MP!ers it’s here. We’ve been attentively listening to JLS’s brand new fourth album ‘Evolution’ over the last few days and are ready to deliver our verdict. In a world where One Direction and The Wanted are the fresh faces of boyband pop, have grandaddies Marvin, JB, Ortise and Aston found the sound and the songs to keep them relevant, and you lot in the front row at their gigs? Let’s find out in our exclusive track-by-track review.
UPDATE: You can preview all the tracks on ‘Evolution’ here:
Album opener ‘Dessert’ is a midtempo, hip-hop-meets-pop tune that sounds like a classic 90s boyband track with a new, modern beat and uses plenty of dessert-based metaphors for the boys to describe their love. Yummy.
HOTTEST GIRL IN THE WORLD
The lead single which you’ll all have been humming for weeks now, the electro-R&B tune is both a great indication of where the rest of the album is going, their sonic mission statement, and also a definite sign of progression in terms of their style. No ‘Sound of Music’ sampling here.
HAVE YOUR WAY
Whilst it sounds a bit like a Ne-Yo or an Usher reject song, it’s still relentlessly good, a strutting electro-urban tune that is a solid, if unoriginal album track. Not much to say about this, apart from the beat by producers The Runners is pretty good too.
HOLD ME DOWN
The first anthemic tune of the album, it uses a gentle piano opening before kicking into the catchy, pounding electro beats throughout the song. We’ve been singing along to this one in the car.
I LIKE IT
The first full ballad we’ve heard, it’s easily their equivalent of Bruno Mars’ ‘Just The Way You Are’ – it’s a sweet midtempo, electronic ditty with the boys describing how they feel about their insecure loves. Surprisingly we don’t think Marvin’s wife Rochelle (of the Sats) is that unaware of how hot she really is.
ALL THE WAY
The lads are aiming right at the dancefloor in this Guetta-lite track – there’s nothing bad about this song, it’ll get you shaking your maracas after your second raspberry mojito in a club but it’s a fun bit of irreverent filler. Don’t go expecting the next dance-pop breakthrough song.
[column width=half last=true]
GIVE ME LIFE
The successor to previous smash hits as ‘The Club Is Alive’ and ‘She Makes Me Wanna’, this has to be a single at some point doing the line – the electro-dance song with a killer beat courtesy of Jarred Rogers has a soaring chorus from the boys and is definitely a standout on the album. The ‘intravenous love’ line is a bit of a corker too.
DON’T KNOW THAT
Another midtempo electro ballad has the guys showing off their vocal talents here with some cracking harmonising as they sing to their unsure lovers. Not a standout and only really worth a listen for the boys’ great vocals.
A Latin-flavoured urban track that simply demands that you strut into the club (or the office, or school, or wherever you’re listening to this) with a grin and copying the copious handclaps they’re employing throughout this song, the only one on the album they didn’t co-write. Fun and one to dance to alright.
GOTTA TRY IT
The final song on the standard edition album is easily the best ballad of the bunch – a gorgeous, Ne-Yo inspired song which uses a minimal electro beat to create a hummable, lush album closer. The only startling bit is the sudden use of falsetto from the boys, but apart from that it’s a lovely experience.
All in all, a pretty solid album from Marvin & Co, as well as showing a significant progression of their overall musical style – they’ve moved from their pop leanings and have fully embraced their role as an R&B group, something that’ll help them separate from the growing pack of boybands out there, particularly against One Direction’s guitar-based power pop and The Wanted’s more clubby, experimental records. It’s an ‘Evolution’ alright, and we’re definitely along for the ride.