ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Troubled bad girls,
Outkasts and creepy Clay
the single guy
By Brian Wong
"Drain the Blood"
Following the break-up from her
husband Tim Armstrong of Rancid, the new Brody Dalle bounces
right back with the first single from The Distillers' upcoming
Coral Fang disc (due Oct. 14). The vocals are everything we
love about Brody ã hoarse, punk-rock growling meets low,
bruised and sexy drawls emitted from one woman in punch-drunk
hate. But then there's the surprisingly grave harmonized midway
point that leads to the repeated closing line, "He's gone
away," that makes the track less about seething rage and
more about sombreness.
With her last effort, Pink was so desperate to prove herself
a rock 'n' roller that the results were just unconvincing. A
song about being a hazard to herself? A song about pills? A
song about her bad childhood? Please. It's about time Pink made
good on the punk-rock that her outfits and hairstyle suggest,
so what does she do? Enlist the newly single Tim Armstrong (see
above) to lend his talent for writing catchy three-chord ditties
on her next record, tentatively titled Try This. On this first
single, a simple chorus ("I'm trouble! Yeah, trouble now!
I'm in trouble, y'all!") accented by rollicking riffs is
broken up by two bridges of '60s-style California-pop decorated
with sparkling glockenspiel. Easily her best single yet.
"Operate"/"Shake Yer Dix"
Already the queen of the nu-electro scene, the Canadian-born,
Berlin-based Merril Nisker is set to release another collection
of raunchy, Casio-beat-based ditties under the double-entendre
moniker Peaches. It may be hard to beat now-classic songs like
"Lovertits" and "Fuck the Pain Away," but
the two-song EP that features tracks from the upcoming Fatherfucker
album (out next Tuesday) looks promising ã and promiscuous.
Under some sparse and menacing Neptunes-like hip-hop backdrops,
Peaches's almost spoken-word purr sings about a guy's eyes rolling
to the back of his head on "Operate," dancing that
fine line between sex and death, while synth-stomp "Shake
Yer Dix" is a call for boys to do just that ã and
in the name of equal opportunity, the girls are instructed to
shake their tits. And if you thought Peaches would never get
her ass out of the underground, look for her to contribute a
rap to Pink's record (see above).
"The Way You Move"/"Hey Ya"
The new Outkast album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (out next
Tuesday) is a double-disc affair ã one disc of Big Boi's
tunes, one of Dre's ã and the first singles, one from
each member of the quirky Southern hip-hop duo, are exemplary
of the word "contrast." Big Boi's "The Way You
Move" contains his trademark ten-word-a-second rapping
over a simple synth-clap and a smooth Philly-soul chorus punctuated
by a feisty brass section ã it's sexy stuff, but not
quite as compelling as Dre's "Hey Ya," an oddball
big-beat country song that meshes Dre's defiant and whiny singing
voice, new-wave electronics, acoustic guitar, handclapping and
the kitchen sink. Completely insane!
There's little doubt the music on Aiken's upcoming debut (released
whenever), is going to be a hot, stinkin' pile of Adult Contemporary
schmaltz - think Michael Bolton; think every Disney theme song;
think (shudder) Jon Secada. But for this first single I'm going
to give Clay a little credit for the creepy chorus: "If
I was invisible/Then I could just watch you in your room."
Kind of "Every Breath You Take" voyeuristic, isn't
it? Then there are the religious undertones of the invisible
being watching us... then we'd have to consider whether God
is a voyeur... then we'd have to consider why we're looking
so deep into the lyrics of a song by CLAY AIKEN.