Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium

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

(Nov. 2004)

Romanian gymnasts kick ass! Of course, if I spent years of my life training six hours a day six days a week and stuck to a super-secret diet engineered by top Romanian scientists, I might be able to do a backflip or two myself.

John Williams - Bugler's Dream and Olympic Fanfare Melody
An appropriate opening for this month's theme of Romanian women's [sic] gymnastics is John Williams's Olympic Fanfare, which is married to Leo Arnaud's familiar Olympic theme ("Bugler's Dream"). I think Williams drew inspiration from the many generations of great athletes who have come to define the Olympic spirit, and his own Superman: The Movie soundtrack.

Nightwish - Wish I Had an Angel
The first few songs are appropriate for vaulting. We begin with Finnish rockers Nightwish, who deliver an excellent dose of retro 80's hair-metal. "Wish I Had an Angel" is doing surprisingly well all over Europe. I like their emphatic delivery of the word "dust."

Sergio Mendes - Magalenha
Sergio Mendes is perhaps best-known as the Brazilian jazz legend whose "Girl from Ipanema" serenaded dental patients from coast to coast. But his 1994 tune "Magalenha" is pure pumping Latino trash.

Cappella - U Got 2 Know
Cappella embodied the trash techno sound of the early to mid 1990s. 1993's "U Got 2 Know" is one of their more fevered efforts.

Dyewitness - Master Plan
I thought I'd heard every great happy hardcore song ever made (that's about ten songs, and four are by Blümchen), but while in Regensburg, Germany I picked an old double CD compilation out of the used record bins that included an excellent tune by Dyewitness called "Master Plan." It sounds a bit like Scooter, with an MC shouting stuff before a plaintive female vocal floats into the mix to deliver the knockout chorus.

Five/5ive - Everybody Get Up
The next few songs are great for parallel bar routines. Let me begin by saying there are worse ideas than sampling Joan Jett and the Blackheart's "I Love Rock and Roll" and throwing a boisterous boy band on top. 5ive deliver the goods in "Everybody Get Up," a mid-nineties entry that resurrects my own memories of being in a boy band in Cluj.

Alina Sorescu - Ce frumoasa e dragostea
"Ce frumoasa e dragostea," or "Vocea de la radio" as it is sometimes called, is a serene little pop ditty warbled by Romanian cutie Alina Sorescu. The haunting keyboards that signal the arrival of the choruses add significantly to the effort. Video features Alina frolicking on a rocky mountainside in about ten different outfits and looking happy.

Dino [Lenny] - King Kong Five
Dino Lenny tackles a song by Mano Negra, making it beatier and 303-ier.

Fantastischen Vier - Troy
I like my rap goofy, and Fantastischen Vier deliver the goods auf Deutsch with the bouncy "Troy."

Haddaway - Life
While gripping the bar of a Bucharest city bus I heard Haddaway's "Life," one of the great classics of the tru trash era, pumped through the bus's soundsystem. On the same trip I also heard Taco's "Puttin' on the Ritz." Atlanta's buses need to follow Bucharest's example!

Andreea Balan - Libera din nou (house mix)
Romanian singer Andreea Balan has had one—maybe two—albums since 2002, but while in Bucharest this year I bought her 2002 release specifically for "Libera din nou (house mix)," which is a sprightly piece of pop with a dash of the bittersweet. And this is interesting: head-on Andreea looks exactly like a demoiselle crane—and probably weighs about the same as that bird.

M Factor - Mother (Radio Mix)
M Factor's "Mother (Radio Mix)" is a house tune punctuated by joyful keyboard run after joyful keyboard run. Vocals are competent, but to be honest, I'd like to find a vocal-free version, since I hate the noises people make, like that blah-blah-blah thing they do, and the woo-hoo-hoo-hoo thing, and anyway.

Soul Central - Strings of Life (Danny Krivit Re-Edit)
True old school techno fans would cringe if they heard that someone remade Derrick May's legendary 1987 tune "Strings of Life." After all, "Strings" was one of the first techno songs, and so it holds a special place in many an aging raver's heart. But 1) there are no old school techno fans left, and 2) Soul Central (with Danny Krivit on remix duties) delivers a surprisingly tasteful take that updates the production values of the original without stomping on its idiosyncracies. Best added element: a spectacular jazz piano riff that exudes class, not cringe. It's probably sacrilege to say, but this is my favorite version of "Strings."

