Jamie-Lynn: The Saga Continues

Apparently, Nickelodeon is taking the teen pregnancy special idea seriously. According to the Associated Press, Linda Ellerbee (Remember her from Nick News? No, I used to change the channel when it came on too, but I knew her face) thinks it's important to address the issue.

Many of our feelings may be best expressed from a child's perspective. Look at what Rosie O'Donnell (and her daughter) had to say from her blog. WARNING: Cryptic Rosie dialogue approaches:

KC writes:
AS a celeb & mom what do U think Nick should do about Zoey 101? UR kids dont watch tv, but will they hear about this?

here is how it went

mama u know the lady with the umbrella
and no hair
here sister is a teenager and she is having twin babies

and what do u think about that chels

teenagers can have babies?

yes they can
and it is never a good idea

well she said
y didnt she take pills that make u not have a baby


And you, what do you think?

But My Darling...

Utada Hikaru, Japanese pop star and future bearer of my babies, is releasing a new single entitled "HEART STATION" in February 2008. The song, "Stay Gold," will be featured on the single. Recently, previews of the song have been popping up from ringtone websites in Japan. Even though Utada's momentum has slowed in recent releases, I believe this one's got potential. It's got such an intimate, classic flow that reminds me of her very first R&B-tinged releases. Very warm sound...I really enjoy what I'm hearing so far! Click the YouTube link to listen to the 1:30 sample.

And you, what do you think?


Funky beats and electric ticks...that's the first thought that comes to mind when describing my latest discovery, Capsule. Made up of vocalist Toshiko Koshijima and programmer Yasutaka Nakata, the group falls under a form of Shibuya-kei (music hailing from Shibuya, Tokyo).Their back catalog proves consistent if nothing else; with at least one album release per year. Though, that's often the case with Japanese artists. Capsule's latest release is a hard hitting mess of eclectic electronica. It moves from full-on amplified trance as in the title song, "FLASH BACK" to more familiar vocoded dance efforts with "Eternity" and "You Are The Reason," evoking memories early Daft Punk releases such as "One More Time." By "Do You Love Me?" the album turns from straight trance beats to a much more focused, dark electronic pop found in bands like Ladytron and Cat5. "I'm Feeling You"'s backing track is "Love At First Sight," I recognized it immediately upon hearing it. But, it's a classic track, and serves to enhance this one. "MUSIXXX" marks a return to the overdriven trance, only this time with vocal samples. The middle is SO reminiscent of Ladytron's older tracks from 604 ("Paco!") and Light & Magic. It's a lot of fun, and could evoke a fair bit of posing and singing along. "Get Down" is really cute, and reminds me a lot of Britney's "Brave New Girl." Another sing-a-long, mid-tempo dancer. The final track seems a bit misplaced. It's electronic R&B, though it's a provides a nice, lush come-down.

Play to listen to Capsule's "You Are The Reason."

Overall, this album seems like a lot of fun. I'll be checking into their back catalog soon. It's an enjoyable mash-up of darker pop and straight up trance, which is a delight.


So, it looks like the cover art has been released for the highly anticipated next attempt at a comeback for Janet Jackson, "Feedback." The single stems from her next studio album, entitled Discipline. Discipline...You mean like, having control of oneself? You mean the album Janet Jackson is known for? What a weird coincidence! It's such a fresh and funky title, I never saw it coming. The song itself is fairly addictive, but I can't seem to really get into it. Maybe because of the awe-inspiring line: "'Cause my swag is serious / Heavy like a first day period." The visual of crampy-pants dancing this one out is just slightly unappetizing.

Regardless, the cover art features shiny orbs for boobies and a digitalized vagina. Downplay the artwork with a sloppy "paint" font for her name, and there you have it. Wave of the future people, take a ride. The link's on the right to hear the new single, "Feedback!"

Cada Que...

