Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium

Another round-up of the best, the worst, and the most intriguing trash of the past and present.

(March 2003)

We asked "Idol" judge Simon Cowell to review these tracks, but he's a little busy. So we made up his responses instead!

Kronos - Magica Europa
While America stews over "old Europe," Kronos celebrates it in their delightful "Magica Europa." Simon says: "Kronos, your enthusiasm is palpable, but you will need to learn English if you want to break into the bigger markets!"

Sinead Quinn - I Can't Break Down
Sinead Quinn came in second place on Britain's "Fame Academy" show. Her first single is the therapeutic folk-rock-hip-hop ballad "I Can't Break Down," which hit shops in February. It failed to reach number one on the UK charts--the victors that week were...anyone? Tatu. Says Simon: "You have a great voice, but you need to work on your showmanship. Or showwomanship, rather."

Sugababes - Freak Like Me
Considering how brilliant Sugababes' "Round Round," is, am I crazy to suggest "Freak Like Me," the Richard X-produced single that came out a few months before it, is even better? Check out those scary synth stabs and that goosebump-evoking final minute. IT'S AWESOME. But Cruel Mr. Cowell says, "This song just frightened me. Sorry!"

Girls Aloud - Sound of the Underground
Girls Aloud was a product of Britain's "Popstars: The Rivals" competition. Their first single, "Sound of the Underground" combines Pulp Fiction surf guitar with drum and bass beats--and hot chicks! Says Simon: "You claim to be delivering the sound of the underground, but this isn't underground at all, is it?"

Anne Clark - Sleeper in Metropolis
Anne Clark converts performance art into dance floor pandemonium with her wickid "Sleeper in Metropolis 3000," a turbo-charged updating of a 1984 song of hers (that has seen a few other remixes over the years). But Simon wasn't into it. "This is just painful! Like going to a poetry slam at a rave!"

Era - Ameno (Dance Radio Edit)
Era's classic Eurodance choon "Ameno (Dance Edit)" is like a meatier, beatier Enigma. Simon snorts, "I like the spiritual aspect to this song, but this is an Idol competition, not a goth party."

Dune - Dark Side of the Moon (Radio Mix)
More classic Eurodance, this time from Dune, who take us to the "Dark Side of the Moon" in an effort that sounds suspiciously like O.T. Quartet's earlier "Hold That Sucker Down." Simon says, "I had the pleasure of seeing this song performed live on Germany's VIVA television. Unfortunately, I think this performance sorely misses the interpretive dance routine that was the highlight of that earlier version."

DJ Milano feat. Samantha Fox - Santa Maria
I had a tasty photograph of Samantha Fox in a 1986 music magazine. Only three Americans know that in 1997 Samantha hooked up (so to speak) with DJ Milano to create the excellent pop-trance tune "Santa Maria" (the strange history of this song, which Speed Muffin alerted me to, can be read here). Simon says, "Samantha's getting on a bit, isn't she? But I think that renders this performance all the more impressive. Good job."

Eiffel 65 - Move Your Body
It seems remarkable in retrospect that the vocoder-loving Eiffel 65 would have been so brazen as to entitle an entire album Europop. It would be a bit like if Led Zeppelin had decided to call one of their own songs "Rock and Roll." Which, come to think of it, they did. Which makes Eiffel 65 the Led Zeppelin of Europop. Please enjoy the easy flow of my logic! "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" was the big hit single off of Europop, but "Move Your Body" has an even more aggressive quality (no pretty pianos here). So, here I go against the grain and call this my preferred Eiffel 65 song. Simon says: "Eiffel 65's performance of 'Move Your Body' was the climax of the 1999 Idol competition. Pity they didn't keep it up. Nonetheless, a classic performance."

