Friday, November 6, 2009

The Golden Boy

Mika "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" Album Review

Mika knows how to write a catchy tune and his sophomore album “The Boy Who Knew To Much” delivers the good. Mika borrows the best from pop music, although sometime you have to wonder if he doesn’t take too much, the opening track and first single “We Are Golden” sounds a lot like Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”. The album just gets better with the tongue and cheek cabaret style of “Blame It On The Girls” and the wonderful falsetto gem and possibly the best track “Rain”. Mika’s lyrics are not empty and have a kind of whimsical and satirical style on songs like “DR. John”, “One Foot Boy” and the circus themed “Boy Toy”, but when you peal away the happy melodies you’re left pondering what is he really talking about? “I See You” slows the album down along with the reggae style "Blue Eyes". “Good Girl Gone” sounds like he sampled the magic of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. Mika’s music is probably too gay and sugar pop to be played on American radio stations but his albums are never boring, his music leaves you singing and dancing only wanting more.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Boy Who Sang Too Much

Mika at the Electric Factory Philadelphia October 18th 2009

I have to start off by saying I really hate the venue, the sound at the Electric factory is not amazing and it's almost impossible to get to if you don’t have a car. Trying to cross under the vine expressway is dangerous (especially when the traffic lights are not working) and trying to get a taxi on the way back home was not fun.

The show starts with his band mates sitting on a couch with their backs to the audience (Mika if you are reading this you need to buy a new couch, this one is a bit torn and worn). They are watching cartoons on TV which gets interrupted by a newscaster played by actor Sir Ian McKellen (Lord Of The Rings) announcing that a lunched rocket ship is having technical difficulties, the next thing we see are the curtains opening, the band mates takes their places on a stage which is decorated with white orbs like planets hanging from the ceiling. An astronaut enters in one of those huge outfits from the late 60’s, he undresses to unveil none other then Mika himself in only a pair of white boxer shorts.



I was relieved when he dashed away to quickly dress up. The audience was filled with girls from the ages of 10-16, I was surrounded by them and their mothers, I felt out of place like I was at a Miley Cyrus concert.

Continuing on his love of the circus Mika was dressed in a splashy outfit part jester part rock star, he brought a huge suitcase on stage full of accessories with glasses and hats which he used throughout the show and for the song Boy Toy a marionette was brought up on stage. Mika puts on a very energetic show bopping from one side of the stage to the other, playing the piano and even using a garbage can as makeshift drums. On the opening song Relax he almost fell flat on his ass but quickly regained his posture and dusted himself off. The crappy sound of the Electric factory kind of drowned out his vocals but on songs like the beautiful Happy Endings from his debut LP he sounded great. For Big Girls Are Beautiful they plucked out 3 shapely girls from the audience before the show, dressed them in colourful outfits and had them dance on stage. Mika seemed impressed at how many people knew the words to album tracks like Billy Brown and One Foot Boy that have never hit the airwaves in the USA. Highlights included the fan favourite We Are Golden, Rain and Love Today, where he got everybody to close their eyes and jump up and down. I was horrified that he tried this, I kept my eyes open trying not to get crushed. Mika ended the concert like his previous tours with the song Lollipop with giant white balloon balls falling from the ceiling, and fans screaming for more.


Setlist

1. Relax
2. Big Girls Are Beautiful
3. Stuck in the Middle
4. Dr, John
5. Blue Eye
6. Touched You
7. Pick up off The Floor
8. One Foot Boy
9. Blame It On The Girls
10. Happy Endings
11. Billy Brown
12. I See You
13. Rain
14. Love Today
15. We Are Golden
16. Toy Boy
17. Grace Kelly
18. Lollipop

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Like a pure white diamond she shines on and on…


Kylie Live at the Hammerstein Ballroom New York City October 12th & 13th

It’s hard to review Kylie Minogue’s North American tour without thinking I might be a bit biased, but after seeing over 70 plus concerts in my life I can easily say that her concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom on October 12th is one of the best show I have ever seen. From the moment she descended on a giant skull singing “Light Years” dressed in her finest sci-fi gear you were mesmerized into Kylie’s world. She doesn’t just stand there and sing, her show was a kaleidoscope of colours, sliding walls, visual projections, dancing, and performances that could give Madonna a run for her money. The show was like going to a Broadway play about Kylie’s life story, so much was happening that it was hard to take it all in one viewing. For someone who is not a dancer Kylie moved around a lot and performed acrobatics as her dancers carried her or as she walked on their hands in the air with ease as if she was gliding across the floor. Did I mention the shower scene with the guys? Enough said.

If anybody thought she can’t sing just listen to her on her ballad section with songs like “White Diamond” or “Confide in Me”, I was surprised myself at how great her voice was. I never thought I would hear in North America songs like the encore "Better The Devil You Know", or "Shocked", and "What Do I Have To Do" which were featured in the medley. The great surprise of the evening came towards the end when she was asking for requests and the audience started chanting “Your Disco Needs You”. She sang the full song acapella with the audience singing along and even doing the back up vocals, the look on her face was priceless, she even sang the opera part at the end which I didn’t think was her voice on the record, I was wrong. The show had an incredible set list, I couldn’t complain even if some key songs were missing. To make it special for her North American fans Kylie premiered a great new song from her forthcoming album called “Better Than Today”.

