Thursday, November 29, 2007

Britain's Trashiest Boyband - Billiam

Every now and again I stumble across an act so amazingly trashtastic that I'm almost lost for words. A perfect example is Britain's latest boyband "sensation", Billiam. Thrown together during a nationwide talent search, the boys spent 2007 busily raising their profile by partaking in homoerotic photoshoots (above) and touring schools and chavtastic discos across the UK. I'm usually not a boyband fan but Billiam's stunning musical talent and classy image won me over instantly. Take the band's #32 smash hit debut single, "Beautiful Ones". Most boybands stick to the tried and tested route of dreary ballads and uninspired mid-tempo grooves to sell records. Not Billiam! They chose an unfathomably camp Hi-NRG dancefloor anthem reminiscent of something the Vengaboys recorded in 1997. As much as I worship the artistry on display in "Beautiful Ones", I'm even more taken with the B-side "Boyz Text Girlz" (currently streaming on their myspace). This stunning anthem about love via mobile phones is a pop trash classic with brilliant lyrics like "your ringtone says one message received, so open up your mail and see that it's from me"! It should have been a single! In the meantime enjoy Billiam's jaw dropping "Beautiful Ones" video clip. You can buy "Beautiful Ones" from Amazon UK or download it from 7digital.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kylie X - The Pop Trash Review

After three years of rumours, multiple leaks, rampant fan speculation and frenzied anticipation, Kylie's tenth studio album was officially released in Australia this morning. Instead of being the all conquering comeback that many expected, the reaction to "X" has been divisive. Most critics have torn the album to shreds, while many fans consider "X" a strong return to form. I definitely fall into the latter camp. "X" isn't Kylie's best album but it is the best pop album you will hear in 2007. Other divas have tried valiantly to steal Kylie's pop crown but Robyn, Rihanna and Britney still sound like amateurs in comparison. That's not to say that "X" is perfect. It's uneven and occasionally plain embarrassing - but at its best, the album reaches heights the other pop tarts can only dream of.

It's impossible to review "X" without first addressing the criticism that has (unfairly, in my view) been heaped upon it. Many critics have harped upon the fact that the album all but ignores Kylie's recent health issues. Reading the reviews you would think that Kylie's fans were all eagerly awaiting a collection of cancer ballads. Well, I most certainly was not. Kylie is an icon of fun - a beacon of good times - and "X" is a declaration that cancer hasn't dimmed her manically bright outlook. The album subtly references Kylie's health woes but chooses to cover the familiar themes of love, sex and dancefloor escapades instead. And for that I'm most grateful.

Another major criticism is the album's long list of collaborators. There is more validity to this point. The day might be nearing when Kylie needs to hire a super-producer to give her a more cohesive sound but the unfavourable comparisons with Britney's "Blackout" (with it's short list of high profile producers eg. Danja, The Neptunes) is utterly ridiculous. Since when is a collection of songs that sound like Nelly Furtado B-sides original and inventive? At a time when every old has-been in the industry is clambering to work with Timbaland, collaborating with Richard "Biff" Stannard seems almost revolutionary. "X" does occasionally suffer from one too many cooks but the album is nothing if not eclectic.
Perhaps the most credible criticism of the album is the song selection. In my opinion, the biggest problem with the entire "X" project has been the flood of leaked tracks and demos. Gone are the days when you would pick up a CD and judge it on its merits. Fans can now judge every track against those that missed the cut and, to be completely honest, some of the choices have been bewildering. The rational behind the exclusion of brilliant tracks like "In The Mood For Love", "Lose Control" and "Spell Of Desire" is a mystery. I can only think that the record company tried to hard to please everyone by throwing in as many different sounds and genres as they could, resulting in many of traditional pop/dance songs getting cut - but more about that later. Now that I've got that out of the way (!), I can finally turn my attention to general brilliance of "X":

2 Hearts - 7.5/10

The weakest first single from any Kylie album is also one of the poorest tracks on "X", which speaks volumes for the quality of the album because "2 Hearts" is really quite lovely. In fact, I'm quite convinced that Kish Mauve's glam rock inspired concoction would be hailed as a fan favourite if it wasn't chosen as the lead single. "2 Hearts" is a short burst of retro goodness but it was never going to be strong enough to stand up to the album's massive expectations. The song also gives an entirely false impression of the album - "X" is electro-pop through and through. "2 Hearts" is an interesting experiment at best.

Like A Drug - 10/10

This is more like it! "Like A Drug" is everything that "2 Hearts" should have been - a pulsating dance anthem with a distinct pop edge. Expertly produced by Denmark's Jonas Jeberg & Cutfather, "Like A Drug" is one of the most crisp and contemporary sounding club tracks to grace a Kylie album in many years. This could - and should - be considered as a future single. The line - "I've never had a ride as delicate and fine, you really blow my mind" is possibly the pop moment of 2007. I can't get enough of this.

In My Arms - 10/10

Leaked earlier in the year, "In My Arms" still holds up as glittering achievement. Few pop songs can aptly be described as gorgeous but this is one of them. An all star collaboration written by Kylie, Adam Wiles (ie. Calvin Harris), Richard "Biff" Stannard, Paul Harris and Julian Peake (Superbass), "In My Arms" is an intricate and innovative modern pop classic. "How do you describe a feeling?" has already become a catchphrase and the initially distracting spoken interlude before each chorus sounds more graceful with each listen. Contrary to reports that "Wow" would be the second single, it now appears that this is the more likely contender with Sebastian Leger currently working on remixes. As much as I love "In My Arms", the last thing Kylie needs is another mid-tempo single - particularly one that has been available online since May.

Speakerphone - 8.5/10

The first Bloodshy & Avant produced track has been hailed as many fans as their favourite but "Speakerphone" is a little bit too clever for my taste. Co-written by Robyn's favourite collaborator and the team behind some of Britney's biggest hits, I was expecting more than this recycled mess. As is often the case with Swedish producers, "Speakerphone" sounds pleasingly fresh and sleek but it lacks all heart. That said, "Speakerphone" is the kind of non-sensical club anthem that "X" sorely needs and it seems to be keeping the fans happy, so who am I to argue? I really hope it's not a single.

