90s sensations Daze make a comeback

If you lived in Denmark in the late 90s and were in a mixed girl/boy group that weren’t Aqua, the odds was that you were in Daze – a group that were basically accused of being a carbon copy of the former. Hey, it’s not their fault that they happened to have a funky haired songstress and a bald guy in the group! Oh and some other guy also. I digress. They coincidentally made their debut with “Super Hero” just a few short months after Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” made a huge splash. Despite all accusations of plagiarism, “Super Hero” managed to be a hit and still manages to be somewhat of a drunken favourite of mine. Yep, I have no shame! However, it was the hilariously outdated “Tamagotchi” (later renamed “Together Forever (Cyber Pet Song)” after they realised that people didn’t know what a tamagotchi was) that made the biggest impact and remains their biggest hit to date.

After Aqua’s comeback attempt last year wasn’t very successful, you’d think that would put Daze off from trying – and if you did you thought wrong. They just released their new single titled “Fool Me” yesterday in Scandinavia and are currently on the road as a part of a 90s nostalgia tour. Maybe it’s Daze’s turn to shine now that Aqua’s out of the way?

It’s yet to be put on YouTube or Soundcloud, but there is a listenable sample of it here.

Top 5 girl groups that need to make a comeback

I’m sorry for the lack of updates in the last few days, but I’ve been completely obsessing over everyone’s favourite Sugababes’ line-up Mutya Keisha Siobhan reforming. Since this stunning announcement I’ve been thinking about what other failed hugely successful girl groups need to reform – so here’s my top five list:

5. Smoke2Seven 

Badly named girl group Smoke2Seven were launched around the time Sugababes made it big back in 2002 – while “Freak Like Me” hit the top spot under a  month later, Smoke2Seven’s attitude-laden debut single just made the top 30, entering the UK charts at #27. Not getting the message that no one cared, they tried unleashing another single titled “Envy” which failed to enter any chart. Their debut album “Fighting Fires” was put on the shelf, although I’m hearing that there’s a bootleg version floating around “out there”. Ironically, two members of the trio ended up writing a b-side for one of the less successful versions of the Sugababes.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5BOjMhaBRw]

4.  The 411

Unlike some of other entries on this list, The 411 actually had a promising start – their debut single “On My Knees” went straight in at #4 and the follow-up “Dumb” improved on that position by one spot. However, it all started going sour once the underrated third single “Teardrops” failed to enter the UK top 20 and their debut album stalled at a miserable #46 on the charts. The quartet were soon dropped by their record label and despite several attempts to reform the group as recently as 2007 under the name “Sunshyne” nothing ever surfaced from them again. A shame.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf5iNbJIHHs]

3. NG3

This trio first made their debut on the Swedish charts in 2002 with their single “Tell Me”, which entered the lower top 20 at #17, managing to stay on the charts for, er, 17 weeks. When their second single “The Anthem” managed to make it all the way to the runner-up position it seemed like they were on their way on making it big. Unfortunately, their third single only made it to the familiar #17 position and their debut album failed to chart within the top 60. After a collaboration with Snap! in 2004, they seemingly fell off the radar and broke up a year later.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB551LNBBAc]

2. The Graaf Sisters Graaf

Technically a duo, these busty beauties are due for another go after they cut their music career tragically short in 2001. Earning fame in the late 90s as silicone-fueled glamour models, they of course did what any aspiring celebrity do and went on to record an album, strategically named “Graaf Sisters”.  Their 1998 debut single “Give It Up” entered the Swedish top ten, but it’s their second single “You Got (What I Want)” that went on to become a modern day gay club classic. Their third single “Never Never” only went as high as #16 and the fourth single “Heartbreaker” failed to enter the Swedish top 60. Hannah Graaf did enter Melodifestivalen back in 2006 with laidback retro entry “Naughty Boy”, but both the Graaf sisters have been missing in action on the music scene since then.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogMRSwk2LpI]

1. Vanilla

After their game changing smash hit single “No Way No Way” in 1997, it seemed like Vanilla were on their way to becoming bigger than the Beatles! Sadly, this never happened and after their underrated top 40 hit “True To Us” didn’t match the success of it’s predecessor their album was shelved. Hopefully, one day Simon Cowell will wake up and make one of these hot babes a X-Factor judge and the Vanilla album will finally be unleashed on the unsuspecting world. My vote goes to the giggling blonde!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m9n5Uv0bp0]

