Bringing some of the newer trends in dance music or hip-hop out into mainstream pop has proved fruitful for some of the biggest names in the business—in particular, Justin Timberlake. Dan Keyes, the musician behind New York outfit Young Love, is one young artist attempting to do just the same thing. Keyes’s voice isn’t as smooth-oiled (or as over-produced) as Timberlake’s, but he goes for the same pop soul feel—with about 80% success. The single (and lead-off track) “Discotech” isn’t the best example of his efforts, as the verses sound like Bloc Party drained of all the aggressive guitars, before the whole thing bursts into a totally familiar, ‘80s pop-disco chorus. “Find a New Way” builds from a simple new wave synth bassline to a massive freakout—and, like many of the songs on Too Young To Fight It, ripe for the transposition to a real club song through a remix. What Keyes really has to do, though, is work out if Young Love is a pop act or more serious electronica. “Closer to You” comes off like Nick Lachey, full of the fake emotion and underwhelming instrumentation of teen pop, and the architecture of a number of the songs is too similar, so that when we get a crescendo to climax it begins to feel manufactured. As with many debuts, Young Love’s shows glimmers of an innovation—here, the seamless melding of pop and electro—that is not completely followed to its conclusion. Young Love may be successful with Too Young to Fight It‘s sweet melodies, but there’s plenty of room to grow, too.
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