Senshitized - 1/10

The less said about this abomination the better. I'll burn my Kylie collection if this pretentious pile of shit is released as a single. Cathy Dennis and Guy Chambers should be exiled from the music industry for this rubbish.

Heart Beat Rock - 8/10

Calvin Harris strikes again with one of the album's most bizarre moments. I hated "Heart Beat Rock" the first time I heard it. I believe I even described it as "the homeless man's Hollaback Girl". It's amazing how a couple of listens can change the way you think about a song. "Heart Beat Rock" has since emerged as one of the album's rough diamonds. I love the staccato rhythm and the chorus is catchy to the point of being annoying. "Heart Beat Rock" isn't an entirely successful experiment but I'd take this over the formulaic pop cluttering the charts any day.

The One - 10/10

With every new Kylie album, fans latch onto a track and demand that it be released as a single. As soon as Kylie performed "The One" on The Kylie Show, fansites began to overflow with threads lavishing praise upon it. The song's popularity is easy to understand. "The One" is almost achingly lovely. Pop music rarely sounds as classy and refined as this exquisite anthem. Written by the all star cast of Kylie, Richard "Biff" Stannard, James Wiltshire, Russell Small, John Andersson, Johan Emmoth and Emma Holmgren and produced by Beyonce's right hand men, The Freemasons, "The One" is the kind of superlative pop only comes along every so often. Divine.

No More Rain - 7/10

Critics have bemoaned the lack of autobiographical songs on "X" but the lyrics of "No More Rain" are deeply personal. Therefore, it's a shame that the song is relatively uninspired and insipid in comparison to the rest of the album. "No More Rain" also suffers from some distinctly dodgy lyrics. All that talk of rainbows and waves makes me want to gag. However, the song does serve a purpose. It's slightly organic sound and retro tinge make a pleasant break from the very modern tracks that precede and follow it. "No More Rain" is cute, I just expected more from Britney's hitmakers and the super hot Greg Kurstin.

All I See - 20/10

The Danish team behind "Like A Drug" return to produce my favourite song on "X". "All I See" has been dismissed as an urban throwback to "Body Language" by most critics but they couldn't be more wrong. "All I See" is an intricately produced gem, which lifts Kylie to poptastic heights not seen since the glory days of "Fever" and "Light Years" - only with a fresh new sound and a new found confidence. There is nothing urban about "All I See", however it is a clear nod to American pop tastes. "All I See" sounds like a cross between Cassie's "Me & U" and Janet's entire "Velvet Rope" album. I don't care if everyone else hates it, "All I See" is a new Kylie classic as far as I'm concerned and the best track on "X" by miles.

Stars - 10/10

"Stars" is another track that leaked in May and, like "In My Arms", it still sounds magnificent. Produced by long-term collaborator, Richard "Biff" Stannard, "Stars" is quietly reflective without being overbearing. I interpret the lyrics as a call for optimism and unity in dark times but I'm sure some people hear a straightforward pop song about astrology. The beauty of "Stars" is its ability to work on both levels. I love the subtle melancholy that separates "Stars" from the other songs. An outstanding album track.

Wow - 10/10

"Wow" is Kylie's most obvious throwback to the glorious bubblegum pop she made with Stock/Aitken/Waterman in years. A burst of pure, unadulterated fun is the only way I can describe this trashy anthem. In fact, "Wow" is the kind of camp fluff that only Kylie can pull off with a straight face. I love every second of this cheeky effort and I really hope it is the second single instead of "In My Arms". "Wow" is irresistibly sunny, making it the perfect soundtrack for the Australian summer. Greg Kurstin's production is admirably (and intentionally) cheesy. Bliss!

Nu-Di-Ty - 6/10

Bloodshy & Avant have a lot to answer for. "Nu-Di-Ty" is an embarrassment but that's what you get for hiring Britney's sloppy seconds. I'm all for Kylie experimenting but this is a lazy mess and the eyebrow raising lyrics are downright shameful. That said, I can't stop listening to the damn thing. "Nu-Di-Ty" is so appalling, I'm kind of in awe of it. I would be much more forgiving if I didn't know that amazing tracks like "Lose Control" and "In The Mood For Love" were passed over for this crap.

Cosmic - 8/10

Perhaps the most personal song on "X", "Cosmic" also doubles as the album's big ballad. While not quite as majestic as "Dreams" or "Loving Days", "Cosmic" is still one of Kylie's loveliest ballads. The song suffers from some dodgy lyrics but it bookends "X" superbly. Produced by Eg White, "Cosmic" is pleasingly eccentric and poignant. You'll be waving your lighter in the air to this anthem at Kylie's next concert... if you could still smoke inside the venue.

Magnetic Electric (iTunes Bonus Track) - 8.5/10

It wouldn't be a Kylie album without a couple of brilliant and ridiculously overlooked bonus tracks. "Magnetic Eelectric" isn't quite in the same league as "Tightrope" or "Good Like That" but it's a hugely enjoyable slice of poptastic dance music with an incredibly catchy use of strings.

White Diamond Ballad Version (iTunes Bonus Track) - 7/10

Kylie's collaboration with the Scissor Sisters was the highlight of "Showgirl Homecoming" and appeared to be a future classic. So why destroy something that perfect by turning it into a dull and unnecessary ballad? I want a studio version of the fucking original!

Rippin' Up The Disco (Bonus Track) - 10/10

You receive "Rippin' Up The Disco" as a special treat from Kylie.com when you play "X" on your computer. Given its relatively obscurity and Kylie's previous track record, it should come as no surprise that "Rippin' Up The Disco" is gold. This throbbing floorfiller is the closest that Kylie has ever come to channelling Pete Burns. In fact, "Rippin' Up The Disco" owes no small debt to Dead Or Alive with its aggressive delivery and slightly darker sound. A dose of classic Kylie that deserves to be heard. Don't forget to download your copy!

