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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Truth Is Finally Out There

OMG! The best news ever arrived today -- Twentieth Century Fox finally confirmed a new X-Files movie will be released on July 25, 2008.

Diehard X-philes will be jazzed to know the Chris Carter-directed/Frank Spotnitz-penned film will be shot in Vancouver, starting in December. Vancouver was the location the first five seasons of The X-Files were shot, until David Duchovny got married and whined that they move it to Los Angeles. The show lost much of its original dark, atmospheric creepiness in the process.

I'm so excited, though! I've made it no secret that this year I started watching the show again on DVD, beginning with Season 1 in February. I literally wrapped up with Season 9 on Monday last week.

Many later episodes were brand new to me, as I stopped watching after Season 6 of the original run. Off the top of my head -- and for anyone interested in checking out the amazingly well-written, heartfelt sci fi/horror program for the first time -- some of my faves were Season 2's "One Breath" and "Ascension," Season 3's "Quagmire," "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" and "War Of The Coprohages," Season 4's "Memento Mori" and Season 5's "Post-Modern Prometheus" and "Bad Blood."

It's highly recommended you start at the very beginning, though. The whole "mythology" can be pretty confusing if you don't, and there are really only two or three bad episodes out all 201 of them.

Viva Mulder and Scully!

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Well, Kiddo, I Thought You Outgrew Superstition

Happy Halloween!

This year, while everyone's out gettin' their goblin on, I'm opting for a D'luvvly night of staying in and handing out candy to the neighorhood kiddies while watching scary movies on DVD.

And screw that Michael Jackson "Thriller" shit -- here's a real classic spooky music video:

Trent has up pics of the Backstreet Boys at the Times Square Virgin Megastore signing copies of their new CD Unbreakable yesterday.

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I'm Not Reading The Lance Bass Book Till I Find It At The Flea Market

So, Lance Bass has a book that came out last week or last month or something -- I don't know when the hell it was, 'cause I've got the Jason Donovan book, the Gary Barlow book and the Pennysaver sitting on my nightstand taking priority. It's nothing personal, Lance...it's just that when you came out last year, it sent me on a spiral into doom-laden hell. Entertainment Weekly had this to say about Out Of Sync in their new issue: "Unless you're a die-hard fan you won't sync up with his shallow, glossed-over (and ridiculously premature) life story."

The November issue of GQ has an interview with Lance (called "Lance Bass's Big Gay Adventure"), in which he states the following about his former band *NSync, and the following success of Justin Timberlake:

I'm proud of him. There's no anger, but there is disappointment. We were starting to get respect -- and Grammy nominations. And he kind of took that respect to get past the boy-band stigma. Hopefully, he'll throw us a bone and do another *NSync album or a song, because the rest of us loved it. It was our life -- touring, making albums.

I agree, Lance! Get Justin back in the studio with Max Martin, I say! Meanwhile, Ryan Gosling is on the cover of said GQ, and he can come over and make an album with D'luv or throw a bone any time he wants.

While we're at it, Daft Punk are on the cover of the new issue of Paper. And, oh my day-um, the one on the right is so hot.

New Towleroad column up now.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

My, Oh My: Aqua Announce They're Reuniting For 2008 Tour, Possible Greatest Hits

Life in plastic is fantastic! Danish pop act Aqua, who split up in 2001, confirmed last week they'd be reforming for a 2008 tour.

Thank God, too, because we need something to wash the bad taste of skank duo Samanda and their recent cover of Aqua's "Barbie Girl" out of our mouths.

"Barbie Girl" went on to be a massive worldwide hit in 1997, and catapulted their album Aquarium to sales of two million copies in the U.S. alone. "Lollipop (Candyman)" was the foursome's only other American Top 40 hit, while "Turn Back Time" got a fair amount of radio play due to its inclusion in the 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow film, Sliding Doors.

Universal only pressed about 10,000 copies of the original "Barbie Girl" single in the States, likely having low expectations for such a novelty tune. The song went on to peak at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, and perhaps would have charted higher had it not already been deleted. As these were the days before massive file-sharing online, the scarcity of copies no doubt explains the rapid success of the Aquarium album here upon its release.

Anyway, according to Wikipedia, 4-Inch Subwoofer is possibly the name of their third album, which may or may not be a compilation with new tracks.

Here's the self-parodying video for Aqua's rad "Bumble Bees," off the band's underrated second album, Aquarius:



Female singer Lene Nystrøm put out a solo album in 2003, which I bought in the Canary Islands that fall. It kinda sucked, and I rolled it on eBay.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Leona Lewis Uses Her Power Of Mediocrity To Block Take That From A U.K. #1

Well, it would have been a beautiful world for Take That to rule if Z-grade reality show warbler Leona Lewis hadn't mucked it all up. This week Lewis' "Bleeding Love" trumps the That's top notch Stardust-soundtrack ballad, "Rule The World," at capping the official U.K. chart. This marks the second time Simon Cowell's latest finger puppet has kicked the guys to the side -- at Christmas time last year, her debut single knocked "Patience" from #1. I'm officially ripping that hooker's wig off if I ever see her.

