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

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ashley Tisdale's Putting Out Her Album...Again

Forget Celine Dion's airbrushed wig, Madonna's bid for an American hit and Britney's leaking trash -- there's a real album coming out this fall!

Yes, kiddies, on September 17 Ashley Tisdale is re-releasing Headstrong, her album that came out in February, and it's gonna have The Tiz doing "Last Christmas" as one of a few bonus tracks. Do the jitterbug!

According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, A-Tiz was too busy filming High School Musical 2 to promote Headstrong the first time around.

So that's why it tanked! Duh! And here all this time I thought it was because she was too classy to flash her sashimi nest to TMZ.com.

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Did Róisín Murphy Rip Off Pop! For A Hit?

Everyone's popping their cork over indie dance broad du jour, Róisín Murphy, but MoogaBoo pointed out something interesting...


Raisin's new single, "Let Me Know," musically bears some resemblance to Pop!'s 2006 U.K. flop-a-roo, "Serious." (No, we're being, uh, serious!)


And, yes, that dark-haired guy in the video is Glenn Ball, one of Kylie's hot-piece-of-ass dancers from her Showgirl Greatest Hits tour.

Anyway, our verdict is that "Let Me Know" is a grand tune, even if we suspect Resin has a set of sticky fingers. And kicking a failed pop act's useless corpse for a retro bassline? Let's hope it's a #1!

* [Check out Chart Rigger's 2005 post-mortem on Pop!]

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Next Time I Fall It Will Be With Amy Grant

In these days of global warming, war and conservative senators getting busted doing sexy in public restrooms, what the world needs now, children, is Amy Grant's Greatest Hits! That's right -- EMI is putting out Amy's 19-song "career- spanning greatest hits collection" on October 2. Mind you, this isn't to be confused with the 19-song career-spanning greatest hits collection EMI put out in 2004.

The latter one contained the ultra-misty "Rhythm Remix" of "I Will Remember You" -- you know, her slow jam with the kicky drum machine and wailing guitar, which was released as a single and played nonstop on the radio just as I was graduating high school and questioning what I really wanted to do with my life. That shit f-ed me up good, Amy!

No wonder I ended up at community college.


It's kinda lame that there's no "Next Time I Fall," or even her cover of "Big Yellow Taxi." At least it has "House Of Love," her duet with Vince Gill (with whom she allegedly had a very un-Christian affair with, the vamp!).

Anyway, here's what's on the new collection:

1. Simple Things
2. Takes A Little Time
3. Lucky One
4. House of Love
5. Baby Baby
6. Every Heartbeat
7. That's What Love Is For
8. Good For Me
9. I Will Remember You
10. Lead Me On
11. Saved By Love
12. Stay For Awhile
13. Find A Way
14. Thy Word
15. Angels
16. El Shaddai
17. In A Little While
18. Father's Eyes
19. Old Man's Rubble

Oh, what the hell -- here's "Good For Me," too.


According to Wikipedia, the original version of this video was just Amy and some other broad, but she was unhappy with the final edit because it made it seem like they were doing the tuna bump. Naughty!

Amy Grant's Greatest Hits will be released with a special DVD edition on October 2 by EMI America/Sparrow.

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Somewhere, Gwen Stefani Just Spit Out Her Cheerios As Fergie Scores Her Third #1 Single

I really can't malign Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry." Not only is it my mom's favorite song right now (Awwww!), it's also the one tune by the wannabe chola that I downloaded when her album came out last year. And this week, "Big Girls Don't Cry" follows "London Bridge" and "Glamorous" to become Fergie's third solo #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. ("Fergalicious peaked at #2 -- sorry, culos!) One wonders if Gwen Stefani isn't jamming pins into a Black-Eyed poppet right now.

Last week, six tracks from High School Musical 2 debuted on the Hot 100, while the soundtrack itself entered the album chart at #1. This week, it holds on to the top spot after selling an additional 367,000 copies, while Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens' "You Are The Music In Me" jumps from #38 to #31. Just below that, the movie's two leads see their other duet, "Gotta Go My Own Way," leap from #60 to #34. Efron is also just outside the Top 40, as his solo song, "Bet On It," ascends 20 positions to #46.

Rounding out the High School-ness on the chart, Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel's "Fabulous" is the week's Hot Shot Debut at #76.

Also worth noting is Pink, who climbs up to #16 with "Who Knew."

