Sunday, December 27, 2015

Neo-One (2008)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 27, 2015

My second newly-unwrapped after-Christmas gift to myself sees me —once again—putting the spotlight back on my favorite Scandinavian country! That would be Sweden, of course—home to some of the best young pop stars on the European continent of this New Millennium! I'd gotten acquainted with the guy who calls himself Neo through a hit I was instantly attracted to the moment I heard it on Youtube: "Toxicated Love". Well, let's just say I myself became a bit 'intoxicated' after that—to the point where I eventually grabbed hold of his 2012 album entitled "Reborn". A review of past recommendations led me to realize it had been some time since I treated my ears to that "Reborn" album—or anything else by him music-wise. And seeing that I often enjoy starting from the beginning with the discography of an artist I've become smitten to, Neo's 2008 debut, "One", became the next item on my personal music wishlist. Three seems to be the magic word for me lately (and people do say things come in threes, after all!), as that represents the number of times I've had to listen to a lot of these albums of mine lately. Why? Because the music is sooooooooooo good! "One" is definitely one with tons of replay value, and it begins with one heck of a dance feel-gooder to get the pop juices energized: "Higher". With that, I was quickly reminded of how marvelous Neo's vocals were. The one right after, a second super-charged dance feel-gooder, reinforces that notion: "Flowerpower Supergirl". I like these that have the fun lyrics with some witty, colorful personality weaved into them. I was already feeling like dancing before I even got to the song called "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing". A total jam this one is, highlighted by its distinctively classy throwback arrangement when Neo's performing the verses in his lofty falsetto vocals (his voice range is a lot more versatile than I thought!) and the 'whoo' chanted by the girls echoing him after every time he sings 'I feel like dancing' in the big-time hook that is the main chorus. Those same mighty, lofty vocals he shows off on that one also play a major role in me having adoration for "Born To This World" (he makes me think about BRONSKI BEAT's "Jimmy Somerville" here) and "Bachelor"; the melody, tonality and glitzy electronic arrangement of the former and the totally-80's-sounding rhythm in combination with the fun lyrics of the latter serve as the supporting cast. And that's something else that's been a magical element for me lately: modern-day pop music that sounds so much like the music from my favorite decade. "Shadow Dancer" is another that brings back memories from that MTV era; loving the peppy beat and the awesome energy all throughout, boosted even more by the unified voices that join in with Neo as he sings about seeing shadows in the dark (some pretty nifty songwriting on this one, too). In this album of collective wondrous moments, perhaps the most wondrous of them all is Track #12's "Wonderful Place"—a positive song of self-confidence, picturing a perfect idyllic paradise if he was in love with a special woman. So I'll say it one more time—Sweden is home to some of the best young European pop stars of this New Millennium, and Neo proved early on in his career that he's one of them:

1. Higher
2. Flowerpower Supergirl
3. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
4. Silver Lining
5. Born To This World
6. Shadow Dancer
7. Stars Are Calling
8. Don't You Worry
9. Play The Song
10. A Million Miles
11. Bachelor
12. Wonderful Place
13. Won't Surrender

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