And so this means Leona and Take That also keep McFly from landing their eighth U.K. #1, as "The Heart Never Lies" has to settle for the second runner-up spot. If we're to go by the usual trend with these half-baked twits, they'll drop out of sight come next week.

Oasis round out the Top 10, while quite a bit lower, at #24, Backstreet Boys are finding that "Inconsolable" might just be an aptly-named theme for their latest stab at hangin' around, post departed member Kevin Richardson. The single peaked at #86 here in the Sates. The Boys' album Unbreakable is out this week.

On the album chart, all the media hype eases the fall of Róisín Murphy's Overpowered to #31, after a so-so debut last week at #20.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis *new* *1 week*
2. "Rule The World" - Take That
3. "The Heart Never Lies" - McFly *new*
4. "About You Now" - Sugababes
5. "Valerie" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
6. "Gimme More" - Britney Spears
7. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
8. "Uninvited" - Freemasons feat. Bailey Tzuke
9. "Goodbye Mr. A" - Hoosiers
10. "Lord Don't Slow Me Down" - Oasis *new*

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Take That's Howard Donald Takes A Fall

Oh, no! Take That's Howard Donald was attempting a split at a show in Milan, and suffered a collapsed lung. Someone should remind him he's 39.

Apparently, he carried on with the concert, but by the time the That flew on to Vienna, he was rushed to the hospital. (And thanks to Mobius, who lives in Vienna, for the tip this morning.) Here's hoping he has a speedy recovery!

But while I feel really bad for Howard D., I'm also relieved this didn't happen to Jason Orange, because he still needs to have sex with me.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Robyn: "My Hair Has Always Been Fly"

Robyn's "Handle Me" single will be released this Monday in the U.K., and Metro ran a naughty interview with her yesterday wherein she says the most ridiculous promotional thing she's done was a radio gig with the Spice Girls when her first album came out in Britain 10 years ago ("I didn't dig any of them."), and that "my hair has always been fly. I've never had any hair problems."

Sexy! I've actually had problems with Robyn's hair, though -- she looks too much like the first boy who ever handled me. Anyway, here's Robyn getting feisty when asked about Britney Spears (and what lame question):

You worked with producer Max Martin. So did Britney Spears. What advice would you give her?
None. I have no opinions about her life. It’s ignorant to think that just because we had one thing in common, we’d be similar people. People deal with their lives in different ways. It could happen to anybody. People shave their hair off every day but when she does it, it gets in the news. It’s really nothing special.

Here's the "Handle Me" video, where Robyn looks très Edie Sedgwick:

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Britney Spears' Blackout: Heaven On Earth?

The Billboard chart this week sucks more than Leona Lewis probably did to get to where she's at, so let's instead talk about how great Britney Spears' Blackout, is! Now, I know...trust me, when Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+, I was like, Wha'? This can't be! But rest assured, this is the most consistent album of her career. I think folks can agree that Britney's always been good for making a record full of singles, maybe one or two decent album tracks and then a bunch of filler ("E-mail My Heart" or "That's Where You Take Me" anyone?)

But how this broad managed find the time to stumble into a studio this year to record 12 songs -- and not-bad ones at that -- is beyond me. First off, after hearing "2 Hearts," Kylie Minogue had better have something as good as Britney's "Heaven On Earth" on her new one. It sounds like some galloping electro jam Bobby "O" left on the shelf for the last 25 years.

The second best track is "Hot As Ice." It's an example of how, even when you think she's about to serve up some mediocre R&B number, a really catchy pop hook or middle eight comes out of nowhere in these songs.

"Radar" starts out very Madonna-esque, circa "Music." It's kind of distracting though, when B. Spears repeatedly pronounces radar like raider (she says so much in the three plus minutes that you can't help laughing). "Break The Ice" is pretty rad, too. (Hmmm, what's with the ice theme?)

Look, I know. I realize it's an uphill battle defending Britney Spears' artistic merit. All I can say is that the whole time listening, the names Madonna and Kylie kept popping into my head. Mostly because I wish those two Grande Dames would make something this sweet again.

Blackout is truly one of the great pop albums of 2007. It's like Britney finally gave up aiming for credibility and just had fun, and she's never been better than when she lets the producers take control and cover up her vocal shortcomings with a dazzling array of effects.

Recommended: If you're mildly curious, download "Heaven On Earth." You might find yourself forgiving Her Trainwreckness a little bit.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy *7 weeks*
2. "Kiss Kiss" - Chris Brown
3. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
4. "No One" - Alicia Keys *airplay gainer*
5. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat *sales gainer*
6. "Stronger" - Kanye West
7. "Cyclone" - Baby Bash feat. T-Pain
8. "Good Life" - Kanye West feat. T-Pain
9. "Hate That I Love You" - Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo
10. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.

