A good thing we’re not doing year-end this year, cos “Hole in My Heart” would probably take an utter battering…
Jonathan Bogart: This is my first exposure to Alphabeat. Based on how it went, it might be my last.
John Seroff: This is the song that finally convinced me to hunt down an Alphabeat album; not because it’s better than prior Jukebox selections but because it is so expertly cut from the exact same pre-washed denim as those past tracks. “DJ” is such an accomplished pastiche I can’t imagine anything the group touches being less than a perfect junior high memory made sound. Take away the nostalgia and I’m not sure there’s much of anything to celebrate, but who cares? This is my Hostess madeline and I wanna reminisce.
Ian Mathers: There’s probably an insightful comment about my personality to be made based around the fact that I gave Little Boots’ “Remedy” a 5, partly for the lyrics, but adore “DJ.” So far Alphabeat mk. II put the original model in the shade (except for “Fascination”, of course); while I do have some reservations about Anders’ haircut in parts of the video, that’s about the only quibble I can find with this one.
Michaelangelo Matos: I’m American, so basically I have to invent my own context for a track like this: unless there’s a promo push going on that I’m not aware of (doesn’t seem likely, but maybe I’m wrong), I’m not going to hear it on the radio, jostling for position among other neo-’80s pop, seeing which ones really hold up and which ones wither on the vine. Sure, the public is wrong a lot of the time, but it’d be interesting to see where this would fall. In isolation, it seems just-OK, a smart pastiche (a description, not a scare word) by a group whose obvious skill I’m sure I’d recognize even if this were my first Alphabeat song; there’s something sort of anonymous about it, though, and while that isn’t a turnoff it’s hard to get excited by it.
Mark Sinker: Annals of inattention: the way chummy sings “count on” and “count in”. Everything else is careful pastiche — not awful; sweet in the bosh stretch — but these two moments are the inappropriate over-enunciation of the world he’s kidding himself he doesn’t actually belong to.
Martin Skidmore: I guess if it weren’t for his terrible, dead singing I might think they were okay, but the retro Eurodance isn’t exciting any more, the songs are mediocre, and the female voice is only okay, so I don’t believe I’d be a fan anyway. As it is, he makes them an unpleasant listen.
Alex Macpherson: The trouble with Alphabeat is that, for all their rigor jollitis, they don’t even seem to understand fun properly: it’s sexless, soulless, about as genuinely enjoyable as a clown at a toddler’s birthday party. Those grins are so fixed you can hear the teeth grinding behind them.
Alfred Soto: I didn’t have to read that they were Danish — a sound so germ-free that I could eat it with a bowl of chili. Not as kinetic as its Eurodisco predecessors Rozalla, Black Box, and Snap, not to mention Ace of Base; much closer to teen-pop than they’d probably want to admit too.
Pete Baran: Let’s imagine a world in which Kylie and Jason continued to make records. Much like Kylie’s career, their career tiptoed from schmaltz into a slightly more interesting dance arena. Jason is scowling on the sidelines here, but Jason, like Anders, has a pretty lousy voice and doesn’t seem quite into the whole thing. “DJ” is the track this Kylie and Jason released before they split up. Anders repeats clichés from other, better songs; Stine manages to turn her own clichés into fizzy dancing bombs. This parallel universe Kylie & Jason of 1992 never sounded so good.
Katherine St Asaph: This sounds a lot like “Into the Groove” — the theme, obviously, but also the voices (well, mostly Stine’s), the jaunty piano that almost sounds like it could be a sample (maybe Dress You Up?), the tinkling in the background. Like “Into the Groove,” it’s by no means Alphabeat’s best, but it’s still quite pleasant.
Anthony Easton: