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10 days til Christmas...

I am starting to get annoyed that the comment box isn't working. DazPrecise says I am needy and desperate in wanting comments ;) I am really just happy that people read my site (highest figures for a while this week) but if people choose to take the time out to comment, naturally I am really thrilled. So I kinda just want it fixed. Stupid blogger (unless they are reading this, then they are the most lovely non stupid people in the world). Anyway, last night Darren and I went on our 7th annual Christmas Food Shopping pilgrammage armed with the fully loaded £100 store card my mother buys each of her kids for Christmas and a jar full of coins that we exchanged at the coinstar. We were very excited to get another £100 out of that, and went a bit mad round the store! Still, our cupboards are full, our freezer packed and festive nibbles fill the fridge. I was then wide awake so took some night nurse – big mistake… it has absolutely exhausted me this morning. I still can't wake up. So better do something to get my mind going – like this post…
. 21 ~ Robbie Williams, Lovelight
20 ~ Elton John, Tinderbox (new entry) (mp3)
19 ~ Nerina Pallot, Geek Love
18 ~ The Feeling, Love It When You Call (lo-fi-fnk remix mp3)
17 ~ Dashboard Confessional, Stolen
16 ~ The Magic Numbers, Take A Chance
15 ~ Switch 22, Back To The Dancefloor
14 ~ Lily Allen, Littlest Things
13 ~ G4, Danny Boy
12 ~ Westlife, The Rose
11 ~ Gavin Mikhail, Brave
10 ~ McFly, Sorry's Not Good Enough
09 ~ Paolo Nutini, Rewind
08 ~ Simon Curtis, Put Your Makeup On
07 ~ Take That, Patience (stripped mp3)
06 ~ Simon Curtis, Broken
05 ~ Jamelia, Beware Of The Dog
04 ~ Bodies Without Organs, Will My Arms Be Strong Enough?
03 ~ The Killers, Bones
02 ~ Scissor Sisters, Land Of A Thousand Words
01 ~ Deborah Gibson, Sounds Like Love (3 weeks) (mp3)
It's quite nippy noodles out today which is one way of saying it is vair vair chilly and even my reiss polo neck cashmere wool sweater isn't keeping my nipples soft and flaccid. Which may be the biggest TMI this blog has ever witnessed so I will rapidly move on. I was talking about how marv the Live Lounge is over on the spinoff blog (it's no Frasier, but I'm hoping it's better than Joey) t'other day, when it got me to thinking, there have been some other mighty fine cover version floating around this very year. Just because artists can! Here are some of my 5 fave non-live loungey covers:
~ G4-The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore: a b-side to some Mother's Day EP (what about gay sons day I once asked MamaZapping. "Every day is Gay Sons Day"she mysteriously yet sagely replied), it's a pop-operatic, vocally harmonised to within an inch of it's life cover version of The Walker Brothers classic. Quite morose, it works well under the bombastic production values here. And in my eyes and to my ears, every song G4 "re-interpret" is either sheer brilliance or inspired comedy lunacy. So you can't really lose…
~ Paolo Nutini-Daydream: Remember when Ani DiFranco recorded "Wishin and Hopin" for the "My Best Friends Wedding" soundtrack? No? sigh. Anyway, it was a million miles away from her "f*ck you and your untouchable face" style songs. Paolo's rather lovely meandering through Daydream isn't quite as shocking a departure from his normal style as that, but it does see him less growl-y than usual and brings a quite charming, innocent quality to the tune that almost makes it a predecessor to his bittersweet masterpiece, These Streets.
~ Jamelia-Take your Mama Out: Ok a bit of a cheat on this one as this was from a recent live lounge the lovely Jams did. (Sidebar: there are hundreds and hundreds of songs in the world, yet most recent live loungers have covered songs already done – in this case, The Zutons did this back in 05). Still, Jamelia is Britain's most exciting female solo singer at present so her cover of the Scissters classic is obviously a doozy. I still kinda wish she'd done the Veronica Mars theme tune though and dedicated it to Leona :)
~ Will Young-I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know: Ah, my lovely (and stroppy according to recent now evil Heat articles) William has done some stellar covers in his time and this, b-side to Heat Readers Single of the Year, All Time Love is one of his most serene. Classed as boring by Mama Zapping at the concert last year (she just wanted to throw her knickers onto the stage during Switch It On), it's a very relaxed, slow tempo ballad and William's voice is perfectly controlled with just the right amount of emotion. A perfect companion piece to ATL…
~ Maroon5-War Is Over: Thought I'd round up this little sesh with a festive fave of mine. Recorded last year for some Best Buy freebie, this kept me happy while I am still waiting for their bound to be brilliant sophomore album. A gorgeous piano version sees Adam's (RAR) voice at it's most vulnerable sounding and rather restrained. Resisting the temptation to go all out serves the tune well and it's a worthy addition to the M5 canon.
Inspired by XO's rather brilliant advice for popstars in 2007, which totally puts my previous efforts to shame, I thought I would retroactively look at what should be in the Christmas top ten next week. Likely to be the abysmal Moment Like This (that yes, I realise was one of my fave songs of 2002! I was caught in a moment) followed by Girls Aloud worst choice of cover yet, along with other dodgy offerings, it could have been so much better (although to be fair, even though the record buying public disagree I think Killers, Scissters and McFly all chose the right songs…)
.~ Shayne Ward-B What U Wanna: I've long since held the theory that SW should've recorded most of Darin's second album as his debut. This corking little sing a long tune along with just cute enough to be novelty not annoying kids choir littered throughout would have made the perfect festive offering. Couple that with a buff Shayne single cover and a studio version of his amazing take on Over The Rainbow, and you would have had a massive chart hit for someone with true X-Factor.
~ Switch22-Back To The Dancefloor: uptempo, rollicking party tunes are as much a Christmas staple as slushy Kate Winslet ballads from Christmas Carol cartoons. God I love alliteration. Anyhoo, as Lemar himself said, if there's any justice in the world, this would have been storming into the top ten this Christmas. It would have been worth the 79p price of download alone just for the 20th Century Fox sample at the beginning (which now means I can't even watch a film from that company now without expecting it to launch into this song!) but as if that wasn't enough, the song nips its way through a riot of faux-rap, swirling synths and a chorus that leaves you breathless and aching for more. A sweaty session with the Switch boys is just what this Christmas needed ;)

