?", the lead single from High School Musical 2, debuts on Billboard's Hot 100 at #6 this week, besting the #7 entry of "Sorry, Blame It On Me," the new dirge by chipmunk- voiced manwhore, Akon. Granted, "What Time Is It?" -- with its ever-so- slight shades of Frankie Valli's "Grease" -- comes off a bit bland upon first listen. Yet somehow it taps into a sticky, melodic groove by the last minute.

With no major airplay, "What Time Is It?" debuts high on the strength of being a free download with iTunes pre-orders of the full soundtrack, plus 87,000 sales of -- go figure -- a good old-fashioned CD single.

Here's the official video:

Yeah, it's no "Breaking Free" -- that one made headlines (at least 75% of which were here on Chart Rigger) last year when, out of nowhere, it landed at #4 on the chart.

A few other notable singles this week: T-Pain looks to be the new Akon; in addition to having two songs in the Top 10, the shawty-snapper also feature's on Plies' #12 Airplay Gainer called -- "Shawty." At #15, Rihanna's "Shut Up And Drive" is the Sales Gainer, while twin broads Aly & AJ are just below her at #17 with "Potential Breakup Song," which sounds like an anesthetized puddle of electro-slop Stefy vomitted out in some Bronx gutter. Also, Pink's "U + Ur Hand" (#40) has been certified platinum, and at this point is probably selling way better than her album did.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's *2 weeks*
2. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
3. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z
4. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
5. "Party Like A Rockstar" - Shop Boyz
6. "What Time Is It?" - High School Musical 2 Cast *hot shot debut*
7. "Sorry, Blame It On Me" - Akon *new*
8. "A Bay Bay" - Hurricane Chris
9. "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" - T-Pain feat. Yung Joc
10. "Bartender" - T-Pain feat. Akon

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Backstreet's Back, And They're All Groan Up

First, take a moment to let this one sink in: it's been 10 years since Backstreet Boys' first giant hit, "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)!"

That pretty much means one thing...I'm old. But so are they. In fact, the former young, jubilant fivesome is now a foursome, after 36-year-old Kevin Richardson (i.e., the hot one) officially left the group last summer.

But Backstreet is indeed back, with a not-yet-titled album due October 30, and a single, "Inconsolable," leading things off.

Here's a shoddy YouTube clip of it playing over a still photo (Yay!):


First impression? Boys, you're grounded.

But then there's the chorus, which kind of makes you think, Well, this almost wouldn't be that bad if it was done by younger singers hot enough to make you forget this song sucks it hard. But it's not. And it does.

And extra points in the tackiness column for working "climb[ing] the walls," the name of a song off their 2005 album, into the lyrics.

Quit playing games with my heart...with my heart...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Like A Britney Over Troubled Water

What's wrong with this broad? The new issue of OK Magazine is apparently printing "heartbreaking" photos of Britney Spears this week.

Britney organized the shoot herself (Uh-oh! Red flag #1) and was reportedly so, er, "toxic," her eyes were rolling up in her noggin, and the mag considered not running the story at all. Yeah, then they realized cracked-out Britney pics = "we're so luck-y/ she's a whore!" Cha-ching!

There are other gross details, but I'd rather not yack up spaghetti recounting them. Instead, you can read the full trash here.

Oh, was it really a mere nine years ago -- late summer '98 -- when standing at the magazine rack at the bookstore in the mall, I caught a small article in Billboard about some 15-year-old ingenue named Britney flying off Sweden to record tracks for her debut album with bigwigs at Cheiron Studios?

Sadly, at this point, Spears seems destined to wind up being nothing more than just another tacky Bush-era punchline.

* One of her now unrecognizeable, long-gone-by great moments.

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What To Blow Your Cash On This Week

Absolute Garbage, the almost- penultimate hits set by Shirley Manson-led alt rock act Garbage (where's "Androgyny"?) is out today (check out XOLondon's review). Kudos for this being an old-school-type compilation that actually offers the singles in chronological order of release! At $14.99 (on iTunes), the special edition with 13 remixes is certainly a better investment than Nicole Scherzinger's slipshod single, "Whatever U Like."