Ahh, the summer sounds of Belanova. I found--or more accurately--Belanova found me last year, after discovering I had lost my wallet one morning at college. If this weren't a weekly occurrence, I would probably have been more distraught. As usual, I ran down to the card office and reported my wallet missing. But as I was talking, I couldn't help but focus on the music she was playing. I immediately fell in love. With the music, not her. While she was babbling something about "responsibility," I hushed her mid-sentence and demanded to know the artist that was playing. I ran back and Wikied the group, and lo and behold, my interest was born. And, to make the story altogether more romantic, the wallet was found an hour later. Viva l'amour!
Formed in Mexico, Belanova consists of three members: One on the bass, one keyboard/programmer, and one singer. The typical Belanova sound is a standard power-pop ditty, overwhelmed with warm electronic beats and hints of both Latin and disco undertones. The lovely, flowing electronic samba music usually plays down Denisse Guerrero's bubble-pop powerhouse vocals but don't be fooled, she's a real singer. Acoustic performances prove she's got the chops when the music's turned down and the spotlight's on the voice. They're gaining steam in the Latin American market rapidly, and their latest singles have proven successful. Luckily, their latest release, Fantasia Pop, remains faithful to their signature sound. It's a rare treat to warm up to for the holiday season. Ah yes, and it's in Spanish. If you have an issue with international music, this probably isn't the blog to be reading. Click the YouTube link to hear their single, "Cada Que!"

Fantasia Pop can be purchased at Amazon.

I Am Not Feeling Myself These Days

I know I've been relying heavily on the whole "musical delight" aspect of my blog, but I'd like to take an opportunity to muse about a book I received about a week ago by my mother (Thanks Mom!) from her friend (Thank Mom's friend!).

The book is called I Am Not Myself These Days, a memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. The book gives readers a glimpse of the authors life while living in New York, working at an ad agency by day, and as a moderately popular drag queen named Aquadisiac at night (known for wearing two fish bowls as breasts with live goldfish inside). The story tracks Josh's many--adventures, shall we say?--as Aqua, as well as his ongoing relationship with his boyfriend, Jack, a male escort. Somehow, it works in the oddest of ways (for a time, at least). The juxtaposition of the couple's drag queen and hooker friends coming together for dinner during the holiday season inside of their swanky penthouse apartment on the Upper East Side is ridiculous enough to keep anyone's attention. Hilarity and debauchery ensue at a dizzying pace, forcing me to read almost the entire book in one sitting. From the first page, the book is relentlessly captivating .

The book is written in the same vein as Running With Scissors, but with a much more deadpan, mocking attitude. It's smart, unintentionally sweet (at times in the most perverted of ways), and seemingly desperate all at the same time. A great read. Just don't lend it to Grandma when you're done (unless she's into the whole bondage and cocaine scene.) Not a book for the close minded or weak of heart.

Guy with the terrible hair, back off.

My face is being strange today. The muscles next to my nose are spasming, causing me to involuntarily snarl for seconds at a time. I'm not sure why it's happening, but this wouldn't be the first time my body did something without my consent. At this point, I can tell that my co-workers are silently trying to decide if I'm trying to be "Mr. Funny" by impersonating Elvis (they don't call me that, but they should), or if I'm just openly expressing my deep-seated hatred for them. So while I sit here disgusted (according to my face), I've decided I want to do a track-by-track for one of the best albums of the year.

Tangled Up, the Aloud girl's fourth studio album was released November 13th. But if you were a 13-year-old fan-girl real fan, you probably ordered the fan edition off of their website like I did, which features a bonus cover, postcards, and lyrics. I'll let you marinate on that thought for a moment. More importantly: the tracks!!

001. Call The Shots - The CD opens up with their widely popular second single off of the album. The mid-tempo chugger is arguably one of my favorites off the album. The backing track is dreamy, and the girls sing lazily about being in charge, and pheonixes, and dreams that glitter (These a few of my favorite things!). It's a big hit in the U.K. at the moment.

