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Kasey G (Toronto, ON)

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Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 22.95
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Wilson Phillips Meets En Vogue, Sept. 2 2012
Ce commentaire est de: Expose (Audio CD)
By the time Expose's third album was released in October 1992, it was as if House Music and New Jack Swing had been forced down the public's throats for the last several years and Top 40 radio was oversaturated with it. So depending on your perspective, you may find the upbeat dance tracks here painfully cheesy or deliciously nostalgic. IMO, the better ones are so well-written and executed they fall into the latter category. The killer opener "I Think I'm In Trouble" has Ann Curless' cool, matter-of-fact vocal stylings over a mesmerizing bassline. "You Don't Know What You Got" continues the House party perfectly. Later on, the wonderfully infectious "Face to Face", "I Specialize in Love" and Jeannette's breathless love triangle-tale "Touch and Go" heat things up again. There's a terrific departure in the Euro-flavored "Angel" which sounds like something out of Annie Lennox's catalogue. Ann delivers a wonderful performance on it. The final song "Give Me All Your Love" tries to cash in on the bombastic 2-Unlimited sound of the early '90s and is perhaps the album's low point.

The ballads this time are a whole new ball game because gone are the sparkling, exquisitely-produced slow numbers such as "December" or "Didn't It Hurt to Hurt Me" as they are replaced on this effort with more bland, generically-produced ballads that are more in the Wilson Phillips vein then the old Expose. Not that these are bad songs--"In Walked Love", "As Long As I Can Dream", "The Same Love" are well-written and beautifully-performed, but they all sound tailor-made for Adult Contemporary radio, a fact that may have aliented many a fan of the group's first two albums. Gioia Bruno's absence due to throat problems also hurt this effort overall as her vocals always had a certain edge to them that was a good contrast to Jeannette's sweetness and Ann's cool delivery. Her replacement Kelly Moneymaker doesn't really have much to do here except help blend Jeannette and Ann's voices and help keep Expose promotable as a trio.

In short, the myriad of producers give this a less-cohesive feel that the masterful work Lewis Martinee did on their first two-albums. It's a cross between a Wilson Phillips/En Vogue/Cathy Dennis album more than anything, but it does have its good moments. It's just NOT the same Expose as heard on their first two albums.


Dexter: The Complete Sixth Season / Saison 6 (Sous-titres français)
Dexter: The Complete Sixth Season / Saison 6 (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Michael C. Hall
Price: CDN$ 15.49
14 used & new from CDN$ 15.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Dexter" Bounces Back From a Lacklustre Season 5, Aug. 21 2012
**REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS** After a disappointing fifth season, "Dexter" rebounds here with a riveting series of episodes that will keep you wanting more. Season 5 of "Dexter" suffered from the mistake of not introducing the main plotline until nearly halfway in (and it really wasn't that compelling a story once it did kick in making for the weakest season yet). I was worried the show would continue on its downward spiral, but thankfully the writers redeem themselves this go-'round. While it doesn't pack the wallop of Seasons 4 or 1, this collection is far superior to Season 3 (with Jimmy Smits) or the lacklustre Season 5 (with Julia Stiles).

Dexter must embrace religion this season by helping track down the Doomsday Killers and befriending ex-convict-turned-preacher Brother Sam. The religious theme allows for some terrific gruesome set pieces as the Doomsday Kills are re-enactments of the Book of Revelations (a group of horses and a greenhouse scene are so particularly creepy they will stay with the viewer for days). The storyline also allows the writers to use one of the show's more familiar gimmicks against the audience, yet we never feel cheated.

The writers wisely shake things up at Miami Metro, where staleness was setting in. Laguerta and Deb are both promoted, and Quinn and Battista are now partners, which opens up a whole new bunch of plot possibilites. Work and personal pressures take their toll on Deb and she begins seeing a therapist. Quinn jeopardizes his career with a run of destructive behaviour after Deb rejects his marriage proposal. Masuka is still the pervy comic relief, but even he gets to tread new waters as the writers pair him up with a series of new interns. A new officer named Anderson transfers in from Chicago but the character doesn't make much of a splash. Despite these changes, Battista and Laguerta get less screen time this season, as the writers begin to explore the complex relationship between Dexter and Debra. By season's end, each of them make discoveries that will forever alter their respective futures.

Notable guest stars include Ronny Cox ("Deliverance"), Molly Parker ("Swingtown") and even Rudy/Brian a.k.a The Ice Truck Killer makes a surprise return. If you were disappointed with Season 5 as I was, don't let that deter you from getting this--it's miles better.

FOUR-and-a-HALF STARS and great to see the show back on track and still delivering macabre thrills.

