Archive | June, 2010

Robyn ‘Body Talk, Part One’ – Review

29 Jun

The Clash didn’t make a penny on ‘Sandinista!’ (their follow-up album to ‘London Calling’) – they surrendered their royalties in order to make the 3 disc set as cheap as a single record. Their label weren’t keen on this idea, obviously, but The Clash even took care of that by tricking their bosses into thinking it would be a 2 disc set with a bonus single. The album itself may not have been up to much (by all accounts; I’ve never been able to sit through it myself) but the band’s loyalty to their fans has gone down in rock legend.

This is relevent because Robyn’s new album is also a three disc set, only she is releasing each disc separately and expecting her fans to pay full price for each cd. Not only that but they aren’t even full length disc’s, she is calling them ‘8 track mini albums’ and the first one has just been released, labeled ‘part one’. She can’t even blame this stinginess on her label because she doesn’t have one, she owns her label. It’s all a bit of a rip off if you ask me, one album essentially split into three parts and released for nearly three times the price of a normal album. She must have created something pretty unique to get away with it right?

Well all things considered the answer would have to be, not really. There are flashes of genius here but the after effect is frustration over anything else. It’s such a predictable problem but this album is just too sketchy. You can’t help but ask why Robyn didn’t just select the twelve best tracks and make one great record rather than releasing all 24 songs. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, afterall part 2 and 3 could be flawless, but part one certainly isn’t. As I say, flashes of genius but an overiding sense of frustration. First the good stuff…

‘Dancing On My Own’ is as good a pop song as you will hear anywhere this year, even if it does go on longer than it probably should. It pulls off the great trick of being sad and euphoric at the same time; it embodies the album’s theme of loneliness and fierce independence but at the same time it’s a great party song. ‘Fembot’ is almost as good, with it’s twisting lyrics and futuristic beats. ‘Cry When You Get Older’ completes the trilogy of great songs, this one taking a slightly more melancholic turn with its universally applicable lyrics about growing up in the modern world.

The album opens on a slightly more bewildering note, with a disarming tirade against the world called ‘Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do’. It begins as an irritating  Lady Gaga pastiche before evolving into a self-important rant that is as irritating as it is rather addictive. Less interesting, though certainly less inflammatory, is the inoffensive and somewhat bland ‘Dancehall Queen’ which doesn’t sound anymore sophisticated or colourful than a Christina Aguilara album track. ‘None of Dem’ is also a chore until the final minute when it comes to life in a way that’s slightly predictable but satisfying nonetheless.

‘Hang With Me’ shows off Robyn’s voice nicely which makes you wonder why this isn’t done more often as she really has a rather powerful and distinctive vocal range. The album ends with what I assume is a Swedish folk ballad, and it’s nothing more or less than that. It’s quite an unassuming end to an album that ultimately feels very assuming and very self-important. Robyn is an artist who straddles the line between commercial pop music and artistic pop music, with one foot in each camp she is able to produce chart friendly singles and more experimental but still accessable tracks. It does not make for a particularly comfortable or coherent album, I was left extremely confused as to who exactly Robyn is and who she wants to be. But’s it’s definatley worth downloading the four best tracks, and I will still look forward to hearing part two. It’s just a disappointment that this wasn’t crafted into something more substantial because if it had been then this could have been a very good album indeed.


Best Coast ‘Boyfriend’

29 Jun

Below you can listen to the brilliant new single from Best Coast, ‘Boyfriend’, taken from the album ‘Crazy for You’ which is out on July 27th.

Peter Quaife dies, aged 66

25 Jun

Today is already a pretty sad day, being the first anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. Now the news has filtered through that last night Peter Quaife, former bass player of The Kinks, has died. His band were one of the most important of the 1960’s, best known for a run of classic singles, of which there are far too many to list here, and their 1968 album ‘We Are The village Green Preservation Society’, which is without doubt one of the finest LP’s ever made.

Ironically Ray Davies, leader singer of the band, is playing the legend’s slot at Glastonbury this Sunday and rumours of a reunion have been rife for months. It could be argued that The Kinks were the last major band of the 1960’s with all their members still alive, and so the passing of Peter Quaife marks the end of an era.  R.I.P.

Look who’s back…

25 Jun

…and better than ever

The Drums To Work With The Shangri-Las

24 Jun

This is like a match made in heaven. According to the folks over at NME, The Drums are set to write an album for Mary Weiss of the Shangri-las. For those of you in the dark, The Drums are 2010’s best new band whilst The Shangri-las are probably the archetypal girl group best known for their hits ‘Leader of the Pack’, ‘Walking in the Sand’, and ‘Out in the Street’. Little has been heard of Mary in recent years but she has one of the most distinctive voices in pop history so if The Drums are able to give her some fresh material then the results will surely be worth waiting for.

This might be a good idea of how the combination will sound