Girl power arrives on U.S. soil; country music dominates new releases

Sound Bytes

Jake

McKim

The Spice Girls, the pop diva group that has taken over the world (or so they think), have scheduled a 40-city U.S. tour guaranteed to "spice up your life."

The tour will start in West Palm Beach on June 15 and wind up in Dallas on August 26, making a quick stop in Houston on Aug. 25 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Music critics across the country are anxious to see if the Girls can really put on a show, but according to our European counterparts, we should not hold our breath.

A three-disc compilation celebrating women in hip-hop is due out later this year. The collection, featuring such artists as Queen Latifah and Queen Pen, will be entitled (don't laugh) Fat Beats and Bra Straps.

Also in rap news, Puff Daddy-protégé Mase was arrested this week for allegedly propositioning a prostitute in New York City. The 19-year-old star of such hits as "Feel So Good" and "What You Want" faces charges of disorderly conduct and is due in court in May.

Billboard Beat

Finding their way to the top of the singles charts is R&B trio Next with its smash hit, "Too Close." "All My Life," K-Ci and JoJo's ballad, reigned for two weeks but was not able to hold back the out-of-nowhere success of Next's catchy, stylish jingle, which samples Queen's classic "Another One Bites the Dust."

The number three, four and five songs on the chart are Montell Jordan's "Let's Ride," Madonna's dance-oriented "Frozen," and finding her way into the top five is country girl Shania Twain with "You're Still the One."

The soundtrack to Titanic continues its global domination on the charts once again, sailing over the competition for the 14th straight week and selling over 410,000 units. Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love has followed close behind for several weeks but hasn't been able to handle the mammoth sales of that unsinkable ship.

Master P's new movie soundtrack, I Got the Hookup, did not make the noise some experts expected on the countdown but did sell more than 100,000 copies. Coming in at number four on the charts is the Backstreet Boys' self-titled smash, and holding firm on the number five spot was Savage Garden's self-titled album.

Next Week's Releases

Record stores should label Tuesday as Country Music Day. Besides Public Enemy's soundtrack to the upcoming Spike Lee joint He Got Game, country stars Faith Hill, George Strait and Randy Travis are dropping new albums. The simultaneous release of these three country collections is sure to create a logjam at the top of the country charts next week.

H-town Live

Shawn Colvin of Grammy-winning "Sunny Came Home" fame performs at the Aerial Theater at Bayou Place on Wednesday with opening act Ana Egge. Tickets are still available and range from $22 to $29.

Catch Jerry Jeff Walker tonight at Frontier Fiesta at 10 p.m. Admission is free, and it's sure to be a rousing concert.

Appearing in the Choral Recital Hall of the Moores School of Music building on the UH campus is band D.2.U 365. The Arubean Brass Band, consisting of four snare drummers, two tenor drummers, a four-piece mid-range drummer, two bass players, two high steel players, six trumpetters, six trombone players and a partridge in a pear tree, will perform from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday.

Got any music gossip or info that you feel I need to know, or just want to drop me a line? E-mail me at Jslim22@aol.com.

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