Saturday, March 31, 2007

Brielle Davis - Take It Off

This has been quite a spectacular couple of weeks for Australian pop divas. Melinda Jackson unleashed her stunning debut single, The Deni continued her superb run of urban pop gems and Brielle Davis released her latest pop anthem, "Take It Off". With Dannii's next smash hit only a matter of weeks away, I think it's fair to call this something of a purple patch for Australian pop music. All we need is new music from Kylie and Melissa Tkautz and I will officially be in pop heaven!

Brielle Davis is a unique figure on the Australian music scene. She was something of a child prodigy, releasing a highly acclaimed country album when she was only 12 years old. Brielle is still the youngest artist to be nominated for an Australian Golden Guitar Award. After such an audacious start, Brielle surprisingly disappeared from the music scene for the next decade until re-appearing last year with the fantastic dance track, "Serial Thriller". Brielle had returned with not only a hot new sound but also a sexy, new image. The follow up to "Serial Thriller" has been almost a year in the making but it was worth the wait. "Take It Off" is an absolute corker of a track. The standard radio edit is funky pop tune with a distinct urban flavour. I like the original version but I prefer the dance mix, which has been a big hit on the Club Chart.

Download - Take It Off (Link Removed)

Make sure to check out the video clip - the shirtless construction worker won me over! You can hear clips of all the "Take It Off" and "Serial Thriller" mixes on Brielle's charming website. If you like what you hear, be sure to purchase the single from itunes, Chaos or Sanity. I can't wait for her forthcoming album, expect to see more of Brielle here in the near future!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Deni's Latest Single!

The Deni unleashed the third single from her phenomenal "Water For Chocolate" album this week. I'm yet to hear it on radio and I had to specifically order my copy, so I'm guessing "5 Days Of Rain" will suffer the same floptastic fate as the previous singles. Deni is about to embark on a long stretch of small gigs, which I hope will wake Australia up to the best homegrown urban album in years. To say that "Water For Chocolate" has been criminally ignored is something of an understatement.

If, like the rest of Australia, you are yet to explore Deni's new material, then this single is a great place to start. "5 Days Of Rain" is a hot little package, containing the radio and album versions of the title track, as well as fierce remixes of all Deni's recent singles, including her duet Marcia. It's a veritable mini greatest hits package! The highlight for me is the previously unavailable remix of "Son Of A Preacher Man", which is fucking fabulous. If Deni had promoted this version, I'm sure she would have actually scored herself a hit!

"5 Days Of Rain" is not my favourite tracks from the album but it is still an exceedingly good song. If Deni has the chance to release a 4th single, I'd love to see her choose "New Day", "Cut It Up" or "That's You". Any one of those would surely inject some life into Deni's career. Fingers crossed that "5 Days Of Rain" gains Deni's album some much deserved attention.

You can order "5 Days Of Rain" from Chaos or Sanity. Check out Deni's stylish Myspace for upcoming tour dates.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Falling In Love With Melinda Jackson

"Fall In Love" is one of the best Australian pop songs to be released in 2007 thus far. Melinda Jackson has produced an absolutely scorching debut single, which is frankly one hell of a surprise from a woman whose dubious claim to fame is singing backing vocals for Ja Rule on his Australian tour. Melinda first came to my attention when she provided vocals for a craptastic cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere". The song was a massive dance hit and Melinda performed it in every shopping mall and nightclub across Australia. I was excited to hear that she had recorded a solo single but didn't expect it to be this good. I have been playing "Fall In Love" on repeat for the past couple of weeks and I still can't get enough of it. The song is everything I love about music. It's catchy, poptastic and vaguely ridiculous!

As a general rule, I never post the radio edit or single version of a freshly released song. It's just not fair to the artist or their record company. This is really frustrating because I want everyone to immerse themselves in the magic of Melinda Jackson's "Fall In Love". The remixes are great but they don't convey the original's fabulous bubblegum pop sound. However, I have found a nice compromise with the "Fall In Love (Radio Rap)", which is only slightly different from the radio edit.

Make sure you check out the astoundingly resourceful video which is a great example of how to make a striking clip without a huge budget. Melinda also has a glamorous Myspace which is worth visiting. Melinda says she's working on an album and I can't wait to hear it. You can purchase this stunning pop anthem from Chaos, Sanity and iTunes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Freestyle - A Retrospective

I'm currently more excited than the Pointer Sisters! Pop Trash Addicts has its first guest contributor and he could not be any more fabulous. Jamie should be familiar to anyone who has ever visited SayHey, the Dannii Board, La Toya's Haven, Togermano or the AATW forums. In addition to being a forum phenomenon, Jamie is a co-founder of The Church Of La Toya, creator of We Love Kelly Llorenna and the mastermind behind Jamie's Movie Trip. When he's not ruling the internet, Jamie can be found worshipping at his shrine to Morgan Fairchild or dogging around rural England. As a huge fan of Freestyle, I have been considering making a post about it for some time. Unfortunately, I lack the expertise to write anything sensible. Jamie, on the other hand, is the gay bible of Freestyle and his post and musical selection is nothing short of spectacular. Enjoy!

The Freestyle movement was born in the clubs and streets of New York and Miami in the 1980s, wherever there was a strong Hispanic community who fused traditional influences with hot club beats to create a whole new sub-genre. Artists like Shannon and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam (with Full Force) were the first acts to enjoy major success with their international hits "Let The Music Play" and "I Wonder If I Take You Home". Soon after, acts like Sweet Sensation and Expose were being launched as Freestyle groups began making albums almost exclusively filled with Freestyle tracks and hits!