Conclusion

"X" isn't as cohesive as "Fever" or as endearingly camp as "Light Years" but it's not embarrassed by the company of those great albums. "X" is a weird and wonderful treat, oscillating between brilliance and bullshit. The album has some disastrous moments ("Senshitized" and "Nu-Di-Ty") but "X" also delivers a batch of future classics like "In My Arms", "Wow" and "All I See". I'd much rather see Kylie experiment with her sound and come up with the occasional stinking turd than hear "Loose" Version 272 (AKA Britney's "Blackout" album). However, it is very frustrating to know that "X" could have been even better with the inclusion of "Spell Of Desire", "Lose Control" and "In The Mood For Love". As it stands, "X" is still two steps ahead of the other contenders and without a doubt my favourite album of the year.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Love Is All Around

I was absolutely delighted to see Ricki-Lee's latest single debut at #5 in last week's ARIA singles chart. I've been championing "Love Is All Around" since the release of "Brand New Day" and it gives me great satisfaction to know that the song has found an appreciative audience. Even more surprising than the top 5 chart placing was the fact that "Love Is All Around" debuted at #1 on physical sales - ahead of Kylie's "2 Hearts" (which reached #1 overall due to stronger download sales). That is a phenomenal achievement for a pure pop track released on an independent label. It's also very well deserved. Ricki-Lee's sparkling cover of "Love Is All Around" is bright, shiny pop of the highest order. With any luck the song's success will reignite interest in the hugely underrated album, which, rather bizarrely, is being re-released with Ricki-Lee's first album included as a bonus disc! Now that's what I call value! You can buy "Love Is All Around" from Chaos or download it from iTunes. Make sure you check out the cheap but very cheerful video clip (below). Ricki-Lee looks gorgeous and I love the fact that she invited her fans to appear in the video (they're the group of really bad dancers who appear at approximately 2 minutes). This is vintage, hands in the air POP!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Life According To Marcia Hines

Marcia Hines is one of my all time favourite singers. I've worshipped Marcia for as long as I can remember and recently named her one of my top 10 pop trash divas. Naturally, I was rather excited when my signed copy of Marcia's new album, "Life", arrived in the post yesterday. Marcia's last album was THE trashy pop moment of 2006 and I expected this collection of covers to have a similar flavour. It's something of an understatement to say that I was wrong. "Discotheque" had the humble goal of getting you on the dancefloor. "Life", however, boldly aspires to be the musical equivalent of a self-help book. It even comes with a booklet of life lessons penned by Marcia herself! Putting the CD into my stereo, I expected the worst but "Life" is a spiritual experience. I decided to put my cynicism aside for an hour and immerse myself in the Marcia Hines guide to happiness and enlightenment.

Preface - Listen

"Life" works on two separate levels. There is a written booklet with Marcia's words of wisdom and an accompanying song on the album. Marcia's musical self-help book kicks off with "Listen", a bizarre one minute intro that involves a lot of chanting. In the booklet, Marcia introduces the album by setting out her life philosophy ("I allow my spirit to create my imagination") and describes the album as a celebration of "love, loss, family, friends, strength and survival". So far, so good!

Chapter 1 - No Need To Fear

"Everybody Hurts" has to be one of the most grating songs ever recorded. REM's original makes me gag and I didn't expect much from Marcia's version. Therefore, it came as a massive surprise that the track not only works, it sounds rather lovely. Marcia writes "if we weren't meant to cry, we wouldn't have tear ducts" and recounts her battle with diabetes. I'm beginning to feel strangely emotional.

Chapter 2 - Mr And Mrs Each Day

The album continues with an astonishingly beautiful cover of Lisa Stansfield's "All Woman". Few songs written after 1970 capture as much soul as Lisa's modern classic and Marcia does the song proud with one of her finest vocal performances. Marcia singing "I may not be a classy lady but I'm all woman" gives me chills. A definite album highlight. Marcia writes "one man's trash is another man's treasure". Amen, sister! Marcia also notes that she's been married 4 times and engaged another two times.

Chapter 3 - The Path We Walk

The world doesn't need another cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" as Madonna aptly proved with her horrendous rendition. Marcia's beautiful voice does the song more justice but the choir backing is too over the top - even for me! "Some days are diamonds, some stone" muses Marcia in the booklet before describing being visited by spirits as a child. I'm serious!

Chapter 4 - No Matter What

Oleta Adams' "Get Here" is one of my all time favourite songs and its message of determination is the perfect choice to illustrate Marcia's lesson about overcoming the obstacles to love. This is a near perfect cover version, exquisitely produced and expertly performed. Marcia advises "if you inhale love, you will exhale love". I'm starting to get misty eyed again.

Chapter 5 - Unrequited Love

Marcia covers Toni Braxton and hilarity ensues. "Breathe Again" stands out from other 90s R'n'B ballads due to Toni's unusually deep vocal register and Babyface's deft production. Marcia's interpretation is too restrained. "Breathe Again" is a song for desperate lovesick whores, not classy ladies like Ms Hines. One of the album's few missteps. However, Marcia's advice is as admirable as ever, stating "you don't always get the relationship you want, you sometimes get the relationship you deserve". I must have done something bad in a past life to deserve the cast of clowns that I've dated!

Chapter 6 - Making Your Own Way

One of the highlights of "Life" is Marcia's version of "God Bless The Child". The song choice is particularly interesting because Marcia's superstar daughter covered Billie Holiday's classic on her recent "The Other Woman" album. Who wins the battle of the Hines? I'd have to give it to Deni's understated effort but this is fabulous too. Marcia writes "pick your mark, strike your pose and go for it!" Fierce! This chapter of the booklet is by far the most revealing. Marcia comments on bringing up Deni, addresses the criticism that has been directed at her judging style on Australian Idol and even takes Dicko to task on his treatment of Paulini for wearing that gold dress. Fascinating!

