Do you enjoy pulsating electronic synth beats? What about funky slap bass lines? Catchy R&B and pop style vocals? Or face melting jazz solos over complex chord changes? If any of these apply to you, then go out and buy Dirty Loops's debut album "Loopified," or at least look it up on Spotify. You might be wondering how someone could combine all these different elements, and still make palatable music. While I would normally be wary about a band trying to mix such contrasting styles, Dirty Loops pulls off their creative vision in rather stunning fashion. They manage to keep their songs catchy with a pop style that makes for easy listening. Yet, they also seamlessly integrate more complicated music elements, using non-standard chords and adding in jazz elements here and there that are sure to appeal to those looking for a more cerebral musical experience.
Dirty Loops is a relatively new band, formed in 2010 by Swedish musicians (don't worry, the lyrics are in English) Jonah Nilsson (vocals and piano), Henrik Linder (bass), and Aaron Mellergardh (drums). Initially, the band was formed without any serious intent of going full time. As a fun, creative project, they took Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" and took it through a process that they call "loopifying" (hence the name of the band and their album), in which they took the song's simple pop structure and completely reworked it with their own unique sound. Via word of mouth and no social media promotion by the band itself, their cover gained 100,000 views within two months. They continued to cover famous pop songs, including Baby by Justin Bieber, Circus by Britney Spears, and Rude Boy by Rihanna (which they renamed Prude Girl), garnering much Internet attention. Eventually, they struck up a relationship with Canadian record producer David Foster, leading to their first original single "Hit Me," and culminating in the release of their debut album last spring.
Onto the album itself! The band quickly establishes its presence and style with "Hit Me." Within the first 15 seconds of the song, the listener gets a tight drum fill, high pitched yet powerful vocals, and a mind-blowing technical slap bass fill, which should convince anyone of the extraordinarily high level of musicianship within the band. The song then goes into the EDM influenced, groovy, fast paced style that characterizes the band. At the end, however, an even more awe-inspiring bass fill and an equally impressive vocal run finish the song in style. When I say that these guys are incredible musicians, I mean it! Their technical skill and knowledge of harmony is apparent in every song.
[youtube =https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nls1HtXQe8E]The album then goes through two more originals ("Sexy Girls" and "Sayonara Love") before giving listeners a taste of their cover making ability with their rendition of "Wake Me Up" by Avicii. Of course, the cover maintains the band's distinct style, but their rendition still appears to stay true to the original song structure - that is until the latter half of the song when the band really throws you for a "loop," shocking listeners with a sudden modulation of the key signature and giving us the first taste of their jazz chops with a gorgeous solo from Henrik Linder.
Whereas the first five tracks are all rather upbeat, the middle section of the album features some softer, laid back songs. "It Hurts" starts off with haunting background vocal chorus and then highlights the emotive power of Nillson's voice. Another stand out song on the softer side is "Take on the World," which features a particularly beautiful combination of vocal melody and background keyboard arpeggios.
The album concludes with four of their covers: "Roller Coaster" (Justin Bieber), "Circus" (Britney Spears), "Rolling in the Deep" (Adele), and "Baby" (Justin Bieber once again). Each of these covers once again proves the band's ability to implement jazz and funk elements into these standard pop songs. I particularly enjoy the fact that the band chose to end the album with their cover of "Baby," as if emphasize their ability to make a quality arrangement of anything - even possibly the most collectively disliked song of all time.
For many, 'Loopified' is a truly eye-opening album. Traditionally, there has been a divide between the world of technical, "sophisticated" jazz, and the world of simple, yet catchy pop music. Many jazz lovers consider themselves above what they view to be uncultured mainstream music, while many pop lovers find old school jazz boring. However, Dirty Loops proves the possibility of successfully fusing the two styles, while throwing in funk and R&B elements to give their music extra groove. With their fresh and wildly original approach to music, Dirty Loops has firmly established itself as pioneers within the evolution of modern music.