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Friday, February 3, 2012

Divas, Queens & Billboard

There are a select few popular, contemporary artists on the dance-music scene whom I abhor; Nicki Minaj first and foremost. I just don't get her! I watched Ms Minaj, from L.A., on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and the bitch was not rockin' me at all! So, the very fact that she is sitting atop the Billboard Dance chart, at #1, with the cacophonic, David Guetta-produced "Turn Me On," turns me off. However, I do not believe there is any shortage of talent in the current disco-diva pool. Indeed, I think we are going through a disco renaissance in terms of proficiency and flair, be it in terms of divahood, production quality or remixer inventiveness and excitement!

Michael Musto commented this week, in The Village Voice (very accurately, I thought), regarding the theater: "We're in the middle of a musical-diva golden age thanks to Patti, Bernadette, Donna, Audra, Sutton, Jan, Kelli, Kristin, and Alice, but you still hear theater queens murmuring, 'There are no stars like the old days!'" Well, the same goes for dance music. Disco dinosaurs grumble but they don't go to clubs any more or immerse themselves in the current dance-music scene. I feel this is more of a misinformed attitude or belief that has no foundation in reality. A lot of the disco, hiNRG and house music stars of the 70s, 80s and 90s are still around. And many new artists do the dance floor proud. Go out and see what I mean. (Just try to choose a good dj.)

Gladys Knight is a divine and (dare I add?) much loved, vocalist who's not necessarily associated with disco, though she has, with the Pips, dabbled in the genre. This week, remixes of "I Who Have Nothing" came across my desk and, babies, Gladys blew my mind (on a midnight train to Bay Ridge)! I think this will get ample dance-floor play, especially via the mixes by Redtop and Tony Moran. Hot stuff coming through! And I understand you can download these mixes via iTunes.

Apparently, the rumors are true! Rolling Stone confirmed, just a few hours ago, after Britain's The Daily Star leaked it:

Adam Lambert is reportedly the new singer for Queen, replacing the American Idol winner's own late idol, Freddie Mercury. Lambert broke the news to the U.K.'s Daily Star.

"The intention is to pay tribute to Freddie and the band by singing some fucking great songs," he said. "It's to keep the music alive for the fans and give it an energy that Freddie would've been proud of." Queen previously toured with former Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers taking Mercury's place.

Speculation has been high since Lambert was joined by surviving Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor during his Idol finals appearance in 2009. In November, they performed together at the MTV EMAs in Belfast.

Lambert said he had no intention of replacing Mercury, who died in 1991. "That's impossible," he said. "The way I'm choosing to view it is that it's a great honor and one I'm in no way going to shirk." Lambert's second solo album, Trespassing, is due in March.

A representative for Hollywood Records tells Rolling Stone, "The Daily Star item only mentions that Adam may perform with Queen at Sonisphere. This is not confirmed. Nothing has been signed. However, if this were to happen, Queen would be returning to the setting of their final concert with Freddie Mercury, which took place in 1986."

Sounds promising! (Any thoughts on Lambert filling Mercury's platform boots? Feel free to comment here on this post.) At least, when it comes to Queen, we've got one dynamic queen substituting for another. And Lambert can hit all of Freddie's notes.

Now, to briefly run down what interests me on the latest Billboard dance chart:

"Shake It Out" by Florence + the Machine dropped from #4 to 8, so I think its chance to get to the #1 spot is unlikely. But it shook its way to 4 and that's shaking me up, too. "Drifting," by Plumb, drifts ever upward with its trancey mixes to the 10th spot, while Gaga's "Marry the Night" currently nestles at #9 in its gradual descent from #1.

The delicious "Waiting on You" (Ultra Nate & Michelle Williams) up to 11 from 12. (Love to see this groove make its way into the top ten by next week.) "If It Wasn't for Love," by diva deluxe Deborah Cox, hits the twelfth spot this week, descending from a lofty #1 as well.

Erasure's "Be with You" nicely risen from #17 to #14 this week, and Kelly Clarkson taking "Stronger" to the following 15th spot, upwardly mobile.

For the full top-25 Dance/Club chart on Billboard, please go to

Peace, love, happiness & disco to everyone all over the world!

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