GayCalgary® Magazine [copy]

Music Review

GayDays, Cyndi Lauper, George Michaels, and Mariah Carey

Music Review by Rob Diaz-Marino (From GayCalgary® Magazine, July 2008, page 46)
“Party Groove: Gay Days Vol. 5” by DJ Randy Bettis

For the fifth consecutive year, Centaur Music has produced the Official CD for the internationally acclaimed week of celebration known as Gay Days – a gay and lesbian vacation experience comprised of multiple events in and around Orlando’s greatest theme parks, nightclubs and attractions. This album is the perfect fun-filled, feel good summer mix.

“Ready to Go” is a very promising start – unfortunately it’s too darn short! Other tracks include remixes of familiar songs such as Paula Abdul and Rand Jackson’s “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow”, and Ari Gold’s newest single “Where the Music Takes You”. Also present are remakes of classic radio hits like “Bleeding Love”, “Hot Stuff”, “Ride on Time”, “Could you be Loved” and “Broken Wings”, as well as the infectious new hit “Live Your Life”.

This high-energy continuous mix is a must-have from the centaur collection, so pick it up at Priape or purchase it online at

“Bring Ya To The Brink” by Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper burst onto the world stage as the quintessential girl who wants to have fun. After more than 20 sterling years and global record sales in excess of 25 million, she has proven that she has the heart and soul to keep her legion of fans compelled by her every creative move.

“This is an album that can be experienced in two completely different ways…a dance album on that you can move to and enjoy on a surface level. But if you want more than that, there’s a lot to discover inside the lyrics. There are times when these songs get pretty deep.”

Virtually every piece is a collaboration with a different artist, composer, or producer, and subsequently each track conveys a different style and atmosphere. The album starts off with her more modern style songs, “High and Mighty” and my personal favorite “Into the Nightlife”. I also really liked the chorus of “Echo”, however the rest of the song wasn’t quite as appealing. “Rocking Chair” was just plain weird.

“Set Your Heart” sounds like something right out of a 1970s disco, complete with strings and trumpets. Likewise, “Grab a Hold” and “Rain on Me” sound like something out of the 1980s. You might find them a bit cheesy if you’re not into retro, but nonetheless I found them pretty catchy.

“Twenty-Five” by George Michael

This retrospective album provides a compilation of George Michael’s greatest hits, and was launched in conjunction with 25 Live, his first North American tour in 17 years. The album is divided into two discs: one for living, and one for loving.

His disc for living contains his upbeat tracks, including classics like “Wake Me Up”, “Faith”, “Freedom!” and “Outside”. Some hit songs remind us of the high-points in his career, while others poke fun at the low-points. On the flip side, his disc for loving contains his more tender and romantic numbers such as “Careless Whisper”, “Father Figure”, “Praying for Time”, and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.

For me it was an education in itself, hearing so many familiar songs that I didn’t realize were attributed to George Michael. Even more interesting was the opportunity to listen to lyrics written prior to Mr. Michael’s step out of the closet, and hear everything from subtle hints to the blatantly obvious. I’m shocked and impressed at his bravery and honesty, writing songs that talk openly about his then-identity as bisexual. These were the songs I didn’t hear when I was growing up, probably for that very reason.

You can’t help but feel a deep respect for George Michael, an amazing songwriter, vocalist, and person, as you look back on these classics.

“E=MC2” by Mariah Carey

Now I’m going to say that I am not exactly a fan of the R&B genre, so my review of this CD will be skewed. The characteristic sluggish tempos, laid-back styling, melancholy moods and occasional rap interludes are my main peeves, but I’ve still managed to find a few favorites among the other songs I have no desire to listen to again.

The album starts off with “Migrate”, a very odd track that immediately got on my nerves, but soon evolved into something I found quite fascinating. Carey lays down a screechy counterpoint with her own voice, which gets distorted, chopped up and played throughout the rest of the piece as she continues to sing the lead. The clicks, synths and voices that join later give the song a mesmerizing complexity, and in the end I had to give it points for that.

Otherwise I particularly enjoyed the more upbeat “I’m that Chick”, and the catchy “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time”. I believe “For the Record” appealed to me above the other numbers because of the warmth from the strings and wobbling synth. “Love Story” and “Bye Bye” were more sentimental songs and won my heart over a little, even if I may not hang onto them as favorites.

So in my opinion this latest Mariah album is a little dull, but if you’re a fan of the artist or the genre, then who am I to discourage you?


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