Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Diva Round Up - October 08

You know that Christmas is just around the corner when record companies start flooding the market with crappy greatest hits compilations and rushed priority releases. There are more big name divas than usual in the mix this year, with at least 8 vying for a place under your tree. Here are my two cents on some of the most hotly anticipated.

Keeps Gettin' Better (A Decade Of Hits) - Christina Aguilera

I had to start with this trash because I'm completely mesmerised by the artwork. Seriously, what was the inspiration for the photoshoot - ladyboys in space? I know drag queens who would draw the line at that much mascara! Fabulous cover art aside, this looks like a pretty decent compilation. It's Christina's first greatest hits package and all her best tracks are included from "Genie In A Bottle" to "Ain't No Other Man". She's even been kind enough to tack on a couple of new songs including her ironically titled recent single "Keeps Gettin' Better". The album is released on the 10th of November in the UK and on the 17th in Australia.

Verdict - Perfect for casual fans. Personally, I'm buying this shit for the cover!

Funhouse - Pink

Pink's 5th studio album has to be one of the hottest properties of 2008. With her last album going 9 times platinum in Australia during its mammoth 108 week chart run, the expectations for "Funhouse" are sky high. I couldn't resist having a sneaky listen when the album leaked last week and it's very much Pink by the numbers, staying true to her tried and tested formula of foul mouthed pop and soft rock. Fans of "I'm Not Dead" will love "Funhouse" but it doesn't serve up anything new. The only surprise is the number of pared back ballads and the lack of anything as instantly catchy as "So What". The album is released in Australia and the UK on the 27th of October.

Verdict - A respectable follow up to "I'm Not Dead". Buy it for your favourite lesbian.

I Am - Beyoncé

I have a strange love/hate relationship with Beyoncé. I love most of her singles and remixes but I generally hate her albums. "Dangerously In Love" and "B'Day" had their moments but both were bogged down by far too much mid-tempo filler. I hope she gets it right this time because I'm seriously impressed with dual lead singles from her upcoming 3rd album "I Am". The pop option, "If I Were A Boy", has been stuck in my head from the very first listen. It's raw, emotionally charged and beautifully performed. While the fabulously titled R'n'B alternative, "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)", is the kind of sassy urban jam that Beyoncé has built her career upon. The album will apparently be split along the musical styles of the first singles. Fingers crossed that Beyoncé finally gets it right this time. "I Am" is released worldwide on the 17th of November.

Verdict - Extremely promising but I'm prepared for disappointment.

Circus - Britney Spears

I never thought I'd say it but I miss breakdown Britney. Admittedly, she was certifiable but at least the trainwreck had an edge that is sorely missing from her incredibly bland and repetitive new single "Womanizer". It's basically a rehashed version of "Radar" with even less charm and originality. Hopefully, "Circus", her 6th studio album, contains better material. She has the who's who of the music world working on it, so there's really no excuse for more of this lazy bullshit. "Circus" is unveiled in Australia and the UK on the 1st of December.

Verdict - Unless the future singles are a significant improvement, I'll pass. Buy it for mentally unstable loved ones.

Heavy Rotation - Tranastacia

The title of Tranastacia's latest album is turning out to be slightly ironic given the complete and utter lack of interest in the rubbish first single, "I Can Feel You". Nevertheless, her last release sold 10 million copies worldwide, so I assume someone must be interested in this crap. I've never been a huge fan and I highly doubt "Heavy Rotation" will win me over despite all the A-list producers on board. I'll try to keep an open mind until the album's offical release on the 27th of October.

Verdict - Gift it to someone you really don't like.

