t_25
Actually, I picked it up yesterday at one of my favorite stores, Target.  Had to!  As I said in a previous post, I’ve always been more of a Janet fan, so I have most of her stuff.  

In all reality, Thriller was my first tape ever.  I remember having it; I just don’t remember asking for it(sidenote:  Madonna’s Like a Virgin is the first tape I remember actually asking for).  My first piece of music.  My dad lent it to a friend of his and that friend never returned it.   This friend wasn’t one that stuck around for years; he was around and then he was just gone.  Still remember his name.  And, I never replaced it until yesterday. 

This was all they had in stock, but the young lady who asked me if I needed help said they’d be getting more MJ stuff next week.  I’m good with this.  I don’t need to get every album, though I think I might pick up Off the Wall.  I’m not going to link anything else other than the Target link above ’cause if you all want your Michael Jackson you’re gonna’ go and get it.

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Part  2 of your three-fer:  This is the first time I’ve repeated a song from a previous countdown, but I had to include it on this countdown, too.  This was Number 7 on MY TOP 10: Video Cameos with Ali G. here.  So, you get the 2001 Grammy performance version instead.  Check Lil’ Bow Wow opening the car door.

* * *
I’ve been wanting to do a countdown featuring songs about songs (you know, songs about music, dancing, and/or a certain genre).  I have my 10 songs, but even as I posted Number 10, I wasn’t sure about the order.  So, this one will form as I go.  I normally have my list ready to go before I start.  MY TOP 10 is a music video countdown, but with some songs (maybe two in  particular) occuring before the MTV era, I will  have to improvise and pull something from Dailymotion or YouTube.  Here goes.

 2. Madonna “Music”

At the time, this became Madonna’s biggest universal dance hit since “Vogue.”  It had been awhile, but Madonna got us on the dance floor again and had everyone singing “Music” from clubs to karaoke bars.  Really the funkiest thing on the Music album with nothing else sounding quite like it.  “Music makes the people come together.”  ‘Nuff Said.

As we work through, I just wanted to add that I didn’t put a time limit (like limiting the list to  a certain era) on this.  I think that’s obvious, though.

* * *

I thought it would be fun to countdown MY TOP 10:   Music Video Cameos.  That is, music videos with cameos by non-musical personalities who are known for working in other areas of show biz.  My criteria were that:

1) the video be memorable, of course;
2) the featured personality not be another musical artist at the time (now if they became musical artists at a later point that’s another story; they’re
still eligible);
3) the featured personality be known at the time (not be an unknown who became known later); and
4) the cameo be a worthwhile part in the video (not just a 2-second spot).

7. Ali G in Madonna’s “Music”

Ali G aka Borat aka Sacha Baron Cohen was already making noise in the UK, but Madonna introduced him, not only to the US, but to the world as she often does with some people.  May be Madonna has an eye for talent as he had huge success with Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan some years later.  I may be the only one in the universe who hasn’t seen it yet.

Whether or not you agree with the way he operates you can say one thing about him.  He fully commits to his characters.  Another thing you can say is that he steals the show in “Music.”  Madonna’s actress friend, Debi Mazar, and her oftentimes back-up singer, Niki Harris, also guest.

le1010.  TLC “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg”
From Ooooooohhh…On The TLC Tip
Released:  November 22, 1991

This song and video kicked off the TLC story and what has now become legend.  Left Eye was front-and-center letting the world know these 20-somethings (at the time) were spunky, funky, and not afraid to take healthy sexuality head-on.  The lyricism and presentation were sexy, but not raunchy (though some might disagree).

With the Cross Colours garb, doubled-up pants, suspenders, and hats they spawned imitators who often imitated, but never duplicated.  Tomboyish yet feminine, with the bright colors, they struck a chord with their natural chemistry, playful and over-the-top attitudes, and mostly with their hard-to-resist funky-sexy music.

I remember there was a nightly radio countdown in my hometown of El Paso, Texas.  The 9 at 9 on Power 102.  I was a high school freshman.  Once I had seen the video and I was hooked on TLC right off the bat, I listened to that countdown some days in a row to make sure “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” was Number 1.  And it was — a few times.  Here, it’s Number 10.  Check it out!

NOTE:  These lyrics were a little provocative and I was only a freshman, though I probably didn’t think so at the time.  Wow!  What we listen to as kids.  I will say, I think as an LGBT adolescent and a man (I don’t really want to label myself, but I will to make this point) there’s is something about sexually-assertive, sexually-positive straight female pop divas that is empowering, inspiring, and enlightening (ahem…Madonna, Janet, TLC for myself).  I mean, we do like the same thing and can’t always express our sexuality as easily or unrestrictedly as straight men can.  But, I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way.

sns_houston

H-Town and TX in the house! Where/When I attended the Sticky & Sweet Tour.

Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour was the top-grossing tour in North America and world-wide in 2008 making it the Number 8 tour on the all-time North American chart according to Pollstar.

I’d never gone to a Madonna concert and I chose to go to this one.  I’d never paid for floor seats for any show and I did for this one.  So, my ticket stub helped contribute to this record.  I would say that as a fan I’m happy I contributed, but Madonna would have made her money whether I showed up or not.

Read more at Reuters UK.

Listen to my thoughts on the show on a recent R&R podcast here.

