Anna Oxygen: All Your Faded Things (Cold Crush Records)

don’t knock it ’til you try it.

I’ll be honest. I can’t write a review of this CD. I don’t know what to tell you that you haven’t heard before. So, here’s the deal: this month I won’t pretend to be a pretentious critic. We’re just going to have a talk, music geek to music geek.

The CD is All Your Faded Things by Anna Oxygen, a Seattle artist on fledgling Cold Crush Records. The thing about Oxygen is that she basically sounds like everything you’ve ever heard, but different. I know it’s confusing, but I’ll try my best to explain.

The first track, “Baby Blue,” is a good representation of the album—I guess the overall genre would be electroclash, even though there are many different sounds. “Baby Blue” is a slick pop song, awash with pulsating drumbeats and this “crazy” instrument called a synthesizer (I hear a lot of bands are using it these days). Oxygen’s vocal style is very…organic. It’s very warm and emotive and a lot of times operatic. This isn’t heard much in the electroclash genre.

Next up is “Red Horse Café,” one of the strongest tracks on the album. The electronic beats are highly danceable, and they mesh incredibly well with Oxygen’s voice; there isn’t a point where the synthetic pandering distracts from her. In fact, the beats may give her more depth and style. In short, this song makes you wanna shake your butt.

Another great song is “Aviva.” This is a pop song that anyone can relate to. The simple drumbeat and the synthesizer give it the pop swagger, while Oxygen’s voice makes it sound very human and, at times, somewhat curious. The chorus is extremely catchy. You’ll suddenly find yourself singing, “I wonder if you know if you look so…cute.”

“Ponytails” is another strong contender. With more of an electronic feel, this song could be a huge club hit. “Ponytails” sounds a bit darker than the other tracks, and the subject matter is also somewhat somber. This song has a steady, ’80s-fueled beat. Oxygen sounds a bit bleak on this tune, almost as if she’s been hardened by her experiences throughout the album. The chorus, however, is also very catchy; you can’t help but dance as Oxygen sings, “I don’t want to be your rebound girl/I just want to be the queen of your world.”

“Nerve Angels Two” is an interesting song, reminiscent of a Jane Fonda workout video. This vision is complete with the synth-laden soundtrack and Oxygen sounding like a relaxing yoga instructor. Dare I say “Loose to the Tight” has somewhat of a hip-hop feel? I’m currently picturing Eve singing this, and it works—so, yes, it has a hip-hop feel. This song was an interesting break on the album; I wasn’t expecting it at all. I have to say that I really liked it. The lyrics are fairly basic, but the beat reminds me of break dancing.

“Painted Yellow Crown” is one of the more ambient numbers on the album, a song about a girl who has had some hard times, but is still strong thanks to support from her girlfriends. I have to say, the jury is still out on this one. I really enjoy the music, but the lyrics make me cringe. At some points, it reminds me of Madonna. Whether this is good or bad remains to be seen.

While All Your Faded Things does have a few frustrating moments (only because you know Oxygen can do better), it is a sound album. However, I will leave you with a few words of warning. You may not like this CD when you first listen to it. It, like a lot of things in life, seems a little strange and foreign at times. However, also like a lot of things in life, it grows on you, and you start to like it, maybe even love it. In short, don’t knock it ’til you try it.

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