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Some Reactions To Spice Girls' "Headlines"

I posted a YouTube clip of the new Spice Girls single, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)," over at Towleroad yesterday, which got some spicy reactions from readers in the comments section (see below). Personally, I'm a bit This is what these five broads came up with after seven years? upon hearing it. Then I realized those MILFs probably had nothing to do at all with coming up with the track. Anyway, was anyone else underwhelmed by the snoozy ballad?

Yeah, I'll probably love it in about two more days. Here's what some Towleroad readers had to say:

* "First, Spice Girls single: sort of bleh. But I have my tickets. They better freaking Zig-a-Zig everywhere for what they're charging."

* "Did you see the Spice Girls on Dancing with the Stars... time has not been kind... they should be called the Dried Spice Girls..."

* "I'm sorry, I love the Spice Girls but the new SINGLE... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Should have picked something upbeat for their first comeback single."

* "So, I'm liking the new Spice Girls song (God knows I've loved them from day one), but I don't feel like this is the right style of music for their first release."

And, here's my favorite (I'd also written about the site OiNK getting busted by interpol):

**** "Robbie, you should stick to reporting on the gossip around the Spice Girls' video shoot and leave the heavy topics to adults that can get the story straight."

Ba-zing! Hey, I couldn't agree more! Them big words make my head feel all spin-y 'n shit.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Looks Like Dull, Screeching Harlot Leona Lewis Will Be Around For Awhile

Argh. So Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" is outselling Take That's "Rule The World" two to one, and will likely top Sunday's new U.K. singles chart.

It's not so much that "Bleeding Love" is a godawful song. In fact, it's got all the harmless, bland charm of a mid-'90s Eternal single. I'm just sick of hearing Simon Cowell and all those industry geezers doing their PR vomit about how she's the best singer from England in 20 years.

Hello!? How soon they all forget Lolly!



Now there was the voice of an angel. Oh, well. It could be worse. "Bleeding Love" is outselling Britney Spears' "Gimme More" 10 to one.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Keane's Keen New Video

Keane will release their new charity single, "The Night Sky," in the U.K. on Monday. Here's the swell official video:



A bit less official is this fan video for Keane's "Under Pressure," from the Radio 1. Established 1967 compilation. This is shaping up to be one of my favorite songs of '07:

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Mariah Carey's Wicked Torture Of The Lambs

Who the hell does Mariah Carey think she is? After teasing the lambs with an Interview cover story, her new album has now been pushed back.

The curvy, squealing shrew's new set (rumored to be a double disc) had a December 4 release date, but now MTV reports it's pushed back until at least February. Apparently she's still recording material.

That broad had better get it together, because now her movie Tennessee -- where she plays a waitress named Krystal (yes, with a "K") -- isn't coming out till next year, either. Jeez, doesn't Krystal know she's gonna miss Oscar season? What's really the point, then? Less partying and more working, butterfly!

Krystal's album is apparently called Sweet Soul Odyssey.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sugababes Hold Britney Spears' Face Down In The Gutter In The U.K.

How about that cover art for the new Britney Spears album, eh, folks? Here's a broad who has arguably been one of the most famous women in the world for the past decade, who's earned tons of cash, and yet she's consistently had the worst album covers for someone of her calbre. I think I slapped together a similar juvenile-looking cover to Blackout for a mixed tape of Real McCoy songs I made back in '97, using torn out pages from a K-Mart flier, a Bedazzler and some rubber cement.

At any rate, this week Britney's "Gimme More" matches its #3 U.S. position in the U.K. Above her, it's a career best for Amy Winehouse, as her collaboration with producer/DJ Mark Ronson, "Valerie," beats the #7 U.K. position of "Rehab," and equals Ronson's #2 placing earlier this year with "Stop Me."

At #13, The Killers' duet with Lou Reed, "Tranquilize," bests their previous two singles, "Bones" and "Read My Mind," which both peaked at #15. Not bad, but it's a far cry from last September's "When You Were Young," which was only held at #2 by Scissor Sisters' "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'." Other than that, it's a fourth week at the top for Sugababes. "About You Now" has now has as long a run at #1 as the 'babes' "Push The Button" did two years ago.

Can we now please get them to come over here?

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "About You Now" - Sugababes *4 weeks*
2. "Valerie" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
3. "Gimme More" - Britney Spears *new*
4. "Goodbye Mr. A" - Hoosiers
5. "Let Me Think About It" - Ida Corr vs. Fedde Le Grand
6. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
7. "Happy Ending" - Mika
8. "Uninvited" - Freemasons feat. Bailey Tzuke
9. "Ayo Technology" - 50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
10. "No U Hang Up/If That's OK With You" - Shayne Ward

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Ace Of Base? I Always Have And Always Will

This ain't no lie: I've been wanting to write about Ace Of Base since Chart Rigger fluttered to life almost three years ago. Now I'm just tired of waitin'!

You'd think these four would have better things to do than to get married and shoot out kids -- you know, like actually putting out an album! It's been five (!!) years since Da Capo, and no, that shady bargain-bin Platinum Collection hits CD Arista lobbed out four years ago doesn't count.