Shannon was the first artist to score a major Freestyle hit with "Let The Music Play" in 1983. The electro based track incorporated a soulful vocal with electronic enhancements and an Electro inspired beat. Shannon scored a massive crossover hit from the dance charts to the Billboard Top 10, and the UK Top 20. The track is still considered a classic and has been covered by many a C-list dance diva, including Mary Kiani who had a Top 10 hit with her butchering of it in 1996 (Blasphemy!). Kelly Llorenna is rumoured to be unleashing her own version on the Top 100 very soon. Shannon followed up her mega-hit with the similarly styled "Give Me Tonight" and the poppier "Sweet Somebody", both of which were UK Top 30 hits. Shannon’s career declined after her first album but that didn’t keep her down, she re-appeared in the 90s supplying her fabulous vocals on hits for Todd Terry and a European Top 10 hit for Sash!, "Move Mania". Shannon is still around and releasing obligatory "Let The Music Play" remixes and ropey best of's!



The following year Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam treated the world to yet another Freestyle hit in the shape of "I Wonder If I Take You Home", a wonderfully aggressive track courtesy of producers Full Force. Again, the track was an international crossover hit, making the Billboard Top 10 and UK Top 20. Although they didn’t manage to have another sizeable hit from their debut LP, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam had several dance favourites including "Can You Feel The Beat", an even more sparse and barren sounding track and a favourite amongst Freestyle fans. Unlike Shannon, Lisa Lisa didn’t have a very soulful voice, yet her sharp, shouty style, full of attitude, worked perfectly with the aggressive production of these tracks. The group went for a poppier sound in later years which can be heard in ‘full effect’ on their hit "Lost In Emotion" from 1989. They also scored well with several ballads. Lisa Lisa embraced house music in the 90s and had a major hit in 1992 with "Let The Beat Hit ‘Em" which was more dance/pop than Freestyle, but it still included all the sampling and kept up with the pace of any of their Freestyle classics. Lisa Lisa went solo in the mid-90s and flopped horribly, with only the amazing Top 40 hit "Skip To My Lu" for her troubles. She still tours and there are several best of’s and re-issues on the market for fans to enjoy.



By 1986 major labels were picking up on the popularity of Freestyle and saw it as every bit as marketable as rock and the kind of dance/pop that Madonna was churning out. One of the most successful groups of this kind was the all-girl trio Expose, who throughout various line-up changes, delivered US pop hits from 1987 well into the 90s. Tracks like "Point Of No Return" and "Come Go With Me" were major hits, but it was their ballads that established Expose as a girl group to be reckoned with, earning them a #1 hit with "Seasons Change". They started off their career as the opening act for Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam, but by the end of 1988 the groups billing could easily have been reversed. Their second album "What You Don’t Know" brought the group to even greater heights and earned them three more Top 10 hits, including the energetic title track and similarly paced "Tell Me Why". The high didn’t last and in 1993 Expose were dropped by Arista records. But as any pop trash fan worth his salt knows, this kind of shame never keeps a good group down and Expose are back with all four key members. Catch them on tour now!

Sweet Sensation were another group in a similar vein. Hailing from the Bronx, these girls poured attitude and street style into everything from their fabulous wardrobe to their fierce 1988 anthems such as "Take It While It’s Hot" and "Sincerely Yours". The group enjoyed their two biggest hits in 1990 with their unashamedly Freestyle take on Diana Ross & The Supremes "Love Child" and their Billboard #1 single, the ballad "If Wishes Came True". Bizarrely the group split soon after and a remix album wound up their short but ‘sweet’ career! The good news is that as of 2007, Sweet Sensation are back. I don’t know where exactly but they have reformed to take the charts by storm once again with any luck!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

La Toya's "Hit" - I Don't Play That

As a loud and proud Toy Soldier (see my La Toya dictionary), it deeply pains me to speak ill of the most talented Jackson to emerge from the hallowed grounds of Havenhurst. I firmly believe that Toy Toy is the most underrated pop singer in musical history. Which other act has released 9 phenomenal albums over the space of 20 years, yet has no hits to show for it? This all seemed destined to change when "Startin' Over" leaked last year to a rapturous fan reception. "Startin' Over" was one of my 10 favourite albums of 2006 and her stunning ode to the Jackson family, "Home", was my favourite song. La Toya looked certain to finally emerge from the shadow of her siblings in 2007 with a re-worked version of "Startin Over" and a hot reality TV series, "Armed & Famous".

However, in true toytastic style, La Toya's show was cancelled - just as she had recorded an appalling song called "Armed & Famous" to cash in on the series. Instead of scrapping the song and retaining her dignity, La Toya and her ingenious label decided to simply change the song's title to "I Don't Play That" and re-launch La Toya's career with a novelty song about La Toya's escapades as a celebrity policewoman. "I Don't Play That" is wrong on so many levels, that it is something of a craptastic masterpiece. A 50 year old woman singing about her glock is rather amusing, particularly when La Toya's only experience with crime was posing as a transsexual prostitute in order to arrest johns on a reality TV show. However, I am one of the few people who don't consider La Toya to be a joke and it pains me that all the good work she has done over the past couple of years is being undone by this stinker.

But what do I know? The song is actually gaining some airplay and it is currently sitting at #331 on the Billboard R'n'B charts - by La Toya's standards that is a veritable smash hit! Furthermore, Toy's useless record company has even made this hilarious internet advertisement to promote the song. For La Toya's sake, I hope it's a hit. I just have my fingers crossed that this is a small blip on an otherwise fabulous career.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Stephanie Mcintosh - Princess Fiona Returns

Am I the only one who thinks Stephanie Mcintosh looks like Princess Fiona from "Shrek" - after she's been turned into an ogre? It's not Stephanie's fault that she looks like Kim Clijsters' twin sister but she is to blame for churning out yet another generic pop-rock single. It appears that the Australian public is also tiring of the poor man's Hilary Duff, if the moderate chart placing of "So Do I Say Sorry First?" is any indication. Unlike her previous releases, this single barely scraped into the top 40. Despite the generally shit nature of "So Do I Say Sorry First?", the single is still worth purchasing for a couple of excellent remixes (the bonus poster of Princess Fiona should also appeal to masochists). I wish Stephanie would concentrate on a more traditional pop sound, all of her singles have sounded far better after being remixed. I've uploaded the Steve Mac Electrik Disko Mix, which takes a while to get going but is definitely worth the wait.

