And All that Could Have Been

Hi all. I’m taking a break from my usual everyday brooding to bring you the first official review I submitted to a magazine. Of course, it sucks so bad they didn’t write back to let me know if they liked it or not, but I think it’s pretty much one of the coolest reviews I’ve written. That says a lot about my judgment and standards, doesn’t it? The album sucks a truck load of donkey dick, but I did my best to enjoy it and, much to my embarrassment, I kind of did.

Dying to Say This to You, by The Sounds

Dying to Say This to You is the sophomore album by Swedish power-pop band The Sounds. In an effort to cross over from indie to mainstream, the band delivered an album that is cohesive and spunky, with plenty of catchy elements to make it a favorite among party-fiending teenagers all across the world.

Dying to Say This to You has energy. This energy is represented in the band’s use of synths, the playfulness of the lyrics and their delivery, which found a vigorous and strong ambassador in lead singer Maja Ivarsson, and more than anything, its sass. This is, indeed, a happy record, full of colorful moments to make it memorable. Producer Jeff Saltzman did a good job in providing the band with plenty of synth-rock influence to render a truly commercial pop album. His previous work in The Killers’ Hot Fuss, and the massive success of this album should have been enough of a starting point for the Swedish new wavers to get in the right mindset.

While not a particularly huge fan of pop rock, I can’t help but noticing the strengths of this album. It is undoubtedly enjoyable, fun and cheerful. It features plenty of 80’s-evoking keyboard lines to appeal to my new wave-loving self, and at times, one can find comfort in harsh, garage-rock-style guitars and edgy vocals. Much of the band’s shortcomings are seen in their songwriting – which proves juvenile and simplistic at times – and slightly annoying overproduction.  This is not a mean record, full of anger or raw power, but it will surely put your ears at ease and take you to a sweet place – a place where you will dance non-stop and enjoy being young.

This album spawned a slew of good tracks, most represented by “Painted by Numbers”. This is, absolutely, one of the strongest tracks of the album, in which one can clearly see the band at its finest: vivacious synths, feisty delivery of vocals – reminiscent of Debbie Harry or PJ Harvey – and heavy guitar riffing.  Other standout tracks include the single “Song with a Mission,” the earnest ballad “Night After Night” and “Queen of Apology.”

Creative, spontaneous and packed full of pop sensibilities and teenage energy, Dying to Say This to You has carved out its own place in mainstream pop and my synth-loving heart.

I guess I’m not good at anything I actually feel motivated to do. Heh, that’s life.

UPDATE:

Turns out, the delay was due to the fact that everyone in the magazine read my review and were discussing it and deliberating about it. And guess what? They loved it. Today, I got an email from them telling me I was hired. So there you have it, I am officially a music journalist. Er, or whatever.

Go here for more info on the magazine I will be writing for.

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