002. Close to Love - Another Aloud track with lyrics to kill. Literally. "Got so close to love / I can almost taste the kill / Barely close enough / But I just can't close the deal" The track is pure Girls Aloud, so it's obviously perfection. Disco gloss with a crunchy rock punch, along with nonsensical lyrics about needing wood and getting all tangled up. Watch for the breakdown at the end, shooing away the would-be suitors. Fierce.

003. Sexy! No, No, No - With what sounds to be an entire radio's stuffed into one hellacious, chugging beat, the Girls attempt to conquer this fast-paced and chaotic track. It was a warmly received first single, but it failed to generate much attention. Rightly so. The track is too much to handle. There's no proper construction...each section of the song sounds like a new bridge. Too hard to dance to, too slow to run to...it's difficult to place and difficult to enjoy for me.

004. Girl Overboard - HEAVEN. ON. EARTH. No doubt about it. Their songs about getting caught up in the wrong crowd and hitting rock bottom ("No Good Advice," "Life Got Cold" and countless others) always seem to have a special place in my heart, and this is no exception. I often relate. Euro-trash snyths, and the repeated cries of "Girl Overboard / I thought I had it but
I tumbled." This is a real mover. Too gay for commercial radio though, probably never be a single. Check out this fan video on YouTube:

005. Can't Speak French - I must admit upon hearing the track name, I was overly excited. I was a bit too enthusiastic for this one though, as I was left wanting more. It's a nice, swinging mid-tempo, but the lyrics outshine the production. "I can't speak French / So I let the funky music do the talking, talking," the girls declare. Sounds brilliant, oui? (See what I did there?), so it's unfortunate that the song never really takes off from where it begins. Rumored to be the fourth single. I wouldn't mind it, but there's better to be found here sadly.

006. Black Jacks - In true Girls Aloud fashion, you couldn't interpret these lyrics if you had an Oxford English Dictionary and the Xenomania writers tied to a chair, injected with truth serum. There's absolutely no sense here, when the chorus comes chugging into this Pipettes-esque stormer, "There's black jacks running down my back and I said Stop! / 'Cause I love you, Baby." It's good. The best part of course would be the whole "New York nothin', come and get stuck in" post-chorus yell.

007. Control of the Knife - Is that reggae I hear? Once again, the track title had me quite excited before I gave it a listen. Domestic violence? Count me in. Actually, the track reminds me of "Can't Speak French." It's another mid-tempo, and could have easily gone down the same path. However, the track is redeemed with the fantastic horn solo, followed by the always dependable vocoder to shake things up a bit. And trust me, if you thought Black Jacks was unintelligble, the nonsensical vocoded breakdown is "Got sweet hassle, sweet talking me / got cheap babble, cheap talking free." WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN? Pop goodness, that's what. Third single off of the album.

008. Fling - Oh, I knew this would be classic after the very first line. "It's just a fling baby, fling baby." Then they all get a bit sassy with their respective lines in the electro-stomper about the various hotties and fellas that they are checkin'. It all sums up to be a glorious ode to adulterous flings and promiscuity, which is simply noble. All in good fun, the Aloud are never expected to be taken seriously. The hands-in-the-air beat makes this one particularly fun song.

009. What You Crying For - Everytime I see this one pop up, I'm always expecting Garbage's "It's All Over But The Crying." This is one of the darker tracks of the album, but it's still tame. The "You don't care, it's cold out there / You don't mind, anytime" breakdown is a moment of beauty. Otherwise, this is a fairly subdued track.

010. I'm Falling - This took me a few spins to finally "get it." At first, I was too preoccupied by the distanced effect on their voices during the chorus, but I realized how crucial it was later on. The strange video-game noise that paces the song (I'm going with the sound of a shell spinning in Mario), along with the ridiculous lyrics about...God, I couldn't even tell you. Either Nicola has a fetish for electricity or enjoys having a man invade her in rather unconventional ways:"And I was sure that if I eva' had a shocka' / The same ol' folks would say go." Well now we know. It's always the quiet ones, isn't it?

