Sorry for being MIA for the past couple of weeks but this month has been a bigger bitch than Cheryl Cole at a Black Pride rally. I know it's the time of year when I should be putting together my 'best of 2010' countdowns - and they will follow in the next few days - but before all that, there's one last post I need to write. A post that's been on my mind since late September when Spanish pop goddess/musical genius Soraya dropped her 5th studio album. Even the most casual reader of this blog knows how much I worship Europe's gift to the world. I ranked her last album the equal best of 2008, I wrote her an open letter after she was brutally denied Eurovision glory for being too beautiful and talented for that fraudulent competition and I almost died when she hit me up on Twitter. Needless to say, new material from Soraya is a cause for celebration and it's high time I reviewed her latest genre defining pop masterpiece.
"Dreamer" picks up where "Sin Miedo" left off. It's an explosion of thumping dance music with a heavy sprinkling of catchy Europop to keep radio and Chueca happy. It's perhaps a little more club-centric than her last stunning opus but the only real difference is that she's chosen to sing in English - the first time since her delicious duo of 80s covers albums. The gamble appears to have paid off. "Live Your Dreams", the album's first single, has been a smash in Europe - bringing Soraya chart glory in important world markets like Poland and Ukraine. And I'm convinced the hits will continue to flow as the world falls under the spell of Spain's greatest musical export since Las Supremas de Móstoles. Here is my track by track review of "Dreamer":
I've already blogged about the album's catchy title track and slated second single. "Dreamer" was written by Australian Idol flop Natalie Gauci but - as far as I can tell - recorded by Soraya first. Poor, desperate Natalie obviously heard how glorious our queen's version sounded and decided to release it herself. Annoyingly, her version has become a big dance hit in Australia and now every time I'm in a club I'm tortured by it. Sometimes life just isn't fair! On the bright side, Natalie is a complete nobody - so it shouldn't impact on Soraya's release outside of Australia. "Dreamer" is a slick dance track with killer beats and a catchy chorus but I think there are much better songs on the album. Not that it matters. As soon as Soraya releases a sexy video for the song, I'm sure it will go straight to #1 in every country with a gay club!
Failing Me (Runaway)
Continuing the theme of singing amazing songs written by flop divas, "Failing Me (Runaway)" was written by British singer-songwriter Lucie Silvas. She actually had a great album called "Breathe In"... I wonder if anyone else remembers her. But I digress. This is another floorfiller with a slightly softer edge than "Dreamer". It's very pretty and reminds me of vintage Sash! It's about time someone revived early noughties trance and Soraya is just the diva to do it. I love the chorus and the song showcases her radically improved English. My only problem with the track is the unrealistic lyrical content. It's a statistically proven fact that Soraya is the most glamorous woman on earth - so who would ever cheat on her? It's like Marta Sanchez singing a song about being a 15 year old virgin.
Give You Up
Soraya really has turned her attention to the dancefloor this time around. Her collaboration with Spanish DJ/producer Juan Magan moves the stunning diva into Inna's Hi-NRG dance territory. Only with more autotune than Ke$ha and the year's least convincing rap. In other words, it's completely amazing and I love every second! It's official. Dannii has finally been replaced as the Queen of clubs!
Ticking All The Boxes
After a string of dance anthems, Soraya decides to revolutionise pop music as we know it with a trio of heavenly tunes that any world class diva would be proud to call their own. "Ticking All The Boxes" is a bit of a throwback to "Sin Miedo" - an instantly memorable chorus shines against a hot and sticky web of synths. I love the random la la las and the fact that something clearly got lost in translation. I'm not sure if this song is about doing the Sunday crossword or finding a man. And I don't give a fuck. Soraya is too fabulous for anything as boring and menial as lyrics that make sense! This is cute, catchy and captures the diva's effortless charisma perfectly.
I Got You
And the award for the best song on "Dreamer" goes to "I Got You". This is the musical equivalent of ecstasy in the 90s. You know, when it actually worked. One listen to this gloriously cheesy burst of Eurotastic synthpop will raise your serotonin to dangerously high levels and leave you smiling like The Joker after getting a blow job from Batman. I love everything about this. The fabulously retro production that sounds like something Ace Of Base released in 1997, Soraya's euphoric vocal and the Eurovision ready chorus. She should totally enter "I Got You" next year and get her revenge on the sad haters that ranked her second last! Trust me, every bitch in Europe will be saying "Lena who?"
You've Got The Music
Oh the piano intro is a nice touch. I like a bit of chillaxed Soy Soy. It makes it even more exciting when the beats start pumping. Actually, this is quite a deep dancefloor anthem. Lyrics like "You're feeling so rough inside" will speak volumes to fans as they hear this leaving the club at 10am. Soraya is so in touch with the gays! In all seriousness, this is a genuinely uplifting floorfiller about losing yourself in the music. It's been done before - 178 times by Kylie alone - but the production is polished and the diva's powerful pipes shine through. I want to hear a really cool remix.
Soraya goes electro on this fun duet with Turkish pop star Bedük. It's a bit repetitive and the lyrics leave something to be desired - hearing "electric girl in an electric world" ten times in a row does get a bit annoying but it's interesting to hear Soraya experiment with different sub-genres of dance music. I don't think her future lies in this Uffie-if-she-could-sing-and-wasn't-totally-shit sound but it breaks the album up and makes the following pop explosion all the more exquisite.
Who knew Soraya was a Twihard? This gorgeous pop tune is the 2010 equivalent of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" - a cute and catchy musical adaptation of classic piece of literature! In this case, the Spanish pop deity channels Bella from Stephenie Meyer's vampire novels. Classy lyrics "before I reach immortality, I gotta know - will you stay with me?" make this an instant pop trash classic and a close second to "I Got You" as my favourite song on the album. The production is a dreamy delight and I love the pretty chorus. I just want to know if Soraya is team Edward or Jacob. I bet she has a vibrator called Mr Cullen!
Live Your Dreams
I don't know what's left to say about Soraya's stunning international smash hit "Live Your Dreams". Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie" was apparently the biggest selling single of 2010 but I think there was a mistake. Was that depressing duet a #51 smash in Belgium? Probably but it doesn't matter. This is clearly one of the biggest songs of the year (in gay bars) and even managed to be successful despite Antoine Clamaran trying to steal Soraya's thunder in the video (below). He needs to stop pretending to be David Guetta and let the real star shine! Finding a physical copy of this legendary dance anthem in a French CD store was so exciting. I love that the world is finally discovering the true queen of pop! Time to release it in Australia.
In My Blood
Soraya must really love those vampire books because the blood metaphors keep coming. This album highlight has a bit of a harder edge than songs like "I Got You" and "Twilight" but the move towards electro works a lot better this time around. The dark and atmospheric beats provide the perfect backdrop for the diva's soft vocals. I'm not sure about the male backing singer shouting "blood!" but, otherwise, it's pretty hard to fault. This is a world class pop tune - sleek, sexy and instantly catchy. Soraya really has come a long way from this!
Close To Me
The last track on my copy of the album - there are bonus remixes on iTunes - is a 7 minute dance anthem courtesy of Spanish DJ Wally Lopez. I was expecting another upbeat number but "Close To Me" is something akin to slow disco. Think Kylie's "I Believe In You" - only with Balearic beats and a sample that sounds like an out of tune violin. Some fans hate this but I think it's amazing and want to hear it while I'm drinking Vina Sol, watching the sunset at Cafe Del Mar. A brilliant close to a career making album.