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie *1 week*
2. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy *sales gainer*
3. "Stronger" - Kanye West
4. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
5. "Beautiful Girls" - Sean Kingston
6. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's
7. "Bartender" - T-Pain feat. Akon
8. "Make Me Better" - Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo
9. "Shawty" - Plies feat. T-Pain
10. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mariah Carey Drops Her Skirt For Interview

Ear-piercing songbird Mariah Cary bared her music box for the September issue of Interview. Looks like she faithfully sticks to the Photoshop diet.

But you gotta love how the cover line is "The World's Biggest Diva." You can just picture her violently letting out a high-octave shriek upon receiving a copy that shattered every bottle of Clos du Mesnil in her pantry. (And is she wearing three wigs in that photo?)

Meanwhile, when the hell is Tennessee -- the flick where Mariah plays a waitress named "Krystal" -- ever gonna get a release date? Surely they've been waiting to unleash that one till Oscar season.

If so, it would coincide with the supposed late-November due date for her follow-up album to The Emancipation Of Mimi. That means, children, this might be the best Krystal Christmas ever!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

The Killers Recording Desperate, Depressing Duet For Upcoming Collection

Brandon Flowers told NME that his band The Killers are in New York all week recording a duet with Lou Reed called "Tranquilize" for their forthcoming album of B-sides and rarities. As with the last Killers album, Sam's Town, Flood and Alan Moulder are producing the track. "There's a desperation to it," Flowers told the British publication. "It's one of our more depressing songs, but there's always a light at the end of the tunnel."

Admit it...he had you at "depressing" and "Lou Reed," didn't he?

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers

XOLondon once told me that he had a theory about myself; on the surface, he said, with the writing, I may come across as cool and detached, but he suspected that underneath it all, I was a big softie. So please excuse me as, for the first time here on Chart Rigger in a long time, I let the softie take over.

Every Sunday, I wake up with a silly, excited pang knowing that the new U.K. music charts are going to be tallied and published before noon. It's something that, as a pop music fan and true chart geek, has been with me since I was 15-years-old.

This weekend, commenting on the U.K. singles chart was the last thing on my mind. Instead, I woke up knowing that today was the day my good friend Meg -- who I moved with in May 1999 from our Pittsburgh suburb to Los Angeles, and whom I've been friends with since we were college kids in 1993 -- was moving back home to Pennsylvania. Today we were getting together to hang out for the last time in a while.

This is Meg and I working as extras for the film Wonder Boys at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, in March of 1999 (two months prior to moving to L.A.)...

And then earlier today...

To top it off, two weeks ago my good pal Alex, who I met when when we both started a new job the same day back in 2002, moved to Texas to pursue his masters degree at UT Austin.

Luckily we got to spend a Saturday night two weeks ago just driving around the city listening to music and having a bottle of cheap champagne before he took off...

Anyway, I didn't get a chance to blog about the U.K. chart today on schedule. Occasionally, I guess our routines get sideswiped by life, and the softie in us gets a chance to rise to the surface...and you feel like this:



That said, I'm extremely happy that Darren Hayes' self-released third solo album, This Delicate Thing We've Made, has debuted on the U.K. album chart at #14 and Australia's ARIA album chart at #19.

Here's a small interview with Darren that ran in this week's People magazine, here in the U.S. (click to enlarge and read):


The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Stronger" - Kanye West *2 weeks*
2. "Beautiful Girls" - Sean Kingston
3. "With Every Heartbeat" - Robyn with Kleerup
4. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
5. "Clothes Off" - Gym Class Heroes
6. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's
7. "Suburban Nights" - Hard-Fi
8. "Foundations" - Kate Nash
9. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
10. "Ayo Technology" - 50 Cent

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Music Junkie Digest: Rob Thomas...Hot Or Not? Plus Shayne Ward, Darren Hayes & A Kylie Puppet

The Pet Shop Boys have unveiled the cover art for their Disco 4 compilation, which sees a U.K. release September 24. The Boys also put out a call last week for extras to be in the video for new single "Integral." The filming happened on Tuesday: "We need 200 people to attend... who are needed to variously hold up printed frames of the video clip to their faces or move around in the background. We can't pay anyone, but there will be refreshments, and it's for a great cause. Neil and Chris were already filmed and will not attend the filming."

No pay? No Chris?!? So much for "opportunities"...

