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5 days til Christmas...

Good morrow to all you fine folks still reading :) How are we all today? Darren has succeeded in ruining Christmas ;) Well not really of course, but as we carefully placed the presents under the tree last night (God, we are so Dickensian, in more ways than one!) Darren performed the cardinal sin of touching one of his gifts. Now, that may not seem so bad, but young mr Panteloons has an uncanny knack of being able to guess just by touching the wrapped goodies exactly what they are! He picked up one gift and said "Psp game wrapped up inside the packaging it was sent in from Amazon". Naturally, I can't reveal whether he is correct or not, but he may well have ruined Christmas ;) And can you believe, I commented to my work buddy Nick this morning that I was eating like a pig because I was so ravenous and he agreed with me!! Surely the polite response is to say, "well it's Christmas, we're all entitled". Learn it Nicholas (no saint Nick here then!). Anyway, I have lots to rant about today so I'd better get on with it, hadn't I???

Ah, Jason Donovan. He certainly gayed up my room in my early teens. Thanks to the duet he did with Kylie, I was able to plaster posters of him and her all over my wall without much suspicion. And if I squinted late at night, I could cut Kylie out of my line of vision all together. Anyway, Jason and Kylie were tv's best loved couple in the 80s as Scott and Charlene on Neighbours. And once Kylie hit the charts, it wasn't long before Jason wanted a bit of the action too. Although his first tune, Nothing Can Divide Us was a pleasant if forgettable little ditty, it wasn't until he cut his hair and pop star'd it up that he became huge. Of course, there was Especially For You, but his first single proper in my eyes was the catchy guitar driven SAW pop of Too Many Broken Hearts. And if Unchained Melody was an inspired pick for Gareth in the 00's, Sealed With A Kiss was perfect for Jase the Face, giving him three number ones in a row. The second album kicked off with festive fave, When You Come Back To Me, being kept off the top by Band Aid II. But perhaps more of the same wasn't working for Jason (particularly as Kylie had the sublime Better The Devil You Know) as the law of diminishing returns kicked in, and pleasant pop ditties like Every Day, Another Night and Rhythm Of The Rain failed to make top 5. It's I'm Doing Fine that was a major disappointment – the fifth single from his second album, it peaked at 22, but was a fun musical pastiche paying much tribute to Beatles songs. Indeed, it would work equally well today for McFly or Click Five to update and take into the higher echelons of chartdom. And after that it all went a bit wrong (well apart from doing Joseph and topping the charts with Any Dream Will Do of course). His singles stopped going top 20 (even the superior guitar pop of Mission of Love and a quite lovely cover of As Time Goes By) and soon Jason mania was over. He tried another album in 1993, but the lead off single All Around The World peaked at 41 and a second single, Angel, never got released. But now he's back! Thanks to the power of I'm A Celebrity, he has a myspace site with 2 not bad new songs on and a UK tour. But here's a little tip – for your comeback single Mr D., beg steal and borrow A Little Too Perfect by Alexsander Dendstadt– it's an amazingly catchy ditty and perfect for your vocal stylings. Here's Jason's greatest hits done right…
Nothing Can Divide Us
Especially For You
All I Wanna Do
Too Many Broken Hearts
Sealed With A Kiss
Every Day
When You Come Back To Me
Hang Onto Your Love
Another Night
Rhythm Of The Rain
I'm Doing Fine (mp3)
Any Dream Will Do
Happy Together
Mission of Love
As Time Goes By (mp3)
All Around The World
LINK: Buy Jason Donovan's greatest hits
LINK: Jason's myspace site
Two of 2006's biggest ratings juggernauts may well have produced two of 2007's perkiest and listenable pop princesses. Very different in musical style, they both bring something missing from the charts back to the very forefront of what they are trying to accomplish. Read on my pretties, read on…
. Ashley Tisdale is of course the stand out star (to me) from High School Musical. Her spotlight obsessed character schemes and plots her way through the film with increasingly maniacal results, proving that playing the bitch is a lot of fun. And rather thrillingly so is her music. She already proved her singing chops by contributing the (surely under contract) updated Kiss The Girl to the re-release of The Little Mermaid. Her debut single 'proper' is He Said She Said. It's not particularly new. It's not particularly innovative. None of that matters as Ashley turns in a sparkling performance that elevates the song to pop majesty. Indeed, it's the sort of song that Britney should be eyeing up for her comeback single – pure pop beats, an insanely addictive chorus and a shot of personality that zips up the pep factor to ten. If this is indicative of the debut album, the colour me salivating for some juicy pop goodness next year…