Chapter 7 - Through Thick And Thin

Few modern songs have been covered as often as The Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You". Most of them are god awful (the Girls Aloud abomination, for example) but Marcia's version gets it right. This is a lighter in the air anthem of the highest order. Marcia devotes this chapter to the importance of friendship, describing friends as "angels" and "treasure chests". Fabulously, Marcia manages to throw in a sly reference to her induction to the ARIA Hall Of Fame. By this stage, I had come to realise that Marcia speaks the truth and find myself well and truly under her spell.

Chapter 8 - The Inner Beauty Shining

Removing my tongue from my cheek for a minute, chapter 8 is truly inspiring. Marcia says "treasure the darkness and look towards the light" before commenting on her friendship with the recently deceased Belinda Emmett. The message couldn't be more beautiful but I'm not sure how Marcia's raunchy interpretation of Aretha's "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman" is representative of it! I really hope Marcia's next album is a collection of soul covers. She breathes new life into this classic.

Chapter 9 - Leaving To Live

Marcia turns her attention to The Beatles with an inspired cover of "She's Leaving Home". This is perhaps the most adventurous song on the album. The production is intricate and really quite eccentric. "She's Leaving Home" is really quite epic. Marcia writes about Deni moving out of home and touchingly recounts sitting in Deni's empty room, wondering how "the years had passed so quickly". Awwww!

Chapter 10 - Words Unspoken

Mike & The Mechanics took "The Living Years" to number one in Australia in May 1989. I was too young to fully understand the lyrics at the time but I always found the song strangely confronting. As such, it's a perfect choice for Marcia's most confronting lesson - coping with death. Marcia recalls both her father's death and her brother's suicide. This is a heavy chapter but Marcia's direct approach is comforting.

Chapter 11 - Sex The Drug

From death to sex, Marcia's walk through the pitfalls and joys of life is nothing if not comprehensive. I have to say, reading Marcia's views on sex is the equivalent of watching porn with your parents (or so I imagine)! However, I was greatly amused by Marcia's reminder that sex isn't "just for the young folks" and her very rational advice of consulting a tarot reader when you have a new suitor! Marcia's sexual adventure is accompanied by a delightful cover of Sade's "No Ordinary Love". Hot!

Chapter 12 - Empty Hearts And Empty Rooms

The penultimate song in Marcia's musical self-help book is a cover of Dionne Warwick's "A House Is Not A Home". This gorgeous seven minute opus is the soundtrack to Marcia's chapter on forgiveness and saying sorry. I love the original track and Marcia's version is suitably bittersweet. A treat.

Conclusion - I Am

Don't faint but Marcia has actually included an original song to end the album - one that she even wrote herself! "I Am" is more of poem or prayer set to music but it's gospel tone sits well with the other tracks and brings the album to an inspiring conclusion. Marcia really needs to record more original material if this is any indication of what she is capable of as a songwriter. Outstanding!


It would be easy to put on my "bitchy queen" hat and tear "Life" to shreds. I'm sure that would make for an amusing post but it would also be a cop out. Marcia wears her heart on her sleeve and communicates with such overwhelming sincerity that I can't help but be moved - often against my better judgement. "Life" is the musical equivalent of a Hallmark card. It's unbelievably corny, has nothing new to say and more often than not makes you cringe with embarrassment but at the same time there is a kernel of truth to the message and you're glad that somebody took the time to send it to you. It goes without saying that cynics need not apply. If, like me, you cry at long distance telephone commercials and get slightly hysterical at weddings and other major celebrations, then Marcia's homespun wisdom comes highly recommended! You can order a signed copy of "Life" from JB Hi-Fi. I strongly advise against downloading "Life", you really need the booklet to appreciate Marcia's spiritual message!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My 1st Birthday & Kylie Covers Galore!

It's hard to believe that Pop Trash Addicts has been polluting the web with the best that low brow music has to offer for a whole year! I started the blog as a bit of joke and never expected to still be doing it twelve months later. I've spent the past few days reflecting on my first 250 posts and if I'm entirely honest, there has been more filler than killer. On the whole, however, I'm quite proud of this place. There have been several good posts and a handful that I'm still really proud of, which is more than I could have expected a year ago. If I had to choose a favourite it would be my exploration of Dannii's gay icon status, while the worst post sticks out like a sore thumb. I must have been high! To celebrate both my blog's birthday and Kylie's 10th #1 hit in Australia with "2 Hearts", I thought I would return to my favourite Kylie post. In addition to re-posting those 10 craptastic Kylie covers, I've also thrown in several new favourites. By the way, this isn't meant to be an exhaustive list. Enjoy!

Soraya Arnelas - I Should Be So Lucky

Soraya swept to fame in Spain after finishing second on the talent show, "Operacion Triunfo". However, if she appeared on "X Factor" singing this cover of "I Should Be So Lucky", Dannii would have sent the silly bitch packing! Soraya's version is a poorly performed mess but it's still seriously fabulous. The song appears on Soraya's third album, "Dolce Vita", which comes highly recommended.

Daryl Somers - On A Night Like This

Yes, I know that Pandora and Anna Vissi did it first but I find it highly unlikely that Daryl was familiar with either of those Eurotrash divas. Australia's much maligned host of "Dancing With The Stars" was no doubt inspired by Kylie's #1 hit and against all odds, turns in a truly remarkable cover version. I think the big band sound and jazzy approach works an absolute treat.

Nerina Pallot - Confide In Me

Nerina is one of those annoyingly over-hyped English singer/songwriters. That said, I found her anti-war anthem strangely catchy and I like the fact that she was dropped by her previous record label after rubbishing them on the internet. Classy! Nerina's cover of "Confide In Me" is pretty faithful to the original. It's pleasant but not in the same league as Kylie's spine-tingling classic.



Hazell Dean - Turn It Into Love

There's nothing quite like a butch lesbian singing a Hi-NRG pop classic. Hazell's version of "Turn It Into Love" stays close to the original but falls short of matching Kylie's version. I love this tacky 12" mix!

Jose Gonzalez - Hand On Your Heart

A pretentious cover by the Swedish James Blunt. Yes, Jose really is that bad! The less said, the better.

Erdmoebel - Aus Meinem Kopf

It speaks volumes for the quality of song that it still sounds amazing in a different language, pared right back, without any of the studio wizardry that made it so spectacular in the first place. Erdmoebel achieve just that by turning "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" into a dark and moody, atmospheric groove. The concept sounds awful but it works spectacularly well. "Aus Meinem Kopf" wont drag you to the dance floor but it makes for perfect late night listening.

Steps - Better The Devil You Know

Steps were shit in general but this cover really is cheap and nasty. Usually I would find that combination irresistible but this majestic track deserved so much better.

Kelly Marie & Tina Charles - Your Disco Needs You

Kelly Marie and Tina Charles were two of the leading ladies of English disco. I love them both dearly and intend to devote entire posts to both of them. However, there really is no excusing the musical abomination that is their duet re-make of "Your Disco Needs You". How did it come to this, ladies? I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry! This is so tragic, yet I would be a complete liar if I said I didn't like it. So fabulously awful, it has to be heard to be believed!



Leah Dizon - Fever

Apparently Leah is Japanese TV personality, who occasionally dabbles in pop. I think her version of "Fever" is rather lovely and I'd love to hear more of Leah's music. By the way, the clip needs age activation because Leah is a bit of a ho.

Kia - Better The Devil You Know

Kia is one of the cheap tarts on the Almighty roster. You know what to expect from an Almighty mix and this doesn't disappoint. Yes, it's craptastic and nasty but I like it. Kia has also covered "What Do I Have To Do?". Grab your disco whistle and get dancing!

Debra Stephenson - I Believe In You

Fans of "Bad Girls" will know Deb as the seriously fucked up inmate Shell Dockley. Deb got her big break in music after appearing on "Stars In Their Eyes" on which she covered "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" (pic below). Deb's Kylie cover received such a rousing response that she decided to take on "I Believe In You" for her debut album. The result is so bad it's fucking amazing pop at its finest!



Zeigeist - Giving You Up

This cover version was posted on the sadly missed Catchy Tunes Of Sweden Blog. I loved it from the first listen and this is probably the only cover that improves on the original. That might sound like sacrilege but I think "Giving You Up" is one of the worst singles Kylie has ever released. It sounds too similar to the rubbish being churned out by Girls Aloud. Zeigeist, on the other hand, have made it their own with their avant-garde approach. Great stuff!

The Jacob Sisters - Your Disco Needs You

This recording is surely the holy grail of pop trash. How will I ever top a group of poodle carrying, 70 year old German grannies covering Kylie's legendary gay anthem in heavily accented English? It's disconcerting and yet strangely satisfying to know that I have officially scraped the bottom of the musical barrel and still managed to wholeheartedly enjoy the experience! The Jacob Sisters' interpretation of "Your Disco Needs You" defies description. I'm convinced the ladies have no idea what the hell they are singing and the poor pronunciation only makes the song more bewildering. Kylie must be so proud!


Vina Uyen My - Come Into My World

Vina is a saucy Vietnamese diva, who apparently released a cover of "Come Into My World" at almost the same time as Kylie. Vina's version is actually rather lovely. Most excitingly, Vina has released a breathtaking video clip - which basically involves Vina putting on litres of make-up and trying on jewels! I love the camp dance routine! Watch it here.



Darren Hayes - 2 Hearts

Another desperate attempt from Darren to ingratiate himself with the gay community. Yawn!

The Smurfs - The Locomotion

No, I haven't forgotten about Little Eva. However, this is most definitely a cover of Kylie's version. I love the Smurfs (yes, I am a nerd at heart) and one of my favourite trashy records is their album of 80s covers! I actually think this is rather excellent. Leave me alone, I never pretended to have any taste!

La Toya Jackson - The Locomotion

The Smurfs version of "The Locomotion" left you cold? Surely goddess Toy's stunning interpretation will get your blood pumping. La Toya's talent truly has no limit. Watch this AMAZING live performance. You may need a tissue!

Deirdre Halliwell - Who Do I Have To Screw? & Out Of My Head

Nobody reinterprets pop classics quite like Scotland's filthiest bitch! "Who Do I Have To Screw?" and "Out Of My Head" aptly display Deirdre's stunning vocal range and lyrical genius. I'm very proud to count Deirdre as a friend - you don't meet this kind of talent every day!



Wink - Turn It Into Love

I adore this popular Japanese cover of "Turn It Into Love". It's so sweet and effortlessly upbeat - just like the original.


Jacquii Cann - I Believe In You

Jacquii Cann's so-unbelievably-bad-it's-brilliant cover of "I Believe In You" is a modern classic. This song is an instant cure for depression, if Jacquii can land a recording contract with those croaky pipes, there's still hope for us all. A work of trashtastic genius that belongs in every Kylie fan's collection. Bless you, Jacquii. I'm gagging for your next "hit"!

Sophie Lawrence - Secrets

Kylie's "Rhythm Of Love" album was such a perfect slice of pop that it was easy for several gems to get lost in the mix. One of those lost classics was "Secrets", an album track that Sophie Lawrence later tried to release as a single. Mobius recently wrote an outstanding post on Sophie's misfortune.

Before I finish, I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to Pop Trash Addicts over the past year: Robpop (for being my MSN slut sister), Magical Froggy (for his graphic design genius and brilliant Caprice article), Jamie (for his amazing freestyle post and generosity), Jay (for his wonderful expose on Goose and ongoing support) and Tommie (for replying to my drunken text messages and sharing his music collection). Finally, a big thank you to all the people who have left a comment or sent me an e-mail! It means a lot.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Gayest Album Ever?

