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Friday, June 03, 2011

Pop Blitz 6/3/11

The Wanted - Glad You Came
The world's most relevant boyband (currently, at least) returns with a new single inspired by European dance hits of the past few years. It's a natural transition and an interesting choice for them. The production definitely works. I think I'm going to need to give the melody a chance to grow, though. B+

Coldplay - Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
I didn't even know they were releasing a new single this month. I've never been as big a fan as some (always preferred Keane, to be honest), and although this doesn't have the wow factor that Viva La Vida had, it's much better than I expected. I dig the power pop melody, though the production feels a little muddled. B

Pitbull - Give Me Everything
Does it sound like all of the other urban/dance hybrids out there? Yep. But it's at least a pretty solid example of the genre. It'll sound dated in about a month, but there are definitely worse things out there. B-

Joe Jonas - See No More
This project had so much potential, but this song is not very good. The verses are nonexistent and the chorus sounds like a weak Jesse McCartney track. I never really liked the Jonas Brothers, but their singles were better than this. C-

Aloe Blacc - I Need A Dollar
This is a real throwback, and I'm happy to see such a strong soul track doing well in the UK. It's the Adele factor, I guess. People are into this kind of stuff. It's got a real authenticity to it and is spot-on lyrically for this particular moment in time. B

Nicki Minaj - Super Bass
I've tried to get into the whole Minaj thing, but it hasn't been easy. I do like this. It's got that crazy sound you want with Nicki's music, but doesn't forget a strong(ish) hook. B

Alex Gaudino - What A Feeling
Kelly Rowland again ventures into the dance realm with this collaboration. It's, as usual, a great match for her vocals. The song could be stronger, but it'll do for the Summer. B+

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Potbelleez - Feed Off Me

"Where do I end, where do you begin?"

I've written about Australia's Potbelleez once before (how's that for an opening sentence?), and remarked about how much I hate their band name. It's completely unappealing and makes you anticipate some dreadful, boozy schlock rock outfit. In fact, this band makes trendy, commercial dance pop. Throughout the album, vocals are shared between several band members, making for a somewhat scattershot listen. But when it works, it works. Opening track, Feed Off Me, forgoes the trendiness that mars some of the later songs for a straightforward, anthemic pop sound. There's a rock influence here as well, which gives the whole thing a meatier production. Fans of Swedish dance pop (like the Attic, for instance) will love this.

The Potbelleez - Feed Off Me 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, June 01, 2011

Son Of A Kid - Like You

"She asked me what my dreams were"

My beloved Set Fire Run (formerly known as Dyno) have changed their name yet again and are now Son Of A Kid. They've been a little vague about the reasoning behind this and what exactly it means, but it seems as if there's been a bit of shift in focus from the trio towards more of an individual artist. I could be wrong, though. What's important is that the music's still coming. Along with the name change, we've got a new song. Like You has been recorded in both a Son of a Kid version and a Set Fire Run version. Not being one to let things go easily, I'm a bit obsessed with the Set Fire Run recording. As usual, the standard's incredibly high. It might not be 100% commercial or trendy, but this is real pop music. Let's hope the third time's the charm and these guys break out the way they deserve to!

Like You (Set Fire Run version) by sonofakid

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

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Track-by-Track: Lady Gaga - Born This Way

Not much more can be said about this album, really. In the pop world, it's easily the most anticipated of the year. In fact, I can't remember an artist able to elicit such anticipation since the days of the Jacksons, Madonna, Prince, etc. That may sound like overkill, but there really hasn't been an event record like this in years. The closest thing would have been some of the releases of the late 90's, early 00's teen pop boom, but I think this is even bigger. So does the album hold up to the hype? Let's see.

