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Wynter Gordon - 'With the Music I Die'

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Wynter Gordon - With the Music I Die

Wynter Gordon - With the Music I Die

Universal Republic
It’s tough for new artists these days. Unless you’ve been discovered and developed by a huge name, which definitely doesn’t secure your success, you’re working hard for every bit of attention you can get. Such is the story of Wynter Gordon, whose career began as a songwriter and would escalate to making her a dance/pop artist in her own right. Similar to other solo female artists like Florrie and Sky Ferreira, Wynter’s path to success has been through the release of EPs.
Although her first foray into commercial radio was in collaboration with Flo Rida, providing the lush female chorus to “Sugar.”  The track gained acclaim for itself by being built on Eiffel 65’s classic dance track “Blue.”  Wynter’s voice simply added the icing to an already super-sweet cake.  Since then, she’s been featured with Rhythm Masters & MYNC, Freemasons, Mr. Vegas, and Marvin Priest.  She’s also released her own tracks, beginning with the late blooming “Dirty Talk.”  If you’re not familiar with “Dirty Talk,” do your research and then come back to continue reading.  

Her second and third singles, “Til Death” and “Buy My Love” showed versatility both in production credits and vocal technique.  Wynter was proving herself as an adept pop mistress with one foot in your head and the other planted firmly on that four-to-the-floor beat.  To the US public, her EPs The First Dance and With the Music I Die serve as adequate introductions to the songstress, but in the UK she’s provided a complete album.  Titled the same as her newest US EP, With the Music I Die may leave you with more doubts about Wynter Gordon than you went in with.

Is this an artist album or a producer's album?

Wynter's album is like a dance producer's resume, in reverse. Where a producer's sound shifts and warps depending on the vocalist he or she is working with, Wynter's focus and aim seems to do the same depending on what producer she teams up with. An excellent comparison to prove this point is the difference between “Dirty Talk” and “Still Getting Younger.” “Dirty Talk,” produced by Jupiter Ace, is a frolicking dance floor proclamation. There's no doubt what the intentions were when creating “Dirty Talk.” The production is designed specifically to get you on the floor. Wynter's voice is very clear and easy to understand, hitting its higher registers in an attempt to grab your attention within a second's time. On the flip side, “Still Getting Younger” was produced by the Australian group Pnau, whose stylistic quirks are evident in the shoe-gazing retro style. Gordon's work with Pnau is vastly different, her voice taking on more of a rock star's quality, the music far more dramatic and insistent and definitely less club friendly. Think more Ladyhawke, less Lady Gaga. This mutable nature acts both as a pro and a con on With The Music I Die. When your identity is shaped entirely by the producers you're working with, where are you? Is Wynter “Dirty Talk,” or is she “Still Getting Younger”?
To take it even further, consider her work with Denzal Park. Rather than including the subdued and eclectic version of “Til Death” produced by Tom Neville, the album includes Denzal Park's remix which was the officially released version of the song.  Both versions adequately shape Gordon's voice and intention. Denzal Park's version is significantly bubblier, while the original Tom Neville mix digs down. If you want another example of Tom Neville's influence on Wynter, check out “Drunk On Your Love.” Meanwhile, the album's third single, “Buy My Love,” features Axwell on production and you can definitely hear some of his hallmark sounds through the use of poptastic bouncy beats and synths. Axwell has always had a firm grasp when it comes to pop sensibilities so it isn't a big surprise that he would excel stepping behind a vocalist. And you can hear Robbie Rivera's signature 'juicy' beats on “In The Morning.” There are a couple tracks that are worked over by some relatively unheard-of people. Oak works some magic with Wynter on “Don't Stop Me,” while the tracks “Rumba,” “All My Life,” and “Back To You” are mostly unspectacular.

Summary

Wynter Gordon seems to be nothing more than the product of other's hard work, and while creating some genuinely enjoyable tracks, her identity as an artist is lost in the shuffle. There is potential for future hits on the album, but I question her longevity.

Released June 2011 on Big Beat / Atlantic

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the record label. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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