I honestly thought the Young Divas' debut album was the gayest thing I had ever heard. An endearing collection of camp pop classics ("Gloria", "Woman In Love", "What A Feeling" etc), the album struck a chord with homosexuals and bored housewives across Australia and became an unexpected double platinum smash hit. Twelve months have passed since then and the band has undergone some cosmetic changes. Ricki-Lee Coulter left the band to pursue a solo career and was replaced by last year's Australian Idol runner up, Jessica Mauboy. The line up might be different but end product is very much the same. The girls have delivered another fabulous album of reworked gay classics. The critics will deride their lack of development and credibility but I applaud the young divas for serving up another feast of the low brow magic. The rest of the world can have Girls Aloud and the Sugababes, I'm more than satisfied with our local superstar girlband! Here is my track by track review:

Got To Be Real - 9/10

Few songs make you want to get up and dance more than Cheryl Lynn's "Got To Be Real". As such, Cheryl's much loved disco classic is the perfect opening track for "New Attitude". The divas make it blindingly obvious from the very first song that the album's one and only objective is to get you out of your seat and "Got To Be Real" conveys that message in great style. Disco purists will be horrified by the trashy rap but I think it works wonderfully. It's complete inappropriateness renders the song even more camp if that is even possible.

If I Can't Have You - 8/10

The nod to disco continues with a dashing and surprisingly faithful cover of Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You". The song is a welcome blast of pure pop but the girls bring nothing new to the track. In fact, their version is virtually interchangeable with Kim Wilde's 1993 version - only with better vocals. Expect this to be a party favourite over the Christmas season.

Turn Me Loose (Ft. Savage) - 9/10

The first single from the album is a sublime dance cover of Loverboy's "Turn Me Loose". It will be interesting to see how the song performs on the charts but download sales have been promising. "Turn Me Loose" is the divas' biggest concession to current music trends with its slight urban edge and hilarious rap. It might sound like a mess but "Turn Me Loose" works surprisingly well. The vocal performance is particularly impressive.

I Can't Wait - 10/10

The Young Divas pillaging Stevie Nicks' back catalogue should be wrong in so many ways but "I Can't Wait" is a blistering work of pop brilliance. Stevie's original is one of my favourite songs. The inspired mix of guitars and synths was so far ahead of its time that a modern remake feels almost appropriate. I'm not sure what Stevie would make of this version but I love it. "I Can't Wait" works remarkably well as a dancefloor anthem and the surprisingly sleek production distinguishes the track from the rest of the album. Exquisite!

Jump (For My Love) - 9/10

Just when you think "New Attitude" couldn't possibly get any gayer, the divas ramp up the camp factor with a fabulous cover of The Pointer Sisters "Jump (For My Love)". It's hard to destroy pop as perfect as this but it is possible as Girls Aloud proved with their lifeless destruction of the track. Thankfully, the Young Divas show this classic the respect it deserves and serve up a glorious slice of trashy fun.

Love Will Lead You Back - 8/10

I still can't believe that the girls cover Taylor Dayne twice on the one album. That fact alone should be enough to convince most gays to buy "New Attitude". The first Taylor Dayne interpretation is "Love Will Lead You Back". As the only ballad on an album of upbeat dance anthems, "Love Will Lead You Back" makes a welcome change of pace and allows the girls to show off their big voices. Taylor would be proud.

Chain Reaction - 10/10

After a short romantic breather, the divas return to their bread and butter. A camp as tits cover of a gay classic. This time around the lovely ladies give Diana's "Chain Reaction" a makeover and deliver one of the album's highlights. After hearing Steps' abysmal cover I always thought "Chain Reaction" was one of those songs that shouldn't be fucked with. I'm happy that the divas have proved me wrong. Absolutely epic.

New Attitude - 10/10

The title track is a delicious cover of my favourite Patti LaBelle song. "New Attitude" was fierce in 1985 and the song is still a knockout more than 20 years later due to some snappy production and inspired vocal performances by all four divas. I hope this irresistible call to the dancefloor is considered for a single release at some stage.

I'm So Excited - 8/10

Few songs recall the 80s quite like The Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited". The original is one of my all time favourites and the Young Divas show the song the respect it deserves. However, I can't help but feel some of the original's magic has been lost in the manic production of the divafied version. Not as good as their version of "Jump" but still a treat.

Tell It To My Heart - 10/10

I have a feeling someone in the Young Divas camp is a massive fan of Kelly Llorenna. Firstly the ladies follow in Kelly's footsteps by covering "This Time I Know It's For Real" on their first album and now update another classic that has previously received the Llorenna treatment. Taylor Dayne's "Tell It To My Heart" obviously lends itself to trashy club queens with big voices and the Divas turn in a stunning performance that will have Kelly and Taylor scratching their weaves in astonishment. This is a blast of pure poptastic fun and hopefully a future single.

Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man This Christmas) - 10/10

The Young Divas meet The Weather Girls and campy brilliance ensues. The Weather Girls' "Dear Santa" is the gayest Christmas carol ever recorded and it somehow feels appropriate that the torch has been passed to the Young Divas. Fuck "Silent Night", "Dear Santa" will be pumping out my stereo this holiday season.

There's nothing new about the Young Divas' attitude on their second album. Considerably more money has been spent on the production and artwork (I LOVE the cover!) but the formula hasn't changed a bit. The songs are still all cover versions of much loved pop classics. Some might call the album artless. I call it smart - and fucking entertaining! "New Attitude" is released on November 26 and belongs in every poof's collection. Pre-order your copy from Chaos, Sanity or iTunes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

He Used To Give Me Roses....

I have spent 168 hours of 2007 watching the first 14 volumes of "Prisoner (Cell Block H)". That equates to spending an entire week in the company of Wentworth's finest and I've enjoyed every single second. In my opinion, "Prisoner (Cell Block H)" is the greatest show in the history of television. Running from 1979 to 1986, "Prisoner" revolutionised Australian drama and set new benchmarks in quality and originality. I'm constantly in awe of the brilliant writing and fully fleshed characters. The latest installment (above) deals with Vera "Vinegar Tits" Bennett's departure from the show and I doubt we'll ever see a character as small, petty and painfully human as Vera ever again. I can't remember squirming as much as I did during Vera's farewell. The episode should be sent every soapie writer around the globe as a "how to" guide for quality television. I could write an essay about the show's amazing characters, groundbreaking storylines and enduring cult appeal but the "Prisoner" phenomenon is something you have to experience for yourself. Instead, I'm devoting this post to the show's much loved theme song, "On The Inside".

