You’re about to be guided though a strand in the time-line of pop music that I’ve been pondering lately. Lets begin here:
Robin S.; Show Me Love
This was a #5 hit, and a #1 dance hit in the U.S. in 1993. Is it just me, or is she a little flat on some of those notes? That’s a whole other topic. The point here is that there was another top 10 hit in the U.S. 4 years later, also called Show Me Love and also by someone called Robyn (different spelling but…). This one was #7 on the U.S. charts in 1997:
Robyn; Show Me Love
Can anyone fill me in on how this happened? Did the Swedish pop singer Robyn know that the Queens, NY-based house diva of virtually the same name had a hit by the exact same name only 4 years earlier?
Moving on: According to an article in Wired magazine comparing Robyn and Britney:
Imagine, if you will, a parallel universe where a pretty blonde pop star can actually carry a tune, writes her own songs, and frets over artistic integrity. In this universe, when her record company demands more hits, she tells them to shove it and starts her own label. There’s no making out with Madonna, no messy divorce, no custody battle, no 5150. Instead there’s bankable talent and a credible, long-arc career. In other words, it’s the anti-Britney Spears. Meet Robyn, the 28-year-old Swedish singer whose latest U.S. release drops in April. In the mid-’90s, both were courted by the same big label to be molded into the Next Big Thing: Robyn said no. Britney said yes. It was the first choice of many… that would lead one to hipster stardom and the other to madness.
Fast forward to 2007:
Robyn; Konichiwa Bitches
Hmm! Notice in the beginning when she’s trying to tell the monkey what beat he should play, she goes “uh uh … ih … uh uh … ih”? Kinda reminds me of this one from ’03:
That’s really just a reggaeton riddim innit? Perhaps the one Robyn was beatboxing in her video is more of a classic dancehall beat but Konichiwa Bitches reminds me of M.I.A.’s work in general.
The Galang video in turn reminds me of another classic (#3 on the U.S. charts in 1988):
Neneh Cherry; Buffalo Stance
Since M.I.A. hit the scene it seems to me that more than a few “blond pop stars” have become rappers:
Gwen Stefani; Hollaback Girl
Fergie; London Bridge
Britney Spears; Freakshow
Yeah, I would say that track is pretty hot. Not sayin’ Britney’s hot, just the track. It’s produced by Bloodshy & Avant who also produced Britney’s bollywood-inspired hit single, Toxic a few years ago:
Britney Spears: Toxic
I can’t end this piece without mentioning that the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, has now entered the fold. She’s not exactly rapping but the producer of this track, Timbaland kind of is:
Madonna; 4 Minutes
Both the track and the video kind of blow (what is this, a move soundtrack or something?!). I realize it’s excruciating to watch, but the best part’s actually at the very end when Timbaland’s beats get stripped down to their classic rawness (Oh Timba, what happened! heyy!)
Lets end this on a positive note, going back to the old-school, or at least the golden-age, before M.I.A., before Robin S., even before Neneh Cherry, to a time when rappers rarely had blond hair unless it was bleached — 1986:
Salt-N-Peppa; Push It