As far as other albums out today, somehow Billy Ray Cyrus and Billy Bob Thornton don't exactly crank the shaft. However, the new Pet Shop Boys live concert DVD, Cubism, does! Even though this has one of those fan-baiting marketing ploys -- two different slipsleeves; one with Neil Tennant and one with Chris Lowe -- hearing the commentary where those two broads banter, get sidetracked by talking about what label they were wearing in each scene and veer completely off-topic is always good for a sniggle. Cubism's concert was taped last November at Mexico City's Auditorio Nacional.

And don't forget that you can now pre-order Darren Hayes' This Delicate Thing We Made off Amazon!

After hearing a promo, let it be said that the song "Casey" alone is worth buying the double-disc for. It's released the week of August 20.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Robert Smith Not Working With Trashlee Simpson, But Tim Rice-Oxley Is

Ashlee Simpson, looking like she's pretty much had her old face lawn mowered off, apparently won't be working with The Cure's Robert Smith anytime soon, despite reports to the contrary earlier this year. Smith told MTV News, "I would be hugely surprised if I end up working with Ashlee this year, but I haven't ruled it out." That seems like a polite way of giving Trashlee the big NEXT!! He added, "I went to see her in Chicago...I was impressed. The fact is, when she got ontage and sang she was really good."

They serve alchohol at those shows, right? At any rate, NME notes that Keane's hot songwriter/keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley is whoring himself out to work with Trashlee, fresh after pimping his talent for Gwen Stefani.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rihanna's Record-Breaking, Highly Suspicious Chart Week

We may have seen an end to Rihanna's stormy onslaught at the top of the chart here in the States this week, but over in England, they're still suffering from what The Sun has termed the "'Umbrella' Curse." Last week, the paper went so far as linking the country's nine weeks of rain with the Barbados-born pop star's stint at the top with her water-themed ditty. Yes, it's hard to believe such a well-respected, legitimate bastion of quality journalism would put forth such a washed-out notion. Nonetheless, now in its 10th week at #1, "Umbrella" has set a record as the longest run this decade on the U.K. singles chart.

But that's where things start to get a bit fishy. The only single to spend a longer time at the top of the British chart -- 15 weeks, in fact -- is the 1994 cover of The Troggs' "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet [Video]. Hmmmm... The Sun. The rain. "Umbrella." Wet Wet Wet. Are we sensing a slippery pattern here?

Granted, all of this neither proves nor signifies anything in particular, but lest we get bogged down thinking this is just some water-soaked conspiracy theory, let's look at the most suspicious coincidence connecting these two mega-hits. Wet Wet Wet no doubt benefited from "Love Is All Around" being tacked on to the soundtrack to Four Weddings And A Funeral, a popular film at the time that ended with Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell kissing...in the rain.

Incidentally, neither of them was holding an umbrella.

The U.K. Top 10

1. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z *10 weeks*
2. "Foundations" - Kate Nash
3. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
4. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
5. "Do You Know" - Enrique Iglesias
6. "Worried About Ray" - The Hoosiers
7. "When You're Gone" - Avril Lavigne
8. "Oh My God" - Mark Ronson feat. Lily Allen
9. "Fluorescent Adolescent" - Arctic Monkeys
10. "Teenagers" - My Chemical Romance

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

May The King Of Gloom Be Forever Doomed

There's a pretty dead-on review of the new Smashing Pumpkins album, Zeitgeist, in the Enfield Observer: "For me, a good Smashing Pumpkins song is like the fantastic moment at the end of a 'coming of age' movie. Delicate, almost eerie verses suddenly crashing into a belting chorus, making adrenaline flood through your system while your heart soars. After a seven year gap, I was hoping for more from this album." I definitely know what this reviewer is talking about.

Granted, there are a few flashes of goodness on there; "That's The Way My Love Is" and "Zeitgeist" come to mind.

But overall, I'm not complaining. Billy Corgan's resurrection of the Pumpkins has sent me barreling down a 1994-1995 nostalgia spiral, and after dusting off Siamese Dream and heavily rotating it all last week, it was time to move on to Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness last night.

