Friday, July 03, 2009

Dirty Hands Demand More Dannii B-Sides!

I firmly believe anything Kylie can do, Dannii can do better. Well, with the obvious exception of being successful and having hits. However, there's another chink in Dannii's otherwise fabulous armour - her B-sides, more specifically her lack thereof. Earlier this year I wrote a long post about Kylie's amazing pop offcuts and thought it was about time I did the same for the younger Minogue. Unfortunately, they are harder to find than Dannii's dignity. I count 10 meagre tracks over her 20+ year career, 12 if you count the bonus interview on "Success" and Album megamix on "I Begin To Wonder" (which I don't). It's suddenly clear to me why Dannii always has 35 shitty remixes and no B-sides. The tight bitch has been stockpiling them for her endless string of budget compilations! Anyway, I've decided to order these decidedly slim pickings from best to worst. Here goes:

1. Someone New ("Coconut" - 1998)

"Someone New" isn't just my favourite Dannii B-side, it's one of the best songs she has ever recorded. Everything about this dance anthem is completely epic, from the running time to the spectacular production. Despite coming in at nine and a half minutes, the Green/Masterson penned track never sounds like a remix. Instead, it perfectly blends dance and pop elements. I particularly love the little splashes of piano and the ruthless way the track keeps building and building. I remember reading about "Someone New" being the possible lead single from "Girl" before the album was even released, so I'm mystified as to why it was left off altogether outside Japan. It's an amazing track that would have made a great album even stronger.

2. Feel Like I Do ("So Under Pressure" - 2006)

In my opinion this is the saving grace of Dannii's sorry stint at AATW. Unlike most of the music she released at the house that K Lo built, "Feel Like I Do" isn't watered down dance trash. JCA and Hannah Robinson delivered a meaty pop gem that was the logical progression from "Neon Nights" - dark and dirty pop with killer beats and an almost haunting chorus. I think JCA always bring out the best in Dannii and I hope she considers working with him again if she ever comes out of retirement.

3. Hide & Seek ("I Begin To Wonder" - 2003)

Can someone please build me a time machine so I can go back to 2002 and re-live the "Neon Nights" era? It was so perfect, it almost feels like a dream. The music, the artwork and Dannii's hair - all faultless. The magic even extends to the B-sides. While "Nervous" and "Goodbye Song" are favoured by most fans, I slightly prefer "Hide & Seek". It's such an odd little pop song with its Eastern influences, strange chanting and minimal chorus. The track was probably a bit too abstract for "Neon Nights" but it's definitely one of the most interesting tracks Terry Ronald and Ian Masterson have created for Dannii.

4. It's Time To Move On ("This Is It" - 1993)

This is probably the hardest Dannii B-side to come by given that it has never been released on CD or as a digital download. The "Early Years" fiasco could have remedied that situation but the song was conspicuously absent from the tracklist before the album sold out on iTunes. A couple of years ago a friend ripped me a copy from my "This Is It" cassingle and I've really warmed to it. Unlike many fans, I love Dannii's crazy mid-90s experiments and this is a corker. "It's Time To Move On" is a fairly typical 90s dance track with some subtle R'n'B elements to give it an American sound. It's fairly dated but I love Dannii's vocals and the chorus is very cute. This is better than many of the tracks that made it on to "Get Into You".

5. Nervous ("I Begin To Wonder" - 2003)

I was obsessed with this Ronald/Masterson gem when I first heard it. I think I've played it several hundred times too often over the past few years and have grown a bit tired of it. However, of all the "Neon Nights" B-sides, this is the only one that would have seamlessly slotted into the album. I love the slightly darker dance sound and the chorus has real bite. "Nervous" has an edge that makes it stand out from the crowd. It's depressing to think that a song this good couldn't even make the cut a couple of years ago while noise pollution like "Touch Me Like That" is now considered singleworthy.

6. No Secret ("This Is The Way" - 1993)

I ache for Dannii's mid-90s R'n'B phase and this trashtastic urban jam is fairly typical of the period. It's not quite as charming as "It's Time To Move On" but I love the tinny beats and the cheesy chorus. Maybe it's time for New Jack Dannii to stage a comeback?

7. Goodbye Song ("Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling" - 2003)

The third of the "Neon Nights" B-sides produced by Terry Ronald and Ian Masterson is something of a camp classic. I love the bitchy lyrics ("I've got more to say to the girl who does my nails" and "I think I've got a moment in 2029") and the loopy production but the chorus is MIA. That said, this is still a great little pop song and indicative of the creative high that Dannii and her collaborators were riding at the beginning of the decade.

8. Hallucination ("Jump To The Beat" - 1991)

I'm not even sure this technically qualifies as a B-side. Was the US CD single an official release or just a promo? Anyway, I'm not exactly spoiled for choice so I'm including it. Most fans will be familiar with this from "The Remixes" - the remixed greatest hits package (don't laugh) with the wonky nose on the cover. That version is labelled the "LA Mix" but I can't tell any difference between it and the original. Speaking of LA Mix, that dance outfit wrote and produced "Hallucination". This is probably the wildest thing Dannii recorded in the early part of her career. It's kind of like a poor man's "Do You Dare?" only with a whispered rap. It's very quirky but a lot of fun.