These cats are interwoven into the fabric of D'luv's formative years -- from driving around during lonely teenage fall nights listening to "All That She Wants," to ditching my uncle's funeral early in January '94 to buy the "The Sign" single at the mall, to a week-long 21-year-old loss of my marbles with a coke-addled mafioso with "Beautiful Life" as the constant backdrop (hey, I was looking for someone to guide me on my way, now and forever).

Can you actually believe there was a time when an act like Ace Of Base had the best-selling album of the year in America (1994, 7 million copies, The Sign)!? I mean, all you Swede-pop-addicted bloggers oughtta have a shrine to these phonetically-challenged mystics next to your cupboard full of Ramen Noodles. If I'm not mistaken, in December 1999 Billboard declared them to be the top-selling foreign act of the 1990s in the U.S.

So where'd they fuck off to? Well, Clive Davis dropped them from Arista after three albums and a greatest hits, they put Da Capo out in certain countries in fall 2002, and have done sporadic live appearances since then inbetween raising individual families.

However, a check of Ace Of Base's rarely-updated website this morning reveals that they've scheduled almost a dozen concerts (their first full ones since 1996) in Russia, Denmark and Lithuania in November and December.

Wikipedia also notes the following:
In a recent interview in Sweden, Jenny Berggren revealed information about the band's future plans. She said there is "a lot" happening in the Ace of Base camp and that "we have to wait and see". The next album is shaping up to be really good; with some good songs, but with no producers or renewed contract as yet.
This gets me kinda giddy. I dunno. I feel like of all the cheese-pop '90s acts to be ashamed of, Ace Of Base kind of transcend that and deserve some props. I, for one, am looking forward to their return. For me, as a group that wrote and produced much of their own material and whose reggae/Europop-hybrid style was often imitated -- plus who launched the career of Max Martin -- they're much, much more relevant to pop than Spice Girls ever were.

Here's to turning up the Base in 2008.

I just wanna be anybody...

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Love Will Tear Us Apart

Here's a well-made-yet-cheesy fan video for The Killers' Joy Division cover, "Shadowplay," currently #14 on the iTunes download chart.


In a land where Souja Boy is #1 for over a month, it'll be so rad if this song at least cracks the Billboard Top 20. Over yonder in the U.K., the band's current single, "Tranquilize," is the fifth most-downloaded track on iTunes.

You can currently listen to clips of all the tracks from The Killers' upcoming Sawdust album (U.S. version) on NME's blog, minus the remix of "Mr. Brightside" and, uh, another one I'm too lazy too look up right now. Of course, doing so made me realize I already have most of these from over the years, though according to a commentor there, "Daddy's Eyes" is going to be a re-recorded version, while "Sam's Town" is an acoustic version.

God, am I back into The Killers, then? Over a B-sides compilation? I guess I never truly left you, Brandon!

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy *6 weeks*
2. "Stronger" - Kanye West
3. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic *sales gainer*
4. "No One" - Alicia Keys *airplay gainer*
5. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
6. "Gimme More" - Britney Spears
7. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
8. "Bed" - J. Holiday
9. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
10. "Good Life" - Kanye West feat. T-Pain

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pin Take That Against A Wall, Push Leona Lewis Out A Window

Jesus, have I spent a lot of time talking about British artists lately...oh, that's right, we killed pop here in the States. Anyway, here's the 2008 Take That calendar. I totally want this. I'm sick of staring at Ashley Tisdale's puss on my '07 HSM one.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Take That's "Rule The World" will finally get a single release in the U.K. The power ballad blows their last single, "I'd Wait For Life," outta the pond, and it's gotten an extra boost from being included on the Stardust soundtrack. Stardust came and went in August (after 10 weeks in U.S. theaters, it's grossed about $38 million, though the budget was $65 million). The film gets a U.K. release Friday.

But these cats ain't too keen on making exciting videos, eh? The least they coulda done was gang bang Jason Orange over a garbage can.



Also out in the U.K. Monday is X Factor ho Leona Lewis' single, "Bleeding Love" -- which, ewwww! with that title. Here's hoping the That keep that hyped-up shrieking pair of breasts from hitting #1.

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Relax, Tweens And Gays With No Lives, Vanessa Hudgens Not Dropped From HSM3

Despite OK! magazine's report floating around that Vanessa Hudgens had been ditched by Disney over leaked pictures of her tuna swamp, that's apparently not the case. A rep for Hudgens told Access Hollywood, “Totally untrue. It is an old rumor. OK! magazine never bothered to fact check with me but they did call Disney who said it wasn’t true, but yet OK! ran it anyway. Apparently OK! magazine was having a slow news day.”