****

With Matchbox Twenty's greatest hits/new album around the corner, it's time again for the old debate: Is Rob Thomas hot, or just kinda homely looking?

If we're to judge by our ears and listen to the band's new single, "How Far We've Come," Rob can take a hike. Exile On Mainstream, out October 2, is Matchbox Twenty's first release in five years. The majority of it is a greatest hits, but there are also about half a dozen new songs on there, too. Maybe they'll come up with better music in 2012?

Hey, remember Third Eye Blind? "How's It Gonna Be" was kind of a jam...

****

Darren Hayes is on the cover of the new issue of U.K. mag Attitude. (Actually, it's an old issue -- July/August -- by this point.)

Darren wrote a very upbeat blog post on his MySpace page yesterday, noting the following: "...my album is currently hovering around the top ten in midweeks both in the UK and Australia and that's astounding given that this is an independent release."

Here in the States, it even hung around in the Top 50 of the Amazon bestseller list for music most of the week.

As for the recent allegations against Darren, he had this to say in his post:
Right – now in terms of what's been going on outside of the above things I've mentioned - I have been advised by my solicitor to say nothing. But I can make it clear that I completely deny the allegation. That's all I'm going to say about this until it's over. I can however tell you that I love you more than you could possibly imagine. They haven't invented a word that could describe just how much.
****

The BBC gave a fairly positive review of Shayne Ward's single, "If That's OK With You" -- which by now feels like it's already been out forever. I kept meaning to post a link to a new Shayne interview up at the site I Like Music, and now it's about a week-and-a-half old. It's pretty lengthy (the interview, that is), and Shayne dispenses some genuine pearls of wisdom within: "I'd rather give people a taste of my personality instead of banging on about 'my art' or 'my creation'. I listen to music for fun, so why wouldn't I make it for the same reason?"

Did he say banging?

****

On a final note: First there was Kylie...

Then came Jason...

Now, here's Spencer, with his cover of underrated Jason Donovan B-side, "She's In Love With You":



Awww...puppets! You can listen to a souped-up version of Spencer's cover -- produced by So Out There -- here.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Despite Its Title, Songs Of Mass Destruction Is Annie Lennox's Most Upbeat Album In 15 Years

Lo and behold -- a promo for Annie Lennox's Songs Of Mass Destruction arrived in the mail yesterday, and sounds like she's gone happy again!

Fear not, ye fans d'Annie (Fannies?), who were expecting another Bare! For despite the deceitful album title and mood of the first single, "Dark Road," (video below), this is probably the most upbeat the former/now-sometimes Eurythmics singer has been since 1992's Diva. Maybe we should chalk it up to her working with producer Glen Ballard, instead of longtime knob-twiddler Stephen Lipson.



First off, what everyone is likely curious about is "Sing," which Annie wrote after working with Nelson Mandela's 46664 and Treatment Action Campaign (which benefits human rights, education and health care for those affected by the HIV AIDS virus). It features 23 additional female vocalists, including Madonna, Sarah McLachlan, Céline Dion, Sugababes, Fergie, Faith Hill, Pink, Dido, Gladys Knight, kd lang, Angelique Kidjo, Bonnie Raitt, Shakira, Melissa Etheridge, Anastasia, Joss Stone, KT Tunstall, Beth Gibbons, Beverly Knight and Martha Wainwright.

Now, don't get all excited, because other than one of those broads trilling in a high soprano with Lennox in the first verse (which, admittedly, I can't for the life of me figure out who it is -- perhaps just Annie herself) and Madonna doing the second verse, everyone else is put on chorus duties. The last half of the song features several of them individually gettin' all soulful, shouting out things like "Si-iii-iiing!" and "Sing my si-iisters!" I think I was able to hear Pink in that part somewhere -- then again, it may have been a mosquito flying by.


Basically, the great thing about Songs Of Mass Destruction is that most of the tracks are upbeat and contain the big, melodic, multi-layered choruses we're used to from the days of Lennox past. "Ghosts In My Machine" -- a rowdy, rockin' stomper where Annie kicks her vocal heels up and goes at the lyrics with a powerful stampede -- is the best example, and it's probably the most pop song on here. "Coloured Bedspread," with its menacing, repetitious electro synths, feels like it could be off classic Eurythmics' albums like Touch, Sweet Dreams and Savage.