Help Stephanie afford plastic surgery by purchasing her single from Sanity or Chaos.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sheena Easton IS Fabulous

It was the project that should have re-launched Sheena Easton's glittering career in spectacular style. After a decade of declining sales and increasingly obscure material, Sheena decided to ditch the ballads that comprised most of her 90s output and focus on the dancefloor. While hardly original, the plan made great sense. Dance music is fast becoming the retirement village of struggling gay icons, ageing divas and fading stars. When the rest of the industry no longer takes them seriously, these lovely ladies can always be assured of finding some solace in the clubs. "Fabulous" was Sheena's desperate grab for the pink dollar and I'm still surprised by its failure. If ever an album lives up to its title, then this is it.

I suspect that "Fabulous" was heavily inspired by Cher's stunningly successful "Believe" album. Like Cher, Sheena's pop pedigree can not be faulted. As one of the true stars of the 1980s, Sheena delivered some of the most enduring and memorable hits of that decade and established herself as a pop culture icon with her Bond anthem and appearances on "Miami Vice". Again like Cher, who worked with Xenomania, Sheena turned to the holy diva of dance - Dannii Minogue - for inspiration and teamed up with long time Dannii collaborators, Tezza and Ian Masterson! If that recipe isn't enticing enough, then the tracklist of disco classics should have ensured a hit record. Sadly, the first single stiffed worldwide and the second single was only released in Japan. Sheena's comeback was over before it started, much to disappointment of tragic queens the world over.

As a huge Sheena Easton fan, I am undoubtedly biased but I still think "Fabulous" makes for an exceedingly entertaining listen. Yes, the album positively reeks of desperation. I can also admit that the song selection is unimaginative and, with all due respect to Dannii's ingenious "hit" makers, I grant that some of the production is less than inspired. But whatever its flaws, there is no denying that "Fabulous" is a shitload of fun and the holy grail of craptastic dance music! The album begins with a fairly insipid cover of "Don't Leave Me This Way", before getting into full swing with the first single "Giving Up, Giving In". "Giving Up, Giving In" is a truly gorgeous offering and the remixes were suitably hot. Obviously, the buying public was simply not ready for this much fabulousness. The next song, a cover of "Love Is In Control" was touted as a single and remixes were commissioned by Almighty. Needless to say, Almighty and Sheena is a match made in pop trash heaven!

"That's What Friends Are For" is followed by fantastic covers of "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Best Of My Love". Just when you think that "Fabulous" can not get any gayer, Sheena teams up with Tezza to duet on a truly wondrous cover of Burt Bacharach's "On My Own". The outstanding production and vocals make for one of the album's finest moments. I'm not as taken with Sheena's version of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", which was an odd selection for the second single in Japan. While the album version is slightly dull, the remixes are excellent and breathe some much needed life into the song.

"Fabulous" ends on a high with two Tezza/Ian Masterson penned songs. "You Never Gave Me The Chance" is a sweetly sung ballad, while "Get Here To Me" enchants with a gorgeous trumpet solo before transforming into dancefloor stomper. I bet Dannii was jealous when she first heard it! I've also included the Japanese bonus track, a cover of Teena Marie's brilliant disco classic "I Need Your Lovin'".

I firmly believe that "Fabulous" belongs in every self-respecting homo's record collection. The album turns up regularly on Ebay and is still available at Amazon. It really is time for Sheena to launch another comeback. The music scene is infinitely less fun without her.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Young Divas - Searchin'

The Young Divas released the third single from their self-titled debut album in Australia today and, being only slightly obsessed with the band, I rushed out to buy it. I'm still annoyed that "Searchin'" was chosen as a single when it is one of the weakest tracks on the album but the sexy single cover eases some of the pain. It's truly amazing what airbrushing and a soft lens can accomplish! Unfortunately, the Divas continue their run of releasing stingy singles with no B-sides. At least "Searchin'" has a couple of remixes, unlike their ultra-cheap previous offerings. None of the remixes are world shattering but I'm rather enjoying the "Pop Embassy Remix" and I've uploaded it for your listening pleasure.

Make sure to support Australia's classiest girl group by purchasing the single at Chaos or Sanity.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Stop In The Name Of Love - German Style!

I recently posted a selection of wonderfully tragic Motown cover versions by the likes of La Toya Jackson, Sinitta and Nicki French. I thought I had well and truly scraped the bottom of the musical barrel, that is until I stumbled across the Jacob Sisters' fabulously awful German rendition of "Stop! In The Name of Love" from 1965 on the truly sublime Germans Under Cover. The German version, "Was Hab' Ich Dir Getan?" - literally, "What Have I Done To You?" - is bizarrely translated and poorly produced, but still rather wonderful to my ears!

Nevertheless, the Jacob Sisters' version would probably have remained nothing more than a sweet curiosity if I hadn't decided to research the "girls" further and discovered that they are still performing today and have even continued with their ultra-camp gimmick of taking to the stage with four pampered toy poodles in tow. Have I also mentioned that they have been known to dress up as giant hampsters?! The Jacob sisters may be demented and slightly senile but they are clearly all kinds of fabulous! I promise to make a post dedicated to the Jacob Sisters' recent output in the near future.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Laura Imbruglia - Pop Genius

My love for all things Laura Imbruglia has only grown deeper after finally getting my hands on her second EP "My Dream Of A Magical Washing Machine". Laura's sound has changed quite radically from her debut EP, which was an acoustic set dedicated to the Carpenters. This time around, the most talented Imbruglia sister pays homage to Freddie Mercury (see the "Ready Freddie" label on the single cover). The result is a more robust sound that still remains true to Laura's unique brand of harmony drenched, literate pop.

The title track also appears on Laura's brilliant debut album and stands out as a genuine pop oddity. It goes without saying that this is the only song ever written about "a washing machine that doubles as a jukebox". It's also highly likely that it is the only ditty to name check both the Pet Shop Boys and Russell Crowe's band, 30 Odd Foot Of Grunt. While there are many acts that specialise in bizarre and obtuse lyrics, I never get the feeling that Laura is desperately trying to show off her intellect - unlike a latter day Tori Amos or Bjork, to name just two regular culprits. Laura never allows her quirky sensibility get in the way of a catchy chorus or sweet harmonies. For that reason alone, Laura Imbruglia stands out as a shiny oasis in the putrid sea of pretentious singer/songwriters.

