No One Will Care About It In Five Years

July 28th, 2015

 

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I recently ranted a bit about Nicki Minaj. You might also know that such ranting put me under the ire of several feminists who think that white men have no right to critique pop music sung by a woman. (They may claim otherwise, but that’s what they’re doing). Go there for more information. I feel that a few of the people who attacked me might have some good points, if they didn’t decide to dogpile and insult me non-stop. If you do read their comments, don’t reply though. I’m not in the business of sending hate mobs. I just thought the entire disaster was worth mentioning.

I was going to write about this tonight. But I can’t find the words to express myself in a way that doesn’t come off as horribly defensive or dismissive. (It’s almost like race and media are complex issues and that a person’s value or worth as a feminist can’t be defined by a singular viewpoint regarding a single artist!) So here’s a depressing song instead.

UNKLE
Rabbit In Your Headlights (Instrumental)
Rabbit In Your Headlights (Underdog Mix)
Rabbit In Your Headlights (Underdog Instrumental)
Rabbit In Your Headlights (3D Mix Reverse Light)
Rabbit In Your Headlights (3D Mix Reverse Light Instrumental)
Rabbit In Your Headlights (Suburban Hell Mix)
I love this song, but damn it makes “No Surprises” by Radiohead sound like a party jam in comparison. These remixes don’t do much to alleviate that, and are all just dark and oppressively sad in their own ways. Still a solid tune though.

Village People
Milkshake
I Love You To Death
Okay fine, let’s go out tonight on a high note. Have you ever seen Can’t Stop The Music? You should see Can’t Stop The Music. It’s a musical starring the Village People, Steve Guttenberg and Caitlin (at the time Bruce) Jenner. It might be the greatest movie ever made. It is certainly one of the gayest movies ever made. And trust me, I’ve seen some gay-ass movies. Notice that I said gay-ass movies and not gay ass-movies.

That’s a whole other genre.

Anyways, the soundtrack to Can’t Stop The Music is unfortunately out of print. There’s a lot of amazing stuff on that LP if you’re a fan of horrible cheese, and I thought I’d pick two of the best tonight.

“Milkshake” is a song…about milk. In the movie the Village People are hired to sing a song for a milk commercial and this is what happens. And it’s not an innuendo either, it’s literally a song about how great milkshakes are. The end. It’s amazing.

BUT NOT AS AMAZING AS “I LOVE YOU TO DEATH.”

Unfortunately I can’t find the video on YouTube, but it’s nothing more than the construction worker flaming it up around a construction site for three minutes while women in red evening dresses alternately fawn over and ignore him. It’s pretty much worth buying the movie for. That and the surprising full frontal male nudity during the “YMCA” dance number.

I’m not kidding.

If you want more information on this classic, I wrote a review on my other site. Also on that site is a review of the recent Demons soundtrack re-issue that isn’t that bad.

Ah, Village People. I feel better now.

Andrew Lloyd Weber and Madonna, but not that one.

July 20th, 2015

I hope I make up for the delay in posting with this post, which features stupid remixes of game music, Korn and Madonna. I try to cover all my bases.

While I haven’t been updating much here this month, I have been slightly more prolific than usual over at my other site, Mostly-Retro, where you can find a write-up on the vinyl release of the radical Babymetal albumand a look at the soundtrack to Darius.

Speaking of game music…

Doctor Spin
Tetris
Play Game Boy
I’ve been doing this thing over at Mostly-Retro called Game Music Revue, where I review old game soundtracks. Like most things I write about, it’s not really for mass consumption, but if you’re into old game music, I suggest you check it out. As of right now, I’m trying to stick to mostly albums over there, so something like this really doesn’t fit, but this is so stupid I just had to write about it somewhere.

This is an acid house/eurodance remix of the Tetris theme music, which is in and of itself a cover of a traditional Russian piece entitled “Korobeiniki.” This version was released as a single in the United Kingdom in 1992 and somehow managed to crack the Top 20 there.

