It’s funny what can turn the public against you nowadays. For one of my J-Idols, Koda Kumi, the answer is…amniotic fluid. During a radio show interview on “All Night Nippon,” Kumi was casually talking about her manager who had gotten married, she began talking about her manager’s child-filled future, which is where the situation got a little…weird. “After a mother turns 35, her amniotic fluid becomes spoiled,” “True, true! It gets dirty. That’s why I want her to have a baby before she turns 35.”
That was it. The joke hit the blogs, hit mainstream media, and a furor took off. People were outraged at Kumi’s notion of “spoiled goods” post-35, and demanded an apology. Not only that, Avex (her record label) has ceased promotion for her album, and two advertising companies have already pulled out of deals with her.
All this from an off-handed, crudely worded comment about age and pregnancy. Apparently, some talk shows are hosting gynecologists to dispel the rumors of pregnancy at an older age.
Do I think what she said was wrong? Not especially. I think the point she was making was fairly uncontroversial…that once you reach a certain age, it can become dangerous to have children. Her wording is what gets me. I thought it was a Japanese translation that came off as really odd, but it wasn’t. Japanese outlets are agreeing that using “amniotic fluid” was one of the main, perplexing aspects of her comment. Despite that, the comment was nothing short of ill-wording and improvisation gone a bit fucked.
Kumi has since publicly apologized, but they ain’t having that. A sensitive bunch, aren’t they?
Looks like Ms. Jackson-if-ya-nasty has been having things leak tonight faster from her new album than her vagina during her first day period (I hear she gets a bit farty.) Lower body sounds aside, let’s talk about the ones emanating from her mouth region. Tonight, five new album tracks have made their way onto cyberspace, simply yearning to be picked apart and judged by people. People like you…people like me! Keep in mind, I don’t care for Janet. But after hearing “Rock With U,” I’m willing to give her an all-out college try.
And so we begin in no particular order with:
2Nite - The beat kicked in, and I immediately looked up. Yes, it got my attention. A little bit ’90′s dance, but with a clearly dominant “new” electro-groove, the sliding track sounds like a toned down “Feedback” until it hits the glossy chorus, drawing comparisons to her brother and ultimately providing an undeniably good grove. It’s not perfect, but I’m not bored at all. So far, so good. Surprisingly.
Rollercoaster – Huh? Fergie, is that you? No…can’t be. A chugging, rollercoaster-lift like sound decorates the background of this strange, semi-mid-tempo track about an indecisive love affair, but I’m too distracted by all the rollercoaster euphemisms to take in her soul-baring lyricism. “I’m so confused / I don’t know what to do.” I couldn’t agree more. Discard.
The 1 ft. Missy Elliot - Oh Missy, why you so crazy?! “Tell me, how long is it boo? Seven inches? Yep, that’ll do!” Missy Misdemeanor proclaims off the first five seconds of the track. It’s a bell-ringing, ding-a-linging groove that is so signature Missy, with too much interference by Janet. The song ultimately succeeds in drawing attention to the guest artist here, reminding us all of how good Missy can and will be in due time. The bridge is hot though, but no fair…I’m a sucker for breathiness. Lest we forget who my idol is.
So Much Betta – This is a head bobber for sure. Opening with a warped 5-year old stylized voice, complete with vocal acrobatics, the intro is intriguing enough to continue. It’s all a bit understated, but the down-tempo beat is fairly attractive. The song doesn’t lift until two minutes in, but it’s only a momentary shine of synth. It’s not enough to save this song, though the beats are delicious.
Greatest X - EESHHH…slow music…trip-hop ballad? I’m fearful. It’s soothing and pretty, fragile vocals and all. Overall, it’s probably worthy of being stuck in my head at unusual times of the day, but it’s not something to go ga-ga about.
So 2Nite semi-rocked my socks off, and the situation steadily declined from there. I say crank up the bass, add the synth, and never look back, JJ. For now, I’ll give it a solid 6.9/10, keeping it sexy sensual for the sassy mama.
Rolling Stone has provided a glimpse into the future with an exclusive preview of Madonna’s new album. No, not sample tracks. Just a write-up of the track-by-track experience. Click here to see it in full. It’s worrisome on several counts. First of all, it must be noted that the reviewer is Rolling Stone after all, which famously romps in overindulgent praise of musical icons such as Madonna. They’re also fairly uninformed in matters of the dance floor (connoisseurs of Pop they are not.) Basically, this should be taken with a big ol’ serving o’ salt.
That being said, the review gets troublesome as soon as it launches into the song descriptions. Timbaland, mentioned at least five to six times in this short album sampler, seems to be in solid control of the album, as feared by most. The article mentions the usage of his signature beats within many of the tracks. Note: These signature beats being riffs “borrowed” from Indian tracks released in the mid-90′s. You don’t believe me? Oh, don’t tempt me with a good time, because I’ll be forced to post the countless YouTube videos with titles such as “TIMBALAND STEALZ TRAX AGAIN1!!” And yes, they’re all accurate.
Timbaland’s direct influence aside, each track is at least once associated with a recording already made. “Candy Shop” is Pharell‘s lone exception, though the song has already leaked. It contains some shards of glittery brilliance betwixt the verses, but remains understated and underwhelming as a packaged production.
So what can we gather from the new tracks? “Miles Away” sounds like Justin‘s FutureSex/LoveSounds, “Heartbeat” recalls Nelly Furtado‘s “Promiscuous,” and “Give It To Me,” sounds like a track borrowed from Britney‘s Blackout recording sessions. Put it all together and the result is not a Madonna album by my understanding, but rather a greatest hits of sorts for an overly visible producer, guised beneath an artist who should and can be setting the standards for pop music into the new century. She’s already proven she’s still “got it” only three years ago. Confessions on a Dancefloor utilized Stuart Price, a dance aficionado and DJ supreme whose talents were never fully tapped until Madonna’s 2005 album. It was one of Madonna’s most marketable, fulfilling releases yet.
Am I reading too much into a 500 word write-up of a 15 minute listening session? Oh, yes. Am I jumping the gun in assuming the worst? Probably. However, if “Candy Shop” and “4 Minutes To Save The World” are anything to represent the album, then I remain utterly unimpressed.
I’ve uploaded all of the b-sides individually for download. For reference, they should have all been on the album. “Cherry Bomb,” most definitely. I’m a sucker for vocal distortion, and this one’s chock full of those unpredictable stutters. It’s like “Speakerphone” ‘s less homosexual cousin-in-law. “Do It Again” is a bit happy-go-lucky, and as I’ve mentioned, “Carried Away” makes acid tripping look tame in retrospect.
It’s the cover of Danity Kane‘s new album, Welcome To The Dollhouse! I don’t know why, but I root for Danity Kane. Maybe it’s because I was so invested in Making the Band. Maybe it’s because I like to watch Shannon fruitlessly adapt to the ruthlessly ghetto-fab vibe of DK that she is so obviously unable to replicate. But most of all, their songs (more specifically, their choice of producers) are fairly well made products.
Onto the new album cover. Once again, I remain disappointed from the band’s disinterest in sharing wardrobes with the lead from the same-named Indie movie from 1994. Blasphemy.
Despite all this, the cover is something above average. It’s not perfect, but I’m brought to days of DC3′s Survivor, and am aroused accordingly. Of course, it’s not perfect. The title font is atrocious, and Aundrea looks a bit straining while lying down. Also, Aubrey is a Photoshop Robot with voluptuous breasts. Actually only Dawn and Wanita (okay, so that’s her real name. She goes by “D. Woods“, but everyone knows she should be representing the Wanita) look fairly natural here. But overall, I’m rooting for them.