MY FINALS ARE DONEEEEE! My Junior year is officially over and in 2 months I'll be a senior. whoa. In celebration, I bring you a review of Simon Curtis' brand-new album. It's been a while since I've done one, and album review and two, a Western review. Let's see if I still know how to do this. I hope I do.
Simon has one very, VERY important fan - Paul. It's Paul's constant nagging and raving that made me give Simon Curtis a chance and I'm sure it's the same for a lot of other bloggers. BUT, you gotta admit - this guy is a pop genius. Simon, I mean. Although if Paul ever became a pop star I would have absolutely no problem with that! wahahah.
If you read PRN on a regular basis, you know that since I got addicted to kpop early last year, 85% of the music I review now is Korean. The remaining 15% is UK and US pop, but this new album has just made me want to start writing about Western pop a heck of a lot again - if this is what it offers me.
Honestly, this album isn't perfect for me in terms of execution and production. However, the material is so. damn. brilliant. Honestly, I think these are some of the best pop songs I've heard all year. I know I say that a lot but I honestly REALLY mean it now.
Every single song has a lingering hook, a catchy melody and under all the fancy sound effects the songs just shine. What we have here are pop staples - the type of songs that should and will be re-arranged and remade over the years but remain pop to the core.
I personally don't like certain parts of the vocals. But it's these raw vocals that prevent the material from being so in-your-face that you don't realize how good the melodies and songs are. There are also certain parts of the production side that I'm not really feeling, like the processing on Diablo, but it's live-able. Although, the vocals on Brainwash match the song quite well.
Another thing I don't personally like but find really brilliant and pop-y are all the gimmicks, talk breaks and laser-ish sound effects. Pop is a gimmick - you need to find new and creative ways to get listeners to keep playing your songs and in Simon's case, I like what he's done to tie the entire album together with all these gimmicks.
I don't think I can go over every single track, but I'll try. (excluding all the interludes and stuff)
Don't Wanna Be Alone sounds like a more serious version of something that would fit very nicely in Spectacular - I like how you think it's gonna explode into a chorus during a verse but it doesn't. Brilliant. And the song is 2 minutes +, short enough to keep someone's focus throughout the entire song.
The gimmick I was walking about earlier start on Fell in Live w/an Android, with all the videogame-y laser sounds. I like, and it works. The chorus is brilliant, the verses sound fantastic and the arrangement on this song is super cool. Definitely one of my favorites on the album.
Super Psycho Love has a really interesting drum part and these Middle Eastern-y elements then it launches into a Darin-esque arrangement+melody. Briliannnnnnnnce. The vocals on this are a bit bleh for me though.
And of course, the title track does NOT fail to impress. 8Bit Heart has these cool 80's synths going on throughout the song - there they type that if used wrong right now can turn a perfectly good song into an EPIC FAIL. They were used well on this. I like the musical-y melody and the irony of the synths mixed with a cool backbeat and the repeating hook. It's a pop song in the truest sense.
Diablo has it's strong points, like all the cool laser sounds, but the processing on this is a bit bleh for me as well. It reminds me of a Britney song during the verses and certain parts of the chorus, with better vocals though.
We heard Delusional a few months ago, and honestly, it sounds just as good as it sounded when I first heard it. In short, it's brilliant. I love the bridge. I mean, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE AND ADORE THE BRIDGE THAT I'D LIKE TO WORSHIP IT NOW, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. It's a heavy song at first listen but no matter how many times I've listened to it, I haven't gotten sick of it yet. Yeshhhh.
I like how the lasers were used as elements of Joystick and I like the melody throughout - very pop. There's nothing more to say, really. The arrangement and instrumental of Beat Drop remind me of a Britney's Do Somethin', again, but I love the operatic thing going on in the background. Apart from that, the only part I actually really like is the chorus.
I find Brainwash really cool. I like the synths, I like them a lot, and I like the arrangement a heck of a lot. The processing on this matches the entire thing, so much that I honestly can't imagine it without the heavy auto-tune. One of the new songs I've heard that have actually used this crappy auto-tune/processing in the right way. One of my favorite songs.
The Dark is OK, I understand what he's trying to do with this and it's good, but I'm personally not liking it. It's a nice semi-end to the album though.
Honestly, there isn't one song I can single out and say "ok, I like this the most" because not only are all the songs really consistently pop, 8Bit Heart is as cohesive as it is brilliant. In short, it's really, REALLY cohesive - the gimmicks, the songs and the entire concept of the album come together well.
5/5, Pop at it's finest. It's been a while since I've heard pop this good.
Impressed? Wanna hear the album? Get it for free at http://www.simon-curtis.com/