Saturday, September 30, 2006

MP3 Frenzy - Holiday edition

Hello! I'm just about to set off on a fancy two-week jaunt around the North-East coast of the US, so I won't be updating the blog for the next two weeks or so.

I'll be visiting Boston, Cape Cod and New York - and hopefully taking in some great live music in the process. I've already got tickets for Regina Spektor, and I'm going to try to get into a Lily Allen gig in NYC. Full reports when I get back.

In the meantime, read all those fantastic websites I've linked to on the right hand side, and enjoy these MP3s of stupid rock acts covering sparkly pop songs.

Damian Rice - Get The Party Started

Travis - Baby One More Time

The 4 Of Us - Sound Of The Underground

Normal service will be resumed on Monday, 16th October. See you then!

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Video of the week: Wild Boys

wild boys single coverI can't believe I've been writing this feature since January and not managed to talk about Duran Duran's videos yet. Here's where I make amends.

Many people think of Duran Duran's promo clips as the epitome of wasteful 80s shallowness. And, to be fair, that's not an unfair conclusion. The band jetted off to Antigua and Sri Lanka, hired massive yachts, made girls strip and sprayed countless litres of hairspray directly at the ozone layer.

But the videos do have a few saving graces. They are eye-catching, full of personality, snappily edited, and as often as not, tongue-in-cheek. The video for "Hungry like The Wolf" was so cinematic, in fact, that Duran Duran became one of the first acts to be broken by MTV.

Wild Boys came a few years later and, perhaps, marks the point where they began to lose the plot. It was crazily expensive, and ditched their jet-setting fashion model look in favour of a dystopian fantasy world full of S&M fetishists and disembodied heads. Luckily, the band hadn't quite disappeared up their own arses by this point, so they play their parts with panache, not pomposity.

simon le bon's ridiculous hairFor director Russell Malachy the video was supposed to be a calling card. He wanted to make a full-length feature based on the frankly freaky 1971 novel "The Wild Boys: A Book Of The Dead" by celebrity junkie William S. Burroughs - and this was a mini-version of that film, produced in an attempt to raise funds.

Simon Le Bon wrote the song based on what little he knew of Burroughs' book (he certainly hadn't bothered reading it) and the video was filmed at the 007 stage in Pinewood studios.

What impresses me most about the whole endeavour is how Malachy managed to get the band to go along with his vision. You can picture the scene:

Malachy: "So, Andy, we're going to suspend you from the roof, where you'll fight off flying gargoyles with your guitar. And Simon, you'll be thrown off a spinning windmill into a swimming pool full of piranhas."
The Duran: " ... "

As you can tell, the video is brilliantly ridiculous. Absolutely potty in the way only 1980s pop promos can be. It won the 1985 Brit Award for Best Video, and is probably the only deserving winner of that prize in the ceremony's history (they abandoned the category in 2001 after Robbie Williams won it three years in a row.)

Here it is:

PS That windmill nearly killed Simon Le Bon when it broke down with his head submersed in the water. If he had died, Duran Duran would be thought of as one of the UK's seminal pop acts, instead of a dreadful joke. Makes you think, doesn't it?

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Short notes

Some articles I have been reading today:

  • What does Beyoncé look like without her hair weave? Like this.

  • Extensions or not, Jamelia isn't pleased with Beyoncé at all: "I heard Beyonce recorded B-Day in two weeks," she moans. "When you write an album you need to take breaks to re-connect with your self. I'd have liked it if she'd have been more adventurous... The album is good. It's just not great."

    Presumably, Jamelia is pissed off that Beyoncé has managed to release two albums in a year and didn't put her career on halt to have a baby in the meantime. These modern women, eh? They'll be wanting the vote next.

  • Blur bassist Alex James finds something to do while he waits for Damian Albarn to remember his former band. "The more I think about cheese, the more I like it and the more I want some. That's why I'm taking matters into my own hands." He sounds like a man after my own heart...

