Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robyn - Body Talk

Earlier this year, Robyn began a musical trilogy.  Titled "Body Talk", the series of albums was released over a span of about six months.  Each album contained approximately eight songs that dabbled in pop, dance, and electronic music.  Her newest release, and the end of the series, is named Body Talk.  Instead of releasing another album with under ten songs, the Swedish musician decided to put out a compilation record.  This album collects five songs from Body Talk Pt. 1, five songs from Body Talk Pt. 2, and five new songs that are technically Body Talk Pt. 3.

Body Talk begins with "Dancing On My Own", the first single from Pt. 1.  Being her most promoted song, it's a great choice for the album opener.  The record continues through two more Pt. 1 songs until you reach, "Indestructible".  A string covered acoustic version of this song had been released prior to this album, but the new fleshed out dance version brings a new light to the single.  "Time Machine", another new song, is the strongest of the five new tracks.  The song is already begging to get radio play.  "Time Machine" is definitely a hit.

The record does a good job of mixing new songs between the older tracks.  You never get too much of one album in a row.  If you already own Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 and have become familiar with the song order, then the track listing may take some time to settle in.

With compilations, song choice is always the most important factor for success.  Body Talk, for the most part, is outstanding.  The inclusion of the more experimental and instrumental tracks ("Don't ****ing Tell Me What To Do" and "We Dance To The Beat") seems risky, but it works.  The only real mistake is leaving out the standout track, "Criminal Intent", from Pt. 2.  "Cry When You Get Older" was another great track that's missing from the album.

At fifteen tracks long, Body Talk is pop music heaven.  There are enough hooks on this album to make even the biggest pop stars jealous.  Robyn's risky plan of releasing three albums within one year surprisingly and successfully worked.  She's now embarking on an international "Body Talk Tour" to celebrate.

If you already own Pt. 1 and Pt. 2, like many dedicated fans will, you can buy the EP version of this album titled Body Talk Pt. 3.  It contains only the five new songs and is available digitally everywhere and physically in select regions.  Here's the extended compilation version's track listing.

  • 1. Dancing On My Own (Radio Version)
  • 2. Fembot
  • 3. Don't ****ing Tell Me What To Do
  • 4. Indestructible
  • 5. Time Machine
  • 6. Love Kills
  • 7. Hang With Me
  • 8. Call Your Girlfriend
  • 9. None of Dem (Feat. R√∂yksopp)
  • 10. We Dance To The Beat
  • 11. U Should Know Better (Feat. Snoop Dogg)
  • 12. Dancehall Queen
  • 13. Get Myself Together
  • 14. In My Eyes
  • 15. Stars 4-Ever

Body Talk
is a satisfying end to the album trilogy.  I would definitely check it out if you love catchy pop, dance, and electronic music.  The five new tracks are just as strong as the past albums.  Maybe next time around Robyn will try to break the record again with five albums in a year.  One can only hope...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ke$ha - Cannibal

Have you ever wondered at what point do lyrics cross the line from being mediocre, maybe even a little embarrassing,  to completely unacceptable?  If so, then look no further than Ke$ha's Cannibal.  As the follow up to her debut Animal, the album is packed with synths, bass beats, and auto-tune.  Animal contained several hit singles that became staples on the Top 40 charts.  When I wrote about her newest single "We R Who We R" last month, I described it as positive, simple, and fun.  Cannibal is also fun... if you can get past the words that are coming out of Ke$ha's mouth.  It's shocking in a new way.

I admit, whenever "Your Love Is My Drug" came on the radio I would sing along.  The lyrics were bratty, but the beat was always catchy.  When I pressed play on Cannibal for the first time, I expected the same dance club singles.  As the title track of the album started, I heard Ke$ha's strange roaring-growling sounds.  "I eat boys up, breakfast and lunch. Then when I'm thirsty, I drink their blood - I am a cannibal."  When I heard the first verse of the title track, my first reaction was to laugh.  The lyrics aren't so much funny, but instead unbelievable.  There could be a metaphor mixed in those lines, but that really wouldn't make it much better.  The majority, if not all, of the lyrics are for dancing and only dancing.  Cannibal is a party record.

