The Majak Mixtape - It's Mixtime Synergy!

Konichiwa Mixtapers! Welcome to another stunning, flawless, amazing, giving you TRULY OUTRAGEOUS realness better than your favorite edition of the Majak Mixtape, where pop culture goes when it's trying to find where Shangri-La is hiding.

It's Thirsty Thursday, and we are most definitely parched over here. Time to quench it with a sparking and fizzy dose of nostalgia as we open up another container of THROWBACK THURSDAY. It's that magical time of the week when turn back the sands to those crazier times of when people liked to wear leggings in public, and we were embroiled in a war in the Middle East. We've come so far, haven't we? We've grooved to the soundtrack of 1990s teen comedies, laughed at the pithy misadventures of Daria, spilled the cauldron with Teen Witch and got our backwards skate on last week.

This week we here at the Majak Mixtape have decided to honor one of the greatest all-girl bands of all-times. The Bangles? Walk like an Egyptian out of our face. The Go-Go's? Take a vacation. The Runaways? Go find yourself some shelter. None of these bands could possibly compare to the magic, the wonder, and the sheer crass commercialism glory that was Jem and the Holograms!

That's right folks, we're honoring Jem, Aja, Kimber, Carmen, Raya and their brand of bubblegum pop music designed to expertly part a 1980s parent from his or her money in order to buy one of the ten thousand Jem products. But before we get to the madness, the Misfits and the ridiculous amounts of attempted manslaughter for a kids cartoon, let us do what we do best and what?

First up Ashley Judd is doing what any celebrity who is no longer at their peak fame would do. No, she's not joining "Dancing With the Stars." Well at least not this season. Nope, "Kiss the Girls" star has penned a memoir detailing all the craziness of growing up a Judd with Naomi as her mother and Wynonna as her sister. The book, from what we've heard, pulls no punches as Ashley details all the ways that Naomi screwed her over and even comes after P.Diddy and Snoop Dogg and the world of hip-hop in an excerpt given to RadarOnline. In a statement that Tipper Gore would click "LIKE" on if it was posted on Facebook, Ashley says she disapproved of P.Diddy and Snoop Dogg being spokespeople for the YouthAids because:
"As far as I'm concerned, most rap and hip-hop music -- with it's rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as 'ho's' -- is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny."
Thank god for pop music being a great beacon of female empowerment and wonderfully free of women-hating lyrics and images. Right?! You know, we're not going to quibble on the rap and hip hop having a strong strain of misogyny because that's like arguing the world isn't round. What we do think is sort of sadly short-sighted of Ashley Judd not think of that rap and hip-hop artists reach a large number of young African-Americans, a specific group that has been hard hit by the AIDS crisis. So LOOK AT YOUR LIFE, LOOK AT YOUR STATISTICS.

Also releasing a book is actress-turned-frequent-singing-everywhere-personality Gwyneth Paltrow. Sadly, it's not a compilation of all the great moments of her Goop website. Instead it's a book of recipes that's supposed to honor her father who died back in 2002. DAMN YOU PALTROW. It's hard to snark on a book honoring your dead daddy. Thankfully, Paltrow gave us other material to make fun of as she got interviewed in Ladies' Home Journal and talked about trying to combat her ice queen persona, saying that there is not "uptight" about her and saying she does silly things all the time in public like hosting "Saturday Night Live." Really? Your desperate grab to try to regain your A-List status is supposed to be proof positive you're not uptight. Well, I guess you're right. The ice queen has thawed into a hot mess.

A blow to fans of paranoia-based television everywhere: Glenn Beck has announced that his daily show on the Fox News Network is drawing to an end this year. Too bad Keith Olbermann has already signed onto Al Gore's news network or we'd suggest that Beck and Keith team up for a "Simple Life"-esque road trip reality show. It would've been like the new Oprah/Gayle road trip except devoid all the palpable sexual tension. Anyway, we're going to try to buy some stock in Kleenex before the last episode because you know that the Fox Studios are just going to be absolutely flooded with Glenn Beck's tears. And Nazi metaphors. But mostly tears.

In music news, Britney Spears' album "Femme Fatale" debuted at number one with sales almost as lackluster as her live performances. Britney's album debuted in the top spot with around 276,000 copies sold, which are great numbers and more than twice as much as what Christina Aguilera pushed when she put out "Bionic" last summer. But for Ms. Spears, the numbers are a bit of a falter, being her lowest first weeks sale since her debut album some 12 years ago. Her "Circus" album debuted with some half a million in sales its first week. Yeah, even Batshit Crazy Britney era "Black Out" was able to sell more than "Femme Fatale" in its first week. 

Does it help that the album leaked ten thousand years ago? Probably not. And "Hold It Against Me" was certainly no "Womanizer" or "Gimme More." But most of the fault seems to rest on Britney Spears as she just doesn't seem to have her heart in the game. If don't give a fuck, why should we? Hell, even when stars do care, that doesn't mean the audience will. *Collective side-eye at the flops that were Ciara's last two albums*

Also, you remember how earlier in the week we said Britney Spears should just get a body double and call it a day when it comes to dancing in her videos? Girlfriend was apparently ahead of us on that according to the investigative skills of the amazing folks at ONTD. The photos posted show a body double for a sequence that consisted mainly of hair-flipping. We'll give Britney credit for not using one for all the pseudo dancing happening in "Till the World Ends." Still, that's a damn shame when even your dance double is stiff in her movements.

And from a fail to a fierce, swing your way into the rest of the Mixtape as we take on Jem and her Holograms!