  • Microsoft admits the initial batches of its XBox 360 console were faulty and offers to repair them out of warranty.

  • Gwen Stefani's range of fashion dolls are unveiled.

  • How to write a book for dummies, for dummies.

  • Details of Kylie's new single, White Diamonds (rumoured to be produced by the Scissor Sisters) appear in Australia's Daily Telegraph. "It's such an important part of recovery to get on and do what you do and be who you are. I'm finally starting to come out of that haze," she says. Good for her.

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  • Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    Alesha Dixon's new video, Knockdown

    What has improved since Alesha's previous single Lipstick?
  • The haircut
  • The dance routine
  • The lyrics

    What has not improved since Alesha's previous single Lipstick?
  • The song
  • The height of her trousers
  • The likelihood of scoring a hit single

    Oh dear.

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  • Monday, September 25, 2006

    Instant review: Janet's 20 Y.O.

    As you may have spotted, I'm a massive Janet Jackson fan - going right back to the days of Control, which was released when I was (eeek!) eleven years old.

    Janet's new album 20 Years Old marks the anniversary of the release of Control and it's out today. Being something of a traditionalist in these matters I have held out 'til the release date and bought it in a shop, on a CD.

    Given that the two singles have been pointless drivel, I'm not holding out much hope for the 12 new songs but I'm going to give it a try, and I'll take you along for the journey.

    Lucky you.

    1. Introduction A tape rewinds. Clips of classic Janet tracks are played in. Janet says there's no theme for this album. She just wants to have fun. Me too.

    2. So Excited We've heard this before, and it actually sounds a lot better than the MP3s that have been floating around. My hopes are raised just a little...

    The song features a cheeky old skool drum beat, complete with orchestra hits and saucy little rap from Khia. But the melody is paper-thin and, despite Janet's declaration, this song is about something. It's about sex.

    3. Show Me If you want a piece of Janet, you've gotta work for it. That's the message here. Oh, and also, Janet likes sex quite a lot.

    4. Get It Out Me The title suggests this could be an ode to the rhythm method of contraception. Sadly, no. "Boy don't you stop. You found my spot," sings Janet. She has had approximately seven orgasms in the first ten minutes of this album...

    5. Do It 2 Me ...But she's not finished yet. Honestly, the woman has a one track mind. And that track is definitely not Jermaine Stewart's We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off (To Have A Good Time).

    6. This Body This one's about a porn mag. Seriously.

    7. 20 Part 2 (interlude) By virtue of the fact that it has no lyrics, this is the first track on the album that doesn't concern doing "it" over and over again until your mimsy is raw.

    8. With U A ballad! And clearly an attempt to recreate the sound and success of Mariah's We Belong Together. It's nowhere near as good, obviously, but quite sweet nontheless.

    9. Call On Me First single. We all know this. And none of us likes it - it bellyflopped into the charts at a lowly number 18 yesterday. The album version is mildly better, like chicken pox compared to shingles.

    10. 20 Part 3 (interlude) Incomprehensible conversation between Janet and one of her friends. Skip!

    11. Daybreak This is more like it. The first composition solely written by Janet with her long-time collaborators Jam and Lewis. It harks back to the mood of Escapade and Runaway, with a light carefree tune and lyrics about Janet sneaking out to meet her boyfriend after everyone has gone to bed. This woman is 40. How strict are her parents?

    12. Enjoy Oh, this is brilliant. The first track on the album that makes me feel like dancing. Another Jam & Lewis production, I note. The backing track sounds like a sample, but there isn't one listed. That's how instantly familiar and wonderfully catchy this is. If you're downloading one track, it should be this one.

    13. 20 Part 4 (interlude) There is a contractual obligation for every Janet album to feature a track which consists solely of rain sound effects.

    14. Take Care A spiritual successor to ballads like Lonely and Any Time, Any Place. Janet is, once again, in a sexy mood. "Only you can fill my needs," she says to her absent lover. "I'll lay here and take care of it till you come home". Too. Much. Information.