9. Est-Ce Que Tu M'Aimes Encore ("I Begin To Wonder" - 2003)

This is a tough one. The original is one of my all time favourite Dannii tracks but the French language version doesn't quite sound right. In fact, it's almost as clunky as Kylie's French version of "Confide In Me". On the other hand, I'm a sucker for foreign language versions of pop hits and I listen to this quite frequently. It definitely has novelty appeal!

10. I've Been Waiting For You ("Perfection" - 2005)

The B-side to "Perfection" is curiously underwhelming. I love Terry Ronald and Ian Masterson but this just sounds tired - like every other faceless dance track being churned out of AATW. The production is a bit flat, the chorus doesn't quite click and Dannii could be reading from the phone book, she sounds so disinterested. Kind of sums up the entire AATW era really.

Bonus Track

I Don't Wanna Take This Pain (Saxtrumental) ("I Don't Wanna Take This Pain" - 1990)

This doesn't really count as a B-side but I re-discovered it recently when I was going through my Dannii collection. The "saxtrumental" version was only released on vinyl and is one of the trashiest things I've ever heard. Think Kenny G covering "I Don't Wanna Take This Pain" and you get the picture. I recommend hunting this down for comedic value alone!


tommie said...

I've never heard the Saxtrumental of IDWTTP!

I agree with you on most things, except that I would place Goodbye Song last. Yes, the bitchy lyrics are hilarious and 2029 is probably when we'll get the next Dannii studio album, but the production is SO tinny and it's highly overrated by fans that I kind of loathe it.

Someone New is a mystery indeed - apparently the original version was even camper and from what I understand Dannii did a budget promo video for it to convince Warner execs to sign her. The original version will never be released though. Nathansayz seems to hate it...

Hide & Seek is probably my fave Dannii b-side. I've loved it since I first heard it.

Paul said...

brilliant write up if just for the line "harder to find than Dannii's dignity".

Off topic - did you hear that Cheryl Cole is to host the US version of X Factor. How nauseating.

John said...

Brilliant list, although I will probably never hear a single track off of this. And I'm with Paul...the dignity comment was pure genius.

Cheryl Cole in America? How painful is that?

The Prophet said...

Hide & Seek is my fave Dannii b-side to! Though Nervous is absolutely amazing, as is The Goodbye song!

Feel Like I Do is amazing to... Anything she breaths on is heaven.

One B-side of Dannii is better than all of Kylie's career.

Actually on second thoughts I may like Nervous more than Hide & Seek... It's a tough call!

The Prophet said...


Aaron said...

Never heard Something New - Really should

LOVE Goodbye Song, Hide & Seek and Nervous - not so keen on Feel Like I Do and I've Been Waiting For You - The french version of I Begin To Wonder never really did it for me either....

Parker said...

I've listened so many times Feel Like I Do that I almost consider So Under Preassure the bside.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the get into you b-sides...

I have always LOVED the 'freestyle' feel of It's Time To Move On & the dryness of No Secret.

And yeah - Neon Nights was clearly every Dannii element running at full speed....We will never see things run so well for her music career again, she doesn't have the motivation behind her career and is too "do this, do that" whatever is offered to her rather than chace a dream or create art.

Jay said...

The only Dannii b-side I like is the fabulous Someone New though I haven't heard ITTMO, NS or the DWTTP Saxtrumental. FLID would be alright if it wasn't for the 80's drums.

Mike said...

Maybe I was a bit harsh on "Touch Me Like That". I do like it, I think I even ranked it my second favourite song of 2007 but with listening to the song now - it's very, very average and certainly doesn't reach the same heights as any of the "Neon Nights" B-sides, which says a lot!

BruDé said...

Oh Dannii... I miss you ! Please come out of Nathan's iPod and sing again !!!!

Kevin said...

Yes, "Hallucination" was the B-side of the "Jump To The Beat" single in the UK, US, Germany and Australia.

In the US, "Jump To The Beat" was Dannii's US debut single, and released commercially as a vinyl maxi single, and -get this!- a cassette maxi single (there was no cassette single!). The CD Maxi was promo-only, but "Hallucination" still qualifies as a B-side.

Useless trivia, Einstein was a featured artist in a Stock Aitken Waterman single, and he was "MC Mario" on the Ambassadors Of Funk's smash "Super Mario Land".

undisco_me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
undisco_me said...

Eugh, Touche Eclat Me Like That sounds like Dannoid's drunk again, being gangbanged by Jason Nevins and her lesbian back-up dancers: she might have enjoyed it at the time, etc. Apart from dressing up as Joan Collins, her morning-after 'get me an icepack' unwillingness to move was just insulting.

'Sold out on iTunes' is hilarious Mike, I love your straight-faced sarcasm - and it's still enthusiastic about her. I also laughed at 'Saxtrumental' - is there anything she won't insert! oh yes, her best material on sporadic studio albums!

I have massive drag-queen love for 'Goodbye Kylie' - how was Dannii supposed to knogue she would stay alive?

The Get Inside Me B-sides allude me more than her record sales. I don't know what to think.

I love Someone New too; it's one big cummulating, histrionic hi-NRG ego trip - it's so ejaculatory. Gina G would even bow down to this. I really fucking can't stand Nathan when he decides he'd like some validation by peeing out information about Dannii's unreleased tracks: for instance, that 'the original lyrics to SN were so cheesey and it was a completely different tracl' - try not letting Dannii double-fist them up your weaping asshole and just leak them so we can hear them and create 109 'appreciation' threads about it on her messageboard!

Sorry about my lengthy responce, but this is Dannii we're talking about here.