Kiesza 2020

REVIEW: ‘Crave’ (Album) – Kiesza

Kiesza – “Crave”

Canadian singer Kiesza burst onto the music scene in 2014 with her chart topping mega hit, “Hideaway”, which earned dozens of Platinum discs quite literally everywhere. Her follow up “Giant In My Heart” was a top five smash in the UK while her debut album, “Sounds Of A Woman”, went to No.42 on the Billboard top 200 and No.1 on the dance albums chart Stateside. She went on to perform with Duran Duran and write songs for Jennifer Lopez and even Kylie! Her new album, “Crave”, however, nearly didn’t happen. Indeed, Kiesza is lucky to be alive after a horrific car crash in Toronto in 2017, resulting in traumatic brain injuries, requiring her to be confined to a dark room for six months.

Her recovery pervades the songwriting and class of this second long player, not one to dwell on past incidents, Kiesza delivers a vibrant and almost retro 80’s electro album reminiscent of Whitney at her very best c.1987. Having experienced and survived such an ordeal, many artists would of written deep about life and luck. Not Kiesza. The life and energy with which she has been blessed with her second chance, resonates in the music. With just a few exceptions, this album is loaded with intense, in-your-face pop anthems that will stick in your head and make you wanna sing loud, wherever you are. Trust me! The title track is one such example. It rules! Had it of been released 35 years ago, this would of certainly topped the charts around the world.

Kiesza’s vocals are the life blood of the song and declare life in her own body and soul, rich and true. The backing track is really something with the skip beat bass and five note guitar hook that repeats throughout the song. “Crave” was launched earlier this year as the teaser to the album, although both “Sweet Love” and “When Boys Cry” (both 2019) were a taster of what Kiesza had already recorded and laid down. The opening song, “Run Renegade”, is straight out of 1984 and could so easily be from one of those brad pack soundtracks of the time. Kiesza is alive once again and ‘threatens’ us all that she’s gonna “let her love run renegade”. Bring it on girl! While the title track deserves to be just that and be as awesome as it is and will forever be, I think “All Of The Feelings” may just pip it to the position of album standout.

I ‘fell’ for “All Of The Feelings” the first time I heard it. This is music infection deep in my nerves and conscience. Now, I’m pretty tough and hardened when it comes to relationships and forever more, but I gotta say…”I believe in love again”! All of those feelings came “back” again and again as do the very best pop-dance hits of the mid 80’s, a time when music really made an impact on my life. “All Of The Feelings” has impacted me once again. So who knows…(!) The outstanding tunes just keep coming with “Can’t Be Saved”. More positive love vibes come from simple lines like “I want you, I want you”. Kiesza gives all the passion she got with each chorus, every one simple yet effective. “Love Me With Your Lie” is just 80’s electro-disco-pop Gloriana. The tone and pace slightly drops for this dark, eerie and sexy number, which one again is just sublime and comes with an equally sexy and seductive video.

“When Boys Cry” is already known. Released as the second single from the album, this song uses finger clicking and tambourines for the musical accompaniment. Even Kiesza’s vocals are reduced to almost talking. It reminds you of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” and has its own story to tell throughout its sometimes quirky yet clever mostpart. We return to 80’s Depeche Mode/Erasure/New Order heaven with “Sky Ain’t The Limit”. Ride the synth wave back there and return to the present as Kiesza takes a different turn at every corner and second guessing with each verse, chorus and into and beyond the middle-eight. There is a ‘ballad’ on the album and what a song. “Love Never Dies” begins tenderly with a piano backdrop before it dives into a near-rock anthem, pumping drum beats and gritty vocal notes that “relies on the one we lost to keep reminding”. An synth-electro guitar and some weird notes pervade the second half of the song as Kiesza reminds us that “Love Never Dies. Love NEVER Dies” to its ultimate and understated conclusion.

The final track, “Dance With Your Best Friend”, is a real team effort, as Kiesza ropes in fellow Canadian singer Cocanina, rapper Shan Vincent De Paul and UK duo LICK DROP for one last delve into 80’s electronica with a superb chorus reaching out to friends everywhere and encouraging us all to ‘dance’, this weekend, in the evening. It’s alright. Apparently. This stop-start number will pick you up and put you down maybe where you don’t want to be or go, but it sure is one hell of a ride!

“Crave” is exactly that. You WILL crave this album over and over. Trust me, I said earlier. You just won’t play this once or twice. It’s addictive. “Crave” is one of the best albums I’ve heard in ages. One of THE albums of the year and deserves to be a massive hit. Kiesza’s new fanbase should be pleased with this return as will ‘older’, 80’s fans (such as myself) live the past through new and exciting music. “Crave” may only run to nine tracks, but sometimes less IS very definitely more. I think this is an album I’m gonna be listening to for a long time to come. I hope you feel the same…

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!