Simon Curtis – 8-Bit Heart
“There once was a boy who was made, not created. He wanted to learn. He wanted to indulge his senses, to understand pain. But most of all, he wanted to love. For only when he found true love would he become real.”
With those opening words begin “8-Bit Heart”: a beautifully twisted electronic fairy tale about a boy robot’s search for true love in a world of humans who “complicate the word”. An album released solely on the interwebs (for now, at least) back on 03/24/2010 by a young (and completely adorable) young talent named Simon Curtis.
I admit that prior to my seeing it posted on a blog I frequent, Curtis’ name was unfamiliar to me. While this is his debut studio album, he had previously released an EP called “Altar Boy and starred in the 2009 Nickelodeon musical TV movie “Spectacular”. For all you music prudes out there, don’t let that fact taint your opinion! One listen to “8-Bit Heart” is all one needs to see that Curtis is not your cookie cutter pop star, and this album is not like your standard pop fare.
In an industry and genre where there has been a waning focus on genuine talent over the last few years, the robotization of vocals has become almost expected. Sadly, many of the top artists out there can’t deliver the goods in a live setting and as a result it seems electronic music and the art of vocal processing and production have gotten a bad reputation.
On “8-Bit Heart”, the albums narrative seems to both demand and justify the use of heavy processing techniques on both the inventive (and sometimes unconventional) instrumentation and on Curtis’ versatile character-driven vocals. (He is, after all, the boy robot.)
The songs are solid; built on edgy beats that throb, pound and grind their way into your subconscious. Each track creates a new sonic landscape and though the album is cohesive as a set, none of the songs really sound alike. Vocally, Curtis is equal parts Darren Hayes and Blake Lewis. Lyrically, he often strays from the norm and a few songs are pleasantly disarming in their frankness. (Check out “Fell in Love With An Android” below; for the delicious diss “I hate to say it but I’d rather fuck a robot.”)
Cementing the concept/narrative of the album, the tracks often contain tongue-in-cheek references to other modern pop songs (Britney’s “If You Seek Amy”, Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” and Gaga’s “Bad Romance” are all referenced) and lots of homage to technology.
Curtis is equally comfortable on and off the beaten path as the tracks often vary in their audible proximity to all out radio-friendly pop and a more transgressive fare, showing that while he is certainly an artist he has a great pop sensibility. This is definitely one guy to watch out for!
Recommended Tracks: “Fell In Love With An Android”, “Joystick”, “Super Psycho Love” and “Don’t Wanna Be Alone” (but I truly enjoy them all!)
“8-Bit Heart” is available for free download at http://www.simon-curtis.com/