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Mixtape Music Vault/Britney Spears’ ‘Oops…I Did It Again” Turns 15

There’s a certain kind of feeling one gets once those Max Martin enhanced keyboards tramp on in the opening of “Oops…I Did It Again,’ Britney Spears’ blockbuster single from her album of the same name, which is now..15. Yes, that feeling is musically quite orgasmic, especially once Britney’s purrs, “I think I did it again,” you prepare yourself for not only the “Awwe, you shouldn’t have” dialogue middle breakdown, but you get ready to relive that sweet early-’00s pop music lovin.’ Oh, that TRL life–we lived it, breathed it, worshipped it–and when it came to Britney’s monumental second album….we most certainly did it again. On that ‘Oops’ moment, it’s time to squeeze into our red leather catsuits (mine still fits, does yours?)open the Mixtape Music Vault, and relive the pop treasure that is Britney Spears’ sophomore set, ‘Oops…I Did It Again.’ 

Given the phenomenal success her ’99 debut,’…Baby One More Time,’ it really came as no surprise to anyone that its “sequel” would deliver blockbuster music proportions. After all, Brit Brit gave it away with the ingenious title of her second album, essentially admitting that the record was more of the same of her debut. With its mixture of sweetly sentimental ballads (Hey, ‘Dear Diary”) and endearingly gaudy dance-pop that made ‘One More Time,’ in the ‘Oops’ go-around, she and her production team delivered a batch of tunes that contained a, um, stronger sense of Britney domination…

The one thing that made the ‘Oops’ era so iconic wasn’t only its cheeky music, but for all of those delicious pop culture moments that were seemingly delivered with her second set. For starters, how can we ever forget that 2000 VMA “Satisfaction”/”Oops” striptease, which had our girl stripping away from a sexy tux and into an even sexier nude body suit. Oh yes, that’s right, we can’t. Of course, THAT catsuit and ‘Oops’ choreography is all things legendary Ms. Britney Spears. There was also her infamous chair dance in the clip for “Stronger,” which was dripping with all things Janet Jackson influence. And we just can’t forget the video for second single, “Lucky,” which truly foreshadowed all those troubled times Britney faced in the later years of her career. And anyone remember THAT whole Fred Durst/Britney thing? Sadly, that’s the one thing we’d like to forget about the ‘Oops’ era…and also THAT Britney/Justin denim contraption, too…

Like all of Britney’s albums, she enlisted a top-notch roster of collaborators which included Max Martin (who executive produced the record, naturally.), as well as Diane Warren (“When Your Eyes Say It”), and former country music power couple Shania Twain and Mutt Lange, who produced and recorded vocals for Britney’s I’m-almost-a-slave-4-u twangy groove, “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know.” Even Britney herself (yay!)contributed on album closer, “Dear Diary,” which is certainly 10 times the track that “Soda Pop” will ever be…

There’s a reason that ‘Oops’ sold a whopping 1.3 million copies it first week out-its pure pop brilliance. The record isn’t too sexual, not too, err, crazy, and it was certainly enough to keep Britney on the pop radar for not only the early-’00s and beyond, but it was ‘Oops’ that transformed Britney into the icon she is today. No matter what you think about the pop diva these days, looking at what a phenomenon this album was –and still is–we all worshipped the ‘Oops’ music ground that Britney walked on…and loved every pop sugar-coated second of it. 

 

 

 

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Mixtape Music Vault/Mariah Carey’s ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’ Turns 10

“It’s a special occasion/Mimi’s emancipation…” chants MC on, “It’s Like That,” the Fatman Scoop-ed up lead single from her triumphant comeback album, ‘The Emancipation of Mimi,’ which is now a decade old. While “It’s Like That” wasn’t Mariah’s biggest lead single, it was just the song she needed, as it became her highest charting cut in five years, as well as making room for “We Belong Together,” a monster ballad that not only became one of her biggest hits…ever, but it also marked Mariah Carey’s triumphant return to ‘Mariah’ form. The Jermaine Dupri produced ballad came at a time when the chanteuse needed it most, after much of her career in the early ’00s was disrupted with record label drama squabbles and recovery period from her highly publicized breakdown. When ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’ was released on April 12th, 2005, it took over the charts and truly brought back a talent that rightfully deserved another swan song. Today, Philly Mixtape is going open up the music vault once again and get lost in all things ‘Mimi,’ and no matter what you may think of Ms. Mariah these days, this record truly deserves recognition for the memorable music comeback story that came out of it. 