The Ballads - Mariah Carey

And the award for the cheapest Christmas cash-in goes to Mariah Carey. Seriously, whose bright idea was this collection of vomit inducing tracks? Mimi already has two greatest hits compilations to her name (three if you count "The Remixes") and more to the point, she has a fabulous album of new material that she should be promoting instead. To be fair, "The Ballads" is being excreted by Sony (her old label) but only because Mariah's record company has already given up on "E=MC²" without tapping the album's two strongest potential singles, "Migrate" and "I'm That Chick". No wonder most labels are going out of business. At the very least they could have tacked on a couple of new tracks to make the package slightly more appealing. This tat is already in stores in the UK, Australians will have to wait until the 3rd of November.

Verdict - Only for the most delusional Lambs and Mariah completists.

My Love: Essential Collection - Celine Dion

Unlike Mariah's nasty compilation, some thought and effort has gone into Celine Dion's 2nd greatest hits package. The album includes two new songs and a handful of live tracks in addition to most of Celine's biggest hits. The ballad heavy tracklist is a bit of a turn off but I quite like the new Linda Perry penned single, "My Love". It's another slow number but the song is understated by Celine's standards (admittedly, that isn't saying much) and not quite as saccharine as her usual output. "My Love: Essential Collection" is released on the 27th of October in Australia and the UK.

Verdict - This is a fairly comprehensive package for casual fans. Buy it for your favourite middle aged homosexual.

Tina!: Her Greatest Hits - Tina Turner

I worship Tina Turner but this recently released compilation is a bit of piss take in the wake of 2004's "All The Best" and 2005's "All The Best: The Hits". I guess we should be grateful for the live tracks and the two new songs, "It Would Be A Crime" and "I'm Ready". The latter of which is actually pretty good in a middle of the road kind of way. The compilation is nicely packaged and perfectly timed for her world tour but is it too much to ask for something new from Tina? It's been 9 years since her last studio album and there's only so many times I can listen to "Private Dancer"! This is already available in both Australia and the UK.

Verdict - Download the new tracks from iTunes.


Aaron said...

Wow! Lots of big names!

Christina: Love the single, hate the cover art - no thanks!

P!nk: Not a fan - I'll pass!

Beyonce: I know where you're coming from re loving singles, hating albums - I'm the same - I'm eager to give it a listen

Brit: I'm a huge Brit fan - love the single, can't wait for the album!

Anastacia: I Can feel you is a bit bland - I'll give the album a listen though.

Mariah: Uhgggg, No Thanks!!!

Celine: I'm seriously considering stopping my Celine embargo and giving this one a listen!

Tina: Give us a new album!!! That would be the ultimate comeback! But what the hell is wrong with her hair on that cover?

Paul said...

Tranastacia! So obvious yet so utterly brilliant. I think i leaked a little wee from laughing. I do love how desperate Mariahs record company have tagged on All I Want For Christmas Is You which i am pretty sure is not a ballad.

I'm surprised your fave Dulta doesn't have a greatest hits out for Christmas!! Of course, how dare you miss off Jason Donovan's album. Huge spankings for you if you come to Brummie land!

tommie said...

You need to keep track of your favourite diva's more Mikey! Mariah's compilation is released by her old label, Sony! Hence no "We Belong Together" etc.

"Keeps Getting Better" is pure shit, but I'm looking forward to her Greatest Hits compilation so I can finally throw out Stripped.

Poster Girl said...

Mike, this is just the sort of post that reminds me why I missed you so much while you were gone.

Why on Earth "Migrate" wasn't one of the first two singles from Mariah's album I have no idea. It's probably about my third or so favorite track on the album, but it would've been fantastic to actually give the campaign some momentum. I mean, passing it up for "Bye Bye"?

Phil said...

Tina Arena's new single "Oh Me, Oh My" (now streaming from her website) and album Songs of Love & Loss 2 are shaping up to be incredible - as always - why was she not featured in this here list? Very disappointing Mike!

Ro Ro said...

I agree with this one . I adore me some P!nk! and being a middle aged gay i am counting down the days to Celine!

Mike said...

Ro Ro! Send me an e-mail, bitch!

Phil - Tina Arena's not included because she is too classy for this lot. Expect to see an individual post on her very soon!