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Friday, June 15, 2012

Flashback Friday: Tower - See You Tonight

"I'm so glad that I'll see you again tonight"

There are some moments--wonderful moments--that an obscure band just sort of falls into your lap and they end up being perfectly suited to your taste. Now, my taste is pretty wide, but there is a certain genre, for lack of a better word, that I hold very dear. Let's call it uptempo, synth-driven theatrical rock/pop with a grandiosity and bombast seldom found in "normal" music (and preferably a sci-fi and or glam influence). As you can imagine, this doesn't come around too often! But when it does... especially an entire album of it... it's quite special. So, with this in mind, I present Tower to you. They're from the Netherlands, which had its own pop boom around the late 70's/early 80's (a subject I'll be exploring more in the coming weeks). Despite this, they don't sound much like their Dutch contemporaries. If I had to describe them, I'd say their sound is a mix between ELO, Meat Loaf and Blondie (or Surferosa, for a more modern-day comparison). In other words: perfection. I really don't want to even say any more about this song. You just need to listen to it. In form and structure, it's pretty much the type of thing I live for. Cheesy, yes, but oh so right. Unfortunately, the band only recorded one album (Titan), and a couple of extra tracks before disbanding. What a shame. But at least they left us with this.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. The album's out of print, but you can hear all the tracks here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Melody Club: Ten Year Anniversary + "Paralyzed"

This needs no introduction. To say that I can't wait is a huge understatement. (though would it have killed them to have included "Take Me Away" in the medley?)


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mika - Make You Happy

"All I wanna do is make you happy"

I didn't even know that Mika was working on a new album, but it's definitely good news. Singles aside, I wasn't blown away by his last one, though I found his French language Elle Me Dit to be refreshing and fun. It sounds as though the new release is going to be a bit different for him, working with producers like Pharrell and Empire of the Sun (the second is much more exciting to me than the first). I'm not sure if Make You Happy will be featured on that upcoming album, but it's a nice little surprise regardless. Despite the title, it's not particularly uptempo and definitely not as manic/bubblegum as some of his other stuff. This is both praise and criticism, as I personally love upbeat Mika. Still, the subtle, atmospheric electronics of this are an interesting progression for him and the song makes me very curious as to what the album's going to sound like. Plus, it gets better as it goes along, building to a nice musical climax.

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


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pop Blitz 6/13/12

Kylie Minogue - Timebomb
This is the freshest and youngest Kylie's sounded for awhile. I love that this isn't trying to be a big "event" single. It's just an excellent pop song firing on all cylinders. A

Nelly Furtado - Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)
It's been a long time since Furtado's peak of popularity. This tries to recreate that sound, but to lesser effect. There are parts that I like, but the verses grate in a way her voice hasn't before. B-

Katy Perry - Wide Awake
Her gazillionth single from this era. The thing is, though, they've all been pretty good. This lush ballad is the perfect way to conclude an epic run of singles. A-

Kelly Clarkson - Dark Side
I know many will disagree, but I've never been a fan of Clarkson's sulkier singles. This is perfectly serviceable, but it just doesn't stick with me the way her best material does. B-

Rita Ora - R.I.P. (ft. Tinie Tempah)
Is this even a song? I really can't see any reason for this existing. There's no effective hook, no sense of discernible melody, and so many synths that it drowns everything out in a soup of messy production. D+

Usher - Scream
Usher's had a long career, hasn't he? I definitely prefer old 90's Usher and not this new "Ursher" as he annoyingly calls himself. I like that he's "discovered" dance music, but this sounds like everything else out there right now. C

Rudimental - Feel The Love (ft. John Newman)
Could've used slightly more of a vocal hook, but what's there is pretty good. I like the production. It's not overwhelming and the brass is a welcome surprise. I'm not sure I understand why it was #1 in the UK, but it's nice enough. B+

Pop Blitz 6/13/12 Your Choice!
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hyper Heart - Eris

"I've just gotta learn how to live without you"

Time for some huge-sounding electropop from Sweden! These days, everything is electro, but Scandinavia still delivers the best of the genre. Hyper Heart is a new, fairly unknown, band... but if they keep recording stuff like this, they won't be unknown for long. Eris is huge. You get the sense from the opening bursts of squeaky synths, but then when the vocals come in, the song develops a rock edge that is totally welcome and lifts it from sounding like all the other trend-chasing singles out there. Since this is Swedish pop, you can expect a huge, instantly catchy chorus, and Eris doesn't disappoint. And, as a nice bonus, you can download the song for free from their soundcloud page. Trust me, you'll want to. I only wish they had other tracks on there as well. I'm really, really curious to hear if they can follow this up with something just as good. I hope so!

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


Monday, June 11, 2012

Alexandra Burke - Heartbreak On Hold

"It's time to let it go"

It's a shame that 2008 X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke's second album seems to be stalling on the charts. Honestly, from a purely music business standpoint, it's not all that surprising. She operates in a genre that's heavily competitive and overcrowded, so I'm not sure why there was such a long wait between albums. People forget. Add to that a guest-judging stint on the last season of X-Factor that didn't particularly endear her to the public and a second single that's gone nowhere, success-wise, and you've got all the ingredients of a flop. However, with all of these things working against it, the album's actually quite good. In fact, though it doesn't pack as many obvious singles as her debut, it's stronger and much more consistent. She was wise to steer her career towards a more dance-oriented sound, demonstrated particularly well by the opening title track. This is dance-pop firing on all cylinders, kind of like a modern day Donna Summer. There are a lot of excellent tracks on the album, but this should be the next single.

Heartbreak On Hold by Alexandra Burke on Grooveshark

(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.