Day 16 - Popjustice Advent Calendar 2017 | Page 18 | The Popjustice Forum
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Day 16 - Popjustice Advent Calendar 2017

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by NecessaryVoodoo, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. @2014 I'm glad someone is finally giving Around U the love it deserves, it's low-key my favourite track on the album...
    Trouble in Paradise, R92 and 2014 like this.
  2. Wonderful review, stupendous album.
    2014 likes this.
  3. RJF


    2014 likes this.


    (Great review of a great debut @2014!)
  5. While I may not be as obsessed as others with the full album, there are some monumental songs on it and it is a fantastic debut. "Around U" is my favorite only cause I played "I Know A Place" into the ground this summer (it's still great though). I am happy your review referenced that this is their debut and what incredible expectations it sets for them (for better or worse)
    2014 likes this.
  6. December 8th
    Superfruit - Future Friends
    Reviewed by @Angeleyes


    When Scott & Mitch (of Pentatonix fame) announced that they would be releasing music as Superfruit, I had no idea what to expect. The two of them have done YouTube as a duo for years, but I was very curious as to what their non-Pentatonix music would sound like. Cut to late 2016, when they released “Bad 4 Us”, the first taste of their new sound. The song is a deathly catchy dance-pop tune and was paired with an adorable video (they released a second video after the album came out, but I’m referring to the original, which was mostly animated). Plus, how can I not love a song with the lyric, “put on some old school Britney, ‘cause baby, you drive me crazy”? Asecond song, “Sweet Life” was released as well, which was more electronic/house influenced and I liked that one even more, but unfortunately it was left off the album.

    The album was released initially as two EPs. Part one was released in June and featured pretty much bop after bop. The lead track, called “Imaginary Parties”, gives off a hint of Pentatonix as it starts off a cappella. I found this track a bit grating at first, but something about hearing it on good speakers really changed my mind. It was the third song, however, that really peaked my interest. Called “Worth It(Perfect)”, the electronic mid-tempo was produced by Danny L Harle and is ridiculously infectious. Lyrically, it discusses the emotionalrollercoaster of wanting to be the only one with someone that you know will never be faithful, and making the discussion to leave. Although songs like “Worth It” give the album some serious moments, there’s plenty of camp to be found as well. Originally, “Sexy Ladies” and “Heartthrob” were a bit too silly for my tastes, and they both have annoying chants for their bridge sections, but again, hearing them on a good stereo system changedmy mind and now they are two of my favorite bops. The latter isespecially cheesy, with its dedication to ‘90s teen idols, but like most of the album, it’s catchy as hell and the production goes off in the car.

    Part two was a bit more experimental, and, with maybe one exception, a bit more serious. Leading off the second half is “How You Feeling?” which immediatelyreminded me of Britney’s “Do You Wanna Come Over?” from last year, given the shouted chorus combined with the sound affect of a soda can opening. Turns out, Justin Tranter was involved with both of these tracks. Hmm. This is probably the most fun track that manages to not go too far into the camp/cheese territory, and the closest thing they have to a house track, similar to the aforementioned “Sweet Life”. “Hurry Up!” and “Deny U” delve further into experimental electronic music, while “GUY.exe” brings back the camp and amps it up to 1,000 (if you couldn’t tell by the title). In this song, they sing about creating the perfect guy and what he would be like. It’s another one that was a bit difficult for me to digest at first, but once I learned to enjoy the silliness, I realized just how much of a bop it is. The chorus, again, is especially catchy. “Fantasy” features Amber Liu of South Korean girl group f(x), and is a song that hasn’t been out of my head since I first heard it.

    The full album contains two additional tracks alongside the two EPs, and they really did save the best for last in terms of tracklisting. The last proper song iscalled “Everything” and features Inara George of The Bird and the Bee. While the song still has a pulsating beat, it is much more mellow and sweet then the rest of the album. I’m not super familiar with The Bird and the Bee, but from what I do know, this sounds like a pretty good combination of two different artists’ distinct styles, rather than a guest just added to a song for the sake of it. The lyrics in this one are sweet as well, and it is a nice little ending to the set, followed by a light “choir” remix of the title track.

    All in all, this release is incredibly impressive for a debut album, and they definitely have me intrigued as to what they will do next. I thought with Avi leaving, and them, Kirstin, and Kevin all working on separate projects, that maybe Pentatonix would be over by the end of this year, but it looks like they are riding that train until the wheels fall off (I can’t blame them at all. Get those checks, queens). I do hope that they find time to continue to focus on music as a duo because this release shows incredible promise. The album does tend to favor Mitch a bit (he starts off most of the songs and his voice stands out more anyway, because it’s higher), so I wonder if that will continue in future releases. Overall, one of the best releases of the year for me, and the album hasn’t left my car since I bought it. If you like electronic pop music and if you love a bit of camp and fun, I definitely recommend FutureFriends.
  7. Oh, that's what @Angeleyes' avatar is.

    I quite enjoyed this album but haven't given it more than a couple of spins. Time to revisit it. Thank you for that excellent review, @Angeleyes!
    Untouchable Ace, Angeleyes and Mina like this.
  8. I honestly avoided this cause I hate a cappella and am embarrassed to discover it's actually electro pop. The Birds & The Bees had some solid bops back in the day (Fuckin' Boyfriend) and the chorus on "Everything" is a pure sugar rush. Gonna have to check this out!
    Untouchable Ace and Angeleyes like this.
  9. Future Friends is a pretty fantastic pop album. This is coming from someone who despises Pentatonix so y'all need to let the light in!
  10. I haven't followed Pentatonix closely but still how did I miss this release?
    This sounds right up my bowling alley, so thank you.
    londonrain and Angeleyes like this.
  11. @digitalkaiser and I have been bopping to this for a few months now.

    ALSO, @Slice of Life- Amber Liu made the PopJustice Advent Calendar now so you can stop the hatred any day.
  12. 2014

    2014 Moderator

    9th December
    Anastacia - Evolution
    Reviewed by @Sprockrooster

    Evolution [ev-uh-loo-shuh n or, esp. British, ee-vuh-loo-shuh]

    Any process of formation or growth; development:

    This introduction immediately raises one question: did Anastacia grow as an artist with this album? No. Unless releasing a trend-chasing electrofused poprock mainstream album is considered evolution. This is neither my favourite album from her, far from it. The same counts for releases in 2017. But it is still a very special album. For me, but especially for her. And here is why:

    It is early 2000. A nasal toned soul-funk jam from a sunglass wearing woman is eating up the charts in the Western markets aside from North-America. The birth of a new artist that in only a few years would progress to a superstar. A blend of mostly pop, R&B, soul, funk and a little bit of rock is the musical identity of this woman, whose last name is unknown by many of you I guess. But then everything changes. Breast cancer. For a woman already dealing with two other chronic diseases a heavy impact on life. This woman is enraged, outraged, bitter and very hurt. Nothing but black emotions put into one inflamed album. A true career high and magnum opus. Her self-titled. ‘Anastacia’ is derived from the Greek word for ‘Resurrection’ so it is not just a comeback. It is an evolution. Her music got darker, rawer and rockier. The definition of a mixture from soul, pop and rock was born: sprock.

    A greatest hits was on the way and a next era would soon come. But that next era was similar to this one. Jumping on the electro bandwagon that was riding at the end of the 00’s. The music was still alright, but lost the niche she created for herself. This was not necessarily an Anastacia album. 4 years later (but with numerous collaborations in between) a cover album featuring male rock songs is released, but any promo for an already promo-needy album is brutally disturbed by the comeback of cancer. A double mastectomy is next. She no longer has her own breasts. She wants to take control back. And rise back, resurrect if you will. And that is exactly the name of the next album (and the former before this reviewed album). It is balladheavy, but has a killer uptempo first single in the vain of her self-titled. With the ADELE ballad affair going on and her trial and tribulations again, this snoozefest album was basically inevitable.

    Another Greatest Hits album and 3 live albums (with 2 from the same tour) follow. A tour that proved she still hasn’t lost any of her vocal acrobatics and abilities. And also she still is her quirky self. When one of her breasts is hanging out of her corsage she simply doesnot notice and still sings along (due to the mastectomy the area is now numb). Now it is time after a resurrection to evolve. The biggest change? We have a much more upbeat album. It was goodbye to the ballads and hello to the bops suddenly. After all those dark themed albums, this was an album that needed to get out. And it was worth it. We were promised a Sprockalbum, by her lips, but that was a filthy lie. Cause this ain’t it. Also this whole campaign was one big confusion. I mean calling your album after a promosingle from literally the previous album. That is a choice. So we started in a mess, but that soon ended.

    Caught In The Middle is the lead single and aside from looking snatched at an age of 48 (!!!), she is radiant. She is truly shining in presence and in vocal sound. She is having fun again. This is her fun album. After all those illnesses, divorcing parents and finding no love interest in her real life this was her album she had to make. She was a strong woman now. She can even sell a love story, despite being single in ‘Red Light’. ‘A Boxer in the ring’ as she states herself. The song that comes the closest to true poprock and consequently a big fave from me. She has her sas and is angry again. This woman is not messing around. Fight her, but she will fight back. She clearly states this on the positively messaged rocky powerballad ‘Before’.

    But she needed the ‘Stamina’ to get there she explains. No it isn’t all rainbows, unicorns and sugarsweet lyrics. She is also describing her road to this happy place. A bit of an empowernment feel. You got your standard ballad fanfare with ‘My Everything’, ‘Not Coming Down’ and ‘Why’, but the bops on the other hand take the overhand: ‘Nobody Loves Me Better’, ‘Boomerang’ and ‘Higher Living’. Making this album balanced. If you are not a fan of her voice, Pain is not your song. But if you are, it is another career high. She is showcasing every aspect of her still vocal possibilities she possesses. Used in a building-up midtempo powerpop song, this is the reason I stan her music. She is dramatic and over the top. Bringing it all the way when she isnot singing, but sanging those lyrics.

    Personally Reckless is a massive standout and I am definitely recommending anyone with a pop heart to listen to this. It is such a catchy melody and delivered with such a brass vocally. Let me already state, that she doesn’t sound her nasal self here (in case you have issues with the voice). A true bop in every sense of the word. And there are even elements of rock (melody) and soul (background singers) in this. A missed opportunity as a non-single now, but what to do about it? PEOPLE TRY THIS, I AM TELLING YOU. YOU ARE MISSING OUT.

    In the end this was no evolution. This was a transformation. Leave the dark thoughts and make a glass that is half empty, half full. There is hope on the horizon. Grasp it. Cherish every moment and every bump on the road will knock you down, but you will always come on top higher than you were before. Musically this is a very accessible album for non-fans. The vocal decoder used on many songs and lack of real rock-heavy song or deep soulful cuts for that matter makes it very easy on the ears. The inspirational lyrics might be considered a bit too cheesy at times, but when they are coated in the way they are, you are having a blast nonetheless.One thing this album will give you either way: a smile on your face.
  13. I really enjoyed this album. Boxer and Caught In The Middle are my favourites on it, and are two of my favourite songs of the year.
    Mina and Sprockrooster like this.
  14. Yes. Talent!
    Mina, Untouchable Ace and londonrain like this.
  15. December 10th
    Everything Everything - A Fever Dream
    Reviewed by @HeartSwells


    A couple of years ago, I crowned EE's previous album, Get To Heaven, as my favourite of the year. Self described as a "horror bible", Get To Heaven's lyrics detailed the rise of terrorism, UKIP and general shittiness that been occurring around the time. Jonathan Higgs painted a caricature of the world, comparing politicians to boiled eggs and society as a fat child in a pushchair on No Reptiles, while Fortune 500 describes a fictional assassination of The Queen.

    The outlandish lyrics went hand in hand with the sound scape too, with Stuart Price on production it was the most polished and pop the band had sounded; take the title track, the lyrics express how terrorism desensitises, an old man setting himself on fire while passerbys wonder where they parked their car - all set to jangly guitars, tropical synths and a bit of whistling for good measure. It's an angry album set to point out how absurd the world was.
    Well 2 years on and it's 2017. Trump is in power and Brexit won, something tells me that wasn't the plan a couple of years ago.

    Everyone is tired, Everything Everything sound it too, the hysterical nature of Get To Heaven has been toned down, everything sounds a bit more grounded than before. This isn't to say A Fever Dream is any less an angry listen, in fact its possibly more, but it's darker, sinister and more confrontational than it's predecessor.

    James Ford is on production this time round, and I'm not gonna lie, I prefer the instrumentals on Get To Heaven. The change in sound reminds me of Wild Beasts' transition on their last effort (RIP), Boy King; the small intricacies of their previous effort lost for a larger sound, the guitar noodling gone, in comes the giant axe. It's a weakness that shows up most notably on Big Game and Run the Numbers, both tracks running out of ideas soon enough that the only way to flesh them out is with a big fuck off riff/solo in the final section.

