8 years ago my sister suggested I find a way to publish the amusing emails I sent her about our dog Zoe. Now there is blogging! Zoe tales are about Zoe (3 1/2 lb Chihuahua), Gracie (bigger and the world's friendliest Chihuahua) and other stuff I am thinking about. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Hit Me Baby One More Time: Week 3

My prediction: Everybody will Wang Chung tonight.

Wang Chung - Everybody Wang Chung Tonight

This version sounded exactly like the original. That's a good thing in this competition. I saw several of the bands from the cavalcade of stars that is Hit Me Baby... back in their heyday. I remember being really impressed with Wang Chung as a live band, which can be tough when you've got a lot of electronica going on. But the thing with Wang Chung is that they've also got yer traditional rock instruments at the heart of their music. The not-so-spontaneous ad lib (something along the lines of "we love you LA") showed that the vocals were indeed live and I was still impressed with the quality 20 years later.

Sophie B. Hawkins - Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover

Time has not been as kind to Sophie's voice. Her performance was that of a writhing, barefoot, hippie, drummer, shaman woman. She did not put a spell on me and damn, I'm glad she's not my lover.

Cameo - Word Up

Man, these guys were the epitome of bad 80's fashion. Remember the bright red codpiece over the skin tight tights? Well, in case you forgot, Larry Blackmon was here to remind you of the fashion mess he was when he went away. Although they dressed like the wanted to be Funkadelic's younger brothers, no matter how catchy and enjoyable Word Up was, Cameo's brand of perfectly good funk just cant touch the insane genius that oozes from George Clinton's maggot brain.

Howard Jones - No One Is To Blame

Well, props for showing the receding bit of hair he has left after his gravity defying finger-in-a-socket 80's look (unlike the cowardly dude from Flock of Seagulls who hid under a baseball cap and over compensating pony tail.) This song is pretty and melodic but boring as hell. Was then, is now.

Irene Cara - What a Feeling

Let me straighten your memories out for you. This is the big hit from the movie Flashdance which starred Jennifer Beals. Irene Cara was in the movie Fame. That's why your memories are all mixed up - light skinned sistahs in movies that involved dancing and singing.

OK - now that we've got that straightened out... my guess is that this was the biggest, most mainstream hit of the night, thus the audience was most into it. Plus, Ms. Cara busted a few moves and gave some good diva vibrato at the end. Therefore, I put her in the lead at halftime.

Today's Hits (standard disclaimer - "today" = recorded sometime after the 1980's)

Wang Chung - Hot in Herre (Nelly)

Honey, would I lie to you? You read that right. But, dude, seriously, from note one, OMG they pulled it off. Who woulda thunk that a couple of middle aged Londoner family men could rock this joint. But, Cornelius, watch out because rock it they did and it was damn entertaining even without any human ATMs.

Sophie B. Hawkins - 100 Years (Five For Fighting)

Oh happy, happy, joy, joy - a ravaged vocals singer doing a crap song. Well, at least gave us a 180 degree head to ankle costume change with an updo and slinky black gown. The best part was the preceding "where are they now?" segment that showed her playing the piano in her Venice, CA bungalow with a parrot on her shoulder. Aye matey.

Cameo - 1985 (Bowling For Soup)

There was no way this song would work because there was, in my estimation, no workable irony combination that could be made. Wang Chung's cover worked, for example, because it was played straight, no chaser - not making it their own, dawg - genius! The one thing I noticed from this performance is that with "unique" performances like these, clearly the audience goes nuts whenever they even remotely recognize a chorus or a line from one of "today's hits." Possibly the worst performance of the show.

Howard Jones - White Flag (Dido)

This is a straightforward ballad (not the one that Eminem used for Stan) so, sung in Howard Jones voice, it sounded like a Howard Jones tune. That tells me that this is essentially a pretty, but uninteresting ballad that was only remotely radio worthy because Dido has got some interesting texture to her voice.

Irene Cara - I'm Outta Love (Anastacia)

Irene Cara gets the Vanilla Ice shameless self promotion award of the evening as she uses this obscure track (outside of clubs, Anastacia is best known in this country, sadly, for getting breast cancer at a fairly young age) to debut her new group Hot "Cara"mel - get it, huh, huh? A sorta En Vogue lite girl group, the song they covered was so obscure that it may have well been a Hot Caramel original. I felt they lost all their momentum from earlier and my guess is that Wang Chung will take the prize.

But, hold on, nope - the audience is still feeling Irene Cara and her $20,000 prize goes to Women in the Arts, Inc.

Contest - anyone who can correctly identify the 5 songs I dropped lyrical hints to in this review. (Tie breaker will be identifying the 6th non-lyrical hint.) Bonus points for identifying other pop culture references. Winner gets a pop cultural-o-licious prize. Leave your guesses in the comments or email me at zoetales at gmail dot com.

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