Music, as a wise woman once declared, makes the people come together.
As with his 2010 studio album Believe, Progressive House DJ/producer Morgan Page‘s third effort In The Air relies on vocal contributions by talented singers hailing from a multitude of genres. As he explained of his new album: “This record exists between the club and pop worlds with a little bit of indie thrown in there as well. I wanted to try some new flavors and attitudes, while keeping my sound intact.”
Accordingly, there’s a slew of new names to add to Morgan’s ever-growing list of collaborations, including Tegan & Sara (who aren’t actually strangers to the dance scene, having already guested on the brilliant “Feel It In My Bones” off of Tiesto‘s Kaleidoscope in 2009), as well as singer-songwriters like Greg Laswell, Shelley Harland and Coury Palermo.
“In The Air,” the album’s opening track, lead single and namesake, also happens to be Page’s first #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay Chart–and rightfully so, as it’s one of the best songs of 2011: Co-produced by BT, Sultan and Ned Shepard and featuring the vocals of frequent Telepopmusik collaborator Angela McCluskey, the crisp, chill-inducing powerhouse dance anthem was perfectly timed along with the changing season when it topped the chart in October: “I’m feeling a change in the air,” McCluskey hauntingly croons above the song’s pulsing beat.
The album’s second single on the other hand, “Body Work,” finds the EDM maestro working up a sweat with Canadian sister act Tegan & Sara. After the pounding club mix of the song was unleashed in late 2011, Page unveiled the album version back in February 2012; a slightly more pensive take on the track, underscoring the tender (if not slightly awkward) tone of the Canadian duo’s sexually-charged club thumper. “You do your body work/I feel my pulse working overtime/I get shy in these lights/I feel your body doing overtime,” the twins anxiously warble.
Beyond the album’s two massive singles, there’s plenty of highlights packed into the eclectic (yet cohesive) record, including “Where Did You Go?” with Jonathan Mendelsohn and Greg Laswell’s stunning album closer “Addicted,” which finds the singer achingly recounting the details of his troubled relationship atop a gorgeous, piano-tinged melody. “I might be addicted to how you always get the best of me,” Laswell sorrowfully croons above the soaring chorus.
Two of my favorite voices also make an appearance: There’s the tranced-out “Carry Me” starring omnipresent dance floor queen Nadia Ali and her distinctively melodic vocals, as well as “Gimme Plenty,” which features nu-jazz troupe Bitter:Sweet‘s Shana Halligan. (A very unexpected and happy surprise!) The songs sees the songstress singing lush Britney-like commands across the sultry, bouncing chorus: “Gimme more, gimme love, gimme plenty,” she coos.
In The Air is an absolute treat from start to finish, featuring solid production value that trumps Morgan’s previous record and plenty of soul-searching lyricism that go beyond the oft-basic themes of so many dance tunes on heavy rotation in the clubs. Every song’s a smash, filled with emotion and pulsating energy–the best qualities that EDM has to offer.
Check out a sample mega-mix of the album below…
Oh…when you call my name!
Tove Styrke is a Swedish pop star. After rising to fame with a third place finish on 2009′s Swedish Idol, the gorgeous 18-year-old chanteuse released her self-titled LP in 2010, featuring production by fellow Swedes Janne Kask, Peter Ågren and Patrik Berger (known best for penning last year’s heaven-sent slice of sad disco, Robyn‘s “Dancing On My Own.”)
Now, the singer has just unleashed a brand new beat: “Call My Name,” an incredibly infectious electro-pop ditty again produced by collaborators Kask & Ågren.
“I was a rebel even as a little girl, I’ve been a loner ever since I can remember,” the lil’ punk-ette preaches off the top of her sizzling new single. With its twinkling synth-pop, slightly rock-tinged production and Styrke’s indie-pop friendly vocals, “Call My Name” almost plays like Swede-pop take on Tegan & Sara‘s punchy collabo with dance titan Tiësto…which is a very good thing!
