I’m going to share with you a secret. I know your new favorite band. They’re from Denmark and they haven’t hit stateside yet other than a few blog mentions here and there. Their name is Private. Two guys, one chick. And they blow all that other hipster shit right out of the water. They’re 80’s pop purists: think Prince, MJ, Debbie Gibson, Culture Club, George Michael, Tiffany… hybridized. Their album is close to perfect other than it’s practically impossible to find this side of the pond. Fuck MGMT, Scissor Sisters, Annie and Lady Gaga; if you want those saccharine 80’s sounds, look no further. They take all that’s dated and fantastic about 80’s music and need not update it at all, they use it as a module for perfection. They’re tacky but highbrow in a way Chromeo isn’t (they’re always in head-to-toe Hedi Slimane), the frontman’s sensitive affect is so outrageous and moody, it can only be praised. I heard their debut album when it was released back in 2006 and it sounded as if it hadn’t aged a day past ’85. The album has so much eccentricity and character that it makes up for its lack of substance. It carries itself on its camp. It’s in [current] Prince’s lack of humility that he’s unable to sound this good. Leave it to Copenhagen and the rest of Europe to concoct such a novel pleasure.
Start off with their overseas hit “My Secret Lover.” The frontman (Thomas Troelsen) sounds adolescent over the bassline and if you listen closely, it sounds like there’s some keytars, keyboards, synthesizers, and xylophones in the room with him. And are those video games I hear in the background? It’s classic 80’s tack and could pass as a Controversy-era Prince track – the overt falsetto, phone call interlude, and melody are straight from the pages of his songbook.
Here’s one that could have made the Purple Rain tracklist;”We Got Some Breaking Up To Do.” The shimmering synth-cussion gives the song a Europop-meets-The Time vibe (think “Jungle Love” without the ooh-wee-ooh-wee-oh). Troelsen’s voice at times sounds like a whinier Justin Timberlake, but, who’s really listening when you’re dancing?
Next up is “Crucify My Heart.” Cross Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” with Michael Jackson’s Dangerous [album], add some Italo-disco, and this is what you get. The choir never gets old. Sing it sister.
“Waiting for Tonight” is my favorite. It’s eccentric. The spanking snares and sharp synths are the perfect background to Troelsen’s melodramatic affections. It’s definitely not Jennifer Lopez.
Lastly, “That Boy Is Hurting You.” It’s the least 80’s of the bunch and instead sounds a bit gender-bent, like 90’s Roxette or Savage Garden. Don’t say I didn’t warn you you’d fall in love.