Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An Angel With An Attitude - Samantha Fox

Samantha Fox is the embodiment of everything I love about music and trash culture. I've worshipped Sam since first hearing "Touch Me" in the 80s, been amazed by her stunning urban makeover courtesy of Full Force in the 90s and joyfully observed her return to dance music. I've been meaning to write a post about the Fox since starting this Blog but how do you summarise the 20 year career of living legend in a couple of paragraphs? Sam's arrival in Australia to participate in the latest Countdown Spectacular tour has given me the push I needed. The very thought of being in the same venue as Samantha Fox and Sharon O'Neill has thrown me into a complete frenzy! I've spent the past few days watching Sam's clips on YouTube and listening to her 2005 album, "Angel With An Attitude", which has been given a belated Australian release to coincide with the tour.

Before I review the album, here are 6 reasons why I believe Samantha Fox deserves the same legendary status as Dannii, La Toya and Melissa Tkautz:

1. Sam's signature tune "Touch Me" is one of the best songs of the 1980s and contains the classic line "like a tramp in the night".
2. The Fox did the impossible and improved on Dusty Springfield's "I Only Wanna Be With You".
3. Stock/Aitken/Waterman were so impressed by Sam's stunning talent, they produced her brilliant 80s anthem "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now".
4. Samantha also hooked up with Full Force to record a string of fierce urban classics including the leather queen anthem "Hurt Me, Hurt Me (But The Pants Stay On)"!
5. Like any aging diva worth her weave, Samantha returned to dance music and had the good taste to cover Tatjana's "Santa Maria".
6. The Serbian town of Cacak recently erected a statue in Sam's honour!

Ok, now that I've got that out of my system, let's get back to "Angel With An Attitude"!

Samantha Fox made a brilliant return to the pop world in 2005 with her first new studio album in almost a decade. Unfortunately, "Angel With An Attitude" was only released in Canada and failed to generate much interest outside her loyal fanbase. After a two year wait, the album has finally been released in Australia and it holds up admirably as a bold and daring change of musical direction. The combination of rocky guitars and dance beats remains oddly seductive and the addition of "Touch Me 2007" is a trashy delight.

Lingerie in church!

"Angel With An Attitude" opens with the memorable title track, which is a microcosm of the entire album. A soft piano refrain gives way to moody electro beats before a raft of guitars kick in for the chorus. Samantha has thrown convention out the window. The eclectic mix of styles is occasionally clumsy but, for the majority of the album, very satisfying. "Angel With An Attitude" is also notable for its highly amusing video clip which finds Samantha strutting around a church in white lingerie! The title track is followed by a couple of more traditional pop songs. "To Be Heard" is a slickly produced electro anthem, while "Destined To Be" re-introduces the guitars for an epic slice of guitar pop with a sweet chorus. "I Give Myself To You" mixes both genres and throws in a bizarre array of computerised effects for good measure. The result feels slightly jumbled but is nothing less than intriguing.

If I had to select a favourite track from the album it would be "The Power". The song is an intricately constructed guitar-pop gem, which blends strings, piano and electro beats. I admire the originality of "The Power" and love Sam's hugely endearing inability to hit the high notes but its greatest appeal lies in its deeply personal nature. From the first line - "in the morning I put on my make-up, to hide the sadness deep inside" - it's clear that Samantha is singing from personal experience. "You And Me" continues the reflective mood by making reference to her homosexuality but ultimately lacks the charm of "The Power". "Threw Our Love Away" then introduces some Latin flavour into mix, while "Move On" is one of the album's best dance songs.

The tempo slows momentarily for "Breathe", a slightly disorientating trip-hop misadventure which meanders along for five bizarre minutes. Thankfully, Samantha returns to her fiery best for the awesomely trashy "Nice And Slow". It positively warmed my heart to hear Samantha sing about "nasty toys and dirty Polaroids"! This would have made a great single. The next song, "Cause An Effect", is the closest that Samantha has ever come to dabbling in metal. It's not particularly heavy but it does rock! "Cause An Effect" sounds like something Lita Ford recorded in the 1980s and I mean that as a compliment.

With Sam's outrageous image, it can be easy to overlook her amazing vocal talent. Samantha doesn't have a big voice but she does have a very sweet one and it is displayed to fine effect on the lush ballad "Dreams Unfold". "Time" was originally included as a bonus track on the Canadian release of "Angel With An Attitude" in 2005 and appears again on the Australian version. If you ignore the male vocalist, "Time" is a rather appealing electro jam with a distinct urban influence. The final track on "Angel With An Attitude" is yet another remix of "Touch Me". Santiago Cortes has crafted a brilliant update of Sam's enduring classic, which closes the album in great style.

