Interscope | 2016
I fell asleep on a 10-hour flight listening to the new AlunaGeorge album I Remember. This isn’t a bad thing – when I landed I still chose to listen to it again, despite already hearing it approximately 14 times throughout the flight. Full of well-produced beats topped by singer Aluna Francis’ falsetto melodies, the duo’s sophomore offering is rich in catchy songs and cleverly crafted lyrics. While not every song works, they are all vastly different, which definitely leads to an interesting listening experience.
The title track grabbed my attention well before the album was released, when it was premiered on Annie Mac’s BBC1 show in April. A collaboration with Flume, it got me through many a long trip on Sydney transport. Francis’ wistful lyrics about a past love open the song, as electronic chords build in the background. From the first chorus, basic drumbeats carry the song through the twisting electronic rhythms that could only belong to Flume. It’s a slow burner that reaches triumphant heights as it progresses, much like the rest of the album.
One thing the album is not short on is collaborations. Zhu and Popcaan also add their signature sounds to the mix on ‘In My Blood’ and ‘I’m in Control’ respectively. It’s an interesting move considering AlunaGeorge’s production half George Reid seems to be adept at canvassing a range of styles, but it works well to ensure the songs don’t become unoriginal and stale.
There are two standout tracks on the LP. ‘Not Above Love’ blends electronic beats with laid-back horns and twangy guitar to create a track that is insanely catchy, but not overbearing. According to Francis, the song is “really about reclaiming your heart”, which shines through with the simple yet well-executed lyrics. ‘Mean What I Mean’ is a more upbeat, electronic heavy song that does not beat around the bush. Featuring Dreezy and Leikeli47, it’s a sharp retort to continued advances by a person after Francis denied them. The repeated line in the chorus “I mean what I mean when I say so, not tryna be mean when I say no,” is very effective at reflecting an experience that many women can relate to. All in all, it’s a strong track with an excellent message of female empowerment.
As for the rest of the album, it’s the electronic-centred faster songs like ‘Jealous’ and ‘Full Swing’ that work best for the duo. Slower track ‘Mediator’ and horn-driven ‘Heartbreak Horizon’ fall flat, in part due to their bland lyrics. However, apart from these minor hiccups, I Remember is an interesting release that contains some stellar tracks – and will keep you listening even after 10 hours with it on repeat.