Thursday, 1 July 2010

Lynn - Are You Online?

Competing (stylistically at least) with the likes of AllSTARS, Aqua and S.O.A.P, Danish superstar Lynn's soft lungs and perky beats are legendary within the thriving influential bubblegum dance-pop scene movement. No really. Linnéa Handberg Lund recorded demos under the alias, many of which would eventually be recorded by Bambee, but she had achieved fame before in 1998 as Miss Papaya (helming the album Pink) and more recently as herself. Full of squeeling excitement (and that is just from me), her sugary brand of insipid-but-magnificently-so niche masterpeice was not just a hit with ironic gays who refuse to grow up, but Madonna's daughter Lourdes got her Mother to arrange a meet and greet, effectively de-throning the Revolver and Hey You singer. Eurodisco-pop enigma Lynn's vocals' flat release were designed for quirky fun rather than intensity, and on the surface reach a pleasure centre as far away from her pants as you can imagine, but the fluff on offer loosens up imeasurably with cyber-stalking anthems and 80s covers to enjoy if all else fails.

Squeezing all the good bits from Aqua, Are You Online's high frequencies sets a pattern for what is to come and is more infectious than a gangbang in Kenya. I love the 'dial-up' sample at the beginning and her simple-minded innocense about the internet is too pure to be true - 'boy I've got a question for you' is only the tip of the iceberg in my own experiences but let's not go there. At least she's not asking 'age, sex, location', that would be really dated. Lynn's brand of bubblegum is kink-free, but that's the point.

The plaintive Catch A Little Rain drizzles into a throbbing trance-ballad, and is far more mature, possibly comparable to a decent Ian Van Dahl album track. Being under 2 minutes long I only wish it were double the length, it's certainly the one track here that really could be tarted up a bit into becoming a hit. It's actually very stunning, hitting it's galloping stride before we have even had proper verses beyond casual moaning and groaning.

Once again leaning heavily on the flashy uber-pop formula, the latin flavoured Hello is slow-witted love computerised disco set to a frisky speed suggesting more than her prosaic charm would have you believe ('I gotta say hello, I don't know why / But I gotta give my luck a try'). Even spastic pop tarts have feelings: I Miss You Now is the token sad one, oozing clogging aspartame-tears, but I'll go out on a limb and say it is shit.

Ecstatic anxiety anthem In The Middle Of The Night is clearly Whigfield's Saturday Night, having robbed its bassline. Vapid and utterly pre-fab, it really is fab. Boasting infectious keyboard layerings, the singer's repeated yelps want us to believe 'anything can happen' but girlfriend keeps the innuendos at bay sadly.

Stealing its hooks from the Real McCoy, Lucky No One is the Another Night style dance song missing from Amber's debut, which was actually written and produced by those guys. Sharp with Sash! sounds, No Princess is another Aqua-friendly dry-romp.

Crucial tempo-ballad On The Run is immediately a highlight. The snowflake weight of the faintly faux-RnB tinged electronica is as moody as vintage Ace of Base (complete with Don't Turn Around style ghostly down-the-phone backing vocals). A three-minute slice of effervescent pop goodness.

Her PG-rated Eurodisco is catchy with every single beat, not least on the contageous closer Spaceman and is S.O.A.P's unnoficial B-side to This Is How We Party. Weak voiced not willed, 'I wanna see your rocket' is one chat up line I've yet to use. Filthy bitch.

Just when I thought this album couldn't get any sweeter, Lynn only goes and covers one of the most important songs in the whole wide world (to me at least): New Order's strident dance classic Bizarre Love Triangle, a song about independently romantic make do's. This is one of those songs that never dies for me. Sure, Lynn doesn't spit out the lyrics with the sneering melancholia or dumbstruck awe of the original, but she's actually the better vocalist, with her no-frills approach conveying warmth as well as plaintive limitations. Majestic synths and a fizzing bassline create something wonderful and well worthy of the track's status as something of a lost classic.

Lynn might be too bubblegum-specific for her own good, but for those reasons her album here is a kingpin landmark of a genre that evaporated from the UK charts at least well over a decade ago. Doubtlessly drowning in a one-size-fits-all formula, she has a voice (not saying it's a great one, but a voice nonetheless), body (I can only assume), sonic texture, and the songwriting is as sweet as it gets in this genre. In fact, nearly every song on this set is a effectively-produced and keenly-delivered effort. This fine album is a must for fans of enthusiastic, well-produced Europop and sickly-sweet pop music. Track after track, the album continues with more of the same minnute, wide-eyed dance-influenced numbers that made Aqua's first album so appealing, but ranks slightly lower than its contemporary simply because the territory covered is a little too similar. Virtually all the songs are high energy Euro-pop propelled by nimble, sincere vocals and immaculately cheapskate production. Standouts include the pretty naive Are You Online, the moody, atmospheric dance epic Catch A Little Rain, the jittery Dr Jones-sounding In The Middle of The Night, the thumping Lucky No One, and the fantastic On The Run, which definitely deserves some form of exposure as a poptastic ballad along the lines of Ace of Base or even S.O.A.P's Stand By You at a push. Quite possibly it is her dreamy cover of New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle that shines most brightly of all, but overall this album is an experience I did not see coming.

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