Wednesday, June 30, 2010

revealing sleevage

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark wasted no time in revealing the cover art for their long awaited longplayer, "History Of Modern". It was designed by longtime friend, Peter Saville, who created the artwork for many of their early sleeves. He is also most noted for having designed nearly all the album and single sleeves for New Order.

Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphries, the driving force behind OMD, are mighty partial to orange. Check out their debut album and you'll see what I mean.

In case you missed it in a previous post, the tracklisting for the elpee goes a little something like this...

1. New Babies: New Toys
2. If You Want It
3. History Of Modern (Part I)
4. History Of Modern (Part II)
5. Sometimes
7. New Holy Ground
8. The Future, The Past, and Forever After
9. Sister Mary Says
10. Pulse
11. The Night
12. Bondage Of Fate
13. The Right Side?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

live orgasm overload

Rumors were flying fast and furiously at Glastonbury today. As the sun began to descend during Scissor Sisters' set, they brought their good friend, Kylie Minogue, on stage. Together, they performed "Any Which Way", a solid, funk workout from their new elpee, "Night Work", which drops this week.

I think I peed a little.

Kylie brought the sauce with her! Fabulous. And she doesn't sing any of the naughty lines. She's such a tease.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Aphrodite in the affirmative

Leaks, whether they're of the petroleum or digital varieties, can't seem to be contained anywhere in the world these days. The affliction has even spread to everyone's favorite, Aussie, pop rocket.

So, put your filthy hands together for Kylie Minogue! "Aphrodite", her eleventh longplayer, has splash landed a full ten days before street date. Thank you, interwebs!

The leak spread very quickly yesterday. In fact, if you were on a Twitter platform like Tweetdeck you could see every gay in the worldwide village as they passed around the leak links. A collective gay gasp of joy could be heard as gaggles of Kylie enthusiasts downloaded the full length elpee in all of its digital glory. It was certainly more pleasurable than a swarm of vuvuzelas.

Please, as a songwriter and producer, I implore you to always purchase your music legally. I have already pre-ordered the deluxurious edition of "Aphrodite" from iTunes which features "Mighty Rivers", a bonus track which I have yet to hear, along with some video footage from Kylie's 2009, maiden trek across the US. And it doesn't end there. Because I'm Kylie obsessed, I ordered the standard CD, the limited edition CD and the vinyl. There goes my grocery shopping out the window for the month, kittens!

Side note... Someone at EMI should lose their job over this. But enough of that noise.

Second side note... There will be no mention of Madonna or Lady Gaga in this entry. It's a cheap, easy and lazy comparison. Completely unnecessary.

With that out of the way, here's my handy overview of "Aphrodite" after nearly twenty five listens through.

First single, "All The Lovers", now in context of the entire album, is a more mellow introduction than would be expected. It glistens softly. The anthemic chorus has remained a giant, candy earworm since it leaked more than a month ago. Euphoric and slightly plaintive.

"Get Out Of My Way", purported to be the second single, is chirpy, aggressive and driving. The "hey"- thankfully, NOT followed by the expected "ho" - is subtly repeated throughout the chorus and adds to the layers of fun. Nice use of "zombie" in the first verse.

"Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)" feels very 90s in spots. Perhaps it's the pulsing, staccato synths, the occasional piano and the way the delay is treated on the vocals. I wanna say it reminds me of Bizarre Inc. Can't quite put my finger on it. You can hear the collaborative efforts of Stuart Price's 80s leanings and Starsmith's penchant for 90s house and rave references all melding together in a glorious rush of energy.

Apparently, harpsichords are all the rage in pop music these days. Fourth track, "Closer", starts with a metronomic, slightly baroque intro followed by dark, moody synths and a lot of Kylie cooing™.

Tim Rice-Oxley, the man with the best name in pop, takes a little time out from Keane and pens one of the album's highlights. "Everything Is Beautiful" brings the tempo down a touch and delivers some of the loveliest lyrical moments on "Aphrodite". The song is shimmery and summery. It has the chord changes you expect from a Keane song, especially in the prechorus. Yet, it doesn't immediately sound like TRO and co. despite him having a hand in the production. In fact, to these ears, it almost has a splash of the Minneapolis sound of Jam & Lewis in spots.

