Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Help (Film Review)

“The Help” is our generation’s “The Color Purple” but much, much lighter in terms of the subject matter. This film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel of the same name tells a tale of African-American housekeepers who work in white households in Jackson, Mississippi and a young white woman (The delightful Emma Stone as the smart and unconventional Skeeter Phelan, reminiscent of her “Easy A” character in a way) documents the maids’ stories and compiles them into a book called “The Help”.

Racial dramas are like those Nazi films, they keep coming out and it seems we just can’t get enough of them. Perhaps there are just so many stories to be told about these two ugly pieces of human history. 

Although it is not an easy feat to inject light-hearted comedy moments into a reality-based serious biracial drama, the director, Tate Taylor (A childhood friend of the novel’s author Kathryn Stockett , both Mississippians from Jackson) manages to keep a steady balance between tears and laughs. There is never a dull moment despite its lengthy 146-minute run.

The movie’s star-studded female cast (Allison Janney, Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and the marvelous Sissy Spacek) alone gives enough reason to see this movie.  As expected, the cast delivers one of the most notable ensemble performances in recent cinema history.  All characters are given enough screen time to shine and together, they create a stunning chemistry between these charismatic characters and their relationships, making the story even more believable if not relatable. One of the film’s leading actresses, the hilarious Ocatavia Spencer  as Minnie Jackson a.k.a  the take-no-nonsense black mama (Minnie don’t burn no chicken!) and Viola Davis, pitch perfect as usual, as Aibileen Clark, an experienced maid in raising white children, will soon hear the names read out at the nominations list of various awards.

Social injustice, a piece of civil rights history, long-suffering maids in the civil rights era, American family values in the 60s and a bunch of women in bouffant hair, “The Help” is by far one of the very few great movies I have seen this year. Two thumps-up from me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pia Toscano- This Time (Single Review)

Remember Pia Toscano??? One of the most shocking Idol eliminations ever in American Idol history. Like million others, I initially predicted that she would take the Idol crown but she was voted out from the competition way too early, causing a huge public outcry. Now she's back with her brand new single, "This Time". As much as I hate the idiotic lyrics ("And like a butterfly, I'mma spread my wings" Seriously, Pia???), I whole-heartedly welcome the arrival of a singer who's capable of jumping octaves and holding 15-second belts . Call me “old fashioned” but I believe that singers, first and foremost should be able to sing properly (even if they like putting on whatever weird costumes, backed by an army of sexy dancers and spectacular sets to attract attention.) Thankfully, that’s what Pia Toscano is: a young and attractive girl with a big voice who could crank out power ballads if necessary. To be honest, this Pop track is not going to set the music world on fire but it certainly gives us a sneak peek into her very first album from Interscope records that she’s been working on.  Bring us some power ballads, Pia! We need a break from the dance music that everyone’s been doing nowadays. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hello, Sailor! (White Party at Ku De Ta, 2011)

The finest weather in Bali arrives in the month of August along with the thousands of tourists who flock to this sunny little island from different parts of the world. Bali’s high tourist season (from early June to the end of September) reaches the peak when Ku De Ta throws its annual white party. For those of you who are not familiar with this name, Ku De Ta is one of the most celebrated F&B venues in the region. Every year, tons of people come to KTD’s theme parties and many of them fly in just for this reason. This year’s white party theme was “Hello, Sailor!”

I have been to parties at KDT before.  This year, I decided to go since a dear friend of mine organized the tickets and there was a good group of people going. Plus many of my other dearest friends were here in Bali and they were all up for it. So I thought “Why not?”  When we arrived at the spot, we were greeted by the scantily clad sailor girls and boys in their white and blue uniforms. The place was decorated with the nautical theme complete with a submarine in the centre.  It was appropriate but not over-the-top, just enough to get people in the navy mood. Compared to the space-themed one I went to a few years ago, this was a lot less elaborate. Nevertheless, it was quite a welcome.

The first thing we did, once we got seated, we ordered a bottle of sparkling wine and had a toast. (We had to!) Soon afterwards, the 22-piece big band started playing. An elegant overture followed by the lead singer’s “I’ve got you under my skin”. If you close your eyes, you could swear it was Frank singing. He did a great job, I thought. More singers followed.  They were all female and some did the duets with the Indonesian Sinatra.  Seriously, there are so many other great big band numbers to choose from but they all sang through Frank Sinatra catalog with an exception of one Nat King Cole number. I wish they would have made it a bit more variety. Here in Bali, every time, there’s something big band or Jazz happening, they simply can’t stray from Sinatra. Nonetheless, all singers, I guess, 5 of them in total, were capable of Jazz singing.

During dinner, I noticed that the new flag of Myanmar, my country, was flapping in the wind next to the flags of Germany and Australia. That came as a surprise, a shock in fact really, because usually our flag could not be found outside of the country.  No one bothers to include us. Many of them don’t even know Burma and Myanmar are actually the same country. So does this mean that our little known country has come a long way? Or did they just raise the flag because they knew I was coming? Ha! - It definitely got me pondering.

The four-course dinner, as advertised, was actually three if the tiny gimmicky foie gras aka “amuse bouche” was minus-ed.  I chose lobster tail confit for appetizer and the snapper for main. The fish was well-cooked, spiced and superbly presented.  I thoroughly enjoyed it. The desert, white chocolate something-something was decent but after the dinner, I felt so bloated. I ate too much. (I should have eaten only half the fish and not finished the desert but it was too late.) During our dinner, 8 of us shared 5 bottles of sparkling wine and by the time we finished, we were gooooooood to go. So we left the table and set out for the dance floor.

People decked out in various shades of white started arriving around 10. To some of them, dressing up was a serious business. Their effort to look head-to-toe nautical was apparent. I spotted some beautiful people. And I also spotted some seriously sun- baked ones. (Some people in Bali take sun-tanning to a whole new height.) They looked irregularly tanned and tragic, even more so because of their white attire.(WHY?????????????? Please don’t do that to yourself!)

After an hour or so, they announced that the show was going to take place on the dancing floor. The so-called sailor extravaganza featured three Caucasian chicks in sexy-sailor-slut uniform leading an army of Indonesian backup dancers (Or were they really the kitchen staff dressed up as sailors?)  It was amusing to see these three Amazonian leggy girls dancing with the male dancers who were half their sizes. Honestly, the girls were hot; they knew it and they were so full of it. (If only they knew how much I had to convince JJ to believe that they were real girls, not trannies.) The Andrews Sisters style boogie-woogie tune (It could be Bette Midler’s version of it, I’m not sure) combined with Village People’s “In The Navy” was fun but honestly it did not make an eye-popping experience. I thought t was a cheap production somehow. Especially when KDT charged more than 150 bucks per head (75 bucks without the dinner), I believe they could do better than that. I would not mind watching a proper dance troupe or even a local but well-known singer perform.

The drinks were not outrageously expensive by KDT standard but they were extremely weak.  I should have stuck to wine or beer.  When you pay 15 bucks a drink, you do expect a decent one. I was very disappointed so I decided to improve “The Situation”. On my third visit to the bar, I came up with a scheme, a classic one. I let the bartender keep the change (which was about 6 dollars, definitely not small money if you work in a bar in Indonesia). I did that again on my fourth visit. The same bartender gleefully accepted the tips but the condition of my drinks never improved.  So, on my next visits (10 in total), I patiently waited until my hard-earned money got returned from the cashier and kept giving that bartender a sullen face. Nothing comes for free, baby! And...since we are on the subject, here’s one more rant. The water bottle they sold at the venue, though freaking expensive, was not even a standard-sized bottle, instead a mini one.  If this wasn’t a rip-off, I don’t know what is.

DJ Karizma and DJ Spen played House music. They did a fantastic job, I must say. The crowd’s response was overwhelming. We had such a blast dancing on the vibrating dance floor and in front of the stage where we obviously got ‘seen’.  After a while though, the music wore us out. We needed a new inspiration to keep us going or perhaps some familiar dance tunes that we could sing along to. Our wish was granted eventually when they played “Ain’t no mountain high enough” (unfortunately not Diana Ross’s version) and “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer. These timeless disco tunes still put people on fire. I hadn’t danced like that in a while.

Spicing up the hot, steamy night, there was also a brawl between two white boys over God-knows-what. Really, was it necessary?  They were punching each other and throwing stuff.  How juvenile! Some people can’t hold their drinks eh?  It was immediately put out by the security guards and the party went on of course. Such sad little creatures!

Our group was solid. We kept drinking, jiggling and having so much fun. My friend Carlos and I in particular had a ball dancing up the storm along with the Latin beats they played, sometimes sandwiching the girls in between.  (It took me back to the parties of Rio and Buenos Aires.)  I left the party around 3:30 in the morning with aching leg muscles but definitely great memories to cherish. I was happy to go home to sleep.

