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Yo zappy dudes. What a miserable day it is. Though I drove to work today again, and had Simon Curtis on quite loud in the car. Purgatory sounds AMAZING with the volume up – his multi layered vocals are quite lovely. So that cheered me up through the rain a little bit, though when I parked I had a bit of an obsessive compulsive moment. First I had to run back to check I had locked it (I had) then I had to go back to see if I had put the handbrake on (I had), then I had to go back to see if I had locked it again after checking the handbrake. And I had. At this point I came to the conclusion that I clearly need to be medicated before being allowed out and left it as it was. God knows if I turned the headlights off or not, though to be fair it does beep at me if that's the case ;) I only have two days left of work now and mine isn't the sort of job where you have a daily routine to get through, so I have to confess it's a little dull at the moment! Maybe that's why my mind is so active on other things. At least it's given me time to work on my novel and some other stuff that you will see soon :) And! Oh my gosh – aren't the Brit Awards as shockingly dull as ever? I snoozed off halfway through reading them! Still the new Take That video looks bloody brilliant…
Thezapping hasn't been particularly cutting edge this week has it? We've been retrospecticating all over your asses and hardly highlighted any of the brilliant new pop music that is springing up all around us. I'll get to it tomorrow and Friday I promise, but for today I am going to highlight something I didn't really expect to like but quite do actually. It's certainly strange when that happens as Dan can testify with Taylor Hicks clogging up his recently ;) Still, when on a whim I picked up a new album by 70s folky pop superstars, America (formed in England!) I was instantly drawn into their familiar sounding tunes that bear all the hallmarks of classic America while being given a contemporary boost by collaborators as varied as Ryan Adams, Nada Surf, Smashing Pumpkins and Fountains of Wayne (who of course did wonders with The Click Five). America are actually the Outkast of the 70s – there are two singers and songwriters, each with their own distinctive flavouring and the two produce beautiful harmonies together. Tracks like Chasing The Rainbow is pure and sweet pop that has wisely been chosen as the lead off single. The band bounce between uptempo gems such as Look At Me Now and Always Love, shine on a purely melodic remake of My Morning Jacket's Golden and show a sensitive side on incandescent ballads like Love and Leaving. They may not be cool, and they may not set the pop charts alight, but much like your favourite comfort food, it's utterly delightful when you are craving it…
LINK: Purchase Here and Now
And so we rewind to what may possibly be Deborah's finest pop album since ditching Debbie…but it took a while to come together and there were a plethora of other tracks hanging around in the mean time. With the new millennium, came a new attitude for Deborah and she stopped trying to figure out what the pop world wanted and just get on and do her thing. First out the box was a piano only with vocal accompaniment track written especially for those new year feelings called With All My Heart. Certainly one of Deborah's most stunning vocals to date, it was a fan club only release that would do just fine chart wise if farmed out to Leona Lewis or someone of her "ilk"… Also floating around at this point was a charity track called Right on Time, another tender ballad that showcased Deborah's vocal capabilities and pure pop voice. Around April 2000, the album (at this point untitled) was tentatively mooted as on the way and You Belong To Me, a perky if somewhat tinny pop song circulated as first single. After two strong ballads, this was a little bit of a let down, so it's no surprise that it was quickly forgotten and the much sturdier poptastic What You Want released as the first single proper. (B)rimming with a chunky chorus, pop beats and a little bit of sassy attitude it was the ideal song for Debs to crack the British pop charts with (particularly as pop was at a peak with Kylie, S Club and Steps all dominating the charts). Even the b-side (Comes Right Back) was a stand out gently strumming acoustic mid tempo romp. However, the real joy was to come when MYOB was released as the title track from the album. Written and produced by the Alessi Brothers, how this song wasn't topping the charts for weeks continues success in later years, the song took a playground chant and took it into a gloriously dark disco influenced journey of a tale of love spurned, jealousy, gossip and mistrust. And the to keep me awake at night. Utilising gimmicks that would give Gwen her dance remixes were pretty spectacular too – particularly as vocals were re-recorded to match the mood of the remix, rather than just cutting them in after. Then in March 2001, the album dropped and was an instant pop classic for me, along side Light Years, Like A Prayer and Music Box. 3rd single – Your Secret – was another dark dance stomper (being tired of being the other woman has never sounded so frug-worthy), but overshadowed by other tunes on the album. Down That Road was another great ballad, while The One was co-written with Chynna Phillips and featured a soaring vocal on an almost midtempo number. In Blue and Jaded saw Deborah embrace a more jazz influenced sound, while a remake of Knock Three Times with Tony Orlando was a lot of fun, but completely unnecessary considering the quality of the rest of the disc. Around November 2001, Deborah re-recorded a track from a musical about Zorro she had been in entitled What Makes A Hero and sang it live at a benefit for those affected by the twin towers disaster. Even in it's original form, it's a beautiful tale of the ordinary among us doing extraordinary things. 2002 dawned and saw an unofficial remix of album track Wishing You Were Here turned from a soothing AC type tune into a pulsating dance anthem to great effect. And when two futher demos from this period appeared on Memory Line (Any Other Man and the gorgeous ballad Run To Her echoing the more sombre themes of Your Secret), it was clear that this overlooked cd saw Deborah at the top of her pop game. Below is how I would repackage the album for today's audience…Tomorrow ~ Deborah gets independent…
MYOB / Your Secret / What You Want / You Belong To Me / Right On Time / Down That Road / Comes Right Back / The One / Wishing You Were Here / With All My Heart / Run To Her / What Part Of No / In Blue / Jaded / Any Other Man / Knock Three Times / Portrait In Loneliness / Light The World
LINK: Purchase MYOB
LINK: Purchase Memory Lane Volume One
So after the unexpected failure of Kara's Flowers and the Stagg Street recordings leading to nothing, 4 became 5 when joined the band and they were reborn as Maroon 5. Adam had clearly been improving his vocals and the band were influenced heavily by the more funky r'nb stylings of the late 60s and early 70s. Much has been written about their "debut" album Songs About Jane being Adam's breakup process, but whatever the underlying factors it resulted in one of the most accessible and melodic albums of the new millennium. Percolating since 2002, it didn't start to break big until late 2003 when the band's music was featured in my favourite movie, Love, Actually and lead off single Harder To Breathe started to saturate the airwaves. The song possessed an urgency and catchiness along side a gritty looking video and frankly, I couldn't get it out of my head for weeks. When I finally purchased the album it was played non stop for most of 2004. Everybody knows about This Love which became one of the biggest radio smashes of the year and saw Adam looking very RAR in the video. Almost anyone of the other tracks on the album could've been a hit – She Will Be Loved wisely was chosen and gave the band the cigarette lighter waving ballad for the stadiums. Other tracks like Sunday Morning and Sweetest Goodbye saw the sweeter side of M5 while Not Coming Home and Shiver saw their fusion of funk, pop and rock mix together so well that it didn't matter that it wasn't original – it was just done so darn well. A more soulful jam appeared in the form of Woman – a Kanye West collaboration for the Spiderman 2 movie. Incessant touring kept the band in the charts and on the road for most of 04/05 and they were rewarded with multi platinum sales in each country and four grammy awards. And in return I got an album that I'm still not tired of 3 years after first hearing it. Tomorrow ~ maroon 5 go live and unreleased…
LINK: Maroon 5's myspace page
LINK: Purchase Songs About Jane
~ Prison Break is back next week and Wentworth has kindly got all stylish for Italian magazine D: la Repubblica delle Donne (pick us up a copy would ya Pinks!)
~ Robpop likes me he really likes me. Well my blog :) It's really just some random rantings! And he's now a fan of Sean Conlon! Who we got all excited over here and then nada! Though we did say to look out in feb...
~ clearly reading thezapping and taking our advice, Westlife have a dance remix of Total Eclipse of the Heart coming out. Hurrah (goodbye credibility!!)
~ New boyband? Sadly not but the ever brilliant kids show MI:High featured the gregory triplets as boyband crush in the funky episode aired on Monday :)
~ Apply to be Andi's boyfriend! I can't remember how he got to be a myspace friend, but he has Baz from Digital in his top eight so it's all good!
Coming tomorrow! Some new pop bands! More retrospecticus! Maybe some fashion tips! Who knows!


