An interview with HU?
21 June 2010
Baltic Reports ran a piece of mine about HU?, a fantastic group that hails from Estonia.
18 February 2010
Kyiv Post ran a piece of mine about Gorchitza Live Project, an excellent Ukrainian house music group.
27 August 2009
Follow link above to the piece as it appears in Balkan Insight magazine. Thanks to Romania desk editor Marian Chiriac for guiding it through this process.
25 June 2009
The first Eurotrash song was performed in Germay 35,000 years ago, say archeologists who have unearthed the world's oldest known instrument, a flute, in the Hohle Fels cave in Southern Germany. Moreover, the discovery suggests that the first music on earth was Eurotrash. (article here)
20 May 2009
Eurovision can make all the rules it wants to depoliticize its show, but on Planet Reality their goal is impossible to achieve. The very concept of the contest, where countries compete against other countries, promotes nationalism. Georgia got the boot from the competition this year for submitting a song with a thinly veiled swipe at Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin. And now this:
I thought it was a bit weird when Armenia's Sirusho kept flashing some picture on the back of her clipboard during the voting results portion of the Eurovision finals. Turns out she was displaying a photo of the Tatik-Papik monument. It's located in the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR), an area of Azerbaijan currently occupied by ethnic Armenians. This has long been a hot political issue. It is an especially big deal this year as Turkey and Armenia seem to be moving closer towards opening their borders. Thus, Azerbaijan is feeling a bit betrayed by its old ally Turkey, since Azerbaijan wants the NKR region back under its control again and feels it will have less leveraging power to do so if Turkey and Armenia make nice. Armenia, as you might guess, feels the NKR should become either a sovereign country or a part of Armenia (the overwhelming majority of NKR residents are ethnic Armenians).
The Armenian monument was originally built in 1967 at a time when Azerbaijan held that territory (so it's been controversial for a long time). It symbolizes Armenians' love for that land, and depicts an elderly couple surveying the landscape.
Earlier, the monument was to be incorporated somehow in the music video for the 2009 Armenian Eurovision song entry, but this was censored by Russian media, no doubt stoking a desire for Armenia to express itself in this other way.
An article about all this can be found here: http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insightb/articles/eav051809a.shtml.
17 May 2009
Norway won it all by a comfortable margin, just in time for their Constitution Day celebrations, and I cannot complain. "Fairytale," sung by an appealingly boyish Alexander Rybak, had some very clever lyrics about the disconnect between the fantasy and reality of being in a relationship. Many songs deserved victory in their own ways, but Norway was just a little bit more deserving than the others. Well done, Norway!
Norway's victory will hopefully shut up ABBA's Benny Andersson, who has been going on lately about how the Eurovision song competition just isn't as good as it used to be. Actually, between that and Bjorn Ulvaeus's comments at the Pirate Bay trial, the ABBA guys are looking more and more like grumpy old men. That's a shame, as we still regularly tend to our ABBA shrine here at "EorE?"
Russia did an excellent job hosting this year's Eurovision Song Contest. All that oil revenue was well-spent. Never had the show looked bigger. The sets were jaw-dropping. And while it pains me to say that the hosts of the semi-finals were awkward and fairly terrible (I'm sure they are very nice people), the hosts of the finals, pop singer Alsou and actor/presenter Ivan Urgant, were superb. It sometimes feels strange to say that hosting requires talent, but Urgant showed how true that was with his stream of (seemingly improvised) amusing quips.
I also enjoyed the comedy segments interwoven throughout the program, which refreshingly demonstrated that Russians are able to laugh a little at themselves (in fact, the good-naturedness of the hosting and the comedy sections made me feel a bit guilty laughing at Russia via that "Tingaling" song from Sweden's Melodifestivalen a few months back).
The Cirque du Soleil stuff was breathtaking, as one would expect from the world's greatest circus. During the voting, glowing pools with transparent floors containing diving and swimming people were suspended high over the audience. These pools were then slowly lowered until they were immediately over the audience, within touching range, while the divers continued to dive over them. It was like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, only sexier, since you could sort of see the tits of the women splashing around in there.
2008 Eurovision winner Dima's entrance was clever and inspired (and also ridiculously cheesy--which is an essential Eurovision quality). He seems to be the Enrique Iglesias of Russia.
