Monday, April 16, 2012
Album review: Salim Nourallah’s Hit Parade
Nourallah gets it right on his first band record in a decade.
When it comes to Dallas producer Salim Nourallah’s latest studio effort, Hit Parade, you may ask yourself, “have I heard this before?” The answer is yes, you have. But with The Beatles as a major influence – who knew just what it took to make the perfect pop song – Nourallah can’t go wrong.
He gets it right on his first band record in a decade. Nourallah has an uncanny ability to make infectious, uptempo, foot-tapping beats mixed with catchy yet simple hooks that are hard to get out of your head. Even songs like “The Quitter” and “Everybody Knows,” which are chock full of thinly veiled insults, are upbeat and so damn catchy. It speaks well of his talent, given he's one of the producers to go to if you want a record done right in Dallas.
The album, which was fully tracked in five short days at Austin’s Treefort Studios, has been years in the making. On the backend of his third European tour in the spring of 2009, Nourallah wrote the record’s opening track, “38 Rue de Sévigné,” during his stay in Paris as a love letter to the City of Light. The song has just the right amount of ‘60s pop bubblegum flavor that you just want to keep chewing. You’ll find yourself humming the chorus even after the tasty tune has left your ears.
Although the album’s title track, “Hit Parade,” is a sleeper, Nourallah more than makes up for it with his sense of what makes a song truly memorable: the hook. And Nourallah knows just the right pop formula to keep the tune in your head long after it has been played, which is evident in nearly every track on the album. He takes his cues from the songwriters of his youth, most of all, Paul McCartney.
It doesn’t really matter if you have heard it all before. The music of The Beatles is classic, and we'd rather him use the Fab Four as muses rather than, say, the Justin Beibers or Katy Perrys of pop music – who represent a generation of pop that is as easily digestible as it is to throw away.
Key tracks to listen to: “38 Rue de Sévigné,” “Friends For Life,” and “Unstoppable.”