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"Rarely does a singer allow himself to make a fool of himself, and even rarer are the occasions when it actually works."


WHEN BOO! disbanded in 2003, after the release of TNTLC, the old adage “you don‘t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” hit, and the South African music-listening audience dreamt of better days when the sound of monki punk would waft out of Melville’s Roxy's and a bedazzled Chris Chameleon shape shifted in angular movements, his eyes telling a tall tale, his voice hitting a falsetto note. Seven years later Chameleon and Ampie Omo regroup, minus Princess Leonie, plus Riaan van Rensburg, to record The Three of Us (2010).
(Photo courtesy of Renee Frouws.)


The Three of Us

Available on: The Three of Us

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The Dead Weather - I Cut Like a Buffalo

Chris Chameleon: I was checking out stuff on VH1 when this song came up. It has a really screwed up video: totally confusing, but, get this, I thought it was one of those retro sessions and that they were doing a tune from the 70s. Then I see Jack White in it and I'm like, “Wtf?!” Jack White is the reigning king of rock and roll, this guy is unstoppable. He’s totally brilliant and the best thing about him is that he's just making music as he feels it, whether with The White Stripes, The Raconteurs or The Dead Weather: there's very little compromise in his music. I wouldn't recommend trying to make sense of the lyrics, though. What's “I cut like a buffalo” mean? Perhaps he let one rip? I don't know, it doesn't matter.

Available on: Horehound

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ALICIA KEYS - Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart

Chris Chameleon: I can identify with this song where I am in my life right now, which is kind of important if you're going to listen to a song over and over. The production is really sassy with clever arrangement, and the way the chords progress is quite exceptional in a world of basic three chord sho bee doo bab stuff. As a musician it's hard not to be envious of such production: the standard is right up there with the best the world has to offer. Of course the song also has this 80s thing to it: the echoes on the whip crack snare shots in the chorus and the cheesy keys, which I, as an 80s teenager, find totally irresistible. I saw it on MK and was immediately hooked.

Available on: The Element of Freedom

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BOO! - Prayer for my Cedar of Lebanon

Chris Chameleon: This song is on my mind these days. I don't need to play it, because I actually know it pretty well. It's one of those songs that does not mince intentions when it hits the heart. It's about hurt and not much else, so nothing to get too deep about. It's a pretty brave tune too, I think it takes letting go of concerns over what anyone might think when you say it like it is, and that ending: rarely does a singer allow himself to make a fool of himself, and even rarer are the occasions when it actually works. The song sounds different from all the other recordings on the album because it was an improvised guide track: it was sung there, as you hear it, for the first time ever, and just busked to its conclusion

Available on: The Three of Us

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ABBA - As Good as New

Chris Chameleon: The thing is, you can't allow yourself to be dead serious all the time, especially when you’re going through a particularly dark time in your life. This is where this track hits the mark every time. I think that somewhere in the 90s the emphasis shifted towards being cool, and a lot of people forgot how to have fun. That is why Justin Timberlake, in spite of being really good, can't touch Michael Jackson, or even MC Hammer. Pulling your face into a pissed off expression and going on about how the world owes you something just won't make you feel good, man. You can get in some real good production and hit a kiff tune, but without the feel-good you're just cool, and then you get old and then you're not cool anymore, but you're still feeling like crap, and what good is that? So I recommend this ABBA tune, because it is cool and it feels good, and if it doesn't get you jumping up with a smile you either have no heart… or no legs!

Available on: Voulez-Vous

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THE TEMPER TRAP - Sweet Disposition

Chris Chameleon: I heard this song for the first time last year during the Tri Nations competition on SuperSport (you know, the one we won!) They had this really great montage of men running, and almost killing each other to get an egg shaped ball across a chalk line. Tears of pain, tears of joy and all the while this unlikely tune for such a brutal competition! The channel actually had the decency to have a little indication at the left bottom corner as to the name of the song and the band, so I went out and got it and have been enjoying this sweeping epic for more than a year now. Shows how powerful a tool TV is for music, so, can we please have more South African music on TV, with credit notes, so we can pay this service not only to Australian bands, but also our own. That said, I'm very pleased with the Locnville tune on this year's SuperSport advertisement - way to go, guys!

Available on: Conditions

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RANCID - Fall Back Down

Ampie Omo: I think the reason that Rancid are so underrated is because they are, essentially, a punk band and just the word punk scares people away. Tim Armstrong the principle song writer and lead singer is a true poet. The way he strings concepts together is so pleasing. Fall Back Down is off the album Indestructible which is one of my top three albums. The song is all about not being worried because there are people much worse off, and a true friend always has your back: “If I fall back down you’re gonna help me back up again, you’re gonna be my friend.” Take a listen, you might just discover not all punk is loud and aggressive.

Available on: Indestructible

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TENACIOUS D - Explosivo

Ampie Omo: Jack Black restored my faith in rock ‘n roll. Explosivo embodies everything a great song should, from harmonic ooohs to demonic growls it builds and rocks even though it’s barely longer than two minutes. I love Tenacious D because they make really good and really funny songs, proving you can make comedic music, retain your integrity and not have to sacrifice the music for a punch line. Rock on!

Available on: Tenacious D

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ABBA - Mamma Mia

Riaan van Rensburg: I chose this song to represent ABBA. I love all their work so I find it very difficult to choose one song of theirs, because choosing on means you’re leaving out another. I think the way they write songs is absolutely brilliant. Their music is timeless, classic even.

Available on: ABBA Gold

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PITBULL - I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)

Riaan van Rensburg: I'm not a big fan of the group as I am of the song. I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) just has something in it that makes me want to dance every time I hear it. Often with modern music songs get overplayed, and eventually one gets tired of hearing a particular song on repeat; somehow I don't get that feeling with this song. It won’t go down as one of the best songs of all time, but I love its groove.

Available on: Rebelution

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     The Weekly Mix Tape 2010©
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