Monday, May 30, 2011

You keep telling me to grow up

My conflicted feelings about Eric Saade the popstar have been documented to the point where I'm sure it's straining reader patience, but my constantly optimistic attitude towards Swedish boy pop means that, like many other fans of Scandinavian pop, I'm looking forward to the release of Eric's second album. Oddly titled Saade Vol. 1, it's released June 29.

Hearts In The Air (feat. J-Son) by poppostergirl

There's at least one reason to feel encouraged about the end product. Around half of the tracks were co-written with Jason Gill, one of several songwriters I'm constantly wishing more European singers would employ. He has a good track record for sparkly synth-based songs with young male Swedish popstars, having turned in Darin's "Paradise" and Måns Zelmerlöw's "Rewind," "Freak Out," and "Hold On." Though not amazing, "Hearts In The Air," the second single from Saade Vol. 1 and a Gill track, is a nice attempt at a slightly more international sound for Eric.

As for additional songs, "I'll Be Alright," a mid-tempo track I initially thought of as totally throwaway, was debuted before "Popular" was released. We've also heard a low quality clip of "Timeless" (listen to it here), a Gill co-write that sounds like a cute fluttery pop-dance-R&B mid-tempo song with enough of a beat to keep it interesting. The demo I've heard of "Me & My Radio" (which could end up being the final version for all I know) falls into a similar category, though this time Eric's nursing feelings of being cheated on instead of reassuring his girl that their love will last forever. I am an eternal sucker for anything that can milk pathos out of the human-radio relationship, so as lightweight as "Me & My Radio" is, its pretty little fast-paced synth runs and lonely chimes charm me.

None of these songs is going to fill the void felt by listeners seeking a second "Popular," but Eric, for all his drawbacks, has always had the admirable quality of knowing where his bread is buttered musically; anything less than another dance track or two would be surprising.

The tracklisting for Saade Vol. 1 is reproduced below, complete with the songwriting credits I'm aware of. If you know more, please fill me in!

1.) Timeless (Jason Gill/Robin Fredriksson/Mattias Larsson/Eric Saade)
2.) Hearts In The Air (feat. J-Son) (Jason Gill/Robin Fredriksson/Mattias Larsson/Eric Saade/J-son)
3.) Me & My Radio (Mich "Cutfather" Hansen/Jason Gill/Mikkel Sigvardt/Daniel Davidsen/Engelina Larson/Brandon Beal)
4.) Made Of Pop (Jason Gill/Robin Fredriksson/Mattias Larsson/Eric Saade)
5.) Popular (Album Remix) (Fredrik Kempe)
6.) Someone New
7.) Killed By A Cop (Jason Gill/Robin Fredriksson/Mattias Larsson/Eric Saade/J-son)
8.) Big Love
9.) Stupid With You (Jason Gill/Robin Fredriksson/Eric Saade/Fredrik Kempe)
10.) Echo (Jason Gill/Robin Fredriksson/Mattias Larsson/Eric Saade)
11.) Still Loving It (Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad/Niclas Lundin)
12.) Popular (Original Version) (Bonus Track) (Fredrik Kempe)

Preorder Eric Saade's second album, Saade Vol. 1, here.

Turn the hour hand back

I was starting to worry that the dance-influenced pop-rock anthem trend of the past few years (Metro Station's "Shake It," Cobra Starship's "Good Girls Go Bad," Boys Like Girls' "Love Drunk") was never coming back. Who knew Canadian punk pop band Simple Plan would swoop in to save the day? Having failed to convincingly build on the more grown-up sound of 2005's "Untitled" on the album that followed it, they've finally figured a way to transition from the innuendos and (admittedly sometimes fun) tantrums that first brought them success into a sound more fitting for a group with an average age of thirty. The uptempo "Jet Lag" has a surprisingly effective little metaphor for missed connections at its center, but what seals the deal is its radio-ready chorus. The end result is the best both Simple Plan and Natasha Bedingfield have sounded in a long time. In a summer that's so far lagged behind in worthy hit songs, here's hoping this one breaks through.