TEST DRIVE THE 2003 LeDION... By now you're already as familiar as you wanna be with the 2003 Chrysler LeDion, formerly known as Celine Dion. The singer has apparently sold her soul to Chrysler, whose logo and slogan, “Drive & Love,” is prominently displayed in the jewel case of her latest CD, One Heart (Epic Records). One song even sideswipes a competitor with the lyric, “The old Chevy's dead, they tried to fix it in vain.” So just how smooth of a ride is this 2003 LeDion? She breezes her way right through “I Drove All Night,” never once taking off the “uh-huh, yeah” cruise control to reveal the vulnerability of Cyndi Lauper's version and Roy Orbison's original. LeDion performs to expectation over the bumps and potholes of hip-hop-style beats on “Love Is All We Need,” but on several occasions the check engine light flashes as LeDion encounters an Alanis Morissette-sized rut of “uh-huh, yeah” irony. (No rain on your wedding day here of course, just something about pain instead of love). I could go on and on, near, far, wherever you are, but if you've never wanted a Chrysler before now, this LeDion isn't going to change your mind. It'll just cause you much ironical pain. Uh-huh, yeah.
HIGH ON SOMETHING...“What you see is real. I am really that high,” LeDion told Reuters. She was talking about the flying-to-the-rafters act of her new show in Las Vegas. She certainly wasn't being euphemistic, since there are no drugs and precious few other vices to speak of in her view of Vegas. She described the city as “full of churches and families,” a perfect spot for her fans to visit her. Uh-huh, yeah.
CHER-ING THE BOUNTY... Before we all see what Madonna's so-called American Life looks like on April 22, Cher has just shown us on NBC what her so-called farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye concert tour looks like. She's still touring a year into her Living Proof Farewell Tour, and she'll keep going through the remainder of 2003. Whereas LeDion has at least given the world new material to augment her Vegas show, the “Half-Breed” Cherilyn LaPierre only regales us with her golden oldies on The Very Best of Cher (Warner Bros.). Just four years ago Geffen Records played a trick on us, unloading its own compilation -- If I Could Turn Back Time: Cher's Greatest Hits -- capitalizing on her runaway success with Believe. Cher, who was in charge of putting together this latest compilation, clearly knows her target audience better than David Geffen: In addition to all her staple songs, she's included Rodney Jerkins's main mix of “A Different Kind of Love Song” (not a good remix, but a dance remix nonetheless) and Junior Vasquez's high-caliber edit of her “One by One,” which was a hit nowhere else but danceland (it didn't even break Billboard's Top 100 Pop Chart). Actually, Geffen didn't get much of anything right with Cher, and the fact that she had nothing to do with Turn Back Time makes me feel like a dupe for having bought it. Avoid my mistake if you too want a collection of Cher hits, as well as an insightful if flowery recap of her career from MTV News veteran Kurt Loder. Warner Bros. has your number.
ELECTRO ‘EMERGE'NCY… The New York duo known as Fischerspooner has been entertaining underground electro-heads with its core songs for a couple years now, waiting for the revival of ‘80s synth-pop to catch on in dance circles. Now that it has, the group couldn't have affected a more bored pose with the release of its full-length debut, #1 (Capitol Records). Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner, who met in art school in Chicago, helped nurture the electro genre in Manhattan through over-the-top stage and DJ performances, so great things are to be expected of their first D.C. performance this Sunday at the 9:30 Club. Of course Village Voice declared last year the duo “sucks,” with amateurish costumes and dance routines like a “high school cheerleading squad's interpretation of a Janet Jackson video,” so maybe great things shouldn't be expected. But whatever you do, don't bother with the duo's #1, which sounds as tired and bitter as LeDion sounds sappy and earnest. No wonder the album flopped unexpectedly last year when it was released in the electro-mad U.K. Only “Emerge” emerges as a hit. Well, “Invisible” comes close, and the hidden “Megacolon” demands attention for its naughty, naughty lyrics. (A sample: “We met each other in the ladies room/She said: ‘Holy shit,' I said: ‘Yes that is it'/Now Megacolon is a big, big hit.”) “Emerge” offers an effective musical definition of its title, growing gradually from singular computer blips to full-force human emoting, from jangly chords to full-on trance ecstasy. If only this truly No. 1-worthy song symbolized Fischerspooner's album. Instead it's symbolized more by the nonsense and noise of “*#!@¥ç.” That's “Fucker” in wingdings.