Tuesday, June 07, 2011

HEAR THIS: 'Get In Line' with Simon Curtis and 'R∆'

Yesterday the Robot Army, aka Simon Curtis fans, recieved a very pleasant surprise. Simon announced his sophomore album, R∆ (pronounced like 'rah'), the followup to last year's epic free release 8 Bit Heart, was finally going to hit iTunes...today. Because I am a total pop music egomanic, I immediately took this news as a very sweet gift for my upcoming 24th birthday (it's on the 17th, people -- don't forget!...Just kidding.). Being the rapid fan that I am, I've spent my entire day listening to the album ad naseum over and over, and it will surprise exactly zero point zero zero people when I tell you this -- it is really, really good.

Like 8 Bit Heart before it, R∆ delivers from start to finish. While its predecessor focused more on the longing for requited love, the majority of R∆ is more about spouting confidence in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity and spitting in love's face -- the after effects of love gone sour or being done wrong. It also reads a bit like a diary into the life of Simon Curtis to this point, with several references to his legion of homegrown fans (dubbed Robots after 8 Bit). In fact, he chose the name R∆ as an homage to his fans -- it stands for 'Robot Army', "enlisted" in the wake of the literally thousands of free legal downloads of 8 Bit Heart.

If you take away nothing from my blog, please know this much -- Simon Curtis doesn't mess around when it comes to pop. R∆ is strong, dark, dirty pop for 2011 -- heavy on the electro synth, sprinkled with tasty falcetto and hooks that can't and won't quit. The pre-released singles so far, the soaring, anthematic "Superhero" and the more-than-a-little-bit-pervy "Flesh" (think Lady Gaga's "Teeth" meets Rihanna's "S&M" with a little bit of Ro Danishei's "Babydoll" mixed in) certainly whetted my appetite, but with Simon, he always sets the hype bar so high that I will admit I worried I might be setting myself up for a slight dissapointment. He is a totally independant artist afterall -- no big budget production with flashy stylists, choreographers and video directors to fall back on like so many of the other pop personas that he is ever-so-capable of hanging with. In this day and age, even your fave mega-artists can leave a sullen taste in your mouth (hey there, Christina!). Proudly, my worries were unfounded. Pop Faith is unnecessary when you have an artist like Simon, in the very capable hands of his go-to producer Jeff "Jadion" Wells, and its very clear they have made magic together once again. Simon is the ultimate pop dynamo -- he clearly has a lot of miles left in him. 

Suffice to say, 8 Bit Heart's brillance was no fluke.

R∆ is full to the brim of fun pieces of pop. My favorite track (at this very second at least) goes to the unrelenting "Enemy", which was premiered in snippet form a few months ago via Billboard and was performed live when I saw him in April. It's Radio-Ready Simon at its finest, and is possibly his most commercially catchy track to date. The punchy "D.T.M. (Dead To Me)" comes in a very close second. Simon seems to be on the top of his game when he's dark and snarky ("Diablo", anyone?). "Laser Guns Up" screams pop-lovers quotation ("The name is S-I-M-O-N. / The game is P-O-P.") and is the perfect way to "set the party off right". "Get In Line" reads like a love letter to his fans, many of whom like me have been sticking by his side for several years now, amassing together to help spread the word about his music. In short form, R∆ is a fireworks show -- it blows by you quickly but keeps you very captivated by its intensity.

To see the immediate fallout of his underground campaign has been staggering, and I have to admit hearingt he album for the first time today made me a little bit verclempt. It hasn't even been available for 24 hours and yet it's already broken into the Top 200 on iTunes (Top 30 in the UK), seen huge mentions on MTV.com and gained him props in the New York Post. Today is definitely a good day for Daddy Robot.

It's needless to say, but I'll say it anyway. R∆ is available for purchase on iTunes now. Do your ever-loving pop heart a favor, and go buy it. Support good pop, people! It's your civic duty!

1 comment:

Myfizzypop said...

i just can't write a review. it's impossible. it's in draft form at the moment and it's far far far too long. I have to say my faves are Flesh and How To Start A War... but i'm absolutely thrilled at the success the album seems to be having this week :)

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