Saturday, November 28, 2009

Single Reviews 30/11/09

Before we begin the Single Reviews, we’d like you to take a moment to witness the power of The Sloppy Dogthis suggestion Tweeted to Dannii Minogue led to this response, in turn resulting in this Daily Mirror article. Awesome much? Next up: we invite Cowell to let us executive-produce the whole show; Fearne Cotton to quit showbusiness; and Derren Brown to share next week’s lottery numbers with us. We’ll let you know how we get on.

Lady Gaga gets us off to a rather painful start this week, demonstrating her inescapable cultural tidal wave of glitter and diarrhoea via Bad Romance. We’ll give Gaga her dues – she certainly knows how to pen a mighty chorus. However, she also knows how to nullify this by creating a psychosis-inducing hook; in this case, one that channels Boney M’s Rasputin, and Surfin’ Bird by the Trashmen. Can’t she just put on a sensible Laura Ashley frock and do something a bit Sarah McLachlan?

On the surface, it appears there’s little to be said about Kings & Queens, the launch single from 30 Seconds To Mars’ third album, This Is War. Initial listens demonstrate an archetypal emo wailfest, but the forceful melody, electrifying strings and an attention-grabbing closing chant soon overwrite any early ideas of the standard moody-on-an-iceberg fare.

Single of the Week goes to the Noisettes, who nicely counter their rather frenetic previous releases with the delicate, stylish and understated Every Now and Then. It’s no secret that Shingai Shoniwa possesses a vocal that could simultaneously charm and flatten a small village, but Every Now and Then demonstrates a sophisticated, loungey tone that further exposes the talents of an already-impressive act.

And finally, the irrelevancefest that is Pixie Lott follows up her two inexplicable Number One singles with the truly pathetic Cry Me Out, a shameless reproduction of Avril Lavigne’s I’m With You. Flat, dense and devoid of character, it’s a genuine mystery as to how this creature even got signed, let alone reached the levels of success she has. But hey, at least she’s put her arse cheeks away for once.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Adam Lambert - For Your Entertainment (19)

Having been robbed of the title of American Idol winner 2009, most likely thanks to a sizeable display of small-mindedness from the good folk of Bible Country, it’s perhaps no surprise that Adam Lambert has taken the opportunity to craft an album which pretty much functions as a great big fuck you. For Your Entertainment paints a picture of a brash, theatrical, yet immensely gifted character ready to turn more than a few heads.

Opener Music Again sets a tone evidently designed to scare listeners from even reaching Track 2, all shoehorned falsetto and clichés and mispronunciation ('raison d’être' has about nine syllables here). It’s a relief, then, that it’s a mere red herring, perhaps intentionally – setting the bar so low to begin with means For Your Entertainment only improves as it progresses, save for one or two misses.

When not attached to the visuals of a stocky six-footer, it’s interesting to hear the androgynous qualities of Lambert’s voice. Sadly, this is most apparent on Strut, the minciest song ever penned – presumably using a magenta glitter-gel ballpoint from Claire’s Accessories – which makes Music Again sound like Bohemian Rhapsody. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to fault some seriously astounding vocals, making the second-place result all the more a travesty.

Pink and Max Martin take writing and production duties on Whataya Want From Me, an attitudey Scandirock ballad typical of both parties at the helm. It’s a theme that runs throughout For Your Entertainment – the Justin Hawkins offering sounds like Justin Hawkins; the Lady Gaga song sounds like Lady Gaga; the Muse track sounds like Muse. And while the latter is by no means a bad thing – in fact, the magnificent Soaked is a strong contender for standout track – it feels as though Lambert himself has taken a backseat to the rollcall of contributors.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, it’s the more downbeat numbers that allow Lambert to truly shine. The ghostly, wintry gut-wrencher of Broken Open; the cinematic gloss of Time For Miracles; and the radio-friendly yet candid Aftermath each display a musicianship absent from a lot of the album. That said, these tracks also carry a harder-edged guitar sound, therefore lending themselves to the glam-rock qualities we came to love Lambert for.

