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Alexis Jordan - 'Happiness'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:39 UK time, Monday, 1 November 2010

Alexis Jordan

There's no point putting your fingers in your ears and hoping it'll go away; pop moguls on both sides of the Atlantic are on the hunt for very young people with very strong voices, and thanks to TV talent shows and YouTube, they are going to find them and they are going to make them make records and they are going to release those records and we are going to have to listen to them. That is simply where we are in terms of cultural evolution right now.

And if this talent trawl annoys older people - people who aren't really the target audience for the thing in the first place - and it gets in the way of heritage pop acts who have got a bit too used to having the Top 10 for a personal playground, and it generally shakes things up a bit, well that's all to the good.

There again, some of the records are going to be rubbish. That's an unavoidable side effect of an initiative like this.

(Here's the video. She's got a lot of fans.)

So, hats off to the production house Stargate for giving Alexis - a graduate of both the America's Got Talent finishing school AND the university of YouTube - something to sing which might actually appeal to all ages. It's a soft-boiled trancey dancey thing, which spends ages wending its way through the verses; stopping off for a little "hurry hurry" moment here, building up slowly there; before rising sharply to a startling peak and then gently tumbling down the other side.

And what a peak! The "Hah" of "happiness" has got to be in the Top 10 of ecstatic pop moments of the year, surely? And the "piy" and "nessss" aren't exactly trailing far behind.

And it's not just a case of low expectations being exceeded easily, either. If Madonna had put this out, it would be hailed as one of the best songs of her long and varied career. And she possibly would struggle to get the crystal purity of those top notes, which means Alexis is officially Better Than Madonna.*

Mind you, it is another one of those songs isn't clear about what it wants you, the listener, to do when you hear it. Slightly too soft and slow for dancing, slightly too upbeat and lively for seated listening. Good for a nod-along, I suppose, but if that makes it sound like a passive listening experience, well it isn't.

What it demands is that you melt with joy. That's the appropriate reaction, at the appropriate moment. And if you can't manage that, you're not listening properly.

Four stars Download: Out now

www.alexisjordanofficial.com
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

* Not officially.

Pop Trash Addicts says: "Just be careful because you'll have "I got to hurry hurry hurry now, quick quick quick" stuck in your head for weeks!"

Hey It's BCT says: "It really does give you this youthful sound that is very refreshing."

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