Some more very brief thoughts on some albums that have come out over the last month that I think are worth listening to.
Carly Rae Jepson – E•MO•TION
Carly Rae Jepson, the once-thought one hit wonder behind the little pop-gem ‘Call Me Maybe’, returns with a new album, ‘E•MO•TION’ calling into question the pace in which pop-stars are thrown away in the ever-evolving age of the internet. Her massive hit ‘I Really Like You’ is similar to the cutesy fun you would have found on her last album ‘Kiss’, yet for all it’s charm it’s not actually one of the stand-out songs from the album. This album shows a great growth in artistry from Carly Rae Jepson – she’s taken plenty of live instrumentation and applied them to her Pop-formula with a result that sometimes comes out with very mature Pop songs. This is evident in the amazing opener, ‘Run Away With Me’ which features a fantastically produced saxophone made to sound like a gorgeous synth and does something that a whole lot of this album does successfully; portrays pop nostalgia with care in a way that Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ failed to. Not only that but some of the balladry on this album sounds like the 1980s updated for a new crowd like the song ‘All That’, which could probably be your parents wedding song.
The other side of this experimenting with instrumentation is paired with the fact that so many of the deeper cuts on this album come with a great theme that made a song like ‘Call Me Maybe’ so successful in the first place. ‘Boy Problems’ and ‘Gimmie Love’ both deliver on the promise that she delivered back in 2012, both with organic basslines that give the songs so much more punch than some of the other songs on her last album. Perhaps the oddest thing in all of these songs is how many detours the actual songs take within the production, often giving us jarring little blasts of experimentation that come to a head on the song ‘Warm Blood’, which has Carly’s voice manipulated and played around with in the mixing throughout the track. This is an intelligent little pop album that will hopefully see this Pop Star have a long and fruitful career.
Destroyer – Poison Season
(I was planning on doing a full review of this and fully diving into the themes he explores on this album but I didn’t get the time.)
Destroyer, the musical project of Dan Bejar, a man who has been filtering his poetic abilities into fantastic music over many years into many different bands and projects is back with his new album ‘Poison Season’. His last album under the Destroyer name, ‘Kaput’ expanded his fan base so much that it felt like a new one all together, because of the way that Bejar started embracing more Pop orientated styles into his impressive work that already championed Jazz, Indie and Spoken-Word poetry. So for many people ‘Poison Season’ might as well be penned as his second album.
Bejar sounds like he took his time with this project and although the album is short and concise, it’s well thought out and ambitious. The delivery of his music is a lot more hushed up than previous material and with there being three different versions of one song on the album it feels like he’s experimenting with delivery more than anything on this album. Every different version of ‘Times Square’ is gorgeous with the second one being easily the most enjoyable and up beat, offering the same poem in different lights. He combines possibly even more styles of music on this album than he did on ‘Kaput’ with every track being filled with cinematic instrumentation. The imagery and themes that he dives into on this album are actually very cryptic yet endearing with Bejar painting very abstract pictures with the way he delivers and structures his sentences. Dive into this album with an open heart multiple times and you may find something both sonically and thematically to really hang onto.
The Libertines – Anthems For Doomed Youth
There were very very few people expecting a Libertines reunion to happen, let alone for it to be any good whatsoever. Everyone assumed that if they ever were to get back together it would be because the members had run out of the money they acquired from their first two albums in the 00s and would tour accordingly, therefore any hope for decent new material would be like hoping for Oasis to release a great album again.
Luckily, it seems that The Libertines are actually writing songs with more care than they probably ever did in their early days, without losing an actual interest in making music which is where it could have gone horribly wrong. Pete Doherty pours his heart out on this album about much of his well publicised addiction to drugs and the fact that it was probably a big factor into why the band tore themselves apart last time. Pete’s vocals don’t quite sound as drugged up and slurred as they once did but they haven’t lost their character this late on in the band’s career. The Libertines were always a band that drew strong influence from Punk and Post-Punk and on here they wear them on their sleeves once again with the title track’s introduction sounding eerily similar to Sixpense None The Richer’s classic ‘Kiss Me’. There’s something about this album that revels in the fact that they know they’re unoriginal and the fact that not many people actually expect much from them. Some of the lyrics are a tad cringy and some of the instrumentation is slightly redundant at times, but give this album a go because it may actually defy those expectations.