I realize that it's early April and we've barely started spring, but I'm gonna go ahead and call it: this is the album of the summer. Williams provides us with an album that sounds modern and retro at the same time - he and I apparently grew up listening to a lot of the same music. If I said it was the good kind of derivative, would that make sense? Part Michael Jackson, part James Brown, part Art of Noise, part Prince, part P.M. Dawn, part awesome haberdashery, and (almost) all good. Metacritic currently has it rated at 67, which I think is low since Williams' writing and arranging is impeccable - dude knows how to put together a slick chord progression and funky groove underneath some disco strings. The reviewer over at Billboard seems to get it, rating it an 85. The negative reviews seemingly all complain that the album is "too pop" as if that's a valid criticism. Go figure [shrug].
Bottom line: this is a fun listen and highly danceable. So if you feel the need to see a middle-aged white guy dancing while he skims the pool this summer, come on over. I have a feeling this album will be on heavy rotation.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #2 (as of this writing)
Tracks: My top pick is the hit single Happy (it was what led me to buy the album, after all). My other top picks are Brand New (with Justin Timberlake), Hunter, Come Get It Bae (which may get me to actually tolerate Miley Cyrus), Gust of Wind (with Daft Punk ftw), and It Girl. But the album is so consistent in its dance groove, there's only one track that I want to skip: the repetitive Lost Queen (but I don't skip it because then I'd miss the hidden neo-soul track Freq).
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None