Friday, 29 July 2011

Joe McElderry Is Doing A Covers Album

So Joe McElderry has managed to get himself a second allbum. 'Good', you may think, 'I loved him on The X Factor and it's a shame he got messed around by Syco because he seems a lovely lad'. But then you hear the news that the second album will consist of "classic songs" like Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Nessun Dorma. It's even called 'Classic'. 'Oh dear' you think. Oh dear indeed.

If Joe really wants to release a covers album that will sell somewhere in the region of 12 copies then that's his choice, and one that must be respected. But he could at least make the songs good. Here are the ones that he should do.

Robbie Williams - No Regrets
One of Robbie's finest. A song that Joe performed on the first week of The X Factor. It was a bit shaky, but showed promise. It would be quite good in recorded form (With the two Neils still included, naturally.)

Mario Winans - I Don't Wanna Know
A bit of a dirge, but jazz the production up a bit and you're there. It'd work a lot better with a better vocalist. (ie Joe.)

Olive - You're Not Alone
Just imagine that.

Robyn - Should Have Known
Sombre balladry. But with more sombreness and strings, and less synths and swearing.

Steps - It's The Way You Make Me Feel
Claire, Faye, H, Lisa and even Lee: all vocal powerhouses. No match for Joe though.

Godley & Creme - Cry
Totally overlooked and totally brilliant. Should have been his first single. No worry Joe, there's still time.

Westlife - If I Let You Go
Needs no explanation.

Erasure - A Little Respect
Him and Andy Bell are mates now, right? Well there we go then.

Mike Oldfield - Moonlight Shadow (Raved Up Cascada Style)
If ever a song lended itself to being redone in Cascadacular rave fashion, this would be it. And Joe's VOX would suit it perfectly.

Eric Saade - Popular
This year's Eurovision final averaged 9.5 million viewers, meaning about 50 million people in the UK, to their detriment, have never heard this song. Joe is the man to bring it to ever so slightly wider attention. He could he even say he wrote it or something, they'd be none the wiser.

Emma Bunton - Maybe
Let's be honest, Joe would knock Emma's version of this into a cocked hat.

Belvedere Kane - Never Felt As Good
Euphoric album closer, one for the people/person who bought and enjoyed the first album.

Here's your album cover:

And there we have it.

Someone phone Decca now please, cheers.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Remembrance Monday: Leilani - Madness Thing

"In 1999", you tell your grandkids, "there was a singer called Leilani who wore goggles on her head, a bit like the Crazy Frog." Your grandchildren are looking at you disdainfully. "And I remember she had this song where she said something like 'When your boyfriend comes home early; to find you sucking on a Curly Wurly; don’t you just hate the madness of it all?'" By now they look worried. "She was on all the kids programmes, CD:UK, Top Of The Pops; she did quite well for herself for a while." Your grandchildren haven't even heard of Top of The Pops, never mind CD:UK. The men in white coats are on their way. God knows why you're even telling them this, it's not like they asked to be lectured on obscure 90s popstars.

So basically you're a bit odd, but you've raised an interesting topic: Leilani. Leilani was this woman:

Leilani was briefly signed to Trevor Horn's ZTT at the end of the 90s and during her time as a popstar delivered one of the most incredible Top 20 singles of all time, the appropriately titled 'Madness Thing'.

The song, as you correctly remembered, contained the line "And when your boyfriend comes home early; to find you sucking on a Curly Wurly; don’t you just hate the madness of it all?" Which is mental. This being 1999, Leilani was presented as a jolly, colourful kiddiepop singer in the same mold as Lolly. Here she is on TOTP, performing on CD:UK and on 'Hype' (?).Where Lolly performed anodyne covers of 'Mickey' and the like, though, Leilani was pushing pop's boundaries. In a way. Another sample lyric from 'Madness Thing': "When your baby’s just been born; when the nun has just been shorn; don’t you just love the madness of it all?" These are rather outlandish lyrics for a time when beige, desecrative monstrosities like this could go Top 5. They might not make any sense, but they are definitely outlandish and nonetheless Leilani should be celebrated for it. As she would say herself, "When your boobies are too small; and when your boyfriend is too tall; don’t you just hate the madness of it all?"

                                       Forward to about 2:15 to see the video

Sadly, despite her position as a children's TV staple, 'Madness Thing' entered and peaked at only Number 19 and follow up 'Do You Want Me' only managed to reach Number 40. On the plus side, she did go on tour with Boyzone, if this interview with a slightly camp Ben Shephard is anything to go by. Another revelation from that interview is that she managed to complete her album, which, although seemingly in the possession of some people on the internet, was never officially released.

So what's she doing now? These people don't seem to know and this person doesn't know much either. She's either a very nomadic celebrity or, perhaps, as this person suggests, she's back working at the Happy Shopper that employed her before her success :(.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Somewhere, In A Distant Parallel Universe, This Was Number One For A Whole Year

And rightly so. Reissue please, with '2011 Jenny Craig Opera Mix' as a b-side.