Not So Grumpy

After Dub Sweden’s incredibly overhyped and overrated debut album I had kind of written them off, so I was surprised when they managed to release a decent second album in 2006 (has it been five six years already?). Besides the incredibly cute lead single “We’re So Loud“, they actually managed to put some decent album tracks on there too – the electro-pop midtempo “Secretly In Love” would’ve been hailed as Kylie’s opus if put on one of her albums and the thumping “Too Fast Too Big” is clearly dedicated to all those “nine inch” “tops” on Grindr. Yes, those that always come with a special air of disappointment. Anyway, enough about my depraved sex life. The real star of the show here is the amazing album opener “I’m Not So Grumpy Anymore”, a song that’s essentially about not being such a fucking grouch and appreciating the small things in life. Of course, the message never sticks with me for more than the length of the song, but during those three minutes and sixteen seconds I’m the god damn nicest person in town.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/41582212″ iframe=”true” /]

Motormouf aka Khia Shamone review

Over two years after it first was announced, Khia has finally released her fourth album Motormouf aka Khia Shamone on her own label Thugmisses Entertainment.  As amazing as I think Khia is on Twitter and in her annual 4th of July blogs, I think it’s sometimes easy to forget that Khia really is a talented rapper and producer – she ain’t called Queen of South for nothing, you know. Say what you will, but if you take away RedOne and the wigs from Nicki Minaj, all you’ll have left is a lethargic bag of silicone who can’t freestyle for shit, while Khia whips up the best diss anthem of the year on a whim.

At a whopping eighteen tracks plus four interludes, one might feel that the album is a bit long – but in the digital era does that really matter? After all, everyone makes their own playlists these days and none of the tracks are really bad, so why not give us value for our $9.99? The only track I could’ve done without is the Lil’Kim diss “Fix Ya Face”, but that’s mostly because it’s placed quite oddly on the album between two sex jams. Is the Queen of South trying to subliminally tell us something? She’s truly an enigma I’ll never fully figure out.

Speaking of said sex jams, they give Khia an opportunity to flex her vocals muscles a bit, showing us that there’s more than one side to this pussy-popping rapper – both “Cum To Mama” and “Dickmatize” are songs Janet would’ve killed to have on one of her latest albums. No wonder she felt the need to put Khia on that damn tv – her raw sexuality would’ve probably outshined Janet’s sad attempts to play a seductress. “Are you on your way babe? / ’cause I’m hot and I’m haunted babe / Need to give me what I need / Satisfaction guaranteed” the sexy singer croons, “I’m waiting for you to dickmatize me“. Who said romance was dead?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxvtA90R_kc]

To say that the promo singles still sounds as fresh as ever is an understatement – the #97 R&B hit “Been A Bad Girl” still sounds like a proper mainstream radio hit, while “So Addicted” and “Pay Yo Pussy Bill” remain delightfully naughty treats. However, the real stand out on the album is “Fall Back” – a smooth affair that will be a favourite of mine for many summers to come. “Started off in December / Made it straight through the winter / Played games in the spring / Summer you did your thing / Looking forward to fall / So through it all / Just fall back“, she softly sings with a surprising conviction. Anyone’s who’s ever blamed Khia for being one-note needs to take a listen!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgT9a_krrTY]

Other notable tracks includes the gender-bender “Turn Me Out” – “Sometimes I feel like a girl / Sometimes I feel like a boy / Sometimes I dress like a girl / Sometimes I dress like a boy“, thugmisses informs us. “Sometimes I fuck like a girl / Sometimes I fuck like a boy / Tell me what you like / And I will give you more“. It’s followed by the banger “Got Me Fucked Up”, which is basically a mission statement for the raunchy rapper – “I keep ’em haters talkin’ / ‘cos they gon’ talk anyway / And I don’t care what they say / Just as long as I get paid“.

If you couldn’t tell by the title, “Lick Me Dry” is a proper return to her dirty roots and “Sit Yo Ass Down” is Khia at her bad-ass best. “A boss bitch / I’m the queen with the fucking crown / And when I step up in the club / Sit yo ass down“, she demands. The album ends with the floor filler “K-Wang 2.0”, which is a nice throwback to her debut album.

My final verdict? Buy it, buy it now!

Motormouf aka Khia Shamone is out on iTunes worldwide now.

The Original K

(Re-heated from 2009-07-22 – view the original post here. Update at the bottom of the post.)