S-Club Juniors - One Step Closer
Simon Fuller, co-creator of the excellent S Club 7 (and the man behind "Idol"), apparently plans to milk an even longer career out of the (barely) pubescent S Club Juniors. The only good S Club Jrs. song so far is their debut single, "One Step Closer," but it is good. Simon Cowell says, "You kids have more spunk and talent than most of the grown-ups in this competition. Good for you!"

Robyn - Don't Stop the Music
Robyn is a Swedish singer whose "Don't Stop the Music" combines a terrific R&B vocal with super-infectious hooks. Superb. Simon Cowell says, "Robyn, you just don't look like an Idol to me, but curiously enough I think that works in your favour. Excellent vocals, great showmanship, and a tune that really works for you." (Poptarts and fellow Swedes Play agreed; they covered the song on a 2004 album.)

Texas - Inner Smile
Will there be another album from Texas? We hope so, as they are only getting better. "Inner Smile," an original single off their 2000 greatest hits compilation, sounds sort of like VH-1 dance music, but really good VH-1 dance music, if such a thing can exist. The song is prominently featured in trailers for the movie Bend it Like Beckham. Simon says, "Although more than competent, I think Texas lacks the sort of je ne sais quoi necessary in an Idol. But good job."

Clock - Oh What a Night (December '63)
Clock's "Oh What a Night (December '63) (King Pigeon Mix)" updates the Four Seasons classic by throwing in a bad rapper. Says Herr Simon, "You have ruined one of my favorite songs." But millions of Swedish 12 year-olds disagree, and so Clock REMAINS IN THE COMPETITION!

Superboy - It's Not Over Yet
Superboy's "It's Not Over Yet" is currently enjoying Italian chart success. It's so LUSH and HEAVENLY and, man, where did I leave my ecstasy tablets anyway? Simon says, "I really don't understand these songs where the same melody goes round and round and round, and they tweak it a little and make it go round and round and round some more. But it was kind of pretty. I guess." (*Shrug*)

Alexia - Dommi Come (Live Version from San Remo)
Alexia, whose "Me and You" is one of the greatest Eurodance songs of all time, won the Sanremo Italian songwriting competition this year. But seeing that this year's song was one of those syrupy slow numbers, we recommend hunting down the live performance of her more energetic "Dommi Come," from the 2002 competition. Simon Cowell says, "I thought you were better in 2002, but it just wasn't your year. Congratulations on winning in 2003—it's about time. However, you could stand to lose a few pounds."

(April 2003)

S-Club 7 - S-Club Party
We held an S-Club party back in March. If you were there, you're probably still wondering how we made it into such a success. Well, we just followed instructions from the band itself. They're contained in the lyrics to "S Club Party."

Tom Jones - Black Betty
Tom Jones is back with a Leadbelly cover!!!! "Black Betty" (which has also been covered by Ram Jam and Nick Cave) sounds like TJ singing over one of Moby's Play tracks. It's superb! Of course!

Full Intention - America (I Love America) (Full Length 12" Mix)
It's a way-goovy house updating of Patrick Juvet's disco-dancing classic "I Love America." In 2002, somebody spliced Kate Smith's Victrola-esque "God Bless America" into this song to produce the "DJ Kevy's Blessed by Matt Mix"; this seems to have been a bootleg, and I cannot find a trace of it today (evidenced by the fact that a Google search for it turns up only my own web page [27 June 2007]).

Live Element - Be Free (Radio Edit)
Probably the shortest true "radio edit" I have is the 2:15 Radio Edit of Live Element's "Be Free." For this, I must commend Live Element's humility. Even fifteen additional seconds of this seemingly endless loop of Belinda Carlisle admonishing you to "Be free" would put pinwheels in your eyes. The song is actually pretty good; the funky bassline and Belinda's cheery voice work well--for a short time. So, good for them for acknowledging the limits of their idea. I sort of wish the remixers (Full Intention and Robbie Rivera) had realized the same thing and cut all their 7+ minute efforts in half. A few extra beats at beginning and end for DJ utilitarian purposes, two and a half minutes of tune, and you'd have all you need. I'm just giving advice, here. Now I'm rambling.

Atomic Kitten - Turn Me On
We are trying to get Atomic Kitten out of our systems, so there are two (!) tracks on this list, both from their debut album (a hybrid version of their two UK releases, containing "Tide Is High/Get the Feeling," has just been released in the U.S.). "Turn Me On," with its dazzling Latin-disco vibe, shoulda been a single.

Bellini - Samba de Janeiro (Club Mix)
There's a lot of Latin flavored Eurodance out there. Bellini's "Samba de Janeiro (Club Mix)" is one of the better ones in the genre, with a swingin' horn, sexy Spanish cheerleader, and shrill whistles. Wow, there are five hot chicks in this group. What do they all do, exactly?

Simone Jay - Wanna B Like a Man (Devotional Radio Mix)
Simone Jay's "Wanna B Like a Man (Devotional Radio Mix)" is a beautiful piece of Eurodance bouyed by uplifting keyboard riffs and a terrific vocal performance. Not as well known as other classics from the mid 90's, but it should be.

Fredrik Kempe - Vincero (Original Version)
Another entry in the continuing Italian tradition of sampling opera arias and making them into floor filling fodder for DJ's without any taste (me): Presenting Fredrik Kempe's "Vincero (Original Version)"! The source material: Puccini's "Nessun dorma," from Turandot. Terrible, yet wonderfully so!

Les Gafettes - Mon Petit Bikini (Radio Edit)
It was inevitable that Las Ketchup "Ketchup Dance (Asereje)" parodies would start coming out. Witness Les Gafettes' "Mon Petit Bikini (radio edit)." As best I can tell, the artists behind this seem to be the stars of a French variety TV series. It's pretty funny if you speak French, probably! I have also found that if you're DJ'ing this in a room full of people who speak neither French nor Spanish, none of them will realize they are listening to a parody.

Benny Benassi - Satisfaction
Stephen Hawking, MC and astronomy hobbyist, turns in a great vocal on Benny Benassi and the Biz's sexy (for robots, that is) "Satisfaction."

Condor - On My Own (Les Voix Mix)
Condor's "On My Own (Les Voix Mix)" is a good slab of trance. You know, I like condors, I like the French, and I don't even mind being on my own. So, I guess it was inevitable that I'd fall in love with this song before I even heard it.

Sonique - Sky
Sonique had two huge songs in Europe in 2000, and they remain staples on top 40 radio to this day: "It Feels So Good" and "Sky." I like 'em both about the same. Breaks, techno, and R & B.

Marianne Rosenberg - Er gehört zu mir
Marianne Rosenberg disco anthem "Er gehoert zu mir." remains one of Germany's best-known, best-loved, and oft-played classics.

Suncollectors - Freak of Paradise
Suncollectors' "Freak of Paradise" is the perfect Ibiza anthem. This gorgeous tune manages to rock the house despite the potentially crippling cheese intrusion by Zamfir and his pan flute. Summer must be on its way!

Atomic Kitten - Strangers
Alright, shall we finally say farewell to Atomic Kitten, then? Let's put them out to pasture with the poignant "Strangers."

The compendiums:

2001 06/07
2001 08
2002 01
2002 01
2002 01/02
2002 04
2002 06
2002 09
2002 10/11
2002 12/2003 01
2003 02
2003 03/04
2003 05/06
2003 06
2003 08
2003 09
2003 10/12
2004 02/07
2004 07/09
2004 11
2004 12
2005 01/03
2005 05/09
2005 09
2005 12
2006 03
2006 06/09
2006 11/12
2007 01/03
2007 04/05
2007 06/07
2007 09/10
2008 01
2008 04/06
2008 06/07
2008 09/12
2009 02
2009 04/06
2009 08/09
2009 10/11
2010 01
2010 02/03
2010 04/07
2010 08/10
2010 11
2011 01/03
2011 04/05
2011 06
2011 09

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