55 + A Glass of Wine + Good Company = A Night Well Spent
The Big Apple duo, The Knocks has finally released their debut album 55. Anticipated it was, a majority of their songs that are listed on the album had already been released through singles or EPs; giving the fans a bit too much of a sneak peak. Their well-known single “Classic,” released in 2015, might be the most accurate way to describe this pair. Being the talented singers and music producers they are, this recent album 55 is truly “classic” pop with a kick of hip.
The Knocks represents your orthodox pop artist with a mixed feel of MKTO, Daft Punk, Tiesto and 2 AM Club minus the rap. 55 contains some very hot featured artists such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Fetty Wap, Walk The Moon and X Ambassadors, which is very rare to see on a debut album (talk about lucky). The duo has been known to work with big names and have been on tour with quite the popular crowd, artists like Ellie Goulding and Grouplove. The Knocks has been known for their serious talent for producing and remixing hit singles such as Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” or The 1975’s “Girls.” Their talent for mashing up hits is just seriously great.
The album 55 seems to crescendo in intensity and beat with each song, first opening with a very ‘intro’ like song “New York City” introducing the duo’s hometown with a moody dark rap. Two versions of “Classic,” the hit single, is shared on this album: the original version featuring POWERS and the latter version featuring Fetty Wap. Both versions give off the hip summery vibes and of course, the addition with Fetty Wap adds quite the rasta-twist into the song. “Kiss The Sky” is quite a catchy number, really emphasizing Wyclef Jean’s ringing vocals that will really get you dancing without knowing it. The music video for this number is something worth checking out, featuring their well-known after-party traditions but this time at Jean’s house featuring his daughters dance studio dancers. Its pretty adorable.
“I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” might separates itself from the other songs not only with its unique lyrics of wanting a Taylor Swift over your plastic LA girls, but it has a very nice acoustic guitar melody in the background while having a chill beat. This sound added variety to 55, which was definitely needed and nice to have. “Collect My Love” has a very Clean Bandit with Jesse Glynne vibe with the booming vocals of Alex Newell with a catchy gospel “oohs” to add to the upbeat song. “Tied To You” features a nice little samba bridge, with funky electronic effects on the vocals of Justin Tranter. “The Key” is a very nice deep base club number that will get the hips moving, although the number may come off as a bit repetitive.
Pop star Carly Rae Jepsen shows off her love-sick girly lyrics in “Love Me Like That,” sticking to the singer’s original sound with an addition of a light beat in the background. Accompanied by a whistling melody, “Cinderella” compliments the vocals of Magic Man, giving the song a very Panama Wedding vibe; making it one of the more catchier songs on the album. Typically singing very upbeat indie rock, Walk the Moon is featured in “Best For Last,” giving the band a very new sound unheard of before. This number has quite a mellow feel making it a very interesting listen similar to the songs of Two Door Cinema Club.
Running through the album, 55 seemed to be the quintessential album to have playing in the background; at a cozy lounge while having a drink or two or at home while having wine and dine with the girls. Not to be harsh on the album, but all songs seem to share this comfortable steady beat with no out of the ordinary melodies which makes it perfect to have on in the back. To be sure, the album has some good stuff. But if each song had more of an ultimate hook that will lead to a repeat, the album would be more appealing. As great musicians as they are, The Knocks collaboration projects in the past such as “Modern Hearts” featuring St. Lucia, their “Midnight City” cover featuring Mandy Lee or single “Dancing With the DJ” have stronger captivation over listeners.
Overall, it is a simple and good album however it may need more of a unique sound that will separate The Knocks from the rest of the “classic” pop artists. There are a handful of artist features on the album that are considered “in” and the music is very well-produced, however it lacks The Knocks original sound. Maybe not having this trademark sound in a way is a selling point but if this is continued in future albums, there is a chance that their albums may end up being background music at your local Forever 21 .