Monday, July 20, 2009

Album Review: "A State of Mind" (Deluxe Edition) - E.M.D.

Having seen their very nice performance on last week’s "Sommarkrysset" I thought it was time to finally post my review of this album!
One particularly annoying thing about being a record buyer over the past 10 or so years has been the introduction of the "special edition"/"deluxe edition" of an album, usually released just a few months after the original, with the statutory extra tracks or remixes or video clips to encourage the fans to part with their cash once more to buy what is essentially the same album all over again.
For me, most of these special editions aren’t really worth it. However in the case of "A State of Mind" (Deluxe Edition) by E.M.D., it has turned what was initially a pretty disappointing - and dare I say mediocre - debut into something worth a listen. The album now comes with three added tracks, which I like a lot and which are hopefully an indication of the musical direction they will go in.
The album starts with their Melodifestivalen 2009 finalist "Baby Goodbye". This song still manages to divide opinion in blog-land: some like it, some hate it, I happen to love it - it’s just an instantly catchy pop song which I never tire of hearing.
New single "Youngblood" has also become a favourite of mine although it took a few more listens to get there. It’s similar in style to my favourite E.M.D. song (and as they like to remind us, ‘Årets Låt 2008’) "Jennie Let Me Love You" which is another one of those timeless Swedish boy-pop songs which I never get sick of hearing.
The final new track "I’m No Romeo" is again similar to "Youngblood", only slightly more uptempo and something you may expect to hear on a Danny Saucedo solo album. It’s a little similar to "Radio", although more in a boyband-style.
E.M.D. of course stands for Erik, Mattias and Danny, and I still feel that Danny is the group’s ace card both vocally and image-wise. For me he is still a great popstar, and so far he is managing to run two pop careers in parallel (something which seems to come naturally to Swedish artists!) - his exciting solo career and his extremely popular second-life as a member of a boyband which initially many of us were a bit sceptical about. However E.M.D. are now a phenomenal success in their home country, at a time when boybands seem to be out of fashion (but of course Sweden is a country where pop music will never die, and we should always be thankful for this).
That first single "All For Love", a decent remake of what was initially (IMHO) an unspectacular song anyway, is also included on this album. In fact it may be better than the original, if only that we don’t have the three egos jostling for space on the song!
For the remainder of the album they come on like a chirpier version of Westlife on the standard boyband fare - "Run to You", "Alone", "I Lied". "We Can" manages to be saved by Danny’s strong vocals on the chorus, whilst "For You" includes the very bizarre line "For you I’d set my house on fire". Bit extreme eh lads?? :)
"Give Me Some Time" is better because it’s in my preferred uptempo style, "Look At You Now" is an 80s power-ballad meets Take That’s "The Garden", that’s the best way I can describe it.
Unfortunately the album ends on a low note - "She’s My California" is like Westlife-on-stools at their very worst, with the most laughable cliched lyrics.
On the whole, though, I’m more positive than negative about this deluxe edition of the album. A bit more of the "Jennie"-style tracks might have boosted its rating even higher.
Verdict: Good old boyband pop with some high points and some low points, but all in all a decent debut at the second attempt. 6 ½ out of 10.

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