dimanche 25 avril 2010

Gabriella, Alison & other Babegirls

It's been weeks I've wanted to review the last albums I bought but I didn't take the time. I'm gettin' things done today with a global post.

First in line is Ten, Gabriella Cilmi's follow-up album to the successfull Xenomania produced Lessons to be learned that included the singles Save the lies, Sanctuary and the mega-hit
Sweet about me.

The australian young girl whose voice has been compared to Amy Winehouse's one took a new direction for this second album to release a Blondie inspired disco/electro/dance masterpiece injected with funky rhythm, soul and perfect hooks.
On a mission, the first single opens up the CD perfectly and is a speeded up glittering discopop fuse with R&B bits too that makes you get up and move your ass when the chorus comes "I am a woman on a mission, nothing can stop me, I'm stronger than ever..." We are well aware of what the girl is gonna give us and sure it's gonna make us dance across our bedroom!
Hearts don't lie is the follow-up and second single and it's the only recording with the Xenomania team she worked on the first album. Like always, Brian Higgins and his mates offer the best mixture of disco shining hooks and the song is perfect for single release.
Then comes What if you knew and its Police sounding guitar intro for a less disco and more electro rock moment, with glittering sonic sparkles too though. Love me cos you want to starts with etheral voices and a Giorgio Moroder synthé sound that makes me jump with the hands in the air to sing along Gabriella all the chorus through. Like On a mission and most of the album, it is another song & production by The Invisible Men and it shines with a warm electro-disco vibe.
Defender slows down the pace and it's time for a sweet lullaby that progresses though into a power ballad where Gabriella's voice sound perfect and anthemic. Robots follows with a deserved electronical arrangement and moody vocals. Single material comes back with the next track, Superhot, produced by Paul Harris & Ian Masterson, and co-written with Luciana. A pulsating rhythm builds up the nice verses into a breezy and powerful disco chorus that sounds like a Xenomania masterpiece. It deserves to be the third single !
US producer Dallas Austin is next on Boys and it has a surprisingly more electronical intro although the song is a funky mixture of all genres, the kind of song Deborah Harry would proudly record now for sure. The verses are too laid back for me though and I can only see it stay as a nice album track. The Invisible Men are back on Invisible girl and the electro/disco pop flavour with them. An uplifting catchy chorus in two parts makes the song another highlight of the album.
Strings and an hypnotic rhythm takes us on the next track, another Dallas Austin piece, and it's a winner this time. Glue gets us completely englued in its haunting musical magic. It may be a mid-tempo but it is really catchy and memorable. Let me know takes us out of the transe with its nice & gentle rock riffs, brass and uplifting chorus. It sounds more like the songs from her first CD to me.
Superman starts all nice and slow and we know we're in for the second lovely ballad moment of the album. Co-Written and produced by Greg Kurstin, the song is a pure moment of bliss, like a musical roundabound, warm and tender going through our ears. Last album track is a new version of her hit Sweet about me, remixed by Fred Falke, so electro-ized but still funky as its original version. Gabriella must know it'll be hard to beat this song's perfection to not be remembered as a one-hit wonder.
An iTune bons, Sucker for love, exists but french iTune doesn't have the album yet so I've yet to ear it. Instead, I've added On a mission's Bside Magic carpet ride to the CD tracklisting on my mp3 player. It's a retro sounding northern soul inspired fairy tune very worth listening.
In final, Ten is an CD I needed to have after I first listened to it.

Another album I couldn't wait to have is Goldfrapp's fifth studio album, Head First.

Rocket, its leading single, may have flopped badly in the UK charts (#47) but from the first time I heard it on promo, I knew the new CD by Goldfrapp would be their most commercial pop and the first I would buy. They have always found a niche for themselves, between trendy electro and 80's inspired pop, way before La Roux or Little Boots took the receipe in the charts on their own, but even though some hits were nice enough to appeal to my tastes, they always sounded a little bit too underground for me. Head first must be their musical attempt to create a concept album in dedication of 80's synthpop perfection and I can't get bored of it. With its John Miles inspired riff,
Rocket has a catchy melody and arrangement but may lack a killer chorus, only relying on the "Oh oh oh I've got a rocket" line.
Believer on the opposite, has a lot more catchier chorus with nice angelic vocals and should have been the leading single. It still isn't the second single though, the third CD track, Alive, having been chosen instead. Maybe it is because of the trendy name of Richard X who has given additional production on this single track while the first two (like three others) only had Pascal Gabriel on co-production duties. Truth is Alive
is another real strong single material, but musically, I don't think it is as strong as Believer is, and it may sound too 80's old-fashioned too.
Dreaming sounds more electro and has a haunting rhythm and melody. It really takes off when the chorus comes, all breezy and light. The title track, Head first, has another slow burning intro but I can't see it gettin' radio airplay as it is just an album track to me. Hunt is another haunting moment, making me think of Kate Bush even though Alison's voice doesn't hit that high notes, but for the etheral innocence this song display.
Shiny and warm gets the rhythm back with a nearly rockabillie beat and an addictive chorus with Erasuresque retro-sounding synthés. Last single potential in here is track 8, I wanna life, that starts nice with an uplifting melody till the chorus comes and makes us lose our head and dance. For me, it may have Genesis inspiration and it's a great back to the 80's electronical uptempo pop jewel. The last track, Voicething, is a repetitive and moody, nearly subliminal, track that doesn't have any lyrics but instead vocal layers added on top of an hypnotical music. Will and Alison are back in their experimental territory for the last one but it ends the album nicely... Except with 9 tracks, Head first is way too short for me ! but as a 80's tribute, it stays true to its models, the albums of that times used to only have 8, 9 or 10 tracks displayed on the two sides of the vinyl record or cassette.

