Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Buddy Beaverhausen's Notes to Divas and other musings on music
Carol Hahn was a delight when she brought her powerful pipes recently to Splash in New York. She is simply a club diva's club diva who came to international attention in the 1980s with a few hiNRG hits. After taking time off reputedly to continue college (for something like 25 years?), she made a comeback a couple of years ago with her songs "Reach Out" and "Come Be My Lover". This year, she recorded and released two more well-crafted songs, full of energy and passion: "I Can Stop the Rain" and "Take Me and Dance," both of which made it up the Billboard Club chart. Buy/download her songs and move and groove to her; in short, take her and dance.
Of course, you've heard that Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga are the new faces of MAC Viva Glam, which benefits the MAC AIDS Fund. Ads will appear in February 2010 and Gaga and Cyndi lipsticks will be available a month later. Can't wait! And have you heard? Cyn met President Obama and he actually told her he thought Gaga was the new her. Well, certainly Gaga has the edginess but, I mean... Cyndi's the Ethel Merman of rock, right? Gaga's voice is pleasant enough in a Gwen Stefani way, but she can't belt it out like our Cyn. But don't get me wrong; I love Lady Gaga and am all set to buy her new "The Fame Monster" cd.
Madonna's latest single -- currently hosting a slew of white label mixes, the best attributed to Mike Danavan -- is "It's So Cool", which isn't. The beat is pumpin' but Madge is in preaching mode again imparting her banalities upon us. "It's so cool to be uncool/It's so right to be unright...." "Unright"? But that's so wrong! (Note to Madonna: run spell check.) Now, the theme of universal love is not such a bad thing, but, frankly, I could do without the holier-than-thou attitude it comes wrapped in.
Note to divas: Enunciate! I love Mia J's electropoppy "Headlights" but, I swear, when she gets to the chorus, it sounds like she's singing "caught in the head lice." Isn't she British? Why does her English sound like Agnetha Faltskog on a bad day? But it's ok; when I first heard Janet Jackson's "Feedback", I thought she was singing, "feed bag." Then, I thought it was "meat rack." No kidding. Enunciate.
Talking about Janet, club mixes of the extremely catchy "Make Me" are out to coincide with the release of her "Number Ones" album. She benefits from top-drawer remixes by Ralphi Rosario, Craig J, Bimbo Jones and Moto Blanco.
Whitney & Britney: Aesthetically diminishing returns from Whitney Houston, guys. She started on a relative high with "I Didn't Know My Own Strength". (Is anyone else feeling Junior Vasquez's sturm und drang mixes are getting a little played out by now? Wake up, Junior, the 90s are ovah! Really.) "Million Dollar Bill" was far less interesting and further showcased how deteriorated Miss Whitney's voice is. The current Johnny Vicious and Giuseppe D mixes of "I Look to You" do just about everything humanly possible to make it relevant but it is, sadly, a rather undistinguished effort. Nonetheless, her fans will love it and I expect it will be her third chart-buster on Billboard.
Far more interesting, surprisingly, is the latest comeback bid by Britney Spears. "3", as mixed by Groove Police, Lenny Bertoldo and (my fave) Rafael Lellis, is a spunky dancefloor tune that'll make you wanna twirl. I'm not sure what Brit's carrying on about (must have written the lyrics all by her lonesome) but she's claiming she's "caught in between" something. (Legs? I can relate.)
One of my favorite Swedish groups is back with a new dance hit that ought to be big internationally with the exception of the United States (a very boring, though huge, dance-music market). Alcazar (now back from a foursome to the original 3 -- oh, maybe this is what Britney's gurgling about!) returns with the snazzy "Burnin'" (and enunciating quite well, mind you, Mia J). Best mix award for this one goes to the stalwart team at Almighty.
Almighty, by the way, has just hired new management, MWR. Expect to see Almighty remixing more high-profile names, names, names as MWR are the folks who represent Jason Nevins, Wideboys, Cahill, Stonebridge and the omnipresent Moto Blanco.
And remixer Pete Hammond ("100 years old", as he claims on his My Space page) has another Billboard dance remix with Plumb's "Hang On" (Pete certainly has hung on in there, baby), which sounds grafted onto the beats and cowbells of his Dead or Alive "You Spin Me Round" production of some generations back. Pass the poppers and the Geritol! Barry Harris, meanwhile -- best remembered as half of Thunderpuss (keep the poppers and Geritol coming) -- resurrects himself with the camp "Drama Queen" featuring the always-welcome voice of Canada's Simone Denny ("All Things Keep Getting Better". The theme for "Queer Eye"? Remember them? So 2003!)
Finally, another note to divas from Buddy Beaverhausen: If you're going to cover a pop classic, you better have something new to bring to it. Hear that, Mariah Carey? I Want to Know What Love Is, that's all I'm saying. Except that, when in Chelsea, make sure you check out Rainbows & Triangles on 8th Ave. between 19th & 20th Sts. for a very choice selection of dance cds. All I'm saying.