I saw the show again on her last night. This time she didn’t sing “Your Disco Needs You” but kept “The One” from the original set list and as a special gift sang the jazzed up version of “I Should Be So Lucky” before she ended with “Love At First Sight” where I was drowned in confetti singing “I’m in love, I’m in love…

I waited 20 years but it was well worth the wait.

Check out all the latest Kylie news at www.kyliecanada.com









SETLIST

LIGHT YEARS
SPEAKERPHONE
COME INTO MY WORLD
IN YOUR EYES

MEDLEY: Shocked / What Do I Have To Do? / Spinning Around
BETTER THEN TODAY New song

LIKE A DRUG
BOOMBOX / CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD
SLOW
2 HEARTS
RED BLOODED WOMAN (WHERE THE WILD ROSES GROW)
CHEER SQUAD SEGUE
WOW

WHITE DIAMOND
CONFIDE IN ME
I BELIEVE IN YOU

BURNING UP / VOGUE
THE LOCOMOTION
KIDS
IN MY ARMS

BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
YOUR DISCO NEEDS YOU (Acapella) (October 12th only)
THE ONE (October 13th only)
I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY (October 13th only)
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's A Celebration


“34 songs that changed the world” is the tag line to Madonna new Greatest Hits compilation coming out September 29th. Not sure if all those songs changed the world but Madonna did change the face of pop music and became the blueprint to many wannabe Diva’s and female singers.

I still remember Holiday rising up the Billboard Charts in 1983 and peaking at #16. I thought she was black because of Shannon's hit Let The Music Play which was out at the same time, the songs to me sounded similar and I knew Shannon’s was black so I assumed so was she. When Madonna released her next song Borderline I was shocked to see a blonde white woman in the video. Borderline was her first top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and it just got better, by the time Lucky Star went top 5 they had to shelve her next album to let her first one run its course.

Like A Virgin exploded onto the scene in my graduating year of High School, I was completely hooked. The album produced 4 top 5 single, plus hits from elsewhere like the #1 movie tracks Crazy For You and my favorite dance song Into The Groove. Her Icon status was cemented with albums like True Blue which produced 5 top 5 singles and my favorite album Like A Prayer. Her songs like Express Yourself, La Isla Bonita, and Papa Don’t Preach were Iconic. Madonna could dance but could also write powerful songs with an emotional message like Live To Tell or Oh Father. She finished the 80’s with the gay dance anthem Vogue, a song that today still gets everybody on the dance floor. Her videos were groundbreaking and breathtaking and her concerts like the Blond Ambition tour were a spectacle. She pushed sexuality to the forefront but not as a victim but as a powerful woman in control of her sexuality.

Madonna was definitely my pop goddess but by the 90’s she started getting too serious artistically and lose the carefree attitude she had. I found it hard supporting an artist that charges $400 a ticket. $32.50 in 1987 to see her Who’s That Girl tour does not equal $400 in 2009. Her Erotica album was OK but I never really liked Bedtime Stories. I became interested again with her 90’s opus Ray Of Light produced by William Orbit, by then it was hit or miss depending on which producer and songwriters she would use. Her best material in my opinion was in the 80’s with songwriters Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard. I never liked French remixer Mirwais’s production on albums like Music and American Life. 2006 Confession On A Dancefloor produced by Stuart Price was a step in the right direction and a return to her past.

Madonna has ended her long contract with Warner music, her last studio album Hard Candy with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland came in with mixed review by critic and fans. While It’s not her best I thought it was better then some of her 90’s output. Celebration a 2 CD set is her last contractual album with Warner and I don’t envy the producers or management who had to decide which songs would make the final cut. Madonna fans have been bitching for years complaining about tracks that have been omitted from her previous compilations The Immaculate Collection and GHV2. She has sixty eight top 40 hits in the UK, forty eight in the USA, thirty seven have made the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, and twelve made it to # 1. Forty of her songs have topped the Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs Chart, the most by any artist ever. Let’s not start about which remix or edit of a particular song should be used. The fight about album version versus remixed 12”/dance version/extra beats, has been going on since Shep Pettibone remixed the entire Immaculate Collection CD.

Just as impressive if not more a DVD collection with 47 of her videos will also hit the store shelves. Did your favorite song, video and mix make the final cut?

