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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Track-by-Track: Dragonette - Fixin' To Thrill

Dragonette's second album was just released in Canada and Australia. I am nowhere near Australia, but do live right across the Canadian border, so I snagged myself a copy and have some early thoughts for you.

1. Fixin' To Thrill - I love the video for this song! On the record, it's one of the hardest, edgiest tracks and although it's not instantly memorable, it's a fantastic taste of what's to come. 9/10

2. Gone Too Far - This is a weird one, probably the strangest on the album. It's like an electronic hoe-down. Whether that's a good sound or not is debatable, though it's certainly interesting. Sometimes I think that the quirkiness gets in the way of melody, though. 8/10

3. Liar - My favorite track on the album, this has a poppier dance sound. The chorus is astoundingly catchy--subtle yet hard-edged at the same time. It would do wonders as a single in Sweden (is their stuff even out in Sweden?). 10/10

4. Stupid Grin - Fine uptempo stuff, it sounds a lot like their debut. The melody could use a little oomph, but this will definitely get you dancing. 8/10

5. Easy - A slower song, supported with some great, minimal electronics. It builds throughout, and the lyrics are especially nice. There's more of a melody here, which is always a plus. 9/10

6. Pick Up The Phone - Another single, I think this is the stronger of the two. The verses are truly gorgeous, as are the vocals. This is one of those stately pop songs that grows better with each listen. 10/10

7. We Rule The World - Though the 80's are obviously an inspiration throughout, this track especially sounds like it could have been on the radio beside Human League and Tears For Fears. The synths here are gorgeous. 10/10

8. Big Sunglasses - This has the same bright, dancey sound as track four, but it's better. The chorus is almost Beach Boys-esque, though twisted to fit Dragonette's style. Another winner. 10/10

9. Okay Dolore - Weird little song with one half of Tegan & Sarah on background vocals. Though still very pop, this has a bit of an indier vibe to it. Very enjoyable, nonetheless. 8/10

10. Come On Be Good - I love the melody of this, especially the bridge and the chorus. It sounds like something I've heard before, though I can't put my finger on it. Another uptempo. Very good. 9/10

11. You're A Disaster - This is the slowest song on the album and the least electronic. The melody's pretty good, but it cuts the energy right out of the record. Pretty, but my least favorite track. 6/10

12. Don't Be Funny - Another one I can kinda take or leave. It's a nice mid-tempo piece, but I feel like the melody is missing a little oomph. 7/10

Album Grade: 8.7/10

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Hello, we're still standing here"

Tokio Hotel's second English-language album comes out next Tuesday and I honestly didn't care one way or another until I heard the fantastic single Automatic. I've always admired these guys' style more than their music, but that could change soon. They've adopted a slightly dancier sound for Humanoid, and on some tracks it works amazingly. An early highlight is Darkside Of The Sun, which has some great, aggressive industrial verses that are probably the catchiest thing on the album. THIS is the sound these guys should be aiming for, because it is very, very fun (although, to be fair, "fun" probably isn't really what they're going for). It reminds me quite a bit of when Orgy covered Blue Monday about a decade or so ago. This is better, though--more energy.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"It's gonna burn us alive"

Dragonette's second album comes out today in Canada and Australia. I already took my twenty minute drive up to BC to snag a copy, though the band was nice enough to supply me with the album for review in my email today (and review it I shall, when I've had some time to digest it). Though I've only listened to the album once on the way home today, I wanted to post a song so that you can get an idea of how amazing this band is if you've never heard of them before. Any track from the album would display this, but Liar really stuck out to me on first listen. It's a little more subdued than other album tracks, but has a really pretty melody that reminds me in parts of Lykke Li's I'm Good, I'm Gone. Oh, and if you haven't seen it already, check out the video for Boys & Girls (with Martin Solveig). It's one of my favorites of the year.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)

Monday, September 28, 2009

"I gave it all for the long run"

Selena Gomez's debut comes out tomorrow and I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys pure pop music. Interestingly, I've read wildly diverging reviews of the album, from Entertainment Weekly's total trashing of the record to AMG's glowing words. I probably fall somewhere in the middle. I mean, the vocals are not what this record is about, nor do they need to be. But the production and songwriting is consistent and great for this genre, and Gomez is an appealing frontwoman (perhaps not as appealing as she is when acting, but nonetheless...). I Won't Apologize is the only track she shares a writing credit on, and although it didn't jump out at me upon first listen, it's one of my favorites now. I love the electronic pop/rock sound of this, and the chorus is very infectious.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)