Data 80

Data 80

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AllMusic Review by

Håkan Lidbo has produced a lot of music for a lot of labels, yet rarely, if ever, has he taken such an unabashedly pop approach. The decision to do so seems timely, coming shortly after the early-2000s electroclash boom, which had been characterized by its synth pop-meets-disco template, much like Lidbo's one here. Yet the prolific producer leans more heavily toward the disco than synth pop side of the equation, and also does away with much of the in-your-face debauchery of electroclash as well, substituting instead his own lovey-dovey lyrics and vocodering them to excessive extremes. The resulting sound is surely glitzy -- disco-house dancefloor rhythms accentuated by androgynous robotic balladry -- and it's poppy, too. Few of the tracks break the four-minute mark (though nearly every one is ironically tagged as an "extended mix"), and the songs themselves are palatably broken into good old-fashioned verse-chorus-verse structures, and catchy ones at that. The first few tracks, all of them album highlights -- "You Are Always on My Mind," "Baby, I Can Forgive," "No More Lies (Remix)," and "Love Was Made for Two" -- showcase all of these aforementioned characteristics well. From there, Lidbo throws in a few down-tempo tracks that function somewhat as interludes, opening up the album a bit, a tactic that makes the late-album highlight "Don't Believe Me" absolutely burst amid all of the down-tempo-ness. What results is a solid album, one that begins with a bang and then chills out toward the end, just as the disco-mania begins to wane. Thankfully, like many of his pop-house contemporaries in Europe (Dub Taylor, Mathias Schaffhäuser, Daft Punk, and Air), Lidbo smartly infuses his album with some variety, though you kinda wish he'd infuse it with just a little bit more. After all, his approach is readily apparent here, so what you gain in across-the-board accessibility is compensated by a loss of surprise. It's a worthy trade-off in the end, though, particularly since few producers capable of crafting something as universally infectious as "Love Was Made for Two" are capable of crafting an LP to accompany it.

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