You might have to be Swedish to fully comprehend the greatness that is Leila K – even if it’s easy for most Swedes to forget that she was one of Sweden’s biggest pop forces during the late 80s and most of the 90s when you think about the current state of her career, but more on that later.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4HZPMuj6-o&w=425&h=344]
Ain’t down with no crack… GER #3, #8 UK, SWE #10

Miss K was first discovered by Rob’n’Raz at a singing contest and offered to make an album with her – which resulted in Leila’s biggest hit to date, “Got to Get” and was followed by the hit single “Rok the Nation” and an album – “Rob’n’Raz featuring Leila K”. Leila, however, was already getting restless and started doing concerts of her own, eventually breaking up with Rob’n’Raz to pursue a solo career.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6K4L1sCW7dg&w=560&h=340]
Clip of “Time” and interview in Swedish

Her first solo single, “Time”, was a big ole’ flop – or as Dannii’s droids would put it – “stores ran out of stock”. The song itself is a funky dance tune, quite typical of the early nineties and while not bad, not really worthy of miss K. She followed “Time” up with “Magic Ball“, another bomb and things started looked dim. Luckily for miss K, she was on the verge on scoring a European smash hit!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GV_5dRrWH4]

$ucce$$! GER #3, SWE #21, UK #23

While “Open Sesame” didn’t fully break her as a solo artist in Sweden, the rest of Europe was much kinder and it seemed like Leila’s career was finally taking off; it can also be noted that “Open Sesame” was co-produced by Denniz Pop, who happened to be mentoring a young Max Martin. She followed it up with a slightly frantic cover of Plastic Bertrand’s “Ca Plane Pour Moi“, another European hit and an album, “Carousel”, was released. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, she was also the highest-selling female in Europe in 1993 – take that Madonna!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl_5NHTvDAI]
Leila K in da houseeeee! SWE #8, FI #2, BE #37

Not showing any signs of slowing down at this point, Leila K quickly followed this up with the Denniz Pop / Max Martin collaboration “Electric”, which also sampled Shannon’s “Give Me Tonight“. Peaking at #8 on the Swedish single sales chart and at #2 on the Tracks chart, it’s a Swedish classic! Well, at least in gay clubs – you can’t enter a club without this playing at some point during the night. “C’Mon Now” (below) was the next single and while it wasn’t a huge hit, it can be noted for sharing similarities with a certain teenage whore anthem. Tsk, tsk Max!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYnX8-qqDmc]
Britney Spears is a thief! FI #3, SWE #21

During this time she was also followed around by film-maker Göran Olsson, who had been commissioned to do a documentary about her for SVT. I’m not going to go into depth about it, as I plan to do a separate post about it in the future, but let’s just say that the result became infamous for showing what a huge mess miss K was. “Fuck You, Fuck You Very Much” is a Swedish trash classic!

Unsurprisingly, her career at this point started to unravel and it wasn’t helped by the fact that her partner-in-crime Denniz Pop died in August 1998 – just two months before Max Martin had his big break with “…Baby One More Time”! While she did continue to work on a few tracks in the late 90s, bar a brief appearance in Daisy Dee’s cover of Open Sesame, Leila K seemed to have vanished into pop oblivion!

Rumours started spreading about Leila being a homeless drug addict and in 2003 she confirmed it in one of Sweden’s biggest newspapers. Her former record company then tried to release a “Greatest Tracks” compilation to help her out, but sadly, it bombed and only sold about 5000 copies in Scandinavia. At this point I could go on about the various rumours of her going to jail, changing her stage name to Samira, reports of her being dead, “comeback” rumours and more rumours about the crimes she supposedly commited – I would however, like to end this post with one of my favourite bonus/unreleased tracks off her Greatest Tracks compilation; her completely bonkers cover of Madonna’s Burning Up where she basically screams her way through the song. It shouldn’t work, but she managed to capture that youthful energy that Madonna has been chasing for the past few years. So enjoy it and fuck you, fuck you very much!

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/52853337″ iframe=”true” /]

Update 2012-07-14: Besides earning her 100th conviction (!), Leila K did kind of end up making a minor comeback – she somehow managed to record a feature of on Wallenberg’s “Legendary” last year which is based around a quote from the movie “Paris Is Burning“. It is rumoured she was supposed to appear in the video, but in true Leila K style it never happened but at least it features fierce queens vogueing, so that’s something. Sadly, the song was unsuccessful and Leila K seems to have disappeared into the wilderness again, only popping up in the newspaper for her latest criminal charges. Le sigh.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yxix79n_MA]

“Sure thing honey bunny”

One of my favourite things about YouTube right now is the fact that someone’s taken the time to upload Aaron Spelling’s ill-fated 1992 soap “2000 Malibu Road” that ran for only six episodes between August and September on CBS that year.

Obviously a star vehicle for Lisa Hartman-Black, who played Jade, a former hooker who was trying to turn her life around and was forced to share her Malibu beach house with three other women, among those Flashdance’s Jennifer Beals, who played a lawyer with a dead love life (literally) and a post-rehab Drew Barrymore, who was on the comeback trail at the time.

