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Summer Groove of the Day/Alice Deejay/”Better Off Alone”

Since we’ve said it all week, we’ll just say it again–there really is nothing like a straight-up-like-Paula classic summer groove. However… when it comes in Forgot About Friday music form, that’s a whole new sun-kissed shimmer. Perhaps maybe one of the most forgotten about summer ditties is the 2000 track, “Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay. While it’s a very simple song with its standard dance beat, punchy synths and minimal lyrics, “Do you think you’re better off alone?” and “Talk to me.” (Genius.), the groovy Deejay groove simply werked it all over summer radio. On a personal music note, I take no shame in saying that I own the accompanying album, Who Needs Guitars Anyway? because to get that one song back then, you had to buy the album, right? 

While we’ll never know just what happened to the computer, errr, Alice Deejay–we would be here all day–we were left with a delicious piece of cotton music candy that will forever be in our summer music vault.  

 

 

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Mixtape Summer Music Vault/Rihanna Made Her Radio Debut 10 Years Ago

Oh, the summer music market. What a tricky, tricky place it can be to launch a flourishing music career. For some artists like Katy Perry and Meghan Trainor, who both launched their careers with their respective summer smashes, “I Kissed a Girl” and “All About That Bass,” it can lead to a bountiful buffet of success. For other sun-kissed acts like the Baja Men (“Who Let The Dogs Out”), Jennifer Paige (“Crush) and “Call Me Maybe” diva Carly Rae who really, really hasn’t found a second hit yet, it can lead to with a one-way ticket to Forgot About Friday land. When our beloved Rihanna kick started her career 10 years ago, with “Pon de Replay,” there were many people (myself included) who indeed pegged her off as a one-hit summer diva. However, as proven in the 10 years that Rihanna has played the charts and beyond, she certainly didn’t go anywhere. Today, Mixtape will be cracking open the summer music vault and pressing play on RiRi‘s “Pon de Replay” because even though her persona today is miles away from the sneaker-wearing 17-year- old in the classic banger’s accompanying video. it was this single that started……….it all. 

Before signing with current label Def Jam Recordings, Rihanna was discovered in her home country of Barbados by American record producer Evan Rogers, who then flew RiRi to New York to musically play with the big boys. It was then that she recorded a collection of demos to be sent out to different record labels. One of the romps recorded was “Pon de Replay,” which caught Mr. Jay-Z‘s attention, who, at the time, had recently been appointed as head-baller-in-charge of Def Jam Recordings, where Rihanna auditioned for him and music executive L.A. Reid. Looking back at her audition, Rihanna explained during an interview how she felt before walking into the room, saying: “That’s when I really got nervous … I was like: “Oh God, he’s right there, I can’t look, I can’t look, I can’t look!’ I remember being extremely quiet. I was very shy. I was cold the entire time. I had butterflies. I’m sitting across from Jay-Z. Like, Jay-Zee. I was star-struck.” How many of you just read that in her accent?

When “Pon de Replay” was released as a single this week 10 years ago, it first ran through the speakers of urban radio, then steamrolled its way over to mainstream stations. Once it had taken over all the summer radio airwaves, Rihanna’s debut went on to to dance its all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song would’ve taken the pole position, had it not been for Ms. Mariah‘s comeback single, “We Belong Together,” which at the time was sitting comfortably in the middle of its monumental fourteen week run. But, the fact that it didn’t hit the top didn’t matter because RiRi’s track became an instant classic that would lead her down to her later, riskier music road, transforming her into that Good Girl Gone Bad, as well as that bitch that we love to hate–and hate to love today. 

 

 

 

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10 Classic Tracks from the ‘Batman Forever’ Soundtrack

If there’s a comic book franchise that has simply taken all of us to the very depths of all things pop culture madness, it most certainly is the Batman franchise. As we’ve seen through the years, the world of Batman has been a roller coaster ride of ups, downs, highs, lows and Bat-nipples and cod pieces. Before Christopher Nolan magically revived the series nearly a decade (!) ago with Batman Begins, the franchise had seemingly drifted miles away from its original counterpart, 1989’s wonderful Tim Burton spun telling, simply titled, Batman. Mr.Burton followed in ’92 with Batman Returns, which was bashed by critics (on a personal note-“meow” all day. ), and met with a box office take that didn’t match its predecessor, which led to Burton leaving the director’s chair. (Sigh) After that, the franchise had been picked up by Joel Schumacher who ruined…errr…turned the franchise into a straight-off-the-pages live action comic book with both 95’s Batman Forever and ’97’s Batman & Robin, which were mercifully laced with cheesy dialogue, “wtf” plotlines  and…..Arnold. 

But, it’s not all shade when it comes to the hostile candy-coated Schumacher takeover. His casting of Ms. Uma as Poison Ivy in B&R was to die for (sorry, Alicia), and Batman Forever wasn’t that bad. (Except for Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian…we’re not buying any of those three titles.) While, yes, the film had plenty of overacting, thanks to Jim Carrey as The Riddler (riddle me yas.) and Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey/Two Face Dent. (That makeup…so even.) And of course, there was the brooding Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader who did all he could do with the dialogue he was given. Then there was Chris O’Donnell as Robin

However, the best part of  Batman Forever was that it was accompanied by a soundtrack that was–and still is–all wrapped up in music bliss. There wasn’t a music kid out there who didn’t own this CD and live their life to its Bruce Wayne inspired fullest. When the soundtrack was released 20 years ago, it spread its bat wings straight to the top 5 of the Billboard album chart, shooting out singles, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” by U2, “Shake It Up” by The Offspring, and the soaring “Kiss From a Rose” from Seal, which just gobbled up countless Grammy Awards as well as taking over our lives for all of music eternity.

Besides the fiery single releases, the Batman Forever soundtrack also boasts some classically influential ’90s indie  artists–Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, The Flaming Lips, Eddi Reader, Tracey Thorn, Massive Attack–as well as “Where Are You Now,” a track delivered by R&B songstress Brandy who was in between records and starring in Moesha at the time. Even dearly departed INXS front man, Michael Hutchence, pops up on the wistful,”The Passenger.”

While we don’t necessarily need to relive the actual movie, the music within certainly speaks for itself. Not since the original Prince-led ’89 Batman soundtrack has another musical offering from the Batman series gave us something to spread our music wings about. When it comes to any one of these Batman Forever tracks that Philly Mixtape has pulled out of the music Bat Cave for everyone, there certainly aren’t any riddles…..

Seal/”Kiss From a Rose”

U2/”Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”

Brandy/”Where Are You Now”

PJ Harvey/”One Time Too Many”

Eddi Reader/”Nobody Lives Without Love”

Massive Attack/Tracey Thorn/”Hunter Gets Captured by the Game”

The Offspring/”Smash It Up”

Michael Hutchence/”The Passenger”

The Flaming Lips/”Bad Days”

Nick Cave/”There is a Light”