On the negative side of things, every time Eurovision attempts to make a change to improve the voting system they wind up making the competition a little bit worse and, more worryingly, less democratic. In 2000 the so-called "Big Four" countries (who spend the most on the competition) were rewarded with automatic tickets to the finals, bypassing the semi-final screening process. This has predictably backfired for reasons explained here. In 2009, Eurovision introduced another mysterious rule: half of each country's votes would come from the people of that country, and another half would come from a jury of "music industry experts" from that country. Furthermore, when each country's results were presented the votes were not split out to show how that country's jury vs. the people voted, but rather were merged together, leaving one wondering how much the jury might have diverged from the public's own taste. It was a real lack of transparency which will only further cloud the competition.
This new rule is almost certainly the only reason Andrew Lloyd-Webber's miserable song for the United Kingdom, a tuneless turd featuring a young woman warbling "it's my time" over and over again, wound up in fifth place. The venerable old wombat himself appeared on stage, tickling the ivories. What jury of music industry experts is going to diss the song-writing genius of Sir Andrew?
And the new system failed to stop bloc voting anyway. Moldova and Romania were booed for exchanging top scores (though Turkey and Azerbaijan were cheered for doing the same). Even "music industry experts" are going to be culturally biased in favor of their regions' music. One would expect a Romanian jury to listen to a Moldovan song with a better understanding of and appreciation for the hora than a UK jury would.
Poor Romania. I was very wrong in predicting success for "The Balkan Girls." I had felt that Romania would bag 12 points each from Spain and Moldova and get a smattering of points from the Balkan countries. It was all very theoretical. In reality, Romania came in 19th out of 25 places. Elena's flight home, in a private jet furnished by the Romanian government, is likely to be a doleful one.
Iceland's second place tune was about as vanilla as a song comes, but the singer was cute and seemed very earnest, so perhaps that helped it. Aysel and Arash's Azeri entry, "Always," was perky and cute, as were the couple singing it; it came in third. Turkey's entry struck me as a lot of bluster with little in the way of hooks, but nonetheless it landed in fourth. From all the online chatter before the competition, I had expected either Turkey or Azerbaijan to win the competition. On the political front, it's nice to see Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey all sharing respectable Eurovision success.
Two songs featured women running off during the bridges to play (or mime play) drums (Israel and Ukraine). Two songs featured singers playing (or mime playing) violins (Norway and Estonia--it should also be said that the Estonian singer looked like she had stepped out of any number of deviantART emo photomanipulations). Several songs were conventional pop tunes that featured a little ethnic music breakdown for the bridge (among these were Armenia's and Albania's entries). It would be nice to hear more ethnic sounds interwoven throughout the pieces, rather than being added in the bridge as an afterthought to remind people of the song's place of origin.
Comedy songs seldom do well at Eurovision. Last year, Ireland's Dustin the (flatulent) Turkey was sent packing after the semis. This year's Dustin may have been the Czech Republic's gypsy.cz, who performed a somewhat crazed Queen-ish song. I felt sorry for them, though--the song was commendably unorthodox and very well sung, and considering the anti-gypsy sentiment in Europe I couldn't help but wonder if they were done-in by plain old racism. Of course, we'll never know for sure. Also on the comical side, the Netherlands submitted a song performed by three schlager guys in sequined suits who were flanked by enormous black women in white wigs, one of whom mimed scratching a record the whole way through. This, I suppose, was supposed to look like "fun," but really it was just bizarre. It also failed to advance to the finals.
Ninth-place Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to intrigue me with their song entries and performances. From viewing the last two Eurovision performances alone I have become interested in visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sweden's Malena Ernman seemed to have a giggle fit both during both her semi-final and finals performances, which left me wondering if she's really just that good-natured or if this is some sort of a weird performance quirk of hers to make herself appear more endearing? Her opera voice is great; her pop voice, not so hot. Sweden finished near the bottom.
Albania's song was pretty good and well-sung, but the country is friendless at Eurovision. Actually, what will Eurovision do when Kosovo wants to join the competition as a sovereign country?
Last place on Saturday night went to Waldo's People, whose "Lose Control" is a catchy pop song, but I suppose didn't fit the Eurovision bill. The performance sounded a bit sloppy, too.
