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Pop - Released November 24, 2017 | London Music Stream - Because Music

Theoretically, this should be a note-perfect example of commercial '80s pop music at its best. But it isn't. Half of this album is actually pretty great, though -- particularly the early Bananarama hits. The Fun Boy Three-produced "He Was Really Sayin' Something" throws that band's quirky avant-funk underneath the threesome's harmonizing; the cover of "Aie A Mwana" shows off some slightly unexpected Afrobeat chops over a brisk arrangement; while "Shy Boy" takes a more mainstream approach, but without losing its understated sass. The American hits "Robert De Niro's Waiting" and "Cruel Summer" show how the trio could balance chart aspirations with atypical singing or subject matter. When it comes to the multi-national smashes produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman, though, it's not quite a case of the emperor having no clothes as much as a case of SAW being a one-trick pony. The reworking of Shocking Blue's "Venus" was a well-deserved success, taking the off-kilter pop/rock of the original and giving it a sparkling dance undercarriage. "I Heard a Rumour" isn't bad either, with a catchy chorus and a similar synth sheen. Unfortunately, the rest of the SAW-overseen selections do both the band and producers a major disservice, all being pallid and boring revamps of those two songs. If they ever felt defensive about the critical slams they received, the fact remains that at this point in the band's career there wasn't much to shout about. A new version of the Beatles' "Help!" at least provided them with a song that was more distinct than most of the late-'80s hash they received, but it wasn't as compelling a reworking as the others. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 4, 2013 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 2, 2006 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Rock - Released March 21, 2006 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Rock - Released November 18, 2002 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Rock - Released October 7, 2005 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2004 | London Music Stream - Because Music

A very different compilation with little or no overlapping material could just as easily earn the right to be titled The Best of the Durutti Column. Vini Reilly's discography is so deep that any track selection would look somewhat arbitrary. Despite that, this two-disc set, released in 2004, does an admirable job of distilling over 20 years of material into a digestible introduction. Even most of Reilly's longtime, fanatical followers would have to agree -- with some reservations, perhaps -- that this is a representative way to gain an understanding of one of the most prolific and unique individuals to have started during the punk era. If this set should happen to hit all the right nerves with you, there are no less than ten good to spectacular studio albums waiting to be devoured. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Electronic - Released January 1, 2004 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Pop - Released October 7, 2003 | London Music Stream - Because Music

There's something about those Minogue sisters. No matter how many times they seem to be down for the count, a surprise comeback hit is always just around the corner. Dannii has never quite achieved the level of superstardom that sister Kylie has attained, but she has shown equal tenacity. Released in 1997, Girl may have been a commercial failure, but it succeeded in repositioning her as a sophisticated club artist rather than a B-list pop singer. That album caught on in the burgeoning trance scene of the mid-'90s, and Neon Nights partially follows that trend into the 2000s on tracks such as "Who Do You Love Now?," the out-of-nowhere comeback collaboration with Riva that gave Dannii the biggest hit of her career. However, Neon Nights is a more varied collection, a veritable pick and mix of the European dance scene at the turn of the century. Songs such as the sleazy "Put the Needle on It" and the pulsating "A Piece of Time" are pure electroclash, whereas the bouncy "For the Record" and "Mystified" caught on at the beginning of the major '80s revival that took off in a big way over the next few years. Despite the variety of influences, the album flows better than any of Dannii's albums have before, with only the overly crass "Vibe On" even approaching filler status. Minogue is no faceless vocalist either; she infuses the tracks with her persona, sexually charged but smart and slightly aloof. There is a revelatory performance on the album's closing track and only ballad, "It Won't Work Out." Against a chilly, spare musical backing, Dannii delivers a heartfelt, unadorned vocal somewhat reminiscent of the best moments of Everything But the Girl. Although the album contains no cover versions, the success of the singles was augmented by the bootlegging craze. "I Begin to Wonder" was mashed with Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record") for the clubs, and "Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling" became the first track ever to be granted permission to sample from Madonna's "Into the Groove." These mixes helped these songs reach the widest audience of Minogue's career, topping U.S. club charts as well as those in the U.K. and Europe. Without a doubt the most confident and forward-thinking release yet for Dannii, it didn't quite make her the major star it should have, but it did give her the best run of hits of her career, and continued to show she was much more than the sum of her family name. © John Lucas /TiVo
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Pop - Released December 23, 2003 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Pop - Released December 23, 2003 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Pop - Released May 26, 2003 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Electronic - Released October 4, 2002 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Rock - Released July 2, 2002 | London Music Stream - Because Music