What You Don't Know
What You Don't Know
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 18.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.32

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Follow-Up to Their Debut, Aug. 19 2012
Ce commentaire est de: What You Don't Know (Audio CD)
Expose's second album released in June 1989 contains the same slick production values, tight harmonies and catchy hooks as their 1987 debut "Exposure". The difference here is that their Freestyle roots are abandoned a tad in favour of a more EuroDisco sound. This is most evident on "Stop, Listen, Look and Think" which could have been a hit for Hi-NRG queen Hazell Dean and on which Ann Curless solidifies herself as the Julie Andrews of dance music with her no-nonsense impeccable diction and phrasing.

We also have the Top Ten single "What You Don't Know", hip-hop cry for social unity "Tell Me Why" and a couple of successful chart ballads in "When I Looked at Him" and "Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue".

The songwriting is a little repetitive on "Now That I Found You" and "Walk Along With Me" which are the least impressive offerings, but the upbeat resignation of "Still Hung Up on You" is dance-pop perfection at its finest and should have been a huge single. It's a textbook example of catchiness without annoyance (Carly Rae Jepson take note). The album reaches a boiling point on the Eastern-flavored "Love Don't Hurt (Until You Fall)", which is the most intense thing the girls ever recorded with Gioia wailing on lead. Next, "Didn't It Hurt to Hurt Me" boasts a passionate performance from Gioia that surpasses the other two ballads here for pure raw emotion.

If you loved the first album, this one should not disappoint, though there are a few weaker spots in comparison.

What You Don't Know 4/5
Stop, Listen, Look and Think 5/5
Tell Me Why 5/5
When I Looked at Him 5/5
Let Me Down Easy 4/5
Still Hung Up on You 5/5
Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue 4/5
Now That I Found You 3/5
Love Don't Hurt (Until You Fall) 5/5
Didn't It Hurt to Hurt Me 5/5
Walk Along With Me 3/5


5.0 out of 5 stars Best Girl-Group Album of the '80s, Aug. 11 2012
Ce commentaire est de: Exposure (Audio CD)
While Gioia Bruno-Carmen, Ann Curless and Jeannette Jurado may not be household names, collectively as Expose with the guidance of producer Lewis Martinee, they turned out what is IMO the best girl-group album of the '80s. Their debut album "Exposure" spawned four Top-Ten singles in 1987-88 including a Billboard No. 1.

By meshing the hyponotic beats of Freestyle with a pop-gloss sensibility, "Exposure" was able to score big in the Pop, R&B and Dance markets, and for every hit single here there's an album cut that's even better. The songwriting here is impeccable, with every track boasting a great hook, bridge and chorus. The girls harmonies are spot-on and they rotate on lead vocal, with each member bringing her own strength to every song--whether it's Gioia's passionate wails, Ann's cool, detached delivery or Jeannette's smooth and soft one, there's not a bad apple in the bunch.

The powder-keg opener "Come Go With Me" is bested by the frenetic hip-hop beats of "I Know You Know" (check out that cool hype-edit just before the final chorus); the chart-topping ballad "Seasons Change" is great but the mournful "December" can only be described as epic. Among the rest there's the slinky "Let Me Be the One", bouncy "Point of No Return", slightly gloomy "Love Is Our Destiny" and jubilant "Extra Extra".

These girls definitely were among the best of the '80s girl groups and stood miles ahead of their competitors such as Sweet Sensation, the Cover Girls, etc. Expose's lyrics and vocals aren't as saccharine as Sweet Sensation (no pun intended) and they brought more personality to the material.

If you like your '80s dance music with more substance than the faceless club artists such as Connie, Debbie Deb and Trinere, this is the album you want.

FIVE STARS and still sounds terrific after all these years.

Come Go With Me 5/5
Let Me Be the One 5/5
Exposed to Love 5/5
Seasons Change 5/5
Extra Extra 5/5
Point of No Return 5/5
Love Is Our Destiny 5/5
I Know You Know 5/5
You're The One I Need 4/5
December 5/5

Charlie's Angels: The Complete Series (1976)
Charlie's Angels: The Complete Series (1976)
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 271.35
8 used & new from CDN$ 231.00

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Double-Dipping For Season 5, July 31 2012
I predict there will be an Amazon assault on this product from angry Angel fans writing in to express their displeasure at the fact that they must re-buy Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 in order to get the long-awaited Season 5 on DVD. I too was initially miffed when I saw the announcement of a Complete Series set, but then I realized that I would have been willing to spend even more than Amazon's $46 pre-order price for Season 5 on its own as a MOD release. In this case, we are getting pressed discs and the price is more than reasonable for a Complete Series set, regardless if we already own the previous seasons or not. Shoot--Amazon is selling the 2011 remake (which I didn't watch) on here for $35 and contains, what...8 episodes???.