Maybe, then, the real Adam Lambert is the very-human musician hidden beneath the veneer of bulb flashes and airbrushing and controversy. Whoever he is, he’s one talented individual. And in spite of any shortcomings For Your Entertainment displays, it’s safe to assume it’s a hundred times better than the album Lambert would’ve made had he won.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Sloppy Dog LiveBlog: The X Factor Results Show

Welcome all, to the second part of this week's X Factor liveblog. If it's anywhere near as predictable and uninspiring as yesterday's show, it's safe to assume the running order will go something like: Opening titles; Dermot looking suicidal; Group song from Hell; Promotional opportunities for two Sony artists; Drawn-out results; Bye bye Lloyd. Mind you, Susan Boyle's in the house tonight, so there's always the potential for an onstage breakdown and self-soiling. Hit refresh for updates, because IT'S TIME TO FACE zzzzzzz...

Ha! The continuity announcer just referred to Susan Boyle as a 'diva'. Bet Mariah Carey doesn't realise she's being lumped in alongside that.

Oh lookit, some fireworks on stage for no apparent reason. Or was it a couple of snipers aiming for Dannle? If so, they clearly missed, and I want my money back.

Run! Hide! It's the group mimealong! Wake Me Up Before You Go Go is the tune being led to the gallows this evening, accompanied by a typically-retarded Brian Friedman choreography bloodbath based on a playground clapping game, and of course, squeezing in that all-important key change.

Dermot announces that the fucking horrific charity mongfest that is You Are Not Alone has, unsurprisingly, reached Number One. Yes, it's for a good cause, but let's be honest, it frickin' stinks. And we're saying nothing about a children's hospital being aligned with a song written by R. Kelly and made famous by Michael Jackson. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

Some backstage footage of Louis and Cheryl having a spat, which is reminiscent of Kevin the Teenager stropping at his mum and dad. Meanwhile, Simon is confident Dannle will be saved by the public, which would make his elimination all the more delightful.

Ah bless, here's Susan Boyle. All things considered, SuBo's not that bad. And hey, maybe if Dannle is in the sing-off, he'll open his stupid gob wide enough to engulf half the studio and inadvertedly give Susan her first kiss. And of course, DANNLE LIKES WOMEN TOO, so it's a win for both parties. She's doing Wild Horses, and it's a rather nice arrangement, it must be noted. And yes, she looks like Bernard Manning going to a fancy dress party as Hyacinth Bucket, but we do love an underdog round these parts.

All four judges cite Joe as the best performance of last night. What are they thinking? Does Simon need him to win as some sort of taxloss to counter the success of Leona and Alexandra?

It's Mariah time, meaning there's a horde of jobsworth lackeys lining the corridors at Fountain Studios tonight. Aside from Sinitta and Yvie Burnett, of course. Her new single is, strangely, a cover of I Want To Know What Love Is which seems to omit the big-haired 80s power notes that one would imagine Mimi is more than capable of.

Holy fuck. There may not be a classic rock ballad power note, but that ad-lib has presumably prompted every dolphin between here and the Caribbean to grimace uncomfortably.

The remaining acts and judges are welcomed back to the stage to hear their fate. Jodward are getting booed horribly. Again, are this audience retarded? We know they're shit. They're here because they're shit. Deal with it.

RESULT! Stacey is through.

As is Joe. *mincey jazz hands*

Who in the name of fuck is voting for Dannle? Seriously?

And Lloyd is somehow through! Which means, hilariously, Olly is in the bottom two alongside Jodward. Simon is NOT impressed. Please, please, please let Cheryl and Dannii exact revenge on Emperor Cowell and save the twins. Nothing against Olly, apart from perhaps being a mash-up of Jamie Oliver and Rodney Trotter with a crazy idea he'd be a hit at anything other than the office Christmas party, but seeing Cowell's chances at winning left with the loathsome Dannle would be truly priceless.

Louis seems to have resigned himself to the fact that the twins are getting their marching orders. It's probably about a 99.9% probability, but Christ, it'd be great to see the Lucie decision come back and bite Cowell on his much-kissed, saggy backside. They're doing No Matter What, and it's an absolute atrocity. And once again, Louis demonstrates his inability to bop his head along to the music, regardless of genre, tempo or performer.

