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Friday, September 10, 2010

Track-by-Track: Hurts - Happiness

Hurts come onto the scene with raised expectations. It's hard for any band to live up to "best of '10" press before they've even got an album out. Add to that their stellar reputation from now-defunct pop band Daggers and this album carries with it more baggage than any other this year. To its credit, it offers exactly the type of sound we'd expect from Hurts. That's both a good thing and a bad thing.

1. Silver Lining - A slightly aggressive midtempo that goes big on the drama but a little soft on the melody. The chorus just doesn't soar the way that their best songs do. Would've worked better in a different track position on the album. 8/10

2. Wonderful Life - The single that really defines the Hurts sound. It's moody without being dragged down by a plodding sound. I love the storytelling in the lyrics and the hook is incredibly strong. 10/10

3. Blood, Tears & Gold - A big, lighters-in-the-air ballad that's totally misplaced this early in the album. It's more of a "second half" song, if you know what I mean. Still, one of their best ballads. 9/10

4. Sunday - The kind of soaring uptempo that I hoped would appear at least once on this album. The orchestral flourishes transform this into something quite special. 10/10

5. Stay - Another winner, and the best ballad on the album. If this isn't a hit single, I'll be surprised. It's one of those songs you hear for the first time and know it'll be big. Pop magic. 10/10

6. Illuminated - I've never been very fond of this track. It's one of the moodier songs, but comes and goes without really doing anything. I think I'm in the minority on this one, though. 7/10

7. Evelyn - An old Daggers song, this has been augmented into something completely over-the-top. It builds and builds until exploding in a heavy ending. A perfect example of what Hurts should be about. 9/10

8. Better Than Love - Another Daggers song, and this one hasn't been changed much from the original. It's one of the few uptempos on here (they could've done with more) and definitely a highlight. It's all dramatic, swirling synths. 10/10

9. Devotion (ft. Kylie Minogue) - A moody piece that sounds very similar to Silver Lining, except it's miles better. It's nice hearing Minogue on a dark track like this again. Future single, for sure. It would be a great Winter release. 9/10

10. Unspoken - This has improved so much from the original demo. I love the kitchen sink production, though I'm guessing it won't be to everyone's taste. Like Evelyn, this builds and builds until it becomes something quite anthemic. 9/10

11. The Water - A quiet closer with symphonic backing. The lyrics are nice but the melody's not one of the stronger on the album. Atmospheric, but not quite as affecting as it could have been. 7/10

Album Grade: 8.9/10

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Ark Army said...

I totally love this album. "Sunday" and "Devotion" are my favs at the moment.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

it's a great album, and as someone who only really investigated Daggers AFTER Hurts came into being, i think i have a slightly different take on it. Still, some great pop moments and I really hope they get a bit hit with Stay.

3:10 AM  
Anonymous prigix said...

OMG...Evelyn is just so...powerful. This would go great with a movie like Avatar imho.

Daggers or Hurts, they're still amazing!

3:43 AM  
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