CD1

01 Hung Up (Album Version) 5:36
02 Music (Album Version) 3:45
03 Vogue (Immaculate Collection Version) 5:16
04 4 Minutes (Radio Edit) 3:09
05 Holiday (Album Version) 6:08
06 Everybody (7" Edit) 4:11
07 Like A Virgin (Immaculate Collection Version) 3:09
08 Into The Groove (Album Version) 4:45
09 Like A Prayer (Album Version) 5:42
10 Ray Of Light (Radio Edit) 4:33
11 Sorry (Radio Edit) 3:58
12 Express Yourself (Immaculate Collection Version) 3:59
13 Open Your Heart (Immaculate Collection Version) 3:49
14 Borderline (Immaculate Collection Version) 3:58
15 Secret (Radio Edit) 4:28
16 Erotica (Radio Edit) 4:30
17 Justify My Love (Album Version) 4:54
18 Revolver 3:40

CD2

01 Dress You Up (Album Version) 4:02
02 Material Girl (Album Version) 4:00
03 La Isla Bonita (Album Version) 4:02
04 Papa Don't Preach (Album Version) 4:29
05 Lucky Star (Immaculate Collection Version) 3:39
06 Burning Up (Album/Video Version) 3:42
07 Crazy For You (Immaculate Collection Version) 3:44
08 Who's That Girl (Album Version) 3:58
09 Frozen (Album Version) 6:18
10 Miles Away (Radio Edit) 3:43
11 Take A Bow (Album Version) 5:20
12 Live To Tell (Album Version) 5:51
13 Beautiful Stranger (Album Version) 4:20
14 Hollywood (Album Version) 4:22
15 Die Another Day (Album Version) 4:36
16 Don't Tell Me (Radio Edit) 4:09
17 Cherish (Immaculate Collection Version) 3:50
18 Celebration 3:35


DVD Track Listing:

1) Burning Up
2) Lucky Star
3) Borderline
4) Like A Virgin
5) Material Girl
6) Crazy For You
7) Into The Groove
8) Live To Tell
9) Papa Don't Preach
10) True Blue
11) Open Your Heart
12) La Isla Bonita
13) Who's That Girl
14) Like A Prayer
15) Express Yourself
16) Cherish
17) Vogue
18) Justify My Love
19) Erotica
20) Deeper and Deeper
21) Rain
22) I'll Remember
23) Secret
24) Take A Bow
25) Bedtime Story
26) Human Nature
27) I Want You
28) You'll See
29) Frozen
30) Ray Of Light
31) The Power Of Good-Bye
32) Beautiful Stranger
33) American Pie
34) Music
35) Don't Tell Me
36) What It Feels Like For A Girl
37) Die Another Day
38) Hollywood
39) Love Profusion
40) Hung Up
41) Sorry
42) Get Together
43) Jump
44) 4 Minutes
45) Give It 2 Me
46) Miles Away
47) Celebration

Monday, September 21, 2009

Million Dollar Voice


Whitney Houston "I Look To You" album review

The album opens up with “Million Dollar Bill” penned by Alicia Keys, the song is a wonderful homage to the R & B groove of 70’s and from there the album doesn’t disappoint. My favourite track is Leon Russell’s “A Song For You” which start off slow and builds to a dance floor anthem. There was a bit of confusion as to which song would be the first single, “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” penned by Diane Warren was a contender and then dropped in favour of “I look To You”. I usually like Warren’s song, the lyrics are very meaningful to Whitney but there is something off with the vocal arrangement, it’s like the lyrics don’t fit the music. The beautiful title track written by R. Kelly was kept for 10 years by Clive Davis until he felt it was right for Whitney, or rather until she cleaned herself up. When reviewing an artist with a voice like Whitney I usually concentrate on the songs because she’s not a songwriter and is usually at the whim of her songwriters, but it’s no secret that Whitney has abused her vocal chords probably from smoking drugs through the years. Her voice is not what it used to be, you expect her to soar or crescendo on some of the songs but it never seems to happen, whether it was written that way or not it leaves you wondering. On the positive side her voice has a new raspy edge to it which gives it character and life. Lyrics like “I've acted out my love in stages with ten thousand people watching” come across as autobiographical, you get the feeling that all the songs were written for her. You can’t help but see the similarities to her life from the track “Nothing but Love” to the closing number “Salute” her swan song to Bobby Brown. “I Look To You” is great little collection of songs and possibly one of her most cohesive albums.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Meet The Beatles

In the fall of 1980 I bought my first stereo system and record player with my bar mitzvah money. It was a Lloyd’s system I bought it from my uncle who worked for the company. I’m not actually sure if my mom let my uncle take my money or not, I remember her arguing with him about payment. My mother went out and bought me a few album albums as gifts, one was John Lennon’s “Double Fantasy” the other was “Meet The Beatles”. I was not yet born when Beatlemania hit the shores of North America but I knew who the Beatles were, and understood their place in history. I grew up hearing their songs everywhere. I remember my friend Victor playing their anthology songbook on guitar and singing along. Playing that 33 1/3 vinyl record in my living room for the first time was like being transported back to 1963, my enthusiasm for the recording industry only grew from there.