Disney is apparently negotiating with the entire cast for them to return in a third High School Musical feature. I don't know, Vanessa. After that second one sucked hard, careerwise, you'd have probably been better off charging old men ten bucks to watch your showercam...or Zac Efron's.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Madonna Confirms She's Got Tons Of Cash, The Killers Confirm Compilation Tracks

Madonna issued some statement confirming her partnership with Live Nation, and how this is the future of mu-Zzzz zzz zzzz. Anyway, here's the U.S. tracklist for The Killers' Sawdust (European tracklist to slightly differ):

"Tranquilize"
"Shadowplay"
"All The Pretty Faces"
"Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf"
"Sweet Talk"
"Under The Gun"
"Where The White Boys Dance"
"Show You How"
"Move Away"
"Glamorous Indie Rock And Roll"
"Who Let You Go?"
"The Ballad Of Michael Valentine"
"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town"
"Daddy's Eyes"
"Sam's Town (Abbey Road version)"
"Romeo And Juliet"
"Mr Brightside (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke mix)"

New Towleroad column up now.

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Westlife Vs. Spice Girls: "You Get A Lot Of Tired Old Has-Beens"

Mel C has kicked off a war of words with dumb pricks Westlife, whose new album Back Home was due out in the U.K. the same day as the Girls' Greatest Hits (November 5). Said Sporty: "I personally don't like Westlife. We've just sold out 17 nights at the 02 Centre...we've got nothing to prove!"

This caused the following tirade from Westlifer Nicky Byrne:

"You get a lot of tired old has beens, and I am not referring to the Spice Girls now, saying, 'Oh it was different when I was in the business.' Nostalgia is a big thing and it will work for the Spice Girls. I don't have anything against them personally. But if Mel C wants to start opening her mouth and picking on us individually or our families then it is going to become personal. It should be a good chart battle."

Anyway, the Spice Girls' hits set has since been pushed back a week. E! Online has also reported that the girl group has struck a deal with Victoria's Secret to sell the CD in the store. They'll also be the closing the annual fashion show put on by the lingerie chain on November 15.

The concert will be broadcast in the States December 4 on CBS.

New Towleroad column up now.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

So, Don't Hold Your Breath For That Steps Reunion, Says Pete Waterman

Pop Godfather Pete Waterman is always good for some sassy soundbites, and his responses to reader's questions in The Sun today are no exception.

In a classy Q&A with the feisty Brit (titled " I Made Simon Cowell"), Pete answers one hopeful lad writing in about the prospect of one of PW's most successful acts, Steps, reforming:
"For two years I tried to soothe the troubled waters. We spent lots of time trying to get them to talk, and came close maybe two or three times. I’ve got to be honest and say the gulf is still far too big to do it in the next 12 months, unless something has radically changed. They fell out badly at the end, it wasn’t subtle. One minute they were there and the next minute two had gone off leaving the other three very bitter."
Hmmm. I dunno, Pete, throw a few more doubloons into the bag of cash and chances are that reunion will only be a heartbeat away, baby. (BABY!) I mean, surely Faye can't be that happy pricing carrots at Tesco, right?

At any rate, how's this for depressing: next month marks 10 years since Steps' debut single, "5,6,7,8" was released. Even more depressing is what Pete had to say later in the same Sun article about One True Voice, the doomed boy band that was pitted against Girls Aloud on 2002's Pop Stars: The Rivals TV program:
"If One True Voice had have been intelligent I would have been hurt. But coming from five a***holes it meant nothing. I’m still around today and they’re not. I’ve never said anything about this before, but that was the worst experience in my life...I was tied up with five human beings who, when put together, were appalling. We had psychiatrists in and how the police didn’t arrest them every night of the week I’ll never know. It was horrendous...But opinions are like a***holes. Everybody’s got one. And there were five a***holes in that house."
Talk about Shakespeare's (way with) words...

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Róisín Murphy And Samanda Duke It Out While Sugababes Rule The U.K. Charts

Róisín Murphy -- the critical darling who it seems makes all pop blogger's no-nos do uh-oh! -- didn't quite have what it took to debut higher than Samanda on the official U.K. singles chart. Alas, the blonde twins' cover of Aqua's "Barbie Girl" -- a song so cherished I'm dumbfounded as to why it's not a bona fide standard banged out on granny's Wurlitzer at the holidays -- entered at #26, while Róisín's "Let Me Know" is at #28.

Just like Britney and Feist on the U.S. chart -- the latter of which plunged out of the Top 10 after one week while "Gimme More" has been hovering at #3 -- it all comes down to pure talent rising to the top. Oh, but I jest. "Let Me Know" is bonza, while Samanda, on the other hand, had better yank the stripper pole back out of the storage closet.

The rest of the chart is a snooze, though it's nice to see Sugababes still at #1 while their album, Change, has also debuted at the top. I finally got the CD from Amazon on Friday, and I've been schoolin' L.A. on the magic of the 'babes via my car stereo ever since. It's a classy town. I have to say, "Surprise" is pretty rad. That Cathy Dennis sure knows how to pull a jam out of her skirt.

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "About You Now" - Sugababes *3 weeks*
2. "Let Me Think About It" - Ida Corr vs. Fedde Le Grand
3. "Valerie" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
4. "No U Hang Up/If That's OK With You" - Shayne Ward
5. "Goodbye Mr. A" - Hoosiers *new*
6. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's
7. "Ayo Technology" - 50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
8. "Beautiful Girls" - Sean Kingston
9. "1234" - Feist
10. "She's So Lovely" - Scouting For Girls

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Killers Unveil Sawdust Album Art

The Killers' duet with Lou Reed, "Tranquilize," will be available on iTunes tomorrow. Here's the cover for their album Sawdust, due November 13.