    15. Love 2 Love This is just utter bollocks.

    16. (outro) 20 part 5 With all seriousness, Janet intones: "Time flashes by / like lightning in the sky". Ahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahaha. Haha. Ha Ha Ha Ha. Ahahahaha!

    In conclusion, then - 7 :( out of a possible 10 :('s

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    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Cheap as chips!

    It's the new Girls Aloud video:

    For those of you who can't do youtube, here's a scene by scene breakdown.

    00:00 The girls have upgraded their motorbikes from the Wake Me Up video to sports convertibles. Fame is indeed a harsh mistress, viewers.
    00:37 Sarah changes gear. This is clearly unnecessary given that her car is stationary and being filmed against a backdrop.
    00:53 It's already quite clear that this video is cheap and tacky.
    Plus ca change, eh?
    01:21 Cheryl forgets how to face forward.
    01:34 Anticipating the band's imminent dissolution, the girls practice their thigh-slapping panto moves.
    01:40 But quickly remind us that they are still the industry leaders in hair tossing.
    01:48 Crotch shot! How rude.
    02:03 - 02:07 This bit is oddly empty and awkward, in a tribute to Harold Pinter.
    02:31 Flashing headlights! Did you know that, although this is a polite gesture in the UK, to French drivers it means 'fuck off'?
    03:06 Nicola is wearing some highly ill-advised lipstick. I bet it stains her white polo-neck later on.
    03:15 The End.

    If you missed my earlier post (where were you?!) the song is called Somthing Kinda Oooh, and its out on October 23rd.

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    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    On this day in history...

    the first dance

    Three years ago today, a good many people gathered in the inhospitable fens of Northern England to witness a marital union of legendary importance. On that fateful afternoon 1,096 days ago, a certain Ms Berry became mrsdiscopop, and I became... erm, her husband.

    In recognition of our leather wedding anniversary (oooh, baby) I thought I'd post some of the songs we chose for our wedding day. Hope you don't mind:

    Magnetic Fields - The Book Of Love

    Lena Fiagbe - What's It Like To Be Beautiful?

    We have the good fortune to have a large set of musically gifted friends, so both of these songs were re-created especially for us on the day. An acoustic version of the Magnetic Fields track accompanied us while we signed the wedding register. But rather than doing any of that important legal stuff, we sang along with big stupid grins on our faces.

    What's It Like To Be Beautiful, on the other hand, was our first dance - and it was given a hearty thrashing by my old band The Global Local Baboon Orchestra. Not that we saw any of their performance. We were contractually obliged to twirl around the dancefloor for four of the longest minutes of my life in a stilted and un-rehearsed version of Come Dancing for idiots.

    Anyway, both songs are underappreciated works of genius, and I heartily recommend them for your own nuptials.

    We also walked up the aisle to the B52's Rock Lobster. Whether or not you choose to recreate that magical moment is entirely up to you.

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    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Beyoncé's descent into madness

    (My first attempt at this post wasn't much cop. Here's version 2.0…)

    Beyoncé, the globe-straddling R&B diva, has been displaying some rather odd behaviour recently. Her records have gone all shouty. In her videos, she seems possessed by the spirit of Tina Turner. And her public appearances have been rather... well, odd.

    at first i was afraid, i was petrified
    Displaying symptoms of paranoia

    she's bananas!
    Wearing a skirt made entirely of bananas

    Impersonating a cat
    (courtesy of cityrag)

    Now the singer has revealed to Blender magazine that she's got a split personality. Apparently, Beyoncé has an 'alter-ego' called Sasha, who comes to her aid when she's stressed out.

    "When I feel uncomfortable about something, I tell myself, ‘I’m Sasha, I’m a diva, I’m fierce, I can do it.’ And then I can. Sometimes when Beyonce slips through, I’m like ‘Hold up, come back!’ Sasha protects me. It’s a good way to keep me sane.”

    Somehow, I think a medical professional might argue with that last point. Don't you?