"Here Is No Why" alone was worth the trip:


For something pretty cool, check out this guy playing it on keyboard.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Music Junkie Digest: Robbie Williams Hits The Pavement, New Order Still Together

NME ran a statement from New Order's Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris that was issued today stating the band has not broken up, despite bassist Peter Hook delcaring otherwise in the spring. In the meantime, Robbie Williams (remember him?) -- who's probably looking for any gig as his solo career slides further toward the dust bin while his former Take That bandmates are on top of the world -- has apparently been in touch with ex-Smiths bassist Andy Rourke to work on Rourke's Freebass supergroup, which, among others, includes none other than Peter Hook as a member.

Anyway, here's what Sumner and Morris had to say:

"After 30 years in a band together we are very disappointed that Hooky has decided to go to the press and announce unilaterally that New Order have split up. We would have hoped that he could have approached us personally first. He does not speak for all the band, therefore we can only assume he no longer wants to be a part of New Order. New Order have NOT split up, they continue to exist".
****

This time last year, we had lackluster trifles by Jessica Simpson and Gwen Stefani to look forward to in the latter half of 2006, along with derivative albums from The Killers and Scissor Sisters, and a macho opus by Justin Timberlake (by far the best of the bunch). But the late summer/fall stretch is looking a more mature in 2007, with well-it's-about-time releases from Annie Lennox and Darren Hayes piquing the curiosity most.

First off, Annie must be one rich broad. The press release for her Songs Of Mass Destruction (out in October) states that she's sold 78 million records worldwide during her career with Eurythmics and as a solo artist.

She's also won the following in that time:

* 11 Brit Awards
* 4 Grammys
* 5 Ivor Novellos
* 2 Golden Globes
* An Oscar

Songs Of Mass Destruction is produced by Glen Ballard. Hopefully it's a bit less funeral parlor-esque than Bare. The cover art is certainly cheery.

****

Last month I put up the video for the trasheriffic pop jam "Girl I Told Ya" by Valeria featuring Aria. The song was added to iTunes a few days back as a single, with remixes available from Dave Aude and Trent Cantrelle.

I was gonna include the "making of the video" clip that Interscope threw on YouTube last week, but it seems to have been taken down now.

****

Finally, so much for the rumor of a double-album from Mariah Carey this fall. I know, dreams shatter so easily...

MTV News reports that song shriekstress left a voicemail message on her website saying she's finished 10 tracks so far for her forthcoming set, and that she's now going to work with Jermaine Dupri on a "stone groove/ smash-hit wonder — or at least a stone groove, hopefully."

More like cement boots, if it's anything like his "work" with Janet Jackson.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rihanna's Reign Dance Ends

Well, at least it ends in the States...

After a weighty seven weeks atop Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart, Rihanna's "Umbrella" is bumped down by five dorks from Illinois called Plain White T's (think Bright Eyes, but on the Disney label and with a hit) and their whiny elevator dirge, "Hey There Delilah" [Video]. Meanwhile, over in Britain, "Umbrella" is expected to stay at #1 for a 10th week on Sunday's new singles chart, which will set a record as the longest #1 there since Wet Wet Wet racked up 15 weeks in 1994 with "Love Is All Around."

But lest you start weeping your own downpour for the Barbadian minx after her toppling on these shores, she's already climbing steadily -- this week at #22 -- with her newest single, "Shut Up And Drive." You can't help feeling, though, that the overshadowing "Umbrella" kinda took the wind out the sails at this point for any follow-up.

On Billboard's Top 200 album chart, a second week at #1 for T.I. holds off new releases by Smashing Pumpkins (#2) and Interpol (#4).

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's *1 week*
2. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z
3. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
4. "Party Like A Rockstar" - Shop Boyz
5. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
6. "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" - T-Pain feat. Yung Joc
7. "A Bay Bay" - Hurricane Chris
8. "Bartender" - T-Pain feat. Akon *airplay gainer*
9. "Makes Me Wonder" - Maroon 5
10. "Make Me Better" - Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Greatest Day Paris Hilton Has Ever Known

While pondering Paris Hilton being enlisted for the U.K. cover art of the Smashing Pumpkins single, "Tarantula," some startling news broke.

Those of you thinking that the reformed jailbird had scrapped her disasterous music career after being dropped by Warner Bros., don't count your party sluts before they're hatched!

In an interview published yesterday on E! Online, Paris revealed that she has, in fact, been working on her second album for a bit now:
"I'm already working on my new record. I've been in meetings with Scott [Storch] and we've been working on it. I've been working on it with Scott for a few weeks."
The article goes on to say she did the Smashing Pumpkins single cover "as a favor for her friend Billy Corgan," and that she's also working on a project with Marvel Comics founder, Stan Lee. (Does...not...compute.)