It's very Kraftwerk meets Erasure. NME has done up a review of "Tranquilize," which makes it sound quite lovely. I dunno. Lou's voice has all the charm of a waking up next to a lice-addled whore (which, if I'm being honest, makes me a bit nostalgic for my 12th birthday party...sigh).

The Killers' cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" -- from the upcoming film Control, and which will be included on Sawdust -- was made available for download from iTunes this past Tuesday.

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Madonna To Warner Bros.: This Used To Be My Playground

After more than 60 years in the music business, Madonna's about to leave Warner Bros. and sign a $120 million deal with concert promoting firm Live Nation, Inc. Good for her, I say! It's really rad how all these great artists like Robyn and Darren Hayes...oh, and Madonna...are really steering their own careers in new directions while the major labels all have their thumbs up their rumps with suing soccer moms for grabbing songs off Limewire.

Madonna apparently still owes Warners one more studio album and, Jesus Christ, another F-ing greatest hits. You can read the full details of the deal here. Interesting that the label tried to keep her by offering her a similar deal.

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Look, Feist, You're Just Not Britney Spears

Oh, my. Well, look at it this way, Feist -- it's not like your ditty "1234" wasn't charming. It really was. And, really, plunging from #8 to #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week kinda sucks when you look at it on the surface. But, it's just that there are far more talented musicians out there crowding the Top 10...like Soulja Boy. And, oh, look -- there's Britney and T-Pain. Awesome!

But surely you'll have another hit, and it'll be even bigger than "1234." Apple will be doing more commercials, and so maybe they'll ask you for another song? Uh...

Anyway, the Hot 100's a bunch of crap this week as usual. Over on the Top 200 Albums chart, Tom Petty or Bruce Dylan or some shit is at #1, and Matchbox Twenty's semi-greatest hits, Exile On Mainstream, debuts at #3. You know, one of these days I gotta slip some rohypnol in Rob Thomas' Red Bull. I think that's a plan. Annie Lennox debuts at #9 on the album chart with Songs Of Mass Destruction. Hopefully she sticks around there for a bit.

Sistas are doin' it for themselves, you know.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy *5 weeks*
2. "Stronger" - Kanye West
3. "Gimme More" - Britney Spears
4. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
5. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
6. "Bed" - J. Holiday
7. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
8. "No One" - Alicia Keys
9. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
10. "Good Life" - Kanye West feat. T-Pain

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jive Records Panics, Bumps Up Britney's Album

Execs at Jive have flipped their wigs over the fact that tracks from Britney Spears' new album have leaked online. Billboard reports that "the label is doing everything possible to prevent and avoid any further illegal distribution of songs including moving up the release date of the album."

God, that pic is pure class. Blackout has now been bumped up from its November 13 drop date to October 30. That pits Britney's new album against her labelmates, Backstreet Boys.

But judging by how "Gimme More" is faring compared to BSBs' "Inconsolable," those four lunks have a stripper pole's chance at a Holy Communion in outselling her.

New Towleroad column up now.

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Can't Get The Lukewarm Thoughts On Kylie Minogue's "2 Hearts" Out Of My Head

Maybe we've officially entered an era where "comeback singles" or first singles off an artist's new album don't exactly reach out and clutch your soul by the cajones anymore -- see Sugababes' "About You Now," Gwen Stefani's "Wind It Up," Matchbox Twenty's "How Far We've Come," Annie Lennox's "Dark Road," etc. I'm kinda hoping that, like "About You Now," Kylie Minogue's "2 Hearts" will prove to be a grower, because despite the glitterly-glam video, I'm just not feelin' it.

Am I the only one who was more dazzled by tracks leaked online earlier this year -- such as "Excuse My French" -- from KM? Who cares if she's back with Olivier, that was a jam! At least there was something very distinctly "Kylie" about it.

That said, I haven't been immediately smitten with a lead-off single from Kylie's albums in 10 years, since "Some Kind Of Bliss" off '97's Impossible Princess. "Spinning Around" is okay, but "Slow" was too gimmicky.

And I've never really warmed up to "Can't Get You Out Of My Head." At first, it was just too minmal. Then it became way too over-played. But look what happened worldwide with the success of that single.

Goes to show what I know.

* Mobius has the news on all the "2 Hearts" formats.
* XO's got a pic of Kylie staring at her Xbox.
* The Zapping's review.


New Towleroad column up now.

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Sometimes You Just Need To Let Loose

A year ago, in an MP3-blog-moment, the Motiv8 mix of '90s British trio Let Loose's flop single "Everybody Say Everybody Do" got posted here.

And, hey, a quick glance at eBay shows that you can own Let Loose's gold certification award for their 1994 #2 U.K. hit, "Crazy For You," for a mere 43 bucks -- what a bargain!

