Saturday, September 25, 2010
Uffie - Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans
At the beginning of this year, Ke$ha became the new “it” pop sensation in the music industry. Back in 2006, there was a different snarky, hard-living, party girl that had a fresh voice named Uffie. Unfortunately, after a hectic touring schedule, a failed marriage, divorce, and taking a maternity leave, Uffie’s debut album, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, was delayed for almost five years before finally coming out this summer. Instead of looking like an innovator and inspiration in the mainstream music world, she appears as a copycat.
Uffie’s highly anticipated debut album is not a disappointment, but it does feel like a time capsule with dated lyrics and references. Since 2006, there have been several EPs, singles and collaborations released to fill the void for Uffie fans. Music has drastically changed when most of this material was recorded. The delays have made some of her references like MySpace seem archaic and “so five minutes” ago. Electronic, dance and synth music has had a resurgence thanks largely to pop acts like Lady Gaga and Ke$ha. Unfortunately, much to her chagrin, Uffie is often compared to the latter. Timing is everything.
“Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans” was produced by Feadz, Mirwais (producer and songwriter for Madonna on her albums “Music,” “American Life” and “Confessions on a Dance Floor”), J-Mat, and SebastiAn, Mr Oizo, and Uffie with guest appearances by Pharrell Williams and Mattie Safer from The Rapture. Filled with French techno, electro and dance-pop songs, the playfulness of Uffie’s vocals make her one of the most entertaining musicians out right now. With her catchy lyrics, banging beats and sweet voice she has captivated underground electropop, indie dance, and French house culture for years, but not mainstream music fans like her pop star contemporaries.
The album kicks off with the underground hit “Pop the Glock,” which is reminiscent of an M.I.A sound, but more danceable. The down to earth sound solidifies the perfect tone set for fun loving and crazy times. “Art of Uff” shows us the beautiful blasting bass that has made her an underground electro-pop princess. This is a song you could go out clubbing with and have a good time. Pharrell shows up on the third track “Add Suv,” which seems like a throwback to 1960s pop music polished with digital sound. This is a perfect example of an amazing collaboration.
More electro-pop follows on “Give it Away” showing a softer, sensual side of Uffie. Then comes the crème de la crème song, “MC’s Can Kiss” that is just as infectious as any pop song you can think of with a playful mood. The electro mishmash shows she does not take herself seriously at all and has a Cars’ mentality of “let the good times roll.” This playfulness continues with the opening of her next song in “Difficulty” as she sings “Don’t worry I don’t write rhymes I write checks.” Uffie’s sassy and tongue-in-cheek lyrics make her music infectious that you can’t help, but get up and dance around.
Ke$ha’s music sounds strikingly similar to the dance song “First Love” and a listener can’t help, but beg the question: What would Ke$ha be without Uffie? The titular song “Sex Dream and Denim Jeans” comes across as a rock song infused song with electronica and is an adaptation of the Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll.” “Our Song” is by far one of the most pop accessible songs on the album and shows Uffie’s softer side. One of the best tracks is “Illusion of Love,” featuring Mattie Safer that comes across as an early 1990s rave song slowed down. Underground music could not be any better.
Three of the final four songs “Neuneu,” “Brand New Car,” and “Ricky” shows more of the techno and electronica sound fans would appreciate it. One might even get a Justice vibe and that makes sense since they are also produced by Ed Banger Records like Uffie.
There is one song I continue to have mixed feelings on and that is the Siouxie and the Banshees’ cover of “Hong Kong Gardens.” At times it seems awkward and a huge mistake, but the more I listen to it the more I like it. Covers are always a touchy subject because it’s always going to have mixed reviews no matter what. The contrasting take and delivery make it a fun song to enjoy for the average Uffie fan, but for music lovers you will definitely have a different take. If electronica, dance club, electro-pop, and underground music is a genre you appreciate, it would be a travesty to not know Uffie.
-- Mr. Brownstone