Olly is up, looking shellshocked and farting his way through a clumsy rendition of Wonderful Tonight. His shirt is all gapey - this doesn't mean he's going to rip it open again, does it? *shields eyes*

Is Simon welling up? Does he even have tear ducts? To the great surprise of absolutely no-one, he saves Olly. Cheryl also saves Olly, pussying out of standing up to the overlord.

Oooooooooh, Dannii is drawing it out!! Does this mean it's time for vengeance? The audience are bricking it, as is Simon, but... it's John & Edward that are sent packing. Drat.

Let's be fair here: of course the judges made the right decision. And of all the decent groups we saw throughout the auditions - Trucolorz (in spite of being too young), Miss Frank (in spite of not actually being a group), Harmony Hood (in spite of being a tad grubby), and of course, Miss Fitz (no, we're NOT letting it drop) - John & Edward had absolutely no place in the live shows. So yes, Olly deserved to stay. But then, so did Lucie and Rachel.

Jodward describe their time as 'deadly', confusing a hefty chunk of the British public. Looking ahead, next week's show not only sees the most boring top five in six seasons of The X Factor, but also features a performance from Rihanna, a popstar so fucking dead-eyed she almost challenges Leona Lewis for sheer coma-inducing dreariness. Is there enough Pro Plus in the United Kingdom to cope with such a prospect? In the meantime, thank you for joining us, and goodnight. You've been deadly.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Sloppy Dog LiveBlog: The X Factor

Right, we've decided to take a break from sticking needles in our Simon Cowell effigy to appease the nagging of youse lot, and bring you another X Factor liveblog. Prepare yourself for a tidal wave of negativity, an unhealthy dose of cynicism, and a whole lotta bile. Keep hitting refresh if you're joining us live tonight, because, according to the dramatic voiceover which sounds unintentionally sarcastic, It's Time. To Face. The Music! Seriously, can they not just run the titles?

Last week! Lloyd sucked! The twins sucked less! Danyl was scum! Stacey was transformed into Fucking Leona! Jamie went home! It's funny - looking at the evicted six, and the remaining six, it's honestly hard to believe each of the two lots are not in the other's position. But hey, let's remind ourselves, this is not a talent show, it's a low-rent end-of-the-pier shitshower.

Dermot reminds us the final is just around the corner. Who on Earth are they planning to rope in for the duets? Is there a single artist in the history of recorded sound that would happily perform with John & Edward? But that's a question we shall be tackling in a few weeks time - in the meantime, it's George Michael Week, which begins with a namecheck for Pepsi & Shirlie. This does not happen enough in prime time television.

Lloyd is up first, which is pretty much equates to a certainty for the bottom two. There's a REALLY SUBTLE shot of HMV along with a verbal mention, and if this is a taster of what's going to happen when the product placement rules are relaxed, television as we know it is royally fucked. "You know what I liked about that performance, Lloyd? It was almost like a rich buttery spread, low in cholesterol with a full creamy taste. The judges' critiques, in association with Utterly Butterly."

Lloyd is making a right faecal sandwich of Faith. Caucasian, please - as if The Boy Least Likely To's version can be matched.

Cheryl has a gigantic comedy bow in her hair, making her look like the Spitting Image take on the Duchess of York. Meanwhile, Dermot likens Louis to Professor Yaffle. If we're assigning 80s kids TV heroes to all the judges, Dannii is Aunt Sally, Simon is a mash-up of Krang and Evil Edna, and Cheryl is one of the Dobson sisters from Byker Grove.

Stacey is up next, and it seems Dannii is trying to give her the moniker of "The Voice". It's unlikely to stick, mind, given most people know her as "That Girl Wot Makes Me Press The Mute Button When She Talks."

Ugh. She's doing I Can't Make You Love Me, possibly the dreariest thing George Michael has ever put his name to. In fairness, she's doing a decent enough version of it, and she looks jolly nice too this evening. Stacey Solomon FTW, yo.

