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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Infinite - Nothing's Over

Yep, I'm still all in with this k-pop thing. It's so exciting to have a whole new world of pop music to explore. And now that I've gone past the basics, I can look at more of the up-and-comers. Infinite are one such group. They've been at it for a few years now but have yet to truly hit the big time. They really deserve to, though. They've got the standard dance-pop of the genre down, but where they really succeed is in big pop melodies. A couple of their mid-tempos are just gorgeous. Nothing's Over hit me like a ton of bricks the first time I heard it. It doesn't matter if 99% of it isn't in English. That melody, and the soft-rock/pop production, just transcends language. It's got a real 90's feel to it. I live for these kind of uplifting, melodic pop anthems. If you like this, make sure to check out Paradise, which is in the same vein and equally as awesome. As far as dance songs by the boys, you need to listen to Be Mine, Come Back Again (sounds like Michael Jackson!) and The Chaser, for a start.

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

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bjørn Johan Muri - Even a Fool

"Even a fool like me needs a melody"

Norway's Bjørn Johan Muri is back! For those who don't know, Muri broke through a couple of years ago with his excellent single Yes Man and then released an equally awesome debut album. Even A Fool is no Yes Man, but that doesn't mean it's not an excellent comeback. I'm glad that he's kept his airy electronic style, which is really very different than all the other pop music out there nowadays. This is pretty much an extension of his album and would've fit perfectly there. Here's hoping for a full-length follow-up that matches the success, bothe commercially and musically, of the first.

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


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Joywride - 21st Century Love

"When you move, everyone moves around you"

There's something so exciting about following a band for a few years and then seeing them finally get to release their music on a label. For this blog, Joywride (previously known by the name of their frontman, Ollie Wride) are just that sort of band. After so many months of releasing demo after awesome demo, they're finally releasing their new EP (for free!) in about a week. On November 22nd, you'll be able to download this amazing song as well as some remixes and another fantastic original. The band just released their first music video (below), for the great track 21st Century Love. Joywride are unabashedly 80's, unabashedly glam and unabashedly fun. If you like the music of bands like the Buggles with theatrical vocals like Queen, you have no excuse not to listen to this band.

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

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Track-by-Track: One Direction - Take Me Home

I write this review knowing that I'm not in One Direction's target market, but I've been a supporter of them since their days on X-Factor and loved the debut album. With Take Me Home, the band have truly entered their "imperial phase," that elusive world-dominating period that happens to the luckiest of pop stars, and usually with the second album. I'm thinking Katy Perry's Teenage Dream, Lady Gaga's Fame Monster, Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad, Nsync's No Strings Attached, etc. With any luck, the right singles choices will place this album amongst those successes. There will be many self-important, "credible" music lovers who will say that this type of transparently bubblegum pop has no merit, but I will continue to push back. I like fun music--music that makes you feel energized. And this is certainly an ample dose of it. You won't find many low scores here. The album's even more consistent than their debut.

1. Live While We're Young - Kicking off the album, I feel like this is actually kind of a misstep as the first single. Not because it's a bad track, but because it's one of the weakest uptempos on the album. 8/10

2. Kiss You - This is a step up, and follows the template of their breakthrough What Makes You Beautiful. It's got that punchy, guitar-assisted power pop feel that makes One Direction such an exciting prospect as a pop band. 9/10

3. Little Things - Probably the most stripped-back song they've recorded yet. Co-written by Ed Sheeran, and it certainly sounds like it. It's the second UK single, and is definitely an interesting choice. 10/10

4. C'mon C'mon - The most electronic track on the record, this has a great 80's vibe to it. I particularly love the middle eight, which really propels the song to that final, anthemic chorus. 10/10

5. Last First Kiss - Despite the overall cheesiness of the lyrics, I just can't get the melody of this out of my head. The chorus is so ridiculously catchy. The sound is midtempo, but the production is so huge that it doesn't sound at all like a ballad. 9/10

6. Heart Attack - Like Live While We're Young, this is one of the weaker uptempos on the album. It sounds slightly too American for my tastes--like something Maroon 5 would record. 8/10

7. Rock Me - Oh, that chorus! At first, I thought that it would be too repetitive, but it just works. The production really shines. 10/10

8. Change My Mind - Many have pointed out that this is too schmaltzy, but I'm not sure that's really an option with a band like One Direction. As a midtempo, it's a great way to break up the big dance tracks and the second half of the lovelorn chorus is particularly striking. These guys' vocals have improved so much since X-factor. 9/10

9. I Would - This track was written by the guys of Mcfly, and if this is any indication, they should write the entirety of One Direction's next album. This is flawless power-pop. Really fun and huge and catchy. I can't rave enough. 10/10

10. Over Again - The second Ed Sheeran written track, and it sounds even more like one of his own songs. Despite some cringeworthy lyrics, it's really a strong ballad with some excellent vocals. 9/10

11. Back For You - Out of everything on the album, this feels the most like filler to me. It's the track I always forget. That's not saying it's bad, but it's just not very memorable. 8/10

12. They Don't Know About Us - This is the complete opposite of unmemorable. If this isn't a single, I'll be really angry. This track is everything that was great about the late-90's teen pop boon crammed into one song. In fact, it sounds a lot like the Backstreet Boys in their imperial phase. The production on this is just flawless. Probably the best track on the album. 10/10

13. Summer Love - A more straightforward, soft-rock type of track and, from the production notes, it seems that this is the song the boys had the biggest hand in creating. If so, then that bodes well for their future, because this is a very effective, very enjoyable closer to the album. 10/10

14. She's Not Afraid - Back to the 80's-inspired power pop for the first of the deluxe edition bonus tracks. This is better than some of the uptempos on the actual album. Nothing revelatory, but a lot of fun. 9/10

15. Loved You First - This is a gargantuan 80's pastiche, all chugging guitars and explosive, synth-drenched chorus. I would have loved to see this on the actual album, because it's incredibly strong. 10/10

16. Nobody Compares - Another strong uptempo with great production and a real earworm melody. Fans of old-school power pop should really give this group a chance, because that's exactly what this is. 9/10

17. Still The One - Just a little too frantic for me to give it one of the higher scores. That said, this would still be a highlight on most pop releases this year. 8/10

Album Grade: 9.2/10

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