~ Girls Aloud-I Predict A Riot: Oh, Girls. If you were going to do a cover for the festive season, don't do three crap choices in a row (I'll Stand By You in 2004, See The Day in 2005). Instead, grab the NME photoshoot you did as the cover (thanks hotstuffguys), knock out a studio recording of your live electro-thrash take on the Kaisers and chuck in a few remixes to get the gays and gals expostulating on the dancefloor. And while you're at it why not have a CD2 with a remake of one of your Christmastry songs on and a "Christmas Past" remix of the Sacred Trust demo???
~ Gareth Gates featuring Eton Road-I'll Be Your Everything: oh GG (that wasn't a stuttering "gag" it's his initials!). You have a documentary on a Christmas (23rd to be precise) to boost your profile. The press unfairly branded you as fading into nothing (yes, 7 top five singles is rubbish). Yet you have no record to support your comeback. Why not play it safe with your first release and cover this little known (in England) song by Tommy Page with New Kids on backing vocals. Except don't use NKOTB because a) they have disbanded and b) Danny Wood is a cock. Be a genius and use Eton Road instead! Then record something disco-tastic like Scandal'us' Me Myself And I, with a thrashy twist as your rush-released second single and your comeback is complete.
~ Simon Curtis- Put Your Make Up On: I could write about this now, but I'm saving it for a much bigger feature :)

And then the Christmas top ten should look like this:
10 – Jamelia, Beware Of The Dog