Next up is the title track. This is probably my favorite moment on the elpee. It's smack in the middle of the listening "experience". It's the raison d'être for this clutch of Kylie songs. It starts out with the militaristic, drum line rhythms first put on public display by Ms. Stefani. Thankfully, any similarities to "Hollaback Girl" end there. The chorus explodes in a monolithic burst of cinematic synths, handclaps and a stuttered, chanted vocal from Ms. Minogue. By the end of each phrase in the chorus, you'll be shouting "alrigh-eet!" and punching your fist in the air. You've been warned! The breakdown brings back the early 90s rave influence which is woven neatly and nearly undetectably throughout the album. The middle eight reminds me of "Pacific" by 808 State. This is BEGGING to be a single.

"Illusion" almost sounds as if it might have been a leftover from "X". The chunky rhythms and quirky keyboard riffs bring that album to mind. It's the first of three tunes where Kylie had a hand in the writing. Not the strongest song on the album. But after six amazing slabs of au current pop, it's kind of nice to have something a little less direct. Clearly, this is her introspective moment. We know how Kylie likes her "cosmic" thoughts.

Track eight was first debuted on Kylie's US trek late last year. It's the second composition on the album by earthy, singer songwriter, Narina Perllot. The first of her contributions is the title track. "Better Than Today" has a very different feel to it. It's a bouncy number with a rubbery bass and bears only a passing resemblance to "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" by her good mates and pop peers, Scissor Sisters.

Which brings us nicely around to "Too Much" which was penned by Kylie with Calvin Harris and Scisster Jake Shears. Calvin's hyperactive, effervescent synth antics are pushed to the fore accompanied by an insistent, ringing, dinging bell which commands you to trot around your living room like a jackalope. At least that's the effect it has on me.

Things get a little silly and throwaway with "Cupid Boy". It's probably my least favorite song on the album. It starts out with a low slung, bass line with a hint of New Order about it. Easily the rock out moment on "Aphrodite" punctuated by the sound of steam bursts throughout.

Kylie's "Viva La Vida" moment slots in at track ten. At least, that's the immediate and obvious reference point upon the first listen through "Looking For An Angel". Seemingly everyone has incorporated numerous permutations of Coldplay's string intro over the last few years. It's de rigeur these days. The default, pop reference of choice. For a brief moment, it almost sounds like the strings in Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting". The song is another frothy number with more Kylie coos™ throughout. It's Kylie's second Stuart Price collab on the album and her third co-write overall.

We're back to the disco throwdown with "Can't Beat This Feeling" which reminds me of "Love At First Sight", the third single plucked from "Fever". It's another funky, Jam & Lewis inspired number with buzzy synths and Princely keyboard squiggles. Another contender for single. In fact, if the music biz still operated on the platform before the world wide web took over, Parlophone could easily lift five singles from "Aphrodite" and still have two killer tracks left over.

In short, "Aphrodite" is glorious. The perfect elixir for these desperate times. After one listen you'll be fierce and feeling mighty.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

a little bit of history repeating

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark just announced they will release their eleventh longplayer, "History Of Modern", on September 20. It will be the first OMD elpee to feature the original lineup in nearly a quarter century.

Here's what Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphries have to say about it.

The tracklisting has been revealed and it is split into two sides like a vinyl elpee. In fact, a limited edition vinyl configuration of the album will be available as part of a boxed set.

Side 1

1. New Babies: New Toys
2. If You Want It
3. History Of Modern (Part I)
4. History Of Modern (Part II)
5. Sometimes
7. New Holy Ground

Side 2

8. The Future, The Past, and Forever After
9. Sister Mary Says
10. Pulse
11. The Night
12. Bondage Of Fate
13. The Right Side?

A demo of "Sister Mary Says", originally titled with Mary spelled en français with an "ie" at the end, has been floating around for nearly a year.

The song's origins are based in 1981 during the aftermath of "Enola Gay". It was shelved at the time for sounding too much like OMD's signature hit. Then it was resurrected in 1996 for the "Universal" album. Once again, it was scrapped. At that time the explanation for its removal was down to it sounding TOO MUCH like an old OMD song. Third time lucky, I guess.