Best of the bottom songs was the schmaltzy yet somehow affecting "Love," from Sasha Son of Lithuania. How did it do worse than Ukraine's terrifying entry?
And as for the so-called "Big Four," who will continue to lose Eurovision until they grow up and start competing in the semi-finals again...
I have already said enough about the crappy UK entry. The French song was very dramatically performed and excellently sung, but was maybe a little too "French" for the rest of Europe's tastes. Germany thought bringing out a celebrity guest would help their chances, but when the celebrity is Dita von Teese your chances go back down into the cellar again. And Spain finished second from the bottom.
See you next year in Norway!
17 April 2009
April has been a cruel month for pirates. Three were killed by American snipers off the coast of Somalia last week; France rounded up a bunch, also. But media pirates have also been beaten down.
When compared to the United States, Europe has always been viewed as the more liberal part of the world. In the Napster days, America's RIAA busily filed lawsuits against children and their grandparents, a public-relations disaster that the industry continues to be stung by (no doubt much of today's open defiance of the music industry is a byproduct of the anger those lawsuits generated). By contrast, Europe took a relatively relaxed wait-and-see approach.
How times have changed. The month of April 2009 will go down in history as the one where Europe's music empire struck back "with great vengeance and furious anger" against the millions who share music online. The American recording industry is undoubtedly delighted with these most recent overseas developments and will view them as a green light to pursue all perceived threats to copyright with greater relentlessness on their own shores.
In the most spectacular of these news items, Sweden's Pirate Bay lost its case. The Pirate Bay is appealing the ruling, but legislators are now maneuvering to have the site taken down in the interim. The argument that the Pirate Bay only hosted links, not copyrighted material, on their servers apparently did not wash.
But this was not the only anti-piracy development in Europe. In France, a "three strikes and you're out" downloading law nearly passed in parliament (it was prevented passage by an embarrassingly low turn-out of the bill's supporters coupled with an unexpectedly high turn-out of Socialists). In a nutshell, if you are caught downloading music files three times your internet service will be cut. The bill will be resubmitted soon, which strikes your correspondent as a sort of legislative double-jeopardy. The bill is expected to pass the next time.
Unfortunately, even potentially legal music sharing options are hitting stumbling blocks. In Germany, YouTube and the German music industry failed to agree on terms for the distribution of royalties for music videos that appear on the YouTube video channel. As a result, music videos have been yanked en masse from YouTube in Germany. Many in the German music industry are devastated by this development. "This is really a disaster for everyone involved," says Jens Thele, the managing director of Kontor Records, as quoted in the 2 April New York Times.
What is patently ridiculous about the YouTube situation is that music videos are television commercials for the music featured in them. If anything, the music industry should be begging (and paying) YouTube to distribute its content. It's not like MTV plays music videos anymore. As Mr. Thele correctly surmises, if the Silbermond "Irgendwas Bleibt" video disappears from YouTube, it will only encourage people to go looking for it (or the song itself) in the pirate underground.
Piracy is a very nuanced issue. While some things appear quite clear-cut (for example, distributing a free 320kbps copy of Lady GaGa's "Poker Face" on a website), other issues are not so (for example, mash-ups, which feature media manipulated to the point of becoming new works of art). But one thing is certain: if the music industry is going to shut down illegal music distribution it must do so in conjunction with making that same music readily available through legal channels.
Each week I scour over a dozen music charts from Europe. The majority of the music that I find interesting fails to appear on American iTunes. It is not reasonable to ask that I hold off on my purchase of Salem's "Astronaut" until my next visit to Sweden. I saw the video on YouTube and I loved the song; it's fair to assume many others outside of Scandinavia have also. There is an international audience available for conceivably every single song produced by any country, no matter how great or small that country is. What a fantastic opportunity for music producers all over the world. The implication to the music industry is clear: before you cut our internet connections or sue us, perhaps you might tell us where we could send that one dollar to purchase your song legally.
25 May 2008
In the 1990s Ireland won an astonishing four Eurovision song contests. Only a few years later the country feels so jaded about "New Europe's" dominance in the competition that they sent an ironic turkey-puppet to mock the latest proceedings. That's pretty petty, and perfectly sums up the ridiculous attitude that the UK, Ireland, and Western Europe have adopted w/r/t Eurovision.