. Offering a stark contrast to such go-go swing, is idol runner up Katherine McPhee. I thought this year may be the second year in a row I was not bothered by any of the American Idol winners/runners up. Taylor Hicks –ew. Daughtry – I tried and failed. And Katherine had done a perfectly serviceable version of Over The Rainbow, but not enough to win me over. So it's quite the nice surprise that her debut single 'proper' is I Lost You backed with Dangerous. I Lost You is a rare thing these days – a r'n'b influenced tune that is heavy on the melody and vocal and resists the urge to turn it into something more hiphop where it is not needed. It starts off with some stark piano chords before adding instrumentation and building up the power of the song. It reminds me of Too Lost In You by the Sugababes, only not as boring. And to give us something different, Kat offers up a more down and dirty vibe with the delicious Dangerous, taking us into funky town with her sultry tones delivering a sweat induced 'le petit mort' of a song. Yup, my interest is peaked enough to be checking out her debut album in 2007 (though I hate that cover…)
LINK: Pre-order Katherine's album
LINK: Pre-order Ashley's single
MP3: Ashley Tisdale – He Said She Said
MP3: Ashley Tisdale – Last Christmas
MP3: Katherine McPhee – Dangerous
MP3: Katherine McPhee – O Come All Ye Faithful
. I certainly didn't intend the titles of these little articles to lead into the old saying from weddings, but it's worked so far and with a little bit of creative license I can make it work for these next two articles also. At a push. As actually it was XO mentioning the season (series?) finale of Nip/Tuck that gave me the idea for this post so I have borrowed this from him!! I did want to talk about two shows I have really enjoyed so far this season that aren't Heroes (save the cheerleader, save the world!), Desperate Housewives or Prison Break… Let's do Nip/Tuck first. I finally got round to watching the fourth season finale on the train to work this morning. I just love the outlandish storylines this show has and the 2nd and 3rd years season finishes were big over the top extravaganzas (Christian's throat being slit to the tune of Art Garfunkel's ? Or how about the slasher storyline being bought to a close in a neat bit of –albeit excellent – revisionism last year?). This year saw some storylines from the first year being wrapped up and an ending being provided for all characters. During the final few minutes, music is used in a different way as the bittersweet Brighter Discontent by The Submarines plays. Each character lip synchs to the song at the appropriate moment in which the lyrics match their storyline. It's highly entertaining and works very well. I'm not sure if this is it for Nip/Tuck but I have certainly enjoyed the ride…(PS – best line? Christian: "You guys might want to sage the nursery, his ex-wife screwed a dwarf in there…" hahahahaha)
. Next up is Veronica Mars. I'm just thankful that when Buffy ended we were given a whip smart, sassy new heroine to fight crime for us on our screens. It's Nancy Drew bought up to date and if you are not watching, then shame on you. Season 3 has received it's share of negative reviews from the press who feel the show has lost it's edge in trying to gain a wider audience. Embarking on episode 7 this week, I am as intruiged as ever by the storylines – the serial rapist, Logan's mysterious movements, the new Echolls son, etc. But one huge plus for the show has been getting Chris Lowell (who was busy shagging Kelly Osbourne for a season on Life As We Know It – poor sod), a radio geek who is clearly enamoured with the lovely Ms. Mars. He brings a great everyman quality to the show and is a worthy addition to the cast. Plus I am just loving the remixed theme tune of We Used To Be Friends by Dandy Warhols. Marv…
LINK: Buy Nip/Tuck Season 3 on dvd
LINK: Buy Veronica Mars Season 2 on dvd
MP3: The Submarines – Brighter Discontent
Jamie Pearce isn't blue. But he did used to tour with them as their opening act. Strutting his stuff nightly with Lee, Duncan, Antony and Simon may be a fantasy for some, but for Jamie it was hard work that has paid off in terms of the amount of attention he is now receiving for his debut single. I'd like to say that I discovered him all by myself, but actually there was quite an amusing feature on him in TV Hits (don't judge me, it was left on the train. Honest!) covering the making of his video. Which possibly features Harvey from the James Stewart movie. Or not. Anyway, I thought, that's good enough reason to check out his music and I'm certainly pleased I did. Any music that features a quality piano sound is ok by me and Jamie's single More Than Enough has a great driving force going through it – which is a combination of musical delights. The melody of the song bounces off the backing piano and leads into a great chorus that reminds of elements of acts like Daniel Powter, Coldplay and Keane. But good music doesn't just come from emulating other people, and the songs on Jamie's myspace page show that he has enough conviction in his music to stamp his own personality all over it. To me, a rounded pop world should not just feature the perky pop dance tunes (though I like those as you well know) but should embrace clever lyrics, alternative styles and throw some eclectism into the songs. In that sense, Jamie is embracing pop and I look forward to hearing the album ;)
