The Spell (Alphabeat album)

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The Spell
Alphabeat - The Spell (album).png
Studio album by Alphabeat
Released 26 October 2009 (2009-10-26)
Genre
Length 37:22
Label Copenhagen
Producer
Alphabeat chronology
Alphabeat
(2007)Alphabeat2007
The Spell
(2009)
Express Non-Stop
(2012)Express Non-Stop2012
Singles from The Spell
  1. "The Spell"
    Released: 21 September 2009
  2. "DJ"
    Released: 9 January 2010
  3. "Hole in My Heart"
    Released: 21 February 2010
  4. "Heat Wave"
    Released: 21 June 2010

The Spell is the second studio album by Danish pop group Alphabeat, released on 26 October 2009 by Copenhagen Records. Alphabeat stated their second album would be a departure from the pop roots of their debut album, Alphabeat, in favour of dance acts from the 1990s such as Snap! and Black Box,[1][2] with band member Anders SG saying the title track was particularly inspired by Black Box's 1990 song "I Don't Know Anybody Else".[2]

The album was originally set to be released in the United Kingdom one week after the original Danish release,[1][2] but was eventually released on 1 March 2010, followed by the second single, "Hole in My Heart".[3] As announced by the band through their Facebook page on 27 January 2010,[4] UK and international pressings of the album were retitled The Beat Is... including the bonus track "Till I Get Round".

In November 2010, the album earned Alphabeat the Danish Music Award for Danish Group of the Year.[5]

Singles[edit]

"The Spell" was released in Denmark on 21 September 2009, serving as the lead single from the album. It topped the Danish Singles Chart for four non-consecutive weeks, while reaching number six in Belgium, number eleven in the Netherlands and number twenty in the United Kingdom.

"Hole in My Heart" was released on 21 February 2010 as the album's second UK single and third single overall, peaking at twenty-nine on the UK Singles Chart.

"DJ", released on 9 January 2010 as the album's second single in Denmark, peaked at number six on the Danish chart. When released as the third UK single on 31 May 2010, the track was remixed by Biffco and promoted as "DJ (I Could Be Dancing)", but failed to chart within the UK top 100, instead reaching number 116.[6]

"Heat Wave" was released in Denmark on 21 June 2010 as the album's fourth and final single overall.[7] It charted at number four in Denmark, the group's second highest-peaking single in their home country.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 58/100[8]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[9]
BBC Music fairly negative[10]
Daily Express 3/5[11]
Drowned in Sound 1/10[12]
entertainment.ie 2.5/5 stars[13]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[14]
musicOMH 2.5/5 stars[15]
NME 5/10[16]
The Observer positive[17]
The Times 3/5 stars[18]

The Spell received mixed to positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 58, based on 7 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".[8] K. Ross Hoffman of AllMusic viewed the album as "an even glossier, more unabashedly poptastic affair than their first album", adding that it "takes its cues from turn of the '90s club music: Hi-NRG, Euro-beat, hip-house, and the Scandinavian synth-reggae of Ace of Base."[9] Hugh Montgomery wrote for The Observer that the album finds the group "appropriating the handbag house sound that was the cornerstone of provincial clubs circa 1995. Thus jittery piano riffs and hands-in-the-air breakdowns abound, while singer Stine hollers dancefloor doggerel."[17] Simon Gage of Daily Express described the songs as "chirpy and silly with witty lyrics", while calling the music itself "Euro-nonsense at its finest".[11] The Guardian's Michael Hann, however, expressed that "[t]he glee that infused that first album has been swamped by endless staccato synth or piano riffs, all of which sound like a score of minor hits from a generation ago."[14] Mike Diver of BBC Music agreed, stating, "With its makers performing like they'd rather be elsewhere, compositions finalised by playing percentages rather than the passion that fuelled their debut, The Beat Is... represents a nadir for a group once heralded as purveyors of the very brightest pop."[10]

Stephen Kelly of the NME commented that Alphabeat "have bravely stripped away all the bubblegum that originally made them popular in favour of the Euro-dance years of the late-'80s/early-'90s. The result is stronger than you might think, but too inconsistent and devoid of depth to stand out on a battlefield where Gaga rules all."[16] The Times critic Peter Paphides opined that the album "varies the tempo and tone without sacrificing the joyful execution. The ultra-catchy single, 'The Spell', is an apt microcosm of a whole that peaks with the Italo-house urgency of '365 Degrees'. But, if 'Chess'' resemblance to Ace of Base strikes you as a bad thing, the rest may not appeal to you either."[18] Michael Cragg of musicOMH noted that "[t]hings start promisingly, [...] with the first four songs zipping by in a blaze of joyfully cheesy beats [...], '90s rave piano [...] and neat vocal interplay between singers Anders SG and Stine Bramsen", but felt that the remainder of the album "lacks any sparkle or panache, with the band falling foul of a very current musical disease; the Auto-Tune obsession."[15] Lauren Murphy of entertainment.ie concluded that the group "may have lost some of their magic, but they admittedly make reparations with the damned catchy 'Heat Wave' and 'The Right Thing', two of the peppiest tunes on offer here. Unfortunately, it's not quite enough to prevent this album from being something of an anticlimax. A highly stylised one, sure—but a disappointment, nonetheless."[13] Drowned in Sound's panned the album as "an absolute abomination of a record" and critiqued, "Gone is any sense of personality or charm that Alphabeat once had, to be replaced by masses of Autotuned vocals, processed beats and batteries of keyboard sounds that haven't been aired since Ace Of Base and 2Unlimited ruled the waves."[12]