011. Damn - I've seen other blogs refer to this as "Real Life" redux, and I'd have to agree..the beats are pretty dead on. But, just like "Real Life," this one's pretty good. Also care free, but it's got a bit more of that Pipettes-crunch which is a newer concept. The song's about the morning after a night of bad decisions: "She said 'Damn! I lost my number and I lost my head! Now, I thought about it and I could be dead." ...I think, anyway.

012. Crocodile Tears - Finally! Some semblance of a ballad. I'm not usually one for the slow songs (takes the edge off my E-trip), but the Aloud have proved to be excellent balladiers (invented). This is really heartfelt...but the word "crocodile" still doesn't sound natural to me. It's probably one of the lesser used nouns in pop music today, along with "succubus."

All in all, the album is wonderous. It takes a few listens to get where they're at, but hey, so did Chemistry. And that's a damn good gem. This one is too, just in different ways. Nice job, ladies.

Buy Tangled Up by Girls Aloud at Amazon UK.

4 Minutes To Save The World? Should I Pack A Sweater?

Timbaland, almighty producer of all music created from 2005 to 2007, has teamed up with the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, for her next studio album due out in the first quarter of 2008.Image credit to forgottenjournal.com
During his performance at the Jingle Ball concert in Philadelphia last week, Timbaland premiered what many people believe to be Madonna's first single from the album, called "Four Minutes To Save The World." Shockingly, the song made way onto the Internet immediately after being played. Everyone downloaded the video, Perez posted it, and then Madonna ripped him a new one. Well, through her publicists anyway.

Let's get one thing straight off the bat: The title is amazing. Kudos to Madonna, or whoever decided the lyrics for this one. Love it. Anywho, the track is low quality and barely audible over his obnoxious rapping. From what I could hear, it's very Timba-heavy. Even at the best moments (the chorus bits), the song is nothing I haven't heard already. Don't get me wrong, it seems like a fine track, but Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, or any of the other singers that have taken a ride on the Timbawave could have pulled this one of out their asses.

Anywho, here's some video with the song:

Verdict: Timbalame so far.

Outta My Head

While I spend the rest of the night trying to wrap my head around the ever-increasing madness produced by the Spears family household, I was most pleasantly shocked by the accompanying video to Ashlee Simpson's Danja produced "Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)."
For her first song in about two years, the video features Simpson running around and being chased. If you smoosh together some assorted 1980's paraphernalia, Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory, and the paparazzi, you'd get the general jive of the video. She looks cute, fresh, and most importantly, she's finally put a quash on that miserable Avril-angst persona she was failing to embody for so long. You can tell that she's eased up considerably with her desire to be taken seriously, which will do wonders for her in the long run. Just forget everything she's released until this point.

See Ashlee Simpson's new video, "Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)" here at Yahoo!.

Jamie-Lynn: Pregnant?

Rumors are swirling that Britney's little sister, Jamie-Lynn, is pregnant at sixteen years old. An OK! magazine cover, posted directly on the OK! website, features Jamie-Lynn on the cover with an exclusive interview proclaiming "I'm Pregnant."

Looks like things aren't looking too well for the Spears' family Christmas now, are they? I hope this is a fake story. OK! has run a consistent streak of false magazine covers. None of them have alleged "interviews" however, so I find this to be a bit extreme. Somehow I'm unable to believe anything regarding Britney's life considering the outlandishness of the media. In all honesty, I do hope that Jamie-Lynn is okay.

EDIT: Well, it's official and confirmed by both Nickelodeon and Britney Spears. Despite the sadness of the situation, there are way too many ironies to be ignored: Jamie-Lynn going to see Juno with her parents a few days ago? Meeting the boyfriend in church? Her mother in the midst of writing a book about properly parenting children in Hollywood? It's like they've planned this for years. Good show.