If the song "My Dream Of A Magical Washing Machine" is a respectful nod to Freddie, then "Two Cockatoos" is very much a throwback to her first, Carpenters inspired EP. The song is little more than a demo that was recorded in Laura's home but it stands out as one of the most arresting songs that I have stumbled across this year (even if it was released in 2005). Basically, Laura has written a gorgeous little song about killing her mentally ill bird because it refused to drink tap water. It sounds wrong on so many levels but "Two Cockatoos" is a demented masterpiece. If you ignore Laura's heavy Australian accent and the bizarre lyrics, "Two Cockatoos" could easily be mistaken for the kind of gentle guitar pop that was being churned out en masse in California in the 1970s. The chirping bird sounds and harmonic backing vocals bring forth images of another place and time. Laura is swiftly becoming one of my favourite singers, I can't wait to hear what the Napoleon Dynamite of pop serves up next!

If you like what you hear, you can still buy the EP at Chaos. Laura's debut album can be purchased from Sanity and Chaos.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Retro Robyn Remixes

With the international release of Robyn's sublime self-titled album inching ever closer, Blogland is working itself into an absolute Robyn frenzy. Leaked tracks are flooding the internet and Bloggers are falling over themselves to pay tribute to Sweden's Queen of Pop. While there is no disputing the brilliance of Robyn's recent output, I think it is high time that her older material received some loving! I worshipped Robyn when she first exploded on to the pop scene back in the mid-90s and I purchased all of her Australian singles. Here are a selection of remixes from four of Robyn's earliest singles. Time has not been kind to a couple of them but the majority hold up nicely. It is also very interesting to note that many of Robyn's early remixes were heavily influenced by R'n'B, providing a glance at the fabulous Konichiwa Bitch of the future.

Do You Really Want Me

"Do You Really Want Me" was one of the first singles to be lifted from "Robyn Is Here" internationally. It was never as successful as "Show Me Love" or "Do You Know (What It Takes)" but the song is an early indication of Robyn's phenomenal songwriting talent. And then, there is the glorious cover! Poor Robyn looks like she should be pushing a pram around a housing estate. I love it! The single contains two remixes, neither of which improve on the radio edit. The QD3 Remix Edit transforms the song into a slow groove, while the So Groovy Mix stays pretty close to original but includes additional lyrics.


Show Me Love

"Show Me Love" is one of Robyn's signature tunes and one of the true pop gems of the 90s. The song not only launched Robyn's career but also marked Max Martin's emergence as one of the premier pop producers of the 90s. It seems strange that one of Robyn's most poptastic songs received such an urban re-working in the form of the QD3 Fat Boy Remix Ft. O.C. & Rahzel. The song is almost unidentifiable with completely new lyrics, a hot spoken interlude and a couple of guest rappers. The biggest shock is that the R'n'B makeover works an absolute treat and holds up remarkably well. This is very highly recommended for lovers of faux R'n'B pop!

If the idea of guest rappers makes you queasy, then focus on the Backroom Extended Club Mix. This is a fabulous, straightforward club remix that will get any backroom pumping!


Do You Know (What It Takes)

"Do You Know (What It Takes)" was Robyn's other big international hit. The song represents one of the best urban/pop hybrids of the mid-90s and remains something of a 90s classic. Unlike "Show Me Love", an urban makeover seemed like a logical step for "Do You Know (What It Takes)". Bizarrely, it doesn't work quite as well as the urban "Show Me Love" remix. Nevertheless, the Allstar Main & Rap version is an interesting experiment. The Paradise Garage Mix is a more traditional remix and much more to my liking.

Electric

"Electric" was the last Robyn single I purchased before re-discovering her a couple of years ago. I remember "Electric" being popular in Germany when I was living there. I'm still confused why the song was not released internationally. The song is stunning and boasts some truly exceptional production. The crackling sound of electricity gets me everytime. I find it surprising that such an innovative song would have such dull remixes. The Mad Professor Shocking Mix might be trippy under the influence of the right drugs but is otherwise fairly mundane. The Patric Berger Alchemist Remix is more exciting but takes a long time to get going. However, you have to love the trannylicious single cover!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dannii's Box - Latest Update

Just a quick note to let all DDB devotees know that I have just uploaded the rare, original version of "Everlasting Night". The original version has almost completely different lyrics and is almost as fabulous as the Dannii banner pictured above, which I had hoped would grace the top of the new Dannii's Dirty Box - if I could work out how to change the fucking template!

Check out the new Dannii track at Dannii's Dirty Box.

Dark Lady - Fabulous Cher Impersonator!

The founder of Klone Records should be awarded the Nobel Prize for services to humanity. No other record label in the history of music has catered to lovers of tragic dance music with the same level of unwavering dedication. Klone's roster of talent is nothing short of breathtaking: Nicki French, Jason Prince, Viola Wills, Jackie Clune and Kelly Marie have all recently released stunning anthems for the label. Nobody does bottom of the barrel dance quite like Klone!

Therefore, it came as no surprise last year when Klone commissioned an album of Hi-NRG Cher cover versions by the extremely talented drag queen/Cher impersonator Dark Lady. "Forever Cher" establishes Dark Lady, otherwise known as Jimmy James, as the Hope diamond of male Cher impersonators. His vocals and intonation are spot on and the resemblance to Cher's gloriously husky voice is uncanny. "Forever Cher" should be an unbearable trainwreck but it works surprisingly well. An album of Cher cover versions is fabulous enough, but throw in a singing drag queen and some cheesy dance beats and you have a slice of pop trash heaven!

