I was so excited to come across this CD in a bargain bin recently that I just had to share the joy. "The Dance Offensive" is possibly the trashiest compilation album in the history of music. The aim of the CD was to promote an anti-drugs message - via a selection of tunes by the Minogues, "E Street" cast members and a variety of other Australian one-hit wonders, no hit wonders and trash icons. Australian pop fans will no doubt start salivating or pass out in shock at this line up: Kylie, Dannii, Melissa Tkautz, Toni Pearen, The Teen Queens, Bruce Samazan, Peter Andre, Radio Freedom, The Rockmelons, Kate Ceberano and Gina G! Some of the "stars" even give their own anti-drug advice in the CD booklet. Make no mistake, this is SOLID GOLD!
"The Dance Offensive", not surprisingly given the strong "E Street" flavour, is part of the glorious Westside records catalogue. Westside records was set up in the early 1990s to produce music for the television program, "E Street", and was responsible for the debut album of Australia's queen of trash, Melissa Tkautz, the tragically fabulous Toni Pearen and the Teen Queens - to name just a few. Basically, Westside records was Australia's PWL - only with fewer hits and less talent! "The Dance Offensive" is such a flashback, I hope everyone enjoys this selection of 90s trash classics as much as I do. Given my years of devotion to her floptastic musical career, I think it's only right to start with Melissa.
Melissa's contribution to "The Dance Offensive" is one of her most random singles. "Is It" was Melissa's attempt at a more dance orientated sound and the result is a spectacularly dated effort with the world's worst rent-a-rapper. Put simply, "Is It" is a masterpiece! Unfortunately, the song was released after Melissa's bubble had burst and it only limped to #39. Nevertheless, Melissa remains the most successful ex- "E Street" luminary with a #1 single ("Read My Lips") and one moderately successful album ("Fresh"). The video for "Is it" is a work of genius. Not only do you get to see the sights of Sydney, you also experience the spectacle of Melissa riding a motorbike, gay dancers and the ugliest hat ever to be worn in public!
Melissa appears to know a lot about the effects of Amphetamines...
Next up is the poor man's Melissa (who, in turn, is the destitute and homeless man's Kylie!), Toni Pearen. I have never liked Toni as much as Melissa, mostly due to her sweet and boring image. I'll take an anorexic, plastic surgery addict over the wholesome girl next-door any day! However, as the years have gone by, Toni has grown on me. I loved her tragic attempt to make it in Hollywood in the mid-90s. Toni had a column in Woman's Day to report on her "glamorous Hollywood lifestyle". Unfortunately, in the whole time she was there, Toni never scored a single role. Since returning to Australia, Toni has become the host of "Australia's Funniest Home Videos". Toni really needs to return to the studio because "Intimate" is a great album and her contribution to "The Dance Offensive", "I Want You", would probably make my top 20 releases by ex-soap stars. The video for "I Want You" is about as banal as Toni, but you should enjoy the song.
Toni should have taken her own advice when it came to acting....
Hold me back, it's plastic fantastic Melissa and Botox queen, Toni!
Melissa: "I'm the new Kylie!"
Toni: "Bitch, please."
I had completely forgotten about Bruce Samazan's spectacularly unsuccessful attempt at music. Bruce is another ex- "E Street" actor but the rest of the world would probably know him best as Mark on "Neighbours". You know, the guy who stood Kimberly Davies up at the altar when he realised he had a calling to the priesthood on his wedding day! If you think that's trashy, as Max on "E Street" he famously turned into a werewolf and later played a psychotic rapist on "Home & Away"! I have a dark confession to make; I was crazy in love with Bruce when he was on "E Street". How embarrassing! I hear that Bruce is working in real estate these days. I wonder if he ever visited Melissa when she working in her Oxford Street solarium.
I'm re-living my childhood - Mel, CJ Young, Bruce & Toni!
Back to the music, Bruce's song has to be heard to believed. I can not believe how FUCKIN' AWFUL it is. Yes people, Bruce decided to release a rap number. Forget anything I have ever said about anyone else, this is the worst song ever released by an Australian (with the obvious exception of Dullta Good-rim). In fact, "One Of A Kind" transcends bad and is kind of brilliant. It's definitely the funniest thing that I've heard in a long while.
The Teen Queens are another product of Westside records and their music appeared in every second episode of "E Street". The Teen Queens are interesting because they were one of the few successful Australian girl groups in the 1990s and their choice of material was very different. They basically covered songs from the 50s and 60s, kind of like a retro Young Divas! The Teen Queens will also be of interest for fans of Hi-5. One of the three girls is a young Kellie Hoggart. The Teen Queens had a few hits, however, I don't think this average cover of "Baby, It's You" was one of them. I might have to do a bigger post on them because they are pretty amusing.
One of the most random songs on "The Dance Offensive" is Jenni Forbes' "Dream On (Kathy's Song)". I remembered the song as soon as I heard it but I have no idea who Jenni is. I think the song was a minor hit in the early 90s because I vaguely remember seeing the clip on "Video Hits". However, Jenni is so obscure that I can't even find a picture of her on the internet. All I know is that she was an Australian singer/songwriter who released at least two songs (I have another song on a different compilation). "Dream On" is actually rather sweet, I wonder what happened to her.
Bass Culture were something like Paul Mac for the early 90s. They were a group of DJs and producers who recorded dance music with different guest singers. Unlike Paul Mac who hangs out with losers like Katie Underwood and Daniel Johns, Bass Culture did songs with the likes of Toni Pearen, Kate Ceberano and Gina G! "Love The Life" is another song I instantly remembered when I listened to "The Dance Offensive". I also recognised the voice of the guest vocalist, credited as "Geena". I did some research and "Geena" is indeed the heavenly Gina G. I guess this would have to be one of the G's first recordings. As far as early 90s dance goes, this is pretty awesome.
If anyone else loves the craptastic "E Street" cast as much as I do, I highly recommend the brilliant Eden Street website. You will find everything there is to know about "E Street" there. I hope you enjoyed this crap walk down memory lane!