Applying this much ink (or this many pixels) to Eurovision might seem silly, but something genuinely worrying has emerged from all the fuss. Eurovision has exposed the troubling rift between "New Europe" and old. The Telegraph begins their article on the latest competition not with a congratulations to winners Russia, but with a dire "No western European country has won the competition for eight years and the results of the 53rd contest, in Belgrade, Serbia, followed the same trend." The London Times quotes acerbic UK Eurovision commentator Terry Wogan as saying that an "iron curtain has descended across Eurovision," and The UK Press Assocation adds that Wogan feels "Western European participants have to decide whether they want to to take part from here on in, because their prospects are poor." The BBC reports that some UK Eurovision fans think the western European countries should now host their own, separate song contest.
Make no mistake about it, in 2008 bloc-voting ran rampant once again at the Eurovision Song Contest. No country can vote for its own song entry, but they can and too often do vote for their neighbors'. The results can be groan-inducing for the viewer. Of course Belarus awarded its maximum score of 12 points to Russia. The Balkan countries disseminated their top scores amongst their neighbors. Norway's top scores were all offered by other Scandinavian countries.
The main voting blocs seem to be the Balkans, the Baltic states, and Scandinavia. Scandinavia often gets left out of British newspaper articles discussing bloc voting, perhaps because it's more fashionable to beat-up on the poorer EU newbies and wannabes. The failure to indict wealthy Scandinavia in the bloc-voting controversy suggests that the main issue is an Eastern vs. Western Europe one.
But bloc-voting will wane over time. The Balkans stick together these days undoubtedly because so many of those countries were, until very recently, united under a single flag and ruler (which makes their support for one another a bit more forgivable than Scandinavia's). Also, there is the perceived psychological need for the "underdogs" to band together in the face of large, economically dominant powers like Germany in order to balance the scales. However, Yugoslavia began to fray in 1991; those 1991 babies are now 17 year-olds. Yugounity will undoubtedly fade, thanks to a growing sense of autonomy emerging from within those countries and increased mixing between the various European nations' populations.
There were some interesting voting surprises, the most intriguing one coming from Spain. Spain offered its top score of 12 points to a toturous ballad from far-away Romania. Spain and Italy are the top two work destinations for migrant Romanians. It seems that as Eastern Europe continues to infiltrate Western European markets we will see more of this sort of thing at Eurovision.
Western Europe is still a long ways from understanding the concerns, dreams, and desires of its newest (and prospective) EU members. For the foreseeable future, bloc-voting at Eurovision will remain a method by which the EU's underdogs will flex their might. But this is not so terrible. I am surprised by how few Western Europeans I meet have traveled to Eastern Europe. Watching an Armenian as yummy as top-five finisher Sirusho shake her hips at Eurovision might encourage Western Europe to get to know its neighbors better. Such mixing can only be a good thing for the continent as whole. Peace, love, and Eurovision.
23 May 2008
Before 2000, the biggest monetary contributors to the Eurovision Song ContestGermany, France, Spain, and the UKgrew increasingly fed-up with the fact that they often lost. In the 1980s two of those countries won a Eurovision; in the 1990s only the UK didonce. "Why give so much money to something that we seldom win?" they reckoned.
These countries with deep pockets are today popularly known in Eurovision circles as "The Big Four." Their "bigness" obviously has nothing to do with their winning Eurovision song contests. It is instead a reference to the amount of money they invest in the pageant.
To appease these contributors, in 2000 it was decided that Big Four song entries would automatically advance to the finals of the song competition. So during semis this week, when 39 other countries strutted and shook their stuff on stage, exposure to the Big Four song entries came in the form of a three minute-long highlights reel shown during each night's voting phase.
Tellingly, not one Big Four country has won Eurovision since 1997.
I think there are two extremely obvious reasons for the failure of the Big Four to take home the Eurovision crown, so obvious that I'm embarrassed to write these down here. But since most Eurovision complainers yack about bloc-voting, particularly from those scandalously poor/corrupt Eastern European and Baltic nation newbies, I feel I need to offer a disease to explain the symptoms.