29 years later on September the 9th 2009 I went to my local record store, they were having a Beatles party and picked up the new remastered edition of “With The Beatles”. The nostalgia happened all over again. You might notice that while the picture on the album sleeves is the same the title and track listing is different, it’s almost a different album. When Capitol Records released the Beatles in North America they amalgamated some of their earlier original UK albums to create hybrid collections. Their first Capitol album in North America had songs from both the “Please Please Me” and “With The Beatles” LP, and the single “I Want to Hold Your Hand” which was not on any LP at the time. The US version “Meet The Beatles” was released on CD for the first time in 2004 as part of “The Capitol Albums, Volume 1” box set.

As I was writing this blog I was made aware that Canada had it own version called “Beatlemania With The Beatles” It has the same tracklisting as the UK version but the cover had added text on the front and it was only released in mono. Canada didn’t get any Beatles albums in stereo till 1965.

I’ve been hearing many people ask recently what is the difference between the Beatles mono and stereo LP’s? Is one better? To answer that question I referred to one of the Beatles biggest expert and fanatic my friend Andy G., here’s what he had to say....

“Neither is better, they’re just different. The thing is that unlike most bands, the Beatles didn't just use mix downs of the stereo versions for the mono releases, George Martin made completely different mixes. So the mono isn't just "like adding the two sides of the stereo together", some of them have different instrumentation, different speeds, different takes of the song even. For example on "With the Beatles", "Money" has a different intro in mono, and parts of the mono are from take 6 while the stereo is all take 7.

Some albums (or songs even) I prefer the mono version, some the stereo. There's no real "better" overall though. The mono and stereo versions of "With The Beatles" were actually originally released (in the UK) on the same day, the mono wasn't first.”


I’m happy that the Beatles are getting the remastered treatment, they deserve it, it sounds great and the photos and liner notes are superb, my only is gripe is that over the years I’ve collected many of the Beatles CD’s which were originally released in 1988. I don’t suppose that Capitol/ EMI Records would create an exchange policy? I guess not.

It is still fun to know that in this day of digital download and throw away electronics that buying and listening to an album originally released in 1963 can still be exciting.

With The Beatles
Side A
It Won't Be Long Lennon/McCartney
All I've Got To Do Lennon/McCartney
All My Loving Lennon/McCartney
Don't Bother Me Harrison
Little Child Lennon/McCartney
Till There Was You Wilson
Please Mr. Postman Holland

Side B
Roll Over Beethoven Berry
Hold Me Tight Lennon/McCartney
You Really Got A Hold On Me W. Robinson
I Wanna Be Your Man Lennon/McCartney
Devil In Her Heart Drapkin
Not A Second Time Wilson
Money Berry/Gordy/Bradford

Meet The Beatles
Side A (LP)
I Want To Hold Your Hand Lennon/McCartney
I Saw Her Standing There Lennon/McCartney
This Boy Lennon/McCartney
It Won't Be Long Lennon/McCartney
All I've Got To Do Lennon/McCartney
All My Loving Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
Don't Bother Me Harrison
Little Child Lennon/McCartney
Till There Was You Wilson
Hold Me Tight Lennon/McCartney
I Wanna Be Your Man Lennon/McCartney
Not A Second Time Wilson

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Atlantic City Boy


Pet Shop Boys Concert Review

Over 25 years in the business and the boys are still in top shape and can outdo many of their modern contemporaries. They put on a fabulous visual show but it started late and the sound wasn’t great. The doors opened at 8:00 but they didn't grace the stage till 9:50 and that was after their computer technician was testing and arranging the generated images on the screen for about 10 minutes. It was a small venue and it was great seeing them up close but the acoustics had too much bass and it almost drowned out Neil’s vocals, the venue with a low ceiling did not seem to be made for good sound.

They always have interesting set lists which include hits, fan favourites and lesser know songs. I would have replaced “Jealousy”, and the “Two Divided by Zero” medley which seem to lose momentum after Go West. The dancers, choreography and visuals were superb especially when the wall in “Building A Wall” came crashing down to reveal the back drop to “Go West”, who would have though that simple boxes could create such imagery. Many of the songs had bits and pieces of other songs, "Domino Dancing" is listed on the set list but it’s just a line or two from the song. There were so many mash ups I probably missed a few. I wish they would have sung the full version of “Closer To Heaven” which sounded beautiful in acapella. I was grateful that they added “New York City Boy” a favourite of mine which they never usually do. The crowd seem to go crazy for “Always On My Mind”, “Suburbia” and "Se A Vida E". They did 5 songs from the new album most went over well especially “All Over the World” (It would make a great single). “The Way It Used to Be” is nice on CD but it got lost in concert, I would have preferred to have heard “Beautiful People” which is being released as a single in Germany.

They did not sell out, I was able to buy tickets the night before and the room was not full. It was a strange crowd, there were some die hard fans but I don’t think Atlantic City was typical of their audiences. A fun visual concert, I’d be curious to see it in a different venue.


1. Heart
2. Did You See Me Coming?
3. Pandemonium/Can You Forgive Her?
4. Love etc.
5. Building a Wall/Integral
6. Go West
7. Two Divided by Zero/Why Don't We Live Together
8. New York City Boy
9. Always on My Mind
10. Closer to Heaven/Left to My Own Devices
11. Do I Have To?
12. The Way It Used to Be
13. Jealousy
14. Suburbia
15. All Over the World
16. Se A Vida E/Discoteca/Domino Dancing/Viva la Vida
17. It's a Sin
18. Being Boring
19. West End Girls

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Love Comes: The Banana's are still FAB!


