8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Might be a masterpiece of its genre,
This review is from: Ten (Audio CD)
I really, really liked the single On A Mission so I had fairly high hopes for the album. Even though I expected it to be good, I'm surprised that it's surpassed all my expectations so thoroughly. It's a much more consistent album than I expected. There isn't a dud track and there are numerous highlights spread throughout the disc and not front-loaded like most pop albums. Even the weakest tracks (5 and 11) are decent enough songs in their own right.
This is a very good, strong album by any measure, and by pop album measures it's probably a masterpiece.
I thought her first album was weak with only the first two songs (ie. the first two singles) making any impact. To say this is a big step forward is an understatement. Everyone says she's moved in the direction of Kylie's modern disco sound. Personally she reminds me more of Little Boots (not dissimilar to Kylie) who also has a strain of sci-fi lyrics and synth sounds in her music and images.
1. On A Mission (5 out of 5 stars)
A brilliant monster of a track full of great synth and percussion sounds. Even the spoken word breakdown section works. In my opinion it's one of the best new songs I've heard in years.*
2. Hearts Don't Lie (5 stars)
Good 70's style disco stomper that works a groove. Reminds me of Ticking by Chungking who in turn sound like Goldfrapp.
3. What If You Knew (3 stars)
Up-front vocals on this fairly up-tempo ballad. It's better than it should be. It's quite short and the ending is slightly too abrupt for my liking.
4. Love Me Cos You Want To (4 stars)
The atmosphere this track conjures makes me think of Christmas parties. A convincing piece of melancholy pop. It was co-written by new pop star Ellie Goulding according to the hard to decipher writing credits in the booklet.
5. Defender (3 stars)
Starts a bit iffy but turns into something interesting in the middle with military drums.
6. Robots (4 stars)
Silly, but not bad, sci-fi lyrics about love replaced with science and technology. As silly as it is, I consider it to be the most lyrically interesting song on the album. It could have been written for Rush's Grace Under Pressure album.
7. Super Hot (5 stars)
I hear a slight hint of Kate Bush in the vocal mannerisms. Good-time fun pop with a nice effortless feel to it. Really enjoyable. There is also a hint of ABBA to the melody.
8. Boys (4 stars)
Again I can hear echoes of Kate Bush on the higher squealed parts of the vocals. A good song.
9. Invisible Girl (4 stars)
The vocal melody reminds me of Womanizer by Britney Spears. It feels like a minor track but it's stronger than perhaps they expected. The song also features a surprising swear word at the start.
10. Glue (4 stars)
A very 80's sounding power ballad. It would fit perfectly on a power ballad compilation along with Jennifer Rush, Heart, etc.
11. Let Me Know (3 stars)
More "acoustic", "rootsy" song. It doesn't sound like it belongs on this album which is very produced and electronic. Pleasant but unremarkable. Perhaps the weakest song on the album.
12. Superman (4 stars)
Very strong, more stripped down mid-tempo song. Has a sexy vibe but too much repetition of the lyrics does it no favours.
13. Sweet About Me (Twenty Ten Version) (4 stars)
Good beat heavy, more electronic remix of the big hit from her first album. Adds nothing to the album but it's a nice bonus anyway.
I like to make an EP playlist out of some albums for my iPod. Tracks 1, 2, 6 and 7 made the cut.
A very strong 47 minute album and I fully recommend it.
* The other great, recent songs that spring to mind are Kim and Jessie by M83 (pop filtered through shoegazer rock) and Baby Baby Baby by Make The Girl Dance (French language dance music). Perhaps not coincidentally those two and On A Mission all have remarkable music videos?