Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oops, makes you wanna sin again

Do you know, I very nearly mentioned a few days ago that it was rumored we'd get the first taste of this guys's new music this week...but I didn't. I mean, rumors--how many of them end up being true? Well, these ones turned out to be.

I've not hidden that I've been eagerly anticipating his new music--well, maybe "eagerly anticipating" is overstating. I've wanted to be excited and, since American Idol, have thought he had the potential to do something great, but I had really no idea what his stuff was going to end up sounding like, so there was no way I could confidently anticipate its quality. There were so many directions he could go in, and it seemed like he could easily end up going in a direction there was no way we could foresee.

So, now that it's out there (even if in subpar quality)? Well, they say "Break Anotha" is the lead single...and, to be honest, I will be shocked if this does well on the American charts. Not that that's ever been an indication of quality. So on that front? I listened to "Know My Name" first and felt underwhelmed at the time--I mean, I guess it could be OK for an album, but it sounded very...unsigned artist-ish. With a little better production. It's interesting--do you know what one of the earliest things to jump out at me was? The lack of synths. They're everywhere in pop today--often courtesy of Timbaland--but they aren't here. I wonder if that's part of why the songs sound so unusual compared to what you hear on American radio. Well, part of the reason! There's a lot more than that. I really want to hear "Break Anotha" in high quality, to see if it's actually as "light"-sounding as it currently feels--there's no super-strong bassline or synthline anchoring it, nor Kelly Clarkson-level guitars, and, though it's not some light floating pop song like Anna David's "Chill" or something, it doesn't have those anchors. Heck, if anything, it sounds like the "anchors" are strings! So yay for letting some of that "When I Get You Alone" performance from Idol sneak into his music.

I don't think this is going to win over any critics, but I'm on my third listen of "Break Anotha" right now and I'm enjoying it--I'm a sucker for anything catchy, and this is that, from the surf guitar, the sirens, the falling strings, the bounced back-and-forth vocals, to the backing falling "ohhh"s; I've already got both the verses and chorus stuck in my head--oh, and the bridge too. I mentioned recently that what matters to me isn't what lyrics mean, but how they sound, and these pass that test--there's a fun playful feel to them. Actually, shame he's got to release this in winter--seems like a lot more of a summer song, for driving around with the windows down. Still...hmm...I've gone from being completely underwhelmed to thinking I may love them (at least temporarily) in the space of three and a half listens (combined) to the two songs--well, at least "Break Anotha." Don't see it standing any chance on American radio, though, unless the feel changes a lot with the high quality.

This is all rambly right now. That's what you get when you try to reach conclusions in a matter of minutes! I'll see what I think in a little bit, after I have some more time to digest the songs and get rid of my expectations. I just don't think that it's that universe-conquering, everyone-who-hears-it-has-to-like-it song that I was hoping for, even if I end up loving it (which I expect I will, or maybe do already).

Ooo, do you know another reason why I think I'm surprised by the lack of synths and/or bassline? Blake kept talking about the '80's, and I remember him citing Erasure and Depeche Mode as influences--this is a lot more hip-pop or funk-influenced than it is influenced by (what I know of) them. Of course, I'm sure he mentioned other influences, too, and I just forgot. Shouldn't have, though--he's a beatboxer, after all; of course his music was probably going to be more beat-oriented, occasionally percussion-oriented, and sort of...well, to use the phrase again, hip-pop. Jumpy.

Anyway, with absolutely all credit to Rokker of FMSM, here's "Break Anotha," in low-ish quality, posted for a short time though I imagine it'll be all over the Internet in a matter of minutes (hah, as if it isn't already).

Break Anotha

The album, A.D.D., is now due to come out December 4 and can be preordered here (physical).

Edit to mention that I'm currently feeling compelled to listen to "Break Anotha" over and over again. Is that great? I'm not sure--I did that with "Star Girl" because I couldn't make my mind up about it, and ultimately, that song isn't that great. Other times it's because a song is fantastic. I'm really starting to come down on the "great" side, though, I think, or at least the "for me it's great" side--it's too much fun to resist. By tomorrow morning, I'm totally going to be hailing this as the best thing ever, aren't I?

Edit again: hah, didn't even take that long--I now completely love "Break Anotha" and I will not be talked out of it my any of you more logical-thinking people. Yup. Adore it. And am far too excited about it. Which means it's destined to flop.


J'ason D'luv said...

I dunno... I kept waiting for a chorus.... I think Jordin Sparks wins this round.

Poster Girl said...

Interesting fact: Ryan Tedder co-wrote this. "Apologize," "Bleeding Love" (which apparently he co-wrote with Jesse McCartney--I know, WHAT?!), this--is he the next writer du jour?

Anyway, back on track: I totally know where you're coming from and I'm expecting that reaction from most people, but somehow it manages to tick all the boxes I want. Well, except the "winning people over" box ;) I'll be hugely surprised if this wins more than a few "it's OKs" from a few people and ambivalence or dislike from most, with few people (especially among those who didn't really want to like it) loving it.