After 25 years there's no stopping these girls. Bananarama have signed a deal with Fascination Records (Girls Aloud, Sophie Ellis-Bextor) and are back with a fabulous new song Love Comes written by Sara, Keren and master dance producer Ian Masterson (Kylie & Dannii Minogue). Check out the FAB video, I can't wait for the album.



Love Comes is out September 6th and their 10th studio album Viva is out on the 14th. The album contains 7 new tracks written by the girl and 3 cover songs. As of now the album will be released in the UK, no word if it will be released in the USA or Canada but you can pre-order it along with the single on their site www.bananarama.co.uk/

Pre-order Bananarama

Viva the tracklist

1. Love Comes
2. Love Don’t Live Here
3. Rapture
4. Seventeen
5. Twisting
6. Tell Me Tomorrow
7. The Runner
8. Extraordinary
9. Dum Dum Boy
10. S-S-S-Single Bed
11. We’ve Got The Night

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Remember The Time


It was the summer of 1983, I was 15 years old. My days were spent at my mother’s cottage just an hour outside of the city. I remember going to buy the Thriller album with my mom it was vinyl 33 and a third, CD’s were many years away let alone digital music. The album had already spun five top ten single and would go on for a record seven. It was Jackson mania, Billie Jean, Beat it, the moonwalk and those video’s were groundbreaking. I remember dancing on the balcony trying desperately to master the art of spinning around like Michael did. Anybody who knows me, can tell I learned to dance from the Michael Jackson school. This was my era my “time”, growing up in one of the most exciting and innovative times in music.

When his follow up “Bad” came out in 1987 I was already all grown up, and heavily into buying my own music. Bad is still my favourite Jackson album, unlike Thriller he wrote most of the album himself. I found the tunes had so much more energy and drive. Smooth Criminal is still my favourite video and song followed by Man In The Mirror penned by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard. How fitting that this week Man in the Mirror is the highest new entry at #11 on the UK charts and could be #1 next week.

Being a Jackson fan over the years was not easy as his life decayed into a circus of rumours, weirdness, and his face constantly morphing. Not much of it bothered me until the scandals and allegations of child abuse appeared. Now no one will ever know the truth. I actually stopped listing for a while. I felt ashamed every time I would hear Billie Jean at a wedding or event not knowing if I should dance or not.

June 25th had mixed emotions for me. It was the death of an era, my years growing up, a time of innocence. No doubt Jackson had a troubled childhood. He became the biggest star in the universe but I wonder was it all worth it to have it decay and fade out at 50. Was he really happy? His comeback was literally just around the corner with 50 concerts planned in the UK, but that was not meant to happen. A truly sad ending. Now I listen once again to those drums and the famous baseline that started it all...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Did You See Them Coming?


Review: Pet Shop Boys album “Yes” (Released on 23 March in the UK and April 21 in the USA)

20 years later the boys are still putting out excellent pop music and remain masters at dance and electronica. This time around they hire Brian Higgins and his power machine Xenomania (Sugababes, Girls Aloud) to help co-write and produce some of the tracks. The team up produces a very cohesive, although sometimes homogenized modern pop album. Best tracks are “Did You See Me Coming?” with its beautiful guitar backing, “Beautiful People” and “Pandemonium” which sounds like classic Pet Shop Boys (think “Can You Forgive Her’). The album gets beautifully haunting with “All Over The World” a track that borrows from Tchaikovsky Nutcracker and the poetic war song “Building A Wall” where Neil sings "There's no where to defect to any more, I'm building a wall A fine wall Not so much to keep you out More to keep me in". Many have said this is their best since their 1993 album "Very" 8.5/10

The Boys will be kicking off their North America tour at the end of the summer in Montreal and continue throughout the month of September.



Aug 29—Montreal, Canada (Metropolis)
Sept 1—New York, NY (Hammerstein)
Sept 2—New York, NY (Hammerstein)
Sept 3—Washington, DC (Constitution Hall)
Sept 5—Boston, MA (House of Blues)
Sept 6—Atlantic City, NJ (House of Blues)
Sept 9—Miami, FL (Fillmore)
Sept 10—Tampa, FL (Tampa Bay PAC)
Sept 11—Orlando, FL (House of Blues)
Sept 12—Atlanta, GA (Chastain)
Sept 14—Chicago, IL (Chicago Theater)
Sept 15—Milwaukee, WI (Pabst Ballroom)
Sept 19—Vancouver, BC (Vancouver Centre of Performing Arts)
Sept 20—Seattle, WA (Moore)
Sept 22—San Francisco, CA (Warfield)
Sept 23—San Francisco, CA (Warfield)
Sept 24—Los Angeles, CA (Greek Theatre)
Sept 26—Las Vegas, NV (Joint)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

After 20 Years The Wait Is Over...



