December 19, 2007

2007: RXolondon

A year ago I did a post called RXolondon that went over quite well, so I'm repeating myself here, which is ironic given some of the criticism you are about to read. In some cases, the music is fine, in some cases... not so much. I am a fan, or have been, of these folks. Note that normally I post on music I like, so this will surely annoy a few of you, but itiswhatitis...

Duran Duran: An interesting case, because I do like their album (review), but I fear it may fall into oblivion. Could be that it's an old school album that needs to be worked, but mistakes have already been made. Falling Down was a poor choice for a single when the whole point of hiring Timbaland was to secure a hit. Duran need to pop right out of the gate and they just came across as limp old men. That song sounds great on the CD, but it's so NOT a single and it is certainly not even close to Ordinary World (which Justin was aiming for). Nite Runner or Skin Diver must be the second single and they should put out a great video fast. The album cover was a bit dodgy and Roxy Music-esque for the buying public these days, but I don't have a solution to that since the "boys" are almost 50. I suspect their fans would have wanted a nice picture of them on the cover, but I wonder to whom this album is being marketed?

Tori Amos: First, let me say it's possible to edit American Doll Posse down to 12 songs and it's much better. The music is not so much the problem: I know a lot of you really liked the album and felt it was a return to form. I had high hopes from the early leaks and the provocative album title, but I still see her making the same obvious mistakes again and again. 20 songs? No, thank you! A b-side is a b-side for a reason (Fat Slut)! There were some great Tori tunes on the album (Teenage Hustling added some new twists and there were classic Tori songs like Bouncing Off Clouds and Secret Spell), but often her voice was kind of buried in the arrangements. Like the last several albums, this was made by the same team, in a bubble in Cornwall with an overcooked (and silly) "concept" and it's her second horrid album cover in a row. The passion is back, but she needs to step out of the countryside if she wants to stay viable. Sometimes don't you get the impression she is playing up to the kook image a bit? If you read her book, you'll know that Tori understands the music business. It's time to change.

Mutya Buena: Wot happened? One of the most awaited solo albums of the year, by one of the most unique vocalists to come out of the UK, and it was a complete BOMB. Mistakes on every level. It told us nothing about who Mutya really is and I actually blame her for that. From what I've read, she's just not very involved, showing up hours late for recording sessions and being distracted by her own life dramas. The songs sounded like outtakes from Sugababes, devoid of life. For example Brokedown Motel could have been a great song, but listen to the cheap-ass beat. Sounds like a demo! And her attempt to cash in on Amy Winehouse with B-boy was utter drivel that fooled no one. Mutya needs to get her shit together and make some slammin' dance songs, sweet pop songs (Real Girl came close) and epic ballads. None of this wan midtempo sludge that sunk her debut.

Bjork released her most forgettable album ever, Volta (review). Earth Intruder was interesting, but the other Timbaland songs sounded just like it. She has strayed from her original goal of taking esoteric, arty music and weaving it into great pop songs. It's like she decided she is an artiste now. She's at a point where she is so revered that she can do whatever she wants. Too much choice can be a bad thing. I also think she needs to be in her videos, which she has finally done with Declare Independence. Regardless, come back to the dance floor, Mrs. Barney, and stop dressing up like a glass pear (or Mr. Kool Aid, as someone else said!).

Prince: "Eye" offer no cures 4 this little asshole who has alienated all his fans 1) by releasing terrible albums 4 the last 12 years and 2) by suing said fans and writing "songs" about how he hates them. Eye think he hates himself and it's outward projection. He has fallen off his tiny stilettos. Now, this rant comes from a person who was obsessed by him in the 80's and still gives each album a shot. He's woefully out of touch and everything about his enterprise, ironically, screams Dollar Store, from the bad mixes 2 the horrid Photoshopped album art probably created by an intern or some roadie. Eye can't even tell u the name of his 2007 album. All eye know is that if record stores still existed, this CD would be in cutout bins. Boouwhore.


D'luv said...

True story: I was actually having a conversation the other day with someone who's as up on pop music as the rest of us, and he goes, "When's that Duran Duran album that Timbaland worked on supposed to come out?"