If you wanna splash a little cash, plonk your dinero down for the limited edition box set the band have created for "History Of Modern". This fancy, little number will include the following goodies:
  • the full "History Of Modern" CD
  • double elpee pressed on heavyweight vinyl with unique sleeve art
  • DVD featuring exclusive footage from the studio and interviews filmed during the making of the new album
  • CD of demo tracks
  • 12 inch, gatefold, picture book print with alternative artwork and photos of the band
  • 12 inch artwork print all housed in a lovely, high grade, cardboard box featuring embossed logo on the cover
Anyone who pre-orders the box set will also receive a limited edition t-shirt emblazoned with the OMD logo.

To tie everything back to their beginnings, all artwork for the packaging has been designed by celebrated sleeve artist, Peter Saville, who designed the album covers for OMD's first few elpees. He's also responsible for most of the groundbreaking, album designs for New Order.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

southern disco slowdown for the Sisterhood

Just as Scissor Sisters launch their latest tour and ramp up the promo for their third longplayer, "Night Work", they pulled this little ditty out of their back pockets.

It's the audio equivalent of a mint julip. Isn't it, kittens?

It certainly showcases ver Sisters' versatility. Kinda makes me wanna hear Kylie record a discotastic version of "Fire With Fire" for BBC Radio 1's "Live Lounge".

sexy disco glam distortion

Last night, Stephen Sears, the wordsmith behind the blog at XO's Middle Eight, joined me for an evening of sexy disco glam distortion. Get your minds out of the gutter! We sauntered over to the 9.30 Club in Washington DC for evening with Goldfrapp and 1,000 of their closest friends.

The venue is rather unremarkable and is located in a part of the city that is starting to see the benefits of gentrification. The inside reminds me a little of the Ritz in its gritty, 80s heyday or the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London.

In fact, while we waited for Goldfrapp to take the stage in front of a giant, silver, inflatable woo hoo, we spotted Alison as she cascaded down the backstage stairs. In that moment, I had a flashback. I realized I had been to the venue many years ago. In 1998, I produced Billie Ray Martin and did a spot of tour management for her. BRM played that very club one summer evening that year. Small world.

Enough nostalgia. Alison swanned on stage in a lovely black, feathery number and black, flashy tights to the pulsing, vocal strains of "Voicething" from Goldfrapp's current longplayer, "Head First".

For the rest of the show, many of the musical selections focused on the current elpee with a smattering of songs plucked from their rich, back catalog of material. It was a loud, adrenaline fuelled evening with Alison cooing over the live arrangements provided by her very accomplished band mates.

I was very impressed with the keyboard player who performed most of her parts live rather than let a sequencer do all the work. All of the band members were dressed in silver, spangly jumpsuits. The multi-instrumentalist who played keyboards, various guitars and electric violin wore a fetching, open front blouse which showcased his effusive chest hair and looked more like a member of ELO had invaded the stage.

During this display of lamé and sequins, I couldn't help but wonder what Will Gregory, the other half of Goldfrapp, gets up to while Alison is strutting her stuff on stage.

Last night's set list was quick and to the point. Not a lot of chatter from Alison. Although, we did find out she was terribly jetlagged. However, her wardrobe plumage spoke volumes.

1. Voicething
2. Crystalline Green
3. I Wanna Life
4. A&E
5. Dreaming
6. Head First
7. Number 1
8. Believer
9. Alive
10. Shiny And Warm
11. Train
12. Ride A White Horse
13. Ooh La La
14. Utopia
15. Black Cherry
16. Rocket
17. Strict Machine

Sadly, there were no shooting laser beams or dancing vampires. But we did get the jumpsuits. However, we were only treated to one song each from their debut longplayer, "Felt Mountain", and their pastoral excursion, "Seventh Tree". I would've loved to have heard a bit of "Happiness" or "Caravan Girl".

The highlight of the evening was clearly a balls out, glam hammered rendition of "Strict Machine" as the final encore. With our eardrums sizzling from a solid electro battering, we made our way out of the club and onto the hot and humid streets.