But wait, it gets stupider. Doctor Spin, as it turns out, is actually one Andrew Lloyd Weber. That’s right, the man behind The Phantom Of The Opera, Cats, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar decided, well after more than establishing himself as one of the most successful musical theater composers of all-time, decided to give a go on the pop charts by recording a techno remix of a video game theme song.

The early 90s were a damn pop music wasteland I swear to god.

The B-side, by the way, is typical and forgettable 90s house music with a chorus of “Play The Game Boy” looped over it. I must imagine that Nintendo paid money for this to happen.

Korn
Make Me Bad (Kornography Mix)
Make Me Bad (Sickness In Salvation Mix)
Make Me Bad (Sybil Mix)
I originally posted these Korn remixes EIGHT FREAKING YEARS AGO HOLY SHIT THIS BLOG IS OLD.

Sorry, the realization of time marching on makes me type in all caps sometimes. Anyways, yeah, I posted these a long time ago, but since then I bought this single again on much better condition vinyl and re-recorded it. So as a somewhat unapologetic on-and-off-again Korn fan (their dubstep album was shockingly good and far better than it had any right to be) I thought I’d share these again.

Madonna
La Isla Bonita (Instrumental)
Live To Tell (Edit)
Live To Tell (Instrumental)
Borderline (Dub Remix)
I really have to up my Madonna game. I’m currently sitting on a good two to three dozen Madonna remixes that I haven’t gotten around to sharing yet. Maybe more, I don’t even know. It’s funny that right after I decided to come out of the closet that I kept finding Madonna singles on clearance. It’s almost like the universe was rewarding me for being true to myself. A reward from the gay gods, if you will.

Transcontinental Covers

July 7th, 2015

I’ve been slightly more prolific than usual this week. I continued my Scrunged series with a look at Candlebox, and I also wrote up a quick little thing on UFO catchters in Japan and the various Mario related goods I’ve snagged in them. Check them out if you’re interested.

You know that next year marks the 10th anniversary of this stupid little blog? I wonder if I should plan something.

YMO vs. The Human League
Behind The Mask
Kimi Ni Mune Kyun
Kimi Ni Mune Kyun (Extended Version)
Firecracker~Tong Poo /東風 (Bonus Track)
A while ago I wrote a little thing about the song “Behind The Mask,” mainly tracking how it started as a jingle for a watch commercial only to find its way to Eric Clapton by the way of Michael Jackson’s keyboardist. It’s a weird story, and if you like tracing some of the more unlikely links in pop music history, I suggest you check that article out.

I cited quite a few different versions of the song when I was writing that piece, but somehow this amazing version made it past my radar. Don’t know how the fuck that happened, as this is definitely one of the better takes on the Michael Jackson version of the song. It certainly more faithful to the original from a musical standpoint than just about any other Westerner’s take on the tune – thanks to the fact that it’s actually being covered by a synth-pop act and not a white blues guitarist. Phil Oakey’s vocals oddly match up to the original’s too.

The other two songs are also YMO covers, with their version of “Kimi Ni Mune Kyun” shockingly similar to the original. Their cover of “Tong Poo” takes some pretty interesting liberties, but it still keeps the basic melody that makes the song work so well. All of these tracks were taken from the YMO vs. The Human League EP that was never released outside of Japan.

I wonder if YMO were an influence on The Human League. Of course, The Human League pre-date YMO by a couple years, but they radically changed line-ups and sound in 1981 with Dare, and part of me imagines that perhaps some of that change was inspired by YMO. While YMO were not the first electronic act in the world, the argument can be made that they were the first one that tried to move electronic pop music past something that was cold and distant and into something that was more fun and upbeat – something that The Human League were trying to do in the early 80s as well.

 

Songs about Robots and Butts

June 24th, 2015

Tomorrow is me and my boyfriend’s six month anniversary.

You guys he’s so cute.

Eddie Murphy
Boogie In Your Butt (Remixed Extended Version)
Boogie In Your Butt (Instrumental)
Okay for starters let’s just get this out of the way: this is Eddie Murphy’s best song. “Party All The Time” sucks, and the less we talk about “Whatzupwitu” the better. If you’ve never heard “Boogie In Your Butt,” let me educate you. This song is nothing but a rap listing off things/places/people that should be…put in your butt, with Eddie Murphy occasionally commenting on the ludicrous and/or offensive nature of it all until he discovers the financial gains for doing so(???) at which point he eagerly jumps on the butt bandwagon, the buttwagon if you will.