Hey Mixtapers! Welcome to another fine, fresh, fierce, got nostalgia on lock installment of THROWBACK THURSDAY. Today, we're turning our attention to the quirky misadventures of Jem and her Holograms as they tried to make pop hits, get up secret identities and try to not get murdered by the Misfits. That's a lot of stuff for essentially a twenty-minute commercial for some oversized Barbie dolls with earrings that lit up.

"Jem" first started airing in sydnication back in 1985 as a totally shameless grab by Hasbro toy company to cash in on the MTV craze that had started a few years earlier. The series focuses on one Jerrica Benton, a resourceful young woman in one ugly ass beret who began the series with the death of her father. Her father ran Starlight Music as well as Starlight Orphanage and a whole lot of things he felt the need to slap the Starlight label on. He was like the Donald Trump of cartoon characters in that respect.

Jerrica's main rival for the run of the series is her father's business partner Eric Raymond, who you know is dastardly because he speaks exclusively in a James Bond villain growl. Anyway, Jerrica's dad, being a true business genius, decides to split the company directly in half with one part going to Jerrica and one part to Eric. The fact that Starlight Industries, something that seemingly has a stake in every possible thing in the world, is just tidily handed over two people is, on the scale of this show, one of the least head-shaking things. You know, like how the opening credits give you a totally false sense of the quality of the animation you're actually going to be experiencing.

Anyway, through a series of mindless complications and plot turns, Jerrica finds out her dad left her the "the ultimate audio-visual entertainment synthesizer" in the form of Synergy, who apparently shopped at the same place as Gaia from "Captain Planet." Anywho, Synergy can project holograms onto Jerrica and whatnot. With that flimsy and needlessly convoluted premise in place, Jerrica decides to create an alter ego in the form of Jem. Faster than you can say SHOWTIME SYNERGY, the girls are speeding around in a car and singing tunes in mini-music videos that populated the show.

We always adored the fact that there was so much repetition of lyrics in songs that only lasted barely longer than a minute.

And what's a cartoon show without some great villains. While Eric Raymond was the head honcho mastermind, Jem and the Holograms spent most of their battling with Eric Raymond's main act The Misfits. We know we're supposed to root for Jem and the Holograms to win, but they, especially Jem/Jerrica, could be so intensely whiny compared to the delightful evil of Pizzazz, Stormer, and Roxy. What's a more 1980s for greedy Reagan years than the Misfits' ode to being the best at everything, "Winning is Everything."

We loved all the flirtation with death that Jem and the Holograms had to experience in order just to make a hit. In just the first few episodes alone, their house was set on fire, Jerrica was almost run over by a bulldozer, they were run off the road, and a bomb was placed in their house. Who knew that Top 40 Radio was such a warzone. And we loved the message that The Misfits never really got punished for everything. Yeah, Jem beat them on the charts but does a number one really off-set a bomb in your house? Maybe? If any important life lesson could be learned from "Jem" is that attempted murder is totally fine as long as it's done in close proximity to a music number.

The music of "Jem" is the one thing that we truly remember because it was better than a crappy little cartoon should have a right to be. They had great power ballads like "Love is Here."

or 1980s pop

One of the "greatest" songs comes from one of the most screwy episodes of the show. And this is a show that sent the characters back in time to meet Amadeus. But anyway, Jem and the Holograms feel like their music has gotten a little stale so they call up a musicologist. You know, like how all pop stars do when they are having a rut. Anyway, the musicologist suggest that the girls go to Tibet and try to find Shangri-La. PERFECTLY REASONABLE RESPONSE TO THEIR INQUIRY. And of course, everybody goes along with this plan. This leads us to WTF magic of this song:

You know, still way more believeable than when Jem is nominated for an Oscar so there you go.

And if the music and the wacky storylines didn't keep you interested, the truly fucked-up nature of the Jerrica/Jem/Rio love triangle would. Oh yeah. Leave it to this show to have a love triangle with two of the sides BEING THE SAME PERSON. Why Jerrica never told Rio that she was Jem we don't know. And we're not quite sure how Rio didn't figure it out either. But hey, this is Hollywood. They once wanted me to believe that somebody couldn't tell the difference between Uma Thurman's and Janeane Garofalo's voices in "The Truth About Cats and Dogs." Anyway, all their angst led to some good songs.

But really, most kids were just into the show for the toys. Those commercials milked the ever-loving life out of the "Truly Outrageous" tune as they detailed all sorts of toys like a Jem stage.

Or the Jem Backstager. (How that isn't a term for groupie sex, we're not quite sure)

Jem even inspired a copycat doll in the form of Barbie and the Rockers.

Ken: "When Barbie asked me to join the band I said, 'That's cool.'"
Barbie: "Now I dance with my maaaaaaaan."

Lord, the 1980s were just giving all kinds of shitty relationship models for young girls.

By the third season of the show, "Jem" pretty much had run out of steam plus parents were tired at the fact that the "Jem" clothes only fit Jem and the other characters because they were bigger than Barbies. So the show ended, and we were sadly left without great moments like when a guest character got hooked on one of those magical 1980s PSA pills. You know, the kind that has all of the side effects every possible illicit drug rolled up into one?

Though shamefully without official DVDs anymore, there is a rumor that classic TV DVD outfit Shout! Factory is planning to release "Jem" at some point. And that would be outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous.

And that's the Throwback Thursday for today. As always, we wish you love, peace and downloads! BRING ON THE JEM COVER BY FREEZEPOP!

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