Stereos were the Summer Girl hitmakers of 2009, and they returned in 2010 with their latest album, Uncontrollable. A bit more dance, a bit less refined (but in the best way possible), this album still has that DNA of any hit Stereos song. In our playlist, we’ve got the original Stereos album back to back, and they flow between each other nicely, but somehow evolve fluidly into heavier, darker songs as it goes along.
Pat, the frontman of the band, continues to take up most of the writing duties, and he does a great job. Lyrics mean something, which you could argue you’ll find in any other album, but these ones have been well thought out and make more semblance of sense than most albums I’ve listened to. Some tracks are mixed with buddy and manager Mark Spicoluk, who has worked with artists like Avril Lavigne and Sum 41. The sounds are entirely Stereos, but the roots run deep to other Canadian artists.
Collaborations on the album are good, although nothing like the Jhevon Paris partnership they had going on last year. The first and sixth tracks have Collette Carr and Reema Major singing on them, respectively. Collette has an oddly Ke$ha-like quality, and Reema Major is a direct rip off of Nicki Minaj. They add to the album quite a bit – without them, the songs would be far worse off.
Now, with all the good always comes some bad. Even given all the positives above, I just can’t help but feel that the album is, well, unfinished. Just by quantity, ten songs seems a bit thin (the industry standard is getting closer to 13 nowadays), and by quality, there is an eerily unpolished quality about the album. I might be a bit easier on this album than I should be because I am actually a Stereos fan, but in all honesty, the album does feel just a hair of a beat off here and there. Elements don’t always work together, even though they do a good job of trying to bring together some techno, hip hop, and punk sounds. Maybe it’s just too much, and Stereos is trying too hard to remake the jambalaya they made the first time around. This one just has too many flavours that muddle together a bit too much.
Value here? Well, their debut album had a cool Deluxe Edition which included 25 (yes, twenty-five) tracks for something like twenty bucks. That was comprised of 13 tracks on the disc, and a new track every month for a year. That’s a pretty great deal, and the first time I had seen that done. Great way to service the fans, keep the creativity going, and get some new stuff out there. The first bunch of songs were actually brand new songs, while the last bunch tended to be more remixes of the first. Either way you slice it, twenty bucks for twenty-five songs. Good deal.
This time around, you’re paying the standard twelve or thirteen dollars for a ten track album, and there’s no option to upgrade to a similar deal like last year.