Wednesday, May 3, 2017

BLAZIN' SQUAD-In The Beginning (2002)


These boys sure are blazin' alright! Here I go again digging up these old boybands from the past—you can always count on them being revived here at "The Music Spectrum"—and this British ten-piece troupe still sounds as fresh today as they did when they first broke out onto the music scene fifteen years ago! I've always admired these all-male pop/hip-hop acts who seamlessly and skillfully rap the verses, then win you over with their smooth harmonizing in the chorus&mash;such is the formula that's whipped up to perfection on this blazin' hot BLAZIN' SQUAD debut! For me, it's like once I start listening to "In The Beginning" from the beginning, there's no stopping or going back; I just gotta keep going with the flow because the music is too good! The blazin' bombastic production (yeah, I'm gonna stick with the " blazin' " theme) is the primary catalyst that drives these tunes along; indeed, there's a variety of cool beats to groove to all up and down the album! In particular, the drum n' bass arrangements to "Riders" (I cite this to be the BLAZIN' SQUAD anthem, as they give a shout-put to themselves and they proclaim themselves to be fierce fighters), "The Love Song" (not lost in the thrilling super-fast tempo is their simple charming words and the simple message of 'I love you') and the hidden bonus track, "What's Our Name", all make me feel like dancing! "Standard Flow" makes me feel like dancing, too; it's totally unique arrangement—the combo of the aerial helicopter-chopper sound effects and an eerie electronic, high-pitched melody behind the rhythm—and combined with the boys shouting ' who's the next on the microphone? ', plus one of the guys who rolls the 'R' when he raps his part about the tongue-twister, it all makes for a super-catchy, fun-filled four-minute affair! Even when the boys take the tempo all the way down for a more chilled approach, it's still a blazin' hot affair! That's where you get all of the delicious slow jams: "Love On The Line" (such great collective harmony established right away in the opening chorus, 'call my number, we'll make love all night' being my favorite part), "I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face)" (the backing orchestrals create a nice ambient backdrop appropriate for a song of love dedication), "Where The Story Ends" and their beautiful and very respectable cover of the BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY hit, "Crossroads", a memorable one from my high school years and one I will always recognized by its signature speedy delivery of the rapped verses and the chorus line 'see you at the crossroads' (I like how the 'crossroads' is echoed out) and the dreamy chords that made for a perfect song to to ride on to forever. One song that really makes me go 'oooh' is "Reminisce". Reflecting abut a time in life when you had a special someone to call your own and shared a lot of good times—such is the theme that makes this song alluring and easy to relate to, enhanced by the delicious r&b bounce and the subtle digitized voice adding some glitz in the background. The boys are at their blazin' best on "All About The Music" which, ironically, actually isn't all about the music. Sure, my ears are attracted right away by the mood-setting suspense of the opening intro and the haunting chills of the piano (I do feel like I'm walking down a dark alley in some horror flick all throughout), but the raw, uninhibited, hard-edged delivery about blood being spilled, being possessed by a demon and the whole dangerous vibe is the real main attraction:

1. I Understand
2. Love On The Line
3. Crossroads
4. All About The Music
5. The Love Song
6. I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face)
7. Standard Flow
8. Reminisce
9. Supastar
10. Riders
11. Where The Story Ends

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