Streets of Gold

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Bona fide hitmakers by the time of this third album, 3oh!3 don’t mess with their winning formula on Streets of Gold, so let the snotty electro and frat-hop spew out of the speakers like last night’s raging kegger. That is, to a point. The down and out breakup number “R.I.P.” comes with a sensitive heart somewhere between Owl City and Erasure, while “I’m Not the One” is a retro-electro power ballad along the lines of Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.” Add the relatively positive youth anthem “We Are Young,” and that’s three smart surprises that can’t be denied, but the rest of the album’s success depends on whether you find hook-filled, new wave-inspired, campy, trampy dance-pop catchy or cloying. Either way, “My First Kiss” is the zenith with a hook that incorporates kissing noises along with some come-on’s from crunkcore queen/special guest Kesha. Cute how “Touchin’ on My” mixes a censor’s bleep into its synth pop melody, and if you crave big, vibrant, well-crafted productions that might as well be Katy Perry singles, both “Déjà Vu” and "Double Vision" fit the bill. Shame that one-joke ideas like “House Party” get blown out of proportion, and even worse, the healthy helping of filler is obstinate, refusing to fade into the background because of over-the-top performances. 3oh!3 are nothing if not loud and shameless, so if you expect end-to-end excellence from their albums, you’ve got a lot to learn about cheap thrills.

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