Styrke’s latest is a luscious end-of-summer synth-pop jam…I’m LOVING it! With any luck, “Call My Name” should be leading up to a follow-up record in the same musical vein.
Oh–and if you like the song, don’t forget to tweet with the hashtag “#CallMyName.” She’ll make a music video if you get it trending!
Thanks to Muuser Myles K. for the heads up on this track!
Tove Styrke’s debut LP was released in the US on July 22. (iTunes)
DJ Tiësto–much to some of his more elitist fan’s chagrin–does this funny thing sometimes where he’ll step down from the turntables of his stadium-filling club concerts for a hot second to enter the recording studio with a pop artist and cook up an incredible slice of radio friendly trance-pop.
For proof, look no further than his incredible indie-goes-dance 2009 collection, Kaleidoscope. (Check out the MuuMuse review now!)
Today, the acclaimed Dutch beat-master has done it again with his latest offering: “Work Hard, Play Hard,” featuring vocals by none other than fast talkin’, fast rising Nova Scotia-bred pop starlet and recent MuuMuse fixation, Kay.
“Work Hard, Play Hard” first surfaced online just over a year ago in a promotion with Sandisk, during which fans were asked to submit cell phone footage from Tiesto’s concerts around the world in order to create an entirely fan-made video for the song. (If you’re into that sort of thing, the video for the song–set to the AutoErotique remix of the track–just premiered over at AOL’s Spinner.)
Now, the song is finally a full-fledged single as of today–which is a very, very good thing.
Tired of all those spreadsheets? So over working for the man? Sick and tired of always being SICK AND TIRED?! Good! Kay (and Anastacia) totally agree: “Can’t somebody cut me some slack? / I been working dang hard, breaking my back,” Kay cooly speak-sings.
“Work Hard, Play Hard” is a purely “We run this motha!” type of track for a night on the town–essential listening after a week’s worth of work-related stress. “I own this shit all week / This beat’s for all my freaks / We’re runnin’ on no sleep,” she bossily announces above the stinging trance beats.
Think of “Work Hard, Play Hard” as a slightly more grown-up response to your standard Ke$ha track (less vomming in Paris Hilton‘s closet, more fist-pumping in the VIP at Tenjune), complete with some signature Tiësto trance production and just the slightest hint of strut-tastic Sugababes 4.0 ‘tude to boot. (“Wear My Kiss”/Sweet 7 vibes anyone? Anyone?!)
So go ahead and play damn hard…you EARNED it!
“Work Hard, Play Hard (feat. Kay)” was released today on Beatport and will be released on August 15 to iTunes. (Beatport)
Genre: Dance-pop, electro
Sounds like: Ke$ha, Uffie, Jessie and the Toy Boys
Meet Kay, nee Kay Kristin Boutillier, the newest electropop princess on the block who already seems poised for world domination.
Kay first popped up on my radar just over a year ago, when her glitchy, ambient interpretation of Nancy Sinatra‘s classic “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” began circulating. Kay’s version featured an instrumental track sampling Lil Wayne‘s “Lollipop”–an unlikely pairing that reminded me of Sky Ferreira‘s similarly haunting “Happy Dre” mash-up.
A few well-chosen buzz tracks followed–including the swaggerific “M.A.J.O.R.”, produced by MuuMuse fave Doctor Rosen Rosen, a tongue-in-cheek cover of Justin Bieber‘s “Baby,” and a dance floor-ready collaboration with Tiesto titled “Work Hard, Play Hard”–but Kay really grabbed my attention with her official first single, “My Name is Kay.”
Penned with mega-hitmakers Ryan Tedder and Evan “Kidd” Bogart, “My Name is Kay” combines the contagious teen spirit of “Hollaback Girl” with the faux-gangster posturing that Ke$ha perfected with “Sleazy.”(Unsurprisingly, the track has already been championed by ArjanWrites and Perez Hilton.)
Better still than the studio version, though, might be Frankmusik‘s “Lost the Damn Gameboy” remix, which swaps the stop-and-go vibes of the original with a driving house beat.