1) No matter how reasonable the argument might sound, advancing the Big Four countries to the finals without exposing those songs to the semi-final filtering process runs counter to basic democratic principles. In other words, the popular impression is that the Big Four have bribed their way into the finals. To further illustrate how unfair this is, consider a country of 2 million people, like Slovenia, whose economy is strong, but who will never be able to amass enough capital to join the "big" club. Moreover, this auto-advancement of the heavy rollers exacerbates, for some, a sometimes painful awareness of the economic disparity that lies between the richer and poorer countries. This no doubt informs the bloc-voting mindset. The German economy may be stronger, but tiny Serbia, thanks to its Balkan neighbors, has won its Eurovision.
2) The semis provide the audience with a chance to warm up to the selections and performers from all the European countries that participate in them. We all know how pop tunes sometimes sound sweeter with repeated exposure. The semis are especially fun because they are done live, with all the associated excitement and jitters, thus making the performers and performances more endearing to the average Eurovision viewer. By skipping the semis the Big Four lose this valuable public relations opportunity.
The business side and the competition side of a song contest should be separated. How would one feel if athletes from the world's largest economies always automatically advanced to the finals of any Olympic event? It would be far wiser (and perhaps more lucrative) for the Big Four to demand a larger percentage of profits from Eurovision. If the profits are not enough, then Eurovision is a poor investment for those countries and they should decline to sanction the event so heavily in the future.
Taking the automatic ticket to finals just looks pathetic and sad. Any fool knows that the more countries that are entered in a competitionespecially a competition built around something as subjective as musicthe lower the odds of any one country winning it. And nobodyespecially the economically disadvantaged EU newbies and outsiderslikes rich crybabies.
27 July 2007
There's an old cliché that goes: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." That's why sound samples have now been added to every track in the compendium (indicated by a clickable musical note beside each song title). Carving 30 choice seconds out of over 800 tracks was a grueling process, but I think it will prove well worth the slog for everyone (especially since the 30 second grabs on such services as iTunes often fail to nab the "meat" of the tune; I always wonder how many sales are lost due to these misplaced grabs).
I discovered my love for European pop music initially through internet radio. That compelled me to dig on the web for more info, which in turn led me to the sound samples provided by DJ Lorix on his Italian dance-focused website and the impressive audio/video clips catalog on eurodancehits.com. Without hearing those clips I would never have known that it would be worth dropping $20 to get a Neja "Time Flies" CD single from Italy. I hope that adding audio to my compendium will excite others to explore this music further, and will introduce some to the thrill of tracking down these sometimes not-so-easy-to-find-tunes.
(A technical note: I have found that on some versions of Internet Explorer 7 the samples won't play; on other versions of the same browser they play fine. I don't know where in browser or system settings this gets resolved, but I would recommend you switch to Mozilla Firefox anyway. Firefox seems to have no problems handling media, and has proven to be overall a better browser.)
Another change: I am gradually removing all references to each song's American iTunes availability status. The international crowd that enjoys this website couldn't care less what American iTunes does and does not offer. But of even greater importance, songs come and go from iTunes with such random frequency that it's impossible to keep the information up to date. One month Kylie Minogue's pre-Fever material was all over American iTunes, the next it was completely pulled. Other times things are added and it takes forever for me to learn that. Rather than drive myself crazy re-checking the status of 800+ songs, it seemed wiser to just give up tracking that. On a similar note, I briefly tried linking to YouTube videos, but was discouraged there because videos also came and went. For ten years I have been re-learning that the best website is a self-contained one.
I changed the formatting of the compendium pages to include the release date of each track. Sometimes tracks were originally released in a limited run, then more widely released later. For those tracks, multiple years are sometimes entered. Much of this release information was gathered from the superb discogs.com. Information on a fairly large number of other songs (particularly Romanian and Italian selections) was tracked down through as many different web sites as there were tunes. A big thank you to all the Eurodance/Europop fans out there who are as obsessive compulsive as I am in tracking and posting these data. You helped me find and correct many errors in my original reviews. I hope that my own site will now have enough integrity to be of at least some use to others.
Sometimes I uncovered valuable information that was criminally absent from my original writings. For example, I might learn that a song was a cover of an older, well-known European pop tune (for example, "Nessaja"), but because I was not familiar with the original (being an American) that info passed me by. I am sure that with so many reviews from so many places there are more errors to be fixed. If you see any, please send me an email. I may be insanely dedicated to tracking happenings in European pop music, but nothing can compare to actually living the experience. Even the casual music listener living in France, for example, has a leg-up on me. So don't hesitate to educate me.