Friday, December 26, 2008
7:15 PM

Well, it’s the day after Christmas.  I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a Merry one.  I also wish all those of you with other traditions, happiness and cheer in your celebrations.  I’m going to try to keep this month’s Letter from the Editor short and sweet.  I said “try.”

The last 2 months have been a little hectic in regard to content.  It’s been a little challenging keeping up with it.  Last month I had my traveling and this month my internet went down for some days.  With a day job, I’m just really learning how to negotiate when I work on popolio.  I’m really excited about it and want to keep things going, but I don’t want to burn out on it too soon, either.

So, what did December 2008 bring at popolio?   I’ll name some of what we had to offer, but keep in mind that we always have so much more.  We kept the pop quizzes going.  We actually gave you a BONUS pop quiz this month.  You got El Paso-based experimental/ambient/electro husband-and-wife team (who work on a collective project as ElectroLegs) as their individual personas of Aux.78 and Muekanisms.  Folk-Rocker, Liz Clark, out of New York, was the BONUS.  In another installment of our R&R podcast, I gave my final thoughts on the Houston Sticky and Sweet Tour stop I experienced.  You got a taste of J. Dub’s mixtapes over at mandrakeFM.com.  I shared my pick for MY TOP album of 2008, which was Robyn with her self-titled release; Cyndi Lauper earned an Honorable Mention with Bring Ya To The Brink.  Lastly, I presented a  jam-packed MY TOP 10 Video Countdown.

What will 2009 bring for popolio?  We are going to keep going and try to do things bigger and better as we grow and learn.  We are very much a work in progress and that’s a good thing.  In January we’ll share a surprise popolio podcast interview that I’m very excited about.  Check back for that.  And we have ideas for a few new features that we hope to kick-off in 2009.  I hope you stick around and grow and learn with us.

I hope everyone got what they wanted for Christmas and I wish everyone a so fresh and so clean 2009.

Just to let you know, I created a new email address for popolio.  Please feel free to contact us at popolio[dot]com[at]gmail[dot]com with any comments, questions, and/or concerns you may have.

7:51 PM

Thanks and Sincerely,  
Freddie Rodriguez aka freddie beat
popolio editor

robyn_us

The US cover is better, too!

 I don’t think popolio has been around long enough for us to do a comprehensive  2008 album and/or single  Best Of List.  Maybe next year.  But, I do think I can offer my thoughts on the best album of the year.               

Robyn was part of the pop infestation that took over the US and the world in the 1990s.  Coming out of Sweden, she had 2 stand-out hits here with “Show Me Love” and “Do You Know (What it Takes).” 

I noticed her at the time, liked the songs, but not enough to buy any singles or the album.  She soon retreated back to Sweden and sort of became the Britney Spears of her homeland, continuing to sell records, break them, too, and win numerous awards, I’m sure.

Being the top pop act there she wasn’t heard of in the US again until 2008.  The story is familiar.  Girl can sing.  Girl gets signed by big record company.  Girl has some worldwide success for years.  Girl eventually craves creative freedom and true individual expression.  Girl leaves big record company.  Girl creates her own independent record label.  Girl creates and release first truly independent and fully creative project.  Girl achieves more success than she ever had before.

The album was self-titled and released in 2005 on Robyn’s own Konichiwa Records.  It became successful and Robyn continued to release it in other countries in the UK as the years passed.  She finally struck a deal for distribution in the US and we didn’t get it here until earlier this year.  It wasn’t as big a splash here as was in the other places, but there was plenty of media coverage and critical acclaim.  Well, the girl even got to open for Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet Tour on some UK dates.  And who doesn’t have their finger on the pop pulse, if not Madonna.

You all know I’m a sucker for reinvention, both musical and image-based.  But, not just any reinvention.  It has to be authentic and interesting to me and the music has to be good.  The music always has to back it up.  Once I gleaned she was back, I started checking out the videos and the songs online and this Robyn looked and sounded nothing like the Robyn of the 1990s.  I even had to double-check to make sure it was the same girl.

This is a pop blog after all, so I’m picking a truly pop album as the best of 2008.  I don’t think anyone has been doing anything that interesting in pop for awhile (save for Christina’s exploration of old soul on Back to Basics in 2006).  I picked this up and, even with added tracks for the US release, I was blown away.  It was first released in 2005 in Sweden, and, to me, it still sounds fresh in 2008 in the US.  I can listen to it pretty much beginning to end.  Pop seems to be going in a more electro/dance direction, anyway, but this is definitely not an imitator’s, but an innovator’s approach.  Robyn is setting her own tone and marching to her own beat.

Pop often gets a bad rap and every now and then there comes a pop project that exists on a higher level.  One of those pop albums you can point to and someone who isn’t into pop can just appreciate as genuinely good music.  Pop is often thought of as not as good as other genres or not as adult or mature.  It’s not taken as seriously.  Sure it can be fun, ironic, and all of that.  But, it doesn’t mean it’s not good and doesn’t hold up to other musical forms.  Robyn is one of those records that trascends all of those barriers.  You should check it out.

Honorable Mention bytb

Cyndi Lauper’s Bring Ya To The Brink is Confessions on a Dancefloor done better.  Madonna spoke about making electronic music have emotion, which she felt it was lacking, when releasing Ray of Light in 1998.  Cyndi has definitely done that with house music on this album.  Emotional depth and serious subject matter coexist with fat beats and booty-shaking rhythms.