Get Your Dance On: Karmin, Saint Etienne, and R.Kelly

According to some, the weekend starts on Thursday.  Well if that is you, then here are three songs to get you going and your body shaking.  (Or, just save this for Friday morning to help get you ready for week’s end.)

Quick Summary:  A little dance-pop from Karmin, some retro 9os English dance from Saint Etienne, and more NeoSoul-revival from R.Kelly.

Karmin – Brokenhearted

Look, not everything I listen to is necessarily of the heady, obscure, or independent nature.  I, too, will often find myself jamming to well produced dance songs like Karmin’s “Brokenhearted” from their new EP Hello. And, before you assume that Karmin (a duo composed of Amy Heidemann from Nebraska and Nick Noonan from Maine) are just another “pop act”, be advised that these two young musicians met at the Berklee College of Music, so they’ve got some legit music cred (like my college pal Gabe Kahane who also attended a nearby music conservatory and recently wrote music and lyrics (with book by Seth Bockley, ‘nother college pal) for the fabulous February House now premiering at the Public Theater in New York — get there NYC, it’s some good stuff!).

Some passing thoughts on “Brokenhearted”:

  • I love how it starts with a musical and vocal nod to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”.  Whether by accident or not, it’s a fitting juxtaposition given how both songs play on the singer’s yearning for another.  But whereas Whitney’s song was about getting out on the dance floor (something quite common in the 80s), Karmin’s version is rooted in realities and nomenclature of our times:  a young woman waiting for a text (or a call?) from some young man (how well they know each other is unclear, but such is pop music: short on details, replete with archetypal narratives).
  • I can’t help but smirk when I hear the singer taking shots of Patron (only the best for Amy, I guess) to take the edge off her (neurotic?) anticipation… and, she seems to suggest that it’s not just the one “sip” (in my experience most people don’t “sip” Tequila but, you know, to each their own).
  • On a serious note, Karmin deftly incorporates some clever freestyle-esque speak singing into the mix, helping to alter the tempo, give the song variety and depth, and a unique style.  Aside from updating the references, this song hits all the typical tropes of the pining or disappointed admirer/lover.  We’ve all been there and we can all relate, that’s why the song works.
  • Oh and the beat is perfectly orchestrated for the dance floor, plus Amy can definitely sing with the best of those other pop Divas.

Check the video below:

Not sure about that ping pong game.  And, do people still have those kinds of parties?  Kids knew/know how to have fun at Berklee I guess.

…and if you want to check out the full EP, Hello, here is a link.  It isn’t going to set the world on fire but it definitely has some really fun dance songs including “Hello”, which starts with a Lady Gaga-like dance beat and then adds a lyrical and musical allusion to Nirvana — told you they were clever.

Saint Etienne – “I’ve Got Your Music”

I already know I’ll be discussing Saint Etienne’s new album in the near future, so for now I’ll just let you listen to this song that definitely takes me back in time.

R. Kelly – “Feelin’ Single”

Not sure what has gotten into R. of late, but he’s definitely clicking on a real 70’s soul vibe and I am definitely digging it.  Few artists have a way of making doing “bad things” sound so good.  (Sorry Rhianna, the “homey from the Midwest Side” has got one up on you.)  A song about cheating on your partner because they haven’t been paying attention to you and/or might be trying to get you jealous?  Duplicity never sounded so sweet.  Wow, this is just a great song regardless of what it’s about.

(Note: the writer does not condone nor endorse the way R.Kelly approaches difficult situations in a relationship.  Proceed at your own risk.)

…and I’m out,


p.s. bonus points to the person who knows from what song the lyrical reference in the pseudo-Rhianna dig came.

2 thoughts on “Get Your Dance On: Karmin, Saint Etienne, and R.Kelly

  1. I think the “Fiesta (Remix)” quote proves “not everything [you] listen to is necessarily of the heady, obscure, or independent nature,” haha… I cheated and used ye olde Google machine…

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