Darin – ‘Lovekiller’

Darin releases his fifth album, ’Lovekiller’ this week. His first since leaving Sony Music and perhaps the most important of his career so far. Musically, he’s undergone a huge change in direction. Having previously been most noted and loved for his uptempo r&b pop numbers, this album is being lead by three anthemic pop ballads – four if you count his cover of Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’ from last year, one of his most successful singles to date. Changing your sound completely is a huge risk. On one hand you can grab a whole new audience, and keep your previous fanbase, who have hopefully grown up and matured just as your sound has. But on the other hand you can totally alienate your old fanbase, and fail to pick up any new listeners either. Thankfully though, so far, it looks like the risk is paying off well for Darin. Reaction to the first four singles from the album has been overwhelmingly positive – not just on the basis of opinion and support, but also radio airplay and most importantly, sales.

Perhaps in tribute to his old sound though, fifth single, ‘Microphone’ was released on Saturday ahead of the album’s release on Wednesday. It’s uptempo, beat and synth heavy, and massively catchy. Equally as strong as the four first singles. And even more remarkably, out of the five new songs left on the album, as many as three of them are just as strong too – on a par with the high standard of the five that we already know, and equally as single worthy. As a result, the ‘Lovekiller’ album is a fantastic collection of songs, unrelenting in its unquestionable ability to please. It’s such a strong pop album, which really, is all anyone of us want isn’t it?!

We now include ourselves in the aforementioned bracket of new fans he’s gained as a result of the change in musical direction. Whilst we’ve always liked Darin and his music, we were never a huge fan. But after hearing this album’s singles, particularly ‘Lovekiller’ and ‘Can’t Stop Love’, we were very excited about this new album. And the music, coupled with the fact that he’s grown into an incredible performer and has also written and produced a lot of the album, means that we’re also now very much into Mr Zanyar himself too!

Here’s our full track by track review of the album;

Microphone
‘’It’s time for some fucking recognition’’! Lyrically, this song can perhaps be seen as Darin’s statement of musical freedom. He talks about not being happy about how he just wasn’t ‘him’ before. This is his musical emancipation! The start of something new, but also the true beginning according to him. Melodically, it’s the Swedish pop counterpart to Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’, complete with an ‘’eh-eh-eh’’ middle eight. And musically, it’s a powerhouse of stadium anthem pop. Big strings, drums, and guitars. It’s a rare uptempo moment on here, and treasured as such. But we think it’s a treasure regardless. Right now, it’s a 9/10 moment for us, but we’re loving it more and more with every listen.

You’re Out Of My Life
A song which we liked but didn’t love in the context of its participation in this year’s Melodifestivalen. But it works a lot better in its inclusion on the album with the rest of these songs. Heartbroken balladry backed by a powerful pop production. And we’re enjoying it a lot more on here.

Lovekiller
The best thing he’s ever done. Stunning from start to finish, everything about it is right. The choirs, the melodies, the strings and even the lyrics – they all work together to make something very special indeed.

Only You Can Save Me
Another amazing love song, up there with ‘Lovekiller’ and ‘Can’t Stop Love’ in terms of sound and in perfection. It starts off a lot like ‘Battlefield’ by Jordin Sparks. But pretty soon, it becomes what’s already established itself as a sound in itself – a new Darin ballad!

Drowning
Military drums here bring a new dimension to the massive instrumentation on this album. And this is yet another phenomenally beautiful track, one of our favourites. We really can’t get over how brilliant most of the melodies are on this record.

Viva La Vida
A brave cover version in that it never needed to be made. But it was made, sounded different to the original, and became a huge success for him. His first single post-Sony, it’s actually a genius re-introduction to him. He wanted to be reborn as a maestro of melodic balladry – so what better way than to release a stellar cover of a song by the masters of melodic balladry themselves, Coldplay?! It still sounds great today and is a good addition to this record.

Endless Summer
Not a cover of the amazing Ashlee Simpson b-side unfortunately. And to add to its misfortune, it’s not up to the high quality standard the rest of this album has set. Perhaps it will be a welcome inclusion to some, as it’s a different kind of ballad to the rest on here. But we reckon this might just be one to skip on future time constrained listens! Tellingly, it’s one of the few songs on here made without any involvement from Tony Nilsson, who has done a marvellous job with the rest of the album. Everything that man has touched this year has been pop gold! See also ‘Funeral’ and ‘Give It All Up’ by Elin Lanto.

Ok (Dangerous Game)
The album’s second and final uptempo moment. It’s like a cross between Taio Cruz and Cheiron – and is amazing as that description promises. It’s got a remarkable middle eight too, with some heavy guitar and some channeling of Michael Jackson from Darin. And it’s nice to hear that other side of his vocals too that he does so well – aggression and attitude.It’s fast paced, and as such, will probably be a standout track for some. Particularly to fans of his last album.

Can’t Stop Love
Such a beautiful song. And it stands out on here as being the only truly positive track about love – despite it being an 8 ballad album! Written and recorded especially for the Swedish royal wedding earlier in the summer, it was this song that really made us sit up and notice new Darin. He does the ballad thing tremendously, and one only needs to hear this song to know that this is what he should be doing, or at least giving a nod to, for the rest of his career!

I’ll Be Alright
The album’s closing song is probably its weakest too. An acoustic ballad with an impressive string section later on, it is let down by its distinct lack of strong melody. Such a song may have sounded great on its own, but on an album as wonderful as this, it suffers. Still, his fans should find it a treat, as it’s a great showcase for the more fragile quality to his voice.

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