I still can't believe it true but it's posted on her official website kylie.com Kylie is touring North America in only 6 cities including Toronto and NY.

8 years ago I started kyliecanada.com to get Kylie played on the radio in Canada and the USA. My ultimate goal was to have her tour North America, and now it's happening.

06.05.2009
Kylie's North American fans will finally get a chance to experience the pop superstar live in concert when her 6-city tour kicks off in Oakland, San Francisco on September 30th!

Over the course of her extraordinary 20-year-career, Kylie has undertaken 8 sold-out world tours including last year's KylieX2008 tour which traveled to 21 countries throughout Europe, South America, Dubai, Asia, New Zealand and Australia, generating an estimated $70,000,000 in ticket sales. Kylie couldn't be more excited about her first ever tour through North America.

"I've wanted to tour in America and Canada for years," admits Kylie, "I know that fans have been waiting a long time for this and I'm thrilled that the opportunity has finally arrived."

Kylie's eagerly-awaited North American concert debut is being produced by Los Angeles-based concert promotion firm Bill Silva Presents (BSP).

"Kylie has such a successful career outside of North America that it has taken quite a while to find a window in her schedule for the U.S. and Canada," said Silva. "Her amazing fans in North America will be well rewarded for their patience when they experience her show and its entire spectacle. We are confident in the tour's success, and hope that Kylie will make this the first of many tours to our shores."

Tickets will go on sale in each market on the weekend of May 15, however early access to tickets in the U.S. will be available to American Express Cardmembers beginning this Thursday, May 7, through Ticketmaster. Members of Kylie's mailing list via her official website www.Kylie.com will receive an exclusive email that contains information of special ticket pre-sale offers.

Kylie Minogue North American Tour



30/09 Fox Theatre - Oakland, San Francisco Bay Area
01/10Fox Theatre - Oakland, San Francisco Bay Area
03/10 The Pearl 'Palms Resort & Casino' - Las Vegas, NV
04/10 Hollywood Bowl - Los Angeles, CA
07/10 The Congress Theater - Chicago, IL
09/10 Air Canada Centre - Toronto, ON
11/10 Hammerstein Ballroom - NYC, NY
12/10 Hammerstein Ballroom - NYC, NY
13/10 Hammerstein Ballroom - NYC, NY

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bronson's Chart Run Is Over

After 16 years with Billboard magazine chart Guru Fred Bronson has left the HOT 100. Bronson is considered by many to be “America's foremost music chart journalist”.

In 1993 Fred took over Chart Beat in Billboard magazine from it’s originator Paul Grein, the column later moved to full digital in 2005 on the web. He started Chart Beat Chat online in 1996 where I was happy to get a few of my letters printed. He has written several books including the awesome Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits, and The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, and has written for many music award shows and a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Fred’s column was not just about the record breaking songs or how many weeks it spent at number one. He had a way of writing and infusing his personality and music history into his column that made you feel like you were chatting with an old friend. He loved to make you discover new or old music you may not have heard before. Fred is probably the reason why I love writing album and music reviews and why I started blogging on the web. His last column on March 5 was a shock to many, he sites the economy saying “I didn’t plan on such an early exit, but these are tough economic times and that is just a reality, even though ending this long assignment seems surreal to me, too.”

The new Chart Beat column which is a mix of different writers just doesn’t have the same appeal or heart, it comes off feeling cold, Billboard made a big mistake. Fred’s weekly chat will be missed by many.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Recycle Round

I have no problem with artists doing cover songs, then can even turn a disco hit into heavy metal but why do they have to sample an old hit to create a tune? The obvious answer would be because most artists these days have no creativity.

The new #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 is by macho rap artist Flo Rida called “Right Round”. I find it so ironic that it samples one of the gayest songs ever “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” by Dead Or Alive. Their lead singer Pete Burns was one of the biggest Transgendered stars of the 80’s next to Boy George. The song was a campy dance floor classic co-written and produced by the UK’s hit factory team of Stock/Aiken/Waterman, who catapulted people like Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue and Bananarama to superstardom.

The comments on Youtube on their respective videos is hilarious, people calling the Dead Or Alive version “faggy” but loving the new Flo Rida song, some don’t want to believe that the Dead Or Alive version came first. The original is a classic this new version is not.


The original “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” by Dead Or Alive




Flo Rida’s “Right Round”

Monday, February 9, 2009

Grammy Duets



The performances on the Grammy Awards last night were smoking, the odd pairings turned out to be quite interesting. My favourites included Justin Timberlake and Al Green singing “Let’s Stay Together” and Smokey Robinson, Jamie Fox, Ne-Yo and the last remaining member of the Four Tops paying tribute to the legendary group. Even pairing up Stevie Wonder and the Jonas Brothers proved fruitful. Katie Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” was the pop portion of the evening, arriving in a giant banana surrounded by fruit. I felt her vocals were a bit off and I couldn’t help thinking this should be Kylie up their performing and not her. There were so many performances, that you almost forgot it was an award show. The Grammy’s gave out 108 awards this year yet they only showed about a dozen on air. I realise that most would rather see the performances but they could have shown at least a handful more.

