November 28, 2008

Mixtape: Secretary Of Pop



As I get ready to post this "mixtape," I realize the majority of it is negative. Maybe Barack Obama can save pop music too. That's not asking too much, is it? If he did add POP to his initiatives, I think I am well suited for the Cabinet. And I could easily assemble a crack team for a new department or agency. I may have some vetting problems though as I'm a bit of a skeevy ho. Anyway, onward...

If you were getting excited by the return of The Pipettes, don't. There is clearly trouble in that band. They've not yet recorded a new album and one of the two new girls just bolted, leaving only Gwenno and her sister.

If you were eagerly awaiting the release of Annie's Don't Stop, don't. And why would you, when the whole thing leaked in summer? It's never coming out. Officially. She's out of her record deal with Island, who botched the affair as the company changed hands. From what I heard of the record, half the tracks are worthy, but she needs to do more with some indie-minded folks. That's her calling card. She doesn't need to be the 6th Girl Aloud.

On a lighter note, while I don't love Franz Ferdinand's new song Ulysses, I do like the title and CD cover for Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. I also got a kick out of this blogger's response to Web Sheriff regarding the cover being "pirated" content. Fight idiocy.

Alexis Petridis rises to the challenge on this Missspears review for The Guardian. My fave bit: "...a dribbly tribute to her kids called My Baby starts... stick around for the bit where she inadvertently suggests the fruits of her loins are cursed with oral hygene issues: 'I smell your breath, it makes me cry.' You want to try giving them those Listerine strips. Tell them they're sweets."

Why don't Cocteau Twins reunite? Now is the time.

Nina Persson of The Cardigans has reunited her A Camp "side project." Their 2001 single I Can Buy You was a masterpiece! Watch it. The new single Stronger Than Jesus (stream it) is not moving me, though Peter Robinson says the album, Colonia, is solid. Pardon my unfortunate choice of "solid" next to Colonia, which reminds me of colonics.

Dragonette have lost their minds. When they first appeared, I loved their music (Galore is better than the last Scissters album by far), but I thought their visuals were a bit too risque to get them wide coverage. And now they've done an expensive looking "commercial" for watersports (not literally piss play, but that is the implication)! Really, it's not like they are promoting a new album. Who manages them? I am all for kink, but what is the point of this?

My first post on Duffy was a year ago. In that time, I've come to sort of despise her. She's just a bit too pastiche, a bit too guided by others, a bit too big-sales-track (see this piece in the The Times). Barring the noir-ish epic Stepping Stone, her potato chip voice is not worthy of the hype. In recent videos she looks like a tranny (not true of her early press photos) - she's trying too hard. That said, her cash-grabbing deluxe edition album is the only worthy one this year in terms of added content. 7 decent songs, including the simple Oh Boy. There is nothing that suggests a next step other than Fool For You, a bass-heavy tune which drags her into the 70's.

Guns'n'Roses? Chinese HooHah? Talk about an anticlimax. The Independent did a piece on long-overdue albums that's worth a peek, but she is dead wrong about Prince's Black Album. She rates it 3/10. I'd give it at least a 7/10.

I notice Madonna is finishing her US Tour and next doing South America. She's been looking good lately. I sincerely hope she is not snacking on A-Rod's hotdog. That's a weak rebounder, doomed on multiple levels, and I really don't want to see her chicken cutlet mug in the tabloids every ten seconds. I'd rawwwther she be alone and write a sullen-yet-masterful breakup album.

The Best Of Lists are staring to roll in. Torr already has his, that whore. I like his album of the year choice, The Last Shadow Puppets. Well deserved. My best-of "extravaganza" will happen sometime in mid-to-late December. In the meantime, you can see 2006 and 2007. I think these lists are the best distillation of my taste in music. Sometime you'll see albums and artists that didn't get covered as much, but are still favorites. This year may not be great - my disappointment list is pathetically long.

photo by Hedi Slimane, 2008

8 comments:

Dan said...

I am so with you on the Madonna-A. Rod thing. It is pathetic! A terrible rebound relationship that has all the drama of something out of high school! I think what bothers me the most is his brazen disregard for his children. He may no longer be married to his wife, but those will always be his children.

Plus, I just think it makes Madonna look terrible and confirms what everyone thinks about her.

Sorry to be harsh, but she can do so much better! But that has kind of been her theme of the year (tour notwithstanding.)

John said...