But the true breakout star was Tuesday Knight as Drew Barrymore’s scheming wiccan sister Joy. Armed with her catchphrase “honey bunny” she spent most of the series plotting about how to get her sister ahead in the acting business. She gave an electrifying performance and I was surprised that she never went on to star in other Spelling productions as she makes a perfect villain.

Despite good ratings and CBS being eager to order more episodes, it seems like politics got in the way. Some claim that it was originally filmed for the spring season and was post-poned so much that the sets were torn down and the actors’ contracts expired and it was too expensive to rebuild those sets and the stars demanded too much money now that it was a hit. Some claim it was the licensing costs that got it shut down permanently, while Lisa Hartman believed that Aaron Spelling himself killed it due to CBS scheduling it against new-comer Melrose Place at the time. Irregardless, the sudsy soap never came back and it was re-cut and sold as a three part mini-series in Europe where Lisa Hartman ended up providing closing narration for the characters fate after the cliffhanger in episode 6.

A shame really, as it could’ve gone on and become one of the popular soaps of the 90s – luckily for us it’s all on YouTube.

Episode 1+2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5+6

The Holy Grail of Trash

(Re-heated from 2009-08-17 – check out the original post here. Updates on ms. Tukiainen’s latest hijinks at the bottom of the post)

Bless Michael K and DListed – you can always count on him to feature the classiest broads in the game; in this case Finland’s own Johanna Tukiainen! Despite the fact that I actually have family in Finland, I’m not that eager to keep up with their usually depressing culture; ms. Tukiainen, however, seems to be a welcome splash of colour in an otherwise dire country.

True Glamour Doll 

Johanna first made a name of herself in 2003 when she decided to launch a Finnish answer to the burlesque Pussycat Dolls act named “The Dolls”. Ms. Tukiainen  stated that she searched long and hard to find the right combination of talent and professionalism when she put the group together – as you can see in the video below (circa 1:35 in), their act is much classier than anything Robin Antin ever dreamed of! Sadly, instead of touring world stadiums the Dolls has seemingly split up. Imagine what kind of music they would’ve made together?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv5quEmXjlY&w=425&h=344]

Despite splitting up with the Dolls, it didn’t keep Johanna from shaking her thing – no, instead she brought in her stunningly gorgeous sister Julia and has kept on doing shows in classy clubs. The old vile hag Madonna should really consider hiring Johanna as her choreographer – maybe her shows would actually be worth the outrageous prices she makes her mentally challenged fans pay?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWFcMpcOWvI&w=425&h=344]

Of course the Scandinavian beauty has experienced some scandals during this time – most notably how she “accidentally” leaked her sexy sms messages from a politician. She’s also been tortured by rumours that she’s doing escort work on the side – obviously made up by jealous haters who can’t move it like she can! But more importantly, she’s also decided to release a single titled “Lööppijulkkis” – or “Tabloid Celebrity” in English. She’s also embarked on a massive tour that would put any artist to shame!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0cVDqqA2h4&w=425&h=344]

I’m not sure how the single has been recieved in Finland, but I can only imagine it being constantly blasted on radio and number one for weeks! Of course, the cynical part of me suspects that Finland isn’t ready for the kind of fresh and luxurious talent Johanna represents, but I pray I’m wrong and we get an album out of her!

Update 2012-07-13: Just because I’ve been lazy with this blog for the last few years, doesn’t mean Johanna hasn’t kept busy! On the contrary, besides performing in some of the classiest clubs in Finland, she’s also been recording and releasing music! Her most recent collaboration “Hei Johanna” is with rockers Professori Heikerrö, but before that she also took time to explore her erotic side with the sensual latino-tinged “Sexx” and a stunning duet with her less-famous sister Julia. But my favourite has to be her tear-jerking ode to cancer “Some Day” – consider “So Under Pressure” retired as the ultimate cancer theme! Check out her angelic “non-edited” vocals below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaxN9WgL75A]

Anyone remember “The Heights”?

Sometimes you remember random things from your childhood and one of those things for me is “The Heights” – it was an Aaron Spelling teen drama that obviously tried to feed off the giant success of “Beverly Hills” – sadly, it wasn’t meant to be and it was cancelled during 1992 November sweeps after just having produced 13 episodes.

Despite it having less-than-stellar ratings, the fictional band in the series, also called “The Heights” and had Jamie Walters (who later went on to push Donna down the stairs on the original 90210 – rude!) as the lead-singer, managed to achieve a number one single with the song “How Do You Talk To An Angel”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5HIarf0CFM]

It really is too bad that Fox are so quick to pull the trigger sometimes – the show had to have something salvagable if it managed to get a number one record! Or maybe I’m just a bit delusional and don’t really remember how bad the show actually was.