Not sure what the next step is for Goldfrapp. After a decade, five albums and a clutch of tasty singles, will their first greatest hits collection appear for the forthcoming Christmas season? Perhaps they'll put that off in favor of another album.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wilde times revisited

I've always had a soft spot for Kim Wilde. She's had an odd trajectory for a pop career. She has flitted through different styles, more than occasionally landing on solid gold. Some of her best efforts received little fanfare in her homeland while becoming wildly (pardon the pun) successful in other parts of the world.

Of course, a certain Ms. Ciccone would continually raise the bar for female stars of the pop variety. This provided a challenge for Kim in order to avoid comparisons in the middle of the Madonna zeitgeist.

After three moderately successful elpees and eight chart singles with RAK, Kim Wilde moved over to MCA. She resided there for the remainder of her career through the 80s and 90s with varying degrees of success.

Now, after reissuing her self-titled debut, sophomore longplayer, "Select" and fan favorite, "Catch As Catch Can", with a lorry load of bonus tracks, Cherry Red are turning their attention to Kim's first two MCA releases, "Teases & Dares" and "Another Step".

In 1984, "Teases & Dares" was released to muted response. This was Kim's fourth album in as many years. The image on the sleeve was more Barbarella than new wave beauty. Even after three singles, of which only one cracked the top 20, Kim, along with her brother, Ricky, who penned many of her hits, went back to the drawing board. Still, "Teases & Dares" performed marginally better than her final RAK release.

"The Second Time" was the first single from her MCA debut. It was retitled "Go For It" for US consumption. I remember buying the single after seeing the video for it on MTV. I remember it sounding apocalyptic at the time.

Unfortunately, it barely scraped into the top 30 in her homeland. But it turned out to be one of her biggest hits in Germany. A territory that would be good to Kim many times over the years.

Second single, "The Touch", suffered a worse fate by not even cracking the top 50 in the UK. I've never seen the video for it until this day. I can certainly see why this disco Cinderella adventure, complete with drag queens as evil stepsisters, never helped the song's chart run.

The rockabilly thump of third single, "Rage To Love", restored her chart fortunes and peaked at a respectable #19 while failing to crack the top 40 in Germany. This is a clear example of how some singles perform better in some countries while sinking without a trace in others.

The double CD, remastered reissue of "Teases & Dares" will be available through all fine "shops" and online retailers from July 19. The full tracklisting, complete with single versions, non-album b-sides and remixes, is as follows:

CD 1

Original album:

1. The Touch
2. Is It Over
3. Suburbs Of Moscow
4. Fit In
5. Rage To Love
6. The Second Time
7. Bladerunner
8. Janine
9. Shangri-La
10. Thought It Was Goodbye

B-sides, single versions and bonus recordings:

11. Lovers On A Beach
12. Shangri-La (Alternative Version)
13. Putty In Your Hands
14. Turn It On
15. The Second Time (7" Version)
16. The Touch (7" Version)
17. Rage To Love (7" Version)

CD 2


1. The Second Time (12" Version)
2. Lovers On A Beach (12" Version)
3. Go For It (Extended Dance Version)
4. The Touch (12" Version)
5. Shangri-La (12" Version)
6. Go For It (Dub Version)
7. Rage To Love (12" Version)
8. Shangri-La (Special Remix)
9. The Second Time (US Remix)

Kim returned to the studio in 1985, had a bit of rethink and plotted her next move with her brother. By 1986, she was ready to unleash a more dance oriented direction. The result was "Another Step".

The first single from Kim's fifth elpee was "Schoolgirl" which didn't get released in the UK. It didn't perform particularly well in Germany. It limped into the top 40 and peaked at #38. Check out her Madonna moment around the 2.25 mark.

"Schoolgirl" did decent enough business to build up into what everyone felt was the breakthrough moment for KW.

In September 1986, Kim's cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On", one of The Supremes' many signature tunes, rocketed to the #2 position in the UK and did one better in the US the following year, becoming her only #1 hit. It sounded bang up to date which had a lot to do with the production bearing more than a passing resemblance to the popular sound of many Stock Aitken Waterman pop concoctions.

She followed "YKMHO" with "Another Step (Closer To You)", a duet with Junior who had a hit six years earlier with "Mama Used To Say".

