Hadise – Fast Life (2009)

A couple months on from my declaration that Hadise‘s Fast Life was probably my favorite pop album of the year, I stand by what I said – Fast Life is a fab album!

Hadisepackshot%281%29Kicking things off right is Hadise’s Eurovision entry, “Dum Tek Tek.” Turkish rhythms and western beats combine to make a melting pot of fabulousness, with male choral “hey!”s coming in towards the end to heighten the excitement. What a shame this didn’t win the prize! “Fast Life,” the second single from the album, features lyrics about being busy, busy, busy, and unable to find love. It’s less energetic than “Dum Tek Tek,” but that doesn’t detract from the electro-tinged pop proceedings. Love the line “on my high heels, try walking a mile on these”!

The next track, “Supernatural Love,” has a nice bridge (“and it’s burning…”) and ultra-catchy hook – “I don’t even have to ask-ask-ask, will this love last-last-last?” Fast-paced and fun, this is one you’ll want to play over again. “Long Distance Relationships” is that rare kind of song that is at once both melancholy and danceable. The high-pitched atmospheric synths that come in at 1:35 and the background vocals that enter at 2:08 really add depth to the sound.

My favorite track of the album (tied with “On Top,” which comes later), “Here” is a song about moving on. Beautiful strings and guitar work soar above grungy beats and buzzing synths, and Hadise’s lightly soulful voice sounds perfect for delivering lines like “being sad made me strong.” A great song – in fact, the title of her 2009 Turkish album is taken from this song: Kahraman, the Turkish version of “Hero.” Coming up next is “Married Man,” the only song on the album that doesn’t really go anywhere (but sounds awesome anyway). Hadise sounds fierce as she advises us to “never mess with a married man.” I particularly like the high note Hadise hits in the middle of the song, and the back-up vocals that warn “don’t do it, girl!”

Funky and ferocious – that’s “On Top”! The lyrics are fantastic, with lines like “once my army hits your shores, you’ll wish you could end this war” highlighting how Hadise is the head bitch in charge! The groovy bass intertwines with zippy synths, making this a perfect funk-electro hybrid. The moral of the story? “You better not mess with Hadise!” The next song, “Obsession,” has such a great chorus – it’s just good old-fashioned pop. The middle eight distorts the vocal, “tossing and turning,” so that it sounds like it’s doing just that – tossing and turning! Nice touch.

untitled23234Turkish-flavored like “Dum Tek Tek,” “Double Life” has got another killer of a chorus. It’s not that it’s big or anything, it’s just the perfect blend of great lyrics and great music. I love the “I gotta be with you” ad libs and the flute-y sounding instrumental flourishes – cool stuff! The cute “First Steps” is musically kind of like electro-doo wop, but without “doo wop”s. The “running around” middle eight is heavenly!

The final song on Fast Life, “I’ll Try Not To Cry” ends the album on a high note. Big beats, sweeping synths, and expressive vocals from Hadise convey the sadness and need for strength in a breakup. Love her big vocalizations towards the close of the track. It’s a nice conclusion to a fun pop experience!

You can buy Fast Life on iTunes or 7Digital. It doesn’t look like it’s been released in the US yet, but you can buy Kahraman on iTunes! :)

Florence and Hadise

Quick health update: My eye is still wonky. I can see a little better out of it, but it’s still not right. My ophthalmologist is erring on the side of caution so I’ve had a second MRI, and am awaiting an appointment with a neurologist. So I’m sort of playing the waiting game at the moment. I’m kinda nervous, but very optimistic that things will turn out OK. :)

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Florence Welch

I haven’t felt up to reviewing since this started, but I’ve got to write about two albums that I’ve absolutely adored recently:
Florence And The Machine‘s new album Lungs, released on July 6 (and on July 7 here in the US), is really, really good. I had first taken notice of Florence on XO’s Middle Eight, when the video of “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” was posted. I think I had listened to a track or two of Florence’s before, but whatever I listened to didn’t really make much of an impression on me. The lush, ornate “Rabbit Heart,” however, did. Even so, I still didn’t pay a great deal of attention to Florence And The Machine after that exposure to “Rabbit Heart.” I have no idea why; I guess I just wanted to wait until I heard the actual album until I decided if I loved Florence’s music or not.

It turns out that Lungs is exquisite. Florence has a powerful, booming voice, a beautiful voice that invites comparisons to other strong vocalists like Grace Slick but holds a tone and quality that belongs solely to Florence. Her regal yet somehow raw sound finds its inspiration in Kate Bush’s darker moments, Stevie Nicks’ most ethereal turns, and in the folk-rock of the 1970s. I may be off the mark here, but I think there’s also a slight Enya influence, at least in the layering of the vocals – and especially in that delicious “aaah-ah” right before the chorus in “Rabbit Heart.” Florence’s lyrics range from the epic (“Howl”) to the domestic (“Kiss With A Fist”) and everything in between. I love how it feels like you’re paging through a great big dusty old leather-bound book of fairytales when you listen to the album.

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Hadise

And now on to Eurovision hopeful Hadise, who released an OK album (titled Hadise) with some awesome singles last year (“My Man and the Devil on His Shoulder” in particular). This year, after giving us the addictive Eurovision entry “Dum Tek Tek,” Hadise came out with what I think is my favorite pop album of the year so far, Fast Life. The electro/urban-inflected pop songs are all worthy of being released as singles but work together as an album, too. A testament to how good music can make you feel better even in the weirdest times: on my way to my first MRI two weeks ago, something I’d never had done before and was nervous about, I listened to Fast Life on a whim and found myself loving it in spite of my anxious self!

Like I said, every song could be a hit single, but my favorites are “On Top,” a fierce attack on a girl trying to get with Hadise’s guy (how very dare she!), “Hero,” a lovely downtempo track about how “being sad made me strong,” and the wonderfully catchy “Supernatural Love.”

Proper reviews of Lungs and Fast Life are coming, but I just wanted to share my thoughts on these albums and update this poor blog! :)