With some luck (and a little help from my friends) I hope to make further improvements to the compendium in the months to come.
Thanks to everyone who visits "Eurotrash or Eurotreasure?" Keep on trashing!
11 February 2007
Back in the 1980's, there was a genuine cross-pollination of musical ideas from both sides of the Atlantic. We had Nena's "99 Luftballoons" and Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" in our top forty charts. "Tarzan Boy" was an Italo disco song. Before Laura Branigan covered them, "Gloria" and "Self Control" were Italian pop smashes (by Umberto Tozzi and RAFF respectively). British pop thrived in America with examples too numerous to mention.
That all ended in the late 1980's, when America focused on the emerging genre of rap and the "growth" of hair metal. No longer did German language songs or Italian tunes land in our top 40. It was the start of America's pop xenophobia, and it continues to this day.
Meanwhile, Europe remained focused on synth pop and created numerous pop stars that, a few years earlier, would have landed in our top 40 (Sandra would certainly have done so, though happily she slipped in under the radar under her husband's "Enigma" alias some years later). Europe also open-mindedly pulled inspiration from American pop while Americans generally failed to reciprocate the favor, thanks in large part to the lack of distribution for artists singing in another language.
Today, the divide remains. It fascinates me that when I go into a German record store I can find the American top 40 well represented, but the same does not hold true in the United States for German pop songs. On this website I have parodied this divide many times, but in truth it troubles me. It seems to suggest that at one time we were open minded about music from overseas, but that today we're insular and self absorbed to the point where we deprive ourselves of the many pleasures offered by cultures that are not our own. An idiot would suggest that that's because European music sucks, but any survey of the horrors of American pop would put that suggestion to rest. Even the growth of Latin music in the United States fails to address my concern, because it's also largely borne directly from the culture that created it (Spanish speaking immigrants), and not an open-minded awareness of outside cultures.
YouTube and iTunes have both done a great job of making a world of music available to us. It will be interesting to see if a new cultural awakening will emerge through their domination. Perhaps one day we might, once again, see a German language song in our top 40.
from the 3rd Quarter 2006 GACC South News
---More iTunes Impressions
23 July 2006
This website is meant for and enjoyed by people all around the world, but speaking specifically as an American, I have always found it an interesting challenge to track down songs that my friends in Europe take for granted. In strange ways this has driven my life, sending me all around the internet and on multiple expeditions to Europe hunting for lost pop gems. While American pop radio suffers from too much sameness, and MTV staunchly enforces its policy of not playing actual music videos, I have been fortunate enough to uncover such pop geniuses as Slovenia's Videosex, Romania's Hi-Q, and France's Alizee.
For the benefit of American visitors who cannot afford to spend either the time or the money visiting Europe, but who thirst for the more colorful musical offerings from that continent, I indicate, in my "Compendiums" which songs are available on American iTunes. And in recent months American iTunes has been improving massively, indicated most recently by their amazing inclusion of a full-length Hi-Q album.
Great news! However, I must caution you to download what you like ASAP. This is because iTunes also has a frustrating tendency to remove songs that were offered previously. This can't be their fault; I imagine every song and album is tied to a specific contract, and those contracts probably expire before the labels get around to renewing them.
So, in addition to the magnificence of offering a slew of original Masterboy CD singles (with all the mixes), we find that Ace of Base's entire back catalog has shockingly been deleted. John Davies' Euroschmaltz masterpiece "I Promised Myself" is on offer (with the Mark 'Oh remix as well), but the legendary ATC's "Around the World" is remarkably absent after having been an iTunes staple for quite some time. So although I am halfway through updating my compendium notes, a task I started at the beginning of July, don't be surprised if sometimes a song I say is not on iTunes is, and another song I say is on iTunes isn't.
Despite those unhappy removals, the scale is tipping overwhelmingly in Eurodance's favor, and many of the great classics I have written about on these pages for the past five years are now blissfully available for 99 cents a pop. No expensive imports, no trips to Europe necessary! (Though I continue to recommend the latter anyway!)
28 November 2005
Special D's "Come With Me" was pumped in the stadium a couple of times between rotations at the World Gymnastics Championships women's all-around competition in Melbourne, Australia.