I can imagine Cher listening to this album with a massive grin on her face - if she still has any facial movement left after all that Botox. I'm sure Cher would get the joke. She would probably kick herself for not thinking of the idea first! Scarily, there isn't a great deal of difference between "Forever Cher" and Cher's own sublime "Living Proof". In fact, the album focuses rather heavily on Cher's recent output, which makes the Hi-NRG makeover less jarring than it would otherwise have been. As much as I enjoy the new songs, the highlights of "Forever Cher" are without a doubt Cher's early material and her 90s classics. The dance versions of "Dark Lady", "Half Breed" and "Bang Bang" are a trash lover's wet dream. Dark Lady's "gayed-up" version of "If I Could Turn Back Time" works nicely, while "The Shoop Shoop Song" is made even more ridiculous than even I could have possibly imagined. The cream of the tragic crop is one of my all-time favourite Cher songs, "I Found Someone". Could anyone ever forget Cher's gorgeous chain-metal dress in the video clip? Now that was fierce! I'd love to hear a good remix of Cher's version. In the meantime this will do nicely.

You can purchase the album from Amazon or from Klone directly.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Covers Vol. 1 - Trash Icons Destroy Motown

Firstly, just a quick note to let you all know that I have uploaded new material to Dannii's Dirty Box, including a stunning live track from "Notre Dame de Paris". Back to my post on craptastic cover versions!

Over the past few months I have posted my fair share of tragic cover versions on Pop Trash Addicts and I have decided to make cringe-worthy covers a recurring feature. Nothing is quite as fulfilling as listening to a musical car crash and today, I'm featuring three mind-boggling interpretations of The Supremes' classic "Stop In The Name Of Love" by three of the most fabulous women ever to have graced a recording studio.

La Toya Jackson

Toy Toy's rendition of "Stop In The Name Of Love" is my favourite as it is by far the most ludicrous. To put the song in context, it was recorded at the absolute nadir of La Toya's career just before she escaped from her abusive ex-husband, Jack Gordon. In the mid 90s, Jack decided to cash in on the Jackson name (yet again) by getting La Toya to sing an album of Motown covers. The resulting album is possibly the worst recording ever captured on record. La Toya was drugged out of her mind and recorded the album in a Danish basement in a couple of days. The whole operation was so spectacularly cheap that most of the songs were simply released in their original demo format with no further production. The only bright spot on the entire album is "Stop In The Name Of Love", which begins as a rather traditional cover (despite La Toya sounding semi-conscious) and then suddenly introduces a Euro-house interlude half way through. It's awful but I love it and it is definitely the only version of a Supremes classic to have a nude picture sleeve - see above!

Sinitta

I'm ashamed to say that this is the very first appearance for Sinitta on Pop Trash Addicts. Sinitta's pop legacy is assured, having produced some of the best singles of 80s with the help of Stock/Aiken/Waterman. Before purchasing Sinitta's "The Supreme E.P.", I thought a selection of Motown covers would suit her wonderfully. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I have no idea how you can manage to remove the melody from something as perfect as "Stop In The Name Of Love". If any song is idiot proof, then surely this is it. La Toya managed to get through the song with some of her dignity intact - and she wasn't even conscious when she recorded it! Sinitta's version is appalling. She slows the song down and plays around with the phrasing with disastrous results. However, this is a must for Sinitta fans!

Nicki French

Nicki is the queen of tragic Hi-NRG dance cover versions and her take on "Stop In The Name Of Love" is inspired. The song is one of two Japanese bonus tracks on Nicki's "Secrets" album and I dare say, if they had have been released internationally, Nicki's career might be in a much better state. In fact, I prefer Nicki's "Stop In The Name Of Love" to her seminal "Total Eclipse Of The Heart". It's pure cheese but it works brilliantly. Nicki sounds fabulous and the Hi-NRG backing track works a treat. It's about time that Nicki unleashed a new album for her tens of adoring fans.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tina Cousins Is Back!

It feels like Tina Cousins has been around since the dawn of time. Tina was one of the seminal figures of 90s dance music, appearing as the guest vocalist for Sash! on classics like "Mysterious Times" and "Pray". Since the 90s, Tina has been busily working on her solo career and has built up a loyal, mostly gay, following through her club tours and appearances at various gay pride festivals. I'm a complete sucker for ageing dance divas who rely on the pink dollar to meet their plastic surgery requirements, so it is fair to say that Tina is right up my alley! As luck would have it, Tina has been focusing on the Australian market for the past few years and I have managed to catch Tina "live" in concert more than once. In fact, Tina has such a strong Australian following that all of the singles from her recent album, "Mastermind", reached the top 50 - no small feat for a minor dance diva on a tiny record label.

Ms Cousins finally released some new material in February in the form of a collaboration with 4 Strings. The single is a double A-side with a new song, "Curious", and a remix of her club classic "Take Me Away". "Curious" is the kind of fabulous dance music that we have come to expect from Tina - it's fresh, fun and makes you want to work it like a cheap whore on the dance floor. I'm very surprised that the song is yet to chart as it is one of Tina's best offerings. If you enjoy "Curious", I highly recommend you buy the CD Single from Chaos or Sanity for the multitude of excellent remixes.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A New Box For Dannii!

I couldn't stand the thought of closing Dannii's Box forever, so I have made a new home for Dannii's Dirty Box - here! I thought it would be a good way to keep the Dannii posts separate and I can update it when I get new Dannii material without interrupting Pop Trash Addicts. The new site is a work in progress, so please excuse the mess.

I really hate the current Dannii's Dirty Box template but the new options are utterly vile. I wanted something fabulous but the best I could find was that black monstrosity. The black has a certain porn-site chic about it but what is with the hideous pastel labels. Does anyone know how I can gay it up a bit? Dannii's Box deserves better!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Closing Dannii's Box

The time has finally come to close Dannii's Dirty Box. I originally intended to make the switch from Pop Trash Addicts for only a couple of days in order to honour Dannii's return to television, but was soon caught up in the unprecedented tidal wave of Dannii-mania that swept through Blogland! I have really enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies of Dannii's fabulous career and am proud of the amount of material I was able to get through. I posted several rare tracks, celebrated Dannii's stunning acting career, irrefutably proved that Dannii is the ultimate gay icon, lovingly remembered Dannii's nude modelling days, appreciated her lesbian ways and showed some love to Dannii's early releases!

