I realize this blog is pretty much dedicated to bringing you the most low brow pop music from around the world, but once in a while I can enjoy something high brow. Okay, so this was a tough one to find information on, especially since this French duo doesn’t even really have their own website. Well, they kind of do, but it’s not very detailed. Anyhow, what I do know for sure is that these boys are called Cassandre, they are from France and their debut album is self-titled. Oh, and I also know that their album is seriously fantastic. If you don’t believe me just take a listen to lead single from the album “Ma révolution.”
Like a majority of the album, “Ma révolution” has a really rich production, mixing electro-pop and light new wave influence with classical pieces, hypnotic drum beats, choirs, ghostly synths and stunning visuals such as the amazing music video accompanying the single. With each passing track the album gets even better, as their brand of dramatic orchestral Euro-pop is both fresh and absolutely gorgeous. The vocal layering adds a lot richness and dimension to many of the tracks. I seriously cannot rave enough about this album, and wish I could have the entire up for stream so you can sample the entire thing.
Usually when I stumble across something online that I like, I just enjoy the music and never expect to hear from the artist again. It’s hard keeping up with the thousands of niche foreign singers I’ve added to my collection over the years. But once in a while an artist comes along that I instantly really love. Cassandre happens to be one of those rare artists. I hope for great things from these two going forward.
I was a massive One Direction fan during their first and second album eras. Before they decided they were no longer a manufactured boyband made by Simon Cowell on a TV show created for 7 year old girls and started to pretend they were U2. Self serious 1D doesn’t do it for me, plus they all look like strung out drug addicts nowadays. Anyway, I was looking for a replacement and still am, but this new Dutch boyband MainStreet might be a pretty good replacement to be honest. After giving their album “Runaway” a good listen, I can honestly say I like pretty much every track on the album. I don’t need to tell you that isn’t the most common reaction to a pop album in the age of digital singles. Their sound is basically the same sound that 1D became famous with: guitar pop with big bubble gum hooks. I am definitely glad I stumbled upon this!
French Canadian singer Maxime Proulx is a brand new discovery for me. I couldn’t find much info on him but I sort of gathered that he was featured on some sort of reality show in Québec or something. I’m not sure which show and don’t really care, as his music is pretty good. His debut album “Parle de moi” (“Say What You Want”) might be one of the strongest pop debut albums of the year. The album features a heavy supply of catchy hooks and beats. The lead single of the same name is pretty awesome. The video accompanying the single is a bit on the cheap side, but features some killer choreography that you just don’t often see from non-Asian popstars these days. I am really impressed by this guy so far!
Now that One Direction have decided they are U2 and are releasing shitty music and 5 Seconds of Summer are rehashing horrible Sum 41-esque pop/punk, the world was in dire need of a boyband who was actually decent. Union J have been around for a while, but never really connected with audiences, mostly due to the fact they came from the same series 1D came from. Anyhow, they are a lot better than 1D as they don’t take themselves as seriously and put out catchier music. New single “You Got It All” is good even to their standard though. It is a massive throw back to the 90s with it’s big Westlife sized ballad sound. There is even a choir at the end! Amazing!
Ricki-Lee does not get the love or credit she deserves. She has had an amazing career in Australia, both as part of the strange disco themed cover band The Young Divas and as a solo artist. Her single’s discography is strong and feature many amazing pop masterpieces such as “Can’t Touch It”, “Do It Like That”, “Hell No” and “Crazy.” Last year’s “Come & Get In Trouble With Me” was pure dance pop amazingness and the video was fantastic. Sadly her sales this era have been on a steep decline, mainly due to the fact that her singles haven’t been very good lately. After a few bust singles I honestly was not expecting much from new album “Dance In The Rain”, but I ended up being massively surprised by it.
The singles for this album were all on the fluffy and forgettable side, but the album is full of thumping dance tracks such as EDM ballad “Only You” and insane house track “Until We Drop.” The Beyonce-lite “Giddyup” is fun, and the RIhanna-esque “Criminal” sounds like it could be song of the summer with it’s chill vibe. Some of the ballads are pretty good as well, such as “Night Vision” and title track “Dance In The Rain.” I’m really glad this album came out, because overall it’s great.
There are a few forgettable ballads toward the end of the album, and like I said before the singles aren’t very good, but there is definitely a lot on here worth checking out. Ricki’s voice is just as full and glorious as it has ever been, and with the right material she really shines.
DGNA/D-NA/The Boss or whatever name they are deciding to go by have been around for literal years, but I hadn’t heard of them until stumbling upon their latest single release “Rilla Go!” a couple days ago. I took to Wikipedia and was completely shocked that these boys have a pretty meaty discography. I haven’t gone through it yet, so for the sake of this review I am going to pretend it’s all flawless and iconic, as delusional as that may sound.
Anyhow, “Rilla Go!” is a bit out of date and extremely cheap, but what I really liked about it, besides the catchy hook, was that the concept for the song reminded me of iconic flop British boyband PHIXX from years ago. PHIXX had one of my all time favorite boyband concepts: a sort of gay porn star-meets-Tarzan concept that was always paired with a cheap and sleazy dance pop number. It was really amazing to me, especially since it’s the type of trashiness that never really plays out well with the general public. We all know I love pop when it is at it’s most self aware and low-brow, and this is exactly that. It’s a PHIXX-meets-“Yayaya” by T-ara concept minus any sort of budget, so how can I not stan? “Yayaya” has always been one of my favorite concepts ever, (my inspiration for Halloween costume one year!)
I am definitely going to check out their past work. I really hope it’s good, but I’ve always struggled consistently stanning for male K-pop acts in the way I stan for female acts. This track is definitely on repeat for the time being, though.
Just the other day I was having a conversation with a mate about how all my favorite K-idol’s were either already gone or currently heading toward their end. Wonder Girls are over, SNSD are having member’s leaving, T-ara are together but flopping and After School never releases anything new anymore because their company is broke. Hyori, Son Dam Bi and BoA are all over 22, therefore they’re now too old to release music anymore. It was kind of depressing me, as it was starting to sink in that I had little to fanboy for in terms of hallyu wave K-idols. Sistar is still slaying, but their music has been declining in quality for a long time, and artists like A Pink, IU and Ailee honestly do very little for me. I was in dire need of a rookie who I could irrationally stan for, but knew it would take time.
Well that Herculean task took about a day as new-ish flop legend Lee Hwan Hee (née Fawney) has released her awesomely cheap single album “Action.” Title track “Action” is the type of cheap and timeless dance pop that could slay me regardless of who the artists behind it is or when the song was released. If a Russian poptart released this in 2008 or a Disney Channel star released this last week it would translate about the same to me. The video for the song is painfully cheap, so there is a lot for me to be interested in. The video reminds me of the d-list treatment Shim Mina gets when she releases new singles. Our girl Lee Hwan is shown partying in her local small town gay bar dressed in 2012 era Forever 21 that she most likely found at a garage sale. It has been a really long time since I stumbled across an iconic flop such as Lee Hwan.
The single album is also pretty good. Mid-tempo ballad “Tonight” is honestly gorgeous, and the corny “Monroe’s Heel” which was actually released last year is decent fluff. I hope her company allows her to release more music in the future, even though it’s really unlikely she will chart at all with this release. She at least has 1 fan out there already!