1. Marry The Night - Opens with a theatrical, slow-burning vocal before blasting into an insanely unstoppable dance beat. As far as the album's concerned, it's one of the more traditional sounding tracks. It only descends into madness at the very end (which coincidentally is the best part) 10/10

2. Born This Way - The first single, which has experienced a resurgence in my eyes since it was released. The lyrics are simplistic, yet somewhat controversial because of it. This will end up as one of 2011's biggest singles and represents a shift in Gaga's music to something more universal and stadium ready. 10/10

3. Government Hooker - A departure from the first two tracks, this brittle number uses a simple casio beat as its base, upon which Gaga vamps and yells. It's rather experimental to be placed so early in the running order, but rewards with repeated listens. 10/10

4. Judas - The second single, which should have been a much bigger hit than it was. Essentially Bad Romance Pt. II, this improved the more I listened to it. Deceptively simple, yet with enough staying power to match that thunderous beat. 10/10

5. Americano - A complete shift in town, this Mexican-inspired track is probably the most theatrical on here. It's great (and slightly mental) in its own right, but I find myself skipping it in the context of the album. 8/10

6. Hair - The first of several rock/pop/dance hybrids, this is an enormous stadium belter with a similar message to the title track. As a song, it's even more successful. One of the best melodies on the album, with jackhammer production and a message that busts through the silliness of the lyrics. 10/10

7. Scheiße - One of the definite standouts, this pulsing club track segues between spoken German and English. It has one of the simplest melodies, but a wicked chorus and a general sense of craziness that pulls you back for more. 10/10

8. Bloody Mary - A demented semi-ballad with some truly unique production. This is that "avante garde" piece on the album, and comes just in time to slow things down a bit. 10/10

9. Black Jesus + Amen Fashion - The first of the deluxe version's three bonus tracks, and also my favorite. Moves between autobiographical lyrics and dance music nonsense, but benefits by fantastic, understated production and a great melody. 10/10

10. Bad Kids - Another standout. This was one of my initial favorites, and remains so. I love the use of guitar and the surging verses. Very 80's, but in the best way possible. 10/10

11. Fashion Of His Love - Even more 80's. The production's too cluttered, and this sounds far more like Madonna than the title track, but it's still pleasant filler. 8/10

12. Highway Unicorn (Road To Love) - A psychedelic, bombastic arena rocker that's more than a little silly. It's the kind of sound that I'd hoped she'd attempt, yet falls just a little short of what I think is possible. It's almost too brash and chaotic and could do with some finessing. Still, it's by no means a song to skip. 9/10

13. Heavy Metal Lover - Back to straight-up dance pop, though with a softer, more European flavor this time around. It doesn't stand out much amongst everything else on here, but it's a great track nonetheless. 9/10

14. Electric Chapel - This sounds a lot like Billy Idol's White Wedding, which is a huge complement. The synth/guitar combo is exactly the sound she's pushing throughout the album, and this is one of the best examples of that. An instant hit. 10/10

15. The Queen - The last "bonus track," and probably the weakest. I like the melody, but the lyrics are pretty weak. I'm not sure why "bitch" is censored in the bridge, as it sounds quite strange to me. The song does provide a fantastic segue into the next one, though. 8/10

16. Yoü And I - The only non-electronic track on the album, though it's given full stadium-stomper power ballad production thanks to Mutt Lange. It would be a great song no matter how it was produced, even though it feels a little out of place here. 9/10

17. The Edge Of Glory - Quite possibly Gaga's best song to date. This encompasses everything that works about this album in one track. The production is stellar, but it's the anthemic melody that really sets this apart. It's hard to imagine a better US single this year. 10/10

Album Grade: 9.5/10

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Patrick Wolf - Together

"We can make it so much better"

I'm back! I had a wonderful time in New York City. Signed a bunch of books, met some cool people, saw some amazing shows and explored the city. I'd love to live there some day! While I was away, Patrick Wolf's new album poked its head into the blogosphere, and I was very eager to hear it. From all of the hype and excellent pre-album singles, I expected a new sound for him. A happier, poppier upbeat album of music. Unfortunately, for the most part the album sounds exactly like all of his others. Amidst the melodic highlights are a bunch of forgettable tracks that (at least upon the first few listens) aren't sticking with me. Who knows, maybe it will grow. His stuff usually takes some time. One album standout (and the song that I was looking most forward to hearing) is Together, which comes nearly at the end. It's Wolf's danciest song yet and doesn't fit at all with the other tracks. I wish he would've made an album that sounded just like this. His vocals coupled with a propulsive synth beat is really something special. But honestly, I don't think he's even looking for mainstream success anymore.
On another note, I'll have a full Lady Gaga Born This Way track-by-track review later this week (maybe tomorrow)!

Patrick Wolf - Together by Di69

(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.