"Lost" is the one tune that sounds like the sad Annie of 2003's Bare. But overall, even slower songs like "Big Sky" and "Through The Glass Darkly" start out pensive then open up into rockin', soaring accord.

Working with Glen Ballard has definitely been good for Annie Lennox. From the sound of things, he brought some fresh ideas to the table for an iconic singer who's been at it for 25 years.

As evidenced by his most famous work -- Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill (Where was she on "Sing"?) -- Ballard understands that variety a good pop album makes. And like Diva, her very first solo album, Songs Of Mass Destruction is a picnic basket with something for everyone inside.

Songs Of Mass Destruction is released October 2.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Killers Compile Rarities, B-Sides And Some Other Junk For New Album

Billboard reports that The Killers are slapping together an album of mostly B-sides from their overseas singles, to be released by year's end.

Additionally, they'll be putting out a new Christmas single this year for the Red Campaign charity, titled "Don't Shoot Me, Santa." Brandon Flowers said that the band's last one, "A Great Big Sled," raised over $100,000.

As for the album, here's what B.F. told Billboard:

"In England we have a lot of B-sides that people in America would never know about because we don't have singles here. So we have about 15 of these songs that people have never heard, and we wanted to stick them on something for people to get to have them all together."

Also to be included are the songs "Move Away" (from the Spiderman 3 soundtrack) and "Shadowplay" (a Joy Division cover from the upcoming Ian Curtis biopic, Control). The interesting part of the article is that Brandon hints at the band returning to more of the '80s sound that shaped their first album for their next studio release: "That's something we really love, and that possibly could be a third album idea."

Guess synths are a bigger draw than Springsteen.

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Oh, My Golly. It's A Brand New Duran Duran Song Leak For "Skin Diver"

If we're all to just glance at the upper half of this week's Top 10, it's a pretty eclectic group of pop singles. Unfortunately, the lower half is so tragic, you just want to shake whoever the guy is at Billboard that does up the chart, give him lots of money and say, "Now put this song here, this one there and go make it look pretty!"

Oh, wait. Maybe that's what's going on already.

Moving on, XO emailed a tip that "Skin Diver," one of the new Duran Duran/Timbaland songs, leaked. Why not check it out? (You can also play "Falling Down," their new single, written by Justin Timberlake.)

I kinda dig it. Of course, Timbaland inserted his vanity vocals, but that was a given. The eerie synths give it just the right DD charm.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Beautiful Girls" - Sean Kingston *4 weeks*
2. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
3. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
4. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's
5. "Stronger" - Kanye West
6. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy
7. "Bartender" - T-Pain feat. Akon
8. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z
9. "Make Me Better" - Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo
10. "A Bay Bay" - Hurricane Chris

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

High School Musical 2 Bops To The Top While Spice Girls' Greatest Hits Art Is A Bust

After posting the second-best first week sales for 2007 (behind Linkin Park, Billboard reports that the High School Musical 2 soundtrack topped the album chart this week. The set sold a yowza! 615,000 copies.

Last Friday, the Disney Channel flick broke the record for the most-watched cable television movie after pulling in over 17 million viewers. [Check out Chart Rigger's review here]

Elsewhere, the Red Sea parted as the Spice Girls revealed the intricately complex artwork for their forthcoming greatest hits collection on their official site. "We have all been involved with the design and are really pleased with it," read a statement. Hmmm. Well, the booklet inside best be havin' some stylized photographs of the five of them sitting on the faces of Girls Aloud and giving each other the fingerjam to make up for this washout.

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The Sheilas Record Three More Songs With PWL

This past weekend, Britain's Smash Hits TV aired a special called Pete Waterman's World Of Pop, where, amongst other things, Pete played an a cappella demo of Rick Astley singing "Nothing Can Divide Us" -- a song later given to Jason Donovan after Rick reportedly stormed out of the recording session. Mike Stock and Pete's new act, The Sheilas, were also shown singing atop the instrumental track of Bananarama's "Love In The First Degree" (clip below).


In a Sheilas interview with Australia's National 9 News, it states the threesome have already recorded three more singles (presumably with Mike and Pete).

Their first U.K. single, "(I'm So) Happy Happy (You're Mine)," is out September 17.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bittersweet Day For Darren Hayes

Well, the news couldn't come at a worse time than the day of his new album's release, but it appears as if Darren Hayes was arrested on Friday.

