Album Review: Erika Jayne - Pretty Mess
When I heard Jayne's first single, "Roller Coaster" I have to admit that I wasn't that impressed. I first heard the remixes (by Moto Blanco, Mark Knight, DJ Escape & Johnny Vicious, Dave Pezza, M2, and Peter Rafelson) and of course loved them...but there wasn't much in the way vocal. I like my dance music with vocals. If there's not a powerful voice carried by that bass line, I'm not into it. When I downloaded the album version of "Roller Coaster," I was disappointed that there wasn't really much more in the way of vocals. The song had a catchy beat, but it was just a lot of dirty whispering (the song has since grown on me significantly). Enter "Stars" and my whole outlook on Erika Jayne changed.
"Stars" has everything...a driving dance beat, a hook, a beautiful melody and strong vocals to back it all up. You know it's a solid song in my book when I love the original AS MUCH IF NOT MORE than the remixes (by Moto Blanco, Steve Mac, DJ Escape & Johnny Vicious, Tony Moran & Warren Riggs, Eric Kupper, Mike Rizzo, Peter Rafelson & CagedBaby).
Upon my first listen of Pretty Mess (out now on E1 Music, formerly KOCH Records), a number of comparisons were going through my mind. Some tracks ("Just A Phaze") called to mind early Madonna. Let's say if Madonna was recording her debut album in 2009 - this is what it would sound like. Other times she reminded me of a blend of Cyndi Lauper & Lisa Stansfield ("Lose Myself"), while still others recall Gwen Stefani ("Run Along"). Apparently, I'm not alone. UK newspaper the Guardian wrote that Erika Jayne "is Madonna trapped in the moment when she recorded the Erotica album. She's Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge goes trance with a dash of debauchery, or Gwen Stefani goes burlesque."
I think they nailed it...and so does Jayne herself! "That is a perfect description of my music and vibe, actually" she says. As sexy as she is talented, Jayne was also inspired by Purple Rain, old Hollywood fashion, Studio 54 and Kylie Minogue. No wonder why I love this record! Speaking of Prince, "Time To Realize" features "Prince protégé" Sheila E. on percussion. Hot indeed! Also playing homage to Purple Rain is a cover of the Apollonia 6 track "Sex Shooter" (I knew that song sounded familiar!).
Serving as producers and co-writers on her debut album are big names in dance - Peter Rafelson (Madonna, Britney Spears) and Eric Kupper (Shakira, Kylie Minogue) - both of whom I know exclusively for their dance remixes. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that a favorite of mine, Canadian singer/songwriter Esthero (as Pinklake) contributed additional production to the album. All of this adds up to a very impressive debut.
With three #1 dance singles, Erika Jayne can only go up from here... and up she goes with several songs making it into Hollywood motion picture soundtracks for American Summer (2009), Deal and Bumper (2008) and The Neighbor (2007). Erika Jayne is a star-in-the-making. The official press release couldn't be more dead on, calling her "perfect dance-pop confection." I'm sold. Look for me in a club near you endulging my sweet tooth.
Top Tracks: Stars, Just A Phaze, Give You Everything, Sex Shooter
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