Thursday, November 15, 2007


Song: Overpowered
Artist: Róisín Murphy
Album: Overpowered

While I’ve pretty much always been a fan of dance songs, the dance-pop ALBUM was (and is) a rare thing indeed. For the most part, since the dance charts and club music are mainly single driven… artists usually have a single or two they release, and if there is a full album to put out, there is a bunch of filler. There has of course been exceptions to this; with artists such as The Beat releasing full concept dance albums like their 80’s debut “I Just Can’t Stop It,” and you could also argue that ALL of Madonna’s albums follow this path… as well as the Pet Shop Boys & Erasure.

After the explosion of electronica early in the millennium, the idea of the dance artist changed. After the hedonism of the disco era, and the subsequent “disco is dead” abolishment of the genre, this new generation was taking elements of disco, new beats, and called it “techno” or “electronica.” While you can see the progression of dance music and beats over time, the media touted this “new” genre as the next big thing… but it didn’t totally take off, at least not in the mainstream. BUT, you can certainly see the influence of this genre in today’s more popular mainstream artists. (See Kanye’s Daft Punk biting “Stronger.”)

In recent years, there have been a handful of really killer straight up dance albums that have been released. Everything But the Girl’s last two albums were glorious start to finish dance albums with actual SONGS. More recently we’re had Madonna’s recent dance triumph “Confessions on a Dancefloor” and Goldfrapp’s “Supernature.” I mention these because I find a good solid dance album a hard thing to find indeed.

Possibly due to these recent well crafted dance albums, Róisín Murphy steps up her game with her sophomore solo album “Overpowered.”

Róisín Murphy is an Irish singer-songwriter that got her start when she met producer/musician Mark Brydon and started the electronic-pop duo Moloko. While also maintaining a romantic relationship, they recorded three albums, and ended the group along with their affair. Moloko was best known for their semi-hit “The Time is Now.”

Murphy had been contributing vocals to a slew of dance tracks for other artists, and in 2004 she hooked up with producer Matthew Herbert and crafted her solo debut, “Ruby Blue.” It didn’t make a huge splash, and while she was getting some buzz for it, I didn’t really care for it. In July, Murphy released “Overpowered,” a strong collection of loungy-upbeat dance songs. It strives for the complexities of aforementioned “Everything But the Girl” records, and while I don’t find quite as successful, it is still a strong collection, and one that is growing on me, and the reception has been .

The singles for the album have been more successful worldwide than the tracks from “Ruby Blue,” she may be one to watch. “Overpowered” at times sounds a bit like faceless lounge music to me. But, I think that aspect is entirely dependant on personal taste. I like my dance music to have a little more bite, but even all that said, Murphy is doing some interesting stuff here. I recommend a full listen if this type of music is your bag.



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