Pop music is rocking my world big-time at the moment. There really is a lot of good, innovative, groovy music out at the moment that it’s hard to pick standouts. But I’ma try, a’ight?
– Will Young, “Let It Go” (CD) – In contention for album of the year, I can’t get enough of this. I don’t remember the last time I had a CD where four songs on the record were five stars, but this is the one. “Changes” is just a lush, classy track, “Let It Go” does a great job to capture the melancholy that some men feel from time to time, and “Won’t Look Down” has a soaring pop chorus with an optimistic tone that you can’t resist, even if you try. My highlight, though, is “Love”. For those of you who remember back to the golden age of sophisticated Brit pop in the late 80s, you’ll remember a group called Swing Out Sister. “Love” hits all the right notes in tribute to SOS, and it was so unexpected, that I can just listen to it over and over. Can someone see what they can do about giving Swing Out Sister another chance here in the US? They’re still together, and they’re big in Japan. Literally.
– Craig David, “Insomnia” (single) – Yeah, yeah, I know. “Disturbia”, “Forever”, “Tattoo”, “Closer”…it’s like a bastard cousin of all those recent jams. Honestly? I don’t care. Craig hasn’t had a track that resonated as well with his voice as “Insomnia” does since his first record. While it seems like he just released an album a couple of months ago, this track is from his upcoming Greatest Hits compilation, produced by Jim Beanz of the Timbaland camp. Who knows what his record company’s plan for him in the US is, but if the Pop Gods have even a remote amount of reason and justice in mind, they’ll give this record a shot. It’s a hit in the making.
– Ne-Yo, “Nobody” (album cut) – In a marketplace where CDs debut high, only to sink like a stone in the following weeks, “Year of the Gentleman” is really showing some legs, and cuts like “Nobody” have to be helping the cause. This song doesn’t feel like a rip-off as much as it does a tribute to “Off the Wall”-era Michael Jackson. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but in the “heir to the King of Pop” contest, Ne-Yo is miles ahead of the competition. Folks like Usher and Chris Brown have attempted to make runs at it, but they just don’t have the credentials to pull off the triple threat of singer, dancer AND songwriter. Ne-Yo does all of that, plus he’s got a movie coming out that he’s starring in and producing. Not too shabby!
– Keane, “Perfect Symmetry” (CD) – This record continues to inspire me, although a little bit of the shine has worn off for the moment. I think I played it out a bit too much, but who’s counting, right? Some of my favorites are “Again and Again”, “Pretend That You’re Alone”, “Spiralling”, “Perfect Symmetry”, and “The Lovers are Losing”. If you can find it, I highly recommend the Japanese bonus track “My Shadow”. It’s one of those piano-and-vocal-driven tracks that Keane do so well.
– David Cook, “Light On” (single) – I’m going to take some abuse here, but this song has really grown on me. The chorus has that power pop vibe that I really enjoy, and I’m kind of feeling the perky, upbeat theme. Maybe my recent Chris Cornell encounter is helping fuel my increased love of the track, as he wrote the song. It’s the only track that Cook didn’t have a hand in writing, but I think given the current pop marketplace, it’s a good starting place. Most added at Hot AC radio last week, and the full-length comes out the week before Thanksgiving.
What are you all diggin’ at the moment?