*Update*: Here's what Corgan said to MTV News:
"The original idea was we were gonna see if Lindsay (Lohan), Britney (Spears) and Paris would all shoot..(but) Paris I knew personally and hung out with her a few times, and so I asked her...and God bless her, she came, she showed up at 10am on a Sunday morning, sat in the chair, got made up and (I) shot her."
Speaking of the Pumpkins, I picked up Zeitgeist last week, and actually found it to be enjoyable. This prompted me to dig out Siamese Dream, which then prompted me to toss Zeitgeist into the recycling bin.

That band was best when they were wearing dresses, driving an ice cream van through the desert and scissoring androgynous hipsters in the sand.


Sigh. Oh, how that album got me through my final papers during sophomore year, spring semester, 1994...

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Is There Room For One More Son?

Congratulations to Brandon Flowers and his wife Tana, who are now the proud parents of a new, son born on Saturday.

Flowers (looking quite tan these days) and The Killers are currently on a short break from doing all the big summer festivals in England.

It's strange to think that during this time last year, watches were winded and panties were twisted far and wide in anticipation of the second Killers album, which was released in October...especially since on Thursday, I was in a bar having a drink with a friend, and a song came on the jukebox that I was sure I knew, but couldn't quite place who or what it was. After about two minutes I realized it was "My List" off Sam's Town.

Most folks could probably sing any song backwards, on demand, off Hot Fuss. But while Sam's Town seemed entirely anticlimactic by the time it was released, I've been telling myself for the past four months it's time to dig it out (or, rather, cue it up on the iPod) and give it a second chance.

Maybe today is that day.

Oh, wait. Scratch that -- I just remembered I downloaded Lisa Scott-Lee's album last night, which is now on U.S. iTunes! Sorry, B. Flo. Maybe the third record...?

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Will Stardust Help Take That Rule The World?

Hairspray and High School Musical 2 are films sure to get attention from music fans over the course of the next month, but another one you might pay attention to is Stardust, starring Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, and Michelle Pfeiffer. While the fantasy film isn't a musical like the above-mentioned two, it does boast a theme song by Take That titled "Rule The World" on its soundtrack. Given the success of the film and/or the song here, it could finally seal the deal for the That's Beautiful World getting a U.S. release.

Like Beautiful World, "Rule The World" was produced by John Shanks. Previously Take That enjoyed a lone Top 10 American hit with "Back For Good," in 1995.

Stardust is released August 10 in the States.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Britain's Got Rihanna, But America's Got Talent

We have to be thankful. Yes, there's Rihanna fatigue here on Planet Pop, but were it not for "Umbrella," we wouldn't have Dorin:


Dorin appears to have finally found good use for the shower cam now that the spring semester is over -- witness her blinged-out YouTube page, where she belts out some of her favorite jams, such as Destiny Child's "Say My Name."

She posted this message to her fans in her profile: "HEY, I'VE BEEN GETTING A FEW MSGS ASKING ME IF I EVER HAD VOICE LESSONS, AND THE ANSWER IS NO, I WOULD LOVE TO, BUT NEVER HAD THEM."

It's okay. Don't be alarmed.

The U.K. Top 10

1. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z *9 weeks*
2. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
3. "Foundations" - Kate Nash
4. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
5. "Fluorescent Adolescent" - Arctic Monkeys
6. "When You're Gone" - Avril Lavigne
7. "Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song)" - Enrique Iglesias
8. "Worried About Ray" - Hoosiers
9. "Teenagers" - My Chemical Romance
10. "Soulmate" - Natasha Bedingfield

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Kelly Rowland To Do Kylie?

Australia's Daily Telegraph reported earlier this week that Kelly Rowland is going to record a cover of Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head." You could probably place about as much validity in that "news item" as you could in the fact that Rowland is sure to have a hit off her latest album, Ms. Kelly. (Although, she actually did have a hit in the U.K., so you never know.) Anyway, this is all based on Kelly performing Kylie's song in London recently while promoting her album, and getting whooping shrieks from the audience.