At breakfast the next morning, JJ and I talked about the party and we realized that together we spent almost 600 bucks which is more than a month salary for many in Indonesia. We are fortunate that we could fork out such money for a night of pure amusement and drinks. It was indeed an expensive fun even by an international standard but the important thing is that we don’t do this often. Besides, we had a wonderful time shared with good friends. At the end of the day, finding bliss is really not about what you do, spend or where you are at, it is about who you are with. Here’s to fun, friends and fiesta.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lady GaGa- You and I (Video)

Lady GaGa in "You and I" music video

I'm so in love with this new GaGa video- This is monsterously fabulous- She's a mermaid, a cute tomboy (Beat that, Hilary Swank!) and a robot woman with bleeding heels on her way to what seems like a funeral of a drag queen in Nebraska.. among others. Don't ask me if I get this video, I seriously don't but it doesn't matter. This video gives  an extra oomph to a song that is already super-brilliant. Really, I'd love to take a guided tour of her creative insides (heart, brain and...errrm.. that's it!) This woman never fails to amaze me. Love it, love it, love it. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera) (Single Review)

Maroon 5's front man, Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera
When the song first came out, I wanted to hate it for some reason but I couldn’t find any reason. After a few spins, I got addicted.  Even more so now that they have released the sizzling video in which they pay tribute to the Rock legend, Mick Jagger, obviously the inspiration of the song.  I love Christina Aguilera but not a huge fan of Maroon 5. “Moves like Jagger” is a departure from the band’s usual Pop/Rock style and the song’s whistle hook is genius. It weaves in and out of the song like a summer breeze; fresh, free and easy. Usually Adam Levine’s falsetto singing annoys me but here, it’s smooth as silk and sexy as Salsa,especially against Christina’s raspy powerful growls.  (And thanks, Christina for ONCE not over-singing the song). Just put it on a repeat play, this one’s sure gonna make you sway. 

Water for Elephants (Film Review)

“Water for Elephants” is a film adaptation of Sara Guen’s novel of the same name. The story, set in the 1930s follows a Polish American, Jacob Jankowski (played by Twilight’s heartthrob Robert Pattinson) who loses his beloved parents in a car accident and subsequently gets his house taken away by the bank due to his father’s debts. So what’s a boy to do after losing such a great deal in life?   Join the circus, of course. There at The Benzini Brothers Circus, he meets the beautiful, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), the star of the show and also a wife of the abusive circus owner August (Christoph Waltz). To cut the story short, Jacob and Marlena fall in love and yes, the forbidden love comes at a big price.

As I was merely born in the 80s, I cannot say for sure the depiction of the Depression-era circus is thoroughly accurate but it certainly is visually appetizing. Combined with the heartrending score by James Newton Howard, eight-time Oscar nominee, fittingly for the nostalgic, narrative-style storytelling, the movie’s picture-perfect cinematography makes the audience forget about the somewhat predictable love triangle tale.

Christoph Waltz, the real scene-stealer here, once again plays a bastard. (He won Oscar for his memorable role as The Jew Hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s nazi flick “Inglorious Basterds”) Waltz portrayal of August Rosenbluth is charming and dapper yet frightening and repulsive. He simultaneously manages to give us a glimpse of why he behaves that way as well which is mesmerizing.Wouldn’t it be difficult but interesting to see him play a nice, sweet guy for a change in one of his future projects? Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson are good actors but there’s not much to be said about their performances. It’s just that there’s not so much chemistry between them. For Pattinson, it is a smart move in his career as he has yet to prove that he is not just a pretty face after movies like “Twilight” but he still has a long way to go. “Water for Elephants” starts out quite promising, falls flat a bit in the middle but quickly picks up with a great climax towards the end. A decent movie. Watching it on DVD, why not?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Confessions of a pink iPod nano

I am only 3.6 inches tall. I weigh 1.28 ounces but my capacity, 8GB, enables me to carry up to a whopping 4000 songs. Yes, I’m a fifth generation iPod nano. My proud owner, Charlie received me as a Christmas gift two years ago from a very special person.  Ever since that day, we have become inseparable. I play his favorite tunes whenever he wants. I accompany him to gym 4 to 5 times a week. Together, we have travelled to over 15 countries and counting. As an iPod, I’m a quite attractive one. Unlike the previous 2 GB nano he had, I am complete with a glossy finish so I can’t help but shine.  And I am pink, a bright flamingo pink that is.