Oh for the love of fuck, will someone do something with that bastard audience? SHUT YOUR STINKING TRAPS, you sycophantic bunch of ingratiating arseholes. People who actually know about music - plus Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell - are trying to talk, and we'd much rather hear their thoughts than "WELOVEYOUSTACEEEEY!" bellowed from the back row. Can they not pipe some sort of sleeping gas into the studio? And if an excessive amount can also be piped into Danyl's dressing room, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Next up is John & Edward, whose VT is the same old montage of clumsy dancing, daffy chat and yapping about pressure. Incidentally, can we just point out how much we detest the nickname 'Jedward'? If they're going for a catchy portmanteau, surely 'Jodward' makes more sense? Jedward is far too Edward-heavy.

It's a MEDLEY! Oh yes. This is officially The Stuff. By which we mean, 'utter wank but quintessential Jodward'.

Simon Cowell is hating on Andrew Ridgeley. Shooting fish much? Let's remember - this is the same Simon Cowell who was responsible for Girl Thing.

Plug up your every orifice and run for a leadlined bunker, it's Fucking Danyl. Who, by the way, we've decided to call 'Dannle' from now on - if the gormless windowlicker can't even spell his own name, then we're going to go all phonetic on his arrogant ass. We meet Dannle's housemates, one of whom suffers from a severe case of gayvoice.

Simon's said it's a no-frills performance, which presumably means we can rule out our wish that he does Outside with an onstage urinal set? Mind you, it'd need to be an Ally McBeal style unisex toilet, given that HE ALSO LIKES WOMEN. No really, he absolutely loves women! He said so, y'know.

How disappointing. It's Careless Whisper, every bit as shouty and self-indulgent as you'd expect. And high notes are on the horizon, so it's time to play Count Dannle's Fillings.

Dermot questions Dannle's rather negative coverage this week, which, in a nutshell, was that he was a bratty little bitch stamping his feet and throwing his toys out of the pram about anything and everything. Dannle sidesteps the question, the sneaky little tart. Meanwhile, if Calvin Harris is so desperate for a bit of publicity to plug his Godawful raping of the dance genre, can't he come back every week and run on in front of the number to call to vote for Dannle? Surely he's got to be good for something.

Simon describes Olly as "incredible" - let's remember, this is the same Simon Cowell that gave the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers a record deal. Olly is doing Fastlove, and not very well.

Yes Olly, you have a pelvic bone. We get it.

Again with the fucking audience. Belt up, for Christ's sake. Cheryl says lads want to knock about with Olly. No dear, lads want to knock him out.

Is anyone else getting a serious dose of that can't-be-bollocksed feeling, as previously seen in Series Four, and pretty much every series of Big Brother post-2006? It's all just so... meh. And, as if to prove the point, here's the supposed climax of the show, Joe McElderry. He wisely refers to his hometown as 'the North-East', ensuring he's not alienating either the Geordie or Mackem vote. Now that's why Bad Lashes fell down at the first hurdle.

Joe's doing a solo version of Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, which is entirely futile as everyone is fully aware that the greatest moment of that song is where Elton introduces George. Not when George comes on - just the intro. Hell, Joe should do it anyway. Instead, we're treated to a typically-Joe theatre catastrophe. Yes, he can sing, but he should be doing it in Billy Elliot. Or, y'know, in a local am-dram production of Great Balls of Fire at the village hall to raise enough money for a new weather vane. Simon seemed to enjoy it, but let's remember, this is the same Simon Cowell who keeps Sinitta in the media 20 years after her lone glimmer of relevance.

Recap! Lloyd sucked; Stacey is THE ONLY CHOICE; John & Edward were John & Edward; Dannle was the blueprint for all cuntery; Olly continued to look like Tim Lovejoy with mumps (© HRH Grace Dent); Joe could be Joseph. And to top it off, Simon shamelessly kisses up to George Michael, who is most likely setting light to his entire back catalogue as we speak, following that hideous display of butchery. And in spite of tonight providing us with a strong contender for the dullest episode of The X Factor to date, we'll be back tomorrow for the results show. Crack open a Red Bull, prop open your eyelids with matchsticks, and we'll see you then.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Single Reviews 16/11/09

Welcome to this week’s Single Reviews, although we’re aware you’ve probably turned up expecting the X Factor liveblog, as promised. Well, the decision has been taken not to bother following last week’s shitshower – partially cos we know it’ll have Simon Cowell sobbing into his solid gold handkerchief (if only), but mainly cos we now have a social engagement that’s frankly more appealing than watching popular culture being pissed upon.