09 – Take That, Patience
08 – Girls Aloud, I Predict A Riot (live mp3)
07 – The Killers, Bones
06 – McFly, Sorry's Not Good Enough/Friday Night
05 ~ Scissor Sisters, Land Of A Thousand Words
04 ~ Switch22, Back To The Dancefloor (stream)
03 ~ Simon Curtis, Put Your Makeup On (stream)
02 ~ Gareth Gates ft. Eton Road, I'll be Your Everything (Tommy Page mp3)
01 ~ Shayne Ward, B What U Wanna/Somewhere Over The Rainbow (mp3)
There are a lot of reasons why Ally McBeal was a great show - it was partly because i love shows where the heroine is a bit flawed, a bit funny, a bit ditzy and definitely romantically vulnerable (lois & clark, buffy, grey's anatomy, felicity, et al). It was partly because of the fantasy elements in it. And it was partly because this show didn't need the musical episode in season three (although it did it anyway) as it pretty much was a musical to begin with. Vonda Shepard's contribution to the show cannot be underestimated as she sang through the highs and lows of the cast with style, grace and enthusiasm. As the series progressed the cast got in on the act too, and the crowning moment is the christmas album. Because Ally McBeal didn't just do Christmas - it embraced it. Often festive yarns were there for 2-3 episodes a year and often involved the brilliant Elaine embracing her inner slut in one of the most endearing ways ever on network television. Below are my two fave tracks from the album - Jane Krakowski singing I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (and making it sound like the most whore-ish act on the planet) and Vobda's rollicking piano take on Man With The Bag. Christmas didn't get much acer than this...
MP3: Vonda Shepard - man with the bag

~ I finally found a stream of Preston (hideous sweater above - so disappointed, he's usually so stylish) and the boys doing a cover of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun over at this blog. Anyone have the mp3? Send it to the usual address :)

~ Electroqueer has a great list of ten random thoughts up at his blog, many of which I agree with, except number 9. He also has reminded me of Kristian Leontiou who i really liked in 2004, but forgot how hot he was! Yowsa!

~ REQUEST TIME: Does anyone have the christmas themed ep Teddy Geiger recently put on iTunes? If so, can you email it to me at the usual address - i'd be happy to swap something from the British iTunes store ;)

Coming soon: Shorter posts over the weekend, you'll be glad to know :) A 7 in 2007 update tomorrow, with some fashion tips and more christmas music. A tale from one of my fave Christmas books on Sun with more fashion tips and my fave festive songs...And then back to normal on Monday.

Don't forget readers! you can still contribute to thezapping online christmas card by emailing messages, songs, photos etc to me!! You know you want to :)


  1. Ella Thorvaldsen said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Ella Thorvaldsen said...
    Von Dutch. Oh darling so not!
    Poster Girl said...
    I know one of my comments just recently started with this, but I have to say it again: Aaaaahhhhh! I love your theoretical top 10! So much! In fact, I'm far more excited about it than I probably should be, given it's just imaginary, but still :) Amazing!

    Maroon 5, where are you? I want a new album!

    (Does Ella being able to comment mean I'll be able to leave in a signed-in comment this time? Let's hope!)
    Paul said...
    hurrah! people's comments are working. Ella I thought i could get away with some von dutch as you weren't around ;) however, i still like their european range which is less gruesome than it's american counterpart :)

    PPG - i knew you would love my alternchart :)
    J'ason D'luv said...
    Did Clay Aiken join those Eton Road dorks? Who's that one androgynous-looking freak with Clay-ish black hair?

    Ally McBeal. What a bunch of twats. I once had to go to the set for a whole week when I worked at the E! channel, because we were doing an hour-long special on the show -- it was so after the fact, too, in the last season when most of the original cast had left -- Peter McNichol or whatever that freak's name is was a big diva, and freaked out everytime our camera guys would go near him. "I simply can't concentrate on the craft of acting with these strangers around!" And Calista Flockhard hid out in her dressing room the entire week... you know, the pressures of fame and all. Jane K. was the only cool one. And James Marsden, who was on the cast that last season, was a smarmy prick.

    Anyway, yeah, Vonda Shepard. I think she's an assistant manager at the Starbucks around from my house now.
    DJ Barnsey said...
    I miss Maroon 5 - hope their second album will be even more amazing than the first!!!
    Dan said...
    That cover of The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore is great! Although personally, I don't know that anyone will ever be able to do it quite like Cher did on her "It's A Man's World" CD from *gasp!* nearly 10 years ago! That was the first version I ever heard of that song - have you heard it, Paul?

    Anyway, great blog post, as usual.

    Paul said...
    Luv D'Luv u baby - yes the dark haired one is known as Antony. He's the token "unusual member of the group" but more out than Clay...and who knew the ally cast were such a bunch of knobs. Boo! I will go on living in my fantasy world that Ally is real :) And that James Marsden is a super nice guy just looking for the right man. Sigh. And hey, at least Vonda is working ;)

    DJ - yes they so need to hurry :)

    Dan! i haven't heard that - i am off to check it out now :)

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