Also, U.S. gymnast Chellsie Memmel uses Safri Duo's "Played Alive" for the opening of her floor exercise routine. Most of the floor exercise music was broadcast at a very low volume on wcsn.com's webcast, so there may have been other instances of trash I missed.
And one night, between events, they played Evolution's "Walking" (which is available at iTunes). This is an incredibly dirge-like and spooky song to play at something as energized as a gymnastics competition.
8 July 2005
Who might be the most miserable person on the planet today? How about...Rachel Stevens? The former S-Clubber, who is estranged from her father, released the magnificent single "Some Girls" last year, but her debut album ultimately failed in the sales department which, in part, led to concert cancellations. In February, music industry insiders casting anonymous ballots picked Rachel as the worst female singer of the year.
So this was the week to turn all that around. On Monday she released a solid new single called "So Good." On Wednesday she performed at the London Olympics Party in Traflgar Square (photo above). And on Thursday Britain faced their worst terrorist attack since World War II.
Obviously, this puts the UK in a somewhat somber mood going into the weekenda mood that certainly does not compliment Rachel Stevens's brand of cheery pop. Expect Coldplay sales to go up and Stevens sales to plummet accordingly.
Rachel Stevens, you poor, unlucky sod!
29 September 2004
Expecting to see Farolfi tracks on iTunes may be unreasonable at this stage in the game [update: Farolfi is now available on iTunes; check out his marvelous "Subtravel"25 May 2005], but some of the exclusions are utterly remarkable (for example, Roxette's "The Look" is not available, because their label went with a "partial album" option and excluded the massive hit [no longer: As of today you can get "The Look" on iTunes10 January 2006). There are other problems too: iTunes needs to explain which tracks are actually parts of mixes and which are complete, stand-alone tunes. Also, a sound sample of a seven minute club mix consisting of the first thirty seconds of the song's beats is not useful.
But there are some remarkable developments well worth celebrating. Consider Buddy vs. DJ the Wave's "Ab in den Suden." They have it, and in several mixes. And Erika's lost classic "Save My Heart"? It's bouncing around on a solid 2002 Supersonica 2 compilation (unfortunately, it's mixed, but the track listing makes this trash DJ very nostalgic). A ton of Scooter stuff, including import albums, are available for the same low iTunes price. 2raumwohnung albums are also plentiful. Honestly, I'm amazed.
Interestingly, Radikal doesn't seem to have struck an agreement with iTunes yet, but Robbins has. Is Radikal going to license its stuff exclusively to an iTunes competitor? Tying labels to competing online retailers is no different from tying labels exclusively to particular record chainsi.e., a bad idea for everyone. It will be interesting to see if exclusive licensing hurts the legal download revolution.
But concerns aside, this is a step in the right direction, and hopefully marks the beginning of a great new era of (legal) Eurodance availability. So start downloading the Eurodance tracks that you like! That way they'll make (and offer) more!
September 29, 2004
A 2005 Lexus RX advertisement airing in the United States features M.C. SAR and the Real McCoy's classic Eurojunk tune "Run Away." This 1994 tune is an interesting choice because it's not one of the better known classic Eurodance tunes (e.g., "Mr. Vain") stateside. Despite the lack of activity on the news pages, we continue to monitor such developments closely.
from March 2531, 2004 Creative Loafing, page 91
I owe writer Tony Ware my firstborn. If the paternity tests prove positive, I'll make the necessary arrangements.
Here's the piece:
Here's the full context, with fellow trasher Armin Van Buuren looking on. He's our competition on 1 April, but no complaints (it's not that much of a musical overlap).
Maybe he'll come by and check us out before beginning his late set? Armin, please drop in!
But remember: at Lenny's I'm the DJ. ;-)
from Creative Loafing
October 30, 2003
Here's a bonafide Eurotrash review from Creative Loafing.
News from June - October 2002 (Captain Jack, Brooklyn Bounce not keepin' it real, Stefano Sorrentino [Danich] interview, Crowd noise in dance songs)
News from February - April 2002 (Chris Menzi [Wavetraxx] interview, Alice DeeJay, Snow Parrot, Eurodance Summit on Life, Cheney and the Clown Song, Grammy Awards, ATC)