By the looks of the reviews here we seem to be going down the well travelled Air and Daft Punk line of... Oh it isn't as good as the first album, I'm very disappointed... and... They've sold out, this is all very mainstream. Well, that's music, typecast by a stunning debut album and it's all downhill from there, nothing the artist does after that will ever be enough. Lets just concentrate on this album shall we and remember music is all subjective.
First of all, if you are thinking of buying, grab a listen to the track 8 - 'You Don't Have A Clue' which is one of the best tracks I have heard in a very long time and this raises this from an average 3 stars to 4. 'Happy up here' will no doubt get played to death on the radio, but I don't listen to the radio much so that's not a problem for me anyway, I'm sure for others it will reduce some 'cred' for the Royksopp, it's catchy, upbeat and mainstream but I like it. The rest of the tracks I would say are pretty average, but then Melody AM had some average tracks on it too, there....... I said it.
This is Royksopp's most consistent album so far. Distinctive and original, it is a must-hear album of 2009, and probably the one that will surprise most people and vastly expand their fanbase. I consider it better than The Understanding (which is saying something because The Understanding is brilliant), although you can't really compare it to the more laid-back chillout sound of Melody AM. As many already know, there will be another album later on in the year called Senior which will be more down tempo and reflective, so there's no need for fans of Melody AM era Royksopp and fans who preferred The Understanding to fall out over the direction the band have taken here.
Junior is pure dance/pop music, whilst still being as quirky, original and unexpected as you'd expect from Royksopp, and there are so many crossover hits just waiting to hit the radio. The collaboration with Robyn on "The Girl and the Robot" is surely the best track of the year. Coming a close second is "Tricky Tricky", which builds into a full-on experience and lodges itself inside your head, as indeed does "This Must Be It" - both of these tracks being sung by the most distinctive voice of Royksopp, Karin Dreijer Andersson ("What Else Is There").
The third of the great guest vocalists on the album is Lykke Li on the mesmerising "Miss It So Much". But most prolific is Anneli Drecker ("Sparks") on "Vision One", "You Don't Have a Clue" and "True To Life". Royksopp themselves take a back seat after opening track "Happy Up Here", but come back to bookend the album with the anthemic "It's What I Want".
There is only one track that stands out by being mediocre and that is the instrumental "Silver Cruiser". I really wish they'd replaced that with the download only bonus track "Across The Graveyard" as that would have made the album perfect.
I've been playing Junior over and over since it came out and have yet to tire of it.
on 22 March 2009
This is my first review of a Royksopp CD, having been a fan of theirs ever since hearing Melody AM for the first time in 2001. The first track I heard back then was So Easy and, if I remember correctly, was on the T-Mobile advert. So now, 8 years later, the third album, Junior, has just hit the shelves and I would like to make one thing clear from the start, this is certainly not like Melody AM. Whereas Melody AM had chilled beats and beautiful slow music, Junior has upped the tempo with a number of disco beats mixed with great vocals, and a few slow songs to keep the old fans happy (Royksopp Forever being a prime example).
However, I don't think Royksopp ever intended this album to be a slow tempo affair. The duo have now made clear that Junior is the first part of a pair of albums, the second being called Senior and released later in the year. While Junior was made to be the Saturday night dance record, Senior will hopefully go back to Royksopp's routes and provide nice, Sunday morning relaxed music.
I think that this album shows that Royksopp are excellent musicians who are constantly trying to go one step further and produce music that is different from their other albums.
I have listened to the album about 6 or 7 times now and I like it more with every listen. I'm going to do a break down of all 11 songs on the album and give a score out of 10:
The first song on the album, and also the first single, Happy Up Here, is really catchy and funky, although I must admit I didn't think much of it the first time I heard it. 8/10
The second song, The Girl and the Robot, is one of the many highlights of the album, featuring Robyn on vocals and a sound not too disimilar to the Pet Shop Boys. It is very dancy, with a great chorus and is surely a future single. 9/10
The third song, Vision One, starts off amazingly. The first 40 or so seconds sound very similar to songs found on Melody AM, but then gets more upbeat after this. Whilst this is no bad thing, I do feel a bit disappointed that the slow tempoed-lovliness of the first part of the song wasn't carried a little further. The song ends with the trademark Royksopp distortion which may be a little annoying for some. Never the less, a good song which could have been greater. 7.5/10.
The fourth song, This Must Be It, uses the same singer as What Else Is There from Royksopp's second album, The Understanding. The song is very similar in style to What Else is There, with a great beat, haunting vocals and catchy chorus. The reason I say it is similar is because the chorus contains the lyrics 'And they talked, and they danced' which sounds exactly like the lyric in What Else is There when she sings 'Flash lights and explosions'. Another potential single. 8.5/10.
Fifth song, Royksopp Forever, and for me this is the highlight of the album. Gorgeous strings with a slow and mellow beat, it sounds a bit like In Space off of Melody AM. I think this hopefully is a taster of what is to come on the Senior album. If you had to download just one song, I would recommend this. 10/10.
6th song, Miss It So Much, again lovely female vocals with a catchy drum beat. Slightly slower and more chilled than the previous songs and sounds very dreamy. 8.5/10.
7th song, Tricky, Tricky, hmmm. I'm undecided on this song. The lyrics are a bit weird...'6 afraid of 7, coz 7, 8 9. I'm about to lose it the second time'. I have no idea what that means. I would say this is the song that sounds the most un-Royksopp-ish. 6.5/10.
8th song, another highlight of the album. Gorgeous piano driven chilled song. The lyrics are excellent and quite spooky, with a faint opera sound in the back ground that sounds very eerie, but in a good way. Absolutely love it. 10/10.
9th song, Silver Cruiser, another song that is more relaxed than the other offerings. This is the only song on the album, apart from Royksopp Forever, that doesn't have lyrics. The song is really nice, which gets louder as it progresses with strings coming in towards the end. However, the song is spoilt right at the end by a horrid toy-town jingle which adds nothing to the song. 7.5/10.
10th song, True to Life, this has quite a heavy beat and sounds similar to the offerings found on Royksopp's second album, the Understanding. Again, very spooky lyrics. 7.5/10.
Final song, It's What I Want. A great way to end the album. Great beat and male vocals (who I think come from Royksopp themselves). 8/10.
Overall, the album is certainly worth buying and carries on from where The Understanding left off. There are some truely exceptional songs on here that show why Royksopp are one of the best Dance/Chillout groups on the scene at the moment. However, my only reservation is that some of the songs are possibly a little bit too left field and weird for my liking and although the album is a triumph, it still does not reach the heights that Melody AM achieved 8 years ago. 8 out of 10.
A final thing, for anyone who loves Royksopp, I would highly recommend that you have a listen to Oceanlab's Sirens of the Sea album...it's a must buy for any dance/chillout fan and is one of my favourite albums at the minute.