I don’t understand the Album and Record of the year going Robert Plant & Alison Krauss for “Raising Sand”, they won 5 Grammys in all. Coldplay picked up 3 for Song of the Year, Best Rock Album and Group for "Viva La Vida". Jennifer Hudson picking up her first Grammy for Best R & B Album was the poignant moment of the evening, after losing her brother and mother who were killed this year. Best New Artist when to Brit singer Adele who won 2 Grammy’s last night for her song “Chasing Pavements”, and her fellow country-woman Duffy picked up the Best Pop Vocal Album for “Rockferry”. My biggest disappointment of the evening was Kylie Minogue not winning Best Dance Electronic Album, I was hoping that if Kylie didn’t win at least it would be Cyndi Lauper or Robyn but the award went to Daft Punk for their album "Alive 2007" they picked up another award for Best Dance Recording for “Harder Better Faster Stronger”. For a list of all the winners go to www.grammy.com

I’m not usually into gossip but for those wondering, Rihanna and her boyfriend Chris Brown both cancelled their performances. Brown is being investigated by the police for allegedly assaulting an unidentified woman Saturday night, the woman in question is believed to be none other then his girlfriend Rihanna.

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Pet Shop Boys

New Pet Shop Boys single "Love Etc" to be released March 16th from the forthcoming album "Yes" which drops March 23rd, co-written and produced by Xenomania.



Xenomania are the hot producers/songwriters in the UK at the moment, they have written many hits for the Sugababes, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Girls Aloud, Dannii and Kylie Minogue. Their leader and founder Brian Higgins co-wrote "Believe" for Cher before he started his own label.

The song was posted on Youtube but EMI Records pulled it off, you would think they would want it promoted no? Record companies are really stupid sometimes.

I really like the song, love the boys choir in the background, it's very catchy. Too bad that radio probably won't play their music. If you're not 20 or the sound du jour you'll never never get on a playlist or chart.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stealing From The Brits

Many artists do cover songs but it really annoys me when American singers cover recent British hits. So much great British music goes unnoticed in North America. It’s a good strategy to cover a hit unheard of in the USA, but I would rather the original artist get the credit. Jessica Simpson's ex Nick Lachey new single is "Patience". The song is a cover of Take That’s big #1 comeback song. It won a Brit awards for the quartet as best single last year. It’s not like Nick put a new twist on the song it’s very similar, but it doesn’t come off as genuine as when it's sung by it’s songwriter, Take That’s lead singer Gary Barlow. You be the judge.

Take That-Patience




Nick Lachey-Patience


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Going GaGa For The Lady

Fame Lady GaGa the album review



The new number one song in the USA and the UK is Lady Gaga's "Just Dance". Who you ask? Her real name Joanne Stefani Germanotta she’s a 22 year old singer/songwriter from New York City. She has written songs for the Pussycats Dolls, Britney Spears and New Kids On The Block. She considers herself a performance and visual artist sighting Andy Warhol for inspiration.

The record is so European sounding that I was shocked to find out she is American. Has electronic dance music finally conquered the North American market? Gaga definitely knows how to write a pop song with hooks and melodies that drag you right in. Her influences are David Bowie and Queen (her name was chosen from their hit "Radio Gaga"), but aside from the title track I don’t hear the influence on her record which is mostly heavy club and dance rhythms. I have to admit I was first put off by "Just Dance" and her new song "Poker Face" which I found annoying but the album is quite solid. My favourite tracks are the slower jams "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)", "Paparazzi", "Summerboy" and "Boys, Boys, Boys" her ode to Mötley Crüe's hit "Girls, Girls, Girls". Her version could well become a gay anthem. "Paper Gangsta" has a great melody and a driving keyboard line throughout the song that is just delicious, it reminds me a bit of Mika, the lyrics “Sometimes I felt so Def in the Jam”, “don’t want no paper gangsta won’t sign no monkey papers I don’t do funny business not interested in fakers” could the song be about her record deal with Def Jam that fell apart?

The only odd song is the ballad "Brown Eyes" which seems lost on the record. It looks like I have my first entry for top albums of 2009.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2008 the year in music review

The Billboard charts and playlists of 2008 were dominated by R&B and rap artists like Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and TI but it saw an insurgence of dance and pop music. Acts like Kate Perry (I Kissed A Girl), Pink, Natasha Bedingfield and as I'm writing this, Britney Spears (Circus) and Lady Gaga (Just Dance) are charting in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100. The women kept dominating with newcomer Leona Lewis, Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and left over from last year Rihanna. Unfortunately my favourite diva Kylie Minogue couldn't break out from Europe and land a hit across the ocean. (For those wondering her album X is listed in my top list from last year). Madonna teamed up with Justin Timberlake and had only 4 Minutes to save the world. Coldplay came back with a huge 1 and the teeny boppers went wild for the Jonas Brothers. Unfortunately some of my favourite albums didn't impact the charts, Donna Summer and Cyndi Lauper put out stellar albums and my favourite of the year Robyn had minor success in the USA. All in all not a bad year lets hope the charts keep getting more diversified in 2009.