Great pop-punk records are actually a fairly rare creature in the overall picture of alternative rock. Despite the high volume of releases, whole years go by without a significant or exciting album being made in the genre. That is why the blissfully sweet Hi-Fi Serious is such a wonderful surprise. Whereas in the past A always showed potential, on this record they took that step forward that so many of their contemporaries are afraid to take. And what a step forward it is; gorgeous hooks, excellent production, and anthemic choruses that border on hair metal at times all add up to an irresistible sound that should appeal to any fan of the genre. By cutting away the snotty Green Day worship that makes so many of these groups obnoxiously coy, the group can explore other genres without any concern over sounding too ironic or goofy. They have definitely moved in a more commercial direction on this record, adding elements like synthesizers and heavily processed backup vocals that might damage their credibility, but make their music just that much better. The booty-shaking title track may be the best pop song the group has ever crafted, moving from the tense and driving verses to a swaggering chorus with such ease that it's a wonder they never displayed this sort of songwriting talent before. The fantastic "Nothing" feels like it could burst apart at any moment, but instead it holds together with a chorus that burns its way into your brain and refuses to leave. "Took It Away" feels like it's breaking apart toward the middle, then it makes a dramatic turn into a breezy Southern California section that brings the song to the next level. "Starbucks" is almost too catchy to be likable, but they manage to turn the song into a cutesy-but-endearing pop nugget by the end. And "The Distance" is either a pleasantly unique punk-pop anthem or the best hair metal song written since Poison's "Ride the Wind," and that is really the only way to describe it. Any fan of this genre who isn't afraid of a little experimentation should find themselves highly rewarded by giving this a shot. In a genre that is hideously oversaturated, it is a genuine relief to hear albums like this. It reminds the listener of how good this genre has the potential to be when in the hands of musicians that aren't afraid to be poppy first and punk second. © Bradley Torreano /TiVo
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Pop - Released December 10, 2002 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Electronic - Released March 26, 2002 | London Music Stream - Because Music

Kinky may be a Mexican band, but these guys are a long shot from any preconceived notions you may have about what a Mexican band should sound like. They're anything but traditional and, if tagged as anything, are about as alternative as Latin alternative gets. This is because Kinky is a band that plays electronic dance music without going the computerized beat-making route. Well, at least not wholeheartedly, as they retain their essence as a band above all (rather than program beats, they seem to sample themselves and then loop those samples). It's tough to pin these guys down on their self-titled debut album because it veers all over the place, sometimes within a single song. The album opener, "Más," is a case in point, with its wah-wah guitars spitting out funk licks and its hip-hop breakbeats signifying the multicultural mélange to come. Some songs go a step further, like "Ejercico No. 16" in particular, kicking up such a dance-party dust storm that you're liable to mistake Kinky for Daft Punk. So while Kinky are indeed Latin musicians and sing in Spanish, that's somewhat of a minor issue. Like los Amigos Invisibles or Titan, Kinky emphasize the music, not the singing nor the cultural cues -- they're a universal band with a universal sound that just happens to originate in Monterrey, Mexico. After all, this debut album was licensed by Nettwerk America (a Canadian label best known for releasing albums by Sarah McLachlan and the Barenaked Ladies) and was produced by Chris Allison (a Brit best known for working with Coldplay and Dot Allison), so it doesn't exactly boast a lot of Latin credentials. It doesn't need to when it's this great -- Kinky is the sort of album that should stand on its out, beyond the realm of geographic or demographic categorization, and most certainly beyond cultural expectations or stereotypes. And when taken on its own terms -- an album of music performed by a band -- it's hard to resist the dynamic rocktronica en español of Kinky here, especially if you're keen on pigeonhole-defying multicultural listening experiences. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Rock - Released October 4, 2002 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Pop - Released January 1, 2002 | London Music Stream - Because Music