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Friday, August 13, 2010

Track-by-Track: Mike Posner - 31 Minutes to Takeoff

Mike Posner's debut album is pretty interchangeable with every other current album of this genre. He fits in with the Taio Cruz's and Jason Derulo's well, so in lieu of any artistic groundbreaking, 31 Minutes becomes a case of which songs are worth hearing and which are not.

1. 31 Minutes to Takeoff - This short intro is the kind of track that I wish would have exploded into a full-blown song. The synths are beautiful. It's a shame that it doesn't segue very well into the first song.

2. Please Don't Go - A very pleasant uptempo radio number with a catchy bridge and hyper-repetitive chorus. It's set to be the second single and is a very good choice in that regard. 9/10

3. Bow Chicka Wow Wow - This actually isn't as bad as the title would suggest. The melody's a lot better than the lyrics and I like the cheesy guitar after the first chorus. Other than that, it's a skipper. 5/10

4. Cooler Than Me - One of this summer's most addictive hits. It's far and away what this album will be remembered for. The lyrics and electro pulse exhibited here was what I was hoping to find more of on the album as a whole. 10/10

5. Deja Vu - This is pretty straightforward pop/r&b, but it works better than a lot of the other tracks thanks to an infectious, uptempo melody and an old school sensibility (love the background vocals). 7/10

6. Do You Wanna? - Continues with the old-school feeling thanks to some live brass and a big hook (the best part of the song by far). Not as successful as the last track, though. 6/10

7. Cheated - A more Taio Cruz-esque uptempo, electro number, though the melody (and mean-spirited lyrics) make this a definite skipper. 5/10

8. Gone In September - A gentle, shuffling acoustic ballad. It's all a little Jason Mraz, but Posner's delivery saves it (as does the pleasant, Summery chorus - though it's go a bit of a bite). 7/10

9. Save Your Goodbye - This atmospheric ballad may just have the most staying power of anything on the album. The "hello's" are reminiscent of Lionel Richie (whether that's conscious or not), but it's the massive hook that sets this apart. 10/10

10. Synthesizer - An odd, slow-burning r&b track. The title's better than the actual song, to be honest. The chorus is pleasant, but too sleepy. 6/10

11. Delta 1406 - This keeps sounding like it's going to explode into some massive electro number, but it remains a disappointing, murky dirge of a song. It's the most experimental by far, but the experiment results in something more akin to mood music than an actual song. 4/10

12. Falling - Another ballad to close off the album, though it morphs into a midtempo electro stomp halfway through. The vocals are nice (especially the background), but it's not particularly memorable. 6/10

Album Grade: 6.8/10

(Delete a bunch of filler tracks and add You Don't Have To Leave and Evil Woman from his previous recordings and you've got a great EP)


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Amy Meredith - Late Nights

"We used to think we'd save the world"

It seems that I've been following Amy Meredith for years now, nearly since the inception of this blog. That being said, they've never quite graduated to that must-listen status for me. I find a lot of their stuff a little too anonymous, the same kind of Killers-lite music made by thousands of indie bands around the planet. Late Nights is one of the tracks that vaults above anonymity, even as it revels in its inspirations (best of all? The Tears For Fears "na na nana na" towards the end). It's heavier on the synth and disco than most of their songs, which may explain why it's one of my favs. These guys are hitting it big in their native Australia, and I'm confident that this, if picked as a single, would only cement that. I like it better than any of their singles so far, that's for sure.

Amy Meredith - Late Nights by alienhits

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


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fashion - Blinded By The Dark

"We keep on pumping but the veins are dry"

Fashion are a new four-piece pop/rock band from Sweden that needs to be on your radar immediately. This song, in particular, has a surging dance energy and dramatic melody reminiscent of fellow Swedes Gravitonas work on their single, Kites. It's that perfect hybrid of rock, synth and pure pop that Scandinavian artists seem to do better than anyone else. It's cool and vaguely indie, but produced with such a meticulous sheen that it'd be hard for Top 40 radio to ignore. When the funk really comes in after the first chorus, resistance is futile. And although this (to me) is clearly the standout "single" of the bunch, the other songs they've got streaming on their facebook are pretty darn good as well.

Fashion - Blinded By The Dark by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to more here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Track-by-Track: Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 2

There is no more exciting popstar out there at the moment than Robyn. Another reviewer compared her recent output to Prince's heyday, and I think that's the perfect comparison. Like Prince at his best, Robyn melds experimentalism with pure chart-topping pop. And Pt. 2 of her Body Talk project is even better than the first.

1. In My Eyes - On first listen, this was slightly underwhelming. That's quickly changed. Rather than relying on a gimmick, this goes for the pop jugular with a melody so sticky and majestic that it'll be in your head for months. The programmed drums are to die for. 10/10

2. Include Me Out - Another old-school Robyn track that impresses more with repeated listens. This is the perfect sound for her--melodic, but totally quirky. The lyrics on this, especially, are great fun. 10/10

3. Hang With Me - A great follow-up to Dancing On My Own that utilizes the same type of hypnotic Kleerup beat that's served her so well in the past. It eclipses the acoustic version by miles and has a lethal earworm of a melody. Great, great pop music. 10/10

4. Love Kills - A more menacing club track, I'm not as fond of this as the past three. The general atmosphere is an interesting departure, but I guess I wish that it wasn't quite so anonymous. Still, it's an easy 9/10

5. We Dance To The Beat - Probably a more interesting experiment on paper than it ends up being aurally, the best part of this is the lyrics. If those lyrics would have been tacked to some type of hook (any hook), this would've been a total highlight. 8/10

6. Criminal Intent - Follows the Fembots template of attitude-filled rap-pop. I prefer this to Fembots, though. It feels a little funkier... grittier, even. However, I do feel that it'll wear a little thin over time. 9/10

7. U Should Know Better (ft. Snoop Dogg) - I feared that this might not work as well as I'd want it to, but I was completely long. It's my favorite thing Snoop's ever done, and a huge highlight of the album. The hook is probably the strongest out of all eight tracks, even though it might not seem so on first listen. 10/10

8. Indestructible (Acoustic) - The best ballad she's recorded in some time, this is just begging for an uptempo "remix" on the next EP. The strings add necessary drama and Robyn's voice is as strong as it gets. 10/10

Album Grade: 9.5/10

And, if you were curious, here's how I rate Pt. 1:
1. Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do - 10/10
2. Fembot - 9/10
3. Dancing On My Own - 10/10
4. Cry When You Get Older - 10/10
5. Dancehall Queen - 8/10
6. None Of Dem (ft. Royksopp) - 7/10
7. Hang With Me (Acoustic) - 8/10
8. Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa - 8/10

Album: 8.8/10

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Monday, August 09, 2010

MNDR - Fade To Black

"Afraid to act, we fade to black"

Still obsessed with that Bang Bang Bang song over here, which led me to investigate MNDR, the American singer/artist that features prominently on the track. It turns out that MNDR (aka: Amanda Warner) has self-released an exciting EP of quirky electronica that's from the Santigold school of pop. Fade To Black is one of the poppier tracks, with a big chorus and a healthy dose of funk. The whole EP definitely has a DIY feel, but there's enough there to suggest that when she inks a big deal and works with some experienced producers, the sky's the limit. She totally owns the Mark Ronson video, and in an era of Lady Gagas, she's got more than enough charisma and style to stand out.

MNDR - Fade To Black by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to more here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.