Kay’s as-yet untitled debut album is due out via Interscope/Universal sometime this year.
Oh, 2009. What music to my ears! It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…and one of the greatest years in Pop music since–well, since 2007.
Sorting out this list was truly difficult. All I want to do is reach out my arms and squeeze all of these little albums together for one, snugly show of musical appreciation. Honestly, fabulous year in music. It’s totally not fair to list you all in descending order based on quality, but hey…people love that shit. Just remember: You’re all winners in my book!
Well, except for you in the back there. You’re ugly.
Without further ado…
40. Leona Lewis – Echo
39. Electrik Red – How To Be A Lady Vol. 1
38. Rupaul – Champion
37. Esser – Braveface
36. David Guetta – One Love
35. The XX – XX
34. Kelly Clarkson – All I Ever Wanted
33. Amerie – In Love & War
32. Mariah Carey – Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel
31. Blake Lewis – Heartbreak on Vinyl
30. Ciara – Fantasy Ride
29. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
28. Imogen Heap – Ellipse
27. The Gossip – Music For Men
26. Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care
25 .Cheryl Cole – 3 Words
24. Y.A.S. – Arabology
23. Amanda Blank – I Love You
22. Frankmusik – Complete Me
21. Annie – Don’t Stop
20. The Saturdays – Wordshaker
19. Little Boots – Hands
18. Pet Shop Boys – Yes
17. Shakira – She Wolf
16. La Roux – S/T
15. Nadia Ali – Embers
14. Utada – This Is The One
13. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You
12. Sally Shapiro – My Guilty Pleasure
11. Fever Ray – S/T
10. Polly Scattergood – S/T
Painfully under-reported here at MuuMuse, Polly Scattergood’s debut is a weird, warbling pop triumph, complete with broken vocals and quivering falsetto. The album, which brings to mind a cross between Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, and Kate Bush, takes a neurotic, autobiographical dive into the perils of pills and psychosis.
Just please…don’t touch her.
9. Miike Snow:Â Miike Snow
Looking back, the surprise wasn’t that the Swedish hit-making duo Bloodshy & Avant would come up with some brilliant tunes on their own venture into the music scene, but that the sound they would produce would be like nothing we’d ever heard before. Rock, folk, glittering electronica…throw it all in a blender, and there you have it: The debut album from Miike Snow.
8. Noisettes – Wild Young Hearts
Trading in the screaming, carnal stomps of their debut LP, What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?, the Noisettes have returned–and this time, they’re feeling nostalgic.
Keeping the best hooks from the doo-wop era in mind, Shingai Shoniwa and the rest of her UK troupe have produced some of the best feeling, best sounding tunes of the new century with their second LP. Combining classic melodies (“Wild Young Hearts”) with contemporary production (“Don’t Upset the Rhythm”), the band has once again proven themselves as one of the most innovative, musically intriguing acts of the new century.
7. Bat For Lashes – Two Suns
Bat For Lashes’ second LP Two Suns, is a mysterious, ethereal creature.
Inspired by landscapes and created in isolation, the album is as mysterious as it is compelling, providing enough distant howls (“Glass”) and spooky echoes (“The Last Sound”) to make the casual listener want to flick the lights on while listening at night. At the same time, warm, enveloping numbers, including one of the year’s best songs, “Daniel,” keep the album burning bright long after the final embers flicker down.
6. Peaches – I Feel Cream
What else is in the teaches of Peaches? Apparently, a whole lot more than you’d ever expect.
Hitting harder than ever, Peaches’ went for the jugular on her raucous fifth LP, I Feel Cream. While songs like the Donna Summer-esque “I Feel Cream” and “Lose You” hinted toward a next-level variety of disco inspired music-making, the remainder of the album’s punchier numbers, including “Serpentine” and “Trick or Treat,” have since become instant Peaches classics, reminding us that the real Miss Nisker still knows how to hit it hard.
5. TiÃ«sto: Kaleidoscope
In five words…Indie Takes to the Dancefloor.