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    Don't you just hate it when...

    People trick you into taking cocaine?
    First Kate Moss and now Janet Jackson. What is the world coming to?
    [via suicide girls]

    Your boyfriend prefers Winona Ryder?
    That's what Matt Damon told former beau Minnie Driver - or so the actress told Graham Norton on his new TV show this week. She also admitted that's why she did Winona's voice in an episode of South Park. Somehow, I admire her even more for that.

    Pop icons get disastrous hair-cuts?
    Oh, Madonna! What have you done?
    [via justjared]

    Your friends find out about your secret Hanson obsession?
    "Living a secret musical life is a blast -- until somebody borrows your iPod for the gym, or you're playing music for a party and someone peeks at the list of most-played songs," says Wall Street Journalist, Jason Fry.

    You realise you've been playing solitaire on your PC for nine billion hours?
    And you still haven't won yet? [via BBC]

    America gets all the best TV shows first?
    Dear Channel 4,
    Why do I have to wait 'til next year to see Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip? I may explode before then.

    PS I've already seen this clip on the internets. It's not helping me be any more patient, you know.

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    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    All eyes on her

    what are you looking at, mufti?

    Kylie's comeback is slowly gathering pace. A couple of weeks ago, she was on Sky One telling Cat Deeley about her recovery from breast cancer. On Saturday, she appeared onstage in Trafalgar Square to introduce a free gig by the Scissor Sisters. And now, she's relaunched her website with a creepy photo full of disembodied eyes. Eww!

    But we're officially loving the singer's new logo here at Discopop Towers. It's like an explosion in a silly string factory, with Kylie's name turning up in the debris, like the face of the Virgin Mary appearing on a slice of toast, but gayer.


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    Monday, September 18, 2006

    That's Numberwang!

    mitchell and webbI was thoroughly of the opinion that Little Britain had killed the sketch show.

    Although it started off well (particularly on radio) it slowly turned into a self-devouring monster. The tedious repitition of audience-pleasing catchphrases, the slow descent from wit into vulgarity, the 'speaking' dolls, the tacky greeting cards - like a precocious child, it stoppped being charming and became tedious a long, long time ago.

    Unfortunatelty, every other sketch programme since has tried to repeat the formula. Writers have started basing their comedy around money-making catchphrases at the expense of a decent set-up, believable characters and, well, being funny.

    But That Mitchell And Webb Look (Thursday, BBC2) has restored my faith. It's like a masterclass in sketch comedy - taking the best bits from Monty Python, The Fast Show, French & Saunders, Adam&Joe and The Two Ronnies (that's right, the Two Ronnies had good bits). For the first time in ages, I find myself laughing out loud at something that isn't a George Bush press conference.

    The men responsible are Peep Show stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Scarily, they're the same age as I am - which means we were all at Cambridge University at the same time. Which furthermore means that one of them got into Footlghts at my expense (and I was this close. Honestly).

    Luckily for their careers, I'm willing to put that appalling miscarriage of comedy justice behind me and recommend that you watch their show. And here's why: Numberwang! (?)

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    Friday, September 15, 2006

    Not video of the week: Janet - So Excited

    In which Janet's clothes fall off.


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    Europe release date for Wii

    It seems my cynicism yesterday was unfounded - gaming giant Nintendo is releasing its new games console in Europe in time for Christmas. Called Wii, its available on these shores from Friday, 8th December.

    In a neat bit of pricing synchronicity, it costs 25000 yen in Japan, $250 in the US and €250 in Europe. The bad news is that the console will cost £180 in the UK (£10 more than the rest of Europe and a full £60 than the US). The good news is that a free game is bundled with the console.

    The European Wii site is now live and available here:

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    Video of the week: Prince - Controversy

    Prince and his nipplesBack in 1981, Prince's career was just beginning to take off. He'd released three albums, each of which outperformed the last, and had built up a small, but respectable, fan base in the US.

    Controversy, however, marked the moment when he really found his feet. Musically, Prince had abandoned the funkified disco of early singles like I Wanna Be Your Lover and I Feel For You (later covered by Chaka Khan).

    Emboldened by the favourable reaction to the stripped-down home-made sound of third album Dirty Mind, he embraced a more edgy, new-wave sound. Concert promoters called it punk-funk, a description Prince wasn't enamoured with, but which pretty much fits the bill.

    His lyrics, too, became more personal. Controversy (the album) dealt with nuclear war, gun control and the recent murder of John Lennon. The title track addresses misconceptions people had about the miniature Minneapolis singer - "Do I believe in God?" he asks, following that up with the query "Am I straight or gay?"

    But, rather than answer those questions, Prince lets them hang in the air. In the video for the single, he blurs the issue even further by singing in a trenchcoat and stockings in front of a church window. It is the first time the purple perv's visuals and music combined so spectacularly.

    As you can imagine the video was a little too, erm, controversial for the time. It was another two years before MTV started showing music by black artists and Prince's sexually ambiguous get-up wouldn't have made it on air even then. As a result, the single stalled at number 70 in the US charts.

    Nontheless, the video stands up now as one of the greatest Prince performances on film. Just make sure to keep your eye on him, as the rest of the band seem oddly detached and the direction is distinctly shoddy (see if you can count the number of times a cameraman makes it into shot).

  • Buy Prince's video hits on DVD from Amazon

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  • Thursday, September 14, 2006

    When do wii get one?

    That slghtly shiny Japanese lady in the picture is holding in a wee.

    No, wait a minute... What I meant to say was that she's holding a Wii - the new games console from Nintendo.

    Now, you'd think that, with Sony ballsing up the launch of the latest Playstation, Nintendo would be falling over itself to get their new machine onto shop shelves in time for Christmas.

    Not so, unfortunately.

    At a press conference yesterday, the company announced it would start selling its Wii from 2 December in Japan. The US gets it on November 18. Which probably means Europe won't see one until 2007 (unless we use special long distance glasses to gaze across the ocean).

    But there is some good news. The Wii still looks supercool, and there'll be 16 games available on launch day, at least half of which seem decent. The price is pretty good, too - around £113 or less. No, that's not a typo. You can buy five Wiis for the price of one Playstation 3.

    Not only that, but the console will have a fully operational internet browser, and you'll be able to download old Nintendo games for as little as £2. Crikey.

    The launch line-up includes a new Zelda game, a new Super Monkey Ball, and a compilation of sports titles using the Wii's magic wireless remote control waving-your-hands-around-like-a-goon wand thingummy.

    And, in a break with Nintendo tradition, there are also a whole slew of games about shooting people due for the console. They include launch title Red Steel and a new Resident Evil Game from Capcom.

    Sega has also (accidentally) revealed it'll be releasing some of its best ever games for the Nintendo download service - including Sonic The Hedgehog, Toe jam & Earl, Ecco The Dolphin and Golden Axe - classics one an all. No sign of Alex Kidd in Miracle World, though. Bah.

    Clearly, I'm gushing a bit here (perhaps 'gushing with wii' could be an advertising slogan?). The console has even stopped me from thinking about music for 10 seconds - although I notice Nintendo is releasing a drum kit simulator. This is a product that will undoubtedly lead to a discopop divorce.

    So don't look at this video, don't get excited about this console, and certainly don't go out and buy one. My marriage depends on it.

  • Official Wii website
  • Launch line-up at Wii fanboy
  • Press conference coverage at 4 Color Rebellion: Japan / New York

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  • Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Girls Aloud: Something Kinda Oooh

    Here's an MP3 of the new Girls Aloud single, then:


    It is oficially brilliant - but is that an allusion to 'back door' loving in the chorus? Shame on you, girls.

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    Monday, September 11, 2006

    Do we think he's sexy?

    As Justin Timberlake's new album is out today, we're asking: "Is he really the man to bring sexy back and was it ever missing in the first place?".

    According to an issue of Marie Claire that I've just made up, there are seven key components to sexiness. Does JT have them? Well, does he?

    1) Gorgeous eyes
    Like Derek Zoolander, Justin has a series of signature looks. I say series, but really I mean three. They are as follows:

    Cute puppy dog

    Cold steely glare of a killer

    Poking eyes out with his fingers

    2) Great hair
    Having been in the public eye since he was a small mouse, Justin has gone through a series of embarassing haircuts. But we're not here to dwell on those... Oh, alright then.

    The pageboy years - not sexy

    The dodgy perm years - not sexy

    The Swedish exchange student years - definitely not sexy

    The receding-hairline-covered-by-a-hat years - not sexy

    Current haircut - quite sexy

    3) Cool chat-up lines
    Let's look at the lyrics to Like I Love You:
    I kind of noticed, at the club one night
    You've got a full face
    It's kind of weird to me, cos you're so nice
    If it's up to me your face would change
    But we're here tonight

    Translation: Hey, minger, fancy a quickie?
    Hmm, smooth.

    4) Sexy bedroom moves
    I admit it, I have no direct experience here, but Justin's a pretty amazing dancer, and there's got to be a reason Cameron Diaz is always smiling like that.

    5) Psycho ex-girlfriends
    Apparently, sexy men always have dangerously unhinged ex-partners. Justin has Britney. 'Nuff said.

    6) Well-dressed
    In some cases, yes:

    In other cases, not so much:

    7) Tanks of money
    Justin has three such tanks

    Well, frankly, I'm stumped. Does Justin have enough sexy in him to bring sexy back to the masses, who are currently starved of sexiness because of the sexy famine? Is Justin a modern day Joseph and his amazing technicoour dreamcoat, only with sexiness instead of food, and no coat to speak of? And does that make his resemblance to Jason Donovan even more spooky than it is already?

    Only you can decide. Vote below:

    PS Justin's new album is called Futuresex/Lovesounds. Am I right in thinking this will be a collection of sound effects from a space-age porno?

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    Saturday, September 9, 2006

    Sad news

    aloud no more?

    So, Girls Aloud release their fourth album on 30th October, and... it's a Greatest Hits collection. We all know what that means: Perfunctory new single, rumours of 'disquiet' in the band, denials of a split, press conference confirming the split, telephone helplines, the end of pop as we know it.


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    Friday, September 8, 2006

    Video of the week: All I Need

    One of my pet hates is music videos with dialogue. What's worse than having a decent song ruined by a musician attempting to flex their acting "muscles" all over the top of it.

    bad acting masterclassRap artists are especially guilty, but don't forget Britney's Oops I Did It Again, in which a spaceman presents everyone's favourite trailer trash ex-mousekateer with the diamond from Titanic. "But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean at the end," Britney exclaims - having learnt to act by watching Andie MacDowell's execrable performance in Four Weddings And A Funeral.

    It's woeful and it ruins the song - but Britney was trying to crack Hollywood at the time, so they even included this laughable exchange in the actual record. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    "A-ha!" the more observant amongst you will be thinking, "He's slagging off pop videos with dialogue, but I bet it's all a clever trick to pull the wool over our eyes. There's bound to be one video with loads of speaky bits that's actually really good". Well, your deconstruction of my journalistic technique is quite right, smart arse.

    The video is All I Need from Air's 1997 album Moon Safari (every middle class dinner party should have a copy). It's directed by Mike Mills, who went on to make the film Thumbsucker and those weird Gap commercials that looked a bit like West Side Story.

    good music for coffee tablesMills actually directed all of the videos for Moon Safari. For Sexy Boy and All I Need he matched the dreamy, futuristic sounds with equally trippy images of space-travelling gorillas, computer games and slow-motion table tennis.

    In All I Need, Mills takes a completely different tack. Returning to the skate parks where he spent his youth (on of his first films, Deformer was a documentary about legendary skateboarder, Ed Templeton) he met a young couple hanging out, and decided to focus the video on their relationship.

