She 'is' the queen…


Velvet has somewhat always had to play second fiddle to September. They both share the weird change of names rather than simply going with their far more suitable birthname – in this case Velvet’s “at home with the mum” name is Jenny. This is Velvet’s second album and this time she’s upstaged the wonderful September. In short, The Queen is turbo pop at its finest. It refuses to relent its disco onslaught....


The Queen: The title track and the song that should have worked for Velvet at this year’s Melodifestivalen. Not only did Velvet look amazing, the song was spot on but the performance itself managed to bring Samuel Beckett references to the camp-as-tits contest. The song is a declaration much like Your Disco Needs You by Kylie Minogue. Bonnier/Amigo got it so right with this song. I’d be taking someone over to court over the fate of this track. It deserved a lot better than it did. What were the Swedish population thinking? I am sure its European release will show that it would have been a perfect song to send to Moscow. 10/10


Chemistry: Velvet declares “Don't need psychology/With this biology” but this rather big dance song will get ones cortex wanting to shimmy to the nearest flight to Ibiza. This song screams summer hit single. The Phil Hammond remix is also quite amazing. 10/10


Take My Body Close: This is from the Pitchline boys Mattias and Andreas. This involves a great number of 80’s guitar rifts merged into dance baselines. By track three, you get a real sense of Velvets sound. She’s dropped the dodgy rnb sounds that littered the last album and gone straight for that Eric Prydz Call On Me sound that worked so well for him. Incredibly catchy. 9/10


Sound Of Music: This is by the same people behind MissMatch (who are planning their comeback!). Sound of Music is a sweet Kylie-esq track that would sit fit so well next to her demo Feels So Good and dancier moments from X. Yes, Sound of Music is one of the more subtle tracks on the album but its perhaps “less-Swedish” of the bunch if that means any sense. Kylie fans will love this song. Its Love At First Sight, Dancefloor, Wow and In My Arms all wrapped into one great pop song. 12/10


Radio Star: Written by the same guy behind The Queen. Radio Star suffers from very weak verses that make the song too neutral. This could have been sung by absolutely anyone. Velvet does power pop not songs that could easily be shelved from Atomic Kitten’s 2000 recording sessions. The chorus is pretty good. But, compared to The Queen Radio Star suffers big time. I pretty much aware that I am alone in this opinion though as those Velvet lovers on the Popjustice forums love Radio Star. 5/10


My Rhythm: Velvet steps towards the Daft Punk realm. Does it work? Oh yes indeed. This is a brilliant dance song that could send Velvet right in the mainstream. Radio 1 could easily A-list this record. Don’t hold that fact against it though. My Rhythm is a nice hybrid of Therese’s Put Em High and Daft Punks Music Sounds Better With You. 11/10


Play: The first of two ballads on The Queen. Play, another Petterson/Albertsson production is a sweet electronic love song of the type we last heard from Kylie in the form of Cosmic/No More Rain. Brilliant use of strings. 5/10


Come into the Night: And here is Velvet’s global number one if its picked to be a single. This has all the charisma of gloriously 1980 monster songs both called Jump (by the Pointer Sisters and Van Halen. The Pitchline boys could have a massive hit on their hands with this rather big song from Velvet. This is the disco song that doesn’t need a mix to improve it. This is the song that could light up a thousand nights. 11/10


Deja Vu: Play this to anyone with no knowledge of Velvet & they’d immediately guess correctly its nation of origin. Deju Vu is gloriously camp, swings with strings and involves a number of key piano rifts that brings Velvet ever so close to paying tribute to ABBA as possible. 9/10


Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
: This track stands out purely because it uses the word “wireless”. Can you think of any modern songs that refer to the wireless? I love it. Bless those Ultravox boys. The message of the song is about regrets, memory and incredibly reminiscent. I love the line “we drink-to forget the coming storm”. Its perhaps the most emotional tracks on The Queen. By the end of the song this song edges towards Cascada territory which isn’t a bad thing but it illustrates that Velvet doesn’t stick to one particular sound. She is clearly exploring the different genres of dance. 8/10


Fix Me
: I must confess something here; I love Fix Me. It has one of the finest catchiest overall baselines ever to grace pop since Kylie’s amazing Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. Fix Me can very easily played at Magaluf this summer but its middle eight ensures its brilliance as a very strong pop song indeed. I think the winning appeal of Fix Me is its bombastic melody. 11/10


My Destiny
: A nice track to end with but something doesn’t quite add-up with My Destiny. She tries to emerge as some kind of power-ballad Agnes Carlsson (ala first album) warbler and it doesn’t seem to connect. The first ballad was fine but My Destiny needs a big beat over it. 5/10


Overall: The Queen is a great release. Please buy it here. That’s just the Swedish one. I am sure the British one will come with the rather wonderful retro remix of Chemistry by Mr.Hammond. The highlight has to be Sound of Music. So it might not be as dancetastic as the other songs on the album but, it has a certain level of pop charm in its elegance which completely appeals to me. The Queen is a key pop release from Sweden this year.

9 comments:

Frank said...

I agree with you on this album 110%

I am obsessed by the sound of music, just a fantastic song. WOO!!! :)

Fredrik said...

Spot on Bobby. Although I love the ballads. This album reminds me a lot like Dannii's Neon Nights.

FairyTaleBoy said...

I completely differ! I foutht this album needed that urban touch from the last album. Just one Darkchild-like production wuld have been gr8. September will always be september. its like comparin Alcazar and BwO. 2 different acts all2gether!!!!

Shame its flopped in Sweden. I think theres nothing at all Velvet could have done though. She gave us a wicked album. Flawless. Absolutely flawwless. Dontgetit. Just dontgetit. What does V have to do to impress Swedish people. It makes me worry for Isabel Guzman. I know u luv her bobby. but i dont thiink she's gonna make it. If velvet cant. Perhaps Swedish sjust into great pop as it once wz.
sad.

Anonymous said...

This flopped in Sweden because its crap. She sings without emotion. Boring. September is worst. Sweden has a lot of better female singers.

Aaron said...

It's interesting - I do love the album but I'm a bit peeved the Chemistry bonus mix wasn't a radio mix.

The Queen is great, Chemistry is too, I'm not totally sold on Take My Body Close as I am on the others, I like Sound of Music, Radio Star and My Rhythm - Not sold on Play, Come Into The Night and Deja Vu are great as are Dancing With Tears In My Eyes, and Fix Me is fantastic too - I like My Destiny as well, I think!

Great Review though!

Paul said...

oh i like the ballads. I think they are quite decent. Not as enthused about the rest of the album as you are, but Deja Vu is a cracking little number, positively bonza!

Ray said...

Thank you for this brilliant voyage into Swedish Pop. I have danced to Velvet before without realizing who the fuck she is. I feel kinda late to the Velvet party though.

I bought this album and the first. Are there any other suggestions you can recommend? I also bought Sophia Somajo and the albums by Agnes Carlsson & Alcazar.

Do you know if any of these Swedish acts you mention have any USA deals?

Robpop said...

@Frank: I live The Sound Of The Music! I can't get tired with the track. Thanks for the comment!

@Fredrik: I can't hear the Dannii comparison. They borrow different elements of the 80's. I can understand the comparison in that they've made a great dance album though :-)

@FairyTaleBoy: I understand what you mean! Velvet has done a lot with this album. Everything seemed just right. Its a shame its flopping in Sweden. But who knows, there might be more life left it. Release the right single and she might have an increase in sales over there. As for Isabel Guzman, I think once you hear the stuff she's doing with her album your opinion might change just a bit. ;-) Thanks for posting a comment! Most welcome! PS, perhaps one of the ballads could have benefited from a nice Darkchild/Timberland kind of rnb electro baseline going over it.

@Anon: Ah, the singing without emotion argument. A lot of people would argue otherwise. But you can't please everyone :-)

@Aaron: Me too! Perhaps that mix will pop up on the UK release of the album. Thanks for the comment! Its a consistent album. The ballads are a bit drippy.

@Paul: Bonza! Nah, I don't like the ballads as much as the big dance choons on the record. She better put a donk or two on them on the UK release. I jest.

@Ray: Awww, thanks!! You are never too late to join the Velvet party! Great purchases! I am not 100% sure about the US Ray. I am sure the US is lined-up somewhere down the line. Velvets Fix Me was a big dance hit in the US. You might have danced to that without even noticing. For more Swedish acts, I suggest you try the search button on the blog and just scan through. From the top of my head my tips are Isabel Guzman, PayTV, Jonas, Amy Diamond, September, Robyn, Rosanna...there are of course the sites www.scandipop.co.uk and http://poppostergirl.blogspot.com/: Both are absolutely fabulous and feature loads of Scandipop acts.

RV said...

I nearly agree with you on this album :)
I've just published my review on my blog page (www.myspace.com/pwlfrenchfan) and that's on the ballads that our opinions differ :)
maybe pop album of the year though