Music Blogs - Blogged Blog Directory Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cansei de Ser Sexy: "Donkey"

A few years back, I'm flipping through the pages of a music magazine when I happen upon an article proclaiming a practically unknown Brazilian band named Cansei de Ser Sexy, or CSS, to be the greatest thing since sliced bread (more or less).  Being the blindly-led sheep that I find myself to be when it comes to music, I check out their debut, self-titled album, listen to it a few times, and set it aside.  I forget about it.  And then, like most, I see that dang iPod Touch commercial featuring the unquestionably intoxicating "Music is My Hot, Hot Sex" and I'm hooked.  But just on that one song.  For as praised as CSS was, I just never gave it the chance it deserved.

For their second album, Donkey, the raucous Brazilians are back, once again trying to party their way into my heart.  Though my first listen was rather un-noteworthy (I was admittedly, pretty distracted), every listen since then has been an exciting, infectious affair that I just can't get enough.  The punchy drums and bouncy bass line that heralds the start of "Jager Yoga" drew me into what has quickly become my favorite song on Donkey.  The mononymous Lovefoxxx shelves singing for a more energetic, in-your-face styling of vocalization - sounding something like a subdued cheerleader.  Her declaration of "We didn't come into the world/ to walk around/ we came here/ to take you out," is unbelievably catchy, and listeners will undoubtedly find themselves shouting right along with her.

But for as catchy as CSS has always been, they've also spent the majority of their time straddling the line between enchantingly obnoxious and downright annoying, rarely crossing over to the dark side.  On first single, "Rat is Dead (Rage)," however, Lovefoxx's vocals are highly off-putting.  The first time I heard her say, "She screamed so LOUD," chills went up my spine.  By the last time it comes around, I practically felt like glass shattering.  Fortunately, she and the band make up for their misstep with the contagious dance epic, "Let's Reggae All Night."  The production here is among the album's best, with a very cool 80s new wave-esque sample playing at the end of every bar.  This one is definitely a favorite.

While the first three songs on Donkey are in no way revolutionary for CSS, fans will immediately notice a new level of polish on the album that will either be a welcomed addition or an upsetting annoyance - the disappearance of dirty, sexy, punk stylings for a more poppy, clean sound.  Kiss those dirty guitars goodbye.  The added polish gives the band an uncanny resemblance to Canadian pop band, Metric, a personal favorite.  This new approach isn't limited to the album's first tracks, however, but spread across the entirety of Donkey.  The good news is that, aside from "Rat is Dead (Rage)," this is an incredibly solid pop album, severely lacking in the dud tracks that often populate the genre.

Highlights include the thick, wet synths and sliding guitars of "Left Behind," the 80s pop stylings of "Move," and the inescapably sweet chorus of "Believe Achieve" ("I believe that love was created just for me and you. People say it's not, but I know it's true!").  But every song on this album is great in its own way, and all of them will get you moving whether you like it or not.  You may not feel the need to get all sweaty and dirty, as CSS's debut undoubtedly inspired, but Donkey is far from a sophomore slump.  If anything, it proves the universality of great pop music and its ability to take so many different forms, yet always inspire the same, jubilant reaction.  If you feel like dancing, grinding, or just getting downright rowdy, Donkey comes highly recommended.

Key Tracks:
1. "Jager Yoga"
2. "Let's Raggae All Night"
3. "How I Became Paranoid"
4. "Move"
5. "Believe Achieve"

8 out of 10 Stars

No comments: