The Top 50 Albums of the Year… #44 SIMON CURTIS “8bit Heart”
44. SIMON CURTIS “8bit Heart”
This was given away for free on the internet – legally so by the album artist – earlier this year and its quality is that of a top-notch, big-budgeted pop release. Can you even imagine? Simon Curtis, criminally not signed to a major label – yet – has been releasing material for years that’s been featured heavily on some of my favourite blogs (notoriously so by MyFizzyPop and EQ). For those of you who haven’t heard of him, he has an air of Darren Hayes and Justin Timberlake about his voice and, in some instances, Prince-features too. All VERY good things, particularly in a world where – for me – Male popstars aren’t necessarily favoured over the females. The afformentioned three Male artists, however, are three of my favourites, so Curtis sits in very good company, and his debut album proves he sits with them quite deservedly so, too.
8bit Heart, which pretty much deals with the matters of love and heartbreak (an apparent theme in this years chart), is lyrically on-the-ball and one of the most relatable records to come from any artist this year. The hypnotic and, frankly, somewhat deceptively depressing, “Don’t Wanna Be Alone” is one of the most beautiful power-pop moments of the last few years, “Super Psycho Love” has elements of *Nsync at the height of their game with really subtle Timba-style beats (see also “Delusional” – where Curtis references stealing the verse from Timbaland – INCREDIBLY SO TOO,) and clever Arabian-esque samples adding to the drama of it all. “The Dark”, which features Jay-Z, follows in the really moody pop that fills 8bit, a 13-track story that’s heavy on the games that are played and fueled by so-called ‘love’.
The sublimely perfect “Beat Drop” – which clocks in at under 2 and a half minutes – is the absolutely pinnacle of moments on “8bit Heart”. Excitingly dramatic pop music with profanities and all; aside from the interludes that run through the record, this is the shortest running track on here but it is by far the very best.
“8bit Heart” surpassed any expectations Curtis had given with his first set of releases. The “Alter Boy” EP was an excellent collection of songs, but his first proper full-length-album proved there was a lot more rapid growth burning inside that 8bit heart of his than any of us could ever predict. I cannot wait to see what he does next; Curtis is one you should be highly impressed by.
He’s also not exactly ugly, is he.