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DJ Encore | Engelina | Intuition | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop

DJ Encore feat. Engelina

Intuition (MCA)
by Michael McCarthy

With the success of Alice Deejay and Fragma, it's no surprise that we're hearing more pop-dance music (that's music that's equally at home in dance clubs and on pop radio, for those of you who prefer the obvious be stated). It's a fine line to walk and one wonders why a songwriter wouldn't just go the pop route and let the professionals like Hex Hector and Thunderpuss remix their material for the dance floors. Then again, we find ourselves at the end of an era. If radio-friendly pop didn't sound all too painstakingly similar two years ago, it sure does now. I heard a new Celine Dion song recently that sounded like a bad, however deliberate, Destiny's Child rip-off (at least now I know the answer to the question "What's worse than a song by Celine Dion or Destiny's Child?"). And not only are pop songs sounding terribly redundant, but do we really need another Thunderpuss mix of yet another Madonna or Britney track? They've done some hard-hitting, kick-ass dance mixes over the past five years, absolutely, but their tracks are sounding less and less inspired as time goes on. Take away the vocals and you could barely tell one from the other in some cases. Maybe we just need more artists writing songs that are already suitable for the clubs. Those hybrids can be wonderful when they work. "Toca's Miracle" by Fragma, "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" by Kylie Minogue, "Sexual" by Amber - some of the most memorable pop songs I've heard in recent years can be just as easily categorized as dance.

DJ Encore [Feat.] Engelina's Intuition is occasionally more pop than it is dance (track 10, the dreamy "Out There," for example) and vice versa, but most of these tracks walk that fine line of dance-pop and do so in an irresistible manner. DJ Encore (born Andreas Hemmeth) lays down some fantastic, mesmerizing beats, but most of the tracks transition from verse to chorus - or at least hook to hook - with ease, as any proper pop song should. You get the impression that he doesn't worry about creating a song that subscribes to the philosophy of a particular subgenre, be it hard house or trance, for example. On the contrary, you get the feeling the song comes first and the beats come later. That his singer, Engelina, was a soul and jazz singer until a Sony Music Publishing rep heard Encore's demos and introduced the two probably had something to do with it, the writing shared by the pair and some additional collaborators. I imagine Engelina's background is also the reason she's able to sing with a sweetness that never sounds syrupy.

Having listened to this disc several times, I have to say the first half is better than the second. However, even the weaker tracks are better than so much music being produced in the pop and dance genres today, making me reluctant to harp on them for some of their generic lyrics. Besides, if you were from Denmark and writing in English, you'd probably be a bit generic yourself. And the three best songs - "Open Your Eyes," "I See Right Through To You," and "High On Life" - make this very much worth buying, especially now that it's received a domestic release.

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