Soundwaves

Pussycat Dolls, Jennifer Hudson, Jem, Missy Elliott, Ciara, Chemical Brothers

by Doug Rule
Published on July 3, 2008, 12:00am | Comments

THE CATS' NEW MEOW... Now that summer is really, truly here, you're mind is probably dreaming about the beach and barbecue -- not to mention what's in store for the fall. The fall? Well, at least the music industry is. In the past couple weeks, the publicity wheels have been churning, announcing early details about many of the star attractions, most to come right after Labor Day. Like the Pussycat Dolls. As it were.

Yes, the Dolls are coming back to make you wish your girlfriend were a dominatrix like them. Doll Domination drops Sept. 16, or three years after their mega-selling and surprisingly satisfying debut PCD. Of course, they reteamed with Timbaland, along with Cee-Lo and old-pro Rodney ''Darkchild'' Jerkins, who produced edgy first single ''When I Grow Up.'' It will be interesting to see if chart lightning strikes twice for the group -- it didn't for lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, whose solo album went nowhere, and multiple tries for a hit single failed, too -- even on the dance charts....

YOU'RE GONNA LOVE HER... Gay Pride in New York last weekend was much ado about Jennifer Hudson, who was the surprise performer at Sunday's Pier Dance, working the crowd into a frenzy recreating her Oscar-winning showstopper from Dreamgirls, ''And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going.'' She opened with ''All Dressed Up In Love,'' her absolute gem of a song from Sex and The City. She also performed her new single ''Spotlight,'' and then Junior Vasquez debuted two of his own remixes of the song back to back at the official Pier Dance After-Party. As a certain judge would say on the show that first brought Hudson to our attention, American Idol, the new song is just ''aiight'' -- and it's not inspiring us as much as we had hoped it would in her self-titled debut album, due in September. Also concerning: The fact that she's not reaching as far left field as it was originally announced she would, working with some of the most ubiquitous names in hip-hop. Nearly a year ago, for example, she was said to be collaborating with Salaam Remi, the man behind many an Amy Winehouse marvel. She also told Billboard then that she was staying away from hip-hop. That doesn't seem to be true anymore. Ne-Yo and Stargate co-produced ''Spotlight,'' and Billboard reports now that others, including Christopher ''Tricky'' Stewart (Rihanna's ''Umbrella'') and, yes, again, the most ubiquitous of all, Timbaland. She also got help from shlocky balladmakers Diane Warren and Robin Thicke. ''I think people will be pleasantly surprised, because it shows a side of my work that no one has heard before,'' Hudson told Billboard....

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Sex and the City: Soundtrack

Jem: It's Amazing

JEM FINALLY WAKES TO NEW GEMS... ''It's Amazing'' was another standout from the Sex and the City movie and soundtrack, a gem from Jem, a name that may not be familiar to you, regrettably. The Welsh singer wrote ''Nothing Fails'' for Madonna years ago, and her signature sound is very much in that vein: moody, minor key music with electronic flourishes, and lyrics offering realistic but resolute expressions of hope. Her debut Finally Woken was one of 2004's best pop albums. If first single ''It's Amazing'' is any indication, the new set, Down to Earth, due in September, traverses the exact same path. Billboard reports she's worked with producers of hits for Kylie Minogue and Lily Allen. Sounds promising....

GET UR FREAK ON... Missy Elliott is also expected to release her latest studio set Block Party in September, with production help from the same old crew, from Timbaland to Timbaland protégé Nate ''Danjahandz'' Hills to Pharrell Williams. ''There are a lot of dance joints on there. It's one of those albums you can play out in the streets,'' Elliott told Billboard, adding that the album is probably more musical and melodic than her previous sets, with Elliott singing at several turns, including on lackluster first single ''Best Best''....

CIARA'S DANCE KINGDOM... Ciara is also set to release her third studio set Fantasy Ride in September, especially noteworthy because it'll be three discs of five to six songs each. According to Billboard, one represents ''sensual songs,'' another uptempo hip-hop in original Ciara style (think her 2004 hit ''Goodies''), and most exciting of all, a disc called ''Kingdom of Dance'' showcasing Ciara's ''house-leaning, freestyle-tinged cuts''....

CHEMICAL BEATS... Thirteen years together, the British dance duo the Chemical Brothers just get better and better as they go. But before they go any further, they'll release a Best-of Collection in September. Brotherhood collects 13 of the duo's greatest hits, from ''Block Rockin' Beats'' to ''Star Guitar'' to ''Do It Again,'' and also includes a new track ''Keep My Composure,'' featuring Baltimore-bred rap group Spank Rock. A second disc in the set will feature ''Electronic Battle Weapons 1-10,'' or the testing grounds and foundations for many of the Brothers' hits and never before widely available. ''Electronic Battle Weapon 10'' provided the groundwork for new single ''Midnight Madness,'' set for release next month....

From YouTube: Ciara, ''Oh (South Beach Mix)''
From YouTube: Ciara, ''Oh (South Beach Mix)''

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