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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Track-by-Track: Salem Al Fakir - Ignore This

"Ignore this," indeed. Seemingly out of the blue, Salem al Fakir's made his most adventurous, left-field album and also his best. The first half, especially, goes for the synth-pop jugular and is impossible to ignore.

1. The Song I Never Wrote - A short, atmospheric instrumental introduction that sets up the synth elements of the album. Nothing spectacular, and it's an instrumental so I'm not grading.

2. 4 O'Clock - Kicks off with a catchy marimba-sounding synth beat with hand claps. It's a midtempo, but the gorgeous layered vocals and bright instrumentation will have you dancing. 10/10

3. Virgin Mary - The album's most instant, and best, track. The frenetic synth hook reminds me of Prince in his 80's heyday and the chorus is inescapable. I'd go so far as saying it's his best song yet. 10/10

4. Red Rock - The first of several tracks that rely on the vocoder, this doesn't even sound like Salem. It's a mostly instrumental piece that builds up into some dramatic orchestral flourishes. It's fascinating, if not instantly catchy. 9/10

5. Keep On Walking - This is his Melodifestivalen entry, and already a hit single. The synths are a bit more subdued here, but the melody is anything but. The chorus is almost transcendent. 10/10

6. This Is For - An aggressive electro song that reminds me of Robyn quite a bit. He kind of raps the verses, and the chorus uses the vocoder prominently again. 8/10

7. Part Of It - A very atmospheric synth ballad with a subtle melody that creeps up on you. Drags the energy down a bit, but it's beautiful. 8/10

8. Brooklyn Sun - This is much more like his older stuff. It's very pretty, but feels out of place on the album. It's a much more organic sounding ballad. 7/10

9. Don't Wanna Talk About It - Another squiggly synth interlude. Instrumental. Doesn't add much.

10. Bloody Breakfast - Sort of a companion to This Is For. The lyrics are pretty dark and so is the sound. The electro elements are back again, but muted. It feels more like an experiment than a pop song, but it's succeeds in being interesting. 7/10

11. Split My Personality - Another atmospheric downtempo. I can take it or leave it. It sounds a lot more like his older stuff. The melody's not particularly engaging, though. 6/10

12. Cowboys & Dinosaurs - The other song that I can take or leave. It's pretty (and pretty short), but totally brings down the energy. It's got much more of an acoustic sound to it. 5/10

13. I'm So Happy - And we're back! This is a funky close to the album that features an old school boogie/disco beat and some ridiculously happy chimes (even though the lyrics are less than positive). It's one of his best melodies on the album. 9/10

Album Grade: 8.1/10

(Hint: Bring the score up a full point by tacking on older songs Backseat and Roxy, which fit the sound of the album's best tracks perfectly.)

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Blogger Myfizzypop said...

This does sound rather good. I'm quite excited and now waiting for this to arrive through my letterbox (even though Ola Joyce still hasn't arrived, weeks later :/ But Magnus Carlsson's A Little Respect came this morning!)

1:02 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

About Ola Joyce. I expected an album announcement by now but Sweden doesn't really seem to be taking to him. I hope that means we still get a full-length.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous prigix said...

woh, this really sounds great! it's been almost a year since I last listened to one of his songs, but I really like the the new tracks!

thank you for posting! Always a pleasure visiting your blog

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, and thanx for a great blog. I was googling Ola Joyce today after having watched him/them support Mika in Stockholm some days ago. Good show and great response from the crowd. So on the contrary I think it is looking up. Know nothing about the release though.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, but "ignore this" marks the right statement. There's not a single good tune except for "keep on walking" on this one. Especially no good swedish synth-pop, there's lots of much better stuff, especially in scandinavia...really huge disappointment and irrelevant.
But check for yourself.

2:03 PM  

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