It’s poetry.

Now, often when I share stuff I really like I say something like, “please support this artist and buy music of their’s that you can find commercially.” However, I’m not going to do that here. You like “Boogie In Your Butt?” Then do yourself a favor and don’t buy the self-titled debut from which it comes, unless you want to hear the opening stand-up bit “Faggots,” where Eddie goes off on how much he hates gay people for over two minutes. It’s actually not as bad as it sounds, and better than the homophobic shit on Raw, but it’s still hella bad.

Yeah, he apologized for it (weakly) but that don’t mean I gotta give him money for it in 2015.

Was (Not Was)
Robot Girl (LA Mix)
Robot Girl (£SD Mix)
I was trying to figure out how the hell I pair anything to “Boogie In Your Butt” but then I remembered that I had these Was (Not Was) songs and everything just fell into place. Was (Not Was), being a band that has performed everything, fit naturally with everything.

And Now It’s Time For a Breakdown

June 19th, 2015

I watch a lot of Todd In The Shadows (in fact I’m a backer of his show on Patreon and you should be too). Recently he did a “worst of” list where he tackled the clusterfuck of a year that was 1991. It’s a great video, and I suggest you check it out.

In the video, while decimating several lesser songs and genres of the era, he does briefly mention new jack swing, the hip-hop/R&B hybrid genre that was all the shit in the early 90s. He’s not the first person I’ve seen praise new jack swing as of late, and I highly suspect that it’s due for a comeback any day now. As such, you should check out these hot early-90s jams now and get ahead on the nostalgia.

Bel Biv DeVoe
Poison (Mental Mix)
Poison (Smoothed Mix)
I think few songs leave me as conflicted as this one. It’s undoubtedly one of the best tunes of the new jack era, with its sick production and amazing hook, but it’s also one of the most disgustingly sexist.

Of course, the idea of a femme fatale you should avoid isn’t entirely sexist on its own. There are plenty of toxic women out there and just as many toxic men. No, the song is sexist in explaining exactly why this woman is supposedly toxic, specifically with the line, “But I know she’s a loser (how do you know?)/Me and the crew used to do her.”

Ew. Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew. Ew. Gross. The term “slut-shaming” is thrown a lot (probably too much) these days, but never have I heard such a more concrete example. “This woman is a bad person because she has sex with a lot of men” is literally the message of this song. That’s just…icky.

But on the other hand “Never trust a big butt and a smile” is sage advice, so I’m torn.

En Vogue
My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It) (Theo’s Cheaptrick Remix)
My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It) (Hyperadio)
My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It) (The Morning After Dub)
My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It) (Extended Mix)
I desperately want to hear an extended remix of En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind,” which is entirely unfortunate, as no extended remix of that legendary song exists – how such a horrendous fuck up could possibly occur blows my mind.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, most of the singles from Funky Divas are great, but “Free Your Mind” is one of the greatest singles of the 1990s, hands down, no question. It’s a song that could have only been released in the early 90s as well, with its strong social message and cross-genre sound that wonderfully combines new jack swing with heavy metal, of all things. No producer currently making music has the gumption to try something that these days. Pop music sure does suck at the moment, largely because producers and performers are too afraid to take chances like this. Shame too, as there seems to be an overabundance of amazing singers in pop right now.

This song is good too.

I Bought Some 12″ Singles In Pittsburgh. You won’t believe what happened next.

June 14th, 2015

That’s my attempt at writing a clickbait headline. If my Facebook feed is any indication this will be my most successful blog post of all time.

The Jungle Brothers
Freakin’ You (Caribbean Sunshine Remix by The Buffalo Bunch)
Freakin’ You (Michael Moog Monster Mix)
Freakin’ You (Album Instrumental)
My knowledge of The Jungle Brothers is scant and pretty much just limited to Straight Out The Jungle and some various 12″ singles that I’ve found over the years. I knew they always had one foot in the dance scene in one in hip-hop, but even then, this track surprised the heck out of me the first time I heard it. To me it sounds less like a hip-hop track and more like a late-90s big beat electronica tune ala Fatboy Slim or The Propellerheads. Makes sense that one of The Propellerheads produced it. Damn fine tune.

And damn I miss The Propellerheads. If you’ve never listened to Decksandrumsandrockandroll do yourself a favor and snag it, one of the greatest electronic albums of all time, that one.

Giorgio Moroder and Paul Engemann
Reach Out (Extended Dance Mix)
Reach Out (Instrumental)
Giorgio Moroder’s first studio album in 30 years comes out this week in Japan, and to celebrate I thought I’d share these remixes from a song that was featured on his last album, 1985’s Innovisions.

I should preface by saying that this song is bloody awful. It’s amazing that this was written by Moroder just two years after he wrote “Flashdance…What A Feeling” and just six years removed from when he won his first Oscar for the score to Midnight Express. The 80s were rough, man. No wonder he pretty much all but retired by the end of the decade until recently. Living high off that “Take My Breath Away” dough no doubt.

The singer on this track is Paul Engemann, who is probably best known for his far superior (but still corny as hell) Moroder collaboration “Push it to The Limit” from the Scarface soundtrack. The dude has done some other work though, by checking out his (obviously self-edited) wiki I discovered that he was a replacement lead singer for Animotion! The same wiki also points out that he married a former model. In fact, it points this out twice, but I guess he really wanted people to know that and I can’t blame him.

Side note: this song was the theme song to the 1984 Summer Olympics. I personally think it would have fit better as the theme song to a Saturday morning cartoon about Olympians who fight evil Eastern Bloc athlete/spies, but whatever.

Mistaken U2 Remixes and More

June 9th, 2015

I took a week off work to recover from my excursion to America and that gave me time to go on an honest to goodness record recording bender, something I don’t think I’ve really done since I moved here. Felt good to sit in front of my computer all day and just listen to one 12″ single after another and then play a video game for three hours in a row. I need to dedicate one day a month to being a lazy anti-social bastard. I think it’s good for my psyche.

No more than one day though, I can’t spend that much time in my own head anymore without getting really upset about some of the stupid shit my head thinks up. My head is really stupid FYI.

Oh, speaking of my stupid head, I’m cataloging every version of every Madonna single. Check that out if you suffer from 80s remix OCD.

U2
Vertigo (Jacknife Lee 12″)
Vertigo (Jacknife Lee 7″)
Vertigo (Jacknife Lee 12″ Instrumental)
I’m gonna be real here and admit I bought this single because I mis-remembered “Vertigo” (a song I am impartial to) for “Elevation” (probably one of the few U2 songs I actually love. My stupidity is your gain I suppose! Enjoy – if you’re into this kind of thing.

Utah Saints
I Want You (New Orleans Edit)
What Can You Do For Me (Drill Mix)
What Can You Do For Me (Hard Mix)
What Can You Do For Me (Momo Beats)
What Can You Do For Me (Klub Mix)
No, Utah Saints, what can you do for me? I mean, I give and I give and I give and I get nothing in return. No love, no respect, nothing. You just won’t look away from your samplers for one minute and love me goddammit.

I don’t know what brought that on. Probably the fact that I have absolutely nothing to say about these remixes, which I actually do like quite a bit by the way. I should write more accusatory diatribes inspired by song titles.

No, you asshole, today is not the greatest day of them all, how dare you…

Okay maybe not.

Patrick Cowley
Megaton Man (Remix)
There are many different versions of this excellent electronic dance track, and I don’t know if this remix has an official name. I got it off of a French 12″ single, and I know it’s different than the version on Cowley’s album of the same name, and it’s also not the same version that’s on various Cowley or Megatone Records compilations, the running times don’t match up. Regardless, any version of this one is a good version, and worth hearing. It’s so unlike any disco that was coming out at the time, a perfect halfway point between the burgeoning electronic dance music of the late-70s and the synthpop that would dominate the better part of the 80s. No wonder the man was such an influence on acts like Erasure and Pet Shop Boys.

