A stormy soul-pop album that is slightly lacking in inspiration, but still packs a punch.
Recently, MS MR has slowly become a underground pop sensation, garnering attention for their delightful singles. Though their music sounds akin to a post-Lana/Florence musical landscape, their expansive productions are still highly original.
What makes MS MR so unique from Lana and Florence is their innate ability to weave together rich production with pure pop vocals. In fact, while the production is a product of baroque pop, the rhythms and lyrics are quite reminiscent of 50’s/60’s pop music. “Dark Doo Wop” is a pretty on-the-nose example of this, but it exemplifies MS MR’s extraordinary sound perfectly. The clicking snaps, combined with the mournful doo wops are reminiscent of 60’s pop, but the crooning “daddy” in the background with the swelling strings creates an effect that’s completely unique to MS MR.
Other tracks that standout are the dark soul-stomp of “Bones”, the second track on the album. Lizzy’s soulful vocals fit the track perfectly. Combined with the hook, “Dig up the bones / But, leave the soul alone” it creates a pretty eerie and exciting track. Singles, “Hurricane” and “Fantasy” are as immediate on the album as ever. And the dreary static and gothic production of “Twenty Seven” is quite striking.
While the album does display some ingenious alt-pop moments, MS MR’s lyricism is a bit of weak spot. Some of it is bit too chorus (“Salty Sweet’s” chorus) or vague to really click. While the opening five or six tracks are exciting, the back half starts to cause a bit of fatigue. The vague lyricism sometimes overshadows the phenomenal production and vocals.
Fortunately, if you’re looking for some soulful pop music, look no further. The album’s ability to weave alternative soul production with pop hooks is quite exciting. Some of the tracks may sound a bit too similar, and thus boring, to pay attention to, but the ones that do stand out are brilliant.
Listen to: “Bones”, “Dark Fantasy”, “Twenty Seven”
“Too Hurt to Dance” - DuffyPlayed 14 times.
“What Goes Around…./…Come Around (Interlude)” - Justin TimberlakePlayed 93 times.
“Thief of Hearts” - Madonna
This track came on my iPod today it kinda blew me away. I see where “Gang Bang” got its inspiration from.Played 11 times.
“Bones” - MS MR
Probably my fave track off the album.Played 53 times.
“Can’t Do It Without You” - CassiePlayed 24 times.
“Spy” - Shakira feat. Wyclef JeanPlayed 43 times.
“Young & Beautiful” - Lana del Rey
“Come & Get It” - Selena Gomez
“Buy the Stars” - Marina and the DiamondsPlayed 110 times.
A poor album, lacking both vision and restraint.
With a musical career that spans four albums, it’s interesting to look at each work and see what concepts were embodied by each one. Don’t Forget’s teen pop-rock sound was irreverent, brash, and a bit childish. Her sophomore album was arguably her most mature and inspired, an infusion of jazz, soul and rock. Unbroken missed the chance to explore emotional issues that she seemed to struggle with before and during the album’s release. So, with three albums under her belt, the question once again was what concept would Demi go for with this album? With a name like Demi one would expect a purge, a rebirth of sorts. But, ultimately, fans can expect an album that is as contrived and confused as albums get.
The album’s musical direction is as varied as it gets, creating a overall muddy production. Genres are thrown left and right almost as a means for ensuring that at least one of the upcoming singles catches on somewhere. In a manner similar to Unbroken, the songs’ individual viability trumps any integrity and thus, we wind up with an odd, incongruent track listing. For example, the electro-house thumper “Neon Lights” closes the pop-rock lead-in of the album and then throws you into the ballad segment with “Two Pieces” in a pretty careless way.
The jarring mix of genre is pretty confusing as it begs the question as to what direction Lovato wants to go in. Songs like “Heart Attack” hint at a pop rock career akin to Clarkson and P!nk, but then there are songs like “Really Don’t Care” an obnoxious pop duet that screams “One Direction” reject track.
In addition, the lyricism has, oddly, gotten worse along the way. Heart Attack’s “But you wanna make me act like a girl / Paint my nails and wear high heels” pales in comparison to Nightingale’s “I never see the forest or trees, I could really use your melody / Baby, I’m a little blind, I think it’s time you find me.” Demi’s (and team’s) inability to write is made even more depressing by the fact that her earlier albums exuded a possible adeptness at writing songs.
The final nail in the coffin is Lovato’s increasingly grating vocals. Several of the songs follow the same formula of sing softly during the verses to then scream during the choruses. In fact, her best performance comes in “Neon Lights” were the production is able to wrangle her voice long enough to produce soft, slinky vocals that slide over the song’s synth pulses. Though even that song is problematic with a production that seems a little too similar to Calvin Harris’ “I’m Not Alone”. Even the ballads, which could benefit from some softer vocal work, are completely blown out by her screeching vocals.
The album is a complete mess. No direction, awful music direction and tacky lyrics pervade throughout. The few tracks that are listenable will be singles at some point, I’m sure, and you can just skip the album completely.
Listen to: “Heart Attack”, “Neon Lights”
“Hurricane” (CHVRCHES Remix) - MS MR
“Neon Lights” - Demi Lovato
So, I feel like this is the most interesting song so far on her album. Her vocal performance is the most interesting she’s done in a while, especially since there’s no screaming and it’s pretty subdued, though a little too produced.
But, that synth progression sounds just like “I’m Not Alone” by Calvin Harris. That’s the second song to plagiarize that song. Lord, there’s gonna be some drama over this, I’m sure.
“Dirty Diana” - Michael JacksonPlayed 152 times.
“7 Things” - Miley CyrusPlayed 755 times.