I believe Charlie likes my skin color very much because he owns many things in pink. Actually, he likes anything that is sparkly or blindingly bright. It is so funny when we are in the gym’s locker room where he would take me out from his gym bag along with a towel and a water bottle, some guys would notice the shocking pink-colored iPod.  Of course, they always give Hey-dude-What’s-up-with-the-pink-iPod look. Knowing Charlie for over two years now, he does not give a damn. Really! In fact he enjoys the attention even when it is not very positive. Also whenever there is a brave soul who dares to claim “Whoa, Pink iPod. That’s so girly”, my proud owner would immediately reply “Oh, Colors don’t have meanings. People like you give meanings to colors-Blue is for boys, Pink is for girls. It’s all bullshits! I don’t let colors define me”. That of course shuts them up, haters! He really lets them have it like that. Oh, by the way, his PC as well is the same color and he always gets the stares when he takes it out from his bag at Starbucks or at the airport lounge. He loves it. Like as if he traps people into making those clichéd remarks and then he snaps right back at them for being stereotypical.  But I love his attitude. Isn’t he just controversial? 

Anyway, the original head phones that came together with me in the same box stopped working a few weeks ago. It’s sad, really. They got sick for some reason and the left one died. So my owner replaced them with another pair. To be honest, I don’t think Charlie likes my new colleagues, the indigo Sony head phones that he purchased from Carrefour, because they hurt his ears. But I hope he gets used to them soon because I don’t want him to replace them with another pair. I have come to love their color. I think they compliment my shimmering pink self. Don’t you think? Indigo and pink- not very distant.

Charlie has 12457 songs on iTunes and of course the number is constantly growing. He hooks me up with iTunes on his pink PC every now and then to sync or to charge me up. What annoys me the most is that he sometimes forgets about it and leaves me attached to his PC like those dogs stuck together on the streets after mating. I hate that. It’s never good to overcharge an iPod like me, right? It kills off the battery life. (Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggh!!!)

Since he cannot put all his songs from iTunes on my sinewy 8GB body, he usually syncs “recently added” list a.k.a the new music and some of his all-time favorites.  I must say his music taste is quite diverse. He listens to Rn’B, Electronic, Pop, Classical, Opera, Dance, Urban, Jazz, show tunes and Hip Hop, just to name a few. One thing he hates is Rock music. The sound of electric guitar really puts him off.   He can’t bare it. Mariah Carey and Barbra Streisand are two of his favorite singers. He owns all Barbra’s 40 albums (not counting the compilations and greatest hits albums) and Mariah’s entire catalogue. He puts their music on shuffle and listens to them when he travels on the airplanes, when he runs on the treadmill or while working out with the weights.  Many people prefer listening to upbeat dance tracks while they are working out, right? But this one can work out to “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables sung by Patti Lupone. Strange?  But Boy, if he shuffles his iTunes with all 12457 songs, the outcome would be a very interesting one indeed. The Vienna Boys Choir will sing in between Beyonce’ and Nat King Cole. Or what about Cyndi Lauper breaking in after the tracks by Jamiroquai and Mahalia Jackson’s Gospel hymns?  It will really be fascinating.

Charlie does ignore me when he is not gyming or traveling though. When he is reading his books, singing Karaoke or entertaining his friends, I am no longer the essential in his life. I’m cast aside like an old sock and it hurts. Then again, my pink face lights up when he comes around looking for me to take me on a swanky holiday or an evening jog on the beach. I just can’t get mad at him for a long time.

But hey, I hear that there is already a newer and cooler iPod touch and THAT makes me nervous. Will I get replaced like the old nano with matte finish? (Remember they used to be so ugly and… matte???) Anyway, I doubt that Charlie will replace me anytime soon.  He can’t live without me. I’m the first thing he packs when he goes out. He mentioned once that he would like an iPhone or an iPad but not another iPod.  NO!

In the meantime, I wish and pray that Apple would stop producing new iPod models. I mean, aren’t they rich enough? Don’t they pretty much own the globe already? Efforts should be made to invent other i-related stuff that would benefit our human kind instead. You know, like, iCondoms?  A new generation of condoms that beep, vibrate, hold erection, play erotic music and at the same time prevent diseases, plan family and give perfect female orgasms.  That could do well, no? Plus, overpopulation is a big problem.  So is AIDS. I could totally see them outsell Durex’s “Extra Thin” or “Feather Light”. Just a thought!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Divas Duets (Hits & Misses)

(Misses: The divas duets that don’t live up to the expectations)

1)When You Believe- Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey
When the industry’s two biggest vocal heavy-weights like Mariah and Whitney, also rumored rivals both celebrated for their diva antics, vocal prowess and similar musical style, perform together on a song, the expectations of course are sky-scraping, nothing less than monumental. As it turns out, they duet on a gospel song, featured on the soundtrack of “The Prince Of Egypt”. With this classy but sappy song, they both get to show off their strengths in the beginning verses (Whitney’s incomparable vibrato and extra-smooth tone and in Mariah’s case, her vocal gymnastics and smoky texture) but obviously roof-raising explosive vocals especially at the bridge are missing. It kind of sounds like the two divas are holding back. The massive choir of voices comes in and the two voices almost get drowned out. Mariah, what happened to your signature glass-shattering whistle notes when you need them? And Whitney, what about those 25-km long mid-range belts that you sang for Bodyguard soundtrack?  Honestly, those would have saved this song from being flat. What remains now though is the million-dollar question, “Which diva wins?”  In the studio version of the song, Mariah sings technically higher than Whitney and her adlibs are better than Whit’s. However it is Whitney who wins in the live version where she absolutely owns the stage while Mariah looks nervous and scared. Therefore, let’s call it a draw and we will need another round of battle in the future, a final showdown.  Can I hear an Amen?

2)Put It In A Love Song- Alicia Keys & Beyonce
I know. A lot of people are like “What?” They have a duet?  “When?”  Yes, they do. Such a great idea that these two biggest divas of younger generation team up but it is so tragic that their immense talents are wasted on this silly lackluster song.  It’s sort of catchy but considering that these two women are at the top of their game, it is fair to say we expect nothing short of spectacular Independence Day fireworks. Sadly, this one is a fire cracker.  The song peaked at number 60 on the billboard Rn’B chart. Also the plan to release it as a single was subsequently cancelled.  Good move!

3)I’m His Only Woman- Jennifer Hudson & Fantasia
Noticeably, the creators of this song (Missy Elliott, Jazmine Sullivan and Jack Splash) wanted to repeat the success of “The Boy Is Mine” (1998) and do a similar one for the urban contemporary listening generation. While using the old-school Rn’B approach, fittingly for the two big-voiced singers with no-nonsense singing, the song somehow does not have the x-factor that “The Boy Is Mine” has. Two black women feuding over a boy maybe typical in the hood (sorry, but female Rn’B singers always seem to singing about it out loud) yet the song is unoriginal. The beginning girl-talk between Brandy and Monica from the original is now transformed into a phone call conversation between J-Hud and Fantasia.  Well played, Huh? Besides, the problem here is that their voices don’t sound great together. Fantasia’s constant shouting may work while singing praise at her local Baptist church but definitely not singing against Jennifer Hudson’s more powerful and expressive instrument. It only causes distraction. Nevertheless, the song was nominated for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with vocals in 2009. It just that it did not win.

4)Me Against The Music- Britney Spears &  Madonna
Back then, Britney was riding high on the music charts around the world and was being touted (just like Lady Ga Ga is being hyped right now) as the new queen of Pop. Madonna was clearly and as always looking for controversy or publicity. The VMA lip-lock with Britney and Christina still fresh in everyone’s memories, what better way to hog the headlines than guest-appearing on Britney’s first single from her fourth album? It’s a win-win situation, no? Arrrrrrrrrrrrm, NO! Not really. “Me Against The Music” just doesn’t translate success for both.  Number 35 on Billboard Hot 100 does not equal a bona fide hit, does it? (It did better internationally though. Europe loves Madonna!)  Although I must say it’s a fun, decent dance track, it’s neither ground-breaking nor buzz-worthy. With no magic moments in stored for both acts, their personalities and voices sadly sink into the pool of heavily-produced dance beats and hooks. Surprisingly no one back then seemed to get that much excited by their reunion as well. It was sort of like “Oh wow, Madonna and Britney. Great! Now let me go back to mow my lawn”.  I guess it was one of those big things that seem great in imagination but not in reality.