Happy Hoes – We Rule The World

Usually when I’m bored I troll around various dance charts on Billboard and iTunes, mostly because you never know what kind of trashy delights you’ll find.

Of course, the minute I saw the artist name Happy Hoes it caught my attention. I know, I know – I should resist this sort of trash and leave it to the professionals, but since when did I ever listen to good advice? Imagine my surprise when it turned out that Happy Hoes weren’t some nobodies who had discovered a hot trashy beat – there were somebodies (well, sort of) who had  discovered a hot trashy beat! Happy Hoes actually consists of Dominika and La Camilla from Army of Lovers and one of Sweden’s more famous drag queens Miss Inga. Hell, it’s not even their first release as a group as they had “Don’t Steal My Limelight” out around the same time last year – although they went by Miss Inga feat. La Camilla and Dominika back then.

Both “We Rule The World” and “Don’t Steal My Limelight” are out on iTunes right now.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVRgNym7yr4]

Sweden’s Stock, Aitken & Waterman!

(Re-heated and partly updated from 7/19/09 – view the original post here)

In the late 80s Stock, Aitken and Waterman were the production house that everyone wanted to work with, and if they couldn’t work with them they’d settle for some cheap carbon copy of it. Much like Sweden’s following the Lady Gaga sound at the moment, we weren’t late on copying S/A/W’s sound. Most notably we got our own production house in the form of Norell, Oson & Bard consisting of producers Tim Norell, Ola Håkansson and, of course, Alexander Bard that later became famous for his work with Army of Lovers and BWO.

While they did evolve much more than Stock, Aitken and Waterman ever did, they pretty much just followed whatever trend that was en vogue at the moment, providing a cheaper alternative for Swedish artists that couldn’t afford the real thing. Despite clear influences, they still managed to create some of the best pop tracks that Sweden’s ever churned out. Here’s a few of my favourites:

Lili & Susie – Oh Mama (SWE #1)

Most younger scandipoppers probably first noticed the sister duo Lili & Susie with their recent comeback in Melodifestivalen, but the blondes are probably best known for causing a minor outrage in the late 80s with their skimpy outfits and catchy songs. For some reason they decided to prominently feature their backing singer Anki Bagger in the video for “Oh Mama”, why I’m not sure. I almost think they were trying to fool people that they were some sort of Swedish Bananarama. Anyway, more on Anki later…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f30pWmF49R0&w=425&h=344]

Secret Service – I’m So I’m So I’m So (In Love With You) (SWE #DNC)

Ola Håkansson’s own band that peaked in Sweden in the late 70/early 80s, but kept going into the late 80s due to success the old Soviet Union. I’m not sure about the later claim as it sounds suspiciously like Alexander Bard’s claim that BWO is huge in Eastern Europe, but since when was Wikipedia ever wrong? The song itself is a fine piece of catchy late 80s pop that Jason Donovan would’ve killed for.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3Tx2FsUpOY]

Anki Bagger – Where Were You Last Night (SWE #13, NL #72)

Initially, Where Were You Last Night was largely forgotten until 2004 when a Finnish metal band called Nightwish decided to do a cover of it. The Nightwish cover, of course, was terrible, but it did seem to bring some relevance to Anki’s version again. I think this is an example of how N/O/B were at least a bit more versatile than S/A/W who were pretty much churning out the same songs again and again at this point.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDtaCe9flBM]

Troll – Jimmy Dean (SWE #1)

A true case of One Hit Wonderitis, Troll pretty much seemed to disappear from the public eye after their huge smash hit “Jimmy Dean”. I honestly don’t know much about what Troll did after, or even before “Jimmy Dean” but at least they left a mark on Swedish pop culture before fucking off to the pop dumper.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg_gUSsyjEE]

Kajsa – Angel Eye (SWE #28)

Kajsa (Mellgren) was a television presenter/model turned singer – essentially the 90s version of a reality star trying to have a pop career. “Angel Eye” is, to my knowledge, her only release as a solo singer and despite having an album ready to go, it was never released. The tune itself is a typical mid-nineties floor filler designed for less-talented singers. Also note that the video was done by a young Jonas Åkerlund before Madonna dug her fangs into him!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2i_OWVbMpk&w=425&h=344]

Despite the fact that I think Alexander Bard is a complete cunt, I can’t help to wonder what they would sound like if they reunited today – would it be a complete disaster like The Sheila’s or could they actually adapt to today’s pop sound? I guess we’ll never know and perhaps that’s good all things considered…

To be continued in the future per request.