The Sydney Morning Herald has some details. Here's the gist of the report:

"Hayes fronted police in London last Friday night, where he was arrested for racially abusing a member of staff at Busaba Eathai in Wardour Street on July 22. The attack did not involve physical violence, but is believed to have been directed at a male member of staff."


In the meantime, the following message was posted on Darren's MySpace:

"Darren is unable to comment to any extent as the incident is presently under investigation by the police, with whom he has cooperated fully. However he is deeply upset at the allegation which he strenuously denies and anyone who knows Darren will recognise that the particular nature of the allegation is totally abhorrent to him and contrary to everything for which he has stood."


Check out D'luv's new Towleroad column, up now!

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Mandy Moore Would Really Like To Get Wet

Mandy Moore recently covered Rihanna's "Umbrella" for Yahoo Music. Though the clip's been around a couple days, it's worth a revisit.

Were I cynical, I'd say these seems like a suspicious attempt to jump-start interest in Moore's Wild Hope album, which was released last month.



Gotta love how Mandy continues to try and distance herself from her pop past, this time by declaring "I'm not a big Top 40, sort of, listener..." before she sings.

Either way, Mandy would do well to rush this version out as a single, as Marie Digby already has her own acoustic rendition perched comfortably on the iTunes download chart.

Check out D'luv's new Towleroad column, up now!

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Monday, August 20, 2007

That's Entertainment!

Entertainment Weekly's less-than-favorable review of Darren Hayes' new album (out tomorrow!) will likely send the Aussie pop star for a "spin."

Now, after setting aside all the personal bias and goodwill Daz has gained in the blogosphere for This Delicate Thing We've Made, it still sounds like the reviewer didn't really listen without prejudice:

One thing's for sure: Hayes, the former Savage Garden frontman, loves a good synth beat. His overlong, two-disc solo album proves that he's still a talented vocalist, particularly on the retro, strings-aided ballad "Casey." But the Delicate endeavor instead feels dated and rhythmically repetitive, like it should be the soundtrack for A Night At The Roxbury 2. This might make for nice pregaming music before an evening out clubbing in Ibiza, but for the rest of us, the effects can be a bit savage on the ears.
Throwing in a Village People reference simply must have just slipped his mind.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Axwell's Gonna Party Like It's 1990-Something

Kanye West's "Stronger" unseats Robyn from the top position of the official U.K. singles chart this week, though he remains stuck at #6 in the U.S. "Stronger" -- which builds its hook around Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" -- is a nice enough change for Kanye, but you can't help but wonder if the single isn't getting more attention due to all the macho yammering by 50 Cent about the forthcoming showdown the week both their albums are released in September.

Elsewhere, Swede DJ Axwell and Max'C's summer rave jam, "I Found U," enters the British Top 10, suddenly making things sound like it's 1992 again, as we goon out on the blue pills and dance holes into our shoes in an abandoned warehouse.



Rounding things out, Darren Hayes unfortunately drops out of the Top 40 after "On The Verge Of Something Wonderful" debuted at #20 last week, and Robyn's self-titled LP debuts at that same position this week on the U.K. album chart.

The U.K. Top 10

1. "Stronger" - Kanye West *1 week*
2. "With Every Heartbeat" - Robyn with Kleerup
3. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
4. "Foundations" - Kate Nash
5. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's
6. "I Found U" - Axwell feat. Max'c
7. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
8. "Clothes Off" - Gym Class Heroes
9. "Love Is Gone" - Dave Guetta feat. Chris Willis
10. "Dream Catch Me" - Newton Faulkner

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

High School Musical 2 Fails To Make The Grade? Bet On It (Bet On It)

Let's be up front about one thing: the best thing about High School Musical 2 is the soundtrack, which far surpasses the Disney Channel movie it supports. And, if we're to boil it down further, "Bet On It" -- Zac Efron's angst-ridden solo number that sounds like the best boy band power jam that never was -- is the most shining moment from the whole project.

So what went wrong? Here are the three most glaring errors made by the powers-that-be with the sequel:

1. Taking The Setting Out Of High School.
Hell, there's not even anything to do with a musical in the plot. WTF? This time around, it's summer vacation, and the East High gang are working at a country club. The cast is more tan, more glam and, frankly, more resembling the suddenly succesful actors playing the parts rather than the naive characters we came to love in the first movie. Each time they shuffle across the screen, Zac Efron, Corbin Bleu & Co. all look like they graciously took an hour off from a stylized press junket for the 17 other projects they have going on to shoot their scenes. Plus, Vanessa Hudgens, who garnered sympathy for portraying the brainy underdog the first time around, now looks like she slinked off the set of Baywatch.

