We’re being hit with new albums left and right! Among the soon-to-arrive are the long-awaited follow-up releases from Leona Lewis and Calvin Harris, and we have those two projects’ next singles below. We also go deep into 80s Realness with re-imaginings of songs by Thompson Twins, Duran Duran, Shannon, Nu Shooz and Wang Chung (of all things). When it rains it pours! Speaking of rain, taking one quick detour from Dance music – we also wax rhapsodically on a jazzy new album and collective out of Brooklyn that absolutely must be heard.
“Trouble” – Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis’ first single off her upcoming third studio album Glassheart, the deliciously ivory-tickling “Collide,” was a great kick-off for the new project – despite a brief legal snafu with Avicii over authorship. Now comes the follow-up, “Trouble,” which takes Lewis in yet another unexpected direction. Lewis has been said the song was inspired by Massive Attack, and it is indeed a haunting, gothic cut drenched in piano and strings. But forget similarities to Massive Attack, the song sounds almost exactly like “Heaven” by Emeli Sandé – who actually co-authored the new tune. Its trip-hop backbone gets underlined in the dance mixes that kick everything up a notch with some serious percussion. (The Wookie Remix actually improves on the original in intensity.) Two notable cameos: one version of “Trouble” features a brief, mid-song rap by American multi-hyphenate Childish Gambino (aka 30 Rock writer and Community star Derrick McKinley Glover), and Lewis’ hunky co-star in the video is Colton Haynes of Teen Wolf fame.
“Sweet Nothing” – Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch
DJ/producers love their divas! Last week we wrote about David Guetta and Sia on their latest, “She Wolf.” This week we have a collaboration between Calvin Harris and Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine. Written by the pair, this will be the 5th single (!) from Harris’s forthcoming album 18 Months, dropping later this month. (For the record, “Sweet Nothing” follows the hits “Bounce,” “Feels So Close,” “Let’s Go” and the lesser “We’ll Be Coming Back.”) We love that this particular song is a more electronic detour for the Machine’s front-woman, while still a great showcase for her pipes that range from ethereal tones to pyrotechnical.
NEW New Romanticism
Just typing the name New Romanticism leaves us yearning for the days of early 80s British New Wave. The hair, the clothes, the synthesizers. As it happens, there are currently TWO new (though vastly different) takes on classic of the genre: songwriter/producer Nivek Tek’s remake of Thompson Twins “Hold Me Now” and DJ Steve Aoki’s reimagining of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf.” The former is a pretty faithful cover, re-setting the song as a high-octane dance explosion and featuring new vocals by Nivek. Of the many mixes, the Tom N Currie is the most faithful to the original, which is probably why it’s the most satisfying. The latter re-rub is Aoki’s complete deconstruction of the original “Wolf,” using Simon Le Bon’s vocals in a mind-bending, lower key. The now-plaintive verses are chased by a wild wall of sound that’s also punctuated by terrifying drums. The wolf itself is after us! We are obsessed. Our only quibble is we wish this version incorporated the original’s final call-and-answer between LeBon and the moaning girl. The video link below features a surprise appearance by D2 at Aoki’s last NYC concert.
“Hurricane Season in Brooklyn” – Analog Players Society
Man does not live on EDM alone, and from time to time we enjoy pointing out music off the Dance radar that’s also somewhat off the beaten path. We do not say lightly that Hurricane Season in Brooklyn is instantly a serious contender for Best Album of 2012. Masterminded by producer/percussionist Amon, the group Analog Players Society is a collective of studio musicians in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Their sessions are a literal jam of drums, horns, piano and bass. Indeed, Hurricane Season comes at you like a hurricane itself, bursting with a wide-range of musical styles and flavors: Caribbean, Reggae, Jazz, Afrobeat, Funk, Soul. But always organic and never a gimmick. Think Vampire Weekend meets The Style Council. The center of the album scores a perfect trifecta of 3 unlikely 80s covers : Shannon’s “Let The Music Play,” Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait” (featuring Cecilia Stalin’s terrific vocals) and Wang Chung’s “Dance Hall Days.” The entirely sassy project is the perfect soundtrack for both a rainy afternoon or a scintillating cocktail party, as if the 90s Lounge reissue trend has come to flesh-and-blood life. Hurricane Season in Brooklyn is an absolute must for any serious music fan.