1. May I apply for a post in your new department?

2. I actually REALLY like "Ulysses". It's a pretty fresh blast for me, compared to a lot of the cookie-cutter stuff I've been hearing lately.

3. Duffy's marketing was looking really brilliant at the outset, but now just seems confused. Here's hoping they get things back on track as she heads for record #2.

4. I easily would give "The Black Album" a 7. Actually, it would be an 8.5, but I think I was jaded by the mystique of it when it came out. 7 seems more realistic with time.

countpopula said...

Wow, there's a lot to digest here.

As somebody who was looking forward to the Annie album, I think it's kind of a shame that we will never get to hear it in its original form. This is what happens when focus groups are left to design albums according to what songs have the most sales potential. I live in America, and think it's a shame I was never allowed to buy any of the tracks in any format because her company did not want to promote it anywhere. Maybe they will at least allow it to be purchased as a download at some point in the US just to recoup some of the losses.

I loved A Camp, but the last thing I heard from Nina Persson was that she was working on a solo electronica project; now this. She and Shirley Manson were two of the best female singers fronting male rock bands from the 90's, and neither one seems to be doing what they should be, or what they would be best at. Didn't they make enough cash to record well-produced solo albums, or are they too worried about failure?

Briefly, I also love Dragonette, so let's hope they found some wealthy financier to produce that viral video, because it could really be seen as a waste of money otherwise. Somewhat agree with the Duffy fatigue, and GNR doesn't really register for me except that I don't find them culturally relevant anymore...I mean, isn't Axl the only member still involved since the last one? Grace Jones' and Portishead's album were much more interesting in delivering on a promise long overdue. Who will be next? Sade? OMD? Dubstar? I just heard D:Ream are even back together!

Madonna's Frozen came on my iPod tonight, and the person I was with said "I wish THIS Madonna would make a return...she seemed less like she was engineering her changes, and more like natural evolution was happening". If William Orbit is not available, maybe Madge could work with somebody like Guy Sigsworth for the next album. He did wonders for Imogen Heap, Kate Havnevik, and Alanis. He even brings out Britney's softer side. Hard Candy was destined for trouble when Warner announced it would be her last new album for them, but it still registers as an unfortunate misstep. American Life was more interesting.

If the Cocteaus can't reunite, then where is that Massive Attack record Liz Frasier is supposed to sing on? I saw her live with them a couple years ago, and it was fantastic! Maybe Dead can Dance could do the same?

Sorry for the lengthy response! You opened a can of worms!

will said...

Hey! Did you hear the rumour that there were Madge and Sean Penn reunion sightings? That's crazy! Good crazy of course. Anyone who hasn't seem MILK yet needs to see it. It is one of the most important films ever made.

Oh no! That's so awful re: Annie, but you are right. She needs to go back and start again where she came from; did not like this new album AT ALL.

Re: Dragonette, they share the same manager as Scissor Sisters from what I recall. Clearly, they're out to have fun, which seems to conflict with the music they make because they make SERIOUS pop music.

The A Camp project is welcome; I truly feel one of the things holding Nina Persson back is the direction The Cardigans have taken with their music to cater to the AC crowd. I look forward to it!!

ok. Sorry for taking up the whole page with my text blurb... there's just so much to comment on here :')

x


W

Phil said...

Have a look here at the Cocteau Twins receiving the first and, amazingly only ever, award at the Q Awards:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4dq63NUEpLs

Don't they look, er, OLDER! The sad news is though, that in the magazine itself they said they had no intention of reforming as it didn't interest any of them. Boo.

Love these mixtapes. XO, so much to answer for!

Michael said...

I'd be thrilled to get a full-length solo album from Liz Fraser. I loved her work with Massive Attack and Craig Armstrong.

babs said...

Cocteau Twins reuniting?? That would be way cool. Doubt it like hell. They are one of those bands that I don't have a visual on. Like I discovered them through the music and not the video. I only have the "Lorelei" album.

I agree about the Madonna comment above.

El MarvelOso said...

Pipettes - I'm guessing SOMEone's difficult to work with.

Annie - I have the album and I really like it. Yes, it is very Girls Aloud, but I like them too.

Would LOVE some new Cocteau Twins. Don't think it would ever happen.

Duffy - Never got on the bandwagon about her. Didn't go for the hype. I'm an Adele fan. Much more to be excited by her than Duffy. And look who got nominated for song and record of the year!

As for Madonna... I wish she would concentrate on being an artists and not a pop singer.