Remixes from Three Dance Music Queens

June 4th, 2015

I’m back! I’m back in Japan and I’m back to updating this blog. Sorry for the extended delay. Traveling across America seeing friends and family you haven’t seen takes a lot of you you it seems. Next time I hope to plan ahead a bit better and have content ready to go so I don’t go for as long with such a break.

I know I promised a big Madonna post tonight, but I feel like mixing it up a bit with some of the choice tracks I scored while I was in the states. Hope you enjoy.

Sheena Easton
Strut
Three Sheena Easton singles have stood the test of time in the popular consciousness. The first is “9 to 5 (Morning Train)” A lovely bubble-gum pop track about a woman who can’t wait to spend time with her man when he gets home from work. The second is this, an aggressive and awesome track that calls out sexist men who demand the same from all their lovers.

The third is “Sugar Walls.” That song is about her vagina.

I feel it’s safe to say that Sheena Easton has a rather diverse back catalog.

I’m not a fan of “Sugar Walls” (obviously, I have a boyfriend after all – OH SNAP) but I, at different times in my life, have been equally obsessed with both “Strut” and “9 to 5″ so much that it’s hard for me to pick a favorite between the two. I will say that both are fantastic workout/jogging tunes, and I have to imagine that 1980s Jazzercise classes featured both in their workout mixes. I’d sign up for a spin class if it used mixtapes from 1980s workout classes.

Madonna
Everybody (Dub Version)
For the past few months I’ve been working on a massive project cataloging every single official remix of every single Madonna song. It’s just about done, and I hope to have it up on Mostly Retro in the coming weeks. It was far more complicated than I ever thought it would be. But I think the end result will be something worthwhile and helpful to all my fellow obsessive Madonna collectors out there. Until then, here’s a dub mix of Madonna’s first single – which has never been released on CD.

Sylvester
You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (12″ Ultimix)
You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (Radio Version)
You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (Dub Version)
You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (Acappella)
Fuck yeah Sylvester. Sylvester only had two mainstream hits in the states, this and “Dance (Disco Heat).” While the latter of the two was the bigger hit, I think today most people only know him for this song (it probably had more staying power than a song with “disco” in the title). That’s a damn shame, because he has so many amazing songs that I feel are just waiting to be rediscovered.

A decent greatest hits package (named after this hit) was released a few years ago, but I wouldn’t recommend starting with that. Instead, I would pick up All I Need (aka Do Ya Wanna Funk), his 1982 album that includes the legendary “Do Ya Wanna Funk” as well as the equally amazing “Hard Up” and “Don’t Stop.” That album is over 30 years old now and I still can’t think of much that sounds like it, such an amazing combination of Hi-NRG dance beats, new wave electronics and Sylvester’s one-of-a-kind vocals. Just all around awesome stuff. You can’t go wrong with it.

These remixes are from a 12″ single I picked up in Ohio of all places. The 12″ Ultimix is not the same as the 12″ mixes that are on iTunes.

Drum and Bass from the heart of Salem, Oregon

May 12th, 2015

My pan-American trip continues. Since my last post I have left Portland, traveled south to see my brother in Florida, and am now in my lovely hometown of Toledo, Ohio, where it is dark, dreary and raining.

It’s good to be home.

Coming back to America after living abroad for over a year has kind of been a mindfuck in a lot of ways. I’m not used to driving, and everything is so fucking far away! In Tokyo if I want to get a drink or a quick bite to eat, I’m no more than a 10 minute walk to a convenience store or rice bowl place. But now that I’m out in the boonies of Northwest Ohio, it takes me a good 20 minutes to drive to the nearest decent grocery store, and all my friends are, at minimum, a good 30+ minutes away. As someone who never had patience to begin with, it’s quite the challenge.

I also didn’t miss driving, and the gigantic sprawl of construction barrels that is the Ohio interstate sure is a blast.

Oh, and this is the first time I’ve been around friends and family since the whole coming out thing. And that’s been a series of awkward ordeals that I don’t want to even get into.