It’s one of the few albums that ended up sounding as good on the speakers as it does on paper: The King of Trance meets the voices of the independent music scene, from Tegan & Sara, to Metric‘s Emily Haines, to Tilly and the Wall‘s Kianna Alarid, as well as a few familiar faces (Calvin Harris, Sneaky Sound System).
A stunning, slamming body of work (and a whole fuck-load of fun), Kaleidoscope may not have appealed to TiÃ«sto’s trance purist fans, but it sure made music sound better in 2009.
4. RÃ¶yksopp: Junior
In four words…Swedish and Nordic Delight.
RÃ¶yksopp is probably one of my favorite electronic acts of all time, and with the release of their March effort Junior, it’s becoming easier and easier to explain why.
Perhaps the greatest definition of “smart pop” of the year, the Nordic duo have combined just the right amount of trickling, fluid electronica, heavenly strings, and pounding bass to create some of most savory pop confections of the year. Couple the beats with vocal contributions from some of pop music’s most accomplished Swedish songstresses, including Robyn, Lykke Li, and The Knife‘s Karin Dreijer, and you’ve got a nearly unstoppable collection of intelligent, dancefloor-ready musique.
3. Florence + The Machine: Lungs
In three words…The Beast Within.
Certainly the most impressive artist debut in recent history, Florence + The Machine’s Lungs is an immense collection of macabre, magical music that transcends the limited confines of genre. Not pop, not rock….just a body of music surging with carnal energy and an insatiable rhythm, all thanks to fiery lead singer Florence Welch.
From the stampeding chaos of “Dog Days are Over” to the roar of “Howl,” all the way into the last, glittering notes of “You’ve Got the Love,” Lungs is as close to flawless as a debut could ever sound. Though the word is often overused in modern society (which is a shame), there’s nothing else that can quite describe what comes out from this album aside from “Epic.”
As time goes on, the music grows even sweeter. Just remember to play it louder, louder each time…
2. Rihanna – Rated R
In two words…Radio Killer.
It’s tanking on the charts, it’s only bubbling under on the radio, and it’s her least hit-heavy album ever. But I’ll be damned if, two months after it’s initial leak, it’s not my most played album of the year.
This is 2009′s greatest “album” album; a cohesive product of media frenzy and pent-up emotion. The odds that this album would even be created are shocking as it is. I mean, here’s one of pop’s most commercially viable, radio-friendly artists, who’s decided to turn full circle and send a big middle finger to the label that created her by making a daring, haunted album full of anger and anguish without a trace of that Good Girl Gone Bad formula. Want to hear another “Umbrella”? Well, fuck off. You’re not finding it here.
Killer, damning cuts such as “Hard,” “Wait Your Turn,” and “G4L,” all take Riri to a darker, confident place than ever before, leading to one of the greatest surprises of the year.
It’s Rihanna’s first artistic statement, and for that, she’s earned my full attention.
One more time for the year: VIVA LA RIHANNOIR!
1. Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster
In one word…Monster.
With the release of a certain single back in October, Gaga managed to turn my hatred on its head, cause me to issue a public apology, and quickly morph me into a full-fledged, unapologetic fan.
While I’ve already gone through it in my review of the album, it bears repeating: The Fame Monster is indeed a monster. Eight perfect slices of hook-laden pop, all wrapped in a delicious ’50′s-horror inspired visual campaign. Murderous live performances, a stellar accompanying national Monster Ball tour…it’s a beast with such bite that Alejandro’s still weeping himself to sleep at night. The Fame Monster is a stunning addition to the growing back catalog of the 21st century’s most important and influential entertainer.
In a sea of gangsters, liars and thieves, of false prophets and seedy politicians, Lady Gaga is the only public figure I can truly hold accountable for having followed through on her campaign promise: She is saving the world, one sequin at a time. As if there were any question, 2009 shall heretofore be known as the Year of the Gaga.
As if there were any question, 2009 shall heretofore be known as the Year of the Gaga.