Wednesday, November 15, 2006

She even lied about the dog

I am mildly but pleasantly surprised by Guy Sebastian's new album. It's too early for me to judge it as a whole, but at the very least it has some very good--and very fun--songs on it. In the past, I've only bought single Guy songs, not whole albums, but this one has intrigued me enough that I may have to reevaluate that decision. I've written about Guy before, but as a brief recap, he won the first season of Australian Idol and, although his single placings are no longer quite as high as they used to be, he not only has a league of extremely dedicated fans, he also must be having crossover success--the lead single, "Taller Stronger Better," for his third album peaked at #3 in the charts and that album, Closer To The Sun, reached #4. I am tempted to propose that he and Anthony Callea must have recently switched to the same hairstylist, because both previously had distinctive hairstyles (Guy's afro and Anthony's spikey popstar hair) that have largely been shorn off before the promotion of their new albums. On to the music, though; I'm not going to post his upcoming single "Elevator Love" because, when I did so before, I had a request to remove it, and that makes sense (you can listen to it here, though)--I wouldn't want to hurt the single's sales, especially because it really is very good. In fact, it's excellent! Instead, I'm going to post one album track in an attempt to intrigue people about the album and get them to go buy it. Remember, if you like the following song (which is good), "Elevator Love" is even better (by a long shot); if "Taller Stronger Better" can get to #3, there's no reason why "Elevator Love" shouldn't reach #1.

Boyfriend--this is a bit like "Elevator Love" (especially when compared to songs like the ballad "Taller Stronger Better" and the surprisingly fun, Caribbean-influenced "I'm Gon Getcha"). It doesn't quite have the same rock-out element, but it does have that guitar-based sound--from the verses, you wouldn't be surprised if it turned into something like "Elevator Love" (which has that Kelly Clarkson-esque pop verses and rockier chorus structure). The moment it starts, you're hooked--there's a feeling that it's going to build up to something big. It's a pleasant surprise, though, that it doesn't just fall back on that rock-out chorus--it's definitely got guitars, but it stays sort of poppy and definitely catchy. Like the Rooster songs of yesterday, one of the great things about this song is that even the chorus and bridge are catchy. I really want to see the writing and producing credits for this song, and much of the album--from how good this song and "Elevator Love" are, I'm really curious to see who's responsible for coming up with them. Guys graduated from Idol who think that guitars are the solution to everything (including Heinz!), take note--this is how you do it!

These new Guy songs are such a refreshing surprise compared to some other comeback songs I've heard lately. I wouldn't say every song on the album is a must-listen, and maybe it's just because I didn't really have many expectations (not that I had low expectations--I really just didn't have any expectations) going into the album, but songs like "Elevator Love" and "Boyfriend" show a side of Guy I didn't know existed but still fit in more than comfortably on an album that jumps around between multiple different styles. In short, Closer To The Sun confirms that Guy more than deserves a place among successful Australian pop artists.

To buy Guy Sebastian's third album, Closer To The Sun, go here (physical).

On a completely unrelated note, can anyone tell me who Jan Smit is? More specifically, why is his song "Als De Morgen Is Gekomen" topping the charts in the Netherlands (it spent 5 weeks at #1 on the Dutch Top 40 and is now at the top of the Dutch iTunes chart)? Why did the U.S. iTunes decide to add the song to its collection? I feel very out of touch with the Dutch music scene (well, I was never really in touch with it to begin with) if this is the sort of music that tops charts over there. Not that it's atrocious or anything, but...well, listen to it and see if you understand my confusion:

Als De Morgen Is Gekomen

U.S. iTunes commenter DannyRay wrote, "I don't get it. Is this a post-modern-commentary on something? Is one supposed to listen on another level? Is this a forgotten Dutch treasure from the 70s? Is the talent pool in the Netherlands that meager? Is he cute enough that one should be able to look past his musical shortcomings? Would someone buy this, now that my grandparents have passed on? Would someone please help me?"

To which I have to respond: well-played, DannyRay. Well-played. I had to fight really hard to prevent myself from bursting out laughing at that (though I might not totally agree--since I'm not living with it, it's a little too cute in a novelty song way for me to really come down that hard on it).

I think Jan Smit might have been on a reality TV show or something...maybe? Can anyone fill me in? Is there some outside factor explaining this song's striking success?

To buy Jan Smit's album Op Weg Naar Geluk, go here (physical) or, for just "Als De Morgen Is Gekomen," go to iTunes.

(Update: apparently, Jan has released multiple albums, starting from when he was very young, which does sort of make me discount the "novelty song related to TV show" theory, but I'm still very confused...truly, I have much to learn about popular music in other countries.)

Next up: a cute little song in Spanish (though it's not the song in Spanish I've been saying I'll write about for the past several days--that will probably be in two or three days).


Paul said...

i only have time for one australian idol, i have decided and it will have to be antony callea whose shaved head is growing on me. well not on me literally because that would be kind of freaky. But i think you see where i am going wit this...

i love how you keep having to push things back to make room for other stuff that pops in your brain. makes me feel so much better :)

Poster Girl said...

If you have to choose one, excellent choice ;) But keep his new hairstyle away from your newly cut popstar hair!

I think it's great (and amazing!) that you include so many artists in your posts and then still keep coming up with new ideas that force you to shift things around!

Anonymous said...

Haha.. Hellow I'm dutch and I just wanted to say that this kind of music not done is either, here in holland!
I speak English very bad.. sorry
We like Brace, Lange Frans and Baas B, Ali B or Ilse de Lange.
But we listen international music the most ofcourse.
My point is, Dutch people don't like this music at all from Jan Smith.

Poster Girl said...

Thanks for clarifying! I feel slightly less out of touch now :) Plus, I have some new artists to go look up (the ones you mentioned), which is exciting!

And don't worry about your English--it was good, and exponentially better than my non-existant Dutch!