Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

St. Lucia – Dancing on Glass

What’s that, you say? You wanted more references? Here you go:

Alfred Soto: Oh gee — here’s a “Midnight City” clone at least four years late with a colorless Dave Gahan yelling across sonic forebears that are Grand Canyon wide.

Patrick St. Michel: Artists are always going to turn backwards for ideas, which is fine, but maybe it’s worth asking just why they feel the need to poke around the past. Is there something about pop music from the ’80s worth exploring and connecting to the present, or are you just trying to get in on that sweet, sweet “Shut Up And Dance” diorama action? I hear “Dancing on Glass” and all I imagine is a guy half-laughing at a Depeche Mode poster.

Thomas Inskeep: If Blancmange had made it to ’88.

Will Adams: Airbrushed, technicolor synthpop might not be the freshest idea in 2016, but Jean-Philip Grobler’s real strength is being very, very good at what he does. The formula of “Dancing On Glass” — buckets of fluffy synths, supersized drums, Grobler’s honeyed voice at the fore — is familiar yet so effective, and that needn’t be a deterrent.

Cassy Gress: St. Lucia sounds like a tenor version of Dave Gahan, and the backing track is an extra-reverby version of… I’m not sure what, but “St Elmo’s Fire” keeps coming to mind.  Something is missing: a hard downbeat before the chorus? e.g. “never gonna stop until it’s broken” boom boom “how long until we learn…” It’d be less of a hesitation and more of a fuse being lit. Or maybe the bass line could be different — the bass notes in the chorus seem slightly out of sync with the rest of the synths, like they’re playing a different part of the song. Really, the main issue is that this keeps reminding me of other songs I would rather be listening to.

Edward Okulicz: Dave Gahan does a Boy George impression over a… Go West impression? Cool, and kind of banging, though the second half of the chorus lacks the big explosive ’80s power of the first.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Sounding like a meeting of the minds between Vince Clarke and uh… whomever has songs like this out in the modern age (they all sound the same to me!) It’s a solid bit of work for an electronic pop record but doesn’t feel more special than say, any Neon Trees single.

Jonathan Bogart: My disappointment that St. Lucia turned out to be a man was tempered by the reflection that St. Vincent did the same thing the other way round; and the music, a hazy-remembered recreation of AIDS-era paranoia-on-the-dancefloor anthems, is lovable enough in its own right.

Brad Shoup: For one, it’s nice to hear a song about dancing that admits we’re not that young. For two, he’s a fantastic pre-modern-pop structuralist. “Elevate” was airtight, but in particular the countermelody was perfect, and perfectly deployed. Here, it’s the pre-chorus, which renders the theme legible before the frenetic bounce kicks in. Not that he’s tugging a new thread, although he builds something sturdier out of the silence/violence rhyme than anyone else I can think of. And he found the midpoint between “Midnight City” and “Ain’t It Fun”!

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: That chorus belongs in the closing credits of every 80’s teen movie, so I played it on top of every film in my John Hughes Box Set and watched the magic happen.

Katherine St Asaph: Plexiglass is the better metaphor — unnaturally slick, crack-resistant, supplanted by better alternatives.

Reader average: [6.5] (2 votes)

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