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Friday, September 24, 2010

Kite - A Little More Time

We're the people that have it all"

Kite just released their third EP, called (quite creatively) III. As a whole, I don't like it as well as the other two, but it's always a treat to hear new material from these guys. A Little More Time has the catchiest hook on the entire EP, and even then it's not a knock-you-out sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs chorus. Kite's brand of electro is a little subtler... more mysterious and out there. Sometimes I wish they'd just go all out pop, but that's not really the purpose of this duo. Singer Nicklas Stenemo gets to do that already in Melody Club. Regardless, the icy electro found here is a great example of their overall sound and gets better as it goes on, building into something quite majestic by the end.

Kite - A Little More Time by alienhits

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


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Track-by-Track: Ola Svensson - Ola

In the world of Swedish pop, Ola's third album is about as long-anticipated as they come. It's been years (and several excellent singles) since his last release, and the general consensus seemed to be that he'd come back with a sound that far eclipsed his post-Idol albums of the past. Did he deliver?

1. All Over The World - A bombastic, string-laden entry to the album and one of the highest points. This is a worldwide smash waiting to happen, and a nice blend of Ola's old Bassflow sound and his new, slightly urban identity. What a chorus. 10/10

2. Unstoppable (The Return Of Natalie) -After all the dust has settled, this remains one of the strongest songs out of this year's Melodifestivalen. The paino riff, the bombast (I can't overuse that word in this context)... it's all perfection. This is the kind of music Ola should be making. 10/10

3. Y.T.G. (You're That Girl) - A lightweight, summery pop song with an emphasis on melody. It's cheesy in all the right ways, and ridiculously catchy. Not up to par with the prior tracks, but it grows on you. 8/10

4. Riot - The most aggressive dance track on the album (and in his career, I'd say), this benefits from all of the current computer/vocoder tricks. It's not particularly original, but benefits from a pure blast of energy. 9/10

5. Overdrive - I wasn't a fan of this single initially. It just doesn't suit Ola as well as those big pop songs do. But, as far as acoustic, strummy radio tracks go, this is pretty nice. It works well in the context of the album, though it's still not one of my favorites. 7/10

6. Beautiful Rain - A big, dramatic ballad. I like this a lot more than I would have expected to. The melody and vocals on the verses are particularly striking. Plus, the way that chorus builds? Very nice. 8/10

7. Busy Doing Nothing - An odd, electro track with vocals that sound more than a little slurry/drunk. The overall sound is far more interesting than it has to be, which is always a plus. It's cool to hear a different layer to Ola's vocals. 9/10

8. Still Remember - Another track I didn't like when it appeared a few months ago on the EP, but like Overdrive it's grown on me. There's a strong r&b influence here, and the sound reminds me of music that was popular about seven years ago (especially with that then-ubiquitous chipmunk voice). This, and the aggression of the chorus, makes the track a late album highlight. 9/10

9. Let It Hit You - This, on the other hand, is too forgettable and boring to make much of an impression. It could've been performed by anyone in this genre and sounded exactly the same. 6/10

10. Twisted Memories - A big ballad to end the album. It's not as good as Beautiful Rain, for sure. In fact, these last couple of tracks just seem tacked on. I would've much preferred he just add previous singles Love In Stereo and Sky's The Limit. 6/10

Album Grade: 8.2/10

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mark Ronson - Somebody To Love Me (ft.Boy George & Andrew Wyatt)

"I lost what was in the teenage dust"

So, I've gotta say Mark Ronson's upcoming album doesn't quite live up to the bar set by the singles, but it's a whole heck of a lot fresher than his last release. The pair of Boy George and Andrew Wyatt (from The Bird And The Bee) feature prominently on this track (and Wyatt is on a number of the tracks throughout). This is by far my favorite of his features, though. The track hearkens back to Ronson's soul sound from the last album, but the haunting vocals and building instrumentation really add up to something special. There are hooks upon hooks here, from the sprightly to the almost funereal. It adds up to a seesaw melody that really sneaks up on you. Of all the tracks on the record, I could see this as a future single (and it would follow the same path that Stop Me did -- the songs are very similar).

Mark Ronson - Somebody To Love Me (ft. Rose Elinor Dougall & Andrew Wyatt) by alienhits

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


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pop Blitz 9/21/10

Cheryl Cole - Promise This This is what her first album should have sounded like. Gone is the R&B-lite, replaced by a storming dance track with an in-your-face (to the point of being mildly irritating) french hook. A-

Katy B - Katy On A Mission
I just don't get the appeal of this song. It's all bark, no bite. Attitude everywhere, but not much of a hook to hang it on. C

Jay Sean - 2012 (It Ain't The End) (ft. Nicki Minaj)
Jay Sean attempts to avoid one-hit-wonder status with this gimmicky, derivative track. The melody's lazy and completely forgettable. Amazingly, Nicki Minaj is the highlight. C-

Mark Ronson - The Bike Song (ft. Kyle Falconer)
Miles away from his last single, but nearly as good. It's such a laid back, summer song that it's a shame that it wasn't released back in June. Always a plus to hear Falconer's vocals, too. A-

Far East Movement - Like A G6
I'm not sure what's supposed to make this "far east," but beyond the elastic beat, there's nothing much here. Dumb lyrics + a boring hook = D+

The XX - Islands
Winners of this year's prestigious Mercury music prize, this pretty, laidback single showcases the band's downtempo style. It's a pleasant sound, though I can't say I understand what all the fuss is about. B

B.O.B. - Magic (ft. Rivers Cuomo)
I much prefer this to Airplanes. Rather than maudlin, the chorus is catchy and fun. Cuomo was the perfect choice for a guest artist. A nice Autumn single with a Summer feel. B

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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Dance Party - Sasha Don't Sleep

"What you runnin' for"

The Dance Party is a new synth-rock band with an upcoming album, Touch, released in a week. I can't figure out if they're gonna be amazing or just alright. There are a number of pluses in their column, but some minuses as well. The biggest plus is that they've worked with The Darkness's Justin Hawkins, whose influence on other artists (Adam Lambert, Meatloaf) has been universally stellar. Also, a lot of their stuff sounds like The Galvatrons (especially this song). Of course, they've also worked with one half of 3Oh!3, one of the most irritating bands in the world. I'm also a little worried about the emo influences hanging around their music (the vocal phrasing in particular), but I'm optimistic about the album as a whole. In fact, the more I listen to this single, the more I like it. They've got an amazing cover, as well.

The Dance Party - Sasha Don't Sleep by alienhits

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