  1. Poster Girl said...
    I went to Westlife's MySpace page (because I, too, think it's sort of cool/exciting that they're getting a remix of that song...and that they're releasing that as the next single), and I'd never heard that last song on there before (even though its apparently from Face to Face)--"Hit You With The Real Thing"--and I really like it! Honestly, how can you not like a song that talks about an "electro paradise"?

    I loved that "Wishing You Were Here" remix when you posted it earlier, and still do, although I didn't realize it was unofficial!

    And the retrospectives are great!
    tombigbee said...
    Been checking out your blog for a few weeks now. Not bad! Especially like the DG retrospectives because I lost track of her after Body.Mind.Soul until recently. BMS was really excellent, especially Free Me. Hoping she manages to match that again some day. Can't really listen to the very early stuff any more. Tried in the car the other day but it made my teeth rot! Keep it up!
    tombigbee said...
    Oh by the way I noticed someone (possibly you) posted somewhere recently that Love or Lust was a Japan b side. In fact it was on the UK CD single release which I bought at the time. I think it is in the back of a cupboard at my Mum and Dad's house. Must dig it out some time!
    Dan said...
    Taylor Hicks was my number three artist this week on - behind Madge and the illustrious Casey Stratton. I was nervous there for a while as I thought that he certainly would top my charts this week. Imagine my relief when I saw that to not be the case! Whew! My musical credibility hasn't completely gone into the trash can.

    I really love the retrospectives as well - I totally love revisiting old albums or artists that I might have forgotten about. Frequently, you can find such hidden gems that you had completely and utterly forgotten about. I am finally going to be posting that long delayed Eurythmics "Revenge" entry sometime very soon here.

    Have fun in New York - if I could, I'd meet you out there for lunch, but you know, not independently wealthy yet! ;)
    J'ason D'luv said...
    Those Gregory Triplets look like they need a lashing from Daddy's riding crop.

    As for NY, I'd reccomend my fave coffee dive, The Big Cup in Chelsea, but sadly it's closed now :( There's a good Starbucks across the street from where it used to be -- best hot chocolate of any Starbucks in the world.

    Oh, you probably wanted cultural suggestions for your trip.... like the 3-story Virgin Megastore in Times Square or the 4-story H&M....
    Nick said...
    I want to see that MI:High show so bad but I cannot find it anywhere on the net. Sigh.
    Paul said...
    Veronica PG - my gob has been well and truly smacked that you have never heard of one of westlifes finer songs. But now you have and the world is no longer a kimber.

    Hello tombigbee! You are right - love or lust was the b-side here in angleterre too! How fortuitous! And shame on me for not remembering! Glad you enjoying la debs and the blog. Say hi more often :)

    Dan - i look forward to your Revenge!! and am glad taylor hicks wasn't your most played artist. it's ok to have guilty pleasures but one can go over the top. I got independently wealthy by selling myself round the back of Helga's Massage Parlour. How do you think i met darren?!

    D'luv to luv you baby! Thanks for the hot choccie tip. I will give you my verdict soon! And who is to say that the gregory trips haven't been given 6 of the best with the riding crop... it's kept me busy all weekend!!

    Nick - i'll see what i can do!

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