Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pink - I'm Not Dead (Sony BMG)

Clever girl. Pink's shrewdly pre-empted lazy critics harping on about her flop third album by christening her comeback "I'm Not Dead" and effectively beating them to it. Bollocks, there goes my intro.

On one hand, Pink doesn't have much to live up to. On the other, it's potentially a make-or-break situation, hence the publicity explosion that's accompanied I'm Not Dead's inauguration. If recent reports of heroin and lesbian flings were part of some contrived bad girl image build-up, it was a waste of everybody's time - the All-American FM rock of Who Knew steps dangerously close to Hilary Duff territory, while Nobody Knows is almost a nonspecific fem-strum ballad. Yet both songs - and the album as a whole - illustrate a far more accomplished and musical Pink than we've previously known.

Surprisingly, the much-hyped open letter to Dubya, Dear Mr President, isn't a venomous diatribe of rage, but a dignified folk lament raising some rather pertinent questions. Clearly, Pink's grown up. Sure, Stupid Girls is an infantile wink to the contrary, but with tongue indubitably in cheek. Whatever she needed to get out of her system is now fully out, and she's content to make decent music without rawk pretensions.

I'm Not Dead is not just an album - it's a statement; it's a victory; it's Pink knocking Kelly Clarkson flat on her back, straddling her, hammering seven shades of shite out of her and topping it all off with a "THIS IS HOW IT'S DONE, BITCH!"
And who better equipped to do it?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Single Reviews 27/03/06

It’s a barren wilderness on the singles shelves this week. Fear not though – with the imminent release of the new Embrace album, we’ve got about as much interest in the singles as NBC has in commissioning ten seasons of Joey.

Things kick off this week with When You Wasn’t Famous by The Streets, a cheeky lil’ number that sounds like a fat bird sitting on a Casio keyboard. Mike Skinner has come under fire for Heat-ing up his content, but face facts: the guy’s a fucking millionaire, how much longer could he have sung about sniffing Copydex at the dog track?

A couple of industry coffin-dodgers creak their way into the Single Reviews this week. First up, Morrissey with You Have Killed Me. We quite like Morrissey here at The Sloppy Dog, but if it ain’t How Soon Is Now or First Of The Gang To Die (or at the very least, a shameless rip-off of the above) we’re unlikely to be interested. And secondly, slip-sliding in on a greasy oil-slick of overproduced smear 'n' B is Prince with Black Sweat – bleeped, tweaked and Neptunes'ed into an unrecognisable puddle of lard and spunk.

Finally, we’re loving Raoul by The Automatic – a track about SANDWICHES, no less! But last week’s gem from Arthur Baker & Tim Wheeler has been pushed back to this week, making it Single Of The Week once again, and all in all, making this week’s reviews a rather pointless exercise. Sorry.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The 'Ump: Javine Hylton

Once in a while, we all need to let out some steam. And even when you’re not particularly angry, it’s always nice to helm a bitchy rant about anything and everything. And we here at The Sloppy Dog are no different – in fact, we’ve dedicated a whole column to it. Welcome to The ‘Ump.

Watching shows by Endemol usually gets us angry here at The Sloppy Dog. Whether it’s the fact that they make their staff work 1000-hour weeks for approximately thruppence before tax, or the fact that Noel Edmonds is talking about tactics and positivity on a show where the entire premise is guesswork, it’s generally all rather shite.

But what’s really gotten up our proverbial arses is the triumph of sweaty stringbean ho-bag Javine on The Games. Serves us right for watching it, but she’s one dislikeable bastard. Sleeping on the couch… barely cracking a smile on being crowned victor… generally looking like a man in very cheap drag… take your pick of justification. At the top of our list, however, is something far worse - no-one, but NO-ONE, has the right to give attitude to a Nolan.

It must be nice for Javine to finally win something, mind. Bear in mind this is the (wo)man who crashed, burned and turned to ash at Eurovision, and ranked miles beneath even Nicola Roberts in Popstars: The Rivals. So enjoy your triumph for now, Javine – you really shouldn't get used to winning too many things.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This week's Celebrity News by Simon Amstell

Well, this is nice, isn’t it? Of course, by “nice”, I mean “a bit rubbish”. I thought I’d give sarcasm a try, you see. Which is sarcastic in itself. What a tangled web of hilarity I weave. After Sarah Jessica Parker’s fantastic (sarcasm again) column last week, The Sloppy Dog evidently selected a more niche reporter – did you know I’m both gay and Jewish? I don’t tend to make it known. It’s not like it’s the entire basis for my comedy career or anything.

Speaking of gays, Pete Burns has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital this week. He’s gay, but not Jewish. I’m both gay AND Jewish – it’s really funny, see? Anyway, we wish Pete all the best, and sincerely hope that he doesn’t choke on his own straitjacket.