After the title track, the record continues at a similar pace.  "The Harold Song" seems to be the turning point of the album.  The song has a similar sound to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream".  It's also the first track on the album that isn't strictly about partying, boyfriend bashing, or sex.  "The Harold Song" is definitely the highlight of the album.  "C U Next Tuesday" also stands out from the other songs.  The synths on the track remind me of a Wham! single.

If you scan over the track listing on the back of the CD case, you'll get a good description of the album.  Songs titles such as "Sleazy", "Blow", "C U Next Tuesday", and "Grow A Pear" represent the mood of the record.  Cannibal doesn't have much substance at all due to the nature of the lyrics.  There are some great melodies on the album, but unfortunately that's about it.  Unless you're a rabid Ke$ha fan, I would skip Cannibal.  There are countless new pop albums worth listening to that are better than Cannibal.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Penguin Prison - Something I'm Not

Penguin Prison is the name of an upcoming electronic/pop act from New York.  Penguin Prison is also the stage name of Chris Glover, a producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist.  Glover, under the name of Penguin Prison, has remixed tracks by artists including Marina & The Diamonds, Kylie Minogue, and Goldfrapp.  A few months ago, I featured his remix of Kimbra's "Settle Down".  While he's already an experienced producer, Penguin Prison is also prepping for the release of his debut album.  "Something I'm Not", is a great taste of his unique style.

The one thing that stands out about this song is the vocal track.  The music is distinctly a mix of electronic and pop elements.  However, his voice during the verse is much more soulful than what I would expect from this genre of music.  The chorus picks up to somewhat of an 80's throwback sound.  I hear a Tears For Fears influence.

His solo work rivals with his remixes.  They're both extremely interesting and danceable.  Penguin Prison's album is expected to be released around February of next year.  You can stream or download "Something I'm Not" below.

Keep reading to download a free EP of Penguin Prison's remixes...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lykke Li - Paris Blue

Swedish musician, Lykke Li recently released her new single, "Get Some".  Along with this single, she also put out a B-Side.  "Paris Blue" is the tender ballad that manages to overshadow the main attraction.  Once the A-Side ends and "Paris Blue" begins, you'll wonder why this song wasn't released as the lead single.  It's soft and emotional, but still has a big chorus for potential radio appeal.

"Paris Blue" has the same production style as her debut album, Youth Novels.  Underneath her soaring vocals are strumming guitars and distant echoing drums.  It's all very minimal and effective.  "I'm Paris blue, I miss you. I'm not good enough for you, I'm no good.", she cries during the chorus.  Lykke Li is at her most vulnerable during "Paris Blue".

You can download both "Paris Blue", and the A-Side "Get Some" for free, here.  I suggest you don't pass up this opportunity.  Both songs are great, and "Paris Blue" is a hidden gem.  Hopefully this B-Side makes the cut for Lykke Li's next full length album.  Until she announces further details for her upcoming record, you can enjoy "Paris Blue".

Thursday, November 4, 2010

P!nk - Raise Your Glass

After four studio albums and one live record, P!nk is preparing to release her first compilation.  Titled, Greatest Hits... So Far!!!, the collection will include sixteen of her previous hit singles and four new tracks.  The first of her new tracks is the album's current single, "Raise Your Glass".  The song has already entered the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 and is gaining airplay consistently.

"Raise Your Glass" has a very mainstream "Top 40" sound to it.  While it may be polished and catchy like the songs of Katy Perry and Ke$ha, P!nk has the vocal talent to back up the pop formula.  It isn't auto-tuned down to a robotic voice.  Like many pop songs, the chorus is the highlight.

According to P!nk, the lyrics are a "celebration for people who feel left out from the popular crowd".  It's a feel good song about being the underdog.  It has the same tough, and somewhat humorous, attitude that her previous singles had.  I predict the song shoots up to number one on the charts.

The single is available on iTunes right now and Greatest Hits... So Far!!! is out on November 16.  If you already have all of P!nk's singles and want to pass on the compilation, "Raise Your Glass" is worth downloading.  Keep reading to check out the music video for "Raise Your Glass"...