Track listing[edit]

The Spell (Danish release)
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "The Spell"
  • Anders SG
  • Anders B
  • SG
  • B
3:37
2. "DJ" B B 3:28
3. "Hole in My Heart" SG SG 4:08
4. "The Beat Is"
  • Troels Hansen
  • Rasmus Nagel
  • Hansen
  • Nagel
3:21
5. "Heatwave"
  • B
  • Spencer
3:47
6. "Chess"
  • Quant
  • Stannard
3:33
7. "Heart Failure" B B 3:33
8. "Always Up with You" SG SG 3:38
9. "Q&A"
  • SG
  • B
  • Bramsen
  • Steve Robson
  • SG
  • B
4:06
10. "The Right Thing"
  • SG
  • B
  • SG
  • B
4:11
Total length: 37:22
The Beat Is... (international release)
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "The Beat Is"
  • Hansen
  • Nagel
  • Hansen
  • Nagel
3:21
2. "The Spell"
  • SG
  • B
  • SG
  • B
3:37
3. "DJ" B B 3:28
4. "Hole in My Heart" SG SG 4:08
5. "Chess"
  • SG
  • B
  • Bramsen
  • Quant
  • Stannard
  • Quant
  • Stannard
3:33
6. "Heart Failure" B B 3:33
7. "Heat Wave"
  • B
  • Spencer
  • B
  • Spencer
3:47
8. "Always Up with You" SG SG 3:38
9. "Q & A"
  • SG
  • B
  • Bramsen
  • Robson
  • SG
  • B
4:06
10. "The Right Thing"
  • SG
  • B
  • SG
  • B
4:11
11. "Till I Get Round" B B 3:27
Total length: 40:49

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Beat Is...[22]

Alphabeat
  • Anders B – production (all except "The Beat Is...", "Hole in My Heart", "Chess" and "Always Up with You")
  • Troels Hansen – production ("The Beat Is...")
  • Rasmus Nagel – production ("The Beat Is...")
  • Anders SG – production ("The Spell", "Hole in My Heart", "Always Up with You", "Q & A", "The Right Thing")
Additional personnel

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[28] Platinum 30,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
Denmark 26 October 2009[29] Copenhagen Records
United Kingdom 1 March 2010[30]
Germany 2 March 2010[31] Universal Music
Netherlands 12 March 2010[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Alphabeat to release second album". Newsbeat. BBC News Online. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Balls, David (24 September 2009). "Alphabeat LP 'influenced by '90s dance'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  3. ^ "Single & Album News". Facebook. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Album Name Change – "THE BEAT IS…"". Facebook. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "Medina gjorde rent bord til Danish Music Awards" (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Chart Log UK – Weekly Updates Sales 2010". The Zobbel Website. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Heat Wave – Single by Alphabeat" (in Danish). iTunes Store Denmark. Apple. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "The Beat Is... – Alphabeat". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  9. ^ a b K. Ross, Hoffman. "The Beat Is... – Alphabeat". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Diver, Mike (2 March 2010). "Review of Alphabeat – The Beat Is...". BBC Music. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Gage, Simon (26 February 2010). "Alphabeat: The Beat Is review". Daily Express. Northern & Shell. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Lavery, Aaron (1 March 2010). "Alphabeat – The Beat Is". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Murphy, Lauren (2 March 2010). "Alphabeat – The Beat Is...". entertainment.ie. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Hann, Michael (25 February 2010). "Alphabeat: The Beat Is …". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Cragg, Michael. "Alphabeat – The Beat Is...". musicOMH. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Kelly, Stephen (5 March 2010). "Album Review: Alphabeat – 'The Beat Is...' (Polydor)". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Montgomery, Hugh (28 February 2010). "Alphabeat: The Beat Is…". The Observer. theguardian.com. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  18. ^ a b Paphides, Peter (27 February 2010). "Alphabeat: The Beat is . . .". The Times. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  19. ^ "The Spell (Bonus Track Version) by Alphabeat" (in Danish). iTunes Store Denmark. Apple. Archived from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  20. ^ "The Beat Is... by Alphabeat". iTunes Store UK. Apple. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  21. ^ "Re that Alphabeat/Lady Gaga cover we had as Song Of The Day the day before yesterday". Popjustice. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  22. ^ The Beat Is... (CD liner notes). Alphabeat. Polydor Records. 2010. 2719523. 
  23. ^ "Alphabeat – The Spell". danishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  24. ^ "Alphabeat – The Spell" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  25. ^ "2010 Top 40 Scottish Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. 13 March 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "2010 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. 13 March 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  27. ^ "Album 2009 Top-100" (in Danish). Hitlisten.NU. IFPI Denmark. Archived from the original on 26 September 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  28. ^ a b "Album 2010 Top-100" (in Danish). Hitlisten.NU. IFPI Denmark. Archived from the original on 29 January 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  29. ^ "The Spell – Alphabeat" (in Danish). CDON.dk. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  30. ^ "Alphabeat: Beat Is". HMV. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  31. ^ "The Beat Is..." (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  32. ^ "Beat Is | Alphabeat" (in Dutch). Free Record Shop. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.