I was faced with a choice, at a difficult age. Would I write a book, or should I take to the stage

Wednesday, August 11


Dear oh dear, this has been a drawn out sort of a thing hasn't it. The panhandling, the waiting and hoping. And now, we review. By way of background:

* Sara-Marie ought to have won the first Australian Big Brother in 2001 (she came third). She made a name for herself as a BB contestant for her constant, maniacal "bum-dancing" (which involved copious slapping of one's own bottom while giggling NON-STOP). Until Harry M Miller got hold of her and turned her into nothing but a bum-dancing embecile, she had some real promise as something more than the host of a shitty kids show called "Totally Wild" (though, that show has possibly THE best theme song ever. Animal noises are heard all the way through it, and talk about JAUNTY!) and Nicabate spokesperson. She was widely loved for her joie de vivre, for being brash, crass and extremely funny. This public love was fairly fleeting and has (Nic)abated largely these days, but we still hope she reappears somewhere unexpected on a semi-regular basis.

* The Sirens are a record company outfit owned, according to the electronic lattice, by "001 Productions" (which is also the artist behind the Big Brother theme "tune") with no real success of their own to speak of. They were meant to have an album of their own out last year, which would have been absolutely hilarious, but clearly THEY FORGOT TO MAKE IT. The internet biography we've been looking at claims that Sara-Marie herself handpicked The Sirens to duet with for "I'm So Excited (The Bum Dance)" ("they received a call from the now infamous Sara Marie. She wanted to do a cover of the Pointer Sisters song, 'I'm So Excited'. Sara Marie could think of no better group than Sirens to help her pull it off.") We are sure that this is completely correct and that S-M and the hapless Sirens were not simply thrown together by a disinterested BMG A+R person since no-one else would ever consider signing up to such a disquieting collaboration. Merril Bainbridge also does all their vocal arrangements but sagely opted to be credited on the single sleeve with a minimum of fanfare as "M. Bainbridge".

This single has four tracks and we are going to carefully critique each one. So, SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP.

1. "I'm So Excited (The Bum Dance)" (Bum dance mix)
So here we have the "radio version". It starts with S-M bellowing "Hi, this is Sara-Marie - I've finally got to make the record that I've been so excited about!". So you kind of know it's going to be at least, eg, quite good. Then a bit of a pop-trance riffy thing starts up. Not proper trance, we wouldn't think, but it does the job doesn't it. "Let's go!" yells Sara-Marie and we're really in business when a Siren begins her beautiful Siren song. A vocoder assists. No Sara-Marie yet, apart from some of her sampled mutterings ("Where do I come in?" "Hahahahaaa."). Then, in the chorus, S-M finally gets a go. She is doing the "echo" backing vocals. She is all vocoder. We mean ALL. It's quite excellent. More of the same and then the middle 8 appears, and it features some more excellent S-M "musings":

* "Oh, where's Ben and Blair." (tone: disappointed, tired)
* "Are there any cameras around here?" (tone: mischievous)
* "This is the bum dance! You gotta shake that arse (Shake that arse)!" (tone: jubilant)

A few more Sirens jump in for the last few choruses which also feature S-M's vocodered backing vocals and cries of "Hercules, Hercules" (a reference that we sadly never understood at the time). It ends. EXCELLENT. 5 Gretels out of 5:

2. "I'm So Excited (The Bum Dance)" (Escape the house mix)

0.33 So far, exactly the same as the Bum Dance mix.
0.53 EXACTLY the same.
1.21 This is a bit of a sham, isn't it.
2.01 Ah well, remixes are usually shit anyway (except for Almighty, but we don't get that in Australia, except for when Kylie is courting gays)
2.55 Possibly this bit is a bit "broken down" in comparison to the original. But it really does sound EXACTLY the same.
4.17 There is a different bit here, some robot singing. But it's VERY low in the mix.

Verdict: Why change a winning formula? 5 Gretels:

3. "I'm So Excited (The Bum Dance)" (Where's the camera mix)

Well, WHAT-OH, this is the same as well! It actually doesn't have S-M's half-arsed "statement of intention" at the beginning, though. Same arrangement. Same production. Not even a slightly extended version.

4.00 The vocals have been removed from the fadeout. This is the only difference. It is always excellent when the vocals finish before the backing track fades out, so this gets 5 tiny Gretels:

4. "Feelin' Free"

Now, what the hell is this. Tinny keyboard noises, a plasticky beat and S-M yelling "Shake that arse." "Hit it!" "Let's go!" "Wheeeeee!" over and over again like a talking troll doll. This is really an actual remix of "I'm So Excited (The Bum Dance)", but it seems that the fact that it is even slightly different from the original track gives S-M and her Sirens license to list it as a "new track". "Wheeeee!", she's yelling again.

"Feelin' Free" is, to be honest, making us feel a little bit sick. However, S-M's samples are quite funny and the Sirens have been completely removed from "the mix". So yeah,


At 10:59 pm, Blogger Crystal Gallagher-Starr said...

I'm just so excited Stu got a shout-out.

That was brilliant though. I think you have been really hiting your stride today.

And now I wish I had a copy of the single. I had no idea there was a rare b-side on it.

At 11:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay, I'm glad you discovered the genius that is the Sara-Marie and Sirens collaboration! Sirens were meant to have an album out but after I'm So Excited they put out their own trashy single Like Fire, like Rain which failed to make the top 50. The record company obviously realised they were flogging a dead horse and the album got shelved. Oh, and Sarah-Jane (the Internet's most downloaded woman and the Chiko roll girl) used to be an original member. They released a single called Give A Little Love (I think?) and did an underwear spread *snigger* in the now defunct Sain Unlimited magazine.

Oh, and you gave all tracks 5 Gretel's?! I only like track 1...

- Beckhamsboi


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