Last album I wanted to feature for today, Sweet 7, the seventh CD of the Sugababes but the first one after their 4th (!) line-up change.

Last year, when Keisha still was the third member of the all girls multi faced UK band, I was completely hooked by Get sexy, the first new single announcing their 7th album. Maybe it was the Right Said Fred reworking on the chorus or simply the Smeezingtons' in-your-face dance/R&B production but I couldn't get enough of it. All with a new revamped sexy image, I thought Get sexy
fitted the girls perfectly.
Next single, About a girl, came after Keisha was outted from the band and the two remaining girls (none from the original band) took Jade Ewen of last year's UK Eurovision fame, under their wings. It may have underperformed in the UK charts because of the Sugababes' name affair (shouldn't the remaining girls change their name after all?) but I was liking this RedOne production too. It had a nice singalong post-chorus bit and, then again, a perfect dance/R&B music to my ears.

On the album, their third single, Wear my kiss
is placed betwen the two as track #2 and this time, the girls have gone all electro/dance with this Fernando Garibay song and it's even better than Get sexy
as there is no old lyrics re-using this time. With Wawa and 7th Heaven remixes, this new single had all it needed to be a hit in my heart so I ordered Sweet 7 as soon as it was released, sure it would be a surefire hit CD too. In truth, it really has some other killer songs in it but it is a mixed bag too.
Next song, Wait for you, is the other Fernando Garibay contribution to the album and it's a good anthemic track, with very electro, nearly techno, arrangements, but I don't see it being released as a single though. Thank you for the heartbreak, the next one, is the fourth must-be single for me. This Stargate production, co-written with Ryan tedder, has all it takes on the paper to become a hit, and it does indeed sound like a hit. I like it very much, with its dance loops, its uplifting pre-chorus and the catchy powerful chorus.
The things are startin' to get worse with following Miss everything, that features Sean Kingston and this track has all the symptoms that make this album a mixed bag : the Sugababes don't sound like the UK Sugababes anymore. They sound like every R&B/Pop acts of nowadays, with formulaic production and dance/pop songs trying to sound like Lady Gaga. On this one, there's an overuse of autotune that makes the ladies' voices sound vocodorized. That gives me another hint of what may sound wrong here for some : the ladies do not sound like they used to. It must be Keicha's voice that was really distinctive too and that its mix with Heidi and Amelle's ones that made the Sugababes' sound. Now with Jade's vocals, it doesn't sound the same at all. The new Sugababes are only sounding like another american girlgroup.
She's a mess, another Smeezington production relies heavily on the same autotuned vocals and while lots of people praise it on the net, wanting it to be the fourth single, this song does absolutely nothing to me ! It may be too R&B for me, with rap & shouts bits too. I actually skip it while listening to the CD... Give it to me now is another all R&B sounding rather repetitive track that bores me to death. Skip number two. Thankfully, Crash & Burn
and its mellow beats puts the girls vocals back in natural. It is a powerballad, mid-tempo on the verses and with an uplifting chorus sung on a strong rhythmic binary beat ; not near the perfection of the CD openers but nice enough not to use the skip button once more.
The three last tracks of the album all belong to Stargate and No more you, the first one, is a soulful mid-tempo with a very present piano. Once more, there's a power chorus with nice vocals. Sweet & Amazing (make it the best) belongs more into the popsong territory and is nice and gentle, with handclaps and a poppy production. I like it and its singalong lovely chorus is memorable too, though not a single choice I'm afraid. Final track, Little miss perfect, starts all acoustic on piano and we know the CD is gonna end with a big ballad, soulful and painful, even though tambourines start with verse #2. The girls show off their vocal talent on there and it is a nice way to end this strange CD. Like oil and water cannot mix, the girls haven't really been able to mix their UK soul/pop roots with their new dance/R&B producers. The first half of the CD is perfect, the other, less than memorable...

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire