This is, without a doubt, the most fun CD I've heard in a year.
A wild amalgam of techno beats, vocal samples and boogie-house piano, this is the album that might have happened a decade ago if Fatboy Slim had gotten together with Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
But instead, it was created by Denmark music star Bent Fabricius-Bjerre and his band. A star in Europe, Bent Fabricius' music hasn't hit the pop charts here, but has certainly been heard — currently tracks from Jukebox are being used in movie soundtracks, in an ad campaign by Cingular Wireless, as well as in the WB network's 2005-2006 image campaign.
It's no surprise corporate America has adopted the band's music for its promotions — every track on Jukebox is a feel-good anthem, most with rollicking cascades of piano, solid galloping beats and a "party" feel that melds new and old musical styles.
The opening track, "Bam Boogie" betrays a strong Fatboy Slim influence with its jammy piano, overdriven organ, splashes of James Bond horns, reggae sample loops and vocal repetitions of "boogie woogie, boogie woogie bom bom."
In the next track, "Jukebox" follows in the same vein as vocalist Allan Vegenfeldt declares, "I'm like a jukebox baby" atop the screams of an appreciative live audience and a classic R&B piano riff. This could be an "anthem of summer," if radio gets hip.
The band slows it down a little with "Haven't You Noticed," a slinky Latin-tinged ballad with soulful Liv Lykke singing "haven't you noticed … we're made to be together." Then the disc moves into a jazzy mood with "Everytime" that opens with a slow piano-only intro ,before a wildly catchy beat and rhythm section kick in to make for an impossibly catchy instrumental track.
"Shake" kicks things up another notch with an infectious dance-club track calling for the girls to "Shake, shake, shake your moneymaker … baby it's your booty that we're talking about!"
The disc proper, ends with a classic piano-only version of a song that every piano student learns, "Alley Cat," before offering a beatbox-augmented remix of that song, as well as remixes of "Shake" and "Jukebox."
There are 15 tracks on Jukebox, with a range of styles that cross and blend pop to jazz to R&B to techno to soul. This is a rich, rewarding jukebox worthy of extended, repeated play. I can tell it won't be leaving my car's CD player for months.
New on the shelves:
The Electric Light Orchestra's first two experimental albums at the dawn of the '70s set the stage for a phenomenal career and a new method for creating progressive rock with its blend of symphonic intelligence and roots rock machismo. The Legacy label has reissued both discs, No Answer and ELO 2, which include the seminal tracks "Roll Over Beethoven" and "10538 Overture," as well as liner notes by group leader Jeff Lynne. Each disc includes bonus outtakes and alternate mixes from the original recording sessions.
My Chemical Romance has just issued a new DVD/CD set, Life on the Murder Scene, on Reprise Records. The two DVDs included offer live TV and online performances, and a feature-length film documenting its career on the DVD. The CD contains 11 songs, most recorded live in 2004-2005, as well as a couple of demos and a previously unreleased track recorded during the making of its "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" CD.