Superb. Although I am a little late to catch on to the greatness that is Far East Movement, I am v. pleased to say that their debut from Cherrytree Records/Interscope/Universal Music is outstanding. The major label debut from the all-Asian Electronic/Hip-Hop group is actually something historic, marking the first time an Asian act has reached the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart. With debut single Like a G6 ft. The Cataracs and Dev continuing to gain momentum in terms of Airplay, a number one placing absolutely is not out of the question.
Aside from its hypnotic first single, Free Wired is crammed with hits and what is so fantastic about the album is that although it is Hip-Hop, most of it is based upon Electro-pop foundations, making it virtually impossible not to want to dance even for those like me who aren't particularly connaiseurs of Rap music. Produced much in the same vein as a Black Eyed Peas album - post-Fergie success that is - perhaps the only thing the quartet is missing is a Vocalist, frequently relying on marquee names in this concise, yet poignant collection of ten tracks. This is the album's only downfall as we never fully get a full sense of Far East Movement's presence with the roster of names it boasts.
Rocketeer ft. Ryan Tedder would be a wise choice for a second single off the album with its unforgettable soaring falsetto hook, making for three-and-a-half minutes of pure euphoria. Girls on the Dancefloor ft. The Stereotypes, which I recall having heard in Piranha 3-D, also is downright nasty as is If I was You (OMG) ft. Snoop Dogg. Of course, this would be expected of any track worthy of an appearance by the West Coast legend. who imagines the track's shared Muse in all sorts of inappopriateness: "I bet you hop under the covers and play with yourself/'cause I would if I was you".
She Owns the Night ft. Mohombi like much of the album, is hyper-aware of its female audience - an Electro-Disco love letter to the sexy College Girl who lets loose on Friday nights after a hard week of hittin' the books at Le Bibliothèque. Don't Look Now ft. Keri Hilson, another female-centric track is one of Free Wired's brighter moments.
Surprisingly, Frankmusik who not too long ago set the Blogosphere on fire with buzz, surfaces here on Fighting for Air which samples Art of Noise's Moments in Love, deeming it instantly appealing. Despite being a relative unknown, Kayla Kai lends some great vocals to the super-fun White Flag, which pays homage to the early '90s when acts like Real McCoy and Ace of Base ruled the airwaves. The fun does not stop even with closing number 2gether, which has us begging for more with its sampling of The B-52s' Love Shack and again, more of that late '80s/early '90s nostalgia.
Far East Movement's Free Wired without a doubt is one of the year's best. A fine achievement which transcends the rigid definitions of Dance/Hip-Hop/R&B and Pop music. The album hits stores October 12, 2010. Grade: A+
To preview Rocketeer ft. Ryan Tedder (audio content owned by Univeral Music) listen below: