Saturday, March 27, 2010

Simon Curtis' "Heart" on a Sleeve (Part 2)

Question for you, fam -- did you feel an earthquake on Tuesday? That was probably due to the 'Net release of Simon Curtis official debut album, 8Bit Heart. It's now available for your downloading pleasure for free at If you haven't already, go download it. Right now. I'm serious. I'll wait.

Now, while you're downloading...this is a record I've been anticipating for so long, it's difficult to even begin to describe. As I've stated before on this blog, I first heard about Simon Curtis back in late 2006, when I first began promoting a very young girl group called Bliss (later renamed Candy Coated Chaos). Simon was a bit of a "peer" to the girls, as they shared the same producer in Jeff 'Jadion' Wells. Their first product together was titled AlterBoy, an album chock full of golden pop tracks that unfortunately may now never see the light of day. Simon also co-wrote one of my absolute favorite cCc songs (not to mention the fact that it was in the Top 10 of my Top 29 Songs of 2009 List), "Utopia". However, 2009 brought us 8Bit Heart, an album created in just under two weeks and birthed by Simon and Jadion. I had the chance to interview Jadion late last year just after we as a pop nation first heard second buzz single "Diablo". You can read it here.

Now that 8Bit Heart is officially here, as in on my iPod and listened to repeatedly, it's time to dust off the old Blogger and tell you just how much I adore it. Personal bias for Simon's crafty songwriting skills and slick falcetto aside, the album on the whole sounds very cohesive, very modern, and very guilt-less pop. Much of the album follows a concept centered around Simon as 'Boy Robot', a version of himself that is forging ahead through this game called life attempting to find himself and someone to love. Synth, robo-blips and -blops, and cheeky lyrics abound. My main complaint about 8Bit Heart on the whole is it flies by far too quickly, and for some songs in particular, I just can't hit repeat fast enough.

Sonically speaking, if you are into Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert, Britney Spears, Robyn, Darin, etc. (or any combination thereof), you really, really need this album. Basically, if you like pop music, even just a little bit, you need it. It's necessary listening. Don't say you weren't warned.

Putting aside the pre-released "Delusional" (another of my Top 29 of 2009 picks) and "Diablo", which I have already spouted affection for, the album still has three geniunely so-good-I'm-willing-to-push-people-out-of-the-way-to-dance-to-it songs. First, "Fell In Love with an Android", Battlestar Galatica references and mechanical soundbytes in all, is in fighting form for me to be the third "single" from the disc, and has the best one line lyric off the entire disc: Try to play it like you think you're something so hot/Hate to say it but I'd rather f*ck a robot.

I cannot talk about this album without mentioning the brilliance that is "Beat Drop", which Jadion mentioned when I spoke to him last December. It contains a starkly different operatic sample and at just under two and a half minutes, it's the track I most consistently find myself hitting repeat over and over again until I unwittingly listen to it ten times in a row. I think the main culprit is that pulsating beat, the singable anthem of a chorus (Tell the DJ drop a beat/Don't play some mother f*ckin' band), and the oft-mention reference and tip of the hat to Ms. Lady Gaga in the second verse (he is 'Lord Gaga', afterall). When I first heard it in its entirety, I found myself semi-screaming at that "Want your Bad Ro-Mance!" bit. It really is the defining pop song of our era, no?

Finally, "Brainwash" immediately became a favorite of mine for lyrics alone, but you add in Simon's lovely use of falcetto and the mere fact that it was co-written by my girl Rochella Danishei and you have the makings of a serious addiction for yours truely. The two really work as ying-and-yang with this one -- as it's yet another indestructable nugget of pop that will have you wanting to hit replay over and over.

Not to say the other tracks aren't worth mentioning -- they certainly are. For the first time in a long time, I geniunely like every track, for every different reasons. While I'm not the biggest fan of the use of small spoken interludes (and there are three of them), the album on the whole is definitely a strong contender start to finish. "The Dark" remains to be the sole song that sounds a bit out of place, but perhaps that's the reason why it's placed last -- it's sonically much different than the rest of the album, but nonetheless equally important and captivating.

While I would have liked some of Simon's older work to also be featured to make 8Bit Heart a bit longer ("Put Your Makeup On", "Resist" and "Pop Messiah" in particular, but that's just me), I'm quite satisfied with the record as is. I was looking forward to this for so long, but it only served to whet my appetite for  the bright future that Mr. Curtis has waiting ahead of him. It blows my mind that someone as innovative, strategic, creative, and geniunely poptastic is still unsigned (especially in this post-Germanotta world) -- but I'm glad he's here, and I'm glad he's making his path is own way. It's a credit to Simon (and his hand-meets-glove producer, Jadion) that he's willing to forge his own path -- and create guilt-less pleasure pop that the world should adore.

More love for Simon from people that I also love: read reviews by Nikki, Jio, and of course Paul, just in case you don't believe me when I say -- Simon is the new big big BIG deal. Seriously.


Myfizzypop said...

ace review :) Beat Drop has grown on me (as has Joystick) so much over the past few days :P And I think of the songs you mention, Pop Messiah would have fit the sound of this album more than anything else...

The Reflective Inklings said...

Pardon my crappy Google username! Anyway, awesome review! Simon Curtis deserves all the praises that he has been getting. This is what pop music should be!

Aaron said...

Hehe - This is a really great album, fantastic review too!

I really do hope with get AlterBoy released at one point - I'm DYING to hear it!

I don't want to give too much away before my review - but I'm COMPLETELY with you - So easy to while away about an hour....

And you've just named two of my absolute OBSESSIONS from the disc - Personal favourites I ADORE - and will wax lyrical about eventually....but SPOT ON! Which two? Beat Drop & Brainwash - but there's a few others I love!

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