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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
George Michael barks up the wrong tree
George Michael in a Los Angeles park
George Michael is no stranger to controversy

Being unceremoniously outed as a gay man across the globe when he was caught indulging in "lewd conduct" in a Beverley Hills toilet seems to have given George Michael's career a new lease of life.

Having been every girl's dream with Wham, then metamorphasising into a safe solo artist, Michael's conduct since the incident has confirmed him as a star not afraid of courting controversy.

His humorous video for Outside reconstructed the whole unfortunate toilet situation, told from his perspective.

Mocking the police, it made light of a difficult time for the singer.

Tony Blair is portrayed as George  W Bush's poodle
The music does not live up to the video
So when his latest video featured a caricature of Tony Blair as George W Bush's poodle and one of Cherie Blair in bed with the Michael, the gasps of surprise and outrage were difficult to comprehend.

The whole affair has been designed to sell records, of course, and on the evidence of the music presented here, Michael needs all the help he can get.

Shoot The Dog was written, arranged, performed and produced by Michael, albeit with the help of a sample of Human League's Love Action (I Believe In Love).

The final result is a somewhat flaccid mish-mash of vocals, sampled synths and rhythm which border on being funky.

But the deep-end vocals are largely illegible, while Michael's characteristic high-end work lands somewhere between self-parody and Barry Gibb.

And the music seems like a genetic fusion of Outside and his earlier controversial hit I Want Your Sex.

Despite that, with the lack of perceptible hooks of any kind, the whole affair largely washes over the listener, leaving one wondering what all the fuss was about.

But we know, of course. Good marketing, a politically motivated video and an attempt to maintain his A-list credentials lie behind Shoot The Dog.

But really, this mutt is barking up the wrong tree.

Shoot the Dog is released on 29 July on Polydor.

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George Michael
Hear a clip from Shoot the Dog
See also:

23 Jul 02 | Entertainment
06 Jul 02 | Talking Point
05 Jul 02 | Entertainment
19 Jul 02 | Entertainment
18 Mar 02 | Entertainment
27 Jun 02 | Entertainment
17 Feb 00 | Americas
05 Dec 98 | Entertainment
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