So David Archuleta's first non-American Idol single was released last week, and it's a perfectly engineered piece of pop for a radio audience that all too often embraces music that "fits" instead of music that's simply "good"; a fault, certainly, but I'm not giving Archuleta enough credit. "Crush" is young and flouncy without the froth--Archuleta keeps his lyrics mature and his voice at a low pitch, which serves to separate him from the Chris Browns and Jonas Brothers of the pop stream. The title of the track is misleading; I can relate to the material on an individual level, and I'm no fifteen-year-old. David asks, "Am I crazy/or falling in love/could this be real?" What's best about the track is how unpredictable it is. I mean, everyone knew the AI producers would stick Archuleta with a Jordan Sparks/Miley Cyrus vibe to hit the preteen market, but I don't think anyone knew it would be this good. I highly recommend "Crush," even if its relevance is shorter-lived than Sparks'.
Demi Lovato released a single this Tuesday, which was kind of surprising considering her name first appeared in the pop lexicon a week ago. "Get Back" is another solid preteen pop track; therefore, it is shocking by default. She's got a fantastic voice, in the vein of a young Christina Aguilera, but the instrumentals are faceless and predictable. This is pop, though: It's not as if Fiona Apple ever hit radio because her pianist was famous among the coffeehouse elite of Seattle...
One wonders, though, if Cyrus hadn't made fun of Lovato and her even less important counterpart Selena Gonzalez (or Gomez, or something) in that YouTube video a few weeks back, would I have even given this track a look?
A few cool club tracks have come to my attention the past few weeks as well. "I am the Light" by Yuma and Jeni Fujita is a pulsing retro tune with a sound like Seamus Haji's remix of Moby's "I Love To Move In Here." The track outlives its welcome--I'm so not down with songs that last longer than five minutes--but before it gets corny ("I am aligned with the creative power of the universe!/I am peace, love!") it's a nice break from the crap storm iTunes has been raining on me lately with Mariah Carey remixes and seven versions of Goldfrapp's "A&E."
The Ian Carey Project published (Ian Carey didn't produce the track) a song on a club compilation called "Get Shaky," and it once again reinforces my worship of Moby and his ability to forge trends in the dance genre. (The fact that he's in his mid-thirties, a vegan Christian activist, a close friend of the Dalai Lama and still relevant has rendered him cutting-edge in his own right) The vocalist on "Shaky" is a nice fit for the mid-nineties inspired melodies, beat claps and all. The track is a great example of editing--if only more producers would hold the reigns on thumping beats and synths we'd have, well, a lot more Mobys.
I'm also feeling P!nk's "So What" (thanks to a friends' blog) and Uh Huh Her's "Not a Love Song," but that's for another time.