The 'pans to enraptured crowds', particularly the first one at 1:30, are a sight to behold. Even the presenters are absent-mindedly pissing about, RIGHT IN FRONT OF SHOT, as she does her thing.  Poor Cheryl :(

Monday, 18 July 2011

Remembrance Monday: Scent - Up & Down

In 2004, Scent released a single called 'Up & Down'. It was very good, but no one bought it.

The group were essentially a studio project for Italian producers Andrea Mazzali, Giuliano Orlandi and Daniele Davoli (the latter having previously been part of Black Box), three people who may be pictured above left. They should be, because that picture was stolen from Discogs, although it could be a picture of anybody.  Even if it is them you'll have to take your pick of three from the four as to which ones they are. Above right definitely is Mandy D'Arcy AKA Miss Motif, an Irish DJ discovered by Davoli and Paul Oakenfold on a beer-sponsored club tour. Davoli was "blown away" by the vocals she performed over the top of her set, inviting her to sing for Scent.

The song itself, as established above, was amazing. It's a gentle pop-house track about the life of a girl who "plays hard through the night" in "the game of up and down". The lyrics are a little bit confusing overall, but there you go (come to think of it, they might actually be about The Sex! 'Naughty'.) Motif sounds a bit like a less plummy Sophie Ellis-Bextor on it and does some lovely 'la la la's throughout. There's siren noises and a spooky breakdown near the end - "From life's path you stray; your dreams will show you the way; time will take your fears away-ay-ay-ay etc." - before more siren noises and 'la la la's.  Again, if you actually think about the lyrics you'll end up scratching your head, but it doesn't matter because the song is otherwise unimpeachable (or brilliant, at least.)

So, naturally, the public, faced with a fantastic piece of music that was being given regular radio and TV play, bought it in their tens, Scending it (ho ho ho) to Number 23 in the same week, coincidentally, as 3 Of A Kind went to Number One.

Miss Motif, true to the ice queen popstar type character she was posited as in the video (again, not unlike Sophie Ellis-Bextor), didn't let this phase her. She's continued as a DJ lady and as a faceless session singer on a variety of Italian dance records, without ever reaching the same lofty heights she did with Scent. The producers, too, are all still working, under a variety of different pseudonyms, also with little commercial success.

Here is the 'Addicted To Love'-esque video.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Real Music Roundup

From the frontlines of Real Music:

Prince is (or was, depending on your point of view) generally amazing. A genius, if you will. Unfortunately, while genius can help make this, it can also make people say things like: "This is real music. And these are real musicians." Prince: while this may be infinitely better than this, it doesn't make the latter any less 'real'.

Ne-Yo's next album 'Love & Passion' will be "full of real music", apparently. Again, while this is a lot better than this...

And Fearne Cotton.

Ne-Yo and Prince now join Fearne on The Wall. Well done everybody.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Remembrance Monday: 3 Of A Kind - Baby Cakes

Essentially a proto-N-Dubz, 3 Of A Kind are perhaps the epitome of One Hit Wonder. That is to say they had one hit single - a big, Number One hit single - and then vanished.

From left to right in the above picture are Marc Portelli AKA Marky P, Liana Caruana AKA Mz Tipzta and Nicholas Gallante AKA Devine MC. Crazy names, crazy guys. Together they produced 'Baby Cakes', a song they described as a "summer-soaked, sultry slice of up-tempo 2-step". So basically it was shit. Not that that held them back.

Miraculously, something about the track connected with the record buying public - admittedly not a very large group of people, with this being summer 2004 - selling 55,000 copies in its week of release and therefore beating Real Music deities The Libertines to Number One. The unintentionally hilarious video, with its terrible puns, unsubtle misogyny and shots of Marky P enjoying platefuls of cake was a favourite on the music channels. By Christmas it had sold 230,000 copies, making it the 12th best selling single of the year. The group itself, however, had already sunk without trace. A follow up, 'Wink One Eye' (with the endearing lyric "I feel aroused like I'm around Girls Aloud") was mooted, but never released, thus ending the 3 Of A Kind story.

...Or so you might think. A Google search for 'Nicholas Gallante' pulls up his Twitter page as the first hit. It's there that he trumpets "BACK IN THE STUDIO WITH 3 OF A KIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" On their Twitter, 3 Of A Kind proudly state that they are "best known for our 2004 #1 hit Baby Cakes. The members are Liana Caruana(Miz Tipzta) Nicholas Gallante(Mc Devine) & WE ARE BACK." It's all very exciting. Except for one thing. Where's Marky P? Surely it's a fundamental flaw for a band called 3 Of A Kind to have only two members. Perhaps, as they did with the problem of 'Baby Cakes'' monumental shitness, they'll plough on regardless. In fact: "SOON COMING GUYS NEW SONG FROM 3 OF A KIND - Look out for smokemachine"