Review - JLS - Evolution
Many here in the US don’t know JLS, and something tells me that both they are fine with this, and that they will remain a British phenom.
The boy band got their start on the British X Factor, and ever since they have been a chart mainstay. Since their first single back in 2009, the foursome (hehe) has charted thirteen top ten hits (with eight of them being number one). ‘Evolution’ is in fact their fourth album, and their lowest charting to date (peaking at number 3). So, sufficed to say they are doing fairly well.
With ‘Evolution’, JLS had a tricky task ahead of them – how do they differentiate themselves from the other boy bands that have recently popped up? One Direction and The Wanted have started taking over the globe – what is a group like JLS to do?
On ‘Evolution’, they change things up. While One Direction are going the Pink-ish pop/rock route (“That’s What Makes You Beautiful” and “Live While We’re Young”) and One Direction do the full-fledged sexy club thing (“Glad You Came” and “Chasing The Sun”), JLS have decided to try two things, both of which are very present on the new album.
First, there is the R&B sound. Song like “Have Your Way” and “I Like It” are particularly R&B, and I love that they have really adopted this sound, walking away from the pure dance pop that fills mainstream airwaves these days. The troupe even brought on producer Bangladesh (known for Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” and Ke$ha’s “Sleazy”) for “Dessert (ft. Tiffany Foxx)”, a sexy, stylish opener for the album. Don’t get me wrong, the album is still plenty pop and plenty up on what’s going on – it just takes things to a slower place. A place with falsetto and finger snaps.
Second, the group embraces their boy band status and plays it up. When you listen to the aforementioned boy bands, you always hear each member sing their few lines, and the choruses don’t always sound like four or five distinct people, but rather a mashup of a bunch of vocals. While the members may have personalities, their performances don’t.
JLS break this mold and look back at what the male singing group used to be. You can clearly hear the four men crooning all throughout many of the songs, and there is something about the production and the editing and mixing on the vocals that evokes the 90’s. Think N’Synch or Backstreet Boys-type vocals.
So, what we’ve got here is an album that has you moving (as everything must these days), but also has a little Boyz II Men in there. Wow. Sounds great, right?
Well, it kind of it. ‘Evolution’ isn’t all that I am touting it to be, but it is still a lot of fun. I really enjoyed hearing something different, and I totally respect the boys for going this route. The album is a typical boy band effort, but with a tad more thought put into production and style.
I anticipate that this album will be one of their least successful, but the music world will certainly give them props. But don’t think they have completely let go of the dance floor – “Give Me Life” (the third single [probably] from the album) is poised to be a smash in the UK.
‘Evolution’ is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Jls/dp/B00932LLSG/ref=ntt_mus_dp_dpt_1">available now</a>, but only as an import ($).
Listen to: “Dessert (ft. Tiffany Foxx)”, “All The Way”, “Give Me Life”