Then again, the crowd could have just been rejoicing that she wasn't performing her own songs anymore.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Avril Lavigne's Legal Woes Keep Holding On

What is it with the letter "T" and all the "artists" in the Top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100 this week? Have a cup of tea and mull that one over.

In the meantime, let's check out the real story going on this week, revolving around Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend," which falls out of the Top 10 after 19 weeks.

In a two-page article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, the paper reported that "July is shaping up to be the cruelest month" for the 22-year-old singer, as more and more people are getting involved in the copyright lawsuit revolving around "Girlfriend," at #13 in the chart this week, and its similarities (or lack thereof) to the Rubinoos' song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."

Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, co-writer of "Girlfriend," who has also been named in the lawsuit, spoke publicly about the matter for the first time in the Times piece: "I never heard of the Rubinoos before the lawsuit. I never heard of the song, and neither has Avril. I would take a polygraph on that in front of them. Me and Avril wrote the song together."

Yes, folks. You read that correctly. Me and Avril.

Anyway, here's the trusty Chart Rigger analysis, using quotes when citing lines from the actual article:

* "Girlfriend" has sold 2.6 million copies worldwide, and topped singles charts in the U.S., Italy, New Zealand, Austria, Ireland and Sweden.

* Dr. Luke, who swears he's not a plagiarist, says "Girlfriend" has "the same chord progressions as 10 different
Blink 182 songs, the standard changes you'd find in a Sum 41 song. It's the Sex Pistols, not the Rubinoos."

* Jon Rubin, lead singer of '70s band the Rubinoos, is not part of the lawsuit as he didn't write "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." He does, however, say "Girlfriend" has more in common with a 1997 cover of his song by British girl group Lush.


* The Lush version, containing the "Hey, hey" refrain, was retitled "I Want To Be Your Girlfriend."


* Dr. Luke and Avril, while claiming they have never heard of the Rubinoos or the song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," do not state in the article that they've never heard of Lush or "I Want To Be Your Girlfriend."


* After songwriter
Chantal Kreviazuk was threatened with legal action by Avril for disparaging comments made in the June issue of Performing Songwriter, Chantal and her management have issued a full retraction of the statements.

* Chantal Kreviazuk is represented by Nettwerk Music Group, the same management firm that represents Avril Lavigne.


* Both Avril's and the Rubinoos' camps have hired musicologists to study and determine the similarities between "Girlfriend" and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."


But, really, who needs a musicologist when we have YouTube...



You can listen to "I Want To Be Your Girlfriend" by Lush here.

To be honest, I don't know that the Rubinoos have a slam-dunk case here. I think that perhaps one of the most telling comments about this whole thing comes from Jon Rubin, whose says other people started pointing out the supposed smiliarities to him: "We got tons of e-mails about it. 'You guys must be collecting big dough now.' Well, actually not."

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z *7 weeks*
2. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's
3. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
4. "Party Like A Rockstar" - Shop Boyz
5. "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" - T-Pain feat. Yung Joc
6. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
7. "Makes Me Wonder" - Maroon 5
8. "A Bay Bay" - Hurricane Chris
9. "Big Things Poppin' (Do It)" - T.I.
10. "Bartender" - T-Pain feat. Akon

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Music Junkie Digest: Avril Gets Feisty, Darren Reveals His Art & Madonna's An Eyesore

Punk rock millionaire with dyed blonde hair and a lavish mansion, Avril Lavigne, lashed out at the haters this week who are branding her a plagiarist for her #1 hit, "Girlfriend." Clad in her couture rebel duds, she furiously tapped the keys with her black nail polish-adorned fingers while letting out an atomic shriek in her multi-million dollar compound to set the record straight.

Keeping with her hard core ethics, Avril also fired off an anarchic web-spanking to Chantal Kreviazuk, who claims Avril ripped off a song Chantal submitted for one of Avril's albums years ago.

Let's take a look at the rockin' Canuck's safety-pinned diatribe:

"You may have heard some news that two guys who wrote for some band from the 1970s I have never in my life heard of called the 'Rubinoos' are trying to sue me."

"They have a song called 'I Want To Be Your Boyfriend' that has no musical similarities to the song 'Girlfriend' that Luke Gottwald and I wrote together."

"They claim that a small part of the lyrics are the same and are saying that I took these from them. I had never heard this song in my life and their claim is based on five words!"