Is there anything more achingly depressing than hearing Lynne Hamilton's morose ballad juxtaposed against the slamming of prison gates at the end of each episode of "Prisoner"? Despite its gloomy tone, "On The Inside" immediately struck a chord with viewers and became a #4 hit for Lynne in Australia in 1979. The song found a whole new audience ten years later when "Prisoner" became a cult hit in Britain. "On The Inside" was an even bigger hit in the UK, reaching #3 in 1989. Make sure you check out this amusing clip of Jason Donovan introducing the song on Top Of The Pops! Amazingly, Lynne's depressive signature tune was revived for the third time in the 1990s when it remixed and released as a tragic dance anthem. I love all of the appalling remixes but I've decided to share the unbelievably camp "Breakout Mix".

You can purchase all 14 volumes of "Prisoner" from Chaos. Volumes 15 and 16 are scheduled for released on Monday. Fanatics can pick up the entire boxset if you have a spare $1,500. I would do some bad things to get my hands on that shit!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Short Post About Kylie

After spending most of last week busily updating Dannii's Dirty Box, my focus has now shifted to the elder Minogue. This morning I picked up a Kylie single for the 45th consecutive time. I should be getting a thank you card in the post for that kind of brand loyalty! It's always a kick to see a new Kylie release on the shelves and the "2 Hearts" package is rather lovely. The Alan Braxe remix of "2 Hearts" is a little bit too cutting edge for my taste but the B-sides are a treat. "I Don't Know What It Is" reminds me of Kylie's crazy, guitar driven "Light Years" B-sides, while "King Or Queen" ranks as one of the best things I've heard from the "X" sessions. It's the kind of sexy dancefloor anthem that Kylie does best. I love it!

Happily, "X" promises treat after treat if "The Kylie Show" is any indication. The new material showcased on Kylie's variety hour was absolutely amazing. I'm blown away, in particular, by the pure poptastic fabulousness of "Wow" and "The One". Both songs are future Kylie classics. They are so good, I bet Kylie stole them from Dannii! "Wow" is three minutes of 80s infused magic. I love the performance but the less said about Kylie's Baby Spice inspired costume, the better! While "Wow" is 100% pure bubblegum, "The One" is distinguished by its bittersweet edge. The song conveys a sense of longing and quiet desperation usually not found in a straightforward pop song. I find it almost unbearably lovely.

"Wow" from The Kylie Show:




"The One" from The Kylie Show:



"2 Hearts" is released in Australia today and can be downloaded from iTunes or ordered online from Chaos, Sanity and JB Hi-Fi. My next post will be Minogue free - I promise!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kylie & Jason - Together Again

I've been preoccupied with the other Minogue this week, with the release of "Club Disco", "Unleashed", "The Video Collection" and two re-released albums (!!) but Kylie's reunion with Jason Donovan (pictured above) for ITV's "The Kylie Show" grabbed my attention and sent me into a tailspin of nostalgia and childhood memories. Like every other kid in Australia in the late 1980s, I followed Kylie and Jason with an almost religious fervour. It's hard to explain the extent of their popularity for a brief burst of time approximately 20 years ago (FUCK!!). You had to be there; following the adventures of Scott & Charlene on Neighbours, buying Kylie & Jason's singles with your pocket money and reading about their every move in Smash Hits magazine.

While Kylie has remained at the top of her game, Jason's star faded faster than his hairline. Jason never really left the spotlight completely, appearing in various TV shows and stage productions, but most of the headlines he generates involve some kind of derogatory or revealing comment about Kylie. I'm so glad that they've managed to put the bitterness behind them. Their reunion promises to be the highlight of "The Kylie Show", the idea of them coming together after almost two decades warms my heart. Kylie is even revisiting Charlene! Apparently she's now an unemployed alcoholic (pictured below)!

Kylie and Jason will always be best remembered for their massive hit "Especially For You". And with good reason. That song remains one of Stock/Aitken/Waterman's finest ballads. As much as I love to give that golden oldie the occasional spin, I've always preferred the B-side. "All I Wanna Do Is Make You Mine" is a rambling 6 minute epic that borrows strongly (ie. blatantly rips off) "You're The One That I Want". Little more than a demo, the song sounds strangely underdone but it never fails to lift my spirits. This one goes out to everyone who cried when Scott and Charlene left Ramsey Street to live it up in Brisbane!

"The Kylie Show" premieres in the UK tonight. It has been picked up by Foxtel in Australia and will air in the very near future.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Betty Boo's Floptastic Comeback

Betty Boo earned a special place is pop trash history with a string of iconic early 90s hits such as "Doin' The Do" and "Where Are You Baby?". Betty's unique combination of pop, dance and laconic rap was a revelation and she (rather unfortunately) paved the way for artists like Lily Allen and The Streets. Try not to hold that against her. Betty's debut album, "Boomania", still sounds fresh and original 15 years after its release and her massively unsuccessful second album, "GRRR! It's Betty Boo", is nothing less than a poptastic masterpiece.

While Betty's solo career went down the toilet at the speed of light, she successfully reinvented herself as a highly respected songwriter and has even penned tracks for international megastars like Dannii Minogue. After years of handing over her pop gems to other divas, Ms Boo has decided to hang on to a couple of them for herself. Betty scored her first solo "hit" in 14 years, when she peaked at #92 on the UK charts with "Take Off". Credited to Jack Rokka Vs Betty Boo, "Take Off" is an electro club stormer with a throbbing baseline and slutty lyrics about fucking in your car. Betty couldn't have hoped for a more fitting comeback!

