*Pick of the Week*
Florrie - Experiments (EP) (iTunes, Amazon)
Florrie Arnold is the house drummer for Xenomania, the UK production company one might call the British answer to Dr. Luke (although it predates our beloved manufacturer of pop hits by a few years, though not his sensei Max Martin, much of whose influence is apparent). She is also a rather head-turning up-and-comer as a solo musician and has just released her second EP, following 2010's aptly named Introduction, which didn't do much for me outside its killer opener "Call of the Wild," which thoroughly conquered my soul. Experiments, on the other hand, has absolutely captured me, and every song from beginning to end has me hooked, like I'm in some kind of fabulously orchestrated dream. "Speed of Light" is destined to be my first date anthem for life; "Begging Me" is a rollicking romp through impressive wordplay; "What You Doing This For?" is one of the first breakup songs to bring me peace rather than pain; and "Experimenting with Rugs"... well, "Experimenting with Rugs" is just pretty damn brilliant. The $2.96 price tag on iTunes is a steal.
+ Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (iTunes, Amazon)
Clarkson, I've never been what you'd call a "big fan" of her music, and until recently I'd never purchased an album of her music. However, the raves of gleeful fanboys in the blogosphere and word that it was a better-than-average breakup album that Clarkson herself sounded pleased with (I get the sense it's the first time she's released an album with which she was thoroughly satisfied) moved me to give this one a go, and I'm glad I did. It's the kind of album that's especially good when played end to end, which is something I appreciate. And that voice... well, it's a pleasure to hear for three quarters of an hour. "Mr. Know It All," likely second single "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)" and gut-wrenchingly hopeful ballad "Dark Side" are among the standout tracks on a solid album.
+ Selena Gomez & the Scene - When the Sun Goes Down (Deluxe Edition) (iTunes, Amazon)
Selena Gomez's latest album is one of the surprise winners of the year, a fact that sadly seems to have evaded public knowledge. Fortunately, the incredible single "Love You Like a Love Song" is now receiving some airplay, and now the album has been re-released as a "Deluxe Edition." The new material consists of eight remixes of the aforementioned masterpiece, but if you got it, flaunt it! And since the new tracks include the Dave Audé remix that hit the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, I'm on board! Seriously, if you don't have this album yet, get it now.
+ Nadia Oh - Colours (Extended Release) (iTunes, Amazon)
It's no secret I'm an eager fan of Nadia Oh, ever since "Taking Over the Dancefloor" invaded my mind and started up my Moombahton fetish after appearing on the shortlist for the Popjustice 20 Quid Prize (which you may remember I covered in depth). Everything about this artist fascinates me, so I went to buy the entirety of her recent LP Colours, which fortunately has been released stateside, and noticed that it had recently nearly doubled in size. Sneaky! But it includes recent tracks like "Shade" and "No Bueno," although the latter has been stripped of the "Taking Over the Dancefloor"-mimicking intro and therefore a bit of its awesomeness. I can't wait to finish this damn entry so I can go listen to it all!
+ Alexandra Stan - Saxobeats (iTunes, Amazon)
Alexandra Stan is the name of the girl who sings "Mr. Saxobeat." I will venture to guess that this information was of vital importance to few of you. So, then, might the fact that Ms. Stan has released her debut full-length here in the States following the surprise hit "Mr. Saxobeat" has proven to be (and for good reason...it's more addictive than nicotine). Alas, Saxobeats lives up to its name, and that doesn't make for the most compelling of LPs; much of the album sounds more or less like a remake of the smash single (nowhere worse than "Get Back (ASAP)," which sounds like a Simpsons spoof). There are a couple fun tracks, though: "Lollipop (Param pam pam)" may be a Romanian ripoff of "Fergalicious" but the ridiculousness comes off much better in anonymous, accented English than from the regal Black Eyed Peas siren, and "Ting - Ting" has all the sultry sensuality and what Americans might think of as typical Eastern European sounds and melodic standards. As for the rest, I skipped it.
+ September - Party In My Head (Remixes) - EP (iTunes, Amazon)
This is worth it just for the extended version of one of my favorite tracks from Swedish starlet September's recent album Love CPR. I'm glad her camp is finally choosing the right songs to promote from this underrated album, one of my favorites of the year ("Me & My Microphone" and "Hands Up" haven't exactly taken off, not surprisingly). Bring on "Heat Rising!"