LINK: Jamie Pearce's myspace site
. Sigh. I'm rather happy that is still the most wonderful time of the year, but it all seems to be going rather fast doesn't it? And I still have some Christmas movies to get through. Eep. Still, have watched a few more this week and am still marinating in the goodness that they all radiated from their very cores. First up was The Family Stone – a film about Sarah Jessica Parker being incredibly unlikeable as an uptight shrew who goes home to meet boyfriend Dermot Mulroney's family – The Stones. They don't like her and to be fair, do treat her like shit, as she makes faux pas after faux pas. Ultimately though, the film is about accepting who you are and finding love in the most unlikely of places at Christmas. Then I moved onto Joyeux Noel, which tells the incredibly touching story of Christmas Eve in the trenches of World War One where a cease fire was called and all the troops mingled together for a game of soccer. It's all handled incredibly well, and even addresses a myriad of feelings that individuals go through when they meet up with "the enemy". A perfect example of the seemingly magical touch Christmas can have on people's lives. Finally then onto one of the best interpretations of Charles Dickens Christmas Carol I have come across – the muppets. I think Darren is mondus irritatus that I watch this year in year out, but I just adore every aspect of it. If you haven't seen it yet, you really should. It will make your Christmas sparkle and gleam :)
LINK: Purchase The Family Stone on dvd
LINK: Purchase Joyeux Noel on dvd
LINK: Purchase The Muppet's Christmas Carol on dvd
MP3: Muppets – One More Sleep Til Christmas
. It seems to me that love, actually is all around. Oh sorry, that is from another post… Ok try again. It seems to me that a modern Christmas classic is born every ten years. In 1984, it was Last Christmas by Wham and Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid. In 1994, it was All I Want For Christmas is You by the then non slutty Mariah Carey. And in 2004, it was, er Cheeky Christmas, Proper Chrimbo and I Love Christmas. So I think that adequately proves my theory. However, that's not to say there aren't some lovely Christmas songs popping up at other times in history. Today we will have a bit of a random look at some of the statesmen of pop and what they have been busy releasing. One of the classics (possibly from 94, maybe a bit earlier) that has been covered by the world and his dog, is the lovely Grown Up Christmas List by Amy Grant. It's a typically sentimental hopeful Christmas tune that seems to have struck a chord with a number of artists (Kelly Clarkson, Michael Buble, Natalie Cole, etc) and hey, if you can't be sentimental at Christmas, when can you be??? Or what about this gorgeous little number from Sheena Easton – I do declare it perks me up from 9to5 when I hear it on the morning train, etc. It really brings out the lover in me. And Gloria Gaynor has her Christmas Prayer while The Kinks are still banging on about the more pagan side of Christmas. It's all very lovely in the extreme…
MP3: Micheal Buble – Grown Up Christmas List
MP3: Sheena Easton – it's Christmas All Over The World
MP3: The Kinks – Father Christmas
MP3: Gloria Gaynor – The Christmas Prayer
MP3: Hall and Oates – Home For Christmas
~click over to thezapping spin off blog to see my top songs and albums from 2004 and 2005
~ Thurs 21st: My top twenty albums of 2006, plus some further festive tracks
~ Fri 22nd: My top twenty six songs of 2006, a G4 carol concert review and a very Wilson Christmas
~ Sat 23rd: The first annual zapping Christmas card goes live. Thanks to all the people who have contributed so far. If you want to leave a message for it or donate a photo, then email me at the usual place. You have til Friday evening…
~ Sun 24th: a final special festive story with songs for you all and my Christmas chart.
~ Mon 25th & Tues 26th: thezapping will be enjoying Christmas ;)
~ Weds 27th: What to wear for New Years eve and a closer look at our 7 in 2007 (numbers 7-2)
~ Thurs 28th & Fri 29th: Our brightest hope for 2007
~ Saturday 30th: Closing down again til Jan 2nd, thezapping gives you a sneak peak at what to expect in 2007, with all new features and hopefully a brand new look!



