Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Before They Were Young Divas - Part 2

Rest assured that today's post will include no pictures of naked people (I understand, I'm developing something of a reputation!). Instead, I'm continuing my exploration of the floptastic solo careers of the Young Divas. Today it's Ricki-Lee Coulter's turn to be dragged under the microscope. Ricki-Lee immediately stood out from the crowd when she first appeared on Australian Idol. For starters, unlike the other contestants, she wasn't butt ugly and could actually sing. Ricki-Lee looked a certainty to win the second series but in a major upset, she was knocked out early in the competition. However, her potential did not go unnoticed and Ricki-Lee was snapped up by a record label before the series had even ended.

Ricki-Lee's self-titled, debut album is something of a musical dog's breakfast. Shock records obviously couldn't decide whether to market her as a cute pop star, an edgy bad girl or most amusingly, as a gangster ho - so they basically tried a bit of everything. Ricki-Lee sings Mariah-esque ballads, bubblegum pop and funky hip hop tunes (complete with cheap rent-a-rappers!) with varying degrees of success. The album does contain its fair share of excellent songs but the lows are pretty desperate. And yet, "Ricki-Lee" has grown on me immensely since its 2005 release. "Hell No!", the lead single, sounds like a tragic urban-pop version of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic". The song peaked at #5 on the Charts and has become something of an Australian trash classic. The second single, "Sunshine", was also a top 10 hit but unlike "Hell No!", "Sunshine" is sweet and upbeat enough to grace a Young Divas' album!

The rest of the album is such a mixed bag that no particular song is reflective of the overall sound. I have selected three of my personal favourites to share. "Stay With Me" has an Indian vibe and a chorus that involves a lot of "la la la"-ing. In other words, it's fucking fabulous! "Tell Him" is a mid-tempo R'n'B number that wouldn't sound out of place on the US charts. I mean that as a compliment! The song showcases Ricki-Lee's impressive pipes without ever being bland or boring. The final song, "Let Me Hear You Say (Ft. Nitty)" is here for pure entertainment value. I love it when nice white girls hire a rapper and try to sound like a streetwalker. Ricki-Lee's attempt at an urban party anthem is great, although I'm not sure who she thinks she's fooling!

Ricki-Lee's album is still readily available, so if you like what you hear please buy it. You should be able to find it at Sanity or Chaos. Part 3 of my Young Divas special will focus on Paulini's debut album and include Paulini's first tragic cover version of a gay classic!


Rakkas said...

Wow! I've been visiting your blog for the last week, and I have to say that you've convinced me about the Young Divas - they are fabulous!

Thanks for your great blog! :-)

Trash Addict said...

I'm glad you're feeling the YDs! Paulini is still to come and she is clearly the most fabulous of the lot.

I just had a quick look at your Blog. I'll check it out properly later because it looks AMAZING. Anyone who covers Anna Vissi, Sertab and Dina Carroll in the one week is a friend of mine!

BigBackDoor said...

I downloaded 'Sunshine' from your page recently ,and have now played it enough times to know that it's pretty damned fabulous .
Also listened to one of Kates songs ('Maybe Tonight')which was ...good ,but RickiLee is better on the strength of 'Sunshine' alone.I'm tempted to try another Ricki track but now you've gone and put more Paulini on here too,so Ricki might have to

Trash Addict said...

Johnny, is that you? Stop frontin'!

BigBackDoor said...

Och,I thought i was being so clever - reinventing myself as your mystery online stalker,and you've blown my cover already ?!How on earth ...?What was the giveaway ,I didn't have a queeny strop or anything !

* wanders off to consult your dictionary to figure out meaning of ''fronting'' which I'm guessing is Australianized version of 'frotting' ? *