So, yes SONY could have marketed this better for the loyal fans who supported the other releases, but it's been so long in coming, that I will not complain about it. There are no new bonus features included which is a shame, only the "Angels Forever" featurette that originally appeared on the Season 1 set that came out way back in 2003.

We kick off the final season with a two-parter that forgoes the exotic location shooting of season-openers past and brings us instead a standard case of murder and corruption within the modeling industry, introducing us to scrappy, tough-talking final Angel Julie Rogers (the stunning, statuesque Tanya Roberts).

Due to an actors' strike in 1980, the fifth season was truncated and only 16 episodes produced. The team spirit that was missing from Season 4 is re-established here even if the scripts are hit-and-miss. Some of the series' worst episodes show up in Season 5--from the boring "Mr. Galaxy" and "He Married an Angel" to the cringe-worthy "Moonshinin' Angels" and "Chorus Line Angels".

Some of the best episodes of Season 5 include "Angel on the Line" which features Kelly squaring off against a deranged transvestite in the one of the series' (unintentionally) funniest scenes; "Hula Angels" has a terrific turn from guest villainess Joanna Cassidy; while "Island Angels" boasts a guest-star roster including Carol Lynley, Lyle Waggoner, Randolph Mantooth, Barbi Benton and more.

Yes, it would have been nice to get Season 5 as a stand-alone release, but for the price I will not complain about having to "double-dip" on this one. The box is attractive and will look great on display.

Hunter (W/1 Bonus Track)
Hunter (W/1 Bonus Track)
Price: CDN$ 14.91
32 used & new from CDN$ 6.67

4.0 out of 5 stars Unfairly Maligned, July 29 2012
Ce commentaire est de: Hunter (W/1 Bonus Track) (Audio CD)
Coming off a hit streak of four Number One singles and three platinum albums, Blondie were in the top-tier of rock hierarchy by 1982. So it must have come as a great disappointment when their sixth studio album "The Hunter" bombed dismally. Revisiting it today, it's apparent that this project was ahead of its time as many of the sounds here were heard on Top 40 radio a few years later by way of groups such as Duran Duran, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Talk Talk and even No Doubt (Gwen Stefani must have studied Deb's performance here on "Little Caesar"). Most notable about this effort are the horns and extra percussion added to give many of the tracks a more "primal" sound befitting the album's title. Three extra percussionists are added here to support Clem Burke, who's fantastic in his own right but could not have given the album a sound this full and powerful on his own.

"The Hunter" has aged well, opening strong with the terrificly atmospheric "Orchid Club", full of tribal drums and screaming monkeys. The success of "The Tide is High" must have had the label thinking lightning would strike twice with the Calypso-flavored "Island of Lost Souls", which was released as the first single--and also bombed. Despite a memorable line ("Buccaneer, can you help me get my truck in gear") and uplifting arrangement, "Island" was not the best choice to plug the album, though there's not much here that's really single material.

Aside from "Orchid Club", the best moments are the bass-driven Euro-flavored "Dragonfly"; frantic horn-heavy "War Child" which plays like "Atomic"-on-steroids; an old Smokey Robinson-penned tune "The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game" which is wonderfully sparse with it's flute-and-bass arrangement.

The rest of the album consists of a rejected James Bond theme "For Your Eyes Only" (quite unremarkable; the producers made the right choice going with the Sheena Easton version) which is the closest thing to 1970s Blondie we get here; on "The Beast" Debbie puts the rap skills she perfected on "Autoamerican" and "KooKoo" to good use; the two '60s numbers "Danceway" and "(Can I) Find The Right Words (To Say)" sound more nostalgic like old girl groups performing their vintage hits in the '80s as opposed to when Blondie was reworking the genre into their own style back in 1976 with fare like "X Offender" and "Little Girl Lies". Debbie sounds unusually restrained on "Words" as well as the mournful, introspective "English Boys" and the change is refreshing.

Unfairly maligned in its time, "The Hunter" is really no worse than "Eat to the Beat" or "Autoamerican" and is a welcome addition to any Blondie fan's library. The Bonus Tracks are extended versions of "Island of Lost Souls" and "War Child" (which is worth it for a terrific extended percussion sequence).


Shes So Unusual
Shes So Unusual
Price: CDN$ 7.98
24 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Non-Hits Are Worth Rediscovering, July 16 2012
Ce commentaire est de: Shes So Unusual (Audio CD)
After 25+ years of ignoring this album (I originally bought it back in 1984, gave it a few spins, then never bothered to touch it again) I recently got the CD and was pleasantly surprised how well "She" holds up.

