Kylie Minogue’s less-successful but ever-so-persistent sister Dannii releases “Neon Nights” in hopes of capitalizing on Kylie’s skyrocketing fan base. Mind you, Dannii was a singer back in the days, but never arrived at Kylie status.

“Neon Nights” is frank dance with unashamed flamboyance. There are already three hits on this album. The absolutely fabulous “Put The Needles On It” and the funky club tune “I Begin To Wonder.” Plus the techno romp “Who Do You Love Now?” with Riva.

“Push” sounds alertingly similar to Monifah’s “Touch It”

The album is very promising with songs like “Creep” and “For The Record” and it never settles for less then stompers, check out “Hey! (So What).”

To fully appreciate this album try to avoid Kylie comparisons – as Kylie is the goddess of dance. But Dannii definitely has something to offer on this album.

Since popular culture is adamant on “keeping it real” and hardcore, whatever that is, “Neon Nights” might have a hard time breaking it stateside. But, whoever said unapologetic glossy dance can’t have true emotion. While the media tries to define what is real by awarding and giving props to the likes of the utterly-bland Nora Jones, pick up “Neon Nights” and be prepared to dance for inspiration.

Celine Dion

“One Heart”

Let’s get one thing straight, Celine Dion is not an artist – she is a singer. The only thing she offers is a voice that is, without a doubt, spectacular. A good example is this release titled “One Heart.”

Her sales have gone down lately, not coming close to recapturing the glory of “Let’s Talk About Love.” Yet, she managed to release a greatest hits album, go on a hiatus to live a “normal” life, whatever that is and give birth. But these very short years of normality created a monster out of Dion whose latest release feels like a magazine with way too many ads and not enough substantial content.

“One Heart” brings us a Celine that has developed from wailing chanteuse to full-fledged commodity. The CD contains a sample of her new perfume – J.Lo anyone? – and a Chrysler car logo with the words “Drive & Love” under it, which explains why she revamped Cyndi Lauper’s older more haunting “I Drove All Night” into a club anthem. Her voice carries it, but it is too Wal-Mart ready.

Furthermore, this album comes out in time for her million-dollar Las Vegas spectacle shows. Pulling three promo plugs in one.

“One Heart” is what you expect from Celine Dion fans, middle-of the-road ballads that will put smiles on suburban 30-somethings and the occasional upbeat optimistic number like the title song. One element that is not present is the heartbreak anthems.

This release, however, is more faux-rock oriented and meanders into Shania Twain territory minus the pizzazz and the twang, like in “Naked” and “Je T’Aime Encore.”

This album is no “Falling Into You” but comes close to “A New Day Has Come”

But other than for a few well-produced tunes, “One Heart” contains Britney-rejects from Max Martin and MOR ballads. She might be a diva, but she’s no Mariah.

Everything But The Girl

“Like the Deserts Miss

the Rain”

This is a greatest hits compilation from Britain’s chill out band, who only received world-renowned success with their one big hit “Missing.” But other than the band’s fast metamorphosis from straight-forward songs to dance gurus, there is little to be appreciated. In fact, their most striking work is only delicious after being reconstructed by a mastermind remixer or is a collaboration.

“Missing” becomes a hit only after Todd Terry recreates it into a dancefloor-wise tune and the Photek remix does “Single” wonders.

The other songs lag and you’ll find yourself skipping a lot until you get to the half-hit “Walking Wounded.”

“Protection” is the strongest number on the collection, but then again it was for trip-hop gods Massive Attack with the Everything But The Girl’s lead merely guesting.

Al-Qatami can be reached at nalqatami@campustimes.org



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