Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Lena Fayre – Love Burning Alive

She’s also got a song called “Jukebox Love,” so no hard feelings…


Katherine St Asaph: Lena Fayre is a rising pop songwriter — she’s on MTV, apparently — with the worst press bio I’ve ever read. The YouTube commentariat, meanwhile, seems to think she’s ripping off Lorde and Lana Del Rey, which is even worse. If Lorde is Daria and Lana is Lizzie Siddal (say), Lena is something else: someone with a dramatic pulse. The producer’s obviously studied how CHVRCHES and their peers slather frosting on the Knife, plus the way EDM keys up the prechorus snares to key up the feelings. But Fayre’s keyed well up already; she either sounds like Ke$ha (when she’s singing, not Ke$ha-ing) or someone caught in a particular kind of teenage drama. Stop me if you’ve lived it: girl likes boy, girl feels everything fifty times deeper; girl casts herself in a gothic metaphysical thriller, where brushing hands after class feels like a sign of syzygy and taking it slow feels like entropy. (“Love” in the title could be a noun or a verb, and I still can’t decide which is more awesomely melodramatic.) The best Charli XCX songs understand this, as does the best early Britney (I’m pretty sure director Leah McKissock intentionally nodded to “…Baby One More Time” with the Catholic-school drears); Demi Lovato often comes close. And once again, if this were real life, the boy’d probably just lie back and smile because being a player won’t even take work anymore — but unlike that Cash Cash track, Lena Fayre’s song is good.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: A preoccupation with the cosmic drives Fayre’s wiggly pop: “let’s keep on floating higher into the galaxy!” Somebody really liked Gravity, then. The spectacularly titled “Love Burning Alive” is passionate and full-blooded, but Fayre’s delivery is too grounded to communicate the wildness of what she’s singing. She has a fine song, but she fills space when she should be careening through it.

Mallory O’Donnell: When an invite to cross the galaxy sounds more desperate than beguiling, it’s time to start considering more earthly offers.

Abby Waysdorf: This would be generic — not bad generic, just kind of not-standout — if it wasn’t for that incredible stomp of a chorus. I’m a bit of a sucker for big drums, synthesized or not, and this delivers.

Patrick St. Michel: Instead of the predictable rise-drop-rise-drop of most EDM pop, “Love Burning Alive” settles on a nice thump that never breaks from its march. Unfortunately, Lena Fayre fails to take this beyond “nice beat.” Her voice just sorta blends in, and the words belong in a metaphors-for-beginners book.

Alfred Soto: Perilously modern producers draw lines between EDM freakouts and tracks like this in which a decent stomp counts as restraint. But good intentions can ossify into Good Taste. I wanted Charli XCX to sing this.

Anthony Easton: I wonder if the bit where she goes “fire, fire, fire” — softly, under all of that over-singing — could be stripped and made quieter: a genuine drop against the rest of the gaudy production. 

Crystal Leww: This gives off serious t.A.T.u. vibes in 2014. Like t.A.T.u., it plays with tension, teasing through the verses. Unfortunately, it never quite figures out how to release, only half-heartedly giving the hook that it previews. Part of it is the production’s fault, plastic and ready-made beats that don’t give Lena Fayre the credit she deserves. Plus, it features just the worst kind of stage making out. Come on, girl. He is not an apple.

Brad Shoup: You can be an encyclopedia of pop vocal inflections, you can pour lighter fluid on the tortured metaphor of the moment and call for the blowtorch, you can even cut the volume to demonstrate your magnetism, but all it takes is something as catchy/elemental/dumb as “meyanyou,” sung twice, to earn your song a toehold.

Reader average: [5] (1 vote)

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7 Responses to “Lena Fayre – Love Burning Alive”

  1. For real, that bio is dreadful.

  2. former No. 1 would be Rita Ora’s old press bio, which got replaced, presumably because it read like this:

  3. “hostelries” omg

  4. Whenever I doubt my writing, I’ll know where to look for reassurance. Or an adverb.

  5. someone was presumably paid to write the phrase “the splash and funk of the locale’s black music history engaging with the elegant noise of gentrification”

  6. (damn it, I just used “presumably” twice in a row. I think I caught the adverbs)

  7. UPDATE: the bio got rewritten! (Also Liz Fucking Phair wrote her latest single, which is also quite good.)