Surprisingly, Kim wasn't able to follow up her US success. "Say You Really Want Me" fell four positions short of the top 40. In the UK, it was the third single which crept to #29.

Oddly enough, from a chart perspective, "Another Step" did not perform better than "Teases & Dares". However, it was the perfect set up for "Close", her biggest UK success which took her into the top 10 of the album chart and gave her a trio of top 10 singles - "You Came", "Never Trust A Stranger" and "Four Letter Word". Let's hope Cherry Red give "Close" the reissue treatment shortly.

In the meantime, they've given "Another Step" a good dusting down. It has been plumped up with tons of bonus tracks including no less than EIGHT versions of "Say You Really Want Me".

CD 1

Original album:

1. You Keep Me Hangin' On
2. Hit Him
3. Another Step (Closer To You)
4. The Thrill Of It
5. I've Got So Much Love
6. Victim
7. Schoolgirl
8. Say You Really Want Me
9. She Hasn't Got Time For You
10. Brothers
11. Missing
12. How Do You Want My Love
13. Don't Say Nothing's Changed

Single versions and b-sides:

14. Songs About Love
15. Loving You
16. Hold Back
17. Another Step (Closer To You) (7" Version)
18. Say You Really Want Me (7" Version)

CD 2


1. Schoolgirl (Head Master Mix)
2. You Keep Me Hangin' On (W.C.H. Club Mix)
3. You Keep Me Hangin' On (W.C.H. Mix)
4. Another Step (Closer To You) (Extended Mix)
5. Say You Really Want Me (Extended Version)
6. Say You Really Want Me (The Video Remix)
7. Say You Really Want Me (David Todd Remix)
8. Say You Really Want Me (Radio Edit)
9. Say You Really Want Me (Instrumental)
10. Say You Really Want Me (CHR Version)
11. Say You Really Want Me (Urban Version)
12. Megamix

It has taken more than 20 years for these albums, along with Kim's first three longplayers, to finally get a brushing up. Each one is filled with spectacularly sparkling pop moments worthy of your attention, as well as inclusion in your collection.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tracey Thorn and her acoustic adventures

The ever lovely and Twitter proficient Tracey Thorn returns with "Why Does The Wind?", the second single from her third, solo longplayer "Love And Its Opposite".

Tracey describes "Why Does The Wind?" as "a song about one person in a relationship being more committed than the other, and feeling pissed off that the other one is looking for a way out, leaving the back door open.” Many of us have either been there or know someone who has. This highly relatable topic and many others, which are explored on Tracey's latest elpee, might have a little something to do with the reason people connect to her music.

A slathering of dancefloor friendly mixes have been commissioned for the new single by Morgan Geist, Andre Lodemann and Michel Cleis. After Everything But The Girl experienced worldwide prominence with the remix of "Missing" way back in 1995, Tracey understands that there is a segment of her fanbase that wants to hear her voice in a more uptempo, electronic setting, hence the availability of mixes on a spiffy, old school 12" single which you can order today over at Buzzin' Fly. Check out the artwork for it above.

Since no plans are afoot for EBTG to hit the road anytime soon, check out some of the home video recordings Tracey put together with current studio partner, Ewan Pearson, and her longtime love interest and musical collaborator, Ben Watt.

You can imagine the hijinx they get up to when the camera isn't running. I love her little, electric zithery thing. Actually, it's an omnichord.

Love her purple stripy top. Do you suppose she's wearing the same trainers she wore when she recently ran the Moonwalk marathon?

Here's an idea! Tracey could record a mini concert in her home studio with Ben and Ewan. Then they can release it as a limited edition DVD through Strange Feeling. Marketing genius! She can thank me later for that one.

the last hurrah for a-ha

Today, a-ha unveiled their last hurrah. Literally! After 25 years together, the Norwegian trio will bid their fans a fond farewell with “Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)”.

It will be available from all fine digital outlets in Norway on July 5. No word on whether it will be a stand alone single anywhere else in the world. But you can rest easy. It will be included on “25″, a new, double CD, greatest hits compilation to be released on July 19.

Here's a little taste.

The intro is very Depeche Mode. N'est-ce pas? What they really should've done is release a CD with a studio recording of their cover of DM's "A Question Of Lust".