However, there were several bumps along the way. I was deluged with hate-mail from the Dannii Board, received threats of legal action, was IP banned from Dannii's forum and from SayHey (yet again) and received abusive messages from Robpop fans. All in all, it has been an eventful few weeks! I need to thank Tommie, Jay, Rob, Brian and MoistSexBox for all of the great material they have very generously shared with me.

I would just like to take this chance to remind people that there is no excuse for not completing your Dannii collection. Dannii's early material is still quite easy to find on Australian Ebay, while her later output is available at every quality online retailer. There is absolutely no excuse for Australian fans not to own "The Hits & Beyond", as it is currently on sale at JB Hi-Fi and HMV for $10. It's the bargain of the decade! Just make sure you get a copy with the bonus DVD.

I will be back in a few days with a re-vamped Pop Trash Addicts. If you are not familiar with my old Blog, check out the archives. Dannii is a regular and I promise to post new Dannii material as soon as I receive it. Expect to see music by other international superstars like Melissa Tkautz, Kelly Llorenna, Nicki French, La Toya Jackson, Marcia Hines and Laura Imbruglia in the very near future. I hope you have all enjoyed Dannii's Dirty Box as much as I have!

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Dannii Float At Mardi Gras

I am head over heels in love with the fabulous fags behind "Dannii Pride" at Mardi Gras. These three amazing people brought Dannii's plight to the masses with their "I Can Sing Too!" slogan. A big thanks to Rob for the pic.

My 25 Favourite Dannii Songs

I've been debating whether I should countdown my favourite Dannii songs since opening Dannii's Dirty Box. I resisted because it is completely arbitrary - my favourites change on a daily basis. But what the fuck! These are my 25 favourite Dannii songs. As of today. I'm sure you'll agree that each and every one of them is a work of poptastic genius. Dannii might have spent more time lying on a beach than most lifeguards, but who is going to begrudge her some relaxation when she keeps turning out gems like these?

25. Work (Love & Kisses, album track)

Drivin’ in my brand new Benz 190
My homegirl Sheila
She’s coolin’ right beside me


Given her current standing as the undisputed queen of dance, it is easy to forget that Dannii launched her career with an eye firmly on the American market and that meant a pop album with a distinctly urban edge. I love Dannii's debut album and "Work" stands out as one of her most amusing R'n'B experiments.

24. Everybody Changes Underwater (Girl, album track)

Diving deeper, beckoned by dolphins

I can't decide if this is one of Dannii's best songs or one of her worst. Whatever the case may be, it is certainly the most bizarre thing Dannii has ever recorded. Dannii spends 6 minutes talking about water and dolphins against a backdrop of eerie electronic bleeps. Experimental genius or a load of stinking shit? I'm not sure but I know I like it!

23. Show You The Way To Go (Get Into You, single - #30 UK, #104 Aus)

Follow me my friend
Let me show ya, let me show you the way to go


As La Toya Jackson's self-proclaimed number 1/only Australian fan, I have always had a soft spot for the crazy Jackson clan. Therefore, Dannii's cover of the Jacksons' "Show You The Way To Go" was always going to be irresistable to me. Which is lucky because everyone else seems to despise the song.

Watch - Show You The Way To Go

22. Mighty Fine (Neon Nights, album track)

Zip a de day, just sail (your troubles away)

The first time I heard "Neon Nights", the song that really stood out for me was "Mighty Fine". The only reason for its low placing is the simple fact that I've played it 3000 times and need a rest. "Mighty Fine" reminds me of the slow disco classics of the late 70s, with its full sound and dreamy lyrics. A slice of pop heaven!

21. Coconut (Girl, single - #62 Aus)

Doctor, is there nothing I can take
to relieve this bellyache?

Now let me get this straight

"Coconut" reminds me of the Sydney gay scene. In fact, I heard it twice last night! It's pure dance trash but that's exactly why I like it. And what other song can boast its own drug taking game?!

20. This Is The Way (Get Into You, single - #27 UK, #45 Aus)

Alone in a crowd in a city
Searching for love


"Get Into You" is probably my least favourite Dannii album but it did have some great singles. I love the faux American pop vibe of "This Is The Way" and the video is pure gold.

19. Vibe On (Neon Nights, album track)

Jump on top it
Sit right on it


When confronted with trashy, low class individuals like Robpop who claim that Dannii is nothing but a cheap imitation of Kylie, I always bring up "Vibe On". Kylie wouldn't sing a song about her vibrator if her life depended on it, even though she probably has a bigger collection than Dannii. "Vibe On" sums up all of Dannii's best qualities - her sense of humour, the fact that she doesn't take herself too seriously and her love of plastic cock. What more could you want in a pop star? Dannii explains the song by maintaining that it is really about sitting on speakers - bitch, please.

18. Boogie Woogie (Japan only single, #1 Japan)

You know you made a difference in my life
You came along and eased my troubled mind


I love Dannii's brief stint as Japan's leading dance diva. "Rescue Me" is fabulous but "Boogie Woogie" gets my vote due to its distinctively Euro sound. Whigfield would be jealous of this little gem. It's that good!

17. It’s Amazing (Girl, album track)

It’s only when the night descends upon me
That I realise
no one can take your place


"It's Amazing" is one of Dannii's most gorgeous ballads. This is Xenomania at their absolute best. The production is a delight, with beautiful strings, heavy breathing and subtle electronic bleeps. This is one of the many tracks from "Girl" that cried out to be released as a single. "It's Amazing" is a romantic treat.

16. I Don’t Wanna Take This Pain (Love & Kisses, single - #40 UK, #92 Aus)

If loving you is wrong
Then wrong has got to be right


You either love R'n'B Dannii or you hate it. I obviously love it and in my opinion, the rap duel towards the end of this song is one of the most glorious moments in Dannii's entire catalogue. I particularly love the 12" version, which is the closest Dannii will ever get to sounding like SoulIISoul!