We start with our Single of the Week – surprisingly, from an artist who we subconsciously seem to have tried to avoid on account of the contrived buzzfest all up in her bizniz. However, the charm and artistry displayed by Florence & The Machine is difficult to argue with, as demonstrated in You’ve Got The Love, a faithful yet relevant take on the Candi Staton classic.

Next up is Jason Derulo, with the near-guaranteed chart behemoth Whatcha Say. He’s got a touch of the Chris Browns before he started rising to the mental torment of a crazy-ass girlfriend (thus is our take on events), although the prominent Imogen Heap sample provides a uniquely quirky edge – something much needed in a consistently monotonous genre. Expect to be utterly sick of this song by Christmas.

New York singer-songwriter and provider of many a soundbed to clichéd US telly drama, Ingrid Michaelson, gets a chance to shine without having naff dialogue spouted over the top of her. Maybe is a mighty slice of melodic, intelligent pop, nicely finished by a formidable vocal, and is no doubt the sort of thing Natasha Bedingfield would kill to be able to pull off.

And finally, Alesha Dixon may translate as a poor man’s Cheryl Cole in the Saturday night judge stakes, but To Love Again proves that she easily trumps her in the popstar stakes. A big, sweeping ballad, rather like a good old-fashioned Christmas Number One before Cowell clogged things up with his tuppenny cover versions, it’s one of her weaker singles but serves a purpose nicely.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Single Reviews 09/11/09

Right, we’ve not had a lot time for much in the way of album reviews, telly reviews or even rants for the ‘ump column, so here’s a quick round-up: Weezer’s Raditude is good but gimmicky; The Restaurant is less awesome when cut in half; June Sarpong and Derek Acorah are completely fuckwits; utterly bored of Jedward; Wispa Gold rules. We have, however, managed to throw together some Single Reviews...

We begin with a woman whose career gets more and more irrelevant with each single she releases. Britney Spears, who we can barely remember being a fantastic popstar since her metamorphosis into a dead-eyed bulimic Slitheen channelling the spirit of Jade Goody by way of Joy from My Name Is Earl, gives us 3, a faceless bit of twiddling and vocoding and gyrating so bereft of character its existence barely even registers.

Leona Lewis is next, boring the globe to the point of collective suicide with the Ryan-Tedder-by-numbers predictafest Happy. She should really steer clear of titles which imply the expression of any kind of emotion – happy, sad, angry, surprised, confused, horny, knackered, murderous. Hell, this dreary moose would even have difficulty conveying a song entitled Indifferent. Move along, dear, we’ve got Alexandra now.

Meanwhile, a brand new offering from The Boy Least Likely To has us squeeing like four dozen JLS fans at a glimpse of Aston’s waistband. We’ll admit it’s difficult to be objective when it comes to The Boy Least Likely To, as they could pretty much fart a tune Terrance-and-Phillip-style and we’d still find a good point, but The Summer of a Dormouse stands up on its own merits. As the title would suggest, it’s a gentle, summery bossa nova pop lullaby, underlining this band’s greatness fully.

Single of the Week, however, is credited to the Stereophonics, who continue to exceed their own high points with the lead single from new album Keep Calm & Carry On. Just as A Thousand Trees was overtaken by Handbags & Gladrags, in turn trumped by Dakota, the pattern continues with Innocent, a commanding, anthemic indie classic. It may not be cool enough for Radio 1, but then, these are the people who put Fearne Cotton on air for 15 hours a week.

And finally, for what’s actually the first (and probably the last) time, we put the all-new Sugababes under the microscope, though we much prefer their new moniker of Splendababes, given the lack of real Suga within the band. About A Girl is RedOne at his laziest, is dominated by the far-too-good-for-this Jade Ewen, and frankly proves Keisha couldn’t have been pushed at a better time. The quicker the originals get their shit together, the better.
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