Sunday, 22 February 2009

She is, she is, she is, she is, The Queen

With a song title crying out to be played in every gay bar from here to somewhere really far away, Velvet crashed out of Melodifestivalen last night. 'The Queen' is her latest trashy 80s-sounding dance thumper. With a slightly weird key change, heavily retro beat and repetitive chorus, it was always going to divide the Swedish voters. But she performed well, and this will no doubt hang around in the Swedish charts for a good while now. I just wish she hadn't worn those shorts - there's such a thing as too much detail.

The good news is that her album is only four weeks away. No confirmed track list as yet, but with 'Deja Vu', 'Fix Me', 'Chemistry', 'My Rhythm', 'Take My Body Close' and 'Come Into The Night' to choose from, I already know this is going to be one of my favourites for 2009.

So if you missed it, here is, here is, here is, here is The Queen

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Yes! It's the Pet Shop Boys

I've just watched the Pet Shop Boys Brits medley again, and was reminded of just how much awesome music they've created over the last 25 years. Christ that makes me feel old.

Anyway, Popjustice added a tweet the other day asking what the Pet Shop Boys' greatest single was. Which set me thinking about album tracks, since the artists I really love tend to hide their best material on the albums, rather than release them as singles.

So, in celebration of the forthcoming release of 'Yes', I've pulled together my top ten Pet Shop Boys tracks (in no particular order). Feel free to disagree...
To break up the post, here are the first five.

1) It Couldn't Happen Here, from 'Actually'

Despite the ignominy of having lent its name to PSB's ill-advised foray into movies, this lush, orchestral lament about the advent of AIDS in the mid-80s is a melodic melancholic masterpiece. Co-written with film composer Ennio Morricone, this track took a long while for me to learn to love it. But now I can't imagine PSB playlist without it.

2) Shameless, from B-sides collection 'Alternative'

This single that never was ended up as a B-side to Go West from the Very album. Written at a time when Big Brother was still a reference to George Orwell, this upbeat and chant-along classic shows alarming insight into the culture of modern celebrity. My only regret is that this song hasn't been updated to refelect the current desperation of today's 'celebrities'. Rebecca Loos masturbating a pig is crying out to be immortalised in song, perhaps over a backing track combining Debussy and a disco beat.

3) Only The Wind, from 'Behaviour'

I remember buying 'Behaviour' on vinyl the day it was released and being tremendously disappointed. As a 15 year old prone to depressive bouts, I liked my pop to be upbeat and joyous. Two words you'd be hard pressed to apply to this album. However, unlike Madonna's 'I'm Breathless' which went straight back to Our Price for a full refund, I kept this one. Flas forward a few years, and the miserablism which had turned me off as a teen, now made this probably my favourite PSB labum of all. And 'Only The Wind' is my favourite track on it. With strings by Angelo Badalamenti and a surprisingly tender vocal (for a song about domestic violence), this song burrows into your brain.

4) Hit and Miss, from 'Bilingual, Further Listening'

The sad fact is, I did not like Bilingual at all. The lesbian drummers, latin sound and duff singles really did this album no favours. However this era wasn't without the occasional gem. The motiv-8 remix of Red Letter Day was a surprising joy, and there was also this fantastic B-side to Bilingual's first single, Before. Pounding piano percussion and fantastic swirly synthesiser effect combine to make this a strangely compelling and enjoyable track.

5) Integral, from 'Fundamental'

At last, a single makes the cut! The closing track from the boys' last album is an infuriatingly catchy and pounding critique of ID cards and xenophobia. No-one does sing-along songs about pressing political issues quite like the Pet Shop Boys. And we love them for it. Unfortunately, there's no video available for the album version, this is the slightly less likeable single remix.

Of course, there's a landline!

Well, after 18 months' wait, we finally get to see what Platinum Dunes have made of the legend of Jason Voorhees. It's been a week now since I saw it, and I'm still not sure what to make of it.
It was slick, efficient and action-packed. Jason looked cool, there were some fun moments and it fulfilled its own brief to update the whole Crystal Lake mythology.

But in its efforts to race through the key moments of the first three movies, it felt like a greatest hits megamix rather than a film in its own right. There was the prologue with Mrs Voorhees, then the prologue with the weed-hunters, then the film proper. By the time the main characters were introduced there was only about an hour to go. Thankfully this did at least spare us the mind-numbing tedium of 'final girl third act' - a long standing staple of the series. Anyone who has sat with their finger hovering over the fast forward button while Alice boils a kettle and makes tea in Sean Cunnigham's original, will know what I mean.

The film also never touched upon the central plot hole that lies at the heart of any Friday 13th movie - who's avenging who? How can Mrs Voorhees claim revenge for the death of a son who isn't dead? And surely Jason must shoulder some of the blame for his mother's decapitation, since his faked demise was the reason for her going fucking mental in the first place...

Anyway, I've found that it's best not to scrutinise a Friday movie for logic. Although, kudos to the film makers for at least allowing their characters to do what any reasonable person would do in these circumstances. They phone the police. OK, we still get the "I can't get a signal on my cell phone" dialogue, and Jason still knows exactly how to kill a landline dead. But for a brief moment, the phone was working and the meat puppets thought to use it.
Oh, and one more thing. Enough with the fake tits. There's no quicker way to kill my belief in a movie than by casting someone with huge plastic boobs as a regular teenager. Freddy vs Jason made the same mistake and it's seriously distracting.

So all in all, I'd give it a 6.5 as a movie, and an 8.5 as a Friday movie. Have you seen it? What did you think?

Kicking things off

Music and movies and TV oh my.

This is going to be an eclectic site and no mistake.

I'll talk about films I've seen, songs I'm listening to and shows I'm watching. Plus anything else that crosses my mind.