    "It's a real couple," he told EXPN. "They're both skaters from the Main Street Skatepark in Ventura. He worked there. It's a real documentary, and dialogue goes over the actual video."

    In fact, the music is almost incidental - a soundtrack to a short film, if you will. But the young couple's intensity and honesty is mesmerising, and it's very easy to forget you're watching a pop video. "Adolescents are more leaky," said Mills. "They have more to say." Interestingly, the director never revealed the true identity of his stars.

    Although All I Need didn't receive much airplay (in the UK, at least) it was to prove massively influential - not least for it's director. "That video definitely was a big turning point for me," he told Kultureflash. "[It] showed me that I can get really emotional, I can get really sincere and actually I really loved the way the audience really reacted to it. I was like I want more of that! I want more people's interior lives and how complicated that is and how sort of endless that is."

    Watch and enjoy!

  • Buy the Air / Mike Mills DVD at

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  • Thursday, September 7, 2006

    This is getting worrying

    A couple of weeks ago, I was writing about my gay love for Scrubs actor Zach Braff. Now I find out we're, like, totally into the same stuff.

    For example, here he is talking about the new, and last, series of Scrubs:
    "I wanted David Cross to come on as (Arrested Development character) Tobias Funke. I'm trying to broker that deal, with Mitch's (Mitchell Hurwitz) approval. I want David to come on as Tobias... I love that character, and the fact that character is over for good, I want him to at least have one more little life."

    Anyone who tries to bring even a little bit of Arrested Development back to TV screens is superfine in my books. Although maybe I draw the line at gay bumsex.

    Luckily, Braff's new movie stars The OC's Rachel Bilson, reminding me that I am 97% heterosexual, after all. (mrsdiscopop is going to kill me for this post...)

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    Wednesday, September 6, 2006

    Babies, prizes, and a Missy MP3

    A few quickies from Belfast, then:

    baby suri
  • Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's baby is real, after all. Vanity Fair has the first pictures and the main impression you get is: that has to be a wig!

    Seriously, how much hair can a three-month-old have? Suri is either the most virile baby girl ever produced or Cruise has taken his newborn child to see the stylist who does his hairplugs.

    I honestly can't decide which of those two scenarios is more disturbing. (More pics at Just Jared)

  • The Mercury Prize judges have given their ten grand cheque to the Arctic Monkeys. It's exactly what we expected them to do, which - given the awards' past history - is exactly what we didn't expect them to do. The classic double bluff. Dick Dastardly, speaking on behalf of the bookmakers William Hill, said "Drat! and Double drat!"

  • In more unsurprising awards news, Girls Aloud won the Popjustice £20 Music Prize - making it their third win in four years. The winning song, Biology , was also runner-up in the Discopop Directory Totally Unbiased Top Ten Singles of 2005 (coming second to Amerie's One Thing). It's nice to have my opinions backed up by a proper blog.

    Over on popjustice's messageboards, Rhythm Native has unveiled Biology's heretofore unknown commentary on the US slave trade. It is worthy of reprinting here:
    I got one Alababama return
    Alabama was a Confederate State in the US civil war, these states wanted slavery of black people to remain in place.

    That'll take me far away from you
    Of course, it won't, becuase it is a return ticket, so poor old Nadine will go right back to working on the plantations whether she likes it or not

    Cause when you take me in your arms I turn to Slave, I can't be saved
    Basically reaffirming the above point. Even though she wants to leave 'Alabama' (i.e. the slavery of her love) she can't.

    Then the song turns into nonsensical lyrical fabulousness, becuase of course the Aloud don't want to push it when it comes to revealing their in-depth knowledge of US history. No one likes a smarty pants.

    In other exciting popjustice / Girls Aloud news, Mr PJ himself has heard the new Girls Aloud single and says it is "very good". I literally can't wait.

