Chart-topping country singer drops new album, featuring the #1 hit Drop.
Dallas Smith | 604 Records
Possibly the most successful shift from one musical genre to another was when singer Dallas Smith decided to pursue a country career after Default disbanded.
The Vancouver rock quartet certainly had a share of success with albums such as The Fallout and songs such as Wasting My Time. Nothing it achieved came come close to the popularity that Smith has enjoyed since his 2012 debut Jumped Right In delivered a slew of top 100 singles. Since then, he has become the country’s leading record holder for most #1 hits on Billboard’s Canada Country chart with 10.
That record number just went up with the new track Timeless, which hit #1 as well as being his ninth-consecutive single to do so. Small surprise that Smith is nominated for four 2020 CCMAs (Canadian Country Music Awards), including entertainer of the year, male artist of the year, fans’ choice, and single of the year.
Here are five things to know about the new album, also titled Timeless.
1: A classic country ¡°best of¡± list chorus. If there is one thing that country songs are all about, it’s the use of listing off things that are authentically “country”, as well as familiar to all listeners. Strategically placed as a bridge or chorus in a song, these parts typically become what fans can instantly sing along to. Such is the case with the single Timeless, which gets everything from Grandaddy’s Caddy to John Denver and country roads into the list. That said, is it red wine, apple pie, Rolex, suit and tie, or a Rolex that has a red wine/apple pie finish? I’m confused.
2: Drop. The opening tune on the record is another top single and is the kind of track that you just know will make it into a perfect placement in a Netflix series or, perhaps, even get a crossover rock treatment by another band in the 604 Records family. Love to hear what Fake Shark could do with this.
3: Don¡¯t Need the Whiskey. You’ll be here by closing time/ You walk right in and take me back/ I don’t need the whiskey to tell me that. Presumably, she isn’t coming and the singer seems all too aware that the heartache isn’t going to get any better by drowning it. He’s back reminiscing about meeting a winner and going out on the search to find her in Bars. Then, he’s saved by Dean Brody and MacKenzie Porter who come to party in Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Alone.
4. Rhinestone World. Is it where the Rhinestone Cowboy lives? Or is it some secretive message to the King as standing at the doors of Graceland is mentioned. It’s unclear what the narrator of the song is on about until the genius line about finding someone who is like finding a diamond in a rhinestone world. Talk about a great lyric.
5. People I¡¯ve Known. Another list style song, but this one documents a lifetime of specific memories and shouts out to the people he’s known. Be they good or bad, newly met or in the past, they are those who shape our lives. This might sound odd to kids growing up under COVID life, as you just don’t meet that many different types on scheduled ZOOM meetings. Great closing tune either way.
Also out this week:
Lind¨¦ | World Circuit Records
The shot of this Malian guitar hero reclining on a motorcycle with his acoustic at the ready on the cover pretty much captures the vibe of the latest recording from Afel Bocoum. The 11 songs mostly follow the relaxed pace of the opener Penda Djiga, but they can get bigger too. Bombolo Liilo is a perfect example. It’s bass-heavy reggae beat is matched by some sinuous kora and guitar matched by call-and-response choruses that really get you moving. Add in the brass section and this is a serious boogie number. Elsewhere, such as on Jaman Bisa, the groove is far more sparse and trance-inducing. Produced by frequent collaborators Damon Albarn and Nick Gold, Lindé is fine sounding set of songs and includes contributions from late drumming genius Tony Allen and violin from Joan as Police Woman.
Move Away | Universal Music Canada
The giant drums that open Move Away, the opening song on the latest album from soul/pop singer Bazini initially evoke a rock track. Then the song shifts into a mid-tempo arena track that falls somewhere between U2 and Journey. Elsewhere, the singer’s big voice gets super soulful (Choose You), leads a finger-snapping soul pop party track with a great keyboard vamp (Penthouse) and duets with Irish Belter Imelda May on the moody Mercy. This particular tune is one of the album’s highlights, showcasing both singer’s gritty pipes and passionate delivery.
The Neon | Mute Records
Electropop legends Vince Clarke and Andy Bell are clearly feeling a lot more upbeat on their 18th album than they were on 2017s slightly dour World Be Gone. Press for the album notes that the duo were in a great place going into studios in London and Atlanta to craft its latest and songs such as the stadium banger Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) rank with the band’s finest. Just like their peers in Depeche Mode, the two musicians have always been able to mesh synthesized sounds with classic pop tunesmithing to create booming-yet-light music. One of Erasure’s best qualities is how it crafts music that is imbued with the spirit of defiance and celebrates it. Tracks such as Fallen Angel, Shot A Satellite and others just inspire keeping up the fight; whatever it may be.
Toots and the Maytals
Got to Be Tough | Trojan Jamaica/BMG Records
Frederick “Toots” Hibbert doesn’t sound anywhere near his 77 years on his first new recording in a decade. Rather the legendary Jamaican reggae star sounds ready to take on all comers in ten tunes that seem specifically written for today’s locked down days. From the gritty opener Drop Off Head — which has a searing guitar lick from Zak Starkey snuggled up against the drums of Sly Dunbar and Cyrille Neville’s percussion — to the fierce rock punch of singles Just Brutal and Got to Be Tough, Hibbert is always at the top of his game. He even fits in an electro-country shuffle with Freedom Train. This album should inspire a whole new set of fans to come around to the genius behind 54-46 Was My Number, Do the Reggay, Monkey Man and other classics.