    Hopefully that hasn't turned anyone off. I'd rather air my grievances now than later, it's not perfect by any means, and it isn't my favourite album of the year but it is an album with a lot to say, and it's a great piece of work from the most important band in Britain right now. Hyperbole yes but I honestly believe it, so let's talk about why A Fever Dream deserves your attention.

    Night of the Long Knives opens the album up, and it's their best album opener to date. The song builds from these slightly off-tune, stuttering synths before Jonathan howls in the background and these giant air siren walls of noise burst through. It's that type of classic album introduction, the ones that have you grinning ear to ear knowing you're in for a hell of a ride. The song is kind of about the rise of the far-right, the song structure's intense chorus and calm verses reflect the lyrics too, "...and they say it's a wave but it feels like a dribbling mouth", both bigging up and undermining the movement.
    A theme that leads onto Ivory Tower, another highlight that targets the one-upmanship culture online. A distillation of all the hatred and loud rhetoric through sites like Reddit and 4chan, there are references to the murder of Jo Cox and neckbeards soundtracked to these manic guitars and driving beat. Also the "Come and crush me in the Waitrose aisle" lyric is kind of hilarious. That's the thing with this album, no matter how harrowing it gets it still has a slither of their trademark eccentricity.

    It's an intimidating listen, the first half out for blood but things take a shift during album centrepiece Put Me Together. If you told me this was a Radiohead song I wouldn't bat an eyelid, the synths straight from Kid A and the percussion could well be from any of Thom's solo stuff. It's by far my favourite track here, it's lyrics regarding xenophobia heartbreakingly blunt.

    And there's somebody washing the car
    And there's somebody watching the children
    But they're nothing like you and me
    Nothing like you and me

    They celebrate all of the same days
    You see them out doing the garden
    But they're nothing like you and me
    Nothing like you and me

    ...yet there's a glimmer of hope. As the percussion goes haywire and instrumental falls apart Jonathan ponders "Is it the darkest night, or is that dawn in your eyes?", the idea that the only way to fix this mess is to see it in tatters. Pull me apart, and put me together.

    The songs following at this point taking a step back from the direct approach prior, instead looking inwards, almost denial that any of this is taking place. "Is there something wrong with all of this, or is there something wrong with me?" questions on New Deep, and on the title track (another highlight, reminds me of when Foals do one of their longer progressive tracks, adding a hypnotic dance beat and a somewhat rave-y piano) "So don't have a meltdown, it's only a dream. How did we get here? and how do we leave?".

    A Fever Dream is an album that doesn't particularly dig into politics themselves, but looks at the effect it's had on us; the fear, the fury. It's equally frustrating as it is heartbreaking that this is the world we live in. A Fever Dream ends with White Whale, a love song with a final message of hope, "Never tell me that we can't go further".

    This album won't be for everyone; if you listen to music as an escape from reality I urge you to avoid, as for everyone else it remains a vital listen. I hope one day to look back at this album as a relic of a previous age, but for now all we can do is try and wake up from this fever dream.
  16. Get to Heaven made my year-end list for 2015 too. This one only just missed mine this year. I dunno, it kind of felt like a holding pattern to me, and not quite as energetic, but it's still very enjoyable (and missing out on my top 50 in a year as strong as this one has been in general is certainly no disgrace). And what I do appreciate is, the political commentary was good and they didn't make a hash of it like so many others did this year. (ARCADE FIRE.)
    constantino and HeartSwells like this.
  17. I finally finished and submitted my review. Being so late was giving me anxiety.
    Mina and ohnostalgia like this.
  18. Ha. Hahaha. Hahahaha.

    At least I’m actually writing again, right @Mina?
    londonrain and Mina like this.
  19. Hey @NecessaryVoodoo , by the way, did you get anything to replace mine? I'm definitely in a better place now and had the idea that I might finish it and submit it to the thread when the proper calendar is done, but between being tied down with real-life commitments and my own rate coming up to eat the rest of my free time, it's looking like that's not going to happen.
  20. 2014

    2014 Moderator

    Hi! We did manage to snag a replacement, but glad to hear everything's fine - hope you enjoy reading the rest of our thread, thank you once again!