London, England-based band Jamiroquai have successfully made hearts around the world beat with seven high-charting studio albums. With the current dance pop scene producing such stale content, Jamiroquai looks to freshen things up with their new studio album, Automaton, using elements of funk and disco.
Automaton begins with “Shake it On,” in which the arrangement contains revving arpeggio synths, soulful vocals, and a catchy energetic chorus under a spacey, futuristic atmosphere. This is a great song to open up the album with because it has just the sound where both younger and older music fans will find a home in. “Shake it On” sets all the right impressions here, giving the rest of the album a positive and exciting outlook. “Automaton” delivers a similar sound but it has a slower sound filled with more attitude. The chorus, fueled by strong four-to-the-floor kicks, gives the song the drive to carry the energy along to the third track, “Cloud 9.” This particular song has all the tools to deliver the sound that sticks true to the title. More traditional disco and funk elements are heard here, and its pleasurable dance vibe will get audiences moving their feet with smiles on their faces (or more serious ones if they’re feeling the heat dancing with a good-looking partner).
“Superfresh” kicks things up with a faster tempo and a darker vibe. There’s a little bit of an unpredictable arrangement here which makes the song all so exciting to listen to the first few times around. “Hot Property” brings all the heat with a straight-up fast and infectiously catchy sound.
“Something About You” has a simple arrangement but does all the right things to keep the energy levels pumping at the album’s midpoint. “Summer Girl” is one of the more brighter spots on the album, with a dreamy atmosphere and high-spirited vocals over a steady moving dance beat. With the summer coming up, it’s certainly not a bad idea to consider adding this to your summer playlist.
“Nights Out in the Jungle” leans towards the classic funk sound. I like how this song seems to put the instrumental performers under the spotlight, particularly the bass, who adds a lot of substance to the song. The song has a kind of dark vibe to it, and it carries over to “Dr. Buzz,” which has the sound to put the audience through a trance. Meanwhile, “We Can Do It” has a moderately-paced catchy love song with an effectively mesmerizing chord progression. Automaton closes out with a pacey funk track in “Vitamin” and a dreamy love song in “Carla,” featuring a bassline filled with attitude and smooth vocals over a punchy disco beat.
Overall, Jamiroquai is able to blend freshness and nostalgia with their album, Automaton. Both old and young listeners, as well as long-time and new fans, will be able to find a home in any part of the album. However, there is more room to add variety between the tracks, and while adding a fade-out to end songs is probably a vintage production style, not all songs such as “Superfresh” and “Automaton” doesn’t work well with it. As a full-out dance track, more work can be put into making the songs transition with each other for a better flow throughout the album. With all of that aside, Automaton marks a successful attempt by Jamiroquai to stay fresh within the pop music scene.
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