15. Jump To The Beat (Love & Kisses, single - #8 UK, #48 Aus)

Embrace the good things in life
Come on and dance with me


I much prefer the original Australian version of "Love & Kisses" to the English version, with one exception - the poptastic "Jump To The Beat". The song was a desperate ploy to spark some interest in the UK and it worked a treat, making #8 in the charts. "Jump To The Beat" is irresistable bubblegum pop.

14. Perfection (The Hits & Beyond, single - #11 UK, #13 Aus)

I’m aching inside
I’m aching inside for you


You could not go into a Sydney gay club last year and not hear "Perfection". The first time I heard it, I thought the song was cheap and cheerful trash. However, it has grown on me immensely and I now realise that Dannii has unleashed yet another pop masterpiece. The video is priceless. I'm sure Dannii filmed it on her camcorder during one of her many trips to Ibiza!

13. Success (Love & Kisses, single - #11 UK, #26 Aus)

Tell me are you ready

Really really ready for success

I think "Success" is a great song but it has a deeper meaning as Dannii's declaration of intent. In fact, I think of "Success" as Dannii's personal anthem. She had her sights set on pop stardom and nothing was going to stand in her way. Well, apart from Kylie and a couple of hundred holidays. I'm so happy that Dannii is now experiencing success as the queen of UK club music and as a judge on Australia's 4th most watched show.

12. Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling (Neon Nights, single - #5 UK, #22 Aus)

I said some things
That did not ring true


The fourth single from "Neon Nights" was a blast of 100% pure pop fun. The mash-up with Madonna's "Into The Groove" is brilliantly done and Dannii looks like a goddess in the video. A rare example of a record company getting everything right. AATW, please take note.

11. Get Into You (Get Into You, single - #36 UK, #79 Aus)

I don’t want your love
I want your soul instead


"Get Into You" sounds more like early 90s En Vogue than Dannii Minogue. It should be awful but it's actually rather sublime. I think Dannii's voice suits this sound surprisingly well. In fact, I think Dannii should revive freestyle as her next project! I've uploaded a club mix to balance out the R'n'B flavour.

10. Begin To Spin Me Round (Neon Nights, single - #2 UK, #14 Aus)

You’re a sinner but you told me you’re a saint
Too fast I tripped and lost my way
Can’t believe what’s happened to me lately


I truly believed that this would be Dannii's first #1 hit. As one of the best songs of this decade, it deserved to sit at the top of the pop charts. The song is hot in its own right but mashed with Dead Or Alive's "Spin Me Round", it is utterly perfect. The video is also superb, particularly when Dannii cuts off her hair. I've uploaded the excellent extended version.

9. Love & Kisses (Love & Kisses, single - #8 UK, #4 Aus)

You’re the kind of girl
That I want to keep
We ain’t at McDonalds
So what’s your beef?


Danni's debut single was an absolute corker. I remember running to buy the 7" single, which came with a fold out poster that had pride of place in my bedroom for years. The lyrics are adorable and Dannii is definitely not "the plain Jane type"! An Australian pop classic.

8. Feel Like I Do (So Under Pressure, B-side)

I want your number baby
So write it down on me


I still can't believe that something as brilliant as "Feel Like I Do" ended up as the B-side to "So Under Pressure". What the fuck? From the opening piano/keyboards to the killer chorus, this song screams out to be a single. This is the gravest pop injustice since Kylie's "Tightrope" ended up as a shitty bonus track. I'm still mad!

7. So In Love With Yourself (Girl, album track)

So in love with yourself
How could you love somebody else?


This was my favourite Dannii song for many a year but I think I've played it a couple of thousand times too often. "So In Love With Yourself" is about as classy as dance music gets. The vocals, the melody and the production are all gorgeous. Fuck, Kylie even sings back-up! If this was released as the second single from "Girl" instead of "Everything I Wanted", the album would have stood a much greater chance of success. As it is, this stunning anthem remains a fan favourite.

6. For The Record (Neon Nights, album track)

It’s just a thirst
And I’m drunk on the addiction


"Neon Nights" really is an amazing achievement. The album just gets better with age and I continue to find new favourites. "For The Record" is a slice of disco heaven. There hasn't been anything quite this fabulous since the 80s. I don't think "For The Record" was ever considered as a single and in all honesty, it doesn't have the edge of an "I Begin To Wonder" or "Put The Needle On It". Instead, "For The Record" exudes fun and warmth. Like Dannii, this song just gets better with age!

5. Come & Get It (Neon Nights, digital single Germany)

If tonight is going right
Move in a little closer

J.C.A. should be legally obliged to work on every Dannii album. The man behind "I Begin To Wonder" created what has to be the most spectacular "hidden track" in musical history. "Come & Get It" is an insanely catchy floorfiller, which works brilliantly as a straight-up pop song. I sincerely believe that Dannii threw away a #1 hit. Oh well.

4. This Is It (Get Into You, single - #10 UK, #13 Aus)

I’m lost for words, I’m in a daze
Stunned and amazed by your open ways


Dannii's cover of Melba Moore's "This Is It" was her first big Australian hit after a string of flops. I remember how great it was to have Dannii back on Video Hits and Rage. The video even became a much spoofed phenomenon and I can remember the steps to the tacky dance routine to this very day. There is nothing subtle or original about "This Is It". It's just good, old-fashioned, gay-as-all-fuck pop music! I've included Dannii's live interpretation for the "25 Years of Mushroom" concert.

3. Am I Dreaming? (Girl, album track)

Can you hear me, hear me calling?

"Girl" is such a quirky pop album. If Dannii's detractors ever took the time to actually listen to it, I'm sure they would be impressed. "Am I Dreaming?" has aged remarkably well. The song sounds as fresh today as it did 10 years ago. "Am I Dreaming?" is not your average piece of dance-fluff. The lyrics are thoughtful and the melody is drenched in melancholy. It really is a very impressive achievement.

