FF #16 (Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture Edition)
1. Aluminum Group More Happyness (Wishing Tree)
I'm late to this train but Chicago's The Aluminum Group are true art pop sophisticates, writing sly, seductive songs oozing with panache (think Burt Bacharach with electronic production). Wry lyrics, eloquent vocals and a mixture of glossy electronic textures, frittery beats and languid percussion accent gay brothers John and Frank Navin's quirky, understated songs. More Happyness is the second of will be a "Happyness" trilogy. Happy Happy.
2. Erlend Oye DJ-Kicks (K7) (Out in May)
It's the singing Norwegian DJ. Erlend Oye is probably best known for his distinctive vocal contributions on Royksopp's album (most notably, the single "Poor Leno") and being part of the group Kings Of Convenience.
On this latest installment of the long-running DJ-Kicks series, Oye improbably links up techno, minimal techno, neuvo electro and dance punk, then lays down his own a cappella vocals atop the tracks. But get this, the vocals are lyrics from different songs than the music playing, so you'll hear him singing some of his own unreleased works or The Smiths' "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" over a remix of "Poor Leno" and "Venus" (originally by the Shocking Blue, then later covered by Bananarama) during a track by Uusi Fantasia. It's a surprisingly fun and unique mix.
3. Fischerspooner vs. Billy Squier "Everybody Wants You To Emerge" (from Queer Eye For The Straight Guy soundtrack).
Yes, it's true. The Queer Eye boys have a companion CD. And it's actually not bad, though a bit on the mainstream dance side. But this novelty mash-up of Fischerspooner's big hit "Emerge" with Billy Squier's (remember him?) "Everybody Wants You" is a blast and totally works. Oddly enough, another Billy Squier song is sampled in Dizzee Rascal's hit "Fix Up Look Sharp." Is Billy making a comeback?
4. Bush's approval ratings at their lowest point of his presidency
Finally, there is hope, with Bush's approval ratings dropping below 50 percent for the first time ever. And these numbers were measured before his dismal performance on "Meet The Press" yesterday.? Even conservatives thought Bush did a lousy job in the interview, with one GOP honcho wishing the "Prez" could speak in complete sentences.
But this is my favorite quote: "I think he's run the country into the ground economically, and he comes out with these crazy ideas like going to Mars and going to the moon," said Richard Bidlack, a 78-year-old retiree from Boonton, N.J., who says he voted for Bush in 2000. "I'm so upset at Bush, I'll vote for a chimpanzee before I vote for him."
More about the poll
And more about Bush's service record in the Texas Air National Guard.
5. OutKast on the Grammy Awards
First, there was the shortest "Thank You" speech ever by Andre 3000. Steven Tyler, B.B. King and Joe Perry sat onstage seemingly forever (why were THEY presenting best rap album?) waiting for one of the feuding members to roll up to claim best Rap Album Award, with the camera searching the crowd in vain. When Andre finally comes up there, he just says "Thank You" and walks away.
Then there was Big Boi's raucous performance as part of the extended funk extravaganza (which also included Earth, Wind & Fire, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and about a hundred more people onstage rocking out - including some dancing fool with an umbrella).
And at the end of the night, when OutKast won for Best Album of the year (after a great performance of "Hey Ya!," which included some sort of marching band from the future?wearing Indian headresses), Big Boi and Andre apparently reconciled their differences. Then Andre says, "A lot of people thought 'Stankonia' was our first record. Well, it wasn't. Learn your history! Stank you, stank you very much. You're smellcome. Stank you."
No, Stank YOU.