"Off the top of my head, two other songs that I can immediately think of with this type of lyric are "Hey, hey, you, you get off of my cloud" by The Rolling Stones and "Hey little girl I want to be your boyfriend" by the Ramones."

"I was going to be the bigger person and not reply when I read Chantal Kreviazuk's article in Performing Songwriter magazine." [JD: Thank God.]

"
Now that all the media have caught on to her little interview, I need to speak." [JD: Goddammit!] Chantal's comments are damaging to my reputation and a clear defamation of my character and I am considering taking legal action. Chantal has accused me of taking a song idea from her because I happen to have a song on my new record with the same title."

Okay, there's a lot more, but her face is getting creepy. You can read the rest here. Moving on...

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Darren Hayes' official website has the artwork and track listing up for his double disc, This Delicate Thing We've Made (released August 20)...

...and single "On The Verge Of Something Wonderful," out August 6.

Here's the video for "On The Verge...," which only further assures This Delicate Thing... is going to be Dazza's career master stroke:


Of course, that assumption is soley based on the inclusion of evergreen broad Janice Dickinson in the video.

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Now, here is perhaps the most illogical release of the year. Sony UK released a greatest hits set Monday for Sonia, who is best-known for her string of late '80s/early '90s hits on Pete Waterman's label (including British #1 "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You"). During this period, the ginger-wigged Liverpudlian made a career of flapping her arms like a plump finch in music videos comprised of a rapid succession of close-up shots with some queen(s) doing "the running man" behind her.

Alas, the only "hits" on this "great" album are the singles she released after all that silliness -- including her deceptively-titled 1993 Eurovision entry, "Better The Devil You Know," and American AC radio hit, "Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy" -- so where's the fun in that?

Rather than purchase this dust bin, you're better off watching a clip of some fool's puss listening to Sonia's second PWL jam, "Can't Forget You":



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Sophie Ellis-Bextor has shot a video for "Today The Sun's On Us," the third single off the lovely Trip The Light Fantastic. According to the site New UK Single Releases, the fourth single has now been confirmed as "If You Go." Really, there's not a bad egg in the basket with this album, but it's a tad of a let-down to know the perfect Dan Gillespie-Sells ditty "Love Is Here" won't be issued as a single.

It's actually kind of surprising, after "Me And My Imagination" peaked at U.K. #23, she's getting another release at all off the record.

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Finally, Britain's Mirror has reported that U.S. interviewers who were deigned worthy enough to speak with The Madonna at Live Earth this past weekend were bizarrely ordered to maintain eye contact with the renowned actress the entire time while in her presence, and to memorize questions and not look down at notes. I don't know what people are complaining about, though. This sounds like a golden opportunity! Had I been there, I'd have been all like, "Excuse me, The Madonna, you seem to have something in your eye..." Quicker than a ray of light, I would have proceeded to use a Body Of Evidence laserdisc to scrape the intrusive object from the material girl's orb onto the American Life CD booklet, then thrown it all -- and her-- into an acid-soaked, eco-friendly compost pile. Because thinking green makes the Earth do smiley-face!

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Monday, July 09, 2007

2,000 Trees Died To Bring You This Balderdash

Desperatus Australius! Forget Harry Potter! Jason Donovan's My Story is sure to be the most magical tale of good vs. evil and pop sorcery ever!

Witness these bewitching highlights from the tome's necromantical press release:

* ...behind the squeaky-clean popstar image was a man increasingly addicted to recreational drugs and on a spiralling downwards path until the love of a good woman pulled him through!

* Kylie and Jason became the celebrity couple of the eighties and released the number one Stock, Aitken and Waterman hit "Especially For You" in 1988!

* When Jason sued style magazine The Face for calling him gay, the press tore him apart. Years of binge drug taking and partying to excess followed!

* ...Jason talks candidly about the drugs that nearly saw the end of his career, about his relationship with the princess of pop, Kylie Minogue, and how he finally got his own very happy ending with the woman who saved him!

But since Jason's book -- which is sure to be studied planetwide in the halls of education for generations to come -- isn't out till October 1, it's probably a good time to catch up on the epic scriptures of these other two elders:

Sir Ego of Doughbutt...

...and Lady Boy Choppedcock.

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