Wednesday, September 30, 2015

CULTURE BOX-Culture Box (2008)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 30, 2015

There was the 80's new wave Boy George-fronted group CULTURE CLUB. Then there was the 90's German Eurodance project called CULTURE BEAT. And then there was the five-piece bunch that decided to call itself CULTURE BOX. They were another new-found discovery in a recent Eurodance trek whom i absolutely HAD to have, considering I'm especially a sucker for the bubblegum Eurodance (and, well, everything else bubblegum music, for that matter). I assume the three guys and the two girls who comprise CULTURE BOX are from Germany as well, given the bit of info on the back cover artwork to their self-titled debut CD, so that further extends my cultural music horizons—of listening to international artists, that is. And just like the fellow German bubblegum Eurodance bunch, BANAROO, I found CULTURE CLUB and their arsenal of tunes to be delightfully fun and irresistibly catchy. After the thunderously epic introduction that welcomes you inside the CULTURE BOX, complete with ethnically tribal rhythms and a complete orchestral score, the music box starts shakin' with the "Boogie Woogie Song" (just writing that tile makes me wanna giggle), a dance anthem of sorts that entices you to sing along with their collective voices. Do you know how to do the "Diva Dance"? Well, it's simply a bouncy, dancey delight! Then after bouncing along to the beat and the sweet melody to that one, there's the even bouncier "Papa Joe", which is smothered in bubblegum sugary-ness (yep, I just made up another word there). Although the song is filled with silly lyrics telling a funny tale about this fictional character, I was sooooooooooooooo attached to it, especially the line from the main chorus that goes 'hey papa papa papa Joe' against the clapping beat and the sweet melody of the puffy woodwind instrumentals. Seems that just about every Eurodance album—particularly these that are of the bubblegum variety—has a song either called "Around The World" or has a 'traveling around the world' or 'dancing in every country' theme of some kind. Here on CULTURE BOX's debut, you get all three, and and you get a taste of all three in three separate instances: first on the album's sixth track, then again later with "Mexico", which gives a fun history lesson and also serves up a bouncy beat that's just as catchy as the beat to "Papa Joe". Speaking further about Eurodance albums and their trademark themes: there also seems to be a Latin-flavored song called "Baila" or contains 'baila' somewhere in the lyrics, or just has a Latin theme about it altogether. You get that a couple of times here on the eighth and tenth tracks, with "Baila Party" and its sugary love lyrics being especially bubblegummy to the ears. One song that just may as well be on every bubblegum Eurodance album is "Hooray! Hooray!". So many times have I heard this classic and its signature sing-along catch-line 'hooray, hooray, it's a holly-holly-day'. A bit outside the box, however, are a couple of slower tunes that are sure to charm—"Million Miles" and "Believe In Love"—and a pair of mid-tempo Europop jams that are sure to entertain—"Hands Up" (this one's simply pure pop fun with some cool techno glitz to give it a club vibe) and "Just The 5 Of Us", which could be seen as the group's official anthem. Every Eurodance lover should go out and grab a CULTURE BOX off the music store shelf; if I were advertising them and this album, 'satisfaction guaranteed ' would be printed on the package label:

1. Welcome To The Culture Box
2. Boogie Woogie Song (Single Version)
3. Diva Dance
4. Papa Joe
5. Saturday Night
6. Around The World
7. Hands Up
8. Baila
9. Million Miles
10. I Wanna Want It
11. Baila Party
12. Mexico
13. Hooray! Hooray!
14. Just The 5 Of Us
15. Mare Mare
16. Believe In Love
17. Culture World

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