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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tove Lo - Timebomb

"You're not the one"

We're all guilty of rushing to snap judgments from time to time when it comes to pop music. I'm no different. In fact, I'm probably worse because I listen to so much music, both for this blog and for my own enjoyment. I knew that Sweden's Tove Lo was tapped as a "next big thing" by many, but I heard her breakout single Habits and deemed it not for me. It probably never will be... I just find it sonically and lyrically uninteresting, and that's fine. It's personal taste. My mistake, though, was painting all her music with the same brush and assuming I didn't need to explore further. Then, Timebomb premiered and shattered that assumption. It's got that building synth and drum production that gives it a big, vital sound. For my taste at least, this is the kind of track that makes me want to investigate what else Tove has to offer. So thank you, Timebomb, for reminding me that an artist is more than one song.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Block B - Secret Door

"Let it flow"

Block B is yet another Korean band I've been getting into this year, mostly due to the irresistable H.E.R. this summer and Nillila Mambo from a year back. They're a colorful hip-hop group that, at times, reminds me of a group of carnies or gypsies. This is a good thing, by the way! I used to complain about hip hop all the time, thinking it was a boring, unnecessary violent and immature genre. A lot of that is still true of western hip-hop, but I absolutely love the Korean counterpart. Yes, they emulate a lot of Western elements, but combine them with a sense of experimentalism, high fashion and a willingness to borrow from other genres. Take Block B's latest, for example. Secret Door is from a soundtrack, and could've easily been a throw-away track. Instead, its rock and orchestral elements give the song drive, power and an instant upbeat catchiness. I love that we get a guitar solo! Oh, and while you're investigating Block B, check out their album track Mental Breaker. Sounds a bit like good Swedish pop to me!

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the soundtrack here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Robin - Kaikki Ok

I've been thinking a lot lately about my MVPs of the year--those artists or bands that have been both prolific and incredibly consistent with the quality of their releases. Robin Packalen, who I've written about many times on the blog, is certainly on that list. His new album comes out later this week, less than a year from his last one. Having heard it, I can say if you've liked his stuff in the past, you'll love this one too. He's got an incredible team behind him, who have crafted a sound all his own--an addictive mixture of One Direction-style pop/rock, Euro and Afro rhythms and an increasingly prominent emphasis on hip hop and beat. That's not to sell Robin himself short. The guy's a bundle of youthful charisma, with a full-bodied voice that sounds older than he is. Kaikki Ok is a bonus track released with a magazine in Finland, and it's a shame it didn't find its way onto the album because it would have been a highlight. I love African influences in production, and the relentless beat here fits the bill. Add to that a sax interlude and a party atmosphere, and you have another in a string of very strong pop releases. Don't let the language barrier scare you away. It doesn't matter.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.