(Nov. 2004)

Rammstein - Mein Teil
These songs are good for balance beam. We begin with Germany's Rammstein, a sinister industrial metal band whose "Mein Teil" is kinda groovy in its sinister industrial metal sorta way.

Don Omar - Dale Don Dale
Don Omar's "Dale Don Dale" is causing a sensation in Spain; my friend Michael alerted me to the tune's existence. It's raggariffic Spanitrash! And is that Lorna of "Papi Chulo, te Traigo el MMMM" fame singing in the background? Might as well be—sounds just like her.

Ice MC - It's a Miracle (Bring That Beat Back)
The joys and travails of childbirth are celebrated in the odd Italo disco/reggae/rap fusion experiment called "It's a Miracle (Bring That Beat Back)," from Ice MC. At times funky, at other times lush. As time goes by (I'm writing this addendum in 2007), this remains one of my favorite Eurodance tunes.

David Bisbal - Camina y Ven
The following songs are great for floor exercise. David Bisbal's "Camina y Ven" is a rapture of Spanish trumpets, cascading strings, and kicking beats. Would have felt right at home on a Kill Bill soundtrack. Bisbal was runner-up on Season 1 of "Operación Triunfo," a popular Spanish reality TV show/music competition, back in 2001.

Hot Banditoz - Veo Veo
Hot Banditoz bring us their ridiculously cheery tropical dum dum take on "Veo Veo." If this tune hasn't already been used in an episode of "Costa!" there's something seriously wrong with the world. Or else they're not making "Costa!" anymore.

Haiducii - Mne S Toboy Horosho (Gabry Ponte Mix)
Haiducii, whose songs were written by O Zone before the latter group decided to record their material themselves, delivers the catchy "Mne S Toboy Horosho," which gets a much appreciated club mix treatment from Gabry Ponte. "NAdaNAdaNADAAAA."

O-Zone - Despre Tine
O-Zone's follow-up to their wildly successful "Dragostea din tei" is "Despre Tine," which sounds an awful lot like "Dragostea"—but is even better.

Dannii Minogue vs. Flower Power - You Won't Forget About Me
Dannii Minogue continues to work with Italians—a wise decision as the Italians are the masters of dance pop. This time she adds a vocal atop a tune by Flower Power to create the dreamy dancefloor stomper "You Won't Forget About Me."

Souvenir d'Italie - People Come On
Souvenir d'Italie give us "People Come On," i.e., Boney M's "Ma Baker" spliced with Coldcut/Lisa Stansfield's "People Hold On." You get some aggressive disco synth strings, a singing diva, and a cool bit towards the end when they inexplicably slow the girl's voice down. Probably will be covered by Dannii Minogue next year.

Eric Prydz - Call On Me
Eric Prydz's "Call On Me," sounds so much like the work of Thomas Bangalter and DJ Falcon (who as "Together" gave us the wearying "I've Got So Much Love to Give") that the single was mistakenly attributed to that duo while making the mp3 rounds. Of course, such a "mistake" couldn't have hurt the tune's buzz. It snags a bit of Steve Winwood's "Valerie" and puts it on an endless loop. I've got to say that Eric's (and Together's) idea of writing an epic that's all chorus is not...well, it's not a good idea. But the song is better than my review suggests.

Space Cowboy - I Would Die 4 U
Who could possibly resist a trash updating of a classic Prince song? Jesus I can't! The Space Cowboy's version of "I Would Die 4 U," from the good ol' days of 2002, is packed with dense, shiny layers of keyboard noise, a sputtering beat that sounds as though it's been vomited from a dying computer, and other aural goodies. Marvelous trashification!

Estopa - Pastillas de Freno
Spanish rock group Estopa turn in one of those "the party's over so let's get in a huddle and sway drunkenly together and then start jumping up and down as the music gets faster and faster" songs. It's called "Pastillas de Freno," and it's a great way for a Romanian gymnastics team to celebrate a victory.

The Romanian National Anthem
The Romanian National Anthem makes an appropriate finish. The American women's gymnastics team knows all the words by now.

Shapeshifters/Shape:UK - Lola's Theme (Radio Edit)
And finally, I recently heard the radio vocal version of Shapeshifters' "Lola's Theme" (a song we and the rest of the planet championed a few months back). It's also spectacular.

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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