And in keeping with the randomness of this post, here's a strangely fascinating video of a bunch of dorks in a hotel room lip-syncing to "Crazy For You" (FYI, the short guy in the gray t-shirt with the slight goatee, brown hair and sideburns needs to call D'luv for some hard boff action):


In case you fancy watching the real "Crazy For You" video...

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

The U.K. Chart Is Sweet As Sugababes

It's a bit of a quick post today, as Miss Pussy and Cracker are being extremely demanding for attention! There's not much new going on with the official U.K. singles chart this week, anyway. Sugababes are #1 again with "About You Now," a song that completely proved to be a grower and a shower -- I absolutely think it's one of their five best singles to date. Their fifth album, Change, is out in the U.K. tomorrow, and despite the fact that the tracks have leaked online, I'm maintaining abstinence.

Yes, the three broads have officially graduated to that I'm waiting for the CD to come out before hearing the songs! territory.

Of course, I told this to a friend of mine last week who was raving about how "massive" Change is. His response: "Stop paying for music! That's so '80s!"

The U.K. Top 10:

1. "About You Now" - Sugababes *2 weeks*
2. "Let Me Think About It" - Ida Corr vs. Fedde Le Grand
3. "No U Hang Up/If That's OK With You" - Shayne Ward
4. "Ayo Technology" - 50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
5. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's
6. "Beautiful Girls" - Sean Kingston
7. "Valerie" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
8. "1,2,3,4" - Feist
9. "She's So Lovely" - Scouting For Girls
10. "Stronger" - Kanye West

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Longtime Pet Shop Boys Assistant Dainton Connell Killed In Auto Accident

Sadly, the official Pet Shop Boys website posted news today that the Boys' personal assistant of two decades, Dainton Connell, was killed this morning in a car accident in Moscow. Longtime Petheads know what an integral part Dainton was to Neil and Chris's day-to-day operations over the years. He featured prominently in Chris Heath's two books on the duo, Literally and Pet Shop Boys Vs. America, as well as the 1997 DVD Somewhere.

Here's the official statement from the Pet Shop Boys:
Dainton Connell was killed in a car accident in Moscow in the early hours of this morning. He was in Moscow accompanying Chris Lowe who was planning to DJ at a friend's nightclub there tonight. The friend driving him lost control of the car. There was no one else in the car.

Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant are "devastated" by this tragic news. They had known Dainton for almost 20 years, during which time he had worked for Pet Shop Boys as security and later as personal assistant. He was also a close friend.

"Dainton was a warm, kind, loveable friend, a huge Arsenal fan and a larger-than-life character, famous in North London and beyond. We are devastated by his sudden and tragic death and our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Mandy, and their family."

Dainton (also known as "The Bear") accompanied Pet Shop Boys on their tours from 1989 to 2000. He can be seen in the videos for Pet Shop Boys' singles, "Jealousy", "So Hard" and "Was It Worth It?" as well as in the Somewhere concert film. We know that he was a familiar and friendly face to many PSB fans who encountered him over the years and that they will share in our grief and sorrow. Those who met him will never forget him.

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Britney's New Video Looks Like Something I Got Wasted And Made In Film Class Freshman Year

Britney Spears in about the first 10 seconds of her new video for "Gimme More," then some man in leather comes in and starts pole-dancing.


Billboard reports today that her fifth studio album, out November 15, is now officially titled Blackout. Classy.

UPDATE: Okay, now the video's been pulled from YouTube, since it's supposed to "premiere" on TRL on Monday. But you'll see. YOU'LL SEE!

* The reaction to the video from an MTV panel group of fans.

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Spice Girls Make "Headlines," Bend Over For Westlife

The Spice Girls have announced that their new single, "Headlines," will get a U.K. release on November 19. I betcha that title's one of them irony things, ain't it? The old MILFs have apparently also pushed the release of their greatest hits back a week, since it was originally to compete with Westlife's new pile of sod, Back Home.

Those Irish boys can't make an interesting song to save their miserable lives, but they sure got pretty mouths...

Meanwhile, Melanie C is making the video for her new single, "This Time," as a tribute to late director Tim Royes, who was killed at age 42 when he was hit by a car in New York City two months ago. Sugababes' "About You Now" clip is also a tribute to Royes, as he directed their videos for "Easy" and "Red Dress."