Cheryl Tweedy has been named the world’s sexiest footballers’ wife, despite not actually being married to Ashley Cole (who, even if he is gay, isn’t Jewish). Girls Aloud won’t come on Popworld anymore. It’s all a bit shit really. Thank Liberace I have my gay/Jewish jokes to fall back on.

And finally, Eva Longoria has revealed – actually, forget it. She’s not a Jew, nor a gay. Instead, I’ll whip out a sardonic gag involving gefilte fish and a buttplug. Can we get Miquita in to laugh at it, please?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

This week's Celebrity News by Carrie Bradshaw

Having been harping on about New York and its men for nigh on 30 years now, there’s not a lot left to say. So I’m taking my Fendi baguette with cheese and pickle to an outlet where I can be truly fabulous – welcome to Carrie Bradshaw’s Celebrity News, only in The Sloppy Dog.

As I sat around a Manhattan restaurant table with my friends eating nothing, I got to thinking about the rumours that the Spice Girls are to regroup. Apparently, Posh and Sporty have put a Stop to it. They think it would be Too Much work for them, and they don’t Wannabe touring at this stage. As I Holler for the bill and bid my friends Goodbye, I found myself thinking, this isn’t really newsworthy at all – but you know how I love my puns.

Later that night, as I sat at my laptop cross-legged in my vest and knickers, I got to thinking: could Brad and Angelina actually be tying the knot? Is Ange ready for the Pittfalls of matrimony? Or will marriage be a Jolie good laugh for them?

And finally, as I walked across town wearing a retarded fucking tutu, I found myself pondering Michael Jackson’s closure of Neverland, after he backpaid his staff overdue wages. Let’s hope he’s not in the red – he’s already been white and black. I wonder if he paid them using plastic?

I’m all out of witty wordplay. Time to eat me some cheesecake and pretend I’m over Big.

Single Reviews 20/03/06

Look! It’s the Singles Reviews! Read them, they’re very very good.

Pink heads up the pack this week with Stupid Girls, a social commentary on the airheads of the LA scene. Somewhat forgettable sans visuals, and certain to draw tired comparisons with Eminem, but a nice enough way to lead us into Album #4 – watch this space for unreserved judgement.

Advert: are you a mindless bimbo with no ambition whatsoever? Big-busted? Mixed-race? Hefty-arsed? Then roll up and appear in the next MVP video! Just the type of girl Pink is ranting about, actually. Identical to the first single, probably identical to any future singles, complete with identikit videos and a shelf life of about a day.

Embrace return to our stereos with Nature’s Law, a delightful little burst of positivity in a laidback plinky-plonk package which, if the crowd at their Ally Pally gig was anything to go by, is also on the stereos of a thousand Dulwich mummies. Let’s hope This New Day scares them back to their coffee shops.

Single Of The Week is awarded to Arthur Baker featuring Tim Wheeler with Glow, an appetising melody backed by a vigorous thump, and overall a welcome stop-gap in a barren Ash-free ‘tween-album limbo. At the other end of the scale, NeYo confirms his place in R & B’s Hall of Same with So Sick: a painfully unoriginal goo-ballad, aurally the equivalent of overcooked porridge. Awful.

Depeche Mode’s Suffer Well reads like a badly-edited episode of The Osbournes, all bleeps and fuzz in the wrong places. References to the 80’s are all well and good, but don’t try to recreate them entirely. And finally, Nelly combines his bank statement and dental records via the medium of song, in the futile Grillz.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Morning Runner – Wilderness Is Paradise Now (Parlophone)

It’s not a great time for new bands. Not that there aren’t any – here at The Sloppy Dog, we’re doing proverbial backflips at the promise of some up-and-comers. But sadly, gutter-quality critics and DJs are still bouncing in puddles of their own warm piss at the existence of hype-in-a-freezer-bag, Clearasil-allergic, aural diarrhoea merchants the Arctic Monkeys, hence Morning Runner’s current position, annoyingly just under the radar of greatness.

After a mezze of pleasing singles, this album feels well and truly due, but truth be told, we’d rather be enduring the itch of these hideous belter headphones to listen to The Feeling or The Upper Room. But even fighting the natural urge to be pessimistic, Wilderness Is Paradise Now is, all in all, a rather nice little assortment, operating first and foremost as an illustration of the differentiating bow strings of Morning Runner.

The unrefined charm of Be All You Want Me To Be and Punching Walls is countered by the ornamental warmth of Burning Benches and Best For You. Fear not though – the wistful twinkles are few and far between, and any uncomfortable David Gray moments soon blast into a dramatic upsurge.