2. Too Much Sharpay.
Ashley Tisdale's bitch-you-love-to-hate antagonist worked in HSM because she had about five scenes. They came out of nowhere, she yanked the rug out from under all around her and left you wanting more. But now that antagonist has become the female lead, reducing Hudgens' appearances to a few scant moments in HSM2. It's as if Ashley's "people" reminded the Disney execs that Tisdale's contract is coming up for renewal, and they'd best beef up Sharpay's screentime if they want her to re-sign. Make no mistake, High School Musical 2 might as well have been retitled The Sharpay Evans Show.... or When Disney Forgot That A Little Goes A Long Way. There is, however, one hysterical scene where, in a pouting moment, she commands the drummer of the country club's house band to "Give me a beat!" so she can strut out of the room. Unfortunately, this would have played better were we not already numb from the countless other over-the-top Sharpayisms.

3. The Paper-Thin Plot.
Basically, they all work at a country club owned by Sharpay's parents, Sharpay moves in to steal Troy from Gabriella and it doesn't work. Trust me, you're better off just buying the soundtrack and letting your mind construct a more cohesive story through the songs. As stated before, there's nary a high school (except for the opening number, set during the last day of school) nor a musical audition to be found. The kids are supposed to be gearing up for a talent show held each summer at the club, but the anti-climactic finale is so illogical (the characters are forbidden to participate in the end) that the writers tacked on a ridiculous medley of song-and-dance numbers in the last 10 minutes that do nothing to hold the whole mess together.

It's a shame, really, because the soundtrack couldn't get any better. Granted, with all Disney has at stake with trying to cash in on the most successful cable movie ever, the music here sounds more like an over-produced pop album than the pleasant collection of show tunes that made up the first record.

Too bad the movie itself couldn't be as much of a guilty pleasure.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

All The Promises We Just Can't Keep: The Sad Reality Of Life After Boy Krazy

Today there was a sobering revelation in one of my online hangouts, The Hit Factory Forum, regarding early '90s girl group, Boy Krazy.

Turns out a short, four-and-a-half minute documentary on the group's former lead singer, Johnna Lee Cummings, was put on YouTube last month, and it's not a pretty portrait of what can happen to a pop star after the major label deal ends, and it's suddenly a decade later.

Boy Krazy's "That's What Love Can Do" video



I can clearly remember being 18 and driving to my best friend Matt's house on Christmas Eve 1992, and hearing "That's What Love Can Do" on the Pittsburgh Top 40 station, B-94, for the very first time. It was a strange case of a British-made single becoming an American hit, despite flopping abroad (though Johnna herself was also from Pennsylvania).

Later that following summer, on the heels of "That's What Love Can Do," the follow-up single, "Good Times With Bad Boys," got some radio play as well. It even peaked just outside the Top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100. Again, I have a vivid recollection of hearing that one on the same radio station, in the car on the way home from seeing Jurassic Park.

Johnna put out a solo album on PWL in 1996, which garnered a handful of club hits throughout Europe, Australia and Japan. Unfortunately, the documentary pretty much conveys what's happened in the decade since.

Here's Expect Less, by Portland-based filmmaker Kimberly Craig. Watch through the end credits. I think it's the kitten meowing that gets me...

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's A Blog Eat Blog World

While attending a party last night for Prism Comics in West Hollywood, I spotted two familiar faces from online: PopMuse and Bloghungry.

I went up and introduced myself, and luckily we got to spend a good 45 minutes chatting. Two great kids who make a swell couple.

Unfortunately, their dog, Carrie Fisher, was a no-show.

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The Lights Are Goin' On In The House D'luv

Ever since I reached up Zac Efron's box and brought him home to live in the house D'luv, he says it's the best thing that's ever happened to him!

Zac's been busy doing chores like peeling potatoes and folding the linen. Today he was even supposed to do the weekly chart post, but he got a bit sidetracked by trying to make friends with the rest of the new family...

Sometimes the cherubic moppet lets his rosy world view get the better of him, though. Especially around that high-strung vamp, Miss Pussy.

Luckily D'luv has good health insurance. And Super Glue.

