Sunday, March 21, 2010

Singles of the Week: Mar 22, 2010

Broken Bells – “Vaporize”

The Shins probably won’t be changing your life again any time soon. The band, which has been in dissolution since 2008, appears to have died since the departure of frontman James Mercer for his new Broken Bells side project with Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse). But fans of the indie crossover giants need not despair. The debut album from Broken Bells is terrific, although given that it involves musician-producer Brian Burton, this should not come as a surprise. Burton, who is one half of Gnarls Barkley, and who has served as producer to Gorillaz, Beck and The Black Keys, proves here again that he is one of the most ingenious collaborators in the business. In “Vaporize,” Burton takes Mercer’s acoustic guitar and signature yearning voice and heightens it with bouncy organs, punchy synths, and even at the end, a trumpet solo. The result is a Shins song made extra lively, which is sort of funny in light of the break-up-themed lyrics. Mercer sings about a failed relationship, possibly with his former band mates, but Broken Bells proves that there is a silver lining.

-Cristina Luzarraga ‘11

MGMT - "Flash Delirium"

Squeezing five distinct musical sections into four minutes and 16 seconds seems impossible, but that’s exactly what MGMT does on their new track “Flash Delirium.” As the first song off their sophomore album “Congratulations” (due in April), “Flash Delirium” departs sharply from the hook-heavy and Prospect Avenue-popular “Kids.” The song is chaotic, the chorus hardly identifiable, and it boasts prominent horn and flute parts. But amid all the building commotion, the lyrics are actually pretty cool. According to MGMT, we should “dance until the heart explodes and we’ll make this place ignite”….even if we feel a bit delirious after listening to their new track.

-Sara Wallace ‘12

Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”

After the massive success that musical collective Broken Social Scene achieved in 2005, the expectations for their upcoming album, “Forgiveness Rock Record,” are higher than ever. Five years of waiting is enough to drive any fan insane, but luckily, first single "World Sick" doesn't disappoint. Suspended and highlighted by the crisp ring of a picked guitar line, “World Sick” is drowning in layers of harmony, movement, and grace. Vocalist Kevin Drew sings with just the emotion to match the reservoir of sound that propels the track higher and higher with each minute, until it eases away at the end with the same delicacy from which it began.

-Lisa Han ‘13

Taio Cruz – “Break Your Heart”

What is it with British pop singers topping the charts these days? Just a few months ago, West Londoner Jay Sean hit number one with the horrendously catchy “Down,” and now, just as that earworm finally seems to be dropping off from Street playlists, Taio Cruz looks set to follow in his footsteps. There's no other way to put it: "Break Your Heart" is catchy as fuck. It's the kind of song that's so indestructibly, unremittingly infectious that it doesn't need to be interesting (it's not), original (it's not), or even remotely appealing lyrically (just listen to the opening verse -- this guy sounds like a total asshole). Point is: get used to this one. You’ll be hearing it for a while.

-Adam Tanaka '11

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