It’s all very pleasantly listenable, and yet leaves you wanting something amazing to happen. Imitating the band’s success perched on the wrong side of mahoosive, Wilderness Is Paradise Now is just short of crossing into significance. Unremarkable, but solid, and surely the stirrings of a whole lot more - Arctic Monkeys implosion pending.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

This week's Celebrity News by Chantelle

Oh my God, right, so it's like, I don't want to become overexposed and that, so my mum agent says I should be more low-key and stuff. So I've gotten me a tutor wot taught me to press the buttons on a computer-typewriter (you know, where the words come up on the telly) to bring you this week’s showbiz news!

Apparently Madonna used to be an actress. I didn't know that. I mean, me and me mum love watching Evita and havin' a good cry and that, but I thought it was the actual Evita, and she just tried to be like Madonna. Y'know, like Kylie Minogue does. Anyways, Madonna's all saying she ain't gonna be doing no more acting! What a shame. I was hopin' me and her could do a chameleo in Footballers Wives together.

I hear Michelle out of Destiny's Child has bought herself a basketball team. Maybe she could get Dennis Rodman on her team? He wanted it, but I was all "no fanks"! HAHAHA! Oh my God! Poor Michelle, she knows she ain't never gonna be like Bernice, so she's going to be the Gordon Svenksson (him wot looks after Engerland) of basketball. She shouldn’t sleep with Faria though. Faria smells.

Finally, Robbie Williams (he SO wants to be Preston) has gotten his mate Jonathan Wilkes to go on tour with him. It's nice that he wants to help disableds, but I can't stand people that are famous for nuffink.

Oh my God, doing writing and stuff is HARD! I better run, I'm signin' a contract to be the face of Party Rings! I love the pink 'n' yellah ones. Laterz!

Chantelle xxx

Friday, March 10, 2006

Single Reviews 13/03/06

If we were able to do a decent impression of David Attenborough, we’d say “the Radio 2 playlist morphs into a living thing and deposits its eggs on the shelves of HMV this week. All it can do now is wait for the unsuspecting human to come along and fertilise those eggs with its money.” But sadly, we can only do a half-convincing Nadine Coyle, which takes us seamlessly onto this week’s new releases...

Girls Aloud attempt to flog their dying wildebeest of a third album with a nicely mellow mid-tempo jobby, Whole Lotta History. Not bad, but not un-Atomic Kitten either. The sooner Xenomania get the feck off their laurels and conjure up Sound of the Underground Pt 2, the further we’ll delay the backlash.

Despite his busy efforts wooing silly American ladies with his simpleton’s rhymelets, James Blunt finds the time to nip to the toilet of pop and squeeze out yet another blood-speckled stool into the nation’s ears.

Similarly moronic ballads come from future Tampax ad soundtracks, Alexis Strum and KT Tunstall. While the latter may grab a place higher than deserved due to contemptible Brit wins, Strum is just about worthy to be the bog brush to the aforementioned khazi.

Toilet references firmly behind us, Beverley Knight caps a criminally-underrated career thus far with Piece Of My Heart from her forthcoming Best Of, showcasing Britain’s greatest soul voice in a justified cover of Janis Joplin’s finest moment.

Finally, Bell X1 claim our Single Of The Week with Flame, softly stomping accidental funk slipping into a subdued terrace chant – and A FUCKING KEY CHANGE, PEOPLE!!! Oh yes. This is the stuff.

Oh, and grim, overplayed, dumpy, frumpy Marbella hotel warbler Kelly Clarkson releases something else this week. Don’t buy it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Delays - You See Colours (Rough Trade)

When a dead-behind-the-eyes TV presenter asks a returning artist what they’ve been up to since their last album, the answer is usually a textbook “we’ve been in the studio”. The Delays, it would seem, have been having a whole lot more fun. If Faded Seaside Glamour was the well-behaved Sunday altar boy with a side parting, You See Colours is the same boy having nicked wine from the tabernacle and discovered girls.

An extraordinary leap on from their first album, The Delays find a lifesaving manhole cover out of the sewer where they were drowning amongst ten-a-penny cod-emo melancholists.

It’s certainly an admirable effort, if nothing else – switching unit-shifting banshee depression for sequins and rhinestones is one hell of a gamble. Even more admirably, The Delays manage to do so with conviction and credibility. Lead single Valentine comes at you with startling dynamism, urging you to quit your job, ditch your family and head straight for the dancefloor. Elsewhere, Out of Nowhere proudly displays some of the greatest drumwork since the Smashing Pumpkins’ Tonight Tonight, while Hideaway converts summery optimism into auditory sunshine.

And while mellower moments certainly do remain here, they serve as a welcome breather to the overall thunderfunk. Too Much In Your Life’s near ethereal la-la-la’s and the velvety retrospective of Winter’s Memory of Summer manage to slot themselves in very nicely amongst harder beats and unashamed pep.

Puberty has such a bad reputation, all acne and tampons and training bras. But it’s clearly done wonders for The Delays. If they sound this good now, we can’t wait until they grow up.
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