Dance diva Kristine W. is back. After having sent a whopping 16 of her previous 17 releases to the top of the Billboard Dance charts, she’s just released #18, “Everything That I Got.” Of the mixes to choose from, we love the stripped down version by Bimbo Jones that brings out the song’s inner Scissor Sisters…Whatever you think of Beyonce’s album 4 (and we were fans), the dance mixes for the entire project have been consistently top-notch – even exciting. She once again scores, this time with the mixes of “I Was Here,” especially the epic and evocatively named Strictlove Beach House Club Mix …Kelly Rowland needs some direction. She gets perhaps too freaky/confessional on her lyrically direct, single-entendre “Ice.” In it, she improbably romances Li’l Wayne while he utters explicit groaners (including one line about putting a “pillow under her tummy”). The original slow groove emphasizes just makes everyone uncomfortable, though sped and spiced up in the Sugar House Mix it’s somehow less I your face…While a nice ode to friendship, Cher Lloyd’s “Oath,” her follow-up to “Want U Back,” is a sweet ode to friendship that doesn’t stray far from the sound of her debut single. It also sounds dangerously close to the verse melody of Pink’s “Please Don’t Leave Me”… Finally, snippets of Adele’s upcoming, eagerly-awaited title track from the equally-anticipated new Bond film Skyfall has leaked and the minute and half sounds like a doozy – classic atmospheric Bond torch ballad with John Barry’s iconic 4-note theme duly incorporated in a fantastically dramatic build. (We still think the Raconteurs mix of her “Many Shades of Black” would make a terrific and energetic Bond opening.)
Kelly Rowland (original, mix not yet available online)
[These links keep getting taken down, so listen while you can!]
NEWS: Summer’s over, which means my “GET YOUR MESS ON!” dance party returns to Saturdays, starting this Saturday, October 6! Boys, Booze, Tunes. It all goes down starting at 10PM at Pieces Bar (8 Christopher Street).
After 2 weeks of pounding her alarm at the top of the Top 20 Countdown, Nicki Minaj slips back as Ne-Yo vaults over her to #1 with the fast-climbing “Let Me Love You.” In what’s suddenly become a contest between wild animals, Duran Duran (via Steve Aoki) makes a giant debut at #10, hot on the heels of Sia’s “She-Wolf” at #8. Beyonce wants you to know she was here, and leads this week’s debuts.
1) Let Me Love You (Pulse Remix) – Ne-Yo (5) (1 at 1*)
2) Triumphant (All Mixes) – Mariah Carey (2) (1 at 1*)
3) Pound The Alarm (Original & Liam Keegan Mixes) – Nicki Minaj (1) (2 at 1*)
4) I Can Only Imagine (Extended Mix) – David Guetta feat. Chris Brown & Lil Wayne (6)
5) Hello (Razor & Guido Mix) – Karmin (8)
6) Spectrum (Calvin Harris Remix) – Florence & The Machine (10)
7) Timebomb (Original Extended & Peter Rauhofer Mixes) – Kylie Minogue (9) (2 at 1)*
8) She Wolf (Falling To Pieces) (Extended Version) – David Guetta feat. Sia (11)
9) Hold Me Now (Tom N Currie Mix) – Nivek Tek (12)
10) Hungry Like The Wolf (The New York Werewolf Mix) – Steve Aoki vs. Duran Duran (DEBUT)
12) Turn Up The Radio (All Mixes) – Madonna (7) (3 at 1)*
11) R.I.P. (Seamus Haji Mix) – Rita Ora feat. Tinie Tempah (3)
13) Trouble (Wookie Mix) – Leona Lewis (19)
14) Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch (17)
15) Wanna See U Dance (La La La) – Kat DeLuna (14)
16) I Cry – Flo Rida (16)
17) I Was Here (Strictlove Beach House Club Mix) – Beyonce (DEBUT)
18) Everything That I Got (Bimbo Jones Mix) – Kristine W (DEBUT)
19) Want You Back (Cahill Mixes) – Cher Lloyd (4)
20) Finally Found You – Enrique Iglesias feat. Sammy Adams (DEBUT)
*Indicates current/former #1