Mike Posner – 31 Minutes to Takeoff
Michael Posner is Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon and Adjunct Professor at the Weill Medical College in New York. Luckily for us, this isn’t that Mike Posner. This is the dance-pop producer turned singer-songwriter, that’s been labelled by a few people as the new Justin Timberlake. But does he live up to the hype?
Before this debut album, Posner released two mixtapes. The first, A Matter of Time, containing the single ‘Cooler Than Me’ (which needs to be re-released over here) got him noticed and picked up by J Records. It was a clever release, particularly the ELO sampling ‘Evil Woman’. His second mixtape was a more well-rounded affair than the first, including some great guests (Kid Cudi, Big Sean, 3Oh!3, etc.).
His debut album is due for release in the US tomorrow (Tuesday, 10th August), and is chock-full of danceable beats and party jams. Second single ‘Please Don’t Go’ is a floorfiller, and I would expect to hear a multitude of remixes for it. ‘Bow Chicka Wow Wow’ is an R. Kelly-esque slow number, and shows that Posner has extra dimensions underneath the clever samples and catchy beats.
The standout track has to be lead single ‘Cooler Than Me’. Although it only came out in April and then had a US comeback last month, it totally missed Irish audiences. It’s the Timberlake-aping track with an enormous chorus. Insanely catchy, and irresistibly dancey, ‘Cooler Than Me’ sits alongside B.o.B. and Hayley Williams’ ‘Airplanes’ as one of the best pop-dance jams of the year.
There’s also a big name guest on the full album. Boyz II Men appear on the sultry dance-ballad ‘Deja Vu’, and then he betters himself by sampling Ray LaMontagne’s ‘You Are the Best Thing’ on ‘Do U Wanna?’. Genius. I smell a future single. Especially an uptempo single remix. It could be massive in the clubs. Come to think of it, many of the songs here have “future hit” written all over it. ‘Cheated’ is particularly impressive, with its bitter-but-catchy refrain “I should’ve cheated on you/I was everything you wanted and more/I should’ve cheated on you/Nobody told me I was dating a whore”. It’s not difficult to imagine a dancefloor of revellers shouting along. Also: Caroline Stephens, you’re going to be infamous.
‘Gone in September’ sounds like it could be a Script song, albeit a more sexed-up one. There’s a variety of producers on the record, with Posner having a hand in every pie. But the introduction of Greg Kurstin on ‘Save Your Goodbye’, ‘Synthesizer’, and ‘Falling’ adds a polish to the last third of the record. He’s been responsible for producing Ke$ha, Lily Allen, and Kylie in the past few years. ‘Synthesizer’ is particularly gorgeous, and is one of the best synth-pop ballads I’ve heard in an age.
31 Minutes to Takeoff is a very impressive debut album, and one that demands repeated plays at high volume. The singles are particularly noteworthy, but many of the other tracks here are stone cold jams.