Boy George, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Cyndi Lauper, Morel, David Guetta
by Doug Rule
June 25, 2008
TUMBLE FOR YA… Boy George‘s stop at the 9:30 Club next month is now in jeopardy because the 47-year-old allegedly assaulted and imprisoned a 28-year-old Norwegian escort in his apartment. Actually, U.S. authorities have denied him a visa because of a November court date in London to defend against such charges — not because of the charges directly. It’s the second run-in with authorities in as many years for the former Culture Club singer and more recently DJ. (He’s even an adult-film composer — check out Michael Lucas‘ Manhattan Heat; remember, you’re watching it for the music, composed under George’s pseudonym Twin.) Last summer, George spent a week of community service cleaning the streets of Manhattan as punishment for falsely reporting a break-in at his New York home. Unless he can persuade the authorities that his show really should go on, his entire 24-date North American trek will be cancelled….
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANET?… ”Feedback” became a club staple, and reached the peak of Billboard‘s Club Play Chart — it also even dented the pop Top 40. But why haven’t we heard anything from Janet Jackson lately? Well, America seems to have given up on the artist since her Super Bowl fiasco four years ago. And now, so has her label. ”We started off with ‘Feedback’ and the label and myself haven’t quite seen eye to eye since the ‘Feedback’ single, so they’ve kind of basically stopped all promotion,” Jackson told the blog SOHH.com. An Island Def Jam spokesperson confirmed her claim in a statement released to Billboard. ”Unfortunately we haven’t experienced the results we would have liked with this new album. But we respect and support Janet.” So don’t expect to hear anything more from Discipline, not even in promotional prep for her fall Rock Witchu Tour, stopping at Verizon Center Oct. 15. The tour was named after Discipline‘s second single, which only charted on the Club Play Chart, only reaching No. 20. A third single, ”LUV,” peaked at No. 34 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Chart….
HOW DID PAULA DO IT?… As Janet falters, other dance divas are recording chart feats. Janet’s one-time choreographer Paula Abdul just registered her second-biggest dance hit, the Randy Jackson-penned featherweight, ”Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.” It sounds like a cruel American Idol hoax, but it’s no joke: Though mercifully the new single wasn’t able to actually top Billboard‘s Club Play Chart, it did reach No. 2 — besting her signature ”Straight Up,” which only hit No. 3. She’s only had one No. 1 — 1995’s ”My Love is for Real.” Don’t be surprised if you barely remember it; chances are, you’ll barely remember ”Dance” 13 years from now. If you’re lucky, you’ll forget about in 13 days….
INTO THE NIGHTLIFE SHE BOPS… Until this month, Cyndi Lauper had only had one No. 1 dance hit on Billboard — her very first single, ”Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” But now, with a little help from our own Rich Morel, she’s got two. ”Same Ol’ Story” took the crown last week. Hopefully she won’t have to wait 24 years for her next chart-topper. Could new single ”Into the Nightlife” make it two in a row? The video should help. Shot at New York’s Splash bar and directed by Lauper herself, this throbbing, fast-paced production is pretty amusing — watch as Lauper gestures with her hands, acting out her distorted and echoing vocals….
SUMMER’S CONTINUED SUCCESS… This week, Donna Summer bumps Lauper from the top spot with her second Club Play Chart-topper to come from Crayons, Summer’s first album of new material in 17 years. ”Stamp Your Feet” follows ”I’m A Fire” — both give Summer bragging rights as the first artist to have a No. 1 dance hit in each of the past four decades. Madonna can only claim three decades, even if her total of 38 No. 1s is nearly double Summer’s 20….
LOVE IS (FAR FROM) GONE… And now, for news on a little different tip — a male dance vocalist. Yes, they do exist, and in fact seem to be singing in greater numbers these days. You’ve probably heard Chris Willis already. He’s been recording with leading French DJ/producer David Guetta for several years, though as is despicably too common in dance music, he hasn’t always gotten prominent billing as Guetta’s main vocalist. ”Just A Little More Love” and ”Love Don’t Let Me Go” are two of his best-known collaborations with Guetta. The latest is ”Love Is Gone,” which is actually getting play on American pop radio stations, including DC’s own Hot 99.5 — almost unheard of for a dyed-in-the-wool dance hit.
In recent years, the Atlanta-based singer has been on backup duty for various artists, from American Idols Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia Barrino to Dolly Parton. But his intentions all along were to become an R&B-styled gospel singer — that is until he hooked up with Guetta. Now, he’s said in press interviews he’s a new convert to the dance genre, which in any case is definitely more hospitable to an openly gay artist. Here’s to hearing more from this emotive vocalist, featured on five tracks on Guetta’s latest album Pop Life, including what will hopefully be a future single, the intensely felt ”Everytime We Touch.” As Willis sings, ”Heaven and earth collide, everything feels so right”….
From YouTube: Chris Willis, ”Love Don’t Let Me Go”
From YouTube: Paula Abdul, ”Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow”
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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.
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