Soundwaves

Queer Eye's Jai sings, t.A.T.u.'s tired politics, Morrissey returns, Amnesty's Music for Human Rights

by Doug Rule
Published on January 29, 2004, 12:00am | Comments


QUEER “CULTURE” GUY SINGS... We never knew Jai Rodriguez had it in him. Oh sure, he's the Culture Guy, but yogurt has more active culture than he has screen time on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. So naturally he's working to step around Fashion Guy/Mother-Hen Carson Kressley's overpowering shadow. He's currently in the studio recording his debut album, with tracks ranging from dance to R&B to pop, Billboard reports. And yes, the magazine added, he can sing. Of course he can: he performed on and off Broadway in the musicals Rent and the short-lived Zanna, Don't! before his Queer Eye days. Rodriguez told Billboard, “I want to be known as a performer, not solely as ‘the culture guy.'” He's hoping to complete the album by June, though he hasn't lined up an album deal yet. In the meantime, he was not selected to appear solo on Capitol Records' Queer Eye soundtrack, due next month…

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WHILE QUEER FASHION GUY SPINS... In the meantime, that savvy Carson casts an ever-larger shadow, continuing his walk far beyond fashion right into Rodriguez's “culture” territory. Billboard reports Kressley's set to DJ. And hey, if Paris Hilton can do it and get an American Dance Award nomination to boot, why the hell not? Actually, he's just one of several taking to the decks at a New York benefit party next month, along with Beastie Boy Mike D, B-52 Fred Schneider and Tim Sweeney of hot dance/rock remix/production team DFA. Rodriguez, however, is not scheduled to spin…

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Morrissey

MORRISSEY RETURNS... Rodriguez also told Billboard: “A few years ago, I never would have thought that a 24-year-old gay man could have a chance in the world of music. But the times have changed. Now, anything is possible.” Said like a naïve 24-year-old. Why, when Rodriguez was just a toddler, a 24-year-old Morrissey had a chance in the world of music, both as lead singer of The Smiths and later as a solo artist. It's been a long seven years since his last album, and longer still since his last hit, but he'll try again in May, with the release of You Are the Quarry (Attack/Sanctuary). He's expected to tour behind the album, which Billboard reports is being produced by Jerry Finn, who has worked with Green Day and Blink-182…

ALL THE THINGS SAID... Last year, The Smith's 1985 single “How Soon Is Now?” was reborn by the too-chipper-by-half t.A.T.u. A year later, any appeal it had is gone; in fact, all of t.A.T.u.'s 200 KM/H in the Wrong Lane (Interscope) has grown worse for wear, especially since the gimmick appears to have been nothing more than that, if British tabloids are to be believed. “We are very tired of each other and it's not fun playing lesbians any more,” the duo's Lena Katina told The Sun earlier this month, which also reported she plans to leave the group for a solo career this spring. Is this just yet another gimmick to garner more publicity? I guess we've been had, if so. Why stop now? The British Hello! tabloid reported this month that the t.A.T.u. twosome have said they will jointly run against their country's president, Vladimir Putin, when Russians vote this year. So are they tired of each other, or not? Aren't you tired of them?…

AMNESTY'S WORTHWHILE MUSICAL PUZZLE... Who is Revboy? That's the intriguing question provoked by Amnesty International's high-profile and high-caliber compilation Music for Human Rights (Asterisk Entertainment), on which an artist identified as Revboy appears alongside Coldplay, Radiohead, Aimee Mann, Beth Orton, and David Gray. It's a decidedly alt-pop collection, crowned by Badly Drawn Boy's soaring, orchestral-pop treasure “Bedside Story.” Revboy's “Lean on Me” closes out the collection and provides the second most compelling reason to buy it (supporting Amnesty is the first, of course, which is the only way you can lay claim to a copy by visiting www.musicforhumanrights.com). According to a press release, Revboy is a collective of artists dedicated to free speech and artistic expression who “for politically sensitive reasons” have chosen to remain anonymous. That's a curious explanation, but the lack of identity provides up to an hour of fun playing back the tune trying to guess who Revboy's lead singer is. Could it be The Church's Steve Kilbey? Oasis's Liam Gallagher? Midnight Oil's Peter Garrett? Could it even be Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose, as one critic suggested? And can we get another clue? Eventually yes, since Revboy is said to be contributing additional tracks to additional benefit compilations just like this one. But we may never know the answer…

RAW LIKE CHERRY… Remember Neneh Cherry, the sassy girl with the sexy “Buffalo Stance” circa 1989? Where is she now? Well, she's also featured on Amnesty's Music for Human Rights, dueting with Arrested Development's Speech, recording together as 1 Giant Leap. Last year, Cherry turned up singing on two infectious tracks of Groove Armada's under-appreciated rock ‘n' dance album, Lovebox (Jive). Now, she's reported to be working on a fourth solo album. In the meantime, I dare you to pull out her old albums, if you've still got ‘em. Sure they're riddled with dated sonics, but then as now, she's got it…

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