Your Ad Here

Friday, May 29, 2015

JJY Band - OMG

There aren't a lot of super mainstream Korean rock groups, so it's refreshing when a song like OMG is released. Ignore its lame title, because the track itself is a blistering, punky bit of pop noise. It helps that frontman Jung Joonyoung is one of the most charismatic rockers in K-Pop. But while I love him, I've never been a big fan of his music. It tends to be a bit slow and plodding for my taste, and unfortunately the new album pretty much follows suit. This single, though, is easily my favorite musical thing that he's done. It's just a blast of energy from start to finish. The hook in particular is one of those catchy, shout-along melodies that would've been featured in an old itunes commercial. It's definitely going on my running playlist!

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hurts - Some Kind Of Heaven

I feel like I've had an interesting relationship with the music of Hurts. I knew of them back when they were Daggers... an electro-pop band that recorded some of the best unreleased material of the past decade. Then they went all serious and brooding when they became Hurts, abandoning most of the big pop moments that I'd fallen in love with in the first place in favor of something more subdued. And now that they've kind of gone back to the poppiness with this new single, I'm seeing that some fans of the "Hurts sound" are not happy. However, I'm finally back on board. I guess they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. But regardless of which incarnation of the band you're a fan of, I just don't see how you can't be won over by Some Kind Of Heaven. It's straightforward radio pop, but with grand production and a rapturous hook. A part of me hopes that they've rediscovered their roots and recorded an entire album in this style.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Loïc Nottet - Rhythm Inside

So Eurovision took place last Saturday. It was an off year for me... has been since Melodifestivalen... but that doesn't mean I didn't watch and enjoy it. I was honestly shocked that Sweden won. I mean, Heroes wasn't even my top pick for Melodifestivalen and then it goes and wins in all of Europe! Being a massive Sweden fan, this result made me very happy. That said, my favorite entry this year actually came from Belgium. For the past few years, they've been reliable for sending slightly off-kilter, yet totally poppy, acts. This year was definitely more on the left-of-center side, but benefited from a powerfully obtuse performance and some amazing, androgynous vocals. Sometimes I think it actually works better as a performance piece than an actual song, but there's no denying the intensity of the melody and production. It pulls you right in. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Loïc has recorded any other songs that have been released. I'm SO curious what his other music might sound like, but I guess I'll just have to wait awhile to find out. His top five placing on Saturday should at least guarantee some sort of follow-up single/album.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Track-by-Track: Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect

I've always been a casual fan of the Killers, but I'm shocked at how completely this solo album by frontman Brandon Flowers has pulled me in. It's been awhile since an artist has captured this specific American rock 80's sound, and even though this album is pretty much 90% homage rather than pushing forward into something new, that's exactly what makes it feel like an instant classic.

1. Dreams Come True - A surging opener, performed with a nearly-gospel fervor. It's the first time we hear the female backing vocals, which play such an integral part in the album. The chorus is absolutely massive, and reminds me of Meat Loaf at his very best. 10/10

2. Can't Deny My Love - For some reason, the production here reminds me of Madonna's Like A Prayer. It's one of the poppiest tracks on the album, but retains a sense of epic grandeur as that catchy-as-hell hook explodes. 10/10

3. I Can Change - A collaboration with Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant, at first this sounds somewhat out of place with the rest of the album. It's far more electronic in nature, and opens with an extended vocal intro before bursting into a italo-disco beat. This is probably the track that's grown on me the most. 10/10

4. Still Want You - This is such a throwback. It's an incredibly simple song that could've been produced in any decade, but the wobbly synth and Ronettes-style backing vocals are absolute perfection. I'm just awestruck that anyone's making music like this in 2015. 10/10

5. Between Me And You - The first time I heard this, I was completely smitten. I'm a sucker for melody, and this boasts probably the best one on the album. The second verse, where the production really kicks in, is almost tear-inducingly pretty. If this doesn't become a single, then that's a very wasted opportunity. 10/10

6. Lonely Town - This track caused me to check out the album. It's my favorite, and will likely be one of my favorite singles of the year. From the pulsating synth beat that forms the song's skeleton, to the bombastic post-chorus to the impressive backing vocals, it's a real centerpiece. 10/10

7. Diggin' Up The Heart - Certainly one of the slighter tracks on the album, it comes the closest to feeling like filler. It's supremely catchy filler of the piano-driven Billy Joel type, but it suffers coming after the first six tracks. 8/10

8. Never Get You Right - And we're back to something that feels more classic. Of the ballads on the album, this is one of the best. The verses remind me so much of an 80's song (Tom Petty?) that I can't put my finger on, but the track really starts to soar when the guitar comes in on the chorus. 10/10

9. Untangled Love - Definitely has an epic Killers-esque sound, and I adore the piano flourishes in the chorus, but overall it falls just short of the album's best moments. It's still very rousing, though. 9/10

10. The Way It's Always Been - A somewhat murky, downtempo ballad. It has a very classic rock sound and is more lyrically focused than production or melody. Not my favorite, but definitely not bad either. 8/10

11. The Desired Effect - I don't know why this was a bonus track, because to me it feels essential to the album as a whole. The chorus is gigantic, in a bombastic Meat Loaf way, and I love the lyrics. A fitting closer, and certainly among the best tracks here. 10/10

Album Grade: 9.5/10 Highly Recommended

Labels: ,