You can order "Take Off" from Amazon UK or HMV UK. Make sure you check out the bootastic "Take Off" video. Betty hasn't aged a day!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Minogue Mania & Other Tid Bits

Minogue mania begins in earnest today with the release of four (!!) new Dannii albums in addition to the digital release of Kylie's "2 Hearts". While I wait patiently for my copies of "Girl (2CD Re-Release)", "Neon Nights (2CD Re-Release)" and "Unleashed" to arrive in the post, I've been overdosing on Dannii's new digital release "Club Disco" - a collection of B-sides, remixes and unreleased material from the AATW sessions. Check out my review over at Dannii's Dirty Box. I'm truly in awe of Dannii's greatness - even her unreleased rubbish is a cut above anything else I've heard so far this year! Poor Kylie must be so jealous of Dannii's stunning good looks and amazing vocal ability. She can take some comfort in the fact that "2 Hearts" has already landed at #15 on the Australian iTunes chart less than a day after being released, pretty much guaranteeing a top 20 debut next Sunday on the strength of downloads alone.

Robyn News

Robyn is returning to Australia! The Swedish pop queen's last visit rocked my world and I'll do my best to witness her return - despite the fact that tickets to her Sydney show (supporting local dance band, Sneaky Sound System) have already sold out. Robyn's visit will no doubt bolster the chart chances of "With Every Heartbeat", which this week reaches a new peak of #4 on the Australian club charts. Read more about Robyn's visit and her kooky tour rider here. Speaking of Sneaky Sound System, their self-titled album shoots into the top 5 this week on the back of their recent ARIA victories. The album appeared on my best of 2006 countdown almost a year ago (sorry, I just wanted to brag!) and I couldn't be happier that it's finally receiving the recognition it deserves.

Tina Arena's "Songs Of Love And Loss" Tracklisting

I couldn't possibly be any more excited about Tina Arena's upcoming covers album - that is, until I saw the amazing tracklist:

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
The Look Of Love
So Far Away
I Only Want To Be With You
To Sir, With Love
Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)
Love Hangover
The Windmills Of Your Mind
The Man With The Child In His Eyes
Everybody Hurts
Until
Woman


The idea of Tina belting out the "Theme From Mahogany" and "Love Hangover" blows my mind. Let's just ignore the unnecessary inclusion of REM's "Everybody Hurts". The album comes out on the 3rd of December and can be pre-ordered from Chaos.

Young Divas' "New Attitude" Tracklisting

Tina Arena isn't the only Australian diva with a fierce album of cover versions on the horizon. There are at least four more in the form of the fabulous Young Divas. The tracklist of their new album, "New Attitude", makes me want to touch myself:

Got To Be Real
If I Can't Have You
Turn Me Loose
I Can't Wait
Jump (For My Love)
Love Will Lead You Back
Chain Reaction
New Attitude
I'm So Excited
Tell It To My Heart
Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man This Christmas) (Bonus Track)


This masterpiece looks even gayer than their first album and I honestly didn't think that was possible. I can't believe they are covering Cheryl Lynn, Taylor Dayne (twice!), Diana Ross, The Pointer Sisters (twice!), The Weather Girls as well as my favourite Patti LaBelle song on the one album. I'm tempted to name "New Attitude" my album of the year and just get it over and done with! The album hits stores on the 26th of November and can be pre-ordered here.

Goddess Celine

Up until very recently, Celine Dion was one of the few divas gay icons that I simply couldn't stomach. I believe I may have even called Celine's music a crime against humanity. Well, I take it all back. I'm still not convinced about her music and I'll never entirely forgive that disturbing Anne Geddes album but Celine is love. If you don't believe me - watch this interview with Larry King. I started to simultaneously laugh and cry when Celine rants about letting looters steal in New Orleans. The woman is positively certifiable but she clearly means every word and that is refreshing in this day of crippling political correctness. Thankfully, Celine's new single is as fabulous as that giant wig on her head. "Taking Chances" is amazing and the trannytastic video is majestic. Celine emerging from a helicopter in drag queen stilettos and jaunty leather cap is just too fierce! "Taking Chances" is released in Australia today. Bring on the album!

Other Random Hotness

I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. A couple of weeks ago I wrote off The Veronicas' new song as a major disappointment. It took about 25 listens to sink in but "Hook Me Up" is really rather wonderful. I love the TATU inspired faux lesbian, incest video too. The Veronicas released their second album in Australia today.

I'm not a huge fan of Alicia Keys but I've been humming "No One" ever since I slow danced to it with a female Justin Timberlake impersonator at The Flinders' lesbian R'n'B night on Saturday. Which is pretty impressive, considering I'm on crutches. Alicia is everything that Leona Lewis wishes she could be if she wasn't so painfully mediocre. "No One" is released today.

Last but not least, Nelly Furtado is set to release her 5th single from "Loose" in Australia. "Do It" is one of my favourite tracks from the album and I'm glad it's finally getting its moment in the sun. "Do It" is released on the 12th of November in Australia.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Spice Hags - Remixed

I'm finally getting excited about the Spice reunion and it has nothing to do with their putrid comeback single, "Headlines". That song is a four minute reminder of exactly how mediocre the Spice Girls were at their worst. Personally, I'd prefer to remember the good times - the non-stop hilarity of "Spiceworld", the gorgeous "Viva Forever" video clip and the wasted hours I spent memorising Mel B's "Wannabe" rap! That takes me to the subject of this post. In order to generate some buzz about the Spice reunion, the old bags have commissioned remixes of their old hits. I'm a complete whore for the Soul Seekerz and I immediately fell for their reworking of "Wannabe" - which has been restored to its former glory with a dazzling makeover. I believe that the Soul Seekerz remix might appear as a B-side on the "Headlines" CD single. I guess that means there is at least one good reason to buy it. On the bright side, the "Headlines" video clip (picture below) looks tantalising indeed!

The Spice Girls' "Greatest Hits" is released in Australia on the 12th of November. Strangely, "Headlines" is released one week later on the 19th. Both can be pre-ordered from Chaos.