2. Who Do You Love Now? (Neon Nights, single - #3 UK, #15 Aus)

And it’s hard to break a habit

Dannii revived her career with this dark and brooding dance epic. I was living in Europe when "Who Do you Love Now?" was released and I was floored to hear Dannii on a German radio station. Dannii was not only back on the charts but was suddenly a cutting-edge dance diva with a sexy, new dyke-tastic hairstyle. Dannii has since made a habit of re-interpreting instrumental club hits but she is yet to match the brilliance of "Stringer". This is as good as dance music gets. Check out the French version of "Who Do You Love Now?".

1. Party Jam (Love & Kisses, album track)

Hey yo listen up
My name is Dannii
It’s time to get loose to my
Brand new Jammy!


Shut up. I love it! I know "Party Jam" is not the best song in Dannii's catalogue of hits but it is my favourite. When I purchased "Love & Kisses", I didn't know what to think of Dannii's solo material until "Party Jam" came blaring out of the stereo. I was instantly smitten. To my 10 year old ears, Dannii's rapping made her the coolest woman on the planet. Obviously, I have since realised that "Party Jam" does not exactly count as gangster rap. I still believe that Dannii does not get enough recognition for how unusual it was for an Australian pop act to combine urban elements at that time. As usual, Dannii was decades ahead of her time. It took Kylie until 2003 to go down the same path with "Body Language" - some 13 years later.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Happy Mardi Gras From Dannii's Box!

I hope everyone had (or is still having) a great Mardi Gras. I feel a bit worse for wear but my weekly dose of Dannii on "Australia's Got Talent" has made everything feel better. Dannii was so funny tonight, particularly when she rejected the dancers who named her as their personal hero. Whoops. I loved the dancing kids. It was "Young Talent Time" all over again, no wonder Dannii liked them!

I couldn't help revisting history once again with another look at how things should have been for Dannii dearest, particularly after the hysterical reaction that greeted the last picture. Once again, I have to thank Mr Froggy for the amazing art. I want to see Dannii do "Let's get To It"!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Way That History Intended...

Retro Dannii Remixes

Dannii's Dirty Box is slowly coming to an end and I realise that I haven't paid enough attention to the early years of Dannii's brilliant career. I have collected a handful of early remixes, which will give new fans some indication of Dannii's fabulous roots and remind old fans of Dannii's brilliance.

"Everything I Wanted" was the second single from "Girl". Sadly, it is probably the worst song on the album and basically killed the entire project. The single version was pretty dire but the Xenomania remix is a reminder of how good that outfit used to be.

One of the highlights of Dannii's second album, "Get Into You", is undoubtedly "This Is The Way". In fact, it's still one of my favourite Dannii singles. "The Cool 7" Version" is better yet!

"Success" is a song that is near and dear to all Dannii fans. Here is one of the better remixes.

Dannii is an undisputed master of cover versions and one of her best is "Baby Love".

"Disremembrance" was the third single from "Girl". There are arguably better songs on "Girl" but I still love this. Particularly the "bimbo goth" video, with Dannii crying in what appears to be a graveyard. I have always enjoyed this remix.

I vaguely remember someone requesting "Hallucination". I apologise for not remembering exactly who it was. "Hallucination" was the B-side to "Jump To The Beat" in Australia and "Baby Love" in Japan. I personally think that "Hallucination" is Dannii's trashtastic opus. This song has everything - sirens, barking and Dannii throwing down some hot rhymes - against a crazy 90s house track. Something about it also reminds me of "Justify My Love", if it were covered by Ya Kid K in 1992!

Youtube Goodies

I would hate to think how many hours of my life I have wasted, wading through fabulous crap on youtube. It never ceases to amaze me what you can find if you are desperate enough to keep looking. Here are some of my favourite Dannii related clips:
  • Kylie & Dannii perform "Kids" together. Dannii totally steals the show with her blazing talent and unbridled sex appeal! - watch here
  • Dannii mimes "Who Do You Love Now?" brilliantly on German TV. Dannii has never looked so alluring! - watch here
  • Tranny Dannii sings "So Under Pressure" at an English beach party - watch here
  • Dannii sings a medley of hits live on "Sunrise". "Put The Needle On It" sounds surprisingly good live. Shame about the dancing - watch here
  • A biting "I Begin To Wonder" spoof. I love the part about being haunted by Kylie's butt. Classy! - watch here
  • Gina Riley's fabulous Dannii impersonation, singing "Famous Sister" - watch here
  • Kylie surprises Dannii at GAY nightclub - watch here
  • My favourite Dannii video is without a doubt "This Is It". I have even been known to do the dance routine when sufficiently intoxicated. Sad but true. Note that Julian McMahon is looking sexy as always - watch here
  • MaryCherry, fabulous NZ drag queen and Don'tStopThePop contributor, throws it down to Dannii's "Perfection". MaryCherry is the diva in the middle. That is some seriously hot fan action, Aaron! - watch here
  • It's time for some mash-ups! I love this: Dannii Vs Garbage. It actually sounds rather good - watch here
  • "Got To Be For The Record" mashes Kylie's "Got To Be Certain" with Dannii's "For The Record". I like it alot. The clip is rather lovely too. The people making these things should be working in the industry - watch here
  • "Got To Be Love & Kisses" another Kylie Vs Dannii match. Dannii wins! - watch here
  • The best mash-up, rather surprisingly, is Dannii Vs Justin Timberlake with "Like I Spin You Round". This clip is a thing of beauty and the song is great. In fact, it's better than most professional mixes. My only qualm is Kylie's cameo singing "Can't Get You Out Of My Head"! WTF? But who cares, I still want an MP3! - watch here
If you just have time to watch one clip, make sure it is this. The first time I saw this, it literally took my breath away. This is so fundamentally wrong on so many levels that I now consider it to be a work of utter genius. Dannii sings "Hakuna Matata" to a group of starving, disinterested children in Africa. They may not have food but they sure were entertained!

Don't miss: Dannii performing Hakuna Matata