Zac did want you all to know that Pink has moved up to #21 this week on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Who Knew," and while 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland's icky "Ayo Technology" is the Hot Shot Debut at #22, Justin's rad "LoveStoned" jumped into the Top 40 at #30.

He's especially happy that the High School Musical Cast's "What Time Is It" is still hanging in there at #35.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Beautiful Girls" - Sean Kingston *3 weeks*
2. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
3. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E. *airplay gainer*
4. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's
5. "Umbrella" - Rihanna feat. Jay-Z
6. "Stronger" - Kanye West
7. "Bartender" - T-Pain feat. Akon
8. "Make Me Better" - Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo
9. "A Bay Bay" - Hurricane Chris
10. "Shawty" - Plies feat. T-Pain

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

You Mother F***ers Watch How Clay Aiken Attacks

It's official: God is dead.


In case any Claymates missed our Banterview on the carrot-topped dandy last year, click here and check it out!

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Where In The World Is Michael Davidson?

It's 1:27 a.m., and I've fallen prey to the Siren-like charms of the Michael Davidson "Turn It Up" video; his lone hit, if you will.


I use the term "hit" loosely, because although it appeared on Madonna's Who's That Girl soundtrack in 1987, it didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell at charting! (Though in my book, it gets extra points in classiness for the line, And when you scream in my ear / I'll know that you've come... yeah!)

But what is it that's so mesmerizing about this clip? The frenetic Dance Party USA moves? The boyish good looks of Michael? The $35 production budget?

I wonder if Madge watched this video twenty years ago and thought, I'd give him a bounce...despite the dancing.

And what the hell country was this shot in? Where is this guy now? I wonder if this other song he does, "Warehouse" -- which I see a 1989 12" promo for on eBay -- is just as much a work of art?

So many questions left unanswered...all one can do is turn it up!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Grumpy Codger Louis Walsh Trashes Half The World's Pop Stars As Westlife Record New Album

Perhaps some young rent boy recently took a leak in X Factor judge Louis Walsh's bowl of Corn Flakes?

How else to explain the nasty tirade the irate old banshee went on this week against half the planet's pop stars? Witness the treachery!

Louis swats the Spice Girls: "The Spice Girls are only reuniting because they have nothing else to do. One's just the wife of a soccer star and the others are not on the radar. They're well past their sell-by date."

Louis hisses at Robbie Williams: "It's great about Take That getting back together and they didn't need Robbie. He's overrated and has lost his sense of reality."

Louis trounces Will Young: "He should be grateful that he has been so successful with not a lot of talent. Will (Young) is too pretentious. I'm not keen on him."
Louis bitch-slaps Dannii Minogue: "She's no Kylie or Madonna, so I was very cynical about her."

Hmmm. Somehow Louis left out those talentless Irish dolts, Westlife. Oh, right...he's their manager. Expect more useless balladry from the 'life by Christmas, as their official site warns that they plan on wrapping up recording for their next studio album by early September.

Chart Rigger guest-blogs on Towleroad today and every Tuesday!

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Mariah Carey Doesn't Smell Like The High School Musical 2 Soundtrack

High School Musical 2 airs on the Disney Channel this Friday, but you can grab the album today. Below is a review by iTunes user, Krizzy:

HSM2 is just as good, if not better, than the first High School Musical! I love every single song! Here's my breakdown:

1. "What Time Is It" - totally awesome and the video is full of energy!

2. "Fabulous" - It's just that...fabulous! This is a really cute, peppy song!

3. "Work It Out" - This is the number that I reeaaally want to see on screen...it's so upbeat!!

4. "You Are The Music In Me" - cute song, love the lyrics!

Well, you get the picture. By the eleventh totally awesome and cute song, Krizzy is just about imploding.

Equally exuberant is the press release for Mariah Carey's fragrance, M.

"The inspiration for this fragrance was Mariah's magical presence and artistry."
"By combining two very contrasted notes, an exotic Tahitian Tiare flower with a deliciously warm marshmallow, we wanted to express Mariah's utmost femininity and undeniable sensuality in one strong statement."
"This harmonious balance of Mariah's favourite scents and memories is at the heart of this creation."
Mariah added: "The inspirations were multiple places I've been, moments in my life and childhood memories."
"It combines my favourite scents and means so much to me."

Sure it does, Mimi. We'll be sure to check in with you a year from now to see if you remember what the perfume's called.

Chart Rigger guest-blogs on Towleroad today and every Tuesday!

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