Check out the Sugababes entry on Chart Rigger's Best Of 2007 to find out what happened to Mutya. Sorry kids, but folks only bought her first single to tide themselves over till the next 'Babes album, apparently.

Prince.... I remember him! What's he been up to since "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World," anyway?

Yuяi said...

DD: Agreed. The boys paid $$ for Timba, so why the heck not use the songs?? Nite Runner (which I now like very much after entering the garageband remix contest) and Skin Diver are the best songs on the album. It'd be a darn shame not to have these come to light.

Tori: Never did get her, and I'm not about to start trying now. I did think her "rant" about the front-row seats was funny and spot-on, tho.

Mutya: Love "Song 4 Mutya" but she needs to lose the cellphone, lose the drama and get serious. Maybe work with the Freemasons?! That'd be sweet...

Bjork: Who? Oh yeah, the chick who went beserk on a reporter in Thailand a few years back. She does records too?

Prince: Can we please go back to the "Raspberry Beret" days or at least a time when the muzik was good? If you were to tell his royal purpleness in 1986 that he'd be giving his shiz away for free in a newspaper in 2007 he would had Wendy & Lisa lick..err..kick your ass! My, how the mighty have fallen! said...

I am SO glad that I wasn't the only one that was completely underwhelmed by Mutya's CD. With the exception of a couple, it was just bad.

xolondon said...

Duanemoody - I fear that we may not get much more Mutya. I don't think she wants it and I suspect she has enough cash to live well. Which is ashame because I think she is one of the top ten UK vocalists - her duet with George Michael is an example of how great she can be.

Joseph said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You took the words right out of my mouth.

Tori: I wish she would ditch all of the extra shit and just play music. I think she still has it somewhere but the different personas, wigs, and the rest of the stuff that goes into the "kook image" get in the way. Oh, and she definitely needs an editor.

Bjork: My feeling for the past several years has been that, after all of the accolades following Dancer In The Dark, she became an Artist. Everything she has done since has had a gimmic: (Vespertine: clickity click click Matmos stuff/Inuit chiors, Medulla: "let's make every sound on the album from a human voice," Volta: sickly sounding horns all over everything) that just seems to be more about an artistic idea and less about actually making something that people will want to listen to. Sure, Medulla and Volta have a couple of songs that are actually engaging and fun, but overall her output of late has just been dreary. WHERE IS THE FUN?

Anonymous said...

Great analysis.

I wonder if Duran Duran became gun-shy about releasing Nite Runner because some fans were distressed. Personally, I found it in character for a band that worked with Nile Rogers in the 80s to record with a popular R&B/Pop producer.

countpopula said...

Once again XO, spot on. Funny about the Duran comments, as I was just discussing with friends the other evening how the album is good but not great for all the cash they must have come up with. We all felt they would have been better off working with someone who could have brought out more of their new-wavey-ness like the Killers debut...maybe Jacknife Lee or someone with good poptronica tendencies like William Orbit or Greg Kurstin. That being said, "Nite Runner" and "Skin Divers" grew on us a lot, making us wish for more of that. Guess it just seems anymore like they are trying too hard instead of letting things form organically.

As for the others, you are dead on with Tori and Bjork. Both have too much control over their own material now, which has led to some self-indulgent mistakes of which I am not sure either would be willing to admit. The Mutya stuff was just a complete letdown except for a tossed off Groove Armada track.

And the Artist? What a bloody mess. Talk about believing your own hype. He is an immensely talented musician, but doesn't seem to put much effort into his recordings anymore. Where is the ingenuity, the daringness? I could forgive some of the arrogant drama if he could deliver the goods. His current blandness is a tragedy, as the younger generations cannot begin to comprehend how amazing this guy was when he was hot, completely changing pop music for the better. What a waste.

Excellent post. Now all you need to add are the 90s femmes who seem to have gone up their own private bits with lackluster efforts: Paula Cole (snooze), Sinead (church-y snooze), Dolores O'Riordan (shrieking harpie). I even sold my Brett Anderson solo import CD back to the store (snooze)--this guy was Suede's lead singer? How dreadfully boring.