Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Robyn--Body Talk Album Review

3 times the charm for Robyn who released 3 records this year. Part 1 & 2 of this EP trilogy only wet our appetites for more. The Final Body Talk compilation has produced one of the finest albums of the year. From the Grammy nominated dance anthem “Dancing On My Own”, to the other singles “Hang With Me” and the beautiful orchestrated “Indestructible” make this Swedish Pop star Queen of da beats. Robyn can take the best of the old school groove and mix it with a new twist; she has a style all her own and doesn’t mince her words like most throw away modern pop stars. Songs like "In Your Eyes" has multiple layers of rhythms and grooves that give it a full large band quality to it. She can go all out pop for “Time Machine”, dip into reggae with the delightful "Dancehall Queen", or dish it out with Snoop Dogg on "U Should Know Better" (“then to F*ck with me”). “None Of Dem” and “We Dance To The Beat” strips her sound down to the essential primitive beats, a beat all her own but enticing enough to make you just want to jump in and dance.The only song missing to make the perfect record would have been the track “Cry When You Get Older” from Body Talk Part 1.

Robyn is touring Canada and the USA again starting at the end of January. Her energetic shows is a must see.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hurts--"Happiness" Album Review

Hailed as the new Pet Shop Boys, UK duo Hurts debut “Happiness” is not a stomping dance music album but a sophisticated electronica soundtrack, think Depeche Mode which they channel on the single “Better Than Love”. From the opener “Silver Lining” to the beautiful orchestrated ending track “Water” they deliver a delightful atmospheric sound with emotional lyrics and pretty melodies reminiscent of the 80's new wave movement. The dark but hopeful “Wonderful Life” reminiscent of the Jimmy Stuart X-Mas film has a character contemplating suicide; the track is without a doubt one of the best singles of the year. "Blood Tears & Gold" channels a bit of Erasure, while the track "Sunday" leans on U2. The album never gets boring with the gospel tinged choired “Stay” and "Devotion" which features pop princess Kylie Minogue. Lead singer Theo Hutchcraft’s vocals are glorious and soar on tracks like "Evelyn" and "Water". Their music isn't as sweet, dance-able or happy as the likes of
Ke$ha, Katy Perry or Lady GaGa but it's well crafted and sophisticated which will unfortunately will keep them off the radio in North America.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Michael" Jackson He Is Forever

I thought I would like a song or two but I’m blown away at how a set of unreleased demos can rival most modern releases. The album doesn't really have a theme or concept but these ten tracks are superbly produced and carefully made to sound like a Michael Jackson record. Producers Teddy Riley, "Tricky" Stewart, Akon and others did a superb job piecing together the tracks to create a finished product.

The album opens up with Hold My Hand a duet with Akon, the only song not penned by Michael was recorded in 2007 and just completed; this beautiful song proves that Michael can have had a modern hit. Hollywood Tonight is very reminiscent of the Dangerous era and has all the Jackson signature vocal beat boxing groove, the ending with the whistling of the melody is divine. Keep Your Head Up High is a lush gorgeous inspirational ballad that could easily be his new Man In The Mirror, hearing his “Woh” screams in the background with the choir is hair raising. On (I Like) The Way You Love we hear a bit of his genius, a rare recording of Michael explaining how he wants the song to sound imitating the drum beats and instrumentation with only his vocals. It goes right into the full lush production making this beautiful Motown style groove sound magical. Monster is another song about the pitfalls of Hollywood, some of the background vocal by Michael was song through a PVC tube, not the best track on the album but it still gets you grooving. I could have done without the 50 Cents rap cameo but apparently Michael had wanted to work with him on his new record. Best Of Joy sound eerily familiar like a long lost 80’s R &B ballad that could easily be part of his Greatest Hits. “Everybody wants a part of Michael Jackson” he sings on Breaking News, making fun of how media would tear him apart, but the urgency of the beats suggest he was more then just laughing. I Can’t Make It Another Day teams up Michael with Lenny Kravitz to produce a heavy rock “Dirty Diana” groove. The last 2 track were taken from around the time of “Thriller”. Behind The Mask is a haunting robotic dance groove that sample’s Japanese Electropop pioneers Yellow Light Orchestra’s song of the same name, “Who Do You Love?...Where is your soul, where did it go?” Michael screams with his signature Hee-Hee’s. The closing track Much Too Soon is a beautiful country style ballad reminiscent of Gone Too Soon, I don't understand why it was never used, it could have been a huge hit.

This should have been the album he released in 2001 instead of “Unbreakable”. We'll never know how these songs would have sounded had Michael finished them, but I do not believe that his vocals are fake. To fit his vocals with the final musical production the producers admitted that they had to slightly modulate Michael's voice. If they are fakes than Sony Music produced one the best albums of the year and the imitator should be given a record contract. To the reviewers who slammed the album saying it's just slim pickings from someone who was a perfectionist, and Michael would have never released these songs… well Michael's slim pickings is miles beyond the drivel that gets released as a record these days.

Party like it’s 2017 Bananarama at the Apollo Eventim London

The Concert: November 20th 2017 Photo by Mike Devery, London Apollo Hammersmith I’m not sure I can justify in words how this concer...