  1. Poster Girl said...
    Oh my gosh! The Muppet Christmas Carol! Watching that each year is just as much a family tradition as decorating the Christmas tree! I love that movie :) Ever since dementors appeared in the Harry Potter series, I have always pictured them as looking like the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come from that movie. And I can't believe you have an mp3 of that song!

    It's a bit noisy here so I can't completely hear the Jamie Pearce song, but from what I hear of it, I like it!
    J'ason D'luv said...
    "He Said, She Said" is one of the more blase songs off Ashley's album. The three true gems are "Don't Touch (The Zoom Song)" -- which sounds tres Kylie!! -- "Love Me For Me" another one that I can't remember (the promo is in my car).

    As for Jase The Face, "Every Day" was actually off his first album, so it was the single before "When You Come Back To Me." And floppy though it was (I think it only went to #8), I thought the second single off the second album, "Hang On To Your Love," was one of his best! Of course, the true crime is that "You Can Depend On Me" off Ten Good Reasons was never issued as a single... it's gotta be his best song ever, next to the woefully b-side-relegated "She's In Love With You." Do you have that one? Let me know, 'cuz you're missing out if you don't!
    Paul said...
    PPG - i have the whole soundtrack somewhere headed your way as soon as i get five minutes :) jamie Pearce will sound brillo in an empty room

    D'Luv to luv you baby - ooo i love he said she said though so i am very excited about singles that may be even better. Woo and may i add hoo! i DID know that Hang Onto Your Love was the second single and just got confused - i got it right in the tracklisting though. If you want to send me You Can Depend or She's In Love one would be showering you with gratitude :)
    DanProject76 said...
    Jason Donovan is rubbish but you prove once again to have the finest taste in televisual treats. Veronica Mars season 3 is great and it's mostly the evil Entertainment Weekly who have been moaning about it. Nip/Tuck's ending was great, wasn't it? I have heard that it's returning but I would be happy with that being it. Perfect although completely ripping off my favourite film.

    Thanks for plugging ASOS.Com. I have just had my delivery and am all happy with lovely new clothes!

    Merry Christmas!
    Paul said...
    ASOS are marv aren't they and so diverse. Je t'adore. And although i absolutely worship my subscription to entertainment weekly, they are wrong wrong wrong about Miss Mars :)
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