Thursday, December 31, 2015

POP! FICTION-Next Level (2011)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 31, 2015

Fact or fiction: the boyband craze that I'd suspected was sweeping through the pop music world a little over a year ago is still alive and well. Oh, that's a tough one (insert sarcastic smiley face). If nothing else, the boyband craze is definitely alive and well here at "The Music Spectrum", as I've somehow found myself closing out this 2015 year with a flurry of them! My sixth after-Christmas present to myself (yep—still unwrapping) sees me becoming newly acquainted with the California bunch that collectively calls itself POP! FICTION—with an exclamation mark, no less. And that bit of punctuation totally deserves to be there, considering the exciting thrill that each of the five tracks are here on their debut mini-album! Carefree, footloose and happy-go-lucky with a bouncy, summertime-party pop/rock spirit—that's my colorful description of these young talents and their brilliant music after the four rounds (or maybe it's been five?) I spent with this quarter-of-an-hour gem. The fact that every one of these tracks has a cheerful, upbeat vibe makes "Next Level" the perfect companion to get your morning started on a positive note—literally and figuratively. "Brightside" is like the perfect energetic, wake-you-up-out-of-bed jam that shows, as the title suggests, the brighter side of love. It's got THE best hook on this whole mini-album! Love the part where they sing 'keep me here with you' (which got stuck to me in no time), especially when there's some production play with the glitzy electronic sound effects being substituted for some of the words later in the song. What a cool coincidence that I'd hear them singing the line ' I'll be your best bet, your New Year's Eve with today being New Year's Eve! Oh, and I slight like ' You're a Rolling Stone ', another one of my favorite lines. I could make myself go crazy with endless replays of "Make Me Crazy"; this one makes me wanna dance! The melody and the subtle techno arrangement got to me first, and then it was the infectious delivery of the hook: 'You make me wanna dance, you make me wanna scream, I can't breathe, you make me crazy'. I had a brief Katy Perry moment whenever they sang the 'I can't breathe' part, noting the way that there are momentary pauses between each word is similar to the way that Katy sings ' I can't sleep ' in the main chorus to her hit song, "Teenage Dream". I'm thinking "Favorite Song" HAS become a favorite song! The production here is absolutely fabulous (the twinkly melody gives the song a sweet, romantic touch) and totally suits a group of young guys who are in love. Enjoyed the best lyrics on this album right here, particularly how the songwriter describes the girl as a showstopper, a chart-topper, a bass-dropper, being the hit on his next CD, and being someone he could sing all day long. I had thought about Faith Hill's popular country interpretation of "The Way You Love Me" when I saw this title among the track-listing. Turns out that, although the lyrics are very different, they're speaking the same tune, as the guys are singing about all of the things that turn them on—put to a catchy beat, no less, which I liked because of the subtle 80's-sounding synthesizing going on in the background. I've already declared "Brightside" as having the best hook on this mini-album, but the driving rock sound in the hook to "After All (You Made Me Fall)", a fun reflective piece about love delivered in a candid, conversational style, is right up there along with it! Tons of fun I've had listening to just this small collection of songs, so you can bet I'll be looking forward to indulging in the next chapter of POP! FICTION:

1. Brightside
2. Make Me Crazy
3. Favorite Song
4. The Way You Love Me
5. After All (You Made Me Fall)

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