But at least I can get a decent bloody mary mix here, so that should solve at least some of the problems I have at the moment.

Now drum and bass!

The Legendary Dreamscape Presents the Millennium Collection – Disc 1
In SalemI stopped into a little record store called Harvest Records. It’s not the biggest or best store I’ve been to, but it is a charming little place, and it features a wonderfully diverse selection of music, from hip-hop to classic rock. I picked up the new Modest Mouse there, as well a crazy nine CD electronic box set entitled The Legendary Dreamscape Presents The Millennium Collection. From what I can gather from its Discogs page, it’s actually a compilation of compilations, collecting three separate three-disc box sets – each of which dedicate one CD to happy hardcore, one to “old skool” and one to drum and bass.

Tonight I’ll post the first CD, which is a radical mix of classic drum and bass that goes from techstep to more fast-paced “classic” dnb before sliding back into the sci-fi tinged techstep for the finale. It features a good array of DJs, including my favorite dnb producers of all-time, including Ed Rush and Optical, who together are responsible for Wormhole, which is easily in my top five electronic albums of all-time. That shit is legendary and if you consider yourself an electronic music fan and you don’t own that, then you are fucking it all up and should be ashamed of your punk ass.

Enjoy the hardcore electronic music. Next post will be all Madonna.

James Brown and Robot Funk

May 3rd, 2015

Oh god I’m in American again how the hell did this happen?

It took nearly a year and a half, but my family finally convinced me to go back home for a visit. I blame the nieces and nephews. Damn cute kids blackmailing me with their cuteness.

My trip is transcontinental, with stops in Oregon, Florida, Ohio and finally Pittsburgh before heading back to the land of the rising son and my lovely adorable boyfriend whom I’ve only been apart from for only 48 hours and already miss dearly.

Sadface.

Anyway, I’m going to make the most of this trip, enjoy the time with my family and hopefully buy some stupid and weird music that I can share here. I also plan on eating all the cheese an drinking all the root beer. So you best not stand downwind from me.

That’s right, I’m bringing out the class. Fart jokes.

Honestly, I’m hella jet lagged right now so don’t expect much insight into tonight’s selections. But it had been a while since my last post and wanted to put something up before even more of you forgot about me.

Friends of Earth
Sex Machine
Sex Machine (Instrumental)
One thing the Japanese are not known for is funk, so I was surprised to find that YMO’s Haruomi Hosono tackled James Brown’s classic “Sex Machine” on the sophomore album of his side project F.O.E. (Friends Of Earth). I was even more surprised to find that this version features new vocals by Brown himself, as well as sax work by his longtime collaborator Ray Maceo Jr.

As much as I love James Brown and Haruomi Hosono, I’m going to have to say that this is not an example of two great tastes that go great together. The raw, funky power of Brown’s original tune really doesn’t translate well into the cold, emotionless robotic sound of Hosono. Still, I’d be lying if hearing the two combined didn’t at least sound interesting.

But yeah, there’s a reason why you don’t hear much about Japanese funk.

The Waitresses
Slide
Another lost gem from Stiff Records’ Akron compilation, and from a band that some people probably have actually heard of!

The Waitresses were a one-hit wonder of the early-MTV era, scoring a minor hit single with “I Know What Boys Like” in 1982. That song is probably most notable for the Patty Donahue’s amazing dry vocals, but she’s nowhere to be found on this track. While the vocalist isn’t credited in the album’s liner notes, I assume the singer is Chris Butler, the guitarist/songwriter of the group. This track is a little more bluesy than other songs by The Waitresses that I’ve heard, but it’s just as strange and vaguely offputting while simultaneously being oddly charming and catchy.

The Waitresses were a really weird band. I recommend everything by them, especially their under-rated second album.

Madonna
4 Minutes (Tracy Young Mixshow)
4 Minutes (Peter Saves New York)
I plan on posting quite a bit while I’m here in the states, but most of the music I have set aside is by Madonna, so I’m going to have to try and space them out a bit. These extended dance mixes were taken from a bonus 12″ that came with the Hard Candy vinyl release. To my knowledge they’ve never been released digitally.