Top Albums of 2008


01 Robyn--Robyn

One of the best pop dance album's of the new millennium, every song is ace. I love the fact that Robyn remembers to incorporate beautiful melodies to back up her beats from Be Mine, Crash and Burn Girl and Bum Like You. Who can sit down with tracks like Handle Me, Who's That Girl and the 1 smash With Every Heartbeat. If you want something different try Cobrastyle and Konichiwa Bitches. This is how you make a great pop album. 9.5/10



02 Pocketful of Sunshine--Natasha Bedingfield

If at first you don't succeed…the album is actually a hybrid of best songs (Soulmate, Backyard) from her previous UK album "NB" and adds 7 urban funky tunes for the US market. From the uplifting top 5 title track to Put Your Arms Around Me Natasha delivers a great pop album. She has a beautiful voice and sings with affection and emotion. Natasha knows how to string lyrics into modern poetry that sound more sophisticated then just a pop song. Check out the adorable Freckles or the haunting Pirate Bones. 9/10



03 Departure-- Jesse McCartney

I never thought I would buy a Jesse McCartney album, I had no idea who he was. The skinny white kid delivers an R & B album better then some of his black contemporaries. From the top ten hit Leavin' to the beautiful ballad Not Your Enemy he's like a modern Michael Jackson check out Running Away. Best tracks are How Do You Sleep, My Baby and Relapse which are screaming to be hits, I can't get enough of them. Even when he slows the groove down on Into Ya, Makeup or I Told You So he hits the mark. 9/10



04 Hard Candy--Madonna

I thought I would hate this album but it's not that bad. My biggest criticism is that hot producers Timbaland and Pharell overpower the songs with too many beats and unnecessary raps like Kanye West on The Beat Goes On, I much prefer the demo version which has more lyrics. Best songs are She's Not Me, the Justin Timberlake duet 4 Minutes, and Miles Away again less production would have been better. It's not her best album but it's not her worst that title goes to American Life and Bedtime Stories. 8.5/10




05 Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends--Coldplay

My first Coldplay album, I had a hard time placing it in the top ten. I absolutely fell in love with the song Viva La Vida when I saw the Ipod commercial for the first time. Unfortunately the rest of the album doesn't sound much like it. Best songs are Violet Hill, Strawberry Swing and the Instrumental first track Life In Technicolor, I wonder why they didn't put lyrics to it? Coldplay are an acquired taste some of the song are a bit too slow for me. 8.5/10




06 Crayons--Donna Summer

Her record label wanted her to do covers but Donna refused and lucky for us because she produced and wrote a kick ass dance album. From Stamp Your Feet to I'm A Fire Donna shows us why she is Queen on the dancefloor. Fame (The Games) sounds modern and 80's cool all at the same time, she dabbles into a bit of Reggae with the title track and Driving Down To Brazil . Be sure to pick up the Circuit City edition which has the bonus track It's Only Love a throw back to her's 70's groove. 8/10



07 Bring Ya To The Brink--Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi hooks up with European producers to delivers a non stop dance album with a 70's and 80's retro flavour. Song like Into The Nightlife, Set Your Heart and my favorite Same Old Story will keep you pumping on the floor till the last call. 8/10




08 Spirit-- Leona Lewis

The winner of UK 's X-Factor (their version of Idol), the mega single Bleeding Love and a push by Simon Cowell proved to be a huge success. She has a great voice and could be the next Whitney or Mariah. Best tracks are Better In Time and the upbeat Forgive Me. The rest of the album falls into the usual R & B fluff you hear on the radio. Only time will tell if she lasts or fades into obscurity. 7.5/10




09 Delta-- Delta Goodrem

Australian singer/songwriter's 3rd album. Best tracks are the piano power ballad In This Life, Believe Again, and God Laughs. Delta tries to dance it up with You Will Only Break My Heart but she's best at the slow tracks. The USA version contains her 1 smash hit Born To Try from her first album. 7.5/10



10 Change--Sugababes

I know the album was released in late 2007 and they have a new one out now but I only discovered this CD recently and I haven't bought the current one. Despite going though many Changes the girls deliver a really fun pop album. From the 1 smash About You Now to my favorite Denial they know how to produce pop. Other great tracks include Back When, Changes, and My Love Is Pink. 7.5/10

Singles of the year

01 Viva La Vida Coldplay
02 In My Arms Kylie Minogue
03 Bleeding Love Leona Lewis
04 The One Kylie Minogue
05 Pocketful Of Sunshine Natasha Bedingfield
06 With Every Heartbeat Robyn
07 4 Minutes Madonna & Justin Timberlake
08 Who's That Girl Robyn
09 War On War Sam Harris
10 Wow Kylie Minogue
11 In This Life Delta Goodrem
12 Leavin' Jesse McCartney
13 Believe Again Delta Goodrem
14 Denial Sugababes