Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blue Songs, Hercules & Love Affair (2011)

I knew going into Hercules & Love Affair's second album that it was never going to compare to their self titled first album. The recycled, but fresh disco sounds of the first album were something to cherish. The album knew how to take itself seriously, but have a hell of a lot of doing so. And, no Hercules & Love Affair song will ever come close to their hit "Blind." "Blind" is sung by Antony of Antony & the Johnsons and sounds like a remix from one of their albums. It's just so perfect. So, where do you go from there?

Have you ever listened to an entire album the first time and thought "not bad?" Then, on your second listen been so shocked at how much you hate the album? This was my situation with Blue Songs. To make matters worse, it was the only CD in my car for three days (as I continued to forget to bring my iPod or another CD with me). By the end of those three days, I found myself removing the disc and throwing it to the other end of my car. It now rests somewhere in the trunk space.

The album starts out pretty perfect. The first twenty seconds of "Painted Houses" sounds like an opener to a song off Depeche Mode's Violator. And, the song sounds less like Depeche Mode as it continues, but it still remains an enjoyable song. Actually, maybe the only really enjoyable song on the album. Although, the second track, "My House," is a pretty nice follow up to the opening track.

Honestly, that is where this ends. The fun lasts for two tracks and then Hercules & Love Affair decides to try something... new? "Blue Boy," the albums fifth track, is filled with enough softcore sounds to make you want to scream. Are they trying to sound adult contemporary christian rock on this track? That is all I can hear. Just because a song is sung in a high voice, softly does not mean it is beautiful or deep (ie any Celine Dion song proves softly sung still leads to meaningless music). The following song, "Blue Song," is pretty mediocre. Not as bad as "Blue Boy," but this means very little.

The albums only other saving grace is the slightly above average "Step Up." The song features Kele Okereke of Bloc Party. The lyrics are repetitive. And, nothing special. But, Kele's voice is always welcomed.

The album ends with "It's Alright." I swear to shit this song is trying to be the next "We Are the World." The lyrics are so forced. The voice is so obnoxious. The music is simple minded. What happened to Hercules & Love Affair?

I can't imagine I'll hate any other album this year as much as I hate Blue Songs.


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