Musicality – The Young Professionals, Jess Glynne, Duran Duran, Bonnie McKee

The Young Professionals
Remixes and Covers
(Republic/Casablanca)
I am loving this electronically charged assortment of contemporary remixes from The Young Professionals, an Israeli band. My favorite aspect of this CD is how they were able to make one style of song sound like a completely different genre of music. Synthesizer was added to all of the tracks. Their version of “Closer” by Tegan and Sara surprised me, though it shouldn’t have. In a breakdown near the end, The Young Professionals made it sound more like R&B than the pop style Tegan and Sara are known for. I ate it up. My favorite remixes are “West Coast” from Lana Del Rey and “10,000 Emerald Pools” from BØRNS.
Duran Duran
Paper Gods
(Warner Bros.)
Formed in 1978, Duran Duran has been making music and releasing albums every few years. Their style has changed considerably since their apex of fame. This album, the band’s 14th, is more serious pop and electronic than I remember from Duran Duran, but that famous voice is still strong and very much the high point. I enjoy how they highlight the bass sounds on this moody, yet somehow upbeat, pop album. They did the right thing by featuring Janelle Monáe and Nile Rodgers on “Pressure Off,” a great funky song. “Last Night in the City” featuring Kiesza is also really fun.
Jess Glynne
I Cry When I Laugh
(Atlantic)
This debut album comes from the superior and unique voice behind the double platinum hit “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit, and it does not disappoint fans of that song. Strong soulful piano highlights this vibrant new talent. In a few spots, Jess Glynne’s voice reminds me a bit of Rihanna, but the pop-song style couldn’t be more different. The album in general is upbeat and anthem-like in tone. It makes me want to get up and dance amid a ferocious cleaning spree. If you need something to wake you up in the morning, just listen to “Hold My Hand.” My favorites are “Gave Me Something” and “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself.”
Bonnie McKee
Bombastic EP
(Bonnie McKee Music)
Bonnie McKee has the chops and writing skills to do something big. The style of this EP is much like Katy Perry’s, which is no surprise because the two of them co-wrote several of Perry’s hits, such as “California Gurls” and “Roar.” When McKee belts out a song like there is no tomorrow, she sounds a bit like Charli XCX, especially in the title song, “Bombastic.” McKee’s voice is definitely the strong point of the EP, and the lyrics are youthful and vibrant. I look forward to her future releases. My favorite song is “Easy,” and I really like the gritty sound and alternative backdrop of “Wasted Youth.”

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