The intriguing thing about rediscovering Cyndi's debut effort, is that it's the lesser-known tracks that appeal to me more this time around. That may be because Adult Contemporary radio and the muzak system at work have played "Time After Time" and especially "All Through the Night" so many times they seem ubiquitous as the National Anthem.

"Girls Just Want to Have Fun" suffers from almost the same overexposure, being a staple of retro '80s radio ever since that decade's renaissance began in the early 2000's. Of all the hits here, "She Bop" is the most pleasant to revisit because it's sort of been hiding away for awhile.

The underappreciated "Money Changes Everything" kicks off the album and Cyn delivers perfect resignation as she tells her old lover "there's one thing we weren't thinkin' of--and that's money". The Ska-flavored "Witness" is another winner as well as schizophrenic-sounding "I'll Kiss You" and Prince-penned "When You Were Mine".

The production is all totally-awesome-80s to be sure, but unlike the terrible filler on Madonna's "True Blue", Cyn's album cuts here are still well-written little gems even if they do sound terribly dated. Most important, Lauper lives up to her mantra here as she really does sound like she's having fun throughout this collection.

FOUR STARS and worth dusting off again.

Dangerous Acquaintances
Dangerous Acquaintances
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 14.86
26 used & new from CDN$ 4.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Follow-Up to "Broken English", July 16 2012
Ce commentaire est de: Dangerous Acquaintances (Audio CD)
Boasting the same production values and sound as her landmark album "Broken English", Marianne Faithfull was worthy of commercial success in 1981 with the equally stellar but more radio-friendly "Dangerous Acquaintances". Seriously, the upbeat numbers on this album are so chock full of killer hooks, if they had been recorded by a more conventional female vocalist, we'd still be hearing them on radio today. But Marianne is anything but a sell-out and I'm glad these remain hidden gems.

The punk-reggae sound that worked so well on "Why'd Ya Do It" gets some variations on the terrific opener "Sweetheart", which sets the tone for whole album. When Marianne cries "My freedom means too much to give up now" she sounds more apologetic than threatening. This album is not as acidic and nasty and pessimistic as "Broken English" but it's not Sheena Easton either.

Horns and sax contrast the weary, depressed vocals on "Intrigue"; there's a Motown vibe that comes through with all the tambourines and handclaps on "Tenderness"; the simmering "Easy in the City" is easily the most infectious number; while the sinister guitars of "Eye Communication" contribute to the stalkerish feel. The funky '70s "Brother Louie"/"You're No Good" sound works well on "Strange One" which finds Ms. Faithfull's lover with a boyfriend of his own; she's at her most plaintive and introspective on "So Sad" and "Truth, Bitter Truth".

I tend to think of this album as "Broken English"-lite. It's a more upbeat Marianne and a terrific follow-up to her masterpiece.


Love It to Death
Love It to Death
Offered by samurai_media_JPN4CA
Price: CDN$ 63.03
11 used & new from CDN$ 61.96

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Love This Album 'Til Death, June 4 2012
Ce commentaire est de: Love It to Death (Audio CD)
I already wrote a detailed review of why LITD is one of my Top 5 albums ever so I will make this one rather short. If you already own the first two releases on CD (the 1990 one and the 2009 Gold Edition), this one blows them both away sonically with sharpness and clarity I never thought possible on a 40+ year-old recording.

At first I didn't notice that much of a difference until I got to "Black Juju" and then the sound quality really jumps out at you. Things only get better from there on "Is It My Body". When they reprise the first verse after the guitar break, you can actually hear Bob Ezrin on piano--the first time I've noticed this after hearing this album over 100 times.

This Japanese version allows the listener to experience all the nuances as if you were back in the studio with the band in 1970.

Well worth the upgrade!


Diana Ross: Live in Central Park
Diana Ross: Live in Central Park
DVD ~ Diana Ross
Price: CDN$ 21.99
27 used & new from CDN$ 13.44

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Video Quality Is Terrific, May 26 2012
Although I don't have a home theatre system I found nothing wrong with the video quality on the DVD aside from two very minor glitches that were obviously on the master tape. Other than that I was thrilled to finally have this legendary concert in such great quality.

What's not so thrilling are Diana's constant attempts to have the audience sing the chorus for her on song after song. It's as though she was getting them to do her job for her for nearly HALF the numbers in the set list. In past performances (think "Aquarius/"Let the Sunshine In" from the Supremes farewell concert) it was cute and endearing, but here it just becomes frustrating and annoying and ruined what probably would have been my favorite moment of the show ("Upside Down"). As it stands, I think "It's My House" came off best here, and I think Diana had the audience in the palm of her hand with the upbeat numbers such as this and "Mirror Mirror". You could tell they were getting restless during the Billie Holliday song and she even chastised them for it!

Despite the complaints, for Dianaphiles this is a no-brainer as a MUST-SEE!


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