Decode Records (label)
31 January 2011 (released)
08 February 2011
Seeing how ordinary is a word least associated with Boy George, the title of his new album (his first artist album in almost ten years!) is all the more intriguing.
It is, however, also titled ‘The Kinky Roland Files’, for the album offers a collection of 13 electro/dance tracks that are the result of a friendship and musical collaboration that has spanned over fifteen years. Boy George and Kinky Roland (who has been producing top hits and remixes with some of the biggest names in Dance Music) have made the most of this friendship here and produced the entire album.
The tracks (mainly written by Mr. Karma Chameleon himself) are a mix of energetic dance beats with the occasional dash of ambient Latin as well as Jamaica-style rhythms thrown in. Some have been released before and simply given a different makeover on the current album. There is nothing too hardcore about any of the songs and while each invite to dance – either with friends or on your own - they equally can be enjoyed while trying on different outfits before heading off to club land. It simply will get you into the mood for more. An additional 3 tracks (‘Time Machine’, ‘Psychology Of The Dreamer’ and ‘Sanitized’) are available only via iTunes and are not included on the album.
Opener ‘Turn 2 Dust’ is a mix of mellow beats combined with some reggae dub and a real catchy chorus that highlights Boy’s incredible voice. ‘Yes We Can’ (check out the brilliant video on YouTube) boasts President Obama’s well-known phrase “Yes we can make it to the promised land…” and already came out during the 2008 elections, albeit in a slightly different version.
The same goes for ‘Amazing Grace’ – one of the album’s most beautiful tracks and featuring the voice talents of Portuguese folk singer Ana Laîns who infuses some ambient sounds.
A mixed blessing (and you can take ‘mixed’ which ever way you want here) is ‘Go Your Own Way’. While it is bold and admirable to choose a Fleetwood Mac classic for re-working, the result is, well, a mixed blessing! It somewhat lacks soul and is suffocated by a thumping and repetitive beat. More successful is ‘Human Racing’, which uses instrumental elements of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’ to great effect in Kinky Roland’s blender.
Things get heavier with ‘Here Come The Girls – feat Ave D’ – an energy driven track that is an odd yet captivating mix combining female and male vocals with some German lyrics thrown in for good measure. It should go down especially well on the Berlin club circuit.
Other standout tracks are the witty and cynical ‘Kill The A&R’ with its stab at record labels’ A&R divisions. One wonders whether there is a personal message in there somewhere. Whatever the message, this is a truly infectious track with a great beat to groove to.
Closing track ‘Look Pon U’ is a spicy brew of Jamaican dance hall and electro that is dominated by a powerful sounding female voice and what seems to be Jamaican-English slang. Perhaps Boy George took some time out to relax on a beach, as it is difficult to hear his distinctive voice ring through on this one.
Following a non-stop, sell-out European tour with ‘Night Of the Proms’ in 2010 (where George performed to over 15,000 fans a night); a new album out, and with a world-tour planned for 2012 that sees Culture Club reunited to celebrate the group’s 30th Anniversary, one of the world’s true pop icons is officially back on the mainstream music’s radar. And he is here to stay.