David Bowie makes a long-awaited return to the music scene (though he never really left our playlist), as does Justin Timberlake. Kavinsky brings new narrative to thumping, retro-infused synth beats while the unlikely combination of an Australian white girl and a successful hip-hop career proves viable in Iggy Azaelia.
Here’s what we’ve been playing in Fashionising.com’s offices this week.
Kavinsky – Outrun
I’ve been awaiting the debut studio album of French house track-maker Kavinsky since Nightcall did much to enhance the retro feel of 2011′s Drive. That retro feel is in good supply here. Across 13 tracks it’s a tour-de-force of synth rock and electro, all gently woven through the narrative of a zombie and a Ferrari Testarossa. No, the car references aren’t pandering to Kavinsky’s Drive / Nightcall fans – he’s been paying musical homage to the Testarossa since his debut in 2005. Full of sound but not full on Outrun has spent the week serving as a club-come-down album and the backing track to more than a few hastily typed emails.
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
It almost feels wrong to state that Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience has been amongst the tracks filling Fashionising.com HQ this week. Not because it’s a bad album, but simply because it’s everywhere. If you’ve missed the fact that Justin Timberlake is back, you’ve potentially also missed the fact that man walked on the moon circa 1969. The music ins’t over-saturated, but Timberlake’s (don’t call it a) comeback is. The music has… grove. It’s enjoyable, gets better with each listen, but doesn’t come as close to firmly etching itself in your memory as FutureSex/LoveSounds did.
David Bowie – The Next Day
Part of Bowie’s appeal is that he’s been so good at reinventing himself over the years. If you think Lady Gaga sat as fresh and controversial, then it’s likely that Bowie was before your time. And if that’s the case, The Next Day won’t appeal. It’s a good album, but it feels something of a retrospective. From its cover to its licks, it’s self-referencing and self-aware; the film-clip of the standout Where Are We Now? track questioning both hedonism and gender-bending, ambiguous sexuality courtesy of Andre Pejic’s spot in it. Where would Bowie himself be had he never worked so hard to portray those qualities? The Next Day is probably the final album from Bowie, which makes it something of a bitter sweet thing. It’s the album that shouldn’t have happened (didn’t we all believe that Bowie had long retired?), and thus we’re thankful for it. And it’s full of enjoyable tracks, but sadly none of them are quite as memorable or as catchy as the likes of Life on Mars or Changes – and wasn’t every Bowie fan hopeful for another album full of such anthem-potential?
Iggy Azalea – Work
The film clip for Azalea’s Work is fuck awful, but few hip-hop clubs are going to miss the opportunity to play it or its remixes. Why? Because it’s perfectly produced to appeal. Laced with references to Louboutins and the struggle of going from something to nothing this is music at its calculated… best? worst? You decide, but do so without watching the film clip – it’s as tasteless as the production is catchy.
Hercules & Love Affair
More in the vein of Kavinsky, Hercules and Love Affair are headlining the reopening of Barbarella in Chisinau this Friday night and, ahead of the cross-Europe flight I’m taking to attend, I’ve been giving a run to their their 2011 album Blue Songs along with their eponymous 2008 outing. Interested? Give Blue Songs a listen over the latter – it’s as much a series of great backing tracks as it is a warm up to a club opening.