Here's the full videography for Tim Royes, as taken off Wikipedia:

Eternal - So Good (1994)
Eternal - Oh Baby I... (1994)
Louise - In Walked Love (1996)
Faith No More - Ashes to Ashes (1997)
Elton John - Something About The Way You Look Tonight (1997)
B*Witched - Jump Down (2000)
Five feat. Queen - We Will Rock You (2000)
Girl Thing - Girls On Top (2000)
Alsou - Before You Love Me (2001)
Louise - Stuck In The Middle With You (2001)
Holly Valance - Kiss Kiss (2002)
Will Young & Gareth Gates - The Long & Winding Road (2002)
Holly Valance - Down Boy (2002)
Will Young - You And I (2002)
Emma Bunton - Free Me (2003)
Appleton - Don't Worry (2003)
Rachel Stevens - Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex (2003)
Skin - Faithfulness (2003)
Beverley Knight - Not Too Late For Love (2004)
Green Day - Boulevard of broken dreams (2004)
Enya - Amarantine (2005)
Texas - Getaway (2005)
Sugababes - Red Dress (2006)
Lee Ryan - When I Think Of You (2006)
Bananarama - Look On The Floor (Hypnotic Tango) (2006)
Sugababes - Easy (2006)
Melanie C - The Moment You Believe (2007)
Melanie C - I Want Candy (2007)
Melanie C - Carolyna (2007)
Melanie C - This Time (2007)

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's Britney, Bitch: The Pop Floozy Leads OneRepublic And Feist Into The Top 10

Chain smoking stripper Britney Spears scores the second-highest charting single of her career this week, with a new crop of pop behind her.

Photo: Dlisted

It seems that the old adage "Any press is good press" still rings true, at least in Britney's case; "Gimme More" sold 179,000 downloads in its first week of availability, which was enough to push it from #68 to #3 this week on Billboard's Hot 100.

While overseas Britney has had several #1s, 1998's "...Baby One More Time" remains her sole U.S. chart-topper. Following that, she landed only three more songs in the Top 10 until now: "(You Drive Me) Crazy" (#10, 1999), "Oops...I Did It Again" (#9, 2000) and "Toxic" (#9, 2004).

Of course, this is attributable to the fact that during the majority of the years of Britney's prior output, the commercial CD single was a near-dead format, and so most singles had to rely on airplay alone to make it on a chart that still required a combo of both airplay and sales for a high position. Billboard altered its chart rules to allow paid digial downloads to factor into single sales figures in 2005.

But cutting through all the bullshit, I have to say I never thought I'd see the day when this broad would have another hit. Being a Max Martin/Cheiron nut since the days of Ace Of Base, I bought the "...Baby One More Time" single the week it came out. But in overstating the obvious, it's been astounding to watch her career unfold the way it has since then.

Incidentally, "Gimme More" was co-written by Keri Hilson, who is a notch below Britney this week on the chart.

At #6, Timbaland and OneRepublic's "Apologize," which is shaping up to be my favorite song of 2007, is finally getting the props it deserves. And I'll admit, Feist's "1,2,3,4" kinda grew on me. I was a bit dubious about it being used in the iPod ads, but at the very least, it's a nice alternative to 50 Cent and Nickelback in the Top 10.

Elsewhere, Rihanna's "Hate That I Love You" -- the most boring song Ne-Yo has ever had a fey hand in -- moves up from #39 to #26. Rascal Flatts have the #1 album and the Halloween theme is the top ringtone.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy *4 weeks*
2. "Stronger" - Kanye West
3. "Gimme More" - Britney Spears
4. "The Way I Are" - Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.
5. "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie
6. "Apologize" - Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
7. "Bed" - J. Holiday
8. "1,2,3,4" - Feist *sales gainer*
9. "Let It Go" - Keyshia Cole feat. Missy Elliot & Lil Wayne
10. "Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Off Topic: More Useless Information

This song by Filter ("Take A Picture") reminds me of the really depressing time period of winter 1999, my first year in California.

It was one of those inescapable radio hits, and seemed to mesh well with other dreary goings-on at that point: watching Magnolia on a break from Christmas shopping, reading Catcher In The Rye for the first time (at 25) in The Abbey -- now the remodeled gay mecca of Los Angeles, but then just a coffee shop -- and me buying a green Old Navy fleece pullover.

Jumping ahead, I'm nearly at the end of my X-Files marathon that began in February; I started season 9 last night. I watched the show sporadically when it was in its original run in the '90s, mostly during seasons 3 through 6 -- and so a lot of the episodes were new to me this year. Anyway, while internet-surfing last night, I was surprised to find that Robert Patrick, who plays Agent John Doggett in the final two seasons of The X-Files (and who was the T-1000 in Terminator 2) has a younger brother named Richard Patrick...the lead singer of Filter.

Fascinating, no?

Could you take my picture? 'Cause I won't remember...

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Kylie Dumps Jason Donovan All Over Again

Kylie Minogue has apparently axed a taped interview with her ex-Neighbours co-star, Jason Donovan, that was to appear in her forthcoming White Diamond documentary, according to U.K. trash rag The Sun. (One of the reasons may be that he looks like a douche in this pic from the '80s.) Jason used to hit it with Minogue before she ditched him for INXS frontman Michael Hutchence. Kylie supposedly decided she "no longer liked him as a person," says the article.

Of course, take all this with a grain of Sun-drenched salt. In the meantime, Donovan's autobiography, Between The Lines: My Story Uncut -- a title perhaps appropriately riddled with cocaine references -- is out this week in the U.K. Amazon has up a video clip of him shamelessly pitching the book. Hmmm. Let me think about it...Sold!



New Towleroad column up now!

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