When ‘Mimi’ hit headphones, (by the way, ‘Mimi’ is Mariah’s alter-ego. we certainly get it by now.), the singer delivered a set that was lavishly laced up with bedroom grooves, vixen vocal stylings and plenty of newfound confidence that glides almost effortlessly on the sultry record. While ‘Mimi’  certainly doesn’t have the vocal prowess that her earlier work delivered, the diva’s voice fit to every track, whether it was on the bouncing, “Get Your Number,” the funky, “Stay The Night,” or the heavenly, ‘Fly Like a Bird’ or ‘Circles.’ Each track was not only Mariah putting in her, um, all, but it also showed just how much she truly made it through the rain when it came to bringing back her music confidence. Most reviews said that ‘Mimi’ was a fresh return to form for the singer, New York reviewer Jon Parales said, “…she disciplines herself into coherence, using fewer tricks and sounding more believable. She also finds what lesser singers can take for granted:a certain lightness that eases her constant sense of control.” You listening, Ms. Ariana….

As she did with most of her later sets, Mariah enlisted a top-notch team of music producers to help craft the perfect blend of mid-tempo pop tunes with just the right seasoning of big, bold Mariah balladry. Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes pop up on the swinging, “Say Something’,” along with Snoop Dogg spitting out a fun verse. Kanye West even lent his production skills to the ’70s after hours groove inspired, “Stay The Night,” but, if there’s one producer who had his biggest music hand in shaping up Mariah’s comeback set, it was Mr. Jermaine Dupri. Ms. Janet’s ex not only put together the perfect blend of beats for Ms. Mariah, but he also produced most of the hit singles for ‘Mimi,’ including,”It’s Like That,” “Shake it Off,” the wild, “Get Your Number,” and of course, “We Belong Together.”

When “We Belong Together’ was released, the bold ballad took over all things radio with its light R&B flow, heart wrenching lyrics and Mariah’s strong vocals which soared to perfection, especially in THAT ending breakdown. The accompanying video also gained loads of ‘Mimi’ buzz, featuring Mariah choosing between two men (Eric Roberts and a not-out-yet,Wentworth Miller) on her wedding day, eventually choosing Mr. ‘Prison Break.’ (I mean, who wouldn’t?). You may also remember that Ms. Diva wore the same wedding dress that she married Tommy Mottola in a decade earlier…and also…that fabulous tuniq she rocked….priceless.

The track went on to spend fourteen weeks in the top spot, also landing as the Billboard song of the year for 2005, and setting things up for the ‘Mimi’ re-release, the ‘Ultra Platinum’ edition which included the DJ Clue remix of “We Belong Together,” a killer Darkchild produced rewire of ‘Mimi’ cut “One and Only,” and the Dupri laced, “Don’t Forget About Us, ” which went on to give Mariah another #1 hit. 

Since its release ten years ago, Mimi has sold a whopping 12 million copies worldwide, and while the window shattering diva has released a handful sets following, none have come close to the prowess and material that ‘Mimi’ was constructed with. (Sorry, ‘E=Mc2′) As mentioned before, no matter what you think of Mariah now or then, it was this album that contained at least one song that you got down to, whether you were doing the Fatman to “It’s Like That,” mourning over a lost love through “We Belong Together” or just shakin’ it all off, dah-ling, Mariah’s ‘Mimi’ hit that music “G” spot and gave us a delightful music comeback story that rightfully deserves to be told a decade later…and then some.

