Monday, July 12, 2010

It's so clear to me

Sweet Swedish popstar Darin makes me want to pull out a trapper keeper and scrawl "I ♥ Darin," complete with flowers and rainbows and unicorns, in pink Gelly Roll ink all over it. It's not so much a case of pure physical attractiveness--though he's grown up to be someone who, on the right day, when he's not trying so hard, pulls that off--but because he's EXACTLY WHAT I WANT IN A POPSTAR. He has a perfect pop voice and makes perfect pop music.

01 Lovekiller by poppostergirl

Now, that said, he's yet to pull off a perfect album in my books, though his fourth, Flashback, came the closest. Catchy and often club-friendly, it was just what an international male popstar should release, even if it didn't take off internationally for him.

Unfortunately, it didn't exactly take off in Sweden either, resulting in a change of labels and change of styles. It's hard to believe given the massive success Darin found with the '90s teen pop style "Money For Nothing" from his first album and the floorfiller "Step Up" from his second, but there was reason to be worried about him having a record label given the less than stellar sales of Flashback and its singles (including the excellent "Breathing Your Love," which took the title of my sixth favorite single of 2008 and probably should have been even higher). Darin found a new home at Universal, though, and in late 2009 had his biggest hit in years with an electronic cover of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" produced by Johan "Kermit" Bobäck.

That hit seems to have been the jumping off point for Darin's new material. His Melodifestival entry "You're Out Of My Life" is one of the best singles of the year so far, and it marks the debut of the Darin-Tony Nilsson giant percussion-based '80s mid-tempo ballad sound. I first fell in love with Tony when he was making pure pop uptempo songs like Ola's "S.O.S."; for a while, that was always the sort of song I'd hope any new track from his was. As of this year, though, I am all about him channeling his big dramatic '80s ballad side, mixing the adult contemporary and power ballads of that era to singing-at-the-steering-wheel-of-your-car effect.

Darin's song for the royal wedding, "Can't Stop Love," was in a similar style and, if not quite as fantastic as "You're Out Of My Life," still pretty good. Now, back with "Lovekiller," his first "proper" single since "You're Out Of My Life," Darin finds himself once again going back to the '80s. From the opening strings and lyrics about bloodstained hands, a smiling knife-wielder, and an irreparably scared heart, you know Tony and Darin have drama on their minds. The bridge is absolutely fantastic, building and building as Darin repeats his accusations. The chorus backs off from that intensity, which occasionally still a little iffy about (it sometimes feels a little too...musically open still, like it's a great thought that's not quite finished and just needs a little closure). Still, when the middle eight comes up and mixes the bridge from earlier with clanging bells and a choir, I'm so swept along in a tide of big pop ballad awesomeness that no sooner has the song ended than I'm playing it again. This is full-on clenched-fists-and-dramatic-lip-syncing stuff--and there's no one who could do it better than Darin who, even when he isn't releasing edgy danceable pop, proves there's a reason he's my favorite popstar going.

Darin's new single "Lovekiller" is available on iTunes in Sweden here. It will be on his fifth album, also titled Lovekiller, which is due out August 17. You can preorder the album here (physical).


fashionandstyle said...

i love Darin sooooo much!! :)
this song is amazing ;)

Greets! ;*

Aaron said...

Agreed! - Darin = Amazing - and Flashback was just brilliant, shame it didn't do terribly well.. I'm really hoping for some uptempo pop on the album, because I'm not a HUGE fan of ballads - Fingers crossed! - It might even get remixed....Swoon!

Paul said...

Love Darin so much right now - his twofer of Can't Stop Love/Killer has me drooling (as does his magazine spread!) in anticipation of the album. Sometimes in pretend world, I imagine that Shayne Ward came back with something like Flashback in 2008 instead of making us wait so very very long, but Darin has a great ear for pop.

I still think B What U Wanna B would be a very cute British hit by someone...

Anonymous said...

'Loverkiller' has grown on me so much in the space of 18 hours, i think if i was sung by someone else i wouldn't love it anywhere near as much and the choir just adds to the epicness especially at the end.

However it does look like this album is going to be filled with ballads like this and 'Your Out Of My Life' from the signs of things ('Only You Can Save Me', 'Drowning', 'Ill Be Alright' etc) which would be a bit of a shame really considering for me he does uptempo's much better than other male popstars.
I think i would like the new Taio Cruz and Usher tracks heaps more had they been sung by Darin but im glad in a way he's not gone down that generic Dr Luke root though id love him to work with RedOne again as 'Dance' and 'Breathing Your Love' were two of the best songs of 2008 for me.


Poster Girl said...

It's really good! I hope it does well for him. Thanks for stopping by.

Aaron, I know he mentioned at least one song with Tony was uptempo (though who knows if it's on the album or not).

Flashback is the album most of the male popstars of the past few years should have released. I am probably unreasonably interested in this particular photoshoot, but I think he looks so much better when he doesn't look like he's trying to be super-stylish (though I understand why he'd want to play around with fasion and I can hardly begrudge him that). It's why the photoshoot the other picture in this post is from also works so well.

Conor, yup, I'm expecting something very ballad heavy, too, which, as much I enjoy these songs, is a real shame. I completely agree with your assessment that he does those kinds of songs better than most other male popstars and, though I really like the past few Taio Cruz singles, I also agree with you about Usher's new song, now that you say that--actually, that would probably make a really big difference in my feelings towards it, because right now it doesn't really "pop" or spark for me. I wish we'd get more RedOne songs, too :-/ but I'm skeptical about it unless Darin gets some kind of "old friend" deal--RedOne's got to be charging a lot more than he was a few years ago now.