Monday, October 5, 2009

Blake Lewis CD Review: His Music His Way

When I talked to Blake Lewis a couple of weeks ago, he described his new CD, “Heartbreak on Vinyl,” as a dance record with a touch of 80s nostalgia.

I couldn’t agree more as the first time I heard it, I thought it sounded like updated Erasure. And since I adore Erasure, I adore “Heartbreak”…

The album kicks off with the beyond catchy title track that not only begins Blake’s ode to his lost love, it also laments the loss of his beloved record stores. You can’t listen to this song without getting it stuck in your head.

But the catchiness doesn’t end there as Blake goes full throttle through nine more tracks that are guaranteed to get you up dancing. “Binary Love” and “Freak” are upbeat numbers, while “Sad Song” beautifully combines melancholy lyrics with a great beat, a la Information Society. “Rhythm of My Heart” completely changes up the tempo as Blake adds a seductive edge over his beatboxing. “Afraid” picks things up again with a pounding beat.

“Left My Baby For You” tells the story of Blake choosing his career over his girlfriend and then going back to tell her he was wrong. I have to say that it’s probably my least favorite song on the CD because it just throws in too many elements. But it still has an amazing beat.

“Rebel Without a Cause” is the tale of Blake realizing his mistakes and it features some truly gorgeous moments. And of course, there is a musical interlude breakdown, “Superscratchavocalisticturntablelicious.” But I have to say it’s a little too short. I always like hearing Blake showcase his beatboxing talents.

“Our Rapture of Love” is just as seductive as the title suggests. It reminds me of Erasure, Kon Kan and When In Rome thrown together. And I mean that as a HUGE compliment. This song has real single potential.

Things finally slow down with “The Point.” And when Blake hits those opening strains, you almost want to cry for him, because you’ve been on this journey with him through the CD and you can see it coming to a heartbreaking end. Blake never gets enough credit for his vocals and this one shows off his voice well.

Things pick back up with “The Remedy,” which is impossible to listen to without at least bobbing your head. Then Blake closes the CD with “Love or Torture (Please Don’t Stop)” with the uber-catchy chorus of “Please don’t stop/I want a taste of what you got/I wanna know what gets you hot/So baby please don’t stop.” And when this song reaches its end, you’ll wish that Blake hadn’t stopped and you’ll immediately go back to track one and start again.

Probably the thing that stands out the most about “Heartbreak” is that it is a continuous story, which leads to a more cohesive album as opposed to a collection of singles. That’s a good thing, but it can also make some of the songs run together. But when they’re this fun, I’m not sure that matters.

I would also actually prefer there were more single possibilities because I believe Blake deserves a great deal of success. But since he is finally making his music his way, maybe that doesn’t matter either.

What does matter is that “Heartbreak” is a good CD that will take you back to those electronica filled days of the past—or take you there for the first time. And trust me, they’re a great place to go…

“Heartbreak on Vinyl” is available in stores and online Tuesday, October 6th…

Photo Credit: Tommy Boy Records