5)Beautiful Liar- Beyonce & Shakira
Not always there are catfights and drama when it comes to two big divas. They sometimes too can stick together and defend for each other.  Well, maybe! I’m just not convinced.  Divas duets with positive themes make me nervous. They are usually destined for failure or not very well-received. Simply because, let’s face it, it’s just not as fun. So The Queen B and the reigning queen of Latin pop meet on this Middle Eastern-flavored track with a slight hint of hip-hop. Simple yet appealing melody, easy-to-sing-along chorus and sultry vocals, all seems to be working out pretty well. The music video is smoking-hot (with two of them belly-dancing together) but you can also tell it’s a cheap production. Besides, the single did very well worldwide charting within the top five in many countries. So, what’s the problem?  For me, it’s just way too simple, too clean, too positive, too average and too dreary. They call it a hit but I call it a wasted opportunity. Believe me, ten years down the line, not many will remember this duet. Sorry, I have a very high standard when it comes to divas duets.

(HitsThe divas duets that go beyond the expectations)

1)Tell him- Barbra Streisand & Celine Dion

Since Barbra and Celine are such classy, gracious and refined artists, singing a song about two women snatching a boy would definitely raise more than eyebrows. They also can’t sing about two women sharing the roast chicken recipe at a gala dinner either. So, David Foster and Walter Afanasieff (responsible for a lot of Mariah’s early hits) effectively came up with a song that suits both talents called “Tell Him” in which Celine, a love-struck young woman asks advice from a more matured and sisterly Babs on how to make a boy fall in love with her. Smart, eh?  Celine, no doubt, is the only singer in the business who comes close to Babs’ tremendous singing talent and it is also undeniable that there’s so much influence from Babs in the music that Celine sings. When they sing together, their voices blend in so well and sound so nice that Linda Richman would say “It’s like buttah!”  The song’s beautiful melody and lush production from David Foster simply take the glorious voices of Barbra, a legend who is often imitated but never duplicated and Celine, an icon in her own right, to the newest height. Now, this is a vocal master class that will go down in history.

2)Same script, different cast- Whitney Houston & Deborah Cox
You can already feel the D.r.a.m.a brewing when you hear Beethoven’s Für Elise playing in the background at the beginning of this song. Very smart and witty lyrics sung by two of the most expressive and remarkable voices of Rn’B music, this song not only showcases both divas’ distinctive tones and textures, also allows them to play their respective characters. Whitney as the former lover of Deborah’s boyfriend warns Deborah, the current girlfriend, to be aware of the player and his games. The pleasant surprise here is that Deborah Cox, one of the most underrated singers, not only holds her own, she manages to shine parallel with the legend.

This is a retake of my life. I was his star for many nights. 
Now the roles have changed, And you're the leading lady in his life. 
Lights, camera, now you're on. Just remember you've been warned. 
Enjoy it now, 'cause it won't last. 
Same script, different cast.

The song has since become one of the most performed and parodied songs of the drag queens and the remixes of this song are still being frequently played at the gay clubs and pride events around the world. It’s such a shame that there never was an official video for this song and they also never performed it live together. 

3)No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) - Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer
Barbra does disco on this one with Donna. That alone should give enough reason to listen to this song.  Donna Summer, needless to say, the disco-darling shows Barbra what it takes to let her hair down, loosen up and rock the disco crowd. But it is Barbra who in return demonstrates how to hold a 17-second note. Oh, I miss those good old days when they really sing!  This song is cool, groovy and just divalicious. Plus, it perfectly captures the funky vibe of 70’s disco era (not that I was there of course! I can....imagine)

4)The Boy Is Mine- Brandy & Monica
The original girl-fight song that has stood the test of time. Many have tried to relive the glory of this tune but nothing else even comes close to this 1998 original. Overseen by super producers of that time, Rodney “Dark Child” Jerkins and Dallas Austin, “The Boy Is Mine” sums up what Rn’B in the 90’s sounds like. It also did wonders for both Brandy and Monica professionally. Not only it earned them their first Grammy, it gave them their first worldwide numberone hit as well. Both divas play around with their vocal range, their adlibs are sexy and fun but the fact that they don’t over-sing makes this song even more special. Towards the end, when the sing, “Not yours, but mine”. That’s it.  No more to be said.  That’s classic.

5)Disrespectful- Chaka Khan & Mary J.Blige
I’m not sure many people know this song but “Disrespectful” is the real female empowerment anthem Beyonce’s been searching in vain to sing, sung with full of attitude and gusto. The vocals on this gem are fierce and mammoth. It’s of course hard to keep up with the great Chaka but Mary J. Blige is not the one to get easily outdone, alright?  Matching the fast and furious drum-beats, Chaka shows who the original everywoman is. She sings as if she has a saxophone, swallowed inside her tummy. The super-high notes she hits are off the roof. The song went number one on the U.S. dance singles chart and their efforts were paid off at the Grammys that year where they took home the award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Deservingly!