  • missy on a horse If you're in a record shop this week, the overwhelming number of Beyoncé CDs and displays may distract you from the other releases. But you should push past Ms Knowles omnipresence and search out Missy Elliott's greatest hits album, Respect M.E. (do you see what she did there?).

    It is jam-packed with classic hip-hop singles from the most innovative female MC of all time. It also has a picture of Missy Elliott on a horse. She looks good in jodphurs, folks.

    If you're not convinced, download this MP3: Sock It To Me (featuring Da Brat). The rest of the album is as good as that, I promise. If only there was a DVD to go with it - I'm dying to get my hands on her stunningly freakish videos. Not in a pervy way, you understand. In the meantime, I have to make do with Youtube:

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  • Tuesday, September 5, 2006

    Short notes

    will young in his pants
  • Remember when you went on school trips to Amsterdam, and someone always bought one of those pens with a woman in a bikini on it? If you tipped the pen upside down, the bikini would float off and - prviding you stood on your head - you could see a real woman all naked?

    Well, Will Young has had some made for his Arena tour. Except the woman is actually Will Young. And you don't get to see his man-gherkin.

  • Last week, I was loving Jamelia's old new song. This week, I'm loving her new new song. Called Beware of the Dog, it samples Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus and it is, in the words of Sharon Osbourne, "fabulous, darling". Get it at here (link via Beauty 'n' The Beat

  • Speaking of Sharon Osbourne, the X Factor is back on ITV1 at the moment - and it's twice as shameful and patronising as last year. Luckily, Steven from lowculture is keeping tabs on the whole affair on a fantastically barbed blog: The Bitch Factor. Here's a sample:
    32-year-old mature student Agnes is next, singing Roxette's 'It Must Have Been Love'. She sings not so much with vibrato as with the aural equivalent of a willow tree in a force nine hurricane. The judges giggle. Agnes is tuneless to boot, but she keeps going. Sharon admonishes Simon and Louis for laughing at Agnes, because of course, she's SO above that. In a break, Sharon tells Simon to be professional and hold it back...

    Back from the break, and Kate tells us "the auditions have moved back to Glasgow". O RLY? I don't believe you, Kate. I believe you just did one session in Glasgow and you're showing it in several parts, because that would make more sense from a logistical point of view, so how do you like them apples?

  • In ooh-thats-good news, overproductive music god Sufjan Stevens is going to release a 5-CD Christmas boxset at the end of the year. Rather frighteningly, given my sluggish rate of output, that means he'll have released seven albums in 12 months. Asthmatic Kitty has the details, and I guess I'm floating has a sample.

  • Finally, why has no-one ever sampled this?

    And why did I not remember the freaky steel drum solo at the end?


  • Monday, September 4, 2006

    Finally, a reason to buy Paris Hilton's album

    Rather brilliantly, the self-styled "guerilla artist", Banksy, has doctored around 500 Paris Hilton CDs and sneaked them back into record shops around the UK.

    He has improved the album in three ways:
    1) Replacing the songs
    2) Calling the new songs things like "What Am I For?"
    3) Changing the pictures so that Paris is topless, with a dog's head

    How rude! (the dog's head is on the inside cover, fact fans)

    In case you don't know, Banksy is a renowned underground artist who creates the majority of his work in public spaces. Generally using a combination of grafitti and stencils, his work often has a political and/or humourous message. My personal favourites are possibly his two most simple: Climbing into London Zoo's penguin enclosure and spray-painting "We're bored of fish" on the wall, and daubing the steps of the Tate Gallery with the words "Mind The Crap" on the night the Turner prize was being awarded.

    One of Banksy's grafitti "installations"

    So, under normal circumstances, I'd be out in the shops trying to find one of his doctored CDs as soon as possible. It's just that I don't feel any urgency in the matter. Apparently, Hilton didn't even manage to sell 500 copies of her album last week : it dropped out of the Top 75 after only 14 days on release.

    Maybe Banksy could do a Shania Twain one next time round?

  • See more of the doctored artwork at The Gossip Rag
  • And definitely have a look round Banksy's website

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