Piece of B...

So, the new Britney video finally surfaced on Friday, December 14th. Can we just take a moment to applaud this monumental achievement in and of itself? I was largely dubious that there would ever be another release after "Gimme More," because she is Britney and she does not give a shit, etc. But as a card-carrying Ultimate Britney Fan (UBF United--Make this a reality, people), I cannot complain.

There are some good aspects and some poor ones. The most glee-inspiring detail is that she appears to be doing some type of dancing. It's a far cry from "Slave," but I suppose this will do for now. I know she did the choreography for this video herself because of the signature Britney "I-don't-need-no-DAMN-choreographer" moves: prayer hands and peace signs...Come to think of it, she should really get a job as an anti-war rally choreographer. I hear it's a rather lucrative field.
The bad part: The eyebrows made her look rather strange. That, and she's still toting around the same entourage and wardrobe from the "Do Somethin'" set in 2005. No, I mean for real. The outfits have all made their appearances in previous videos, including the bland blondies dancing behind her (who increasingly appear to outshine her with every video.)

You can call me crazy, but when I saw her confidently step over that dirty paparazzo on the red carpet, I saw a glimmer of my Old Britney through those medicated eyes, and fell in love all over again. Of course, she'll probably fuck it up again and drive head first into the window of a pet store, but it's the hopes and dreams she inspires within me that encourage me to strive forward. That and the pictures of her derriere in the magazines.

Ayumi Hamasaki is feeling GUILTY.

For the first order of business, I'd like to address the upcoming release of Hamasaki's tenth studio album, GUILTY. But before that, I'd like to summarize Ayumi's career for the majority of readers (who at this point are unaware that this blog exists) who are unfamiliar with the sassy little lady (5'1"!)

Ayumi Hamasaki, known as the "Empress of J-Pop," is often referred to as the Madonna of Japan. I'd say it's a pretty close comparison. Unlike Madonna, Ayu didn't do too much to challenge the direction of pop music, nor is she controversial, but she does control her life and music in the same manner. Like Madonna, Ayu's got the last word on everything, because she understands the importance of image. The one thing I love Image credit: http://www.eneabba.netmost about Ayumi is her self-awareness. She openly refers to herself as a product, as in this interview with TIME:

It is necessary that I am viewed as a product. I am a product. The "Hi, this is Ayu" person on TV is the person I know they want to see. I understand it's my role to realize people's dreams. I'm okay with that so long as my songs are my own.

She's smart too. She knows how to play the game, and every album she has released (nine at the moment) has debuted at number one on the charts. She holds the record for most singles to chart for any female artist, as well as albums. She has broken countless sales records and won dozens of awards. And everytime she attempts to speak English, a baby panda is born. I swear it's the cutest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.

Needless to say, she is absolutely unknown to anyone outside of the Eastern hemisphere. Thankfully, we've been blessed with the musical stylings of Soulja Boy and T-Pain. But I digress.

Having just broken up with Tomoya Nagase, her boyfriend of over seven years, I was selfishly enthralled by the idea of her "going all Alanis" on his ass for the new album, GUILTY. Image credit to http://www.yesasia.com. But according to the tabloids, and Ayumi herself, it seems more like she was the one responsible for the breakup. Earlier in the week on her blog, Ayu was lamenting over losing someone "close to her," and wishes everyone will feel the album because it represents those emotions. My hopes are high.

The thirty second previews have just been released on her official website, and I have to say, I'm nervous about this one. Secret, her ninth album, did nothing for me. Too faux-rock for my taste, except for "Startin',"1 Love," and "Kiss O' Kill." This one seems to be following the same path, except I have a feeling there's more sincerity packed into the bunch this time around. I wish she'd return to the days of I Am... , but those days of experimental sound seem long gone. I know she loves guitars and rock, but she truly shined during her trance/dance era.

Ayu's album GUILTY is due to be released January 1st, 2008 and can be ordered at Amazon.