"Angel With An Attitude" is highly recommended and can be purchased from Chaos, Sanity or iTunes. I've also noticed some very cheap copies on Australian Ebay.


Miss Heidi Von Binterschlappen said...

The statue isn't the only thing erected in Sam's honour! Millions of Sun readers were missing their stops to show their support for the buxom beauty in her Page 3 heydey!

BruDé said...

The video for AWAA was done here in Montreal :) I remember all the media coverage, but I am still very disapointed of the bad chart results !

Adem IAR said...

Hurrah! "Nothings Gonna Stop Me Now" is probably my 3rd favourite SAW production ever. And the clip... that speedboat! That hair! Those amazing breasts! I remember stealing her calendar from my fathers tool shed when I was a kid. Unfortunately, because I was incredibly young, they disposed of it.

That'd be worth a MINT now. :(

Trash Addict said...

Jay - I wish had been around for Sam's Page 3 hey day. I would have collected every edition. Hopefully one day I'll make a pilgrimmage to Serbia in Sam's honour!

Brude - That's awesome. I'm sure Sam turned Montreal on its head! I agree that AWAA has shamefully underperformed. There hasn't been one single piece of promotion for it in Australia, which is a shame became "Touch Me 2007" would be a certain club smash hit.

Adem - I would have stolen the poster too! There's something strangely sweet about Sam's nude pics. I don't find them sleazy at all - just ridiculously camp.

Martin said...

I have Sammy Fox's 12 Inch Collection and regularly crack it out to rummage through her back catalogue. "Love House" with it's random samplings ("Bonjour, this is Samantha") is a personal fave. I really wanted to love Angel with an Attitude, but I can't get past the fact she sings it as "angel with "a" attitude". Rough! Also... you make no mention of the Gunter cover from last year. I can only assume you're trying to keep it secret so you can bask in it's deliciousness all by yourself.

Trash Addict said...

Sam is too busy being fabulous to worry about insignifcant things like proper Grammar!

I agree that "Love House" is a misunderstood masterpiece and I didn't forget the Gunther version of "Touch Me" but I just think it would be better with more Sam and less Gunther!

Robpop said...

I wish...I wish I could be happy about this glorious post today.

But I can't. Girlband have split. Yes. The record company hasnt even told the fans yet. The girls wont release the album. Its never going to happen. Can you set up a site to petition its release? Can you do a tribute post. I think i am going to cry a million tears.

So I am cheering myself up a bit by watching Slinkee Minx on Mornings with Kerri-Anne...

But its not working. HOWEVER




WAY OF LIFE is now no.13 in the Finnish charts!!!!!!!! EUROPE IS HAPPENING MIKE!

I am also drying my eyes out with with Cosmo4/Caracola album news...but GIRLBAND!!!!! WHAT A SAD DAY!!!!!

Trash Addict said...

It's a shame about Girlband but Sony were never going to give them a third chance after two flops. It's not a surprise and I'm not that upset - they only had one good song! Yeah, I heard about Slinkee Minx and I'm pleased that they have found some kind of audience. They should remake Sam's "Hurt Me, Hurt Me (But The Pants Stay On)"!

PS. Z Share is seriously fucked up tonight :(

Robpop said...

Too upset for words....The album is reportdly to have included Kylie rejects :-(

MaryCherry said...

Sam is love! Touch Me makes me want to touch me. I am also partial to Let Me Be Free.

However mentioning Sam in the same sentence as trolled up bitchface Sharon O'Neill is an insult! Sharon is the spawn of Satan with ideas WAAAAAY above her station whereas Sam exudes lesbian goodness.

BTW Bobbypop - are these Finnish charts real? Coz Tina seems to have hits on them too as does the Dannii but I just can't help but feel it's just made up by some poof!

Jamie said...

I love Sam. I even love her being a filthy ol' dyke whose shacked up with a woman old enough to be her mother. Oh, and where oh where do you get brilliance like 'Like a tramp in the night, I was begging for you'?

Trash Addict said...

Aaron - Sharon O'Neill is fabulous. I will be rocking out to "Maxine" at the concert tonight. I can't wait!

Jamie - Sam's genius is so underapreciated! It's nice to have you back. I feared that you had shut down Poplicious for a while there!