Above, my flattering mention by cabaret critic (of all things!) Kevin Hall in Edge New York. If you're reading this & you're among the people who have my promos, drop me a line & say hi. Anyhow, this is my attempt to carve out a little cyberspace for me to blah-blah-blah ad nauseum on dance music, divas & djs, the three things that top the list of my obsessions (movies and sex being just below, jockeying for fourth place). Let's start with the reigning queen, -- for better or worse -- Madonna and her latest offering, "Celebration," from the current album of the same title.
Madonna has become the Margo Channing-warhorse of the disco netherlands, "Aged in Wood" yet showing little sign of slipping from the top of the heap. Surely, her brother, Christopher -- who, in his tell-all, Life with My Sister Madonna, documents, in part, what a bore she's become since she handed him his pink slip -- would even have to admit this latest dance tune is just plain infectious fun with echos of the very groovy "Into the Groove." Certainly, I'd say this is her best number geared for clubs since some of the singles that spun out of Confessions on a Dance Floor. (Everything between Erotica and Confessions certainly was a huge yawn, as were the tunes from Hard Candy.) While Steven at Christopher Street's The Hangar thinks the original extended version is the best, I prefer the Edson Pride private remix. Other remixes include those by Paul Olkenfold, Benny Benassi & Johnny Vicious.
The end-of-summer has also brought us top-tier diva fare from such names as Kristine W (on a winning streak with "Be Alright," charting at number one on the Billboard Dance/Club chart), Vanessa Williams, Mariah Carey (with the rather lackluster "Obsessed"), the omnipresent Beyonce, & Whitney. Ms Houston's big comeback number, "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" is penned by the prolific Diane Warren and, although the official lyrics are, "And I crashed down and I tumbled," I swear to God our Whitney is actually singing, "And I cracked down...." My, my, could Missy be cashing in on the infamy of her recent past troubles? She starts the song in a rather wobbly, hoarse fashion but ends up belting (though not to the top of her old range), buoyed by the filtering and digital "touching up". There is a Peter Rauhofer remix, likely to be most popular in the States, though I prefer the Thunderpuss-like approach of Rafael Lelis.
Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield" is as catchy as all get-out, climbing the radio and club charts. (Hmmm, I wonder what Pat Benatar's thinking. Possibly litigious thoughts?) The equally ubiquitous Bimbo Jones and Mike Rizzo top the remix list on this one.
Mica Paris returns with "The Hardest Thing." (Love that title; don't you?) There is a Stonebridge remix but, to me, you just can't match Almighty's handsome, classic-disco approach. Speaking of classic disco, covers of "This Time, Baby" may seem to be done-to-death in recent years, but let's not underestimate the vocals of the wonderful Niki Haris, currently propelling it up the Billboard club chart. Producer Eddie X's "Nuskool Disco Club" mix is the one to go with here. Less fortunate is Pepper Mashay's cover of "Freeway of Love" (though it, too, seems bound for upward mobility on the club chart). Pepper's voice is amazing, as always, in the daunting venture of holding ground against Aretha's original version, but the remixers do her a disservice. I'm hoping there will be a second set of mixes; a remote possibility if this tune is the success it seems destined to be.
Lastly, I'd like to say that the rock-group Gossip finally gets the mainstream club mix they deserve from French remixer Fred Falke, coming off his success with U2's "Magnificent". It's in the dreamy, house-meets-trance style of his latest works and Beth Ditto is in rare form, belting it out like she was Cyndi Lauper and Stevie Nicks all rolled into one. Bliss!
Meanwhile, if you're looking for my promos, I'd advise you to look to the rainbows ~~ Umm, I meant to Chelsea.