This performance from BBC2 was originally transmitted on June 25, 2009. It's just begging to be recorded properly.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

trippy scribble

Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, the enigmatic, dance dynamo known as Underworld, have returned with a stonking, new single. "Scribble" is the first track to be plucked from their forthcoming, eighth longplayer, "Barking".

Not sure why I find this slab of drum n' bass so appealing. It has an anthemic, euphoric quality to it. The plinky keyboard figure would sound uninspired in a dance track by anybody else. The trippy, dubbed out middle section is a heart stopper.

I thought drum n' bass was so 1997. Apparently, we're recycling the music from the 80s AND the 90s now. Sometimes in the same track!

Who hasn't experienced the joy and ecstasy of a cracking tune while zipping around in their car? Easily relatable. Although, I think more ecstasy than joy might be applicable in this case.

Where are my glowsticks?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the bluish hue of Lady Gaga's latest

Lately, my entries are like buses. Not one drives by for ages and then two come together one after the other.

Lady Gaga just premiered the epic video for her latest single, "Alejandro". We need to find another adjective when describing her music videos. Each one seems more cinematic and OTT than the next. The new one does not disappoint.

However, one thought crosses my mind. Who the HELL is paying for her videos? Has Lady Gaga found a never ending pool of cash somewhere? Crafty for the shoot had to cost a cool million! OK, a bit of an exaggeration. But you get where I'm coming from. Right, kittens?

If I have one criticism of Lady Gaga it's her penchant for kitchen sink videos. Her live performances suffer from the same mess of images. It's a case of trying to cram too many visuals into a small space of time. It can be overwhelming to the point of detracting from the song.

Someone needs to help her edit her thoughts into a more cohesive format. Otherwise, she will fall victim to her own imagination and creativity. But let's face it. GaGa is miles ahead of the pack when it comes to being a proper pop star. Which isn't too difficult considering she really doesn't have any competition.

While the sonic inspiration for "Alejandro" is clearly Ace Of Base brushed with a touch of Madonna's "La Isla Bonita", the visual connection is completely and compellingly Blond Ambition era Madonna with hints of Annie Lennox and Grace Jones.

Srsly! The ode to Madonna is quite striking. But the Lady has made no effort to hide her gushing admiration for Ms. Ciccone. Can you spot the flashes of "Vogue", "Like A Prayer", "Express Yourself", "Oh Father", "Human Nature" and "Frozen" in Gaga's new video extravaganza?

My favorite part has to be the machine gun tits.

weird is wild and cute is bland

The singular adventures of Marc Almond continue with "Varieté", his first album of original material in over a decade. I'm still absorbing the full scope of it. It touches on all parts of his life and career. It waves a fond farewell while simultaneously standing ground.

Like most of his albums, it features characters and personalities, both confident and slightly damaged, across a broad swathe of humanity. There are moments of euphoria and uneasiness, sometimes within the same song. It's a glorious mix of velvet, mascara, glitter, gold lamé, lilac and lavender.

I'm so enthralled with "Varieté" that I had to post something. It might be his best work in years in a career that has numerous creative high water marks. So, I might use this entry as a placeholder until I've thoroughly listened to the entire elpee.

Marc has lensed four videos to accompany the album. Two of them are featured here - the eerie empowerment of "The Exhibitionist" and the raucous glam of the title track.

Marc Almond is truly one of England's great entertainers and a national treasure.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Robbie Williams' retrospective perspective

This is the cover image of Robbie Williams' 31st single, "Morning Sun". It's also his first single to miss the top 40 in the UK. It crashed out at an apologetic #45 after two top 10 placings with "Bodies" and "You Know Me", both plucked from his eighth, studio longplayer, "Reality Killed The Video Star".

Robbie has only missed the top 10 three times since he ditched Take That for a solo career. "South Of The Border" and "She's Madonna" peaked at #14 and #16, respectively. The third, "Sin Sin Sin", was his first to miss the top 20 with a quick appearance at #22 before slipping out the bottom end not long after it charted. Perhaps he should think twice before releasing a single with a title beginning with the letter S.

After "Reality Killed The Video Star" delivered a muted performance and Robbie decided to shelve any touring plans, it was swiftly decided that he should release a career retrospective.

To mark the occasion, Robbie Williams has reunited with his former Take That colleague, Gary Barlow, for "Shame", a song which will serve as the lead single for "In And Out Of Consciousness – The Greatest Hits 1990-2010". It will be a 39 track, double CD and will be available from all fine record "shops" and online "retailers" on October 4. A DVD of the same name will be released a week later.

No tracklisting has been announced for the elpee, but as the title suggests, it will include material from both his solo career as well as his time with Take That. His first solo release, a cover of George Michael’s "Freedom", appeared in 1996 and hit #2 little more than a year after he quit the boy band.

It has certainly been a long road since the porky, drug addled days of his youth. Eh, kittens? He sorta disowned his debut, solo single. It didn't even appear on his first hits collection.

Robbie was featured as lead vocalist on three Take That hits - "Could It Be Magic", "I Found Heaven" and "Everything Changes". If these are featured along with his 31 solo singles and the new track he penned with Gary Barlow, that would cover 35 of the 39 tracks proposed for the collection.

And if that's not enough to get your Robbie mojo working, check out this flashy little trailer they created for it.

So where does RW go from here? After twenty years of hits, surely he's at a major crossroad in his career. I guess the full on Take That reunion is expected. But in my opinion, the question surrounding whether they will or won't get back together is far more exciting. Once they cross that line, the sizzle might be good for one album and then it will be old news.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kylie en Español y los extras

Attention Kylie collectors! Details of bonus tracks have just surfaced for her forthcoming single, "All The Lovers". Two of the three physical formats will contain non-album b-sides.

The first of two CD singles will feature the eyebrow raising track "Go Hard Or Go Home". The second CD will feature a handful of arms akimbo remixes for a jolly night out down the disco.

The real gem is tucked away on the 7" picture disc, which is, quite frankly, a truly useless format. The b-side will be "Los Amores", which is, as one would expect, a Spanish language version of the a-side. I bet Kylie's legion of dedicated fans will be scouring the interwebs for a pristine, digital version of that little number. You know where to find me if you get your dirty Google fingers on it, kittens.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

lovers on a two way street

Oh, yes. You've all seen Kylie Minogue's new vid for "All The Lovers" by now. There is absolutely no reason for me to write about its existence. In fact, I knew it hit the interwebs when I heard the collective gay gasp outside my window.

Opinion seems to be divided on the song. In one camp, if you'll pardon the phrase, are the "lovers". They are the "gushers", once again if you'll pardon the phrase. To them, it's music sent to earth by angels. Then there are the detractors. The "indifferents". They love Ms. Minogue but aren't warming up to the new tune. To them, it's simply fine.

I really like "All The Lovers". I was underwhelmed upon first listen. But it has proven to be a subtle earworm. Now, I find myself dancing around my handbag in the middle of the room whenever it pops up on my iPod.

Here are my thoughts on it. Clearly, it's an attempt to capture a similar feeling as "The One" from Kylie's previous longplayer, "X". Its release as the lead single from "Aphrodite" tries to right a wrong. Although I loved the glam kitten stance of "2 Hearts", "The One" was clearly the single that everyone was screaming for and was left to wither on the vine. "All The Lovers" is its pretty, less popular, slightly younger sister. In fact, you could say it is what Dannii is to Kylie. Love Dannii to pieces. She's adorable, but ultimately doesn't command the same presence.

On to the vidular experience. By far, it's the best bit of dry humping committed to film. And Kylie looks absolutely radiant.

Now, the questions. What the HELL do mushrooms falling to the asphalt have to do with the song? Is it a thinly veiled reference to ecstasy? And why on earth are there no gays groping each other in this amorous display? Too hot to handle? This IS a Kylie video after all. Maybe the director was afraid it would look like the backroom of a gay bar during the White Party in Miami. Actually, there is one, gay couple engaging in a kiss. Blink and you'll miss it. Check out the screen grab above.

Why does the clip turn into the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Clearly, the presence of a floating, white elephant between the skyscrapers is a visual metaphor for sex. Think about it. Then you'll giggle. Eventually.

My job is done here.