Record Radar: The soulful chanteuse and the dream-pop Aussie

MOVE reviews Troye Sivan’s “WILD” and Alessia Cara’s “Four Pink Walls” for this week’s edition of Record Radar.

By Kennedy Simone | Sept. 15, 2015

Tags: Music Reviews

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Ever since the 2014 release of his hit single “Happy Little Pill,” I’ve been patiently waiting for young pop singer Troye Sivan to bless my ears with a full-length album. Well, 2015 is here and still no album (how Frank Ocean of him), but Sivan has recently released his sophomore EP “WILD.” Coming across an artist with a voice as pure as Sivan’s doesn’t happen often, so I took what I could get and gave the EP a listen.

Self-titled track “WILD” captures the essence of forbidden young love with ease. It’s fresh enough to make me seriously believe it might be heard on the radio within the next few weeks. Definitely touched with that M83-type vibe that turns legit pop hits into JCPenney fall sale commercial features.

Almost every song on this album is about love, whether it’s the new kind, the unrequited or the simply physical. “BITE” gets hot and heavy with raunchy lyrics and would be five-star if only it wasn’t accompanied with lackluster instrumentals. A little genre-bending happens on “DKLA,” featuring female rapper Tkay Maidza. A song about heartbreak, its repetitive lyrics just give me a dying urge to skip it.

Without a doubt, Sivan is a talented singer. It’s just too bad that “WILD” makes him seem like a one-trick pony.

The issue with “WILD” is that though the songs were nice, they were simply “nice.” I’ve heard the same dreamy Joel Little and Caleb Nott produced-beats before and they didn’t need to be recycled for another artist. The more I listened, the more I reminisced upon albums by BROODS and Lorde. Don’t let acclaim by big-name artists like Taylor Swift and Sam Smith fool you. If “WILD” was any animal, it would be a kitty-cat.

Moving on to Alessia Cara’s “Four Pink Walls” EP. More than likely you’ve heard the soulful songstress’ hit single “Here” playing on a Spotify commercial or a twenty-something clothing store’s playlist by now. Sung by an old soul, “Four Pink Walls” is a compilation of songs that don’t merely sound good, but feel good.

Cara’s tracks hit where it hurts. “Seventeen” preaches the perils of short-lived youth and the beauty of adolescence. With an infectious vivacity, she stirs good vibes into a song that could easily be a tear-jerking ballad. “I’m Yours” and “Outlaws” are all about getting lost in love. Unlike Sivan, Cara offers something more to songs with “been-there-done-that” subject matter by utilizing her No. 1 weapon...her voice. Cara has powerhouse vocals that could easily place her among the ranks of famed chanteuses like Christina Aguilera and the late Amy Winehouse.

In a world full of party anthems, “Here” wears an ‘S’ on its chest for the introverts of the world. Telling the story of what it’s like to be stuck at a party when you’d rather be elsewhere, Cara designs a lyrical masterpiece. If you’re not the type who likes to hit up “the frats” or “darties” during the weekend, this song just might be your saving grace.

Two YouTube channel stars, same age, both pop musicians … who’s crowned this week’s Record Radar winner?

Alessia Cara is the definite winner. Cara’s ability to connect with her audience with real relatability makes her stand out not just in comparison to Troye Sivan, but in comparison to the collection of today’s artists as a whole. Cara not only has the vocal talent, but a true songwriting gift that can take her anywhere in this industry. Stay tuned.

Bonus Play

Song: “Bet” Artist: Tinashe

What’s better than a song with a trippy beat and a feature from musical mad scientist Dev Hynes sung by an up and coming PBR&B singer? The same song accompanied by a terrific music video with amazing direction. “Bet” is dark, artsy and sexy. It offers something other than that hot, but overdone “I want you” vibe that so many female singers give off. It has fire and intensity.

“Imma be around forever always/You can bet on it”

If Tinashe keeps bringing the heat with tracks like this, I’ll bet on it, too.

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