Saturday, January 16, 2016

Oscar Zia-I Don't Know How To Dance (2014)


That's cool, because I don't exactly know how to dance either; I just go with the flow. Such is my response to the statement that is the title to this debut EP by Swedish singer Oscar Zia. The same fellow pop music lover—and Eurovision fanatic, I might add—that had introduced me to LITESOUND got me acquainted with this teenage phenom. It was Oscar's stellar performance for his country's 2014 season of the Melodifestivalen music competition—the terrific dance/pop hit "Yes We Can" —that had officially got me interested in hearing more of this guy's talents. And you would, too, the moment you realized how mature he sounds vocally and took notice of the awesome production that goes into the song, particularly when the music climaxes with pitch being taken up during the final movements. From that point forward, every song thereafter is an exhilarating music adventure . "Love On The Run" is one that makes me want to happily skip along the sidewalk while humming the words; blame it on the bouncy acoustic guitar rhythm and the accompanying whistle melody. Then it's that same catchy whistling that makes it so hard not to get stuck to this EP's seventh track entitled "#Fail". Wondering about that pound symbol in front of 'Fail'? Yeah. I did, too. But that is not a typo; it represents the social media 'hashtag', which Oscar actually sings as part of the lyrics to this sunny, carefree, summertime breeze of a dancey tune. Not as sunny and bright is the haunting, suspenseful sounds to this EP's final track entitled "Breathe". Yet in an unexpected twist, the heart-warming words of romantic tribute speak otherwise, as Oscar tells about a special girl who lifts him up and keeps him alive. Perhaps one could say that the dark, unsettling musical arrangements personify the girl's bewitching, spellbinding effect upon him, causing him to feel things that he might not have felt for another girl. Either way, it's music to my ears, highlighted by Oscar's powerfully soaring vocals when he repeatedly proclaims 'girl, you take my breath away' midway through and at the very end. If you didn't know how to dance before listening to playing this EP, then you certainly will know how to move a little somethin' with the highly entertaining quartet of energetic club jams that play back-to-back-to-back-to-back. "Embers" is a fun rush for the young and in love, that sense of living it up and taking on the world without worries and without looking back filling you up on every beat. "Ballarme Con Me" is THE mega-jam of the bunch! No disrespect at all to his Melodifestivalen hit, "Yes We Can", but I really think "Ballare Con Me" one should've kicked it all off! Nice to hear that small bit of Spanglish with the lyrics to this one, too, despite it being just from the title itself. Oscar's stylistic stuttering of 'eh-eh-eh-eh' several times in the main chorus can get anybody hooked onto "Without U". Then as for the title track itself, well, it's just the type of sweet bubblegum love song that I like to chew on. He may not know how to sing or dance, as the words go, but she sure knows how to lay the love on the lips. Add to the cute lyrics a sunny melody and a catchy beat, doctored up by an unmistakable 80's-inspired synthesized electronic accompaniment, and you've got the recipe for a guilty pop pleasure:

1. Yes We Can
2. Love On The Run
3. Embers
4. Ballare Con Me
5. Without U
6. Kiss (I Don't Know How To Dance)
7. #Fail
8. Breathe

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