 

 

 

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Mixtape Music Vault/Remembering Selena 20 Years After Death

Before I began writing this piece, I put on “Dreaming of You,” the title track from the dearly departed Selena’s first English language album that was released a few months after her tragic death. Even 20 years later, “Dreaming” still hits hard because it not only takes me to the sad end of the feature film, ‘Selena,’ starring Jennifer Lopez, but it also strikes a deep chord because it reminds me of just how tragic the unfortunate death of Selena was. For those of you who may not know, the Tejano music starlet was tragically gunned down by the president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, leaving the world in mourning and leaving behind an incredible music legacy. March 31st will mark the twentieth anniversary of the singer’s untimely death, and to commemorate, there will be a festival called, “Fiesta del Flor” (“party of the flower”), which will be held in the diva’s hometown of Corpus Christi on April 17th and April 18th. While the singer’s music fame was based mostly to Mexican culture, the rest of the country-and the world-certainly felt the impact of her death twenty years ago. So today, Philly Mixtape is going to open the Mixtape Music Vault and remember Selena for not only those who are familiar with the gone-too-soon star, but also for the ones who aren’t, so everyone can get lost in the amazing talents of this Tejano pop sensation.

Born on April 16th, 1971, Selena Quintanilla-Perez was the youngest member of the Quintanilla family. When she was just nine years old, she joined her elder siblings as part of the group, Selena y los Dinos, where they began performing at their family’s restaurant. From the time Selena was six years old, her father Abraham knew she had it, telling People magazine, “Her timing, her pitch were perfect, I could see it from day one.”

After about a year performing at the restaurant, recession effects from Texas oil bust of 1980 put the business under and Selena’s family were forced to close it and file bankruptcy, eventually getting evicted from their home. Abraham didn’t want to give up on the band, so he took them wherever they could get a gig, performing at weddings, quinceaneras, fairs and even street corners. During the first few years of the family performing, they could barely afford the necessities, but still the show went on and in 1984, Selena recorded her first LP record, ‘Selena y los Dinos,’ and soon she started to climb her way to the top.

During her music rise, Selena was highly criticized for singing Tejano music because it was a mostly male dominated genre, but she continued to make her mark. After the release of their first album, Selena y los Dinos appeared on the Johnny Canales show, where they would go on to perform for nearly three years. While on the popular program, Selena’s fame grew, and soon she was discovered by Rick Trevi, the founder of the Tejano Music Awards. After winning the Tejano Music Award for female vocalist in 1986 (she would go on to win nine consecutive times after that), she soon signed with Capital EMI Latin, releasing her self-titled album in 1989. The success of her debut set was then followed with ‘Ven Conmigo,’ which would go on to become the first recording by a female Tejano artist to achieve gold status by the RIAA. Following ‘Ven Conmigo,’, she would go on to release ‘Entre a Mi Mundo,’ which was deemed the breakthrough of her career, and also contains her signature hit, “Como La Flor.” (Those who have seen ‘Selena’ are certainly familiar with the standout track.) Many more hit singles and albums followed in the early ’90s, as Selena became THAT diva representing Tejano music.

However, sadly, just months before Selena had planned on making it big all over the world, her life was cut short when Saldivar shot and killer the singer, after Selena confronted her about her apparent embezzlement of $30, 000 dollars from the official Selena fan club. The afternoon of March 31st, Selena went to a Days Inn in Corpus Christie to confront Saldivar, but as we all soon learned, the outcome of the meeting took that horrific turn that no one will ever forget.

When news of Selena’s death spread, reactions all over were compared to the reactions from the sudden deaths of Elvis Presley and John Lennon. Major networks interrupted their regularly scheduled programming to break the news to tell everyone that the world had lost “The Mexican Madonna.” The story of Selena’s death also landed on the front page news on The New York Times several days in a row, as well as in a collector’s issue of People magazine. More than 60, 000 mourners traveled to her funeral, with some traveling more than thousands of miles to Selena’s house in Corpus Christie. Two days after her death, governor at the time, George W. Bush, declared that her birthday would now be known as Selena Day in Texas.

While many of us have seen the movie ‘Selena,’ a lot of us never got to know what the real Selena was like, besides from what we saw in the film. At the sad end of this music day, losing Selena on that fateful afternoon was a huge blow to the music industry because there was no one else like her…and there most certainly never will be. She was one-of-a-kind, and we can only imagine where she would be today, most likely sitting on top of an empire that her talent and charisma built. Sadly, we never got to see if Selena would’ve gotten the music crossover success she deserved, but as long as we have her incredible music catalog and her extraordinary legacy, Selena’s light will continue to shine on.

“Dreaming of You”

“I Could Fall In Love”

“Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”

“Como La Flor”

“La Carcacha”