Colette: Push

On her sophomore solo album, the sexy DJ steps away from the decks and gives Madonna and Kylie a run for their money with her shiny dance pop.



Label: Om
US Release Date: 2007-08-21
UK Release Date: 2007-10-08

Colette occupies a unique position in the world of dance music. Growing up in Chicago as the house music scene was well into its stride, she learned the tools of the trade first-hand from nationally recognized DJs. Classically-trained in opera singing, she was one of the first DJs to add their own vocals to the music they were spinning. There aren't a lot of truly famous, accomplished female DJs, but add Colette's voice and sex-kitten good looks to the mix, and it's no wonder she draws a lot of attention.

Push, Colette's second true solo album following 2005's Hypnotized, shows that most of that attention is warranted. Though it's hardly a departure from her signature sound, it's full of sharp, sometimes sassy, always danceable and well-produced dance pop. This time around, Om records labelmate Chuck Love is the primary musician and producer, and Push clearly bears his aural signature. It's smooth, funky, not afraid of a variety of beats and styles, and sometimes a little too gussied up.

You sense that Colette and her label could be making a more deliberate push toward the mainstream, and you couldn't blame them. She has all the ingredients save the internationally published mug shot and tabloid saga, and she co-writes most of her own music as well. If "electronica" is the refuge of female pop stars with nowhere else to go as evidenced by Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, and Madonna among others, the genre is Colette's prerogative rather than a default. She's a natural because it's what she does, not a sound that's been wrapped around her. That confidence and credibility really make the difference. Otherwise Push doesn't sound too different from Colette's more chart-friendly peers.

Certainly, Push has the hooks and attitude necessary to spin off a string of pop hits. The first single, "About Us", has an up-tempo electro-house rhythm and catchy tell-off chorus that would be equally hard to resist on the radio and on the dance floor. Several other tracks follow in the same up-tempo vein, and although the choruses of "If" and "Call it Out" are pretty catchy, they sounds a bit manufactured compared to "About Us".

Frontloading Push with these dance-pop tracks may be a deliberate attempt to split the difference between fans of Colette's DJ work and those who first heard her on the Devil Wears Prada movie soundtrack. As the album moves along, it does become more varied if no less radio-friendly. "Funny" is a surprisingly successful slab of chunky, glittering hip-hop with a likeably lame rap from Om signee Black Spade. There are also a few less-successful forays into R&B. The jazzy, new jack style of "Get You Over" comes across like Janet Jackson circa 1988, but it's too cute for its own good. At least the minimalism of "Dance With You" takes a step in the direction of abstraction.

It's not surprising that an artist who got her start and still earns most of her fans and respect from behind the decks sounds best when producing more straight-up dance music. Yes, "Think You Want It" has a great chorus, but it's lean and mean and focused squarely on the dance floor. Likewise "Tonight", which more closely mirrors Colette's DJ style by relegating the vocals to less prominent, improvised-sounding status. The trio of remixes concludes the album in haphazard fashion. The reprise of "Funny", titled "Every Word", is pretty, but Love remakes "About Us" into a second-rate New Order track. Finally, there's the matter of Colette's much-talked-about singing voice. Classical training or not, if it weren't for all those sugary melodies it delivers, it would be more of a liability than a boon. True, Colette can hit the notes. But her girlish, nasal tone is no less thin than those of Britney, Madonna, and the like. At her best, she sounds like Olivia Newton John.

Colette has been eschewing her usual turntables for a live band lately. Is she branching out, or reaching out to the mainstream? From its cover shot to what's inside, Push suggests that her sights reach beyond small, sweaty clubs and spinning vinyl.


The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.

20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta

Keep reading... Show less

It's just past noon on a Tuesday, somewhere in Massachusetts and Eric Earley sounds tired.

Since 2003, Earley's band, Blitzen Trapper, have combined folk, rock and whatever else is lying around to create music that manages to be both enigmatic and accessible. Since their breakthrough album Furr released in 2008 on Sub Pop, the band has achieved critical acclaim and moderate success, but they're still some distance away from enjoying the champagne lifestyle.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.