Thursday, September 3, 2009
Robyn (Robyn) (2005-8):
Released so many different years, with so many different versions yet Robyn’s core brilliance has not been diluted since its original home country release (Sweden). To describe her music one must consider the hustling groundings of M.I.A, the vocal uniqueness of Bjork and a physical resemblance---but with a more daring pop presence—to Pink and presto, you now start to realise the triple threat the diminutive Swede is. Handle Me and Cobrastyle have so much booty-shaking funk that it’s futile to resist. Even the pure pop With Every Heartbeat is of a higher standard than the average Billboard Hot 100 tune. The great thing about Robyn though is her insistence to merge pop with her special brand of production. Many view pop as inferior to other genres but Robyn is pure pop and brilliant too.
Funeral (The Arcade Fire) (2004-5):
To understand the elegant Funeral, one need to consider the many paths that came entwined in order to make it possible. The band lost nine family members during the recording process, then broke up only to rebuild. Funeral thus is in memory of that emotional upheaval: the beginning and end of things. Its heightened sense of fragmented loss serves its purpose well on the ten tracks that are orchestrated with a wide range of instruments, sadness and loss. This only reinforces Ren Butler’s lead vocal work and the wretchedness associated here. His sound is reminiscent of early Michael Stipe; smouldering insistence of the heart-breaking Neighbourhood #2 (Laika). The track best captures everything that is so magical on the album. It is defiant and powers on a type of refrain that even more established bands will never master. Haiti, the saddest track, features Regine Chassange alone as she rekindles love for her country of birth and she takes a moment to breathe on In the Backseat. Fittingly, this is the last track and The Arcade Fire achieved what most rock albums hadn’t up to that point: a time to exhale. This was to prove a trademark as well as irrefutably influential.