Friday, December 17th, 2010

AMNESTY WEEK 2K10: September – Resuscitate Me

We’ve not bothered to count the amount of Swedish stuff we’ve covered, obviously…


Jessica Popper: Of all the Swedish dance-pop girls (Agnes, Velvet etc) September is by far my favourite. The others have produced some fantastic singles, and September’s debut album was a bit mixed, but I have loved every single song from her past two and “Resuscitate Me” suggests that the trend will continue with album number 4. The video isn’t overwhelmingly fantastic (I think it tries to do too many things in one video) but Petra looks great with her new Robyn-esque hairstyle. There’s something magical about the combination of song and singer in September’s work and it’s very exciting to have a whole new album’s worth of material on the way. Fingers crossed for another classic!

Alex Macpherson: About the only way I could distinguish this from every other September song I’ve heard is that she sings in a slightly higher register than usual. This makes it neither better nor worse, though her thudding beats are as boring as ever.

Edward Okulicz: I’m impressed that September now sounds younger than she did when she first came to my attention about seven years ago. Back then her dance pop had bluer hues – check “September All Over” from 2004 – and now she sounds like a generic disco dolly, albeit one blessed with a good deal of vocal conviction and a slew of above average catchy tunes. This one’s no “Cry For You” or “Looking For Love”, though the cleverly atrocious novelty of the title means it doesn’t really have to be.

Martin Skidmore: I can’t work out what it was that in the first few seconds of her voice on this made me think she was Scandinavian. Might be a resemblance to Robyn’s “Bum Like You” in that first line. After that it’s more down the middle Eurodance in style, even a touch galumphing in places, but her singing stays appealing, melodic and with range and more than a hint of feeling, especially at the croaky moments.

Zach Lyon: Out of all the AMNESTY WEEK 2K10 tracks, this is the one that keeps messing it up for everyone else: I’ll get 30 seconds into another song I haven’t really absorbed yet before my mind goes “let’s listen to September again!” In this case, my mind sounds like the dog in those old Beggin Strips commercials, that’s what this song does to me. And it’s as close to a [10] as a [9] can get, only because I don’t want to grant a song perfection if I mostly only love it for a single moment, or a single moment repeated in the beginning of three choruses (of course, DON’T YOU LET MY HEART DOWN, BOY!). Granted, it’s probably my favorite moment of the year, and I keep starting it up again thinking, “okay, I’ll only listen to the first 40 seconds and then it’ll be over,” and then I’ll get that far and I’ll have to make it to the next chorus and then the next and then I’ll put it on again — pop bliss.

Alex Ostroff: Wikipedia informs me that the writers behind PCD’s ‘I Hate This Part’ – one of my favourite recent dance-pop numbers – are behind this. There are moments of ‘Resuscitate Me’ that recall the former song’s strengths, but while the song calls for a similarly light touch, the producers slather it with sweeping strings, synth arpeggios and pounding beats. Nicole Scherzinger projected a tentative confidence, fragility wrapped around steel. September’s vocals are BIG – as towering as Cascada, but with utter sincerity instead of camp. I’m prepared to let this grow on me, especially since a pitch-shifted ‘Cry For You’ was one of the highlights of How to Dress Well’s sublime mixtape. But ‘Love CPR’ will always be a stupid phrase.

Kat Stevens: GAH is no-one safe from Taio Cruzifciation?

Mallory O’Donnell: Right, clearly we didn’t cover enough material like this in 2010. Definitely the color missing from our palette.

Michaelangelo Matos: Starts out like a power ballad, then switches to Europop, meaning disco-derivative. September’s voice has this kind of velcro catch that reads Swedish all the way: it’s a soul-like device, and here it’s deployed against drums so stiff they might as well be built to accompany oompahs. (Or happy hardcore.) Yet once past that first hint, it’s smooth sailing, and oddly enough, the reason is because the record builds so much tension between that catch and the glide of everything else. The strings heighten this rather than drowning it. If you’re going to do Europop, or even just power ballads, conviction helps.

Katherine St Asaph: It’s got its little charms, like the handclap-dance beat (unfortunately, only the first chorus has it), or how she stutters out “resus-s-s-citate” for no apparent reason, or the time-tested tactic of stringing a lot of high notes together in the hook. “Cry For You” had more.

Jonathan Bogart: Breathlessness can be an interesting strategy in pop, but you have to make sure it doesn’t sound like you’ve fallen behind.

Frank Kogan: On “Cry For You” September scratched along painfully and then let loose with a great wailing cry of a chorus. Here, on “Resuscitate Me,” she’s even scratchier, but instead of letting loose she rises to a high-pitched, delicate staccato, singing the word “resuscitate” as if it were a series of dots and dashes. Doesn’t have nearly the same payoff. I like the song and style, though, can hear how the poignant, trebly breaths could have melted me.

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