Entertainment » Music

Poplife Presents: Poplife Sucks

by Steven Hammond
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Oct 15, 2008
Poplife Presents: Poplife Sucks

Belgium's highly-acclaimed Poplife party celebrates its 10th anniversary with the mix compilation, Poplife Sucks.

The Poplife party began in 1998 as a reaction to sterile house and techno beats that were being played at parties during those times. It became a chaotic mix of presumably un-mixable styles: rock, pop, disco, new wave, electro, and more. Poplife Sucks represents the direction and sentiment of the original Poplife party scene through a schizophrenic collage of styles and artists.

The concept behind this album is dangerous. For listeners who are not informed about bands and performers like Adriano Celentano, Japan, Brandon Cooke & Roxanne Shante, 16 Bit, and others from the 70s and 80s, a CD that mashes together extremely different genres of music could sound like one giant headache. It did to me, and I enjoy rock, electro, techno, hip-hop, etc.

The one reason this compilation works is because it is produced as a dance mix with seamless transitions between each song. In order for that to work, there has to be a delicate balance, and some commonality between each song. One of those similarities is the beats: in order for it to be a dance album there have to be certain types of beats; I don't care how different you try to be, or where you want to grab your inspiration from, if you want to make "dance" mixes there is a certain style you will have to follow.

A schizophrenic collage of styles and artists

A majority of the songs can be described as electro, whereas only two tracks have a disco feel, those tracks being "The Time is Now" by Moloko, and "Il Veliero" by The Chaplin Band.

One pleasant surprise for me was the song "Prisencolinensinainciusol," by Italian singer/song writer Adriano Celentano. In a strange way, the horn section and vocals makes Celentano come across like an Italian James Brown, but the drum beats with their slight distortion gives the track an industrial feel, and when the harmonica chimes in with 30 seconds left to the song, all bets are off: there is no way to categorize the song.

Another cool song was Sharp as a Knife, by Brandon Cooke & Roxanne Shante. There is a neat synth lead-in to the beat and Roxanne's vocals. It is a classic house banger from 1988.

Poplife Sucks is not an album to mess around with. Complied by Poplife founders The Glimmers and Olivier Tjon, and with classic and fresh tracks from Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Japan, Simian Mobile Disco, Aphex Twin, and many more, there is no reason not to give this album a chance if a hodgepodge of dance is your thing.

Label: News 541. Release Date: